Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

he had finished speaking, Lady Eda was cantering away for the gate.

“Wo! way! Stop him, somebody! Murder!" But it was no use. Ginger had seen his mistress leave the company, and determined to follow. Sir Andrew, with his hat off, and arms round the pony's neck, was shouting for help. Pierce had only just time to get out of the way, when Ginger and Fitzbun charged gallantly into the thickest part of the thorn fence. Ginger soon delivered himself of his rider; and, leaving Sir Andrew unable to move for the thorns, cocked his tail, threw his heels into the air, and was soon by the side of Lady Eda.

“I say, More-Longvale — oh!-- Can't you — oh! - give us a-oh!—hand—will

What a beastly little fool this pony is! There !” said the unhappy man, at last dragged from the hedge, “I believe my body is a regular pin-cushion. I shan't be able to ride any farther-indeed I shan't.”

you?

" when you

« Well,” said Longvale, catch

up the carriage, we can put you in, and tie the pony behind.” Comforted with this

assurance,

Sir Andrew again mounted the unruly Ginger; and upon overtaking the phaeton was, to his inexpressible delight, deposited there till they reached the Manor House.

The chapter of accidents was, however, not yet ended. In fact, it was easy to predict, that this cross-country scamper would, in the natural course of events, terminate in some catastrophe. Lady Eda, on all occasions easily exhilarated, felt now the additional spur of competition ; and would—if she had not been dissuaded by Pierce and Mr. Gregoryhave left the bridle-road for a straight cut over the fields ; leaping with delight any obstacle which might confront her. Determined, at any rate, to have one good jump before they reached the Manor House, she guided the party over a common, the path from which she knew to be obstructed by a gate always kept locked ; and which somebody would have to leap in order to fetch the key from the neighbouring farm-house, to let Mr. Gregory through.

She laughed at the trap she had betrayed them into; but would listen to no remonstrances from any of the party. Longvale's hack was incapable of leaping anything so high, but Pierce drew back to clear the gate at a fly. Lady Eda, without observing his intention, put her horse's head at the gate, and with a sharp cut on his flanks, threw herself back, and gave the Erl King the reins. The noble animal, well aware of his rider's resolution, never threatened to refuse; but, gathering himself together, made two strides, and bounding into the air strained every muscle to clear the leap. Unfortunately, the impetus of half-a-dozen yards was insufficient to carry him over; his knees struck the top rail, and horse and rider were hurled to the ground. This was the work of an instant. Pierce had already touched the sides of the fiery Hornet with his spurs, and was in full speed at the moment Lady Eda was falling to the ground. He had no power to stop his horse

-no time to swerve him. His whole mind was paralyzed by the rapidity of the accident. The Hornet cleared the gate without a graze, and, to the appalling terror of his rider, lighted where Lady Eda had been thrown; so that her body was immediately between the fore and hind legs of the animal. He thought he heard Longvale cry, "He has killed her!" Quick as lightning he pulled the Hornet on his haunches; and, throwing himself from the saddle, stood aghast over the prostrate form of the girl.

Happily, More's horse had not touched her; and, being light, the gentle speed at which she was thrown, enabled her to escape less injured than alarmed. She soon regained her feet; and laughing merrily at the anxiety displayed in Pierce's features, whipped the dirt from her habit, and desired that gentleman to catch her horse.

The key being procured, and Mr. Gregory allowed to pass, the party finally arrived at the Manor House in safety, and in high spirits. Lady Dorothy and Miss Fitzbun had industriously prepared for the reception of the riders: and, dismissing the groom with the horses, the ladies sat down on the dry grass, while the gentlemen made themselves as generally useful, and as particularly agreeable, as they could. Sir Andrew obstinately persisted in besieging Lady Eda with salad, and bread, and many other things she did not want. Arthur, with his wonted amiability, took charge of his aunt and Miss Fitzbun; but Pierce, excessively indignant at the obsequious interference of the “ porpoise,” disposed of him at last by letting off a ginger-beer bottle, and hitting him with

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »