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mysterious when they heard others wonder
at his disappearance without beat of drum.

About a week after Peter's departure, Mrs.
Jolly went to Mrs. Smoker to know if she had
seen anything of her husband. Mrs. Smoker
had not. Had Mrs. Jolly seen anything of
that brute Smoker? The two wives compared
notes: both husbands had been selling and
raising money. Smoker had raffled his
favourite mare Slap Bang, and Jolly had
collected all his largest Midsummer bills, and
taken her (Mrs. Jolly's) grandfather's silver
tankard. Both had packed up their Sunday
clothes, saddles, and guns. There was a
terrible hue and cry, which was not mollified
when letters came from the two absconding
husbandsone dated London, and the other
Liverpoolstating that they had only gone
to make their fortunes by a safe speculation,
and would be back in three months. Peter
had been suspected; but, what was odd, they
both asked after Peter, and desiredthe one,
that he might have the run of the ale-tap;
the other, that he might have a bit of beef
or mutton if he wanted it.

In the midst of the hubbub, Peter got down
one morning from the top of the coach from
the neighbouring town of Fuddleborough,
and crept into the midst of the gossips at
the Horse and Jockey before they were aware
of him. His story was very short and
straightforward; he had only been to draw his
pension; and he had seen Jolly at the Theatre
Royal Covent Garden very drunk, but had
not spoken to him. In less than an hour
he was closeted with Kinine, and he spent
the evening with the Churchwarden.

In another week it was announced that
Mr. Kinine had sold his business, and was
leaving the town for good. Some said he
was going to study for a physician; some
said he had inheritedothers said he was
ruined. At any rate he left, and was never
seen at Muddleborough any more. The last
time I heard of him he was lecturing on
Electro-Biologyor anything else
admittance twopence.

Very oddly, on the same week in which
Kinine gave up to his successor, Bluster, who
still keeps the establishment, Tammy the
Churchwarden went off to Manchesterto
buy goods, as he said, although it was not his
time of the year for buying. He left the shop
in charge of young Binks, who afterwards
married Mrs. Tammy. Tammy was away, six
months; during the whole of which period
poor Mrs. Tammy claimed to be distracted;
and when he came back he was "as thin as a
weasel, as bald as a coot, and as yellow as a
guinea." So Miss Spark declared; but very
few people saw him, for he took to his bed
and died: raving about treasure-waggons, and
the villain Peter, and doubloons. The day he
was buried, it all came out. Tammy had been
to Portugal with Peter; who, after travelling
up the country, had handed him over to the
police as a heretic-spy, and had departed with
mules, baggage, and all the money that was
to have been spent on the vineyard, the casks
with double bottoms, the waggons, and the
rest of the complete arrangements.

Poor Tammy, when discharged, had almost
to beg his way to Oporto; and there, the first
person he saw was Kinine, inquiring at the
police-office for the scoundrel Peter, who,
after a jollification in London had marched
off with his trunks and bank-billsthe
produce of his businessto join Tammy.

When poor Mrs. Tammy told this tale
at the funeral breakfast, the murder came
out. Peter had bamboozled the whole village.
Everybody, from the cobbler to the parson,
had made an investment in the Portuguese
treasure-well. Smoker went through the
Gazette; Jolly had to discharge his journeyman
and do his own killing; every one
had paid something for listening to Peter's
stories. He had swept the old womens'
stocking hoards, and the servant-girls' riband
savings; he had had fifty pounds and some
tracts from the Rector, and twice as much,
and a new gun from Mr. Closeleigh. The
banker had given him a hundred pounds
in his own one-pound notes. The village
schoolmaster had lent him his only five
pounds. In fact, he found our town a
perfect bank of credulity, and he had drained
it dry.

But Peter had committed no legal offence:
he had only told lies and borrowed money.
I heard of him from time to time, always as
being successful, until a few years ago, when
he made the mistake of taking a keen
American whom he picked up in a railway-
carriage, to Oporto. On this occasion, the
American came back and Peter did not.
When asked after his friend, the American
composedly remarked, "That having had a
difficulty with Peter, he had been obliged to
shoot him."


THE traveller, of reverend mien,
A wanderer from his youth had been;
Dwelt in the desert and the wood,
Escaped from earthquake, fire and flood;
And each dark point, each vivid hue,
   That lay on his wild pilgrimage,
Had melted to a moonlight view
   A quiet, beautiful old age.
And travel to his heart had brought
A world-wide stretch of kindly thought,
Had given his recollecting eye
Almost the tone of infancy.
And he could make the cheek turn pale,
Yet better loved some gentle tale
   Of love and truth to tell,
O'er which his heart refreshed would stay,
As traveller on some dusty way
   Might linger by a well.
And such a tale the ancient man
Here, at our fireside once began:—

It was my lot, 'mid Western woods,
To form a friendship firm and dear;