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he hadn't been minded to. But he took a
liking to it as soon as he was his own master,
and so he went on, till he got to be thirty
year old, never thinking of nothing, but
sowing the land, and getting the crops, and breeding
sheep, and such like. He was a well-looking
man, and people thought it a pity he
didn't get a wife, and make himself a
comfortable home; not but what Hewish was
comfortable enough, only he was alone in it.
There was plenty of young women in Marlbro',
respectable tradesmen's daughters, and
what not, would only have been glad enough
to have him if he'd asked 'em. But that
wasn't to be.

"One summer's evening,—I've heard my
father tell the story so often it seems how as
if I'd been there myself, — one summer's
evening Mr. Reeve had been round the farm,
and was going home to his supper, when he saw
my fatherhe worked therejust finishing
something he had in hand, hoeing turnips
I think it wasand so he stopped to speak to
him. While they was talking, mostly about
the weather and harvest prospects, they
hears a sharp, rattling noise like a horse's
hoofs galloping very hard. The field they
.stood in was close to the road, and both of
'em runs to the hedge to see what was
coming. Sure enough it was a horse and
.a lady upon it, galloping down Hewish hill
as if she was riding a race. How the horse
kept his legs down that steep pitch was a
wonder, but how the lady kept her seat was
a greater; she seemed, my father said, to
have been born in a saddle, and perhaps he
wasn't far wrong. But twas'nt for pleasure
she rode down Hewish Hill at that rate, good
rider as she was. Her horse had runned
away with her, and so she come, whether she
would or no. It was bad enough for the hill
to be so steep, but there was something
worse than thata chalk-pit that stood at
the turn of the road, about half-way down.

' If that creetur,' says my father, 'don't
catch sight of the pit, it's all up.' On they
come, howsever, straight on end; there
warn't no time for the horse to turn if he'd
been ever so minded to, the coomb you see
being so steep, and he so much way on him.
But if the horse did'nt see the pit, the lady
did. And what do you think she does?
Instead of throwing herself off, or screaming,
or pulling at the rein, she gives her horse's
head a lift, lays into him with her whip as
hard as she can cut, and away they flies right
into the middle of the air. Dashed to pieces
among the flints at the bottom of the pit was
all my father and Mr Reeve ever looked for,
but there must have been a good spring in
that horsea bright bay he was, my father
saidfor he landed clear on the lower side
of the pit, right away among some peggall
bushes (whitethorn) that grow'd at the edge;
it was full five and twenty foot that jump, if it
was an inchto say nothing of the drop.
But that warn't all; there the lady set; if
she'd been a stattoo cut out of stone along
with the horse she could'nt have set steadier.
' A good leap that!' was all she said; and
then she made a queer kind of laugh, and
stared round, and her hands begun to tremble.
But her courage come back agin when the
bay horse begun to struggle to get out of the
bushes, though by that time my father and
Mr. Reeve was over the hedge and close
alongside her, and Mr. Reeve he caught hold of the
bridle to keep the horse from backing into
the pit, as he might have done;  and so
amongst them the lady got safe out. The
first thing as Mr. Reeve asked her was, how
she felt herself? Thirsty, she said she was,
and wanted a glass of water. Well, there
warn't no water to be had no nigher than
Mr. Reeve's pondPit Pond we calls itjust
below his house, so the least he could do was
to ask the lady to step in to the farm, and
take some refreshment there. She did'nt
make no difficulty, being so dry; but though he
offered her ale and cyder, and even wine,
nothing but water would she touch, and my
father he run out with a jug and filled it out
of Pit Ponda clear, bright pool it was then,
like a fountain, you could count every flint
that lay at the bottom, — and just as he was
bringing of it in he saw somebody else come
riding down Hewish hill, shouting with all
his might. So when he'd set the jug down
he run out into the road and met a gentleman
on horseback, looking very wild and fiery,
who asked him in a thick sort of voice if he'd
seen a lady ride by. My father then rold
him what had happened, and how the lady
was inside of Mr. Reeve's house at that
moment; on which the gentleman jumps off
his horse, and without so much as telling my
father to hold him, rushes in too, calling out
'Emily! Emily!' 'My dear John!' she cries
as soon as she sees him, and she falls into his
arms, all but fainting.

"When she'd recovered herself a bit, the
gentleman begins to thank Mr. Reeve for his
hospitality to his sister;—he, Mr. Reeve, said
afterwards to my father, it made his heart
jump like to hear the lady was only his sister;
he'd never felt anything of the sort before,
and could'nt keep his eyes off her, and a
beautiful creature she was, not more than
nineteen year old, with such lovely eyes, and
the sweetest voice that ever was heard."

To abridge the shepherd's story, which
lasted a live-long hour, it appeared that the
gentleman and lady had only just arrived in
that part of the country, and were staying at
the Castle inn at Marlborough. They had
brought their horses with them, and being out
for an evening ride, the lady's horse had run
away and taken the road to Hewish. Having
witnessed what had happened, and being so
near, Mr. Reeve rode over the next morning
to Marlborough to pay his respects and ask
after the lady. He found her quite well, but
alone, her brother having been obliged to
go to London on some pressing business.