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after the approved custom, that is to say, with incense and libation. The high priest-in shape of the landlord-having approached the altar (a circular oaken tripod) and made his obeisance, straightway ignited his censer (a tube of Dutch origin), and poured forth the offering, a mixture known to the amphibious as "half-water-grog.' The stranger did likewise--in the matter of the mundungus-by means of a considerable ecume de mer which he extracted from his knapsack, and, filling a Christian dose of Hollands and water, he bade his host be seated. I have said that this personage appeared “in shape of the landlord;" he shall be introduced with every respect for his proportions.

Among the many varieties of architecture in which nature indulges when designing our earthly tabernacles, that which likes me leastfortunately it is not a common style-is when she contrives to bestow the materials of a castle upon a cottage. There is something to my seeming very shocking in the " too too solid flesh" of such a man as Scott has drawn in his " Black Dwarf." When the giant proposed to be extended to nine feet is curtailed of his destined elongation, and an end put to his perpendicular proceedings when an altitude of five feet nothing has been attained, he forthwith sprouts into all manner of corporeal exuberances. His arms take a caudatory course, and vegetate downwards; his shoulders exhibit the decisive victory of a square of right angles over an oblong; his legs "would make a chairman stare ;" and his nose is like nothing known in the way of frontal appendage, except a rhinoceros's horn. It had pleased the moulder of our precious porcelain to deal in this wise with the clay out of which she had made up our Boniface of Freshwater. Had you seen him, you would have imagined him two single gentlemen rolled into one-or rather half a score-should you guage mankind by the cockney standard. Nature having thus made him a Colossus of sixty inches, he lost no time in case-hardening his handy work. As soon as he was able to get his live lumber under weigh"-as he was wont to express himself-but he shall grace his own tale without our pitch-forking the reader into the middle of it, as if he had fallen upon an epic.

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"Draw a chair near the hearth, landlord," said the stranger, as soon as his guest had set fire to his pipe and alcohol to his horn "draw a chair to the hearth. These March evenings are plaguy raw-here's Bo'swain, notwithstanding he was reared in 50 degrees of north latitude, with his feet in the embers."

"Never cold-obliged to you all the same," replied the individual (there is no dual in English) address'd; "ever since my anchor was first a-trip I've made hard weather of it, I can tell you.'

"That's the reason you shouldn't make fair weather of it now," urged the advocate of a warm berth; "that is precisely what should incline you not to refuse the goods the god's offer."

"Ain't had a chance of that ere sort, never," rejoined the portable essence of humanity, "nobody never offered me nothing-not so much as a quid of tobacco since I knew how to store one away, and that's some time, I can tell you."

"You're a native of this island?" asked the stranger.

"Ay, ay, sir, born'd and bred not a cable's length from where you're a-setting."

"Some portion of your life I see has been passed in the navy-in the merchant service?"

"Afloat since I was able to get my live lumber under weigh, sirhere's better luck to us both, sir--Holland's is pretty drinking; yes, sir, been a trader, as a body may say."

"And don't you find your sea-going habits hard to shake off? Do you never feel inclined for a run now and then, when things are dull ashore?"

Stout as our Hercules was, he appeared at this moment to be overtaken by a weakness, which caused the horn of grog he was lifting to its destination to fall from his hand. Recovering himself, however, by an effort, he seized the stone jar that was standing at the stranger's elbow, and draining it into his stoup, flung the contents down his throat; and then, in a most emphatic tone, replied, "No, nothing of the sort-there's too many sharks about."

At first the idea struck the entertainer that his guest had lapsed into drink, by no means an unwarrantable conclusion, seeing that a stone bottle of ardent spirits had been discussed, whereof his own share was a solitary tumbler. A slight examination of his vis-a-vis, however, at once satisfied him that he was mistaken, for instead of any symptoms of intoxication appearing, even the old sailor had disappeared, and in his stead there sat before him the statue of a burly dwarf, in granite-a stupendous image in crystallized vinegar. After a short pause and silence, not holding that the metamorphosis of which he was a witness ought of right to interfere with his own proper convenience, he rose from his seat, and having opened the door courteously demanded the landlady to furnish another vessel of Hollands. Had the stranger come to the resolution that the shape before him was that of a mountainous puppet, whose moving principle was the spirit of juniper, no one could have blamed his logic. The last words of the request were not out of his mouth, when the statue became instinct with lusty life, and, rushing to the door, shouted forth, "There aint no more Hollands in the house, not a toothful; is there none of the rum left we had from Newport last week?"

"Bring any liquor you have got," said the new-comer to the uneasy-looking woman, who peered into the room in answer to all these orders and counter-orders, and as she replenished the table, he thus continued his guest standing irresolute whether to go or stayI comprehend your mistake, my friend, you take me for an exciseman; you might as well have confounded me with the parson of the parish. I have nothing to do with things spiritual."

"If so be as how," began to stammer out the fellow, who, taken aback by his fears, had for a moment lost the natural and acquired keenness of perception, that as instantly returned and set him right, "If so be the gentleman would forgive the lubberly look out""No more fouling," interrupted the stranger, "but lie too, while I speak you. I am not here as a spy upon tobaccos and brandies; my purpose is to search for something else, that I have cause to

believe is concealed in these parts. Has not a lady lately come to reside here; one who lives secluded; who does not mix with the gentry, and is rarely seen abroad?"

"I have heard tell," began the smuggler, with characteristic

caution

"You know," interrupted the querist, with an expression that showed he would not brook an attempt at trifling-"You know there is such a person in this neighbourhood. I want you to point out how best I may gain access to her without the knowledge of her establishment, and before they can be aware of my design; put me in the way to do this, and you shall be liberally paid."

If mankind could be made aware of the exceeding convenience that attends plain speaking, as well to those who act as those who suffer, the periphrasis would cease to be a figure of elocution.

"Why did'nt you ease your helm and give her way at once?" exclaimed the amphibious Boniface. "Now she goes-all full; I hate man or craft lying too. Want to get at the French madam up at Alum yonder? could'nt have heaved line in fairer soundings; all her mounseers smoke like volcanies; gets their baccy here; my lass or me takes 'em a bundle every wick as big as a frigate's fenderI'm agoin' over in the mornin'. But had'nt you best look out when she's takin' her arternoon's cruise; sure to fall in with her about six bells these here equinoctial days, somewhere 'twixt the signal-staff and the Needles' point."

The stranger drew his watch hastily, and noting that the hour indicated was at hand, asked the landlord at once to put him in the direction of the place to which he alluded. "But first," he continued, "let us chain up this rough companion of mine till I return; he is apt to be troublesome with strangers, and I wish my interview with your new neighbour to pass without interruption."

It was a raw evening, with wind and drift from the westward; and as they wound up the narrow path that leads from the little inlet of Freshwater to the downs above, a heavy ground-swell broke with a hollow crash upon the shingle and against the base of the tall cliffs. Having crossed a singular cleft in the parapet of chalk which encircles the bank of the Wight, with a barrier characteristic of Albion ; once over this chasm, or "chine," as the islanders call such a fissure, they stood upon the broad, wild upland that to the west flanks the isthmus which lies between Yarmouth and the Needles.

"Before you is the ground where you'll meet with the chase, unless mayhap the weather is too dirty for her to venture out. I'll leave you here: you'll have no difficulty in making the harbour again, by giving the village lights a wide berth to win'ard. Good evening!" Thus left to himself, the stranger lost no time in taking the path pointed out, along which he strode at a rapid pace.

The smuggler, well used to adventure from the nature of his occupation, and withal a shrewd and enterprising fellow, stood for awhile looking after his companion's form, as it grew less and less in the misty distance.

As I learned from him, when he related to me the incidents detailed in this chapter, and the latter portion of that which precedes it,

there was in the affair with which he had thus connected himself something that moved more than his curiosity.

Among the simple peasants of that half-desert district, strange rumours ran concerning the new settler: her wealth was talked of as a treasure beyond calculation-gold and precious jewels as things held by her in no account; while some would not hesitate to declare that she was a great princess from beyond sea.

Jacob Lyell, the master of the small hostel of Freshwater, had heard these things talked over by his guests, their marvels rising with every can of beer; and he took occasion to learn what foundation there might be for them. He never visited Alum Bay without putting some indifferent question to the servants, whence he gathered a fragment of a fact; and a chain of these put together served to lead his clear common sense to a right understanding of the position of affairs. He gleaned that a lady of large possessions and high station dwelt there; while her object in making it her home was only concealed from him because those whom he questioned were equally ignorant of it. The arrival of a stranger desirous of a secret interview with this lady-herself leading a life full of eccentricity, if not of mystery-aroused his suspicions; and as he turned homewards, he doubted that all was well. In this mood, dissatisfied with what he had done, and hesitating as to how he might repair it, he slowly retraced his steps. He had reached the bend in the path that leads round the chine, described as cleaving the face of the cliffs about a quarter of a mile west of the hamlet of Freshwater, when the sound of footsteps caught his ear, by habit ever on the alert. Fitfully and but at intervals it conquered the wild war of the elements, for the sea was up in its fury and the storm shouting around. Partly for the sake of shelter, and with the design of discovering who they might be that were abroad in such a scene and season, he descended to a small ledge that abutted from the face of the chasm, a few feet below the surface of the cliff. Here he had thrown himself lengthways (for the surges roared and raged horribly in the desperate abyss hundreds of feet below), when he became aware that two persons were approaching rapidly.

A voice, wilder than the wild wind, conveyed every syllable it uttered as plainly as if the speaker were at his side. It was a woman's, and she spoke with a desperate energy; while, as if to avoid one who accompanied her, she walked where the extremest limit of the downs met the dark horizon to seaward.

"Never, never," it said, in tones whose purpose could not be misinterpreted; "never again will I be the pander to your vice: God! that ever I was the participator! Go, repent; and haply the gold may not then turn to ashes in your grasp--the gold I have said you will reap from my grave." As the last word was uttered the speaker's foot was on the brink of the chine-the smuggler stretches forth his hand-but the fearful move has been taken-that foot-step meets only the unsubstantial air, and crying aloud in his agony, he sees a human form from above him plunge forward into the hell of waters.

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