The gipsy women dare not come within gun-shot, and every tatterdemalion of a boy has been frightened from the park. The old fellow is determined to lodge Starlight Tom in prison with his own hands; and hopes, he says, to see one of the poaching crew made an example of.
I doubt, after all, whether the worthy Squire is not the greatest sufferer in the whole affair. His honourable sense of duty obliges him to be rigid, but the overflowing kindness of his nature makes this a grievous trial to him.
He is not accustomed to have such demands upon his justice, in his truly patriarchal domain; and it wounds his benevolent spirit, that while prosperity and happiness are flowing in thus bounteously upon him, he should have to inflict misery upon a fellow-being.
He has been troubled and cast down the whole evening; took leave of the family, on going to bed, with a sigh, instead of his usual hearty and affectionate tone; and will, in all probability, have a far more sleepless night than his prisoner. Indeed, this unlucky affair has cast a damp upon the whole household, as there appears to be an universal opinion that the unlucky culprit will come to the gallows.
Morning.—The clouds of last evening are all blown over. A load has been taken from the Squire’s heart, and every face is once more in smiles. The gamekeeper made his appearance at an early hour, completely shamefaced and crestfallen. Starlight Tom had made his escape in the night; how he had got out of the loft, no one could tell: the Devil, they think, must have assisted him. Old Christy was so mortified that he would not show his face, but had shut himself up in his stronghold at the dog-kennel, and would not be spoken with. What has particularly relieved the Squire, is, that there is very little likelihood of the culprit’s being retaken, having gone off on one of the old gentleman’s best hunters.
The night has been unruly; where we lay,
The chimneys were blown down.
We have for a day or two past had a flow of unruly weather, which has intruded itself into this fair and flowery month, and for a time has quite marred the beauty of the landscape. Last night, the storm attained its crisis; the rain beat in torrents against the casements, and the wind piped and blustered about the old Hall with quite a wintry vehemence. The morning, however, dawned clear and serene; the face of the heavens seemed as if newly washed, and the sun shone with a brightness that was undimmed by a single vapour. Nothing over-head gave traces of the recent storm; but on looking from my window, I beheld sad ravage among the shrubs and flowers; the garden-walks had formed the channels for little torrents; trees were lopped of their branches; and a small silver stream that wound through the park, and ran at the bottom of the lawn, had swelled into a turbid yellow sheet of water.