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Jeffery Farnol
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 424 pages of information about The Broad Highway.



“Good Lord!” exclaimed the Postilion, and fell back a step.

“Well?” said I, meeting his astonished look as carelessly as I might.

“Lord love me!” said the Postilion.

“What now?” I inquired.

“I never see such a thing as this ’ere,” said he, alternately glancing from me down to the outstretched figure at my feet, “if it’s bewitchments, or only enchantments, I don’t like it—­strike me pink if I do!”

“What do you mean?”

“Eyes,” continued the Postilion slowly and heavily, and with his glance wandering still—­“eyes, same—­nose, identical—­mouth, when not bloody, same—­hair, same—­figure, same—­no, I don’t like it —­it’s onnat’ral! tha’ ’s what it is.”

“Come, come,” I broke in, somewhat testily, “don’t stand there staring like a fool—­you see this gentleman is hurt.”

“Onnat’ral ’s the word!” went on the Postilion, more as though speaking his thoughts aloud than addressing me, “it’s a onnat’ral night to begin with—­seed a many bad uns in my time, but nothing to ekal this ’ere, that I lost my way aren’t to be wondered at; then him, and her a-jumping out o’ the chaise and a-running off into the thick o’ the storm—­that’s onnat’ral in the second place! and then, his face, and your face—­that’s the most onnat’rallest part of it all—­likewise, I never see one man in two suits o’ clothes afore, nor yet a-standing up, and a-laying down both at the same i-dentical minute—­onnat’ral’s the word —­and—­I’m a-going.”

“Stop!” said I, as he began to move away.

“Not on no account!”

“Then I must make you,” said I, and doubled my fists.

The Postilion eyed me over from head to foot, and paused, irresolute.

“What might you be wanting with a peaceable, civil-spoke cove like me?” he inquired.

“Where is your chaise?”

“Up in the lane, som’eres over yonder,” answered he, with a vague jerk of his thumb over his shoulder.

“Then, if you will take this gentleman’s heels we can carry him well enough between us—­it’s no great distance.”

“Easy!” said the Postilion, backing away again, “easy, now—­what might be the matter with him, if I might make so bold—­ain’t dead, is he?”

“Dead—­no, fool!” I rejoined angrily.

“Voice like his, too!” muttered the Postilion, backing away still farther; “yes, onnat’ral’s the word—­strike me dumb if it ain’t!”

“Come, will you do as I ask, or must I make you?”

“Why, I ain’t got no objection to taking the gent’s ’eels, if that’s all you ask, though mind ye, if ever I see such damned onnat’ralness as this ’ere in all my days, why—­drownd me!”

So, after some delay, I found the overcoat and purse (which latter I thrust into the pocket ere wrapping the garment about him), and lifting my still unconscious antagonist between us, we started for the lane; which we eventually reached, with no little labor and difficulty.  Here, more by good fortune than anything else, we presently stumbled upon a chaise and horses, drawn up in the gloom of sheltering trees, in which we deposited our limp burden as comfortably as might be, and where I made some shift to tie up the gash in his brow.

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