The Astonishing History of Troy Town eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 280 pages of information about The Astonishing History of Troy Town.

He had put three boats’ lengths between him and the hull, and was drawing a sigh of relief, when a voice hailed him, and then—­

A tongue of flame leapt out, and a loud report rang forth upon the night.  He heard something whistle by his ear.  Catching up the paddles again, he pulled madly out of the creek, and away for the opposite bank of the river; ran his boat in; and, seizing the portmanteau, without attempt to ship the oars or fasten the painter, leapt out; climbed, slipped, and staggered over the slippery stones; and fled up the hill as though a thousand fiends were at his heels.



“Well, sir,” remarked Caleb at ten o’clock that evening, after an hour’s watching had passed and brought no sign of a ghost, “I wish this ‘ere sperrit, ef sperrit et be, wud put hissel’ out to be punkshal.  They do say as the Queen must wait while her beer’s a-drawin’; but et strikes me ghost-seein’ es apt to be like Boscas’le Fair, which begins twelve an’ ends at noon.”

Caleb caressed a huge blunderbuss which lay across his knee, and caused Mr. Fogo no slight apprehension.

“Et puts me i’ mind,” he went on, as his master was silent, “o’ th’ ould lidden [1] as us used to sing when us was tiny mites:—­”

     Riddle me, riddle me, riddle me right,
     Where was I last Sat’rday night? 
     I seed a chimp-champ champin’ at his bridle,
     I seed an ould fox workin’ hissel’ idle. 
     The trees did shever, an’ I did shake,
     To see what a hole thic’ fox did make.

“Now I comes to think ’pon et, ‘tes Sat’rday night too; an’ that’s odd, as Martha said by her glove.”

Still Mr. Fogo was silent.

“As for the blunderbust, sir, there’s no call to be afeard.  Tes on’y loaded wi’ shot an’ a silver shillin’.  I heerd tell that over to Tresawsen, wan time, they had purty trouble wi’ a lerrupin’ big hare, sir.  Neither man nor hound cud cotch her; an’ as for bullets, her tuk in bullets like so much ballast.  Well, sir, th’ ould Squire were out wi’ his gun wan day, an’ ‘way to track thicky hare, roun’ an’ roun’, for up ten mile; an’ the more lead he fired, the better plaised her seemed.  ‘Darn et!’ says the old Squire at las’.  ‘’Tes witchcraf; I’ll try a silver bullet.’  So he pulls out a crown-piece an’ hammers ’un into a slug to fit hes gun.  He’d no sooner loaded than out pops the hare agen, not twenty yards off, an’ right ‘cross the path.  Th’ ould man blazed away, an’ this time hit her sure ‘nuff:  hows’ever, her warn’t too badly wounded to nip roun’ the knap o’ the hill an’ out o’ sight.  ‘I’ll ha’ ‘ee!’ cries the Squire; an’ wi’ that pulls hot foot roun’ the hill.  An’ there, sir, clucked in under a bit o’ rock, an’ pantin’ for dear life, were ould Mally Skegg.  I tell ’ee, sir, the Squire made no more to do, but ‘way to run, an’ niver stopped till he were safe home to Tresawsen.  That’s so.  Mally were a witch, like her mother afore her; an’ the best proof es, her wore a limp arter this to the day o’ her death.”

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The Astonishing History of Troy Town from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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