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wine, mum. I'll engage there's no Tar in that:"
so, the sergeant thanked him and said that as he
preferred his drink without tar, he would take
wine, if it was equally convenient. When it
was given him, he drank his Majesty's health
and Compliments of the Season, and took it all
at a mouthful and smacked his lips.

"Good stuff, eh, sergeant ?" said Mr. Pumblechook.

"I'll tell you something," returned the sergeant;
"I suspect that stuff's of your providing."

Mr. Pumblechook, with a fat sort of laugh,
said, "Ay, ay? Why?"

"Because," returned the sergeant, clapping
him on the shoulder, "you're a man that knows
what's what."

"D'ye think so?" said Mr. Pumblechook,
with his former laugh. " Have another glass."
"With you. Hob and nob," returned the
sergeant. " The top of mine to the foot of yours
the foot of yours to the top of mineRing once,
ring twicethe best tune on the Musical Glasses!
Your health. May you live a thousand years,
and never be a worse judge of the right sort than
you are at the present moment of your life!"

The sergeant tossed off his glass again and
seemed quite ready for another glass. I noticed
that Mr. Pumblechook in his hospitality appeared
to forget that he had made a present of the wine,
but took the bottle from Mrs. Joe and had all
the credit of handing it about in a gush of
joviality. Even I got some. And he was so
very free of the wine that he even called for the
other bottle and handed that about with the
same liberality, when the first was gone.

As I watched them while they all stood clustered
about the forge enjoying themselves so
much, I thought what terrible good sauce for
a dinner my fugitive friend on the marshes was.
They had not enjoyed themselves a quarter so
much, before the entertainment was brightened
with the excitement he furnished. And now,
when they were all in lively expectation of " the
two villains" being taken, and when the bellows
seemed to roar for the fugitives, the fire to flare
for them, the smoke to hurry away in pursuit of
them, Joe to hammer and clink for them, and all
the murky shadows on the wall to shake at them
in menace as the blaze rose and sank and the red-
hot sparks dropped and died, the pale afternoon
outside, almost seemed in my pitying young
fancy to have turned pale on their account, poor

At last, Joe's job was done, and the ringing
and roaring stopped. As Joe got on his coat,
he mustered courage to propose that some of us
should go down with the soldiers and see what
came of the hunt. Mr. Pumblechook and Mr.
Hubble declined, on the plea of a pipe and
ladies' society; but Mr. Wopsle said he would
go, if Joe would. Joe said he was agreeable,
and he would take me, if Mrs. Joe approved.
We never should have got leave to go, I am sure,
but for Mrs. Joe's curiosity to know all about it
and how it ended. As it was, she merely stipulated,
" If you bring the boy back with his head
blown to bits by a musket, don't look to me to
put it together again."

The sergeant took a polite leave of the ladies,
and parted from Mr. Pumblechook as from a
comrade; though I doubt if he were quite as
fully sensible of that gentleman's merits under
arid conditions, as when something moist was
going. His men resumed their muskets and fell
in. Mr. Wopsle, Joe, and I, received strict
charge to keep in the rear, and to speak no word
after we reached the marshes. When we were
all out in the raw air and were steadily moving
towards our business, I treasonably whispered
to Joe, " I hope, Joe, we shan't find them." And
Joe whispered to me, "I'd give a shilling if
they had cut and run, Pip."

We were joined by no stragglers from the
village, for the weather was cold and threatening,
the way dreary, the footing bad, darkness coming
on, and the people had good fires in-doors and
were keeping the day. A few faces hurried to
glowing windows and looked after us, but none
came out. We passed the finger-post, and
held straight on to the churchyard. There, we
were stopped a few minutes by a signal from
the sergeant's hand, while two or three of his
men dispersed themselves among the graves, and
also examined the porch. They came in again without
finding anything, and then we struck out on
the open marshes, through the gate at the side
of the churchyard. A bitter sleet came rattling
against us here on the east wind, and Joe took me
on his back.

Now that we were out upon the dismal wilderness
where they little thought I had been
within eight or nine hours and had seen both
men hiding, I considered for the first time, with
great dread, if we should come upon them, would
my particular convict suppose that it was I who
had brought the soldiers there ? He had asked
me if I was a deceiving imp, and he had said I
should be a 'fierce young hound if I joined the
hunt against him. Would he believe that I
was both imp and hound in treacherous earnest,
and had betrayed him?

It was of no use asking myself this question
now. There I was, on Joe's back, and there was
Joe beneath me, charging at the ditches like
a hunter, and stimulating Mr. Wopsle not
to tumble on his Roman nose, and to keep
up with us. The soldiers were in front of us,
extended into a pretty wide line with an interval
between man and man. We were taking the
course I had begun with, and from which
I had diverged in the mist. Either the mist was
not out again yet, or the wind had dispelled it.
Under the low red glare of sunset, the beacon,
and the gibbet, and the mound of the Battery,
and the opposite shore of the river, were plain,
though all of a watery lead colour.

With my heart thumping like a blacksmith
at Joe's broad shoulder, I looked all about
for any sign of the convicts. I could see none, I
could hear none. Mr. Wopsle had greatly
alarmed me more than once, by his blowing and
hard breathing; but I knew the sounds by this
time, and could dissociate them from the object