424 TYLNEY HALL. 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
TYLNEY HALL. 425 took him a while to collect breath enough to speak, and the unusual harshness of his voice, when the words came at last, had a startling effect on the ear of the Creole. " Must be a better than Cadeau to beat Barney with " revenge on his back ! Sir Walter looked at the speaker ; his teeth were set, and his one eye was glimmering with an unquiet light. These were evil omens ; and the turned in all their force. misgivings of the Baronet re- He determined to avoid, or postpone if possible, the might impending discussion, whatever be its nature. They were now in the nook of an extensive heath, which was traversed at some distance by the high-road to the metropolis ; and in this direction the eye of Sir Walter involuntarily glanced, but no coach was in sight, no stir of human life was visible, save one solitary pedestrian far off, who was moving along the heath. The Creole drew himself up more in his stiffly seat, and looking steadfastly straight before him, so as to avoid seeing his companion, he the hand. spoke with a slight but dignified wave of " Sir Walter Tyrrel declines all personal communication with Mr. Somerville." " And Mr. Somerville," returned the Squire, speaking with a guttural sound, as if every syllable grated in his throat, "will have no further communication with Sir Walter Tyrrel. He is now plain Wat, and may soon be less than that." " The old story," said the Baronet, smiling scornfully, as he became relieved of worse " fears, I have said, sir, that the ridiculous claim you allude to must be settled by proxy. My professional agent will meet yours." " But suppose I should insist on a personal conference, under pain of personal consequences ? " asked Ned, in a cooler tone, with a significant side-glance at his companion. " I should resist and chastise so insolent a freedom," returned Sir Walter, but with a falter in his voice. " Try it on then," ejaculated Ned, suddenly throwing himself off his own horse, and seizing the bridle of the other. It was effected so momentarily, that the confounded Baronet forgot to raise his whip, or to use the spur.