with a view of dissipating his chagrin, instead of turning

off to the Hall, he prolonged his ride by taking a road towards

Hollington, a course which brought him into the

vicinity of Squire Ned. He recollected himself, however,

as the grotesque chimneys of the cottage appeared above

the trees ; and, with an inclination to avoid an encounter

with its owner, he was turning away by a side lane, when

a clatter of horses' heels caused him to turn his head, and

he beheld the Squire galloping towards him at full speed.

With a vague misgiving, for which he was unable to ac-

count, Sir Walter instantly pricked his own horse into a

gallop ; but Ned's quick eye had detected him at a distance,

and, before the Creole had gone two hundred yards, he

heard the other horse turn into the same lane.

With the consciousness that he was pursued, and aware

of the Squire's determined hostility, he again urged his

steed to the top of his speed ; but he had to contend with a

daring and experienced rider, and a horse much fresher

than his own. Every moment the sound gained upon him ;

but the high mettled animal that bore him made play gallantly,

and, whenever the clatter approached him, he made

fresh and desperate efforts to maintain his lead. The rider's

heart, meanwhile, beat fast as his horse's hoofs ; the first

indistinct flinching impulse that had induced him to flight,

increased in

intensity with the arduousness of the struggle,

and, as he found Cadeau straining under him to the utmost

stretch of his powers, he felt the thrilling excitement of

one who was racing for his life. The sight of a high gate

closing the end of the lane suggested a doubt that was

solved almost as soon as formed. Cadeau flew over it like

a bird ! the rider, who had held his breath in the sus-

pense of expectation, gave a gasp of delight. But the leap

was fatal to the speed of the now jaded horse. It shook

him ;

his sinews were over-strained, and his pace suddenly

declined. He was lame. Aware that he must now be inevitably

overtaken, Sir Walter pulled up at once, and set

himself erect in the saddle, somewhat in scorn, now the

hurry of rapid motion had ceased, of the groundless terrors

that had lately possessed him. A few minutes brought the

Squire beside him, panting from the recent struggle. It

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines