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which they shoot tigers, etc., in the East. The piece went off in the awkward hands of the poor parson, and very nearly shot one of the excisemen. At this unexpected and involuntary explosion of his weapon, the Dominie (such is his nickname) exclaimed, ‘Prodigious!' which is his usual ejaculation when astonished. But no power could force the man to part with his dise charged piece, so they were content to let him retain it, with the precaution of trusting him with no ammunition. This (excepting the alarm occasioned by the report) escaped my notice at the time, you may easily believe ; but in talking over the scene afterwards, Hazlewood made us very merry with the Dominie's ignorant but zealous valour.
“When my father had got every thing into proper order for defence, and his people stationed at the windows with their fire-arms, he wanted to order us out of danger-into the cellar, I believe—but we could not be prevailed upon to stir. Though terrified to death, I have so much of his own spirit, that I would look upon the peril which threatens us rather than hear it rage around me without knowing its nature or its progress. Lucy, looking as pale as a marble statue, and keeping her
eyes fixed on Hazlewood, seemed not even to hear the prayers with which he conjured her to leave the front of the house. But, in truth, unless the hall-door should be forced, we were in little danger; the windows being almost blocked up with cushions and pillows, and, what the Dominie most lamented, with folio volumes, brought hastily from the library, leaving
only spaces through which the defenders might fire upon the assailants.
“My father had now made his dispositions, and we sat in breathless expectation in the darkened apartment, the men remaining all silent upon their posts, in anxious contemplation probably of the approaching danger. My father, who was quite at home in such a scene, walked from one to another, and reiterated his orders, that no one should presume to fire until he gave the word. Hazlewood, who seemed to catch courage from his eye, acted as his aid-de-camp, and displayed the utmost alertness in bearing his directions from one place to another, and seeing them properly carried into execution, Our force, with the strangers included, might amount to about twelve men.
“At length the silence of this awful period of expectation was broken by a sound, which, at a distance, was like the rushing of a stream of water, but, as it approached, we distinguished the thick-beating clang of a number of horses advancing very fast.
I had arranged a loop-hole for myself, from which I could see the approach of the enemy.
The noise increased and came nearer, and at length thirty horsemen and more rushed at once upon the lawn. You never saw such horrid wretches ! Notwithstanding the severity of the season, they were most of them stripped to their shirts and trowsers, with silk handkerchiefs knotted about their heads, and all well armed with carbines, pistols, and cutlasses. I, who am a soldier's daughter, and accustomed to see war from my infancy, was never
so terrified in my life as by the savage appearance of these ruffians, their horses reeking with the speed at which they had ridden, and their furious exclamations of rage and disappointment, when they saw themselves baulked of their prey. They paused, however, when they saw the preparations made to receive them, and appeared to hold a moment's consultation among themselves. At length, one of the party, his face blackened with gunpowder by way of disguise, came forward with a white handkerchief on the end of his carbine, and asked to speak with Colonel Mannering. My father, to
my infinite terror, threw open a window near which he was posted, and demanded what he wanted. “We want our goods, which we have been robbed of by these sharks,' said the fellow; "and our lieutenant bids me say, that if they are delivered, we'll go off for this bout without clearing scores with the rascals who took them; but if not, we'll burn the house, and have the heart's blood of every one in it:'-a threat which he repeated more than once, graced by a fresh variety of imprecations, and the most horrid denunciations that cruelty could suggest.
“And which is your lieutenant ?' said my father in reply.
“That gentleman on the grey horse,' said the miscreant, with the red handkerchief bound about his brow.'
“ Then be pleased to tell that gentleman, that if he, and the scoundrels who are with him, do not ride off the lawn this instant, I will fire upon them without
ceremony.' So saying, my father shut the window, and broke short the conference.
“The fellow no sooner regained his troop, than, with a loud hurra, or rather a savage yell, they fired a volley against our garrison. The glass of the windows was shattered in every direction, but the precautions already noticed saved the party within from suffering. Three such volleys were fired without a shot being returned from within. My father then observed them getting hatchets and crows, probably to assail the hall door, and called aloud, ‘Let none fire but Hazlewood and me-Hazlewood, mark the ambassador.' He himself aimed at the man on the grey horse, who fell on receiving his shot. Hazlewood was equally successful. He shot the spokesman, who had dismounted, and was advancing with an axe in his hand. Their fall discouraged the rest, who began to turn round their horses ; and a few shots fired at them soon sent them off, bearing along with them their slain or wounded companions. We could not observe that they suffered any farther loss. Shortly after their retreat a party of soldiers made their appearance, to my infinite relief. These men were quartered at a village some miles distant, and had marched on the first rumour of the skirmish. A part of them escorted the terrified revenue officers and their seizure to a neighbouring seaport as a place of safety, and at my earnest request two or three files remained with us for that and the following day, for the security of the house from the vengeance of these banditti.