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180 TYLNEY HALL.

eh, Joe ? why there he halter a-making, man, to go round

thy neck!"

" So you have taken, Joe, to pad the hoof," said the

huntsman, " and borrow money at long dates ? A fellow,

as starvation poor and lean as you look, might do the likes

for a hit of bread, and not deserve to swing for it neither;

but dang it, man, how came you to try your killing-knife

on the old Methodist ? "

" " Me ! said Joe, lifting up his hands and eyes in astonishment

: but the habitual despair of the fatalist imme-

diately returned upon him, with the conviction of the

futility of any defence.

fc It's no use my saying anything.

Here's another black card turned up, and gallows is trumps !"

" Why, you don't mean to confess, do you ? " said the

huntsman, in some surprise at a man's not attempting to

get up a story, after he had run so stoutly to save his life.

" If I don't confess, myself," said Joe, " somebody will

confess for me ; so guilty or not guilty, it's all one. Other

people proves alibis ; and if I had'nt been here I should

have been somewhere else ; but that's my old chance.

know my

I

fortune without a gipsy. As I'm too poor to

sleep any wheres but the open air, I can't be burnt in my

bed ; and, as the sergeants won't list me, cause I'm short,

I shan't be shot : and as the press-gangs won't look at me,

I arn't to be drowned ; so hanging is

likely enough, for I

know I shan't die natural."

ft

Nay, Joe," said the huntsman, somewhat touched by

the poor fellow's picture of his "

destitution, every body

has a chance. If you can, really, hold up an innocent

"

hand, and say not guilty

" Nobody ever believed me yet," answered Joe, {< and

it's too late to try now. My dice always runs one way.

Mayhap after I'd danced my dance upon nothing, and been

leg-pulled, and hung a full hour, and stroked all the old

women's wens, there'd come a reprieve on a lame post-

"

horse for that's ; my luck !

" Phoo phoo, man," said the huntsman, " that an't

quite so sure to follow as a turnspit behind a hare."

" It has followed me ever since I was born," said the

predestinarian, f( and that was of a Friday. I've never

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