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"I want the money under the seat,'
cried he, hoarsely; "I know you have it
there."

"If you know that," said my uncle, quietly,
"you must also know that not a penny of it
belongs to me: I will not voluntarily give it
up to any man,—I will die first,—but since
you have a pistol, I cannot help your taking
it if you have a mind, and may I live to see
you hung, you rascal."

Uncle Jack used some rather excited
language besides, which would better bear
repetition in those good old times, than in
these, and then sullenly shifted his legs, so
that the bags of gold under the seat could
be got at. The highwayman leaned forward
to reach them with one hand, still keeping
the pistol levelled in the other, as though
he knew the man he had to deal with; but
in doing this he bent his head for a second,
and, before he could raise it again, Uncle
Jack was upon him like a lion. By striking
spurs into his horse, the robber managed to
extricate himself, but in the brief struggle
the pistol went off harmlessly, and remained
with my uncle; and before the wretch could
draw another, the big brown was laying his
four feet to the ground to some purpose;
they were nearly at the end of our thicket,
before the enraged highwayman could come
within range of them.

"Chuck out the gold," he cried, in a
terrible voice, "or I'll shoot ye."

"Shoot and——,' halloed Uncle Jack,
whose flying wheels, no longer particular
about making a noise, drowned the rest of the
sentence. "I'll lay a pound that I live to
see you hung." He knew it was not an easy
matter for a man on horseback to shoot a
man in a gigboth flying. After they had
gone on in this fashion for some time,
"Patrol," cried my uncle, joyfully, and at
the full pitch of his voice.

"Death and thunder!" or something of
that kind, exclaimed the highwayman, as he
pulled up his mare upon her haunches. By
which device Uncle Jack gained fifty yards,
and got quite clear of our thicket. In five
minutes more he had reached the toll–gate,
and was out of Robber–land.

Not a word said he of his adventure to the
ostler, roused up at one in the morning to
attend upon him; only, "What has become
of the grey?" asked he, carelessly, as his
eyes rested upon an empty stall in the huge
stable wherein his own Brown was housed.

"Master Willum has took him out to
Wutton until the day after to–morrow," was
the simple reply.

Uncle Jack retired to rest with the
serenest of smiles, and deposited the gold in
safety under his mattress. On the next
morning his landlord waited upon him after
breakfast, by particular desire.

"How many votes, my good friend," said
my uncle, "can you really command now,
independently of his lordship?"

"Why, you surely 'aint a–coming that
game?" said the innkeeper, grimly. "I
should have thought you had known me by
this time better than that; I am a–going to
bring seventeen voters up to poll next week
to vote for the True Blue, however, and I
don't care who knows it."

"Seventeen,' said my uncle, smiling,
"that will do capitally: I should not have
thought, Mr. Supple, you could have brought
so many. This will be equivalent to giving
us thirty–four," added he, soliloquising, "and
he only wanted thirty to win."

"To giving you thirty–four?" cried the
indignant host; why, I'd see you hanged
first; leastways, not you, sir, but the whole
yellow lot .  .  .  .  ."

"Do you know this pistol?" exclaimed my
uncle, suddenly, and with a great deal of
sternness, "and are you aware to whom it
belongs?"

"Yes, I do," said the innkeeper, a little
uncomfortable, but not in the least suspecting
what was to come, "it belongs to my son
William."

"It does!" said Uncle Jack. "I took it
from him last night upon Brierly thicket,
where he tried to commit a highway robbery
with a badly fitting mask on his face;
which is a hanging matter, Mr. Supple."

The agony of the father (who was only
too convinced of the truth of what was
said, as he had himself mentioned to his son
his suspicions of what my uncle was really
gone to Fussworth about) was terrible to
witness, and moved the accuser greatly.

"Spare him; spare my son!" exclaimed
the poor fellow.

"Do I look like the sort of man to hang
the son of anybody who promises to do me
a favour?" said Uncle Jack, placidly;
"but," added he, with meaning, "you had
better not forget those seventeen voters, Mr.
Supple."

And so it turned out, that through Uncle
Jack's adventure in the Blankshire Thicket,
the yellow candidate came in for Brierly,
for two thousand pounds less than the cost
he had calculated.


MR. CHARLES DICKENS'S
READINGS.

MR. CHARLES DICKENS will read at CLIFTON, on the 2nd
and 6th of August; at EXETER the 3rd; at PLYMOUTH
on the 4th and 5th; at WORCESTER on the 10th; at
WOLVERHAMPTON on the 11th; at  SHREWSBURY on the
12th; at CHESTER on the 13th; and at LIVERPOOL on the
18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st, of August.


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