122 TYLNEY HALL. " I'd give a guinea," exclaimed Ringwood, " the Squire liad been here ! It beats badger- drawing !" The ranter had drawn himself up to his full height ; and, like a lion at bay, turned his shaggy head from one speaker to another, as if estimating his own powers to cope with them all, and deciding where to make his first spring. But the odds were against him. Lion-like as he seemed, be was confronted by a being as wild, as fierce, and as daring as himself, and whose calm smile expressed hate quite as fearfully as the savage grin to which it replied. He turned from her with a growl, and then, looking round the room, bellowed out a general curse, waving his arms abroad, as if to assist in the distribution of the malediction. " You'll all be consumed—all on ye !—and if I stays here I shall be consumed along with ye ! whereupon he bolted through the door, and his powerful harsh voice was heard muttering far, far away into the distance. " Let him go, Gregory,"—said the Justice, to the constable who put himself in motion as soon as "
TYLNEY HALL. 123 the ranter was fairly out of hearing ; " let him go. There are such things as warrants in case of need. As for this fellow, he is discharged ; and I feel bound to say without a blot on his character." '^ And the woman," enquired the clerk, " is she to be at walk or in the coop ?" " Committed,"" said the magistrate, assuming his Brutus look, and a severe tone worthy of the look. " Committed, were she my own sister. I have yet to consider whether a nameless stroller, of questionable means and notorious violence, should be let loose on society, armed with an illegal weapon, to the terror of his Majesty's liege subjects." " Liege cowards !" said the woman. " Am I responsible for the fears of the dastardly? Is it wonderful that a lone female, like me, and a wanderer, with no more strength than belongs to her sex, should desire the protection of something more formidable than her own weak arm? The ruffianly blood, still crusting the blade, ought to be my apology !" g2