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Yet a new danger now assailed him, from the increasing cold.
There was already a sting of frost, a breath of ice, in the wind. In another hour the sky was nearly swept bare of clouds, and he could note the lapse of the night by the sinking of the moon. But he was by this time hardly in a condition to note anything more.
He had thrown himself, face downwards, on the top of the log, his arms mechanically clasping it, while his mind sank into a state of torpid, passive suffering, growing nearer to the dreamy indifference which precedes death. His cloak had been torn away in the first rush of the inundation, and the wet coat began to stiffen in the wind, from the ice gathering
The moon was low in the west, and there was a pale glimmer of dawn in the sky, when Gilbert Potter suddenly raised his head. Above the noise of the water and the whistle of the wind, he heard a familiar sound — the shrill, sharp neigh of a horse. Lifting himself, with great exertion, to a sitting posture, he saw two men on horseback, in the flooded meadow, a little below him. They stopped, seemed to consult, and presently drew nearer.
Gilbert tried to shout, but the muscles of his throat were stiff and his lungs refused to act. The horse neighed again. This time there was no mistake; it was Roger that he heard. Voice came to him, and he cried aloud — a strange, unnatural cry.
The horsemen heard it, and rapidly pushed up the bank, until they reached a point directly opposite him. The prospect of escape brought a thrill of life to his frame; he looked around and saw that the flood had indeed fallen.
“ We have no rope," he heard one of the men say. “How shall we reach him?"
“ There is no time to get one now," the other answered. “My horse is stronger than yours. I'll go into the creek just below, where it's broader and not so deep, and work my way up to him.”
“But one horse can't carry both.”
As the last speaker moved away, Gilbert saw the led horse plunging through the water, beside the other. It was a difficult and dangerous undertaking. The horseman and the loose horse entered the main stream below, where its divided channel met and broadened, but it was still above the saddle-girths, and very swift. .
Sometimes the animals plunged, losing their foothold; nevertheless, they gallantly breasted the current, and inch by inch worked their way to a point about six feet below Gilbert. It seemed impossible to approach nearer.
“Can you swim?” asked the man.
Gilbert shook his head. 66 Throw me the end of Roger's bridle!” he then cried.
The man unbuckled the bridle and threw it, keep
ing the end of the rein in his hand. Gilbert trịed to grasp it, but his hands were too numb. aged, however, to get one arm and his head through the opening, and relaxed his hold on the log.
A plunge, and the man had him by the collar. He felt himself lifted by a strong arm and laid across Roger's saddle. With his failing strength and stiff limbs, it was no slight task to get into place, and the return, though less laborious to the horses, was equally dangerous, because Gilbert was scarcely able to support himself without help.
“You're safe now,” said the man, when they reached the bank, “but it's a downright mercy of God that you're alive!”
The other horseman joined them, and they rode slowly across the flooded meadow. They had both thrown their cloaks around Gilbert, and carefully steadied him in the saddle, one on each side. He was too much exhausted to ask how they had found him, or whither they were taking him, too numb for curiosity, - almost for gratitude. “ Here's your savior!
savior !” said one of the men, patting Roger's shoulder. “ It was through him that we found you.
Do you want to know how? Well - about three o'clock, it was maybe a little earlier, maybe a little later, my wife woke me up. hear that?' she says.
“I listened and heard a horse in the lane before the door, neighing, — I can't tell exactly how it was,
Do you 'Twas
— like as if he would call up the house. rather queer, I thought, so I got up and looked out of the window, and it seemed to me he had a sad
He stamped, and pawed, and then he gave another yell, and stamped again.
“Said I to my wife, “There's something wrong here, and I dressed and went out. When he saw me he acted the strangest you ever saw; I thought, if ever an animal wanted to speak, that animal does. When I tried to catch him, he shot off, ran down the lane a bit, and then came back acting as strangely as
“I went into the house and woke up my brother, here, and we saddled our horses and started. Away went yours ahead, stopping every minute to look round and see if we followed. When we came to the water, I hesitated, but it was no use ; the horse would have us go on, and on, till.we found you."
Gilbert did not speak, but two large tears slowly gathered in his eyes, and rolled down his cheeks. The men saw his emotion, and respected it.
In the light of the cold, keen dawn, they reached a snug farmhouse, a mile from the Brandywine. The men lifted Gilbert from the saddle, and would have carried him immediately into the house; but he first leaned upon Roger's neck, took the faithful creature's head in his arms and kissed it. [Abridgment.]
A FRENCH PEASANT GIRL.
WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY was born at Calcutta, India, July 18, 1811. His parents were English. At about the age of five the boy was sent to England to be educated. He remained six years at Charterhouse, a famous school in London. Afterward he studied two years at Trinity College, Cambridge. At the age of twenty-two he began his contributions to the press. His first book appeared in 1840, but his novel “ Vanity Fair" was the earliest to win much success. He continued to write for periodicals, and became editorially
connected with Punch. He published a number of brilliant novels. He visited America twice, and here gave lectures on “ The Humorists” and “The Four Georges.”
He died suddenly, on the night before Christmas, 1863.
“My father died,” said Beatrice, “ about six years since, and left my poor mother with little else but a small cottage and a strip of land, and four children too young to work. It was hard enough in my father's time to supply so many little mouths with food ; and how was a poor widowed woman to provide for them now, who had neither the strength nor the opportunity for labor ?
“Besides us, to be sure, there was my old aunt; and she would have helped us, but she could not, for the old woman is bedridden; so she did nothing but occupy our best room, and grumble from morning till night: heaven knows, poor old soul, that she