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A Smuggler For Once

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One bitter cold morning in December I, John (Jurnon, stood leaning upoa the gate of my little garden, gloomily thinkng of the badness of trade. I was what they cali .in our parta a "Jouster," that is, I kept a horse and cart and went about the country jousting or selling fish. Por several weeks there had been notbing doing ; indeed, so bad a season had not been known for years, and niy wife Mary, tne old horse, and myself were geting unpleasantly near to starvation. I oould have borne this if I had had to bear it alone ; but Mary had been a valued servant in the parson's family, and not used to roughing it, and it cut me to the heart to see how thin and pale she was getting for want of the necessaries of life, which I did not know how to get. Poor girl ! weak as she was, she was the bravest of he two. Many a time when I was in .espair, her loving arnis would bethrown round my neck, and she would bid me cheer up and bear my troubles like a man, and I have answered that if I could bear them as patiently as a woman it would be better still. While standing at the gate, puzzling myself what to try that I hadn't tried already, I saw Tom Davis, a cousin of mine, coming along the lane, looking as sleek and comfortable as a well-groómed horse. t had always been a mystery to me how 'om lived. for let trade be ever so bad he never seemed to suffer but was well lothed, and looked jolly and happy. He was always civil ; but as he stopped now to give me the time of day, he noiced how queer I looked, and tho' I'm not given to talking of my troables, his ympathy loosened my tongue, and I told lim there wasn't a morsel of bread in the upboard, and I didn't know how to put uy there. He took a few whiffs of the short pipe ie was smoking, eyeing me hard the while, and then told me if I could keep a ecret he thought he could put me in the way of earniug a trifle. I was ready to )rouiise anything when I heard this, and when I assured him I would be as secret s the grave, he bade me bring my old ïorse to Kidler's cave upon the following ïight, punctually at 12. He would be here to meet me, but I was to ask no uestions. There might be a trifle of risk i what I should have to do, but nothing wrong ; at least, Tom saw no harm in it, tiough others might. " It's smuggling," I said to myself, and thought of Mary, who would sooner die ban know me todo anything that wasn't ast right. I was about to say no to 'om's offer, but Mary's wan face rose up jel'ore me, and I remembered how biting want was dragging her down to the grave. grew desperate. " I'm your man, Tom, risk or no risk. '11 be true there to my time, never fear me." He grasped the hand I held out, left a hilling in it, and with a nod walked on, eaving me with a weight upon my conscience which had never rested upon it before. All that day and the next, I could not meet Mary's eye without feeling as if I were holding a crime from her. When evening came, I told her that I was wanted for a little job of moving at the next village, and should not be home till late. She never doubted the tale, but smiled and kissed me when I went away leading old Bob by the bridle, I fancying that I had never seen a darker night, nor heard the wind moan so dismally before. Kidler's cave is situated in one of the most lonely parts of the Cornish coast, and there is not a house within a couple miles of the spot. After riding about half an hour, I came out of the lanes on to the beach, and another mile or so along the loot of the cliffs brought me to the cave. As I rode into it, I heard a voice say cautiously, " All right, John, the boat will be here directly," and I was not sorry to see Tom Davis mounted on a cob along side of me. Handing me a flask with some brandy in it, he made me take a nip, at the same time telling me with no little glee that the " coa8ties" were napping, and we should do them jolly. After waiting some few minutes we heard the regular click of oars in the rowlocks, followed by the grating of the boat's keel on the shingle. We rode out, and soon had several parcels strapped on each side of the horses ; then with scarcely u word spoken we set off, Tom giving me instructions where to leave my load, and adding that it would be as well to pait as soon as we got off the beach. Then away we went, but only to find out first - just as we quitted the beach - that the coast-guardsmen were not napping after all : two of them sprang upon us from behind a boulder, and clutched at the horse's bridle, but the creature swerved and that saved us. " Spur for your life !" muttered Tom in my ear, at the same moment riding his


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