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miliarity ; nor do I wish to be made a party in Mr. Blachford's quarrels."

“ Your lordship will be pleased to recollect that you stated my behaviour to that gentleman as matter of charge : in my own vindication therefore I was led to tell you of what fort his behaviour was to me; and in account. ing for my words found it necessary to explain the causes that provok'd them. I trust your lordship thinks I have not failed in my respect to you by answering in my own defence.”

" You have no right over my thoughts ; them I shall keep to myself: there are deeper thoughts in my mind than I shall see fit at present to produce.”

“ Then, my lord, I am to presume you nevér will produce them, against me at least; for I am here present on your own fummons, standing before you like a culprit at the bar, to hear and to answer every thing you can urge against me; I therefore humbly beg leave to know from yourself whether I am clear of all you have to charge me with."-" I have no. thing more to say to you, Sir," replied my my Lord; “ you may retire when you please."

" I understand you, my lord,” cried Henry; “ you have restored to me my character, and

I will take care so to guard it that no man shall traduce it with impunity.”

HAPTER

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CHAPTER XI
A Blow well placed in the Dark, or, in other
Words, according to the Greek Proverb, Blach-

ford shears a Lion.
AS Henry passed through the hall, after his

conference related in the foregoing chap ter, he was met by Lady Crowbery, who hastily put a paquet into his hand, conjuring him to take care of it, and keep secret the contents. “In that paper,” she said, “ you will see the mystery of your birth reveal'd: Betake yourself to my uncle Manstock without delay, and Heaven in its mercy protect and guard you !” . · Henry, almost overpowered with joyful surprize, at hearing what that paper was to difclose, took it with all the rapture and devotion, which its interesting contents excited, and carefully secured it in his pocket. He had yet sufficient recollection left to seize the oppornity for returning the ring to Lady Crowbery wrapped up in paper and tied; at the same

time

time he briefly recited what had been said to him by the man who found it: Lady Crow

bery seemed a good deal surprized, and denied | having missed any one of her rings, however

as the time was pressing, and the danger of being discovered instant, she took it from him, and again bidding him tenderly farewell, hastened away.

There were two roads to the village; the fortest by a foot-path through the plantation, which was close and now dark, the other was the common coach-road through the park, open and secure from ambuscacle. As Henry came out from the hall-door, he found old Weevil the miller waiting in the court-yard : he had been to the house with four, and had been chatting as usual with the servants; he understood from them, that Henry was under examination with my lord, and having noticed D'Rourke prowling about the plantations with his bludgeon in his hand, entertained some suspicions of a plot upon Henry, and was determined to accompany him home, and persuaded him to take the open road through the park.

This was a task of some difficulty on the part of the friendly miller, for Henry's eagerVol. II.

ness

ness to open the important pacquet made hin very adverse to any proposal that prolonged the time; the point, however, was carried, and he, accompanied by Weevil, arrived safe at the widow's, whilst Larry O'Rourke laid clofe in his ambulh at the bottom of the grove, where was a little foot-bridge that led over a narrow stream, thickly Shaded with alders. . * When a much longer period of time had elapsed than would have served to carry Henry through the grove, Blachford, who calculated minutes, with some anxiety, set out from the Viscounts upon the scout, and took his way fecretly and folitarily down the plantationwalk: as he approached the spot where the attack was to be made, he stopt and listened ; all was silence : he took counsel with his own thoughts, and concluding the business was done, advanced, nothing doubting, till he had one foot upon the bridge, when, as if fortune had in that inftant recovered her eye-sight and bestowed the bludgeon with strict rétafiatioå upon its proper owner, Larry O'Rourke, fuppofing he had now made sure of his victim, took aim with such success, and deale his blow with fo hearty á good-will upon the pericranium

of

of the magistrate, that Blachford, having uttered one horrid yell as his heels flew from under him, instantly paid his compliments to the muddy naiads of the brook.

The George and Dragon alehouse, where the party was carousing, who had performed the ceremony of the gibbet, was so near to the scene of action, that Blachford's yell was most distinctly heard by the persons there afsembled, who immediately turned out upon the alarm. Amongst the first of these was John Jenkins the hangman, who found Larry O'Rourke employed in dragging the justice out of the water, for he had now, though fomewhat of the latest, discovered a small mistake as to heads, but in point of execution no fault could be found with his work, which feemed to be effectually done, as the blow had taken place just above the temple, and the bludgeon was loaded with lead. John Jenkins being somewhat more than elevated with his evening's festivity, was for leaving the justice to his fate, making use of the trite proverb, that the man who was born to be hanged, was in no danger of being drowned; but the foberer part of the company, who F 2

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