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“ And do you really suppose," asked my father, “ that there is going to be any disturbance or outrage ? Phoo, phoo — I can't and won't believe it.”

“ So you said of the hostility of the parish Board,” retorted the assistant.

“ Well, well, do as you please,” said my father. “ I leave the matter entirely in your own hands.”

“ In that case,” said Mr. Postle, “ I shall at once lock all the doors, and secure the lower windows, and this one to begin with ;” — and accordingly he pulled up the sliding parlour-shutter, and inserted the

“ Now then for the others." “ Very good,” said my father, “ and then come to supper with us in the parlour. Poor Postle,” he continued, as the assistant departed to look to the household defences, “ he was always an alarmist, and I'll be bound expects the premises to be stormed and sacked, on the strength of an anonymous letter, intended, most probably, to play upon his fears."

True to his plan, the alarmist, meanwhile, proceeded from window to window, and from door to door, locking, bolting, barring, screwing; the surgery door alone, for convenience, being left but partially fastened by a single latch, which, however, could only be raised on the inside. The fanlight above he barricaded with a stout board ; and ascertained, shutter by shutter, that the defences of the window were all sound and secure. He then took a final peep at Jack, who was still quietly making an interminable meal in the kitchen ; and finding all safe, repaired to the parlour, and took his usual place at the supper-table; not without some bantering from my father as to the preparations in a certain fortress for a state of siege, and the strength of its garrison. But the joke was mistimed.

The meal was about half-finished, when attracted by the attitude of my mother, whose sense of hearing was remarkably acute, my father laid down his knife and fork, and began listening; in which he was soon imitated by Mr. Postle; and for awhile the three, silent and motionless, seemed stiffened into as many statues. There was certainly some unusual humming in the air.

“ It sounds,” said my father, “ like the distant murmur of the sea.” “ More like the getting up of a gale,” said Mr. Postle.

“ It's the noise of a mob!” exclaimed my mother; “ I hear voices and the tramping of feet!"

“Say I told you so !” cried Mr. Postle, jumping up from his chair, and resuming the knife with which he had been cutting his cold meat.

“ And if it be a mob,” said my father, “ it may not be coming to us."

“ Hark! it comes nearer and nearer,” said my mother, turning pale. “ In the name of wonder, George- ” she stopped, startled by a loud noise and a sudden outcry close at hand.

The distant sounds, which excited so intense an interest in the parlour, had reached the kitchen ; where they no sooner struck on the tympanum of Jack, than, like a young savage who recognises the warwhoop of his tribe, he started up, overturning his heavy wooden

chair, and shouting his old cry, the “ Tongs and bones — the tongs and bones !” rushed through the hall, and the surgery, and out of the door, which he left wide open. Kezia, in hot pursuit, with my father and Mr. Postle, were soon on the spot; but only just in time to distinguish the flying figure of the idiot, before he disappeared in the gloom of the lane; his cry being still audible, but getting fainter and fainter till it was lost in the general murmur of the mob.

“ They are coming up the lane – there is no time to be lost,” said Mr. Postle, pushing Kezia, and then drawing my father by the arm into the surgery; the door of which he bolted and locked. They then hurried to the parlour ; but my mother, with hen-like instinct, had flown up to her young ones, and was sitting in the nursery to meet whatever might happen, with her twin babes at her bosom. Kezia, by a kindred impulse, was soon in the same chamber; while my father and his assistant posted themselves at a staircase window which overlooked the lane. It was quite dusk ; but at the turn of the road the crowd was just visible, a darker mass amid the gloom, and a moving one, which, as it approached, occasionally threw out a detached figure or two in front, barely distinguishable as of human shape. Now and then there was a shout; and more rarely a peal of hoarse laughter. As the mob neared the house, its pace quickened.

“ There's Jack !” exclaimed Mr. Postle, whose eyesight was much keener than my father's ; “ he's winding in and out among them like an eel!”

“ And, if I mistake not,” said my father, “they have something like a black flag."

“ Yes, — borne by a tall big fellow," answered the assistant. I live, it's John Hobbes !”

“Poor man,” sighed my father.

“ As yet I can make out no fire-arms,” said Mr. Postle ; “but they have pitchforks and sticks. And yonder's a stuffed figure like a Guy - they are going to burn us in effigy. Yes, they've got faggots and a truss of straw. Here they come at a run! But ah, ah! my fine fel"lows, you are too late. Look !- they are trying the surgery door!”

The foremost of the mob, in fact, were endeavouring to effect an entrance as described; but, being foiled, commenced a smart rattling with their sticks on the doors and shutters, accompanied by frequent and urgent invitations to the doctor and his assistant to come out and receive their fees. Tired at last of this pastime, they set up a cry " to the front!— to the front !”

Anticipating this movement, my father and his companion hurried into the nursery, the abode of Terror and Despair. My mother, with an infant in each arm, was seated in the easy chair, her eyes closed, and her face of a ghastly white; so that she might have been taken for dead, or in a fit, but for occasional ejaculations. Kezia, with her apron thrown over her head, knelt beside her mistress ; whilst the nurse, with folded arms, leaned her back against the wall between the windows — a position secure from any missile from without. The two babes alone were unconscious of danger- the one smiling and crowing; the other fast asleep.

6 As

Taking the hint from Mrs. Prideaux, my father removed his partner and her progeny into a safe nook beyond the angle of projectiles; and only in good time; for the arrangement was hardly completed when a large stone came crashing through the window, and rebounded on the floor.

“Put out the lights !” cried Mr. Postle; " they only serve for marks to aim at,” — and in spite of the remonstrances of the females the candles were extinguished.

The whole mob by this time had weathered the corner of the house; and having vainly tried the front door, and thoroughly battered it, as well as the parlour-shutter with their bludgeons, proceeded to organize that frightful concert of rough music with which the lower orders in the provinces were accustomed to serenade an obnoxious character-a hideous medley of noises extracted from cow-horns, catcalls, whistles, old kettles, metal pans, rattles, and other discordant instruments, described by Jack as the tongs and bones. The din was dreadful ; and yet far less so than the profane imprecations and savage threats that were shouted out at every pause of the wild band. There were women too in the crowd; and the cry of “Where's Sukey Hobbes ? - Come out, you body-snatcher!” were frequently repeated by voices much shriller than the rest.

“I must — I will speak to them,” said my father; and before Mr. Postle could remonstrate or interpose, he had thrown up the sash, and uttered the first three words of his address. But he was heard no further. His appearance was the signal for one of those yells of execration so awful to hear from a multitude of human throats: a ferocious howl fit only to salute an incarnate fiend, and from which my father recoiled in soul, more than he shrank in body from the ensuing volley of stones. His place, however, was immediately occupied by another orator, in the person of Kezia, who, regardless of the pelting, presented herself to the assembly, screaming at the highest pitch of her voice :

“You sanguine monsters! do you want to kill us with fright, and our poor innocent babbies?”

“ Yes—and to make skeletons of you,” replied a hoarse voice from the crowd; a retort applauded by so vociferous a cheer, and such atrocious expressions, that Kezia, with an exclamation of horror, precipitately withdrew to her old position.

Her retreat was hailed with a loud huzza, mingled with derisive laughter, and as it ceased ringing the dark room was suddenly illuminated by a red glare that projected the shadow of the windowframes, inwards, upon the ceiling. The mob had ignited a quantity of straw and wood, forming an enormous bonfire, by the light of which the persons and features of the ringleaders were easily recognised.

“ There is Jack again!” said Mr. Postle, “fitting amidst the smoke like an imp of mischief. And John Hobbes is waving his black flag about like a madman-and yonder is Roger Heap, with a child's bonnet on a pitchfork !”

“And there am I, burning by proxy,” said my father, pointing


to the dark stuffed figure that was dangling from a triangle of poles in the midst of the blaze. “ I shall soon be done to a cinder, and then the cooks will disperse.”

“I wish they may,” said Mr. Postle, “but the faces they turn up to us are desperately fierce and vicious, as well as their words. I hardly think that their excitement will be satisfied without an attack on the premises, and perhaps taking a few ounces of blood. But what is the matter now?”

As he spoke there was an uncertain stir and movement among the crowd, with a confused outcry, amidst which the words “justice and “constables” were prominently audible. But it was a false alarm : his worship and his myrmidons either did not or would not know of the tumult, and were snugly and safely housed at home, or in their usual haunts. The report, however, served the same purpose that their presence would have done; for after some hesitation and wavering of the mass to and fro, Roger Heap thrusting his pitchfork into the burning effigy, ran with it up the river bank, and pitched the half-consumed figure, still blazing, into the stream. The mob then dispersed in different directions, the last of them being Catechism Jack, who, after tossing about the glowing sparkling embers, squibfashion, for a minute or two, ran after the main body.

The smouldering figure meanwhile slowly floated along on the surface of the sluggish river, silently watched by my father and his assistant; till after a few turns and windings, it vanished like the last twinkle of a burnt paper, in the black, blank, distance.

“ So ends the auto-da-fé,” exclaimed Mr. Postle. “Now, then, for candles to inspect and repair our damage.”

It was less than might have been expected. Thanks to the precaution of extinguishing the lights, the majority of the stones had missed the windows: only a few panes were broken ; and the holes were soon stopped with paper and

rags. “ Are the wretches all gone, George ?” asked my mother before she ventured to unclose her eyes.

“ All,” answered my father “man, woman, and boy !”

Thus reassured, my mother, with many broken phrases of thanksgiving, came out of her corner, and willingly resigned the dear twins to Kezia, who covered them with her kisses. The nurse also quitted her position, and in her usual calm sweet voice suggested that her mistress, after her fright and exhaustion, would be the better for some restorative; to which the assistant added that nobody, the infants excepted, would be the worse for some sort of stimulant.

Accordingly the brandy, the kettle, the sugar, tumblers, and spoons, were fetched from below; and cheered by a cordial mixture, the nerves of the company, manly and womanly, soon recovered their tone, and enabled the parties to discuss the circumstances of the recent riot. It was generally agreed that, for that night at least, there would be no further disturbance; they, nevertheless, continued to sit up, keeping a vigilant watch, back and front, till two hours having elapsed without any fresh alarm, they retired to their respective chambers.

“And how is all this dreadful work to end, George?” inquired my mother, as soon as she found herself, with her husband, in their bed


“ Heaven knows!” replied my father. “Only one thing is certain — that the practice must be given up, and we must quit the neighbourhood.”

“ What, sell the business !” exclaimed my mother.

“Yes, if any body will buy it,” said my father. “He must be a liberal man, indeed, who, after this night's demonstration, will bid me any thing for the good-will."

“Why then we are ruined !,” cried my mother.

“ Or something very like it,” responded my father — as indeed appeared but too probable when my unlucky parents came to talk over their future prospects ; the only comfort before them being that very forlorn hope held out by the old proverb —

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