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concealment among the ruined huts. The leading sewar caught sight of him at the same moment, and his grim features lighted up with a fiendish smile.
“Inshalla ! here is some sport at last! Let us hunt the unsainted kaffer, and spear him like a dog."
So saying, he couched his lance, and started at speed, as if in pursuit of a boar, followed by his willing myrmidons, shouting with savage glee. It was in vain that I called to them to halt. I might as well have tried to check the fury of a whirlwind. And were it not that little Turquoise outstripped the sewar troopers in speed, the poor unarmed Ryot would have been murdered in cold blood. As it was, I just managed, by dint of hard riding, to overtake the leading horseman, and strike up his lance as he was about to pin the poor fellow against the mud-wall of a hut. So enraged was I at this act of coldblooded cruelty, that in the excitement of the moment I felt half-inclined to run the offender through with the hog-spear I happened to have in my hand, but contented myself with dealing him a blow over the head with the shaft, that made him reel in his saddle, swearing by the beard of the prophet, to give him a taste of the point if he ever attempted such sport again. The brute looked sulky, but did not venture to remonstrate, and rode off with the air of a rated hound.
The poor fellow whom I had rescued, prostrated himself before me, trembling from head to foot, and raising his clasped hands over his head, rubbed his forehead in the dust. Whether he intended to express his gratitude, or to beg his life, I know not, for fear appeared to have deprived him of the power of speech. But the latter was probably his motive; for on telling him he was at liberty to depart, he gazed upon me for a moment with a wild look of incredulity, and springing to his feet, darted into the nearest hut, as if fearful that I might repent an act of such unwonted clemency. As I passed the open doorway, I looked in, and saw the poor fellow kneeling by the side of a pretty young woman, evidently his wife, who, squatted in a corner like a hare in her form, clasped an infant to her breast, keeping her large black eyes fixed on me with a look of intense fear, that reminded me more of a wild animal than a human being. My first impulse was to dismount, and attempt to allay her fears; but on my making a motion to do so, she shrank together with a convulsive shudder, and cast upon me a look of such unutterable terror, that I saw at once the attempt would be in vain. I therefore threw a couple of rupees towards her, and, waving my hand in token of goodwill, rode after
escort. We met with no further adventure, and reached Shemoga by ten o'clock. Here I found that the troops had marched that morning to Gazinore; but fortunately for me, a squadron of the 7th native cavalry had been left as a rear-guard, so that I got a good breakfast, and some gram for my horse.
From the officers of the 7th cavalry I obtained some information regarding my friends the sewarees, which confirms the opinion that I had formed of them as bullies and cowards, and fully accounts for the revengeful feelings they entertain towards the unfortunate villagers. Their principal object being plunder, they have no stomach for fighting where nothing is to be gained by it. And although some two thousand of these irregular horse have now been in the field for nearly three months, the only service they have hitherto performed has been in burning a few villages, enacting the part of hangman-an office in which they greatly delight, -murdering unarmed men, and carrying off women and children. When opposed to an armed force they have almost invariably been routed. And so hateful have they made themselves, by their cold-blooded cruelty, and insatiable thirst for plunder, that those who have fallen into the hands of the enemy nave invariably been put to death, with the exception of two or three solitary individuals, who have been sent back, minus nose and ears, to tell the fate of their companions.
“And the devil mend them, the dirty spalpeens !” concluded my informant (a rattle-headed young Irishman), “ for a set of bigger blackguards you won't find out of Tipperary!"
The division having only marched seven miles, I started after tiffin to overtake it, having previously dismissed my escort of Mysore troopers, and got into camp before sunset.
BY AGNES STRICKLAND.
Thy rushing winds, wild March, I hear,
In their aereal strife,
To mar its budding life.
Sweep on, blithe winds, through wood and vale,
And lift your choral voice,
We hear you and rejoice.
March winds, ye raise a mighty shout,
Like victor warriors now ;
And shows his kingly brow.
Ye've swept the rebel hosts away,
Their stormy banners rent, That still press'd on in black arrayAy, battling through the changeful day,
In Spring's blue firmament.
Pale, pining sickness quits the hearth,
For health is on your wings;
The early violet springs.
The bow of hope is in the sky,
It gleams through fitful showers, And thousand birds, unseen but nigh, Pour forth a mingling melody,
Amidst the leafless bowers.
Those lifeless branches, bare and grey,
Have felt the quickening call, And soon shall verdant wreaths display, To deck the blooming brow of May,
And June's bright coronal.
Victorious winds, your task is done,
Stern Winter's zone is riven,
The gay lark chants in heaven.
Go, winds, in ocean's coral caves
Your own wild requiems sing, Or murmur to the dashing waves Where the grey swan her plumage laves,
Blithe March is on the wing.
Begone ere April's tears expand
The young buds on the spray; The time of blossoms is at hand, And calls for days serene and bland,
Rude winds, away, away!
(CONFESSIONS OF A KEYHOLE CONCLUDED.)
BY LAMAN BLANCHARD, ESQ.
It would ill reward the reader's curiosity to stand prying for an age into the same keyhole, or listening to the sounds that issue from it, when they bring but the same news. I might sketch a hundred occupants of this once brilliant and now faded apartment, in succession, tenant treading on the heels of tenant,-rapidly as succeeded, each to the other, the inhabitants of that palace in the eastern story, whose royal owner proudly rebuked the poor dervise for regarding it but as an inn or caravanserai. “Who," asked the dervise, “ lived here before you ?” “My father," was the answer. “And who before him ?" “My grandfather.” “And who is to reside here after you ?"
” “My son.' Alas! then, a house that changes its residents thus, is not a palace, but a caravanserai.”
So came and departed the lodgers over whom I kept watch ; but although the case of each differed from the other in form, it was invariably the same, or nearly the same in spirit. In all, the double character was more or less perceptible. In many, very many indeed, the deception, the disguise, was of the thinnest texture and most ridiculous in its pretensions; it amounted but to the putting on and off a flimsy affectation, the assumption and the relinquishment of some showy folly that was thought to carry a grace with it; while in others there was the broad, deep, deliberate mask to conceal the natural face—the savage scowl, the cold sneer—or in some, and not rarer instances, the sunny smile and the kind heart.
I have seen the happy, goodnatured enjoyer of his home go forth a moody cynical mistruster of humanity, to whom it would be sport to probe the wounds of men-trying their depth, not healing them. I have seen the indulgent, doating father, when his heart had leapt up at a game of romps with his little ones, and his soul had lavished upon them its dearest and tenderest caresses, turn as he crossed the threshold into the man of marble, hard and dignified as a statue. I have seen the world's drudge and victim, having spent another dreary desolate day in toil and bitterness abroad, return at the hour of liberation with a face gleaming in joy to meet his family round the fireside; and I have seen too the successful trafficker on the world's mart, having cleared a cool hundred or so by the mere turn of the wheel, come back at eve to his hearthstone with moroseness and discontent in his visage, repinings and abject terrors in his heart-with a soul uncheered by any reflection, the blessed balm-giving thought, save of taking off, on that raw evening, all those blazing coals, which burn away so rapidly, and borrowing a little gruel of the housekeeper below.
It is unnecessary to say how often I have seen the jolly good fellow of the dinner-table converted into the sullen, shallow, shabby moralizer by supper-time; how often have I known the man of quick feelings-compelled to suppress, and screw them down as in a coffin when stung and goaded by ill-usaye abroad—come home to revenge himself on his wife ; how often have I beheld the choice spirit, the reigning star of company, darken into a very devil in solitude.
All these spectacles were of course of frequent occurrence; and I was equally familiar with the broad distinction to be marked in the self-same persons, when the spattered, tattered, indoor garb was exchanged for the fashion and finery designed to Aash in a different scene; when the lean, peevish, decrepid valetudinarian of the chamber, after the proper number of hours religiously devoted to the sole purposes of life-repairing ravages, gilding decay, and making ruins (where they cannot possibly be longer hidden) look at least premature and wilful-lounged out into the open air, an idle, easy, sprightly trifler with time, who possibly meant, some fifteen summers hence, to think of appointing a distant day for looking a little elderly.
One or two specimens of contradiction in character may, however, be added to the list of anomalies comprised in my faithful records. The first shall be a single-gentleman lodger, Mr. McSickley. He was a commonplace, yet a rarity too--in composition wonderfully curious, and yet his fellow is to be met with everywhere. Anomalous as he was, it is impossible to deny that he was a pattern of consistency ; the contradictory quality that distinguished him was without change, and the discord at last became harmonious.
McSickley, when he first entered his new abode, seemed little likely to occupy it long; yet he was its solitary tenant for many years, seeming to possess the lives of several lodgers, even of a generation. Judging by appearances, he was past recovery at Lady-Day when he took possession; at the Midsummer quarter, he was half dead; by Michaelmas he had one foot in the grave; and at Christmas he was announced to be only still alive. In short, he was the same man in all seasons; every “trying month" found him much as he was the month before; and at each successive visit of summer-heat or winter-snow, he was so bad that he could not easily be worse. His snug familyvault, and his comfortable sofa drawn round to the fire, were as one and the same thing—they were so close to each other.
Mr. McSickley was often given over—but he never gave over. Every body said he was a mere snuff of a candle, but he continued to burn in the socket. Friends declared that was all up, and yet he would hold out. Relations, who were to profit by his departure, grew angry at his prolonged stay, and he plagued them by living on, and on-and he evidently liked it. Keen observers predicted that he would be a great deal worse in November, and he was at that period much the same. More kindly ones declared, that sad as his condition was, he would rally in the spring; and on the first of May he was as bad as he could be.
People who were sincerely attached to him, put off their trips to the continent, that they might be in town to attend his funeral; but he ordered a hackney-coach, and went to dine with them instead. It is astonishing what a distance the brink of the grave is from the actual chasm in some cases.
Mr. McSickley's case, as I have already hinted, was no very uncommon one-except, perhaps, in the perseverance which characterized it. It was a case of sham-abraham. His doctor was the Mock Doc