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indignation which the rambling imputations of the hag excited in his mind, he could not prevent their sinking deep into his spirits, and taking a hold there which he in vain endeavoured to shake off. The conviction, too, of the immediate and imminent peril in which he was placed -for it was no longer a matter of doubt to him that he had fallen upon a gang of the far-famed Kerry sheep-stealers-contributed not a little to the uneasiness of his situation. He began strenuously to long for an opportunity of withdrawing himself from the chance of further illustrations of their mountain hospitality.

Shortly after, the cottager started up from his seat by the fire, and said rapidly, "There's the white horse on the pzaties; I'll go and see what is it keeps the boys, and do you get up one o' your old ancient fables, and keep this man by the fire till we come back. We'll talk o' what's to be done abroad."

No sooner had the speaker disappeared than Aylmer began to meditate the most probable means of taking himself out of the cottage, and its neighbourhood, without awakening suspicion. He got up from the table-walked towards the

fire-resumed all his dress, with the exception of his hat, which still hung in the chimney corner, reeking against the heat: and after all this was done, with as great an appearance of carelessness and indifference as he could command, he took his seat by the fire, stirred it up briskly, and made an effort to engage his hostess in conversation; in which, however, to his great satisfaction, he totally failed. The old woman seemed to be one whom time had beaten down into a state of almost negative existence, and whose only positive enjoyment seemed to consist in the absence of all exertion. Far from complying with the cottager's desire that she should endeavour to entertain her guest, she seemed, from the moment of his departure, to be almost unconscious of the presence of a second person; and went on, exhausting her store of tobacco, and musing over the fire with the comfortable air of a slave who has been relieved from the presence of the task-master.

The violence of the tempest had now considerably abated, although the night still continued dark, and the wind hissed along the broken thatched roof in fitful and uneasy gusts.

After making some observation on the change, Aylmer walked towards the little window, as if to look out upon the night, and in so doing stumbled upon a new confirmation of his suspicions. Casting his eye, accidentally, towards the hurdle loft, which was constructed over the ceiling of an inner apartment, he observed several piles of sheepskins thrust under the sloping eaves, and heaped towards the centre, the spoils of many an enterprize similar to that of which he had just before witnessed the termination.

As the time rolled on, the anxiety of the youth increased, and he determined at length on making some exertion for his freedom, before the male tenants of the cottage should return. Leaving his hat where it hung, in order the more effectually to baffle the suspicions which his absence might occasion, he made some trifling remark to the old woman, and passed into the air. After he had crept a few paces from the house, and felt himself placed without the immediate circle of the influence of its possessors, he made a joyous bound on his path, and ran along for a con

siderable distance, without a moment's pause, in the direction from which he had turned aside during the tempest. The rain had ceased and the wind abated, but the sky was yet loaded with vapour, and the wanderer had little more than random conjecture to depend upon in pursuing his route over the mountain heath. Early as it yet was in the night, and totally ignorant as he was of the distance he might have to conquer before he should arrive at the termination of the wilds, he could not avoid feeling an occasional depression of spirits when he reflected on the possibility of his being pursued; in which case the familiarity of his enemies with the passes of the mountain, and its bogs, must leave him at a perilous disadvantage. He dashed forward on his way, however, without stopping to calculate disheartening probabilities, and journeyed for nearly an hour without meeting any impediment to arrest his progress, or any piece of good fortune that might

assist it.

On a sudden, the disparting of an immense mass of cloud, which had for a long time been condensed on the horizon behind him, betrayed

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the night-walker to the glances of a few kind stars, and very shortly after the veil was withdrawn from the fair, round, fat face of the winter moon herself, and a welcome flood of light was poured about his path. He now discovered himself to be still surrounded, as far as his sight could reach, with the uneven wilderness of heath, over which he had so long been toiling, and no indication lay, within the wide circuit which his eye was enabled to comprehend, of human neighbourhood. There was no sign of cultivation, no bounds of partition, nothing but heath and bog to be discovered, and this circumstance contributed materially to depress the cheerfulness of spirit which the sudden accession of light had awakened within him. This uncomfortable state of mind, however, in some time began to give place to a feeling of more immediate and positive alarm. Whether it was that his imagination, highly excited as it had been by the events of the evening, became over quick at transforming all indistinct sights and sounds into occasions of terror, or that such occasions did in reality exist, Aylmer could not divest himself of a strong

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