It is, however, when I come to the combination of horse and rider that I can with entire safety lapse into the flow of the old chroniclers. For whatever Harry had forgotten in his many experiences since he last threw his leg over Spitfire, horsemanship was not one of them. He still rode like a Cherokee and still sat his mount like a prince.
He had had an anxious and busy morning. With the first streak of dawn he had written a long letter to his Uncle George, in which he told him of his arrival; of his heart-felt sorrow at what Pawson had imparted and of his leaving immediately, first for Wesley and then Craddock, as soon as he found out how the land lay at Moorlands. This epistle he was careful to enclose in another envelope, which he directed to Justice Coston, with instructions to forward it with “the least possible delay” to Mr. Temple, who was doubtless at Craddock, “and who was imperatively needed at home in connection with some matters which required his immediate personal attention,” and which enclosure, it is just as well to state, the honorable justice placed inside the mantel clock, that being the safest place for such precious missives, at least until the right owner should appear.
This duly mailed, he had returned to the Sailors’ House, knocked at the door of the upstairs room in which, through his generosity, the street vendor lay sleeping, and after waking him up and becoming assured that the man was in real distress, had bought at twice their value the China silks which had caused the disheartened pedler so many weary hours of tramping. These he had tucked under his arm and carried away.
The act was not alone due to his charitable instincts. A much more selfish motive influenced him. Indeed the thought came to him in a way that had determined him to attend to his mail at early dawn and return at sunrise lest the owner should disappear and take the bundle with him. The silks were the very things he needed to help him solve one of his greatest difficulties. He would try, as the sailor-pedler had done, to sell them in the neighborhood of Moorlands—(a common practice in those days)—and in this way might gather up the information of which he was in search. Pawson had not known him—perhaps the others would not: he might even offer the silks to his father without being detected.
With this plan clearly defined in his mind, he had walked into a livery stable near the market, but a short distance from his lodgings, with the silks in a bundle and after looking the stock over had picked out this unprepossessing beast as best able to take him to Moorlands and back between sunrise and dark.