‘The best thing you can do,’ said I, ’is to pass the night here; I will presently light a fire, and endeavour to make you comfortable—in the morning we will see to your wheel.’ ‘Well,’ said the man, ’I shall be glad to pass the night here, provided I do not intrude, but I must see to the horses.’ Thereupon I conducted the man to the place where the horses were tied. ‘The trees drip very much upon them,’ said the man, ’and it will not do for them to remain here all night; they will be better out on the field picking the grass; but first of all they must have a good feed of corn.’ Thereupon he went to his chaise, from which he presently brought two small bags, partly filled with corn—into them he inserted the mouths of the horses, tying them over their heads. ’Here we will leave them for a time,’ said the man; ’when I think they have had enough, I will come back, tie their fore-legs, and let them pick about.’
Fire of charcoal—The new-comer—No wonder!—Not a blacksmith—A love affair—Gretna Green—A cool thousand—Family estates—Borough interest—Grand education—Let us hear—Already quarrelling—Honourable parents—Most heroically—Not common people—Fresh charcoal.
It might be about ten o’clock at night. Belle, the postilion, and myself, sat just within the tent, by a fire of charcoal which I had kindled in the chafing-pan. The man had removed the harness from his horses, and, after tethering their legs, had left them for the night in the field above to regale themselves on what grass they could find. The rain had long since entirely ceased, and the moon and stars shone bright in the firmament, up to which, putting aside the canvas, I occasionally looked from the depths of the dingle. Large drops of water, however, falling now and then upon the tent from the neighbouring trees, would have served, could we have forgotten it, to remind us of the recent storm, and also a certain chilliness in the atmosphere, unusual to the season, proceeding from the moisture with which