82 TYLNEY HALL, 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, "some- body will confess for me ; so, guilty or not guilty, it's all one. Other people proves alibi's ; and if I hadn't been here, I should have been somewhere else ; but that's my old chance. I know my 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 Fm short, 1 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 1 know I shan't die natural." " Nay, Joe," said the huntsman, somewhat touched by the poor fellow's picture of his desti- tution, " every body has a chance. If you can, really, hold up an innocent hand, and say not guilty,""
TYLNEY HALL. 83 " Nobody ever believed me yet," answered Joe, "and it's too late to try now. My dice always runs one way. Mayliap 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, "and that was of a Friday. I've never had a turn in life—never ! Misfortune fights fair with other folks ; but, as for me, I'm kicked about arter I'm down. I'm hunted, and haunted wherever I go—from village to village, and from town to town, with a curse sounding arter me, like a kettle at a dog's tail. I'm knowed every where for being unlucky at whatever I put hands to; and what signifies honesty, and sober- ness, and industry, with t'other character tacked along with it? I can't get charity, 'cause I look able to work; and I can't get work, 'cause I'm