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declared that, though he had a prejudice against In it were the principal bedroom of the house and the custom, he must say that the jurywomen had the banker's study. Beyond this wing, the rock acquitted themselves with dignity, decorum, and rose precipitously, and on a nook in the face of the intelligence.
rock there was built a summer-house of stone. It was of the same age as the older portion of the
mansion, was substantially built, and had beneath WITHOUT FURTHER DEL A Y.
it a cellar, cut out of the solid rock, reached ly a IN THIRTY-FOUR CHAPTERS.-CHAPTER XXII. trap-door from the upper room. Here, in the
palmy days of old, would the master of the house While you here do snoring lie,
and his guests—having laid in an ample supply of Open-eyed conspiracy His time doth take.
all the best liquor of the establishment-retire for
a glorious drinking-bout, to be prolonged, perhaps, The steam-tug which carried Robertson had a for days, till the liquor was exhausted, or all the long, uneasy passage to Aberhirnant. The cable revellers were entirely prostrated. It was rarely by which the dismasted ship was being painfully used now. John the clerk had the key of it, and tugged up and down the sliding seas, snapped would sit there and smoke his pipe sometimes in thrice, and thrice was replaced. It broke again, the summer ; but the pathway from the house band and the sea ran too high to suffer the damage to been closed by Rowlands' orders, by a wicket-gate be repaired. The tug was then obliged to leave placed across it, in the days when his children the ship to her fate, and run for shelter to the the rocks into the sea.
were young, and he feared they would tumble over
Much had the pathway harbour of Aberhirnant. It was late in the evening crumbled away since then ; the storms and frost3 when they made the harbour, and Gerard was put had broken it down; and there was one little gully ashore, and took his way to the hotel of the to cross where the path failed altogether, and here village, which, to his surprise, he found to be a loose sliding bed of stones, hanging over an close to Bodgadfan, situated, indeed, in a twin abyss, far below which the sea foamed and frothed nook in the hills, divided' from the banker's among hard splintered rocks, was the only practihouse by a rib of precipitous rock. Here, although cable passage. It was rather a cascade of stones all the rooms were dismantled, and everything in than a gully, so steep was the angle of its descent, its winter garb, he succeeded in inducing the people so shifting the shale that the lightest footstep disof the house to prepare a bed for him. Gerard lodged. Robertson slept an uneasy, unrestful sleep, for the There was a pathway also from the inn, much first part of the night-dreams disturbed him, broader and safer, which terminated at the same portentous shapes appeared to him—but he slept point. It was a favourite outlook for tourists in through it all in some fashion. He awoke at last the summer-time, that plateau of rock, and the with a start, and a profound dread upon him. landlord of the inn paid some nominal acknowSome mysterious sense of evil and misery seemed ledgment to the banker for the right of access to it. to encompass him; a formless terror he could not The weather had moderated wonderfully with shake off
. The clock of the church down below the going down of the sun ; the wind had veered in the village sounded the hour three.
a point or two towards the south, softening down Sad and ghostly hour! when all the evil in- to a pleasant westerly breeze. The howling northfluences of nature hold most potent sway; when wester had slunk away, the waves had subsided, all the miseries of existence marshal themselves the storm-clouds had broken up into flying columns, before the helpless soul; when, as at the tap of and the dark purple sky and sparkling stars drum, the skeletons of the past start from their appeared behind. hiding-places, and align in ghastly battalions ! Gerard having dressed himself as well as he Hour of dismal darkness, or of still more dismal could without the help of his left arm, opened the light, when the flickering taper pales in the sickly window gently, and went out. There was no moun shimmer of dawn ; when the flickering light fades visible, but there was a sweet and delicate light out, and the white, haggard faces of the watchers over the whole land and sea.
The sea sparkled are bent in hopeless sorrow on the solemn mask below with phosphorescent ripples; the tide was of the dead! Weariful, woful hour, dedicated to full in, and the ships hung loosely at their moorsorrow and remorse!
ings; whilst up the estuary à long vista of One, two, three! As the melancholy tones of waters gleamed among the dark mountains which the bell died away, Gerard felt a more hope- hemmed in the river's bed. But a little strip only less sense of misery and depression. He would of the sea was visible to Gerard, the rest Fas rise, and face these shadows." He crawled out of hidden by the crag on which stood the summerbed, and went to the window.
house. Bodgadfan, the residence of the banker-apart Was it possible to gain the summit of the rock, from the legend which connected it with the holy and see the whole world of waters around swaying Saint Cadfan, whose hermitage it had once been— to and fro under the wonderful mystic light! was a stone building of the seventeenth century, Surely there was a path cut out of the rock having two semicircular wings like bastions abut- leading directly from the garden of the hotel
, into ting, crowned by conical slated roofs. The house which his bedroom window opened, to the sun. faced almost due south, and therefore looked up and mit of the crag, on which he could distinguish the across the estuary; but a new wing had been built, peaked roof of the little summer-house. joined to the western wing on higher ground-a wing He sprang quickly along the mountain-path only a story high, the windows of which opened on which led to the airy outlook, and soon foumi to à terrace, which, by a gradual slope, joined the himself on the rocky platform. Below him, the lawn and gardens'in front of the house. This restless sea throbbed and sparkled in the hair wing, then, looked directly upon the river-mouth. light; around him, the dark outlines of bils
A SONG OF HEDGEHOGS, IN THE NERSE DIALECT.
mingled with the fringes of the clouds. As he Cursed Sais ; no, indeed ; no, by Jupiter, or I will stood on the plateau in front of the summer-house, chock you out after-yes, by Jupiter! looking round on the expanse of lucent waters, he "Oh, for Heaven's sake, don't quarrel, don't saw a bright line, a mere thread of light, cast across quarrel, till we get the money all put away. the rock; and wondering at this phenomenon, and Come, do be reasonable, Mr Brumfit, and let us investigating the cause of it, he found that the make our shares !' bright line was the result of a chink in the shutters ‘Share and share alike, or, look here ! I'll fling of the summer-house above him, and that there the whole lot into the sea !' certainly was a light within.
The discovery A strong thick arm was thrust out of the winstartled" him. Was it possible that any of the dow, holding a canvas money-bag by the neck in family or servants of the hotel, or of adjacent the clenched fist. Some irresistible impulse seizech Bodgadfan, slept in this little house? Hardly: upon Gerard at this moment; the bag was dangthat any one should traverse nightly such a cold ling within an inch of his nose ; he raised his and precipitous path, would be most unlikely. A sound arm, and jerked the bag out of the hand slight tremor of superstitious fear ran through that was stretched out towards him. him. On this lonely rock what spirits might not 'I've dropped it, by congregate! He stood irresolute, not knowing There was in that little room for a short space what to do. It might be that the banker had the a sound of tearing and rending, of growls and habits of a recluse, and here spent his nights. If curses, as though a family of tigers had been turned so, he could hardly venture to disturb him without loose there, who spoke Welsh and broken English. a cause : and yet the sight of that thin thread More than once, the brawny shape of the Englishof light streaming forth into the vast profound man appeared half-thrust out of the window, but abyss struck him with intense curiosity, with a again he gathered up his strength, and nearly sucfeeling that was half fear and half expectation. ceeded in hoisting out an adversary. Amidst all
Suddenly, from out of the dark void below him, this hideous clatter and hullaballoo, upon the rock, the shrill pipe of a whistle resounded among the looking over the broad tranquil sea, Gerard stood rocks. In à moment, the window above was bewildered, in the shadow of the wall, not knowing thrown open, and a bright light streamed forth. what he should do. At last, from pure exhaus
"Well, Thomas ?' said a low clear voice from the tion, the combatants desisted for a monient; in that opened window.
moment, a voice found breath to say: 'Fools ! *Look sharp there. The tide has just slackened; perhaps it dropped on the rock, after all.' we can run out with the ebb. There's a nice There was a rush across the little room ; the door breeze at sea; we shall make the Head in no time.? opened ; the brawny Englishman came first, bear
'All right, Thomas. We'll come in a minute.' ing a huge ship’s lantern; then a little Welshman The speaker didn't think it worth while to close in a gold-banded cap; then another little man, the window, but went on with his conversation whom Gerard recognised in a moment: it was the with those inside. “Now, look here,' he said ; man who had met him at the station, and had left 'I've had all the 'sponsibility and trouble, and I him on the Sarn Helen. must have two-thirds. Four thousand pounds I But evil as his case was then, it seemed much will have. See, I will divide the money, and you worse to him now, standing on a narrow ledge of shall share : one lot to each of you, the two lots to rock, overhanging the throbbing sea, with the
It's my right; am I not the captain ?' bag of money in his hand, surrounded by three *You be blowed !' said a voice certainly English. desperate detected rogues. 'A pretty captain, indeed !--can't work except by dead reckoning, eh? Where would you have been if it hadn't been for me? And Johnny here,
A SONG OF HEDGEHOGS, IN THE who squared all the account and made it come out
NERSE DIALECT. so beautiful, where would you have been without
ONCE on a time two hedgehogs lived in a cosy-posy hole, him, you thick-head ? No; share and share alike. - What do you say, mate ?'
Pricksy-quicksy, pranksy-cranksy, all in the cosy hole; 'I agree with the captain,' said another voice.
They went to take a foragy-walk when the curfew bell It's the custom here: we sail in thirds—two to
did toll; the captain, one to the owners.
That is our
Creepsy-peepsy, trotsy-dotsy, scuttly-puttly-0! custom in Wales; yes, indeed.'
For they creeped and peeped, and ended it up with a 'Custom, be hanged! Don't come
scampery-pampery-0. with your palaver. Pals who's been robbing their owners shares alike. That's nature and
Now, they snoozened all the day, they did, till the dew religion too. Come.'
began to rise, "No, indeed, Mr Brumfit. Our customs say that
Cosy-posy all the day, till the evening dew did rise; if there be a quarrel as to a division amongst three,
Then · Pop,' said he, and ‘Pip,' said she, “'tis time to two shall decide it against the third. You ’ve got
open our eyes ; a majority against you; yes, indeed.?
Let's go upon our foragy-walk with our trottery• I'll tell you what it is,' said the voice gruffly; pottery-0. 'if it comes to that, I'll soon sink your majority.
Yes ! let's begin our peepsy-walk with our scamperyI'll pitch you out of the window, you snivelling
pampery-0.' little fool you! I know your game-chouse the Englishman, and then share even afterwards. Oh, So out they went for a creepsy-walk upon the village blame you! I know you. I'll chuck you out of green, the window, you skimpy Welsh monkey, if you Snoutsy-poutsy all the way upon the village green, don't deal fair!'
And found the largest mealsy-worm that ever had been • You sall not chock him out of wintow, Mr
He brought her a pod of the pillsey-tree, and the
skiverywee did cease, She said her relief was beyond belief when the rackety
O did cease, And he made her a nest of the shamsypaff* with
Printed and Published by W. & R. CHAMBEES, 47 Pater
noster Row, LONDON, and 339 High Street, EDINBUEUE. Also sold by all Booksellers,
cossety words of peace ;
* Frizzlywig, bobsy-hair.
LITERATURE, SCIENCE, AND ART.
CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS.
thousand feet. Formerly, they declare, they never RATTLESNAKES.
used to find them so high. The mountain snakes In the first place, let me start by contradicting are more vivid in their colours than their brethren every book I have ever read, and consequently of the prairies, and, of the two, are inore dreaded the authority of almost every naturalist, as to how on account of their supposed ferocity. snakes bite, and inject their poison. I can only Although, as just said, the rattlesnake is spread speak for the rattlesnake, it is true ; with every almost generally over the North American conother venomous reptile, the orthodox accounts may tinent, yet it is, of course, more plentiful in some be correct, but the rattlesnake does not send its parts than in others, and Texas probably holds an poison through its fangs. It is always said that infinitely larger proportion of reptiles than any the two fangs which answer somewhat to the other state in the Union. The district lying human eye-teeth,' are hollow, and perforated at between the Rio Grande and the Nueces—two the bottom, and that the poison flows from the streams which flow in the same direction at a disreservoir through this canal to the point of the tance of some sixty or seventy miles—is a desert, fang, and thence into the wound. The rattlesnake's barren region, literally swarming with serpents. fang is certainly hollow, but the point is solid, and in summer, you may ride for miles through this the poison-bag, to use a very homely simile, may district, and not go fifty yards without seeing rattlebe compared in its position to a gum-boil ; when snakes. In other parts of Texas, the moccasin is the animal strikes, the pressure instantly causes a the prevalent snake; while centipedes, scorpions, drop of venom to run down outside the tooth into tarantulas, and the alligator infest various localities, the puncture. I daresay this will be controverted, and are each a terrible scourge. and I therefore at once give an authority to be The rattlesnake is perhaps the most sluggish of referred to. Mr W. R. Morley, chief surveyor of all the serpent tribe, for even the puff-adder of the the North and South, and United States Central Cape, which has that reputation in general, is very Railways, running through Colorado and New active when enraged ; but the rattlesnake, exceptMexico, is a skilled naturalist who has killed ing just after and just before its winter-sleep, never several hundreds of these reptiles, has carefully bites excepting in self-defence, and does not go out examined them, and has made them bite when of its way to attack any one. Unless molested, in a position to watch them, and he can speak there is very little to fear from this snake; but the from more experience than almost any living man, misfortune is, that you cannot tell when you are that the poison is injected in the manner described. going to molest it, as, in coming down a bluff, or This accounts for the fact, that rattlesnake bites picking your way in a gully, you may, with the are sometimes harmless when the sufferer is bitten best intentions in the world, put your foot on a through cloth ; the poison is absorbed by the ma- rattlesnake. And then the terrific swiftness of his terial, and never finds its way into the flesh at all. dart ! Not even the cobra, which I had always
The rattlesnake is supposed, by those who are considered rivalled the very lightning in its move. likeliest to know, to be extending its area ; all ments—movements which I will defy any European writers have hitherto concurred in saying that eye to follow—is quicker than the rattlesnake in they were never met with at an elevation of more that one deadly act. Yet, to strike, it must be in a than six thousand feet above the sea-level ; but close coil, its head and neck being erect; it throws several recent explorers unite in saying that they itself out about three-fourths of its length, supare now found much higher. The gentleman just porting its weight entirely on the tail-part. I have, cited as an authority, and whose surveying-party however, known two persons who have trodden on destroyed hundreds of rattlesnakes lasť autumn, rattlesnakes and have escaped ; a third, as will be killed forty or fifty at an elevation of about eight seen, was still more remarkably fortunate. One, a
gentleman who has killed more than fifty of them, the puncture, so as to enlarge the wound and recognised what his foot touched without stopping make it bleed; then he put a small heap of gunto look, and jumped higher than he had probably powder on the spot, ignited it-no pain attending ever done before in his life; the other was not so this—and the man was cured. I would just add quick, and the reptile struck him three times with here, that the stranger must not depend on always electric quickness, but his trousers and long boots hearing the rattle when the snake moves ; it is saved him. This disposes of a fallacy very gener-only violently shaken when the animal is alarmed
, ally held, that venomous serpents will not bite or is about to attack, and then the warning and twice in succession : there were the three pair of the assault are too close together for the victim to fang-marks quite plainly to be seen on his white escape. trousers. One young man who was bathing in the The rattle has been too often described to need river Platte had a more extraordinary escape still, much to be said about it here; it is known to confor, on emerging from the water, he sat down, sist of a number of bones, looking like small being, of course, completely naked, on a rattlesnaké knuckle-bones, securely fastened together, yet so which was basking in the grass. Whether he sat loosely, that they make a clicking noise when upon the reptile's head, or whether the creature shaken. These grow on to the tail of the reptile ; was too astonished by his sudden descent, can and the popular belief is, that the first joint
, which never be known, but certain it is, that the affrighted is always of a darker colour than the others
, takes bather leaped up with a shriek, and escaped un- two years to grow, while afterwards the snake has hurt.
an additional joint each year. Some observers It is told that this particular serpent has a very contest this, and argue that the reptile forms its offensive odour when irritated, and that Dr Hamil- rattle much faster than at this rate. The wearing ton Roe owed his life to a knowledge of that fact. of this rattle in the hat or bonnet is said to be The physician having opened a box directed to the an infallible specific against the headache, and is Superintendent of the Zoological Gardens, London, frequently worn on that account. put his hand-most rashly, it seems to me-under There are
several kinds of rattlesnakes in the dry moss which appeared, to see what was America, and they are known by various names. there. He touched something alive, and the smell I will at present only refer to two already mentold him it was a rattlesnake. Had he withdrawn tioned--the mountain rattlesnake, and the prairie his hand rapidly, he would have been bitten to a or field rattlesnake. There is a curious difference certainty ; but he had the presence of mind to between these two, which prevents one being misstroke the reptile, which allowed him to take his taken for the other. On the plains, the snakes hand gently away. This is a well-known story; I have their rattles flat, or broadwise towards the only refer to it to add, that this odour is so power- ground ; in the mountain species, the rattle-bynes ful and permanent, that when a snake is irritated, are turned edgeways. This is a provision of nature and made to bite the rake or hoe with which it is to preserve the bones from the increased danger intended to kill him-and, as may be supposed, of breaking them against the stony ground. I this is very often done—the implement will retain imagine that so curious a fact will be uxful the same unpleasant smell for months. Once support or oppose somebody's theory: but, at all known, it is always recognisable.
events, it may be relied on. As much cannot be said of the sound of the Not long ago, great anxiety was most naturally rattle. I have been on the prairie when opinions exhibited in India to find a cure for serpent-bites
, have been divided as to whether a certain ominous for there, I should fancy, a hundred lives are clicking arose from the grasshoppers, which were yearly lost for each one in America from this there in great numbers, or a rattlesnake. It is not cause. In Scinde they are an absolute scourze; pleasant, at twilight, to have any doubt on this and after rain, even the public paths a mile or two subject.' The chief thing against the rattlesnake out of Kurrachee are almost impassable for the theory was, that these reptiles seldom move or numbers of snakes which are crawling about. A leave their holes after sundown. But I would reward was offered, and many experiments tried
, warn the reader not to depend too much on this
, but all in vain. In India, they have
, it is true, the as some snakes are certainly of irregular habits, and most deadly of all snakes, the cobra, and his venom have been known to crawl into tents, and into beds was usually selected
for trial; but among the reptiles within the tents. This was for the sake of which rank with him for inspiring terror, though warmth. Very often the reptiles will content he may be second, is certainly the rattlesnake. themselves with coming inside ; and so true is The
cobra usually kills in less than an hour; the it that use doth breed a habit in a man, that keeper who was killed by the cobra in London in I have known men sleep quietly all through 1852, was not bitten till eight in the morning
, and the night when they were perfectly aware he was dead by nine. Of the rattlesnake, I quote that a rattlesnake was within the walls of their from Knight's Animated Nature that * dogs bitten tent. They rolled themselves tight in the blanket, have died in thirty seconds, and men
, when bitten knowing that the creature would not touch any on a vein, have often died in two minutes.? Now, one if it were not first attacked, and that
, when as the serpent-poison is blood-poison-of which the light came, it would go away. In one instance, more anon-it is clear that when a vein is pieroed a man was bitten at night. He was on the
, the progress more rapid ; and sleeping near his horse, which was fastened by but I never knew of anything in the least reseptis a long rope to a log or stone. The horse broke bling this almost instantaneous death, and never away, and the man feeling after the rope in the met with anybody who did.
a fatal case of rattlesnake bite, the back of his hand. He was cured by a remedy in the neighbourhood from which I write, where which I think I have seen recommended in Eng a man had shot a rabbit, and he saw it drag itselle land. A friend cut with a penknife the skin round though wounded, into a hole ; he thrust his band