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At length I began to think that it was high time for me to act, for if once the affair reached the ears of the old gentleman, there would then be little chance of my being able to carry my plans into execution. Under this impression I had determined upon the very first occasion, to propose a trip to Gretna Green. I took every opportunity of seeking a personal meeting with her, but by some unlucky accident, always in vain; I, therefore, determined to write to her, and fix the manner of our departure. I found that in order that we might meet, she fancied, or, had not 1 better say she feigned, that she was not quite well; and Mr. Grubhins, who was at home when the message arrived, as ill-luck would have it, said he would attend himself upon the young lady. I felt assured, from several circumstances, that our attachment had become known at head-quarters, at least that there was a suspicion of such a thing, for I had noticed that the last Suhday at church, as we passed through the church-yard, the old German looked at me as black as thunder. I thought, at the very time, that the great blow must be struck, before another week had passed over our heads. I, without delay, consulted with a friend of mine, and he kindly lent me that, which gives wings to love and sinews to war, so that one great end was provided for. But how was 1 to inform the young lady of my plans?
Miss Von Tromp, a little while before this period, had again sprained her ancle, but, most unfortunately at this time, there was an old aunt of her mamma's, on a visit with them, who was so kind that she would assist her dear niece and the doctor, as she called me, to examine the foot; I sent the servant girl down stairs to boil some vinegar with some snow water, ' and be sure and stir it all the while till it boils.' There, thought I, we have got rid of you for five minutes; but there was the good aunt; oh, these good aunts! I said, 'Now, Ma'am, I must trouble you to provide as soon as possible a flannel bandage; might I take the liberty of requesting it as soon as possible?' I felt not a little agitated to get rid of the old lady, that I might converse with my little friend. 'Oh,' said Miss Von T., 'do, dear aunt, get it as soon as possible.'—'My dear,' replied she, 'do you think I did not know that such a thing would be required? and here it is,' said she, putting her hand into her work-bag. Alas! thought I, you will never be my 'dear aunt.' I now revolved in my mind what I could next want that she in her kindness had not provided. 1 said, ' Have you any other remedies with you, Madam ?'—' No, Sir, no more.' 'Then, Ma'am, would you have the goodness to provide us with a little old linen to put over the ancle, for I perceive this bandage is calico, and you know calico is said to irritate the skin. The old lady set off for the linen, and, to my infinite chagrin, met the maid not two yards from the door, returning with the hot vinegar. I said, 'Mary you have soon boiled the vinegar.'—' Yes, Sir,' said she, with a significant nod of the head which I understood, 'I soon made it boil.' I had not had a moment to fix any plan with Miss Von T., and before I could devise any scheme to get rid of the maid, 1 heard the old lady returning.
I cannot express the feelings that agitated me at this moment, and those alone who have been in similar circumstances, can have any conception of them. It was plain that this day 1 was not likely to have any opportunity of communicating with the young lady. After waiting as long as I well could, to take advantage of any occasion that might present itself, I was compelled at last to take my leave.
After such repeated disappointments, I plainly saw that there was no chance for me but that of sending Miss Von T. a letter, to fix the time and mode of our departure for Gretna; for Mr. Grubhins told me that the old German had requested him to attend himself in future upon Miss Von Tromp. 'Now, or never,' was the word, the thing must be done immediately; and down I sat and penned a letter to my fair one, informing her of the plan I had devised. Two days after this time there was going to be a large party at the old German's, and I thought this would be a favorable opportunity for the expedition. We were sending medicine almost daily to the house, both to the old gentleman and his daughter; I folded my letter and put it under the paper that covered the bottle, nicely sealed, as was our custom. I informed her in this letter, that on the night in question, a carriage that I had engaged would be at the end of the garden, that its remaining there a few minutes would not excite any suspicion, on account of the party, and that if I did not receive any answer, I should have every thing ready. I provided every ti,ing necessary for the flight, packed up some of my clothes in a small portmanteau, and engaged a chaise. For this purpose I went to one of the inns to look after a proper post-boy, one upon whom I could depend. In these affairs everything depends upon presence of mind and promptitude. I saw a post-boy standing at the gate, a lad whose bruises and wounds I had often dressed after many a pugilastic contest in which he had been engaged. He was a thin, pale looking fellow, of a most determined aspect, marked by the small-pox, with a deep sunk eye in his bead, and a very peculiar squint; one of those fellows upon whose foreheads rogue is written, in very legible characters; from his inveterate obstinacy in fighting, he always went by the name of 'cutting Tom.' I said, 'Well, Tom, have you had any Gretna jobs lately ?'—' No, not this long time, Sir; folks has no spirits": for this here kind of jobs now a days. I wishes we had a job of that here kind I've got a pair of rare horses now, such spankers, my eyes, give me five minutes law, and catch me if they can.' It made my heart leap with joy to hear this. I felt myself bounding away.at the rate of twenty miles an hour. Assuming a very serious look, I said, 'Tom, can I trust you?'—'To be sure you may. Trust me 1 I never splits on nobody.' I now told Tom to have his horses ready at ten o'clock at the appointed spot, that I would get into the chaise about fifty yards before the spot fixed on, to take up the lady. Tom's wicked eyes sparkled with joy. As a great deal depended upon Tom's address, I agreed to give him three guineas for the first stage, for he said he should go like lightning over the road , nay, he even undertook to hare another chaise ready at the next stage, and for this purpose he should send a most trusty old friend, a kind of haFfidiot,-a man who was never known either to forget or neglect any message he was soul upon—only tell him what to do, and that Silly Billy, as he was called, would do. He was a kind of automaton, into which ynu infused your will, and nothing could turn him from what he had undertaken. Well, Billy took the note to our fellow-laborer, another worthy, a friend of Tom's, who was ordered to have a chaise ready to convey us on to the next stage. Everything appeared favorable to my views. I had heard nothing from the youn^' lady, and therefore ail w as right, 1 thought, in that quarter. As soon as evening came, I gave Tom my portmanteau. I counted my guineas, and I counted the minutes too, from the hour that was to emancipate me from the pestle and mortar My heart beat with anxiety and joy, as I anticipated the hour that was to give me possession of so fine a girl, and so great a fortune Oli, what an evening I In that evening, in the brief space of a few short hours 1 seemed to live years; time appeared to stand still; hundreds of ideas rushed through my mind; I looked at my watch, and when 1 looked again, and thought the greater part of an hour was gone, I found that but a few minutes had elapsed. Those who have been engaged in similar affairs well know the tiuth of this. However, the hour approached, and about ten minutes before the time I walked into the old surgery to have a last look at my house of bondage—to hid a long and last farewell to pots and gallipots, to pills and potions. I slipped quietly out of the house, unobserved, hurried down the lane that led \.o Mrs. Von Tromp's, and, after wailing a few minutes, heard a chaise driving gently down the lane. It was cutting Tom : he stopped to let me into the chaise at the appointed place, and all I could say was 'Well done, Tom.' We drove gently to the spot where we were to take up the yting lady. I must confess that at this moment I became very much agit ited; my heart beat most violently; my breathing became quick, and my hands trembled. We had not stopped half a minute when 1 saw the voung lady gliding along the walk that led to the carriage. I could just dis ern her, though the evening was rather dark. The carriage door was open, and in a moment she was seated by my side in silence. My heart was too full, and my tongue refused to give utterance to a single word. Tom was on his horses in an instant, and we darted off more like an arrow shot from a bow than anything else. In a few minutes I became more tranquil, and felt a greater degree of confidence.
My fair one seemed absorbed in the great step she was taking, and I from delicacy forbore to rally her. However, as she continued silent, I said, 'Never mind your father; these Germans never feel deeply.' Upon which, to my utmost astonishment, an astonishment that stopped the very circulation of my blood, I heard these words addressed to me— 'Oh, you infernal very young scoundrel! You rob me of my dear girl, do you 1 No, you do not. I catch you, and take you to de prison ; and then,' added he, ' 1 will take your Mode, as you English say.' Upon which he began to pommel me with all the ferocity of a German skipper. * Oh, sir, for God's sake,' I exclaimed, 'do henr reason, sir!' and then thrusting my head out of the window, I called out in the mosa energetic tone to Tom to stop. The moment Tom heard my voice he drove harder than ever. The o!d gentleman now put his head out at the other side of the carriage, and spoke to somc one behind, crying, 'Get down, and stop de postillion.' 'It is quite impossible; we are going at the rate of twenty miles an hour, sir; we dare not get down.' Torn drove like lightning; there was no stopping him, nor explaining to him what had taken place. The old gentleman put his head out again, and cried out, 'Stop him atde turnpike ; ' and as we approached it, I heard the fellows behind cry out, ' Shut the gate! shut the gate!' I felt thankful that 1 should then get out, and make the best of my way home again. I was astonished that cutting Tom did not slacken his pace when he heard the cry of shut the gate!' instead of that, laying the whip on his hoises, he even increased his furious career, and we actually appeared to be tlying. Oh, what a moment! I could just perceive, by the glimmer of the lamp at the turnpike-house, that the gate was closed. Tom dashed on with the fury of u demon. The men behind screamed in the agony of fear. . I shouted, ' For God's sake, stop!' The old German went into a fit, and kicked most violently. At this moment a most awful crash took place. It was terrific—the screams of the women at the gate, and the noise inside and outside the carriage! Never shall I lorget it. Tom, gallant Tom, who had sworn before we started off thai no earthly power should stop him, kept his word. He dashed at the gate with an impetus that nothing could resist. The barrier gave way, and was dashed into ten thousand pieces. It was only one crash, and all was over; but it was succeeded by a triumphant shout from the cutter. The old German shortly after recovered from his fit; but Tom never stopped till we got to the nest stage, and here we found the promised stage waiting for us. The moment we stopped the two fellows behind seized me. Cutting Tom, and Flash Jack the post-boy of the fresh chaise, in a moment took my part. Tom floored one of the fellows in the twinkling of an eye. Jack had met with his match. 1 endeavored to explain the stale of affairs to Tom, who had gone up to the chaise in which the old German was,—' Now, Miss, out with you in a minute,' said he. A crowd of people was soon round, and there was a cry for lights. The landlord of the inn, and ostlers, strangers, old and young, all kept congregating, till there was such a noise and such an uproar, that had there been the least chance for me to escape I certainly should ha>e done so. When the lights were brought, and Mr. Von Tromp exhihited himself, the laugh was loud. Two or three constables were now on the spot, and I was taken charge of; and Mr. Von Tromp, to the great delight of anumerous auditory, gave an account of the adventure. The letter that was intended for his daughter had fallen into his hands, through the mistakes of his footman, who had given him the packet of medicine intended for her. The |,eople seemed highly diverted at my expense. I said no one had any right to detain me; but the old German said, 'Dead or alive, I should that night go back to Mr. Grubhins';' and as I saw Iiis arguments, backed by two constables, were irresistible, I resigned, and they took me back to the place whence I came, much tothe astonishment of Mr. and Mrs. G. Mrs. G. mildly observed, * I always thought you would come to some bad end!'
There was nothing to be done : in a few days the old German and his daughter left the neighborhood, and I was quite as anxious to take my leave also. The time of my apprenticeship was just expiring, and so, wiib the consent of all parties, I bade adieu to this place, and thus finished the principal adventures of my apprenticeship.
Br James Atkinson.
On a Painting, now on the Easel, by Wilkie, of two Monks, a* »eem by him in the Capuchin Convent at Toledo.
Look on that picture! There the artist's skill
Look, on that picture! In his holy seat
Look on that picture! List, I think a voice,
'Father.' there was a time—but now.
When guilt is laboring in my breast—