Myself. Don’t swear, it’s a bad habit, neither pleasant nor profitable. Your name is Slingsby—Jack Slingsby. There, don’t stare, there’s nothing in my telling you your name: I’ve been in these parts before, at least not very far from here. Ten years ago, when I was little more than a child, I was about twenty miles from here in a post-chaise, at the door of an inn, and as I looked from the window of the chaise, I saw you standing by a gutter, with a big tin ladle in your hand, and somebody called you Jack Slingsby. I never forget anything I hear or see; I can’t, I wish I could. So there’s nothing strange in my knowing your name; indeed, there’s nothing strange in anything, provided you examine it to the bottom. Now what am I to give you for the things?
I paid Slingsby five pounds ten shillings for his stock in trade, cart, and pony—purchased sundry provisions of the landlady, also a wagoner’s frock, which had belonged to a certain son of hers, deceased, gave my little animal a feed of corn, and prepared to depart.
‘God bless you, young man,’ said Slingsby, shaking me by the hand; ’you are the best friend I’ve had for many a day: I have but one thing to tell you, Don’t cross that fellow’s path if you can help it; and stay—should the pony refuse to go, just touch him so, and he’ll fly like the wind.’
Effects of corn—One night longer—The hoofs—A stumble—Are you hurt?—What a difference—Drowsy—Maze of bushes—Housekeeping—Sticks and furze—The driftway—Account of stock—Anvil and bellows—Twenty years.
It was two or three hours past noon when I took my departure from the place of the last adventure, walking by the side of my little cart; the pony, invigorated by the corn, to which he was probably not much accustomed, proceeded right gallantly; so far from having to hasten him forward by the particular application which the tinker had pointed out to me, I had rather to repress his eagerness, being, though an excellent pedestrian, not unfrequently left behind. The country through which I passed was beautiful and interesting, but solitary; few habitations appeared. As it was quite a matter of indifference to me in what direction I went, the whole world being before me, I allowed the pony to decide upon the matter; it was not long before he left the high-road, being probably no friend to public places. I followed him I knew not whither, but, from subsequent observation, have reason to suppose that our course was in a north-west direction. At length night came upon us, and a cold wind sprang up, which was succeeded by a drizzling rain.