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I'll tell you

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men ?"

serious. “Why, you'll be cutting some at it myself, to help you, if you'll only
fellow's hand or foot half off one of these drop those razors.”
days. Suppose I'd waded up the bank "I wishes you would, sir,” said the
to see what had become of my cast ?” keeper, from behind ; “if genl’men 'd

“Lor, sir, I never thought o' that,” sometimes take a watch at nights,
said the keeper, looking sheepish, and they'd find out as keepers hadn't all
lifting the back of his short hat off his fair-weather work, I'll warrant, if they're
head to make room for a scratch ; to keep a good head o' game about a
“but," added he, turning the subject, place ; 'taint all popping off guns, and
“ if you wants to keep thay artful wos- lunching under hayricks, I can tell’em-
birds off the water, you must frighten no, nor half on it."
'em wi' summat out o' the way. Drattle “ Where do you think, now, this
’em, I knows they puts me to my wits'- fellow we were talking of sells his fish ?”
end ; but you'd never 'a' had five such said Tom, after a minute's thought.
fish as them afore breakfast, sir, if we "Mostly at Reading Market, I hears
didn't stake the waters unmussiful,” tell, sir. There's the guard of the mail,

“Well, and I don't want 'em, if I as goes by the cross-roads three days a can't get 'em without.

week, he wur a rare poaching chap hiswhat it is, keeper, this razor business is self down in the west afore he got his going a bit too far; men ain't to be place along of his bugle-playing. They maimed for liking a bit of sport. You do say as he's open to any game, he is, set spring-guns in the woods, and you from a buck to a snipe, and drives a know what that came to. Why don't trade all down the road with the country you, or one of your watchers, stop out chaps.” here at night, and catch the fellows, like “What day is Reading Market?"

Tuesdays and Saturdays, sir.” “Why, you see, sir, master don't “And what time does the mail go allow me but one watcher, and he's mortal feared o’ the water he be, spe- "Six o'clock in the morning, sir, at cially o' nights. He'd sooner by half the cross-roads." stop up in the woods. Daddy Collins “And they're three miles off, across (that's an old woman as lives on the the fields ?heath, sir, and a bad sort she be, too), “Thereabouts, sir; I reckons it about well, she told he once, when he wouldn't a forty minutes' stretch, and no time gee her some bacchy as he'd got, and lost.” she'd a mind to, as he'd fall twice into “ There'll be no more big fish caught the water for once as he'd get out; and on the fly to-day,” said Tom, after a th' poor ch

ever since can't think but minute's silence, as they neared the what he'll be drownded. And there's house. queer sights and sounds by the river o' The wind had fallen dead, and not a nights, too, I ool say, sir, let alone the spot of cloud in the sky. . white mist, as makes everything look “Not afore nightfall, I think, sir ;" unket, and gives a chap the rheumatics.” and the keeper disappeared towards the “ Well, but

you

ain't afraid of ghosts offices. and rheumatism ?

“No, I don't know as I be, sir. But then, there's the pheasants a breedin',

CHAPTER XXXVII. and there's four brood of flappers in the withey bed, and a sight o' young hares in the spinneys. I be hard put to to “You may do as you please, but I'm mind it all.”

going to see it out." “I daresay you are," said Tom, “No, but I say, do come along; putting on his coat, and shouldering his that's a good fellow.” rod ; " I've a good mind to take a turn “Not I; why, we've only just come

by ?

THE NIGHT WATCH.

any rate."

« Not we.

be

out. Didn't you hear ? Wurley dared “ I don't much care : I'll catch one if me to do a night's watching, and I said he comes in my way—or try it on, at I meant to do it.”

“Yes ; so did I. But we can change “I say, Brown, I like that; as if you our minds. What's the good of having don't poach yourself

. Why, I remema mind if you can't change it! ai

ber when the Whiteham keeper spent δευτεραι πως φροντιδες σοφώτεραι; isn't the best part of a week outside the colthat good Greek and good sense ?” lege gates, on the look-out for you and

“I don't see it. They'll only laugh Drysdale and some other fellows." and sneer if we go back now."

“ What has that to do with it?" “ They'll laugh at us twice as much if “Why, you ought to have more felwe don't. Fancy! they're just beginning low-feeling. I suppose you go on the pool now on that stunning table. Come principle of set a thief to catch a thief.” along, Brown; don't miss your chance. Tom made no answer, and his comWe shall be sure to divide the pools, as panion went onwe've missed the claret. Cool hands and “Come along now, like a good fellow. cool heads, you know ! Green on brown, If you'll come in now, we can come pink your player in hand! That's a good out again all fresh, when the rest go to deal pleasanter than squatting here all bed.” night on the damp grass.”

I sha’n’t go in. But you “Very likely."

can come out again, if you like; you'll “But you won't ? Now, do be reason- find me hereabouts." able. Will you come if I stop with you The man in the heather mixture had another half-hour ?

now shot his last bolt, and took himself « No."

off to the house, leaving Tom by the “An hour then? Say till ten o'clock ?" river side. How they got there may “If I went at all, I would go

at once.” told in a few words. After his mornThen you won't come ?”

ing's fishing, and conversation with the « No.”

keeper, he had gone in full of his sub“I'll bet you a sovereign you never ject, and propounded it at the breakfast see a poacher, and then how sold you table. His strictures on the knife and will be in the morning! It will be much razor business produced a rather warm worse coming in to breakfast with empty discussion, which merged in the queshands and a cold in the head, than going tion whether a keeper's life was a hard in now. They will chaff then, I grant one, till something was said implying

that Wurley's men were over-worked. “Well, then, they may chaff and be The master took this in high dudgeon, hanged, for I sha'n't go in now.” and words ran high. In the discussion,

Tom's interlocutor put his hands in Tom remarked (apropos of night-work) the pockets of his heather mixture that he would never ask another man to shooting-coat, and took a turn do what he would not do himself; which two of some dozen yards, backwards sentiment was endorsed by, amongst and forwards above the place where others, the man in the heather mixture. our hero was sitting. He didn't like 'The host had retorted, that they had going in and facing the pod-players by better in that case try it themselves; himself; so he stopped once more and which remark had the effect of making re-opened the conversation.

Tom resolve to cut short his visit, and “What do you want to do by watch- in the meantime had brought him and ing all right, Brown?

his ally to the river side on the night in " To show the keeper and those fellows question. in doors that I mean what I say. I The first hour, as we have seen, had said I'd do it, and I will."

been enough for the ally; and so 'Tom was “You don't want to catch a poacher, left in company with a plaid, a stick, and

you.”

or

66

a

66

I'll tell you

serious. " Why, you'll be cutting some at it myself, to help you, if you'll only fellow's hand or foot half off one of these drop those razors.” days. Suppose I'd waded up the bank “I wishes you would, sir,” said the to see what had become of my cast ?” keeper, from behind ; "if genl'men 'd

“Lor, sir, I never thought o' that," sometimes take a watch at nights, said the keeper, looking sheepish, and they'd find out as keepers hadn't all lifting the back of his short hat off his fair-weather work, I'll warrant, if they're head to make room for a scratch ; to keep a good head o' game about a

but," added he, turning the subject, place ; ’taint all popping off guns, and “ if you wants to keep thay artful wos- lunching under hayricks, I can tell 'embirds off the water, you must frighten no, nor half on it." 'em wi' summat out o' the way. Drattle “Where do you think, now, this ’em, I knows they puts me to my wits’- fellow we were talking of sells his fish ?” end ; but you'd never 'a' had five such said Tom, after a minute's thought. fish as them afore breakfast, sir, if we "Mostly at Reading Market, I hears didn't stake the waters unmussiful." tell, sir. There's the guard of the mail,

“Well, and I don't want 'em, if I as goes by the cross-roads three days a can't get 'em without.

week, he wur a rare poaching chap hiswhat it is, keeper, this razor business is self down in the west afore he got his going a bit too far; men ain't to be place along of his bugle-playing. They maimed for liking a bit of sport. You do say as he's open to any game, he is, set spring-guns in the woods, and you from a buck to a snipe, and drives a know what that came to.

Why don't

trade all down the road with the country you, or one of your watchers, stop out chaps.” here at night, and catch the fellows, like “What day is Reading Market ?” men ?

“Tuesdays and Saturdays, sir." “Why, you see, sir, master don't “ And what time does the mail go allow me but one watcher, and he's by ?mortal feared o' the water he be, spe- “Six o'clock in the morning, sir, at cially o' nights. He'd sooner by half the cross-roads." stop up in the woods. Daddy Collins “And they're three miles off, across (that's an old woman as lives on the the fields ?heath, sir, and a bad sort she be, too), " Thereabouts, sir ; I reckons it about well, she told he once, when he wouldn't a forty minutes' stretch, and no time gee her some bacchy as he'd got, and lost.” she'd a mind to, as he'd fall twice into “ There'll be no more big fish caught the water for once as he'd get out; and on the fly to-day," said Tom, after a. th' poor chap ever since can't think but minute's silence, as they neared the what he'll be drownded. And there's house. queer sights and sounds by the river o'

The wind had fallen dead, and not a nights, too, I ool say, sir, let alone the spot of cloud in the sky. white mist, as makes everything look “Not afore nightfall, I think, sir ;" unket, and gives a chap the rheumatics." and the keeper disappeared towards the Well, but

you ain't afraid of ghosts offices. and rheumatism ?”

“No, I don't know as I be, sir. But then, there's the pheasants a-breedin',

CHAPTER XXXVII. and there's four brood of flappers in the withey bed, and a sight o' young hares in the spinneys. I be hard put to to “You may do as you please, but I'mi mind it all."

going to see it out." "I daresay you are," said Tom, “No, but I say, do come along; putting on his coat, and shouldering his that's a good fellow.” rod; “I've a good mind to take a turn “Not I; why, we've only just come

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THE NIGHT WATCH.

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any rate."

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“ Not we.

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out. Didn't you hear? Wurley dared “ I don't much care : I'll catch one if me to do a night's watching, and I said he comes in my way—or try it on, at I meant to do it." “ Yes ; so did I. But we can change “I say, Brown, I like that; as if you

Ι our minds. What's the good of having don't poach yourself. Why, I remema mind if you can't change it! ai ber when the Whiteham keeper spent δευτεραι πως φροντιδες σοφώτεραι; isn't the best part of a week outside the colthat good Greek and good sense ?" lege gates, on the look-out for you and

“I don't see it. They'll only laugh Drysdale and some other fellows.", and sneer if we go back now.”

“ What has that to do with it?“ They'll laugh at us twice as much if Why, you ought to have more felwe don't. Fancy! they're just beginning low-feeling I suppose you go on the pool now on that stunning table. Come principle of set a thief to catch a thief.” along, Brown ; don't miss your chance. ;

. Tom made no answer, and his comWe shall be sure to divide the pools, as panion went onwe've missed the claret. Cool hands and “Come along now, like a good fellow. cool heads, you know ! Green on brown, If you'll come in now, we can come pink your player in hand! That's a good out again all fresh, when the rest go to deal pleasanter than squatting here all bed.” night on the damp grass.”

I sha'n't

go “Very likely.

can come out again, if you like ; you'll “ But you won't ? Now, do be reason- find me hereabouts." able. Will you come if I stop with you The man in the heather mixture had another half-hour ?”

now shot his last bolt, and took himself « No.”

off to the house, leaving Tom by the “An hour then? Say till ten o'clock ?” river side. How they got there may be “If I went at all, I would go at once.” told in a few words. After his morn“ Then you won't come ?"

ing's fishing, and conversation with the « No."

keeper, he had gone in full of his sub“I'll bet you a sovereign you never ject, and propounded it at the breakfast see a poacher, and then how sold you table. His strictures on the knife and will be in the morning! It will be much razor business produced a rather warm worse coming in to breakfast with empty discussion, which merged in the queshands and a cold in the head, than going tion whether a keeper's life was a hard in now. They will chaff then, I grant one, till something was said implying you."

that Wurley's men were over-worked. Well, then, they may chaff and be The master took this in high dudgeon, hanged, for I sha'n't go in now."

and words ran high. In the discussion, Tom's interlocutor put his hands in Tom remarked (apropos of night-work) the pockets of his heather mixture that he would never ask another man to shooting-coat, and took turn do what he would not do himself; which two of some dozen yards, backwards sentiment was endorsed by, amongst and forwards above the place where others, the man in the heather mixture. our hero was sitting. He didn't like 'The host had retorted, that they had going in and facing the pod-players by better in that case try it themselves; himself; so he stopped once more and which remark had the effect of making re-opened the conversation.

Tom resolve to cut short his visit, and " What do you want to do by watch- in the meantime had brought him and ing all night, Brown?"

his ally to the river side on the night in “To show the keeper and those fellows question. in doors that I mean what I say. I The first hour, as we have seen, had said I'd do it, and I will."

been enough for the ally; and so Tom was “ You don't want to catch a poacher, left in company with a plaid, a stick, and

a

66

a

or

It was by no means the first night he heron or two were fishing about the had spent in the open air, and promised meadows; and he watched them stalking to be a pleasant one for camping out. about in their sober quaker coats, or It was almost the longest day in the rising on slow heavy wing, and lumberyear, and the weather was magnificent. ing away home with a weird cry. He There was yet an hour of daylight, and heard the strong pinions of the wood the place he had chosen was just the pigeon in the air, and then from the right one for enjoying the evening. trees above his head came the soft

He was sitting under one of a clump call, “Take-two-cow-Taffy, take-two-coiof huge old alders, growing on the thin Taffy,” with which that fair and false strip of land already noticed, which bird is said to have beguiled the hapless divided the main stream from the deep Welchman to the gallows. Presently, artificial ditch which fed the water- as he lay motionless, the timid and meadows. On his left the emerald- graceful little water-hens peered out green meadows stretched away till they from their doors in the rushes opposite, met the inclosed corn land. On his and, seeing no cause for fear, stepped right ran the main stream, some fifty daintily into the water, and were sudfeet in breadth at this point; on the op- denly surrounded by little bundles of posite side of which was a rough piece black soft down, which went paddling of ground, half withey bed, half copse,

about in and out of the weeds, enwith a rank growth of rushes at the couraged by the occasional sharp, clear, water's edge. These were the chosen parental “keck-keck," and merry little haunts of moor-hen and water-rat, whose dabchicks popped up in mid-stream, and tracks could be seen by dozens, like looked round, and nodded at him, pert small open doorways, looking out on to and voiceless, and dived again ; even the river, through which ran mysterious old cunning water-rats sat up on the little paths into the rush-wilderness bank with round black noses and gleambeyond.

ing eyes, or took solemn swims out, and The sun was now going down be- turned up their tails and disappeared hind the copse, through which his for his amusement. A comfortable low beams came aslant, chequered and mel- came at intervals from the cattle, revellow. The stream ran dimpling down ling in the abundant herbage. All by him, sleepily swaying the masses of living things seemed to be disporting weed, under the surface and on the themselves, and enjoying, after their surface; and the trout rose under the kind, the last gleams of the sunset, banks, as some moth or gnat or gleam- which were making the whole vault of ing beetle fell into the stream ; here heaven glow and shimmer; and, as he and there one more frolicsome than his watched them, Tom blessed his stars as brethren would throw himself joyously he contrasted the river-side with the into the air. The swifts rushed close glare of lamps and the click of balls in by him, in companies of five or six, and the noisy pool-room. wheeled, and screamed, and dashed away Before it got dark he bethought him of again, skimming along the water, baffling making sure of his position once more; his eye as he tried to follow their flight. matters might have changed since he Two kingfishers shot suddenly up on to chose it before dinner. With all that he their supper station, on a stunted willow could extract from the keeper, and his own stump, some twenty yards below him, experience in such matters, it had taken and sat there in the glory of their blue him several hours hunting up and down backs and cloudy red waistcoats, watch- the river that afternoon before he had hit ing with long sagacious beaks pointed to on a night-line. But he had persevered, the water beneath, and every now and knowing that this was the only safe then dropping like flashes of light into evidence to start from, and at last had the stream, and rising again with what found several, so cunningly set that it seemed one motion, to their perches. A was clear that it was a first-rate artist in

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