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Trifler, I don't desire to break in upon their Wisdom ; let them call me any Fool but an Uncheerful one ; I live as I write ; while my Way amuses me, it's as well as I wish it; when another writes better, I can like him too, though he should not like me. Not our great Imitator of Horace himself can wave more Pleasure in writing his Verses than I have in reading them, though I sometimes find myself there (as Shakespeare terms it) dispraisingly spoken of : If he is a little free with me, I am generally in good Company, he is as blunt with my Betters; so that even here I might laugh in my turn. My Superiors, perhaps, may be mended by him; but, for my part, I own myself incorrigible : I look upon my Follies as the best part of my Fortune, and am more concerned to be a good Husband of Them, than of That; nor do I believe I shall ever be rhymed out of them. And, if I don't mistake, I am supported in my way of thinking by Horace himself, who, in excuse of a loose Writer, says:
Prætulerim scriptor delirus, inersque videri,
which, to speak of myself as a loose Philosopher, I have thus ventured to imitate :
Me, while my laughing Follies can deceive,
We had once merry Monarch of our own, who thought cheerfulness so valuable a Blessing, that he would have quitted one of his Kingdoms where he could not enjoy it; where, among many other Conditions they had tied him to, his sober Subjects would not suffer him to laugh on a Sunday; and though this might not be the avowed Cause of his Elopement, I am not sure, had he had no other, that this alone might not have served his turn; at least, he has my hearty Approbation either way; for had I been under the same Restriction, though my staying were to have made me his Successor, I should rather have chosen to follow him.
(WILLIAM HARRISON AINSWORTH, English novelist, was born in Manchester, February 4, 1805. Designed for a lawyer, he married a publisher's daughter, was himself a publisher for a short time, and after some magazine work made a hit with “Rookwood" (1834). Of some forty novels the best known besides the above are : “Crichton” (1837), "Jack Sheppard" (1839), “ The Tower of London" (1840), “Old St. Paul's” (1811), “Guy Fawkes ” (1841), “ The Miser's Daughter" (1842), “ Windsor Castle" (1843), “St. James's ” (1844), and “ Lancashire Witches” (1848). He died January 3, 1882.]
ARRIVED at the brow of the hill, whence such a beautiful view of the country surrounding the metropolis is obtained, Turpin turned for an instant to reconnoiter his pursuers. Coates and Titus he utterly disregarded; but Paterson was a more formidable foe, and he well knew that he had to deal with a man of experience and resolution. It was then, for the first time, that the thoughts of executing his extraordinary ride to York first flashed across him; his bosom throbbed high with rapture, and he involuntarily exclaimed aloud, as he raised himself in the saddle, “By God! I will do it!”
He took one last look at the grsai Babel that lay buried in a world of trees beneath him; and as his quick eye ranged over the magnificent prospect, lit up by that gorgeous sunset, he could not help thinking of Tom King's last words. “ Poor fellow !” thought Dick, “he said truly. He will never see another sunset.' Aroused by the approaching clatter of his pursuers, Dick struck into a lane which lies on the right of the road, now called Shoot-up-hill Lane, and set off at a good pace in the direction of Hampstead.
“Now,” cried Paterson, “put your tits to it, my boys. We must not lose sight of him for a second in these lanes."
Accordingly, as Turpin was by no means desirous of inconveniencing his mare at this early stage of the business, and as the ground was still upon an ascent, the parties preserved their relative distances.
At length, after various twistings and turnings in that deep and devious lane; after scaring one or two farmers, and riding over a brood or two of ducks; dipping into the verdant valley
of West End, and ascending another hill, Turpin burst upon the gorsy, sandy, and beautiful heath of Hampstead. Shaping his course to the left, Dick then made for the lower part of the heath, and skirted a part that leads towards North End, passing the furze-crowned summit, which is now crested by a clump of lofty pines.
It was here that the chase first assumed a character of interest. Being open ground, the pursued and pursuers were in full view of each other; and as Dick rode swiftly across the heath, with the shouting trio hard at his heels, the scene had a very animated appearance.
He crossed the hill — the Hendon road - passed Crackskull Common - and dashed along the crossroad to Highgate.
Hitherto no advantage had been gained by the pursuers; they had not lost ground, but still they had not gained an inch, and much spurring was required to maintain their position. As they approached Higbgate, Dick slackened his pace, and the other party redoubled their efforts. To avoid the town, Dick struck into a narrow path at the right, and rode easily down the hill.
His pursuers were now within a hundred yards, and shouted to him to stand. Pointing to a gate which seemed to bar their further progress, Dick unhesitatingly charged it, clearing it in beautiful style. Not so with Coates' party; and the time they lost in unfastening the gate, which none of them chose to leap, enabled Dick to put additional space betwixt them. It did not, however, appear to be his intention altogether to outstrip his pursuers; the chase seemed to give him excitement, which he was willing to prolong, as much as was consistent with his safety. Scudding rapidly past Highgate, like a swiftsailing schooner, with three lumbering Indiamen in her wake, Dick now took the lead along a narrow lane that threads the fields in the direction of Hornsey. The shouts of his followers had brought others to join them, and as he neared Crouch End, traversing the lane which takes its name from Du Val, and in which a house, frequented by that gayest of robbers, stands, or stood, “ A highwayman! a highwayman!” rang in his ears, in a discordant chorus of many voices.
The whole neighborhood was alarmed by the cries, and by the tramp of horses ; the men of Hornsey rushed into the road to seize the fugitive; and women held up their babes to catch a glimpse of the flying cavalcade, which seemed to gain number
and animation as it advanced. Suddenly three horsemen appear in the road ; they hear the uproar and the din. “A highwayman! a highwayman!” cry the voices : “stop him, stop him!” But it is no such easy matter. With a pistol in each hand, and his bridle in his teeth, Turpin passed boldly on. His fierce looks — his furious steed — the impetus with which he pressed forward, bore down all before him. The horsemen gave way, and only served to swell the list of his pursuers.
“We have him now! we have him now !” cried Paterson, exultingly. “Shout for your lives. The turnpike man will hear us.
Shout again — again! The fellow has heard it. The gate is shut. We have him.
We have him. Ha! ha!" The old Hornsey toll bar was a high gate, with chevaux-defrise in the upper rail. It may be so still. The gate was swung into its lock, and like a tiger in his lair, the prompt custodian of the turnpike trusts, ensconced within his doorway, held himself in readiness to spring upon the runaway. But Dick kept steadily on. He coolly calculated the height of the gate; he looked to the right and to the left; nothing better offered ; he spoke a few words of encouragement to Bess; gently patted her neck; then struck spurs into her
3 sides, and cleared the spikes by an inch. Out rushed the amazed turnpike man, thus unmercifully bilked, and was nearly trampled to death under the feet of Paterson's horse.
"Open the gate, fellow, and be expeditious,” shouted the chief constable.
“Not I,” said the man, sturdily, “unless I get my dues. I've been done once already. But strike me stupid if I'm done a second time."
“Don't you perceive that's a highwayman? Don't you know that I'm chief constable of Westminster ?” said Paterson, showing his staff. “How dare you oppose me in the discharge of my duty ?”
“ That may be, or it may not be,” said the man, doggedly. “But you don't pass, unless I gets the blunt, and that's the long and short on it.”
Amidst a storm of oaths Coates flung down a crown piece, and the gate was thrown open.
Turpin took advantage of this delay to breathe his mare ; and, striking into a by-lane at Duckett's Green, cantered easily along in the direction of Tottenham. Little repose was allowed him. Yelling like a pack of hounds in full cry, his pur- .
suers were again at his heels. He had now to run the gantlet of the long straggling town of Tottenham, and various were the devices of the populace to entrap him. The whole place was up in arms, shouting, screaming, running, dancing, and hurling every possible description of missile at the horse and her rider. Dick merrily responded to their clamor as he flew past, and laughed at the brickbats that were showered thick as hail, and quite as harmlessly, around him.
A few more miles' hard riding tired the volunteers, and before the chase reached Edmonton most of the men were " nowhere." Here fresh relays were gathered, and a strong field was again mustered. John Gilpin himself could not have excited more astonishment among the good folks of Edmonton, than did our highwayman as he galloped through their town. Unlike the men of Tottenham, the mob received him with acclamations, thinking, no doubt, that, like “ the citizen of famous London Town,” he rode for a wager. Presently, however, borne on the wings of the blast, came the cries of " Turpin ! Dick Turpin !” and the hurrahs were changed to hootings; but such was the rate at which our highwayman rode, that no serious opposition could be offered to him.
A man in a donkey cart, unable to get out of the way, drew himself up in the middle of the road. Turpin treated him as he had done the dut at the knapping jigger, and cleared the driver and his little wain with ease. This was a capital stroke, and well adapted to please the multitude, who are ever taken with a brilliant action. “ Hark away, Dick!” resounded on all hands, while hisses were as liberally bestowed upon his pursuers.
II. Away they ily past scattered cottages, swiftly and skimmingly, like eagles on the wing, along the Enfield highway. All were well mounted, and the horses, now thoroughly warmed, had got into their paces, and did their work beautifully. None of Coates' party lost ground; but they maintained it at the expense of their steeds, which were streaming like water carts, while Black Bess had scarcely turned a hair.
Turpin, the reader already knows, was a crack rider; he was the crack rider of England of his time, and, perhaps, of any time. The craft and mystery of jockeyship was not then 80 well understood in the eighteenth as it is in the nineteenth century; men treated their horses differently; and few rode