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The Romany Rye   By: (1803-1881)

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THE ROMANY RYE

CHAPTER I

The Making of the Linch pin The Sound Sleeper Breakfast The Postillion's Departure.

I awoke at the first break of day, and, leaving the postillion fast asleep, stepped out of the tent. The dingle was dank and dripping. I lighted a fire of coals, and got my forge in readiness. I then ascended to the field, where the chaise was standing as we had left it on the previous evening. After looking at the cloud stone near it, now cold, and split into three pieces, I set about prying narrowly into the condition of the wheel and axletree the latter had sustained no damage of any consequence, and the wheel, as far as I was able to judge, was sound, being only slightly injured in the box. The only thing requisite to set the chaise in a travelling condition appeared to be a linch pin, which I determined to make. Going to the companion wheel, I took out the linch pin, which I carried down with me to the dingle, to serve as a model.

I found Belle by this time dressed, and seated near the forge: with a slight nod to her like that which a person gives who happens to see an acquaintance when his mind is occupied with important business, I forthwith set about my work. Selecting a piece of iron which I thought would serve my purpose, I placed it in the fire, and plying the bellows in a furious manner, soon made it hot; then seizing it with the tongs, I laid it on my anvil, and began to beat it with my hammer, according to the rules of my art. The dingle resounded with my strokes. Belle sat still, and occasionally smiled, but suddenly started up, and retreated towards her encampment, on a spark which I purposely sent in her direction alighting on her knee. I found the making of a linch pin no easy matter; it was, however, less difficult than the fabrication of a pony shoe; my work, indeed, was much facilitated by my having another pin to look at. In about three quarters of an hour I had succeeded tolerably well, and had produced a linch pin which I thought would serve. During all this time, notwithstanding the noise which I was making, the postillion never showed his face. His non appearance at first alarmed me: I was afraid he might be dead, but, on looking into the tent, I found him still buried in the soundest sleep. "He must surely be descended from one of the seven sleepers," said I, as I turned away, and resumed my work. My work finished, I took a little oil, leather, and sand, and polished the pin as well as I could; then, summoning Belle, we both went to the chaise, where, with her assistance, I put on the wheel. The linch pin which I had made fitted its place very well, and having replaced the other, I gazed at the chaise for some time with my heart full of that satisfaction which results from the consciousness of having achieved a great action; then, after looking at Belle in the hope of obtaining a compliment from her lips, which did not come, I returned to the dingle, without saying a word, followed by her. Belle set about making preparations for breakfast; and I taking the kettle, went and filled it at the spring. Having hung it over the fire, I went to the tent in which the postillion was still sleeping, and called upon him to arise. He awoke with a start, and stared around him at first with the utmost surprise, not unmixed, I could observe, with a certain degree of fear. At last, looking in my face, he appeared to recollect himself. "I had quite forgot," said he, as he got up, "where I was, and all that happened yesterday. However, I remember now the whole affair, thunder storm, thunder bolt, frightened horses, and all your kindness. Come, I must see after my coach and horses; I hope we shall be able to repair the damage." "The damage is already quite repaired," said I, "as you will see, if you come to the field above." "You don't say so," said the postillion, coming out of the tent; "well, I am mightily beholden to you... Continue reading book >>




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