Having ascended the brow of a hill, a short distance beyond the bridge, it was agreed between the major and his wife, that, being out of danger, they might now look more after the lost property and think less of assailants. The major, in the meantime, commenced giving his wife an account of the pig’s knowing qualities, which, together with a description of the eccentric swine driver, amused her not a little. If the pig, she argued, was possessed of one half the gifts set down to him, he would take care of himself for the night; and as to the chickens, not even the black people who lived on the hill, would think of coming out at night to steal them-for though they were proverbially fond of keeping a large poultry yard, and not over scrupulous of the means by which they supplied it-they were too sparing of their energies to waste them at that hour of night. She therefore enjoined that they return peaceably home, and leave the search to be resumed at daylight. The major admitted the reason of his wife’s argument, but declared his determination to traverse the road round and return by way of the tavern. It might, in truth, betray a want of courage, did he retrace his steps at this stage of the road.
“As to courage, husband,” said his wife, holding the lantern so near that the shadow reflected over his broad face, “I am sure you have already proved that you are not wanting in that; and as there are but a few hours until daylight, we had as well go home and get us comfortably to bed.” The figure of a man, whose dusky shadow reflected along the fence, was now seen approaching in the road. The major had no sooner descried him, than he fell in with his wife’s opinion, and as a practical illustration of his faith in it, commenced retracing his steps so fast that it was with much difficulty she could keep up with him. Looking neither to the right nor the left, he continued on until he had gained the house, from the door of which he turned to look back, when, finding the figure had vanished, he said with an air of regained courage, that it was not that he feared the miscreant, but having a wife and three children dependent upon him, he could not hope for forgiveness were he to risk his valuable life in combat with a lurking vagabond. He therefore shut the door, partook of an humble supper, and went quietly to bed, leaving the pig and chickens to take care of themselves until daylight.
Wherein is recorded events which took place on the day following the major’s arrival at Barnstable, with sundry other queer things.