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at all, I should say the devil must have been in the dance. But, hollo! here comes some one upon us.--Stand, friend who art thou ?"
“ A poor day-labourer in the great work of England—Joseph Tomkins by name-Secretary to a godly and well-endowed leader in this poor Christian army of England, called General Harrison.” “What news, Master Tomkins ?” said Eve
“and why are you on the road at this late hour?"
“ I speak to the worthy Colonel Everard, as I judge,” said Tomkins; “ and truly I am glad of meeting your honour.-Heaven knows, I need such assistance as yours. -Oh worthy Master Everard !-Here has been a sounding of trumpets, and a breaking of vials, and a pouring forth, and"
“ Prithee, tell me, in brief, what is the matter -where is thy master-and, in a word, what has happened ?"
“My master is elose by, parading it in the little meadow, beside the hugeous oak, which is called by the name of the late Man; ride but two steps forward, and you may see him walking
swiftly to and fro, advancing all the while the naked weapon."
Upon proceeding as directed, but with as little noise as possible, they descried a man, whom of course they concluded must be Harrison, walking to and fro beneath the King's Oak, as a sentinel under arms, but with more wildness of demeanour. The tramp of the horses did not escape his ear; and they heard him call out, as if at the head of the brigade" Lower pikes against cavalry !-Here comes Prince Rupert Stand fast, and you shall turn them aside, as a bull would toss a cur-dog.–Lower your pikes still, my hearts, the end secured against your foot -down on your right knee, front rank-spare not for the spoiling of your blue aprons.-Ham Zerobabel-ay, that is the word.”
“ In the name of Heaven, about whom or what is he talking ?” said Everard ; “ wherefore does he go about with his weapon drawn ?"
“ Truly, sir, when aught disturbs my master General Harrison, he is something rapt in the spirit, and conceives that he is commanding a reserve of pikes at the great battle of Armageddon -and for his weapon, alack, worthy sir, wherefore
should he keep Sheffield steel in calves' leather, when there are fiends to be combated-incarnate fiends on earth, and raging infernal fiends under the earth pa
“ This is intolerable," said Everard. « Lis ten to me, Tomkins. Thou art not now in the pulpit, and I desire none of thy preaching language. I know thou canst speak intelligibly when thou art so minded. Remember, I may serve or harm thee; and as you hope or fear
anything on my part, answer straight-forward What has happened to drive out thy master to the wild wood at this time of night ?”
“ Forsooth, worthy and honoured sir, I will speak with the precision I may. True it is, and of verity, that the breath of man, which is in his nostrils, goeth forth and returneth"
“Hark you, sir,” said Colonel Everard, “ také care where you ramble in your correspondence with me. You have heard how at the great battle of Dunbar in Scotland, the General himself held a pistol to the head of Lieutenant Hewcreed, threatening to shoot him through the brain if he did not give up holding forth, and put his squadron in line to the front. Take care, sir.”
Verily, the lieutenant then charged with an even and unbroken order," said Tomkins, “and bore a thousand plaids and bonnets over the beach before him into the sea. Neither shall I pretermit or postpone your honour's commands, , but speedily obey them, and that without delay."
“Go to, fellow; thou knowest what I would have,” said Everard; “ speak at once-I know thou canst if thou wilt. Trusty Tomkins is better known than he thinks for.”
“ Worthy sir," said Tomkins, in a much less periphrastic style, “ I will obey your worship as far as the spirit will permit. Truly, it was not an hour since, when my worshipful master being at table with Master Bibbet and myself, not to mention the worshipful Master Bletson and Colonel Desborough, and behold there was a violent knocking at the gate, as of one in haste. Now, of a certainty, so much had our household been harassed with witches and spirits, and other objects of sound and sight, that the sentinels could not be brought to abide upon their posts without doors, and it was only by provision of beef and strong liquors that we were able to maintain a guard of three men in the hall, who neverthe.
less ventured not to open the door, lest they should be surprised with some of the goblins wherewith their imaginations were overwhelmed. And they heard the knocking, which increased until it seemed that the door was well nigh about to be beaten down. Worthy Master Bibbet was a little overcome with liquor, (as is his fashion, good man, about this time of the evening,) not that he is in the least given to ebriety, but simply, that since the Scottish campaign he hath had a perpetual ague, which obliges him so to nourish his frame against the damps of the night; wherefore, as it is well known to your honour that I discharge the office of a faithful servant, as well to Major-General Harrison, and the other Commissioners, as to my just and lawful master, Colonel Desborough
“ I know all that.-And now that thou art trusted by both, I pray to Heaven thou may'st merit the trust,” said Colonel Everard.
“ And devoutly do I pray," said Tomkins, “ that your worshipful prayers may be answered with favour; for certainly to be, and to be called and entitled, Honest Joe, and Trusty Tomkins, is to me more than ever would be an Earl's title,