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about it." There was Draycot Farm, below
Hewish, " where old Harry Pike used to live
him as strangled himself in his garters; they
buried him down there where you see that
round-topped bush, just at the cross-roads; his
coffin was nothing but a few boards with no top
to it; they drove a blackthorn stake through
his bodythat's the very bush you're looking
atits grow'd to almost a tree, and bears
hedge-speakes (sloes) now, but few people eat
'em except boys that don't know the story
not but what boys will eat anythingI used
to myself when I was one. They tell a queer
story about old Harry Pike. You see, the
reason why he killed himself was, they say,
because he had wronged his brother's widow
out of a lot of moneypoor Tom Pike was in
the waggon line between Melksham and
Frome, and down away there by Wells, and
he and Harry was partners. She got a lawyer
from BathI forget his nameand he took
it into court, but they never could prove
nothing agin old Harry, whatever they
thought: and after the trial, one Sunday
afternoon, as he was adrinking at the White
Horsethat's the public-house, at Wotton-Rivers,
the village down there by the church
a man as I knowone Jem Taylorput it to
old Harry about his brother's widow; and
he and some more went on ever so long, and
at last old Harry he fell on his knees, right
in the middle of the parlour, down on the
sandy floor, and prayed that his soul might
never quite his body if he'd ever taken a
shilling of his brother's money, alive or dead; and
he looked so white and awful when he got up
agin that Jem Taylor, nor none of 'em, didn't
like to say no more to him. Well, after that,
he seemed to be a miserable man; nothing
didn't go right with him, and he got worse
and worse; and one day- that was on a
Sunday afternoon toojust three year
afterward, he was found strangled in the back
kitchen of his house, sitten in a cheer, with
one of his own garters twisted right round
his neck, and his face as black as one of them
yoes. Nobody had done it but himself, for
the door was locked inside, and nothing was
touched. Well, they buried him, as I told
you, but it wasn't much use buryin' him after
the false oath he had took, for then the truth
come out. You perhaps will hardly believe
it, sir, but though the stake was driv right
through his body, they couldn't keep him
down in his grave; he was always a turnin'
and heavin', and every day for weeks and
weeks the mould was turned up as fresh as
if you'd done it with a spade. Harry Pike's
soul hadn't quitted his body! When the
blackthorn came to grow, then the ground
lay still, but whether that tree will ever die
or no nobody knows: if it does, it must die
of itself, for folks hereabouts always calls it
Harry Pike's tree, and never goes no nigher
to it than they can help.

"Ah! many queer things has happened in
that valley, even in my time, let alone afore
then. You've heard tell of Jack-o'-lantern,
perhaps? Well, he's been scores of times in
the mash there, this side of the Kennet and
Avon canal. I once saw him myself about a
mile off; he'd a lantern in his hand as plain to
be seen as your face, or mine. No! I could'nt
make him out exactly, and whether he's like
a man, or no, I won't venture to say, but when
once you get 'tangled with Jack there's no
gettin' rid of him till daylight, unless you
lay yourself flat down on your face. There
was William Bullock, he's dead now, but
when he was young, he went one night to
court his sweetheart, Mary Moore, at Wotton
Riversshe's living, and tells the story, so we
know it to be true. Well, this young man,
after parting with Mary Moore, 'twixt nine
and ten at nightour country folks always
goes to bed about that timehe took his way
home agin; it was in June, one of them hot
foggy evenings we have hereabouts, and just
as he was coming nigh the Goblin's Hole
that's where the bank moulders away both
sides of the road, in the hollowthere Jack
'tangled him. He hadn't the sense to lay
down, and first Jack dragged him through the
brith-hedge (quickset) by the toll-path, then
he got him into the canal, after that into the
long copse, then over the canal agin, into the
mash, and so up by the woods, right under
Martin's Hill, what we're on now; and when
he got home in the morning, his face and
hands was scratched all overif he'd been
fighting all night with cats, they couldn't
have marked him worse, his clothes was
pretty nigh torn off his back, and he was so
bad altogether he kept his bed for a week,
He always said 'twas Jack done it, and so
Mary Moore says to this day."

But dismal tales were more the staple
commodity of the narrator, than lightor
ludicrous incidents, and one of that description
in all probability, it was his cheval de bataille
he gave, as nearly as I can recollect, in the
following words:—

"If you look away to the right, from where
you're sitten, keeping your eye along the road,
till you come to the end of that plantation
the Fiddle Plantation, we calls it, because it's
shaped like oneyou'll see the chimbleys and
part of the gable-end of a farm-house, built
of dark red brick. It's a low-built house,
with wings to it that juts out in front, but the
trees hides 'em from here. That's called
Hewish Farm. It stands by itself like, though
there's only two meadows betwixt it and
Hewish. Hewish was a large city once, but
it's only a poor village now; you may count
the houses, there ain't above twenty, and not
a public-house among 'em, so that the farm is
a lonely kind of place after all; perhaps if
the house was smaller it wouldn't seem so.
About fifty years ago, when I was quite a boy,
one Mr Reeve used to live at Hewish Farm.
He was a sort of gentleman-farmer; that's
to say, his relations wasn't poor people, and
he'd no call to look after the farm himself, if