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When the cloud lifted and dispersed in the
twilight grey, no trace of the city remained;
where it had stood, lay Simmer Water.



         WHEREFORE pinest thou, my bird?
         Thy sweet song is never heard,
         All a bird's best joys surround thee
         Ever since the day I found thee.
         Once thy voice was free and glad,
         Tell me why art thou so sad?
         If this coarse thread cause thy pain,
         Thou shalt have a silken chain.

         Still thy voice Is ever mute.
         Can I not thy fancies suit?
         Will not silk content thy mind?
         Must I something richer find?
         Pray then droop no more thy head,
         Thou shalt have a silver thread
         Glittering silver thread is thine;
         Surely now thou canst not pine!

         What? in vain? Then must I try
         To humour still thy vanity;
         Thou shalt have a royal chain,
         Since silk and silver are too plain:
         Raise thy head and proudly sing,
         For behold, thou peevish thing,
         I tie thee with a golden string!

         Well then, since in vain I try,
         Ungrateful bird, to please thee, fly!
         Take thee to thy woods again,
         Since thy heart, so full of pain,
         Stifles thy melodious strain!


         Ah! these chains are bright and fine,
         But for these I did not pine.
         Thou hast made me once more free,
         And I longed for liberty.
         Keep, O keep thy chains of gold,
         But let them ne'er a captive hold:
         What is silver, to the sheen
         Of the dewdrops on the green?
         What is gold to beams of light
         That thread the misty morning bright?
         Naught glads me but my own free will,—
         Chains of gold are fetters still.




SECURE as I tried to feel in my change of
costume, my cropped hair, and my whiskerless
cheeks, I kept well away from the coach-
window, when the dinner at the inn was over
and the passengers were called to take their
places again. Thus farthanks to the
strength of my grasp on his neck, which had
left him too weak to be an outside-passenger
Screw had certainly not seen me; and, if I
played my cards properly, there was no
reason why he should see me before we got
to our destination. Throughout the rest of
the journey I observed the strictest caution,
and fortune seconded my efforts. It was dark
when we got to Shrewsbury. On leaving the
coach, I was enabled, under cover of the
night, to keep a sharp watch on the proceedings
of Screw and his Bow Street ally. They
did not put up at the hotel; but walked
away to a public-house. There, my clerical
character obliged me to leave them at the

I returned to the hotel, to make inquiries
about conveyances. The answers informed
me that Crickgelly was a little fishing-
village, and that there was no coach direct to
it, but that two coaches running to two
small Welsh towns situated at nearly equal
distances from my destination, on either side
of it, would pass through Shrewsbury the
next morning. The waiter added, that I could
book a placeconditionallyby either of
these vehicles; and that, as they were always
well-filled, I had better be quick in making
my choice between them. Matters had
now arrived at such a pass, that nothing
was left for me but to trust to chance. If I
waited till the morning to see whether
Screw and the Bow Street runner travelled
in my direction, and to find out, in case they
did, which coach they took, I should be
running the risk of losing a place for myself,
and so delaying my journey for another day.
This was not to be thought of. I told the
waiter to book me a place in which coach
he pleased. The two were called respectively
The Humming Bee, and The Red Cross
Knight. The waiter chose the latter.

Sleep was not much in my way that night.
I rose almost as early as Boots himself
breakfastedthen sat at the coffee-room
window looking out anxiously for the two
coaches. Nobody seemed to agree which
would pass first. Each of the inn servants of
whom I inquired made it a matter of
partisanship, and backed his favourite coach with
the most consummate assurance. At last, I
heard the guard's horn and the clatter of the
horses' hoofs. Up drove a coachI looked
out cautiouslyit was the Humming Bee.
Three outside places were vacant; one
behind the coachman; two on the dickey.
The first was taken immediately by a farmer,
the secondto my unspeakable disgust and
terrorwas secured by the inevitable Bow
Street runner; who, as soon as he was up,
helped the weakly Screw into the third
place, by his side. They were going to
Crickgelly; not a doubt of it, now.

I grew mad with impatience for the arrival
of the Red Cross Knight. Half an hour passed
forty minutesand then I heard another
horn and another clatter and the Red Cross
Knight rattled up to the hotel-door at full
speed. What if there should be no vacant
place for me! I ran to the door with a
sinking heart. Outside, the coach was
declared to be full.

''There is one inside place," said the
waiter, " if you don't mind paying the——"