|Chapter Title||A ROAD PARTY STATION OF OLDEN TIME.|
|Newspaper Title||Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)|
|Trove Title||The Maxwells of Bremgarten|
THE MAXWELLS OF BREMGARTEN. A STORY OF TASMANIA. [Founded on Facts.] (ALL RIGHTS ARE RESERVED ) (Continued from Saturday 14th inst ) CHAPTER XXXV. A ROAD PARTY STATION OF OLDEN TIME. " Now then, come out o' that, Boxer, Drummer, bring your heads out o' that an' come huther (crack, crack), gee up, ye villyans, an' get to the station afore its dark. Come huther, I tell 'ee—shoutin' to ye till I'm hoarse (crack, crack goes the whip, whist go the bullocks' tails, and onward goes the dray, splash, splash through the yellow streams, on, on before the little bit of daylight that is left fades away into the blackness of a coal-pit). Gee up, ye infernal lot o' midnight trampin' rogues an' vagabones. Halloa, master, death an' thunder, here's a run go—whoa, back, whoa !—look here, master." The carrier, in obedience to this summons, came to the front, and saw with dismay that an enormous tree had been blown down right across the track, putting an effectual stop to his further progress until the impediment could be removed by the axe. To get round at either side was impossible, and to clear away the obstruction would require at least four hours of unremitting labor. He saw at once that he must remain where he was for that night, and with his usual gaity of spirits surveyed the untoward aspect of affairs with the best grace he could assume. But Edwin felt this new disappointment severely. He had not, like Baxter, spent fifty years in scrambling for a livelihood anywhere and by whatever means he could ; he was a stranger to the mysteries of roughing it in the wild bush, and felt no pleasure in encountering difficulties under such circumstances as these. His was a tender, almost an effeminate dis- position. He had been reared in the hip of comparative wealth and luxury, and now felt more bitterly than ever the hardship of his lot. He had hoped on reaching the station that night to be able to procure a dry blanket from some sympathizing indlividual wherein to wrap himself while his wet clothes were being dried by the hospitable fire ; now he had to turn in under Baxter's tarpaulin and sleep, if he could, with visions of rheumatism, tooth- ache, and a thousand other "ills that flesh is heir to" floating before him. The bullocks were taken fromt the dray and allowed to eat the leaves of the fallen tree, which they did with a relish imparted only by gaunt hunger, although it was a kind of forage at which at any other time the dainty animals would have turned up their noses. They were not unyoked, however, for in that case they would have followed the example of the crow already alluded to, and been many miles away before morning. Who could blame them, poor fellows ? During the night the wind blew with great violence, and the crashes of filling trees were listened to with great terror by the occupants of the bullock dray, who lay huddled up to- gether under the tarpaulin, not knowing the moment when they might be crushed to pieces. They did not suffer from the want of creature comforts, having made a hearty supper of damper and cold beef which Baxter had brought with him. A pannican of hot tea would have been a great luxury to Edwin, but to light a fire was an absolute impossibility. To com- pensate for this desideratum he was persuaded to take half a pint of rum and water, recom- mended by Baxter as an unfailing remedy in all cases of " damp, sudden shiverin', and lowness of sperits." Edwin found that it warmed his blood, and raised for the time being his sinking heart, and for sometime he lay listening to the moaning of the wind and the rush of the waters under the dray. The sounds acted like music on his senses. Hun- dreds of wild and scattered ideas wandered through his mind in a struggling, confused mass, leading from one strange scene to another, and merging at last into a glorious sunshine expanding over a woody glen, through which a clear rivulet bubbled amongst countless " rainbow colored" shells. The vision then faded into the blackness of night and a dreamless slumber. As soon as daylight appeared Baxter got out of his nest, raised up his man, and both set to work to clear away the branches of the fallen tree, in which labor they were assisted by Edwin after he had stretched his stiffened limbs and sent the chilled blood more freely through his veins by a rapid walk to and fro' along the muddy track. The carrier had brought an axe in his dray, he being too old a bushman to go any long journey without one, and it was kept going cheerfully by the three in turns, those who were not so engaged walking along the road and removing branches and other impediments The sky was now clear after the violent thunder storm, but the wind was still high, and rendered travelling through the forest extremely unsafe. How- ever, they were now near the end of their journey, and it was just as unsafe to go back as to go forward. The carrier tried to light a fire, but no dry leaves or twigs being to be had, his efforts were vain. His very tinder, snugly encased in a brass box, was damp, so that if a single spark took effect upon it the fiery speck would immediately expire in a gossamer streak of blue smoke The gun which he carried in order to intimidate the natives in case any of them should be en- countered was useless, having got wet, and would require to be cleaned before it could be of any service. After two hours' labor the party sat down to breakfast on their damper, beef, and water seasoned with rum. The cattle were allowed to grub for them- selves, their operations somewhat impeded by the chains by which they were secured in couples to different trees, this treatment being rendered necessary by the nature of the ground, as if they were allowed to wander for fifty yards they might have been lost for ever.
About three hours after breakfast the road was pronounced passable, and the travellers proceeded on their journey. They met with a few more impediments, but none of a serious nature, and at two o'clock arrived at the Government station at Saint Mary's Pass, safe but scarcely sound. Here the carrier decided to remain till next day, as it was too late to descend the Pass, and the men and bullocks required rest and refreshment. There was an enclosed piece of ground, whereon coarse grass grew, though not in great abundance, into which the cattle (with the permission of the Superintendent) were turned Edwin was then introduced by Baxter to a curious looking, stoutish, authori- tative individual rejoicing in the name of Benjamin Buffer, as a gentleman on his way to Hobart Town with letters of importance to his Excellency the Guv'nor. Mr. Buffer surveyed Edwin's person from head to foot with some deliberation, and then pointing with his finger to a little slab hut not far off invited him to walk into his quarters. These quarters were hardly so worthy of Mr. Buffer as he was of them. They con- sisted of a slab hut divided into two small apartments with a diminutive kitchen at the back, in which a personage in grey, with the letters S. M. P.* and figures 122 in white paint upon the back of his jacket, officiated as cook and housekeeper. The interior walls were plastered with mud, and this covered carefully with strong and thick whitewash give a refreshing smell, as well as a cheer- fully cool appearance to the sitting room. Mr. Buffer was a gentleman of some import- ance at St Mary's Pass. He was the assist- ant-superintendent or major-domo of the es- tablishment, immediately subordinate to nobody except Horatio Fitzfrizzle, Esq., the chief superintendent, who being a man of gentlemanly tastes and retired habits, and moreover being always engaged in watching through his overseers the discipline of the men under his charge, did not interfere with Mr. Buffer or his department. Mr. Buffer was a plethoric individual, with a redish face, greenish grey mackerel eyes, a short neck, short arms, thick coarse hands, and a rolling gait. He could read, write, and count up a little with the assistance of his fingers ; and his official notes to his chief were quite unique gems of English composition. He was nevertheless the son of a gentleman, as Horatio Fitzfrizzle, Esq., often took occasion to explain to the men whenever Mr. Buffer complained of their disrespect. To acknow- ledge Mr. Buffer to be himself a gentleman would no doubt have deprived the hat of Horatio Fitzfrizzle, Esq., of a whole tuft of feathers at once. And when the Superin- tendent at the close of an eloquent address informed his attentive auditors for the hun- dred and fiftieth time that Mr. Buffer was the chief subordinate officer, and the son of a gentleman, and should be supported in the execution of his dooty, the men laughed very heartily in their grey jacket sleeves, and Mr. Buffer himself invariably turned to his friend and adviser Mr. Phœbus Cowslip, the store- keeper, slowly winking one of the mackerel eyes and spreading out his hands behind him in feeble imitation of it peacock's fan, giving utterance at the mine time to an extraor- dinary guttural grunt, but maintaining a face of such solemn gravity that one might have fancied the fate of Britain was hanging in the balance in his thoughts " Walk into, my quarters," said Mr. Buffer slowly, and opening the door he walked in first himself to show the way. Edwin followed, glad to get under a roof again however humble. " Curious kind of weather this," said Mr. Buffer, looking apoplectically at Edwin as the latter drew up his chair close to the nearly empty fireplace ; " get wet last night ?" " We all got wet," answered Edwin, " and nearly perished to death with cold ; my limbs would be rigid if I had not walked all the morning." " Potter !" said Mr. Buffer addressing him- self to the mantleshelf. " Sir !" said a hoarse voice in the kit- chen. " Bring in some wood, Potter." " Yes, Sir." A roaring fire soon blazed on the hearth, a cheering sight to our weather-beaten traveller: the crackling of the fresh logs sounded plea- santly in his ears, and he prepared himself to enjoy the good things of the world as they came within his reach. As sitting in wet boots and stockings, to say nothing of his other garments, was not very comfortable, he requested Mr. Buffer's permission to take them off in order to dry his cold feet. That gentleman nodding acquiescence, drew from the recesses of a corner cupboard a long pipe, and prepared himself for the enjoyment of a whiff of the true Virginian weed. He leaned back in his chair, closed the mackerel eyes, and emitted the fragrant smoke in dense volumes from the corners of his capacious mouth. On the first occasion he had to with- draw his pipe, he turned to his guest and opening his eyes half-way, said—" Had dinner?" then shut his eyes again and smoked away. Edwin was compelled by his great devotion to truth to acknowledge that he had not tasted anything since nine o'clock that morn- ing, but having eaten it hearty breakfast he did not feel particularly hungry. The eyes again opened and gazed steadily at the mantel-shelf for about a minute, then the magic word " Potter," the " open sesame" of prospective entertainment, came out with a cloud of smoke. " Sir," said the ready occupant of the calf- pen behind. " Potter, put the kettle on." The eyes closed again and the smoke issued in volumes as before. " Potter," said Mr. Buffer, after a short pause. " Sir," said Potter. * St. Mary's Pass. The figures denoted the station number of the individual in question.
" Is the kettle on ?" " Yes, Sir." " Fry some chops." " Please, Sir, I can't," said Potter. " And why can't you, Potter ?" " Because, Sir, Mr. Cowslip, sent to bor- row the frying pan, Sir." " Come here, Potter," said Mr Buffer with slow solemnity, and the serving man ap- peared. " How dare you, Sir," said Buffer, with great severity, " lend my frying-pan to Mr. Cowslip or Mr. Anybody else ?" " Please, Sir, I didn't think it was any harm," said Potter, submissively. " Potter, you're a scoundrel—go for that frying-pan instantly—do you hear, Potter ?— a scoundrel—instantly !" said Buffer, em- phatically. Potter vanished, and his master once more closed his mackerel eyes and continued to puff away at his pipe. Presently the mes- senger returned, making a noise in the kitchen as if with the design of attracting attention. " Have you got it ?" said Buffer. " No, sir," answered Potter. "And why not, Sir ?" said his master rousing himself, and looking about him like a lion awakened from sleep. " Because, Sir, Mr. Cowslip is using it, and he says if you want your frying-pan, Sir, you must wait till he's done with it." " That won't do, Potter, we must get that frying-pan," said Buffer, rising and putting his pipe back on its shelf. " Now, Mr. What's-your Name, I'll just trouble you to keep the door open, and if I come in in a bit of a hurry shut it and make it fast." So saying, Mr. Buffer put on his hat and went out. Edwin stood by the door ready to shut and lock it as soon as his host returned, and in about five minutes the sounds of a distant commotion struck on his ear. He could not help laughing when he looked out and saw Buffer in the act of rushing out of the store with the frying-pan in his hand, pursued by a tallish, raw-boned gentleman with black whiskers and a green coat, who rushed after him with strides similar to those taken by Goliath when he advanced to meet David, and seized the retreating proprietor of the dis- puted article by the coat tails with firm grasp. But the progress of our major-domo was not to be so stopped. He adroitly slipped his left arm out of his coat, then shifted the frying-pan to his left hand, and drew his right arm forth—thus leaving his coat in the hands of his baffled pursuer. Then it was that Mr. Buffer ran for his life ; perhaps he never ran so fast before, and certainly he did not seem cut out by nature to win races by swiftness of foot, whatever he might do by cunning. The tall gentleman, like a second Blunderbore, followed him up closely, coat in hand. This gentleman was followed in his turn by no less it personage than Mr. Timothy Baxter, whom he was going to entertain, the worthy carrier adding considerably to the outcry by shouting, " Houraw—stop him— trip him up—knock him down—go it, long- shanks—peg away, furlong," &c., while a number of idle dogs rushed from where they had been skulking, and a row of heads popped out of the windows of the overseers' cottages, and the gentlemen in grey about the station cheered and danced at seeing such good sport. In the midst of the hubbub Mr. Buffer rushed into his quarters, panting and puffing, and the door was instantly fastened by Edwin, regardless of the storm of kicks, thumps, and furious threats with which the tall gentleman assailed it. Mr. Buffer deposited his frying-pan, which was full of nice brown mutton chops, hot from the storekeeper's fire, on his own hob, and sitting down in his chair gave way to a succession of most extraordinary giggles, mingled with gallant efforts to regain his lost breath. The mackerel eyes twinkled with triumph and delight. The kicks at the front door suddenly ceased, and Buffer, suspecting the reason, called out, " Look out, Potter, he's going round to the back." But the back door was securely bolted. Then after a pause a scramble was heard on the roof of the major-domo's quarters. " Look out, Potter," said Mr. Buffer, " he's coming down the chimney—bring me the kettle and the panni- can, I'll sprinkle him." A few more vain scrambles on the roof were followed by a prolonged rumble, as if the party above had lost his hold and shot somewhat rapidly to the ground below. The storekeeper, seeing that he could not force an entry without re- sorting to a battering ram, thought it better to continence at parley. " Let us in, Buffer," said the storekeeper. " Not I," said Buffer. " Do, like a good fellow," said Mr. Cow- slip. " Good fellow if you like, but I'll see you hanged first," said the Assistant-Superinten- dent. " I'll report you to Fitzfrizzle for stealing my mutton," said Phœbus. " Go away, or I'll knock your nose off for sticking to my frying-pan," said Benjamin. " Come, open the door, and let's go snacks. I'll send for another lot of chops and a capital dish of fritters and sugar," said the store- keeper persuasively. " Is it to be honor bright and no more squalls ?" asked Buffer. " Honor bright as I wear a head," replied Cowslip. " Then I think we may open the door," said Buffer to Edwin ; " but mind Cowslip, if you attempt to run away with these chops I'll throw something after you that will spoil them for eating. Now Potter, lay this table and bring in the tea, will you." The door was consequently opened and Mr. Phœbus Cowslip made his entry, fol- lowed by Mr. Timothy Baxter. The former flushed with his recent exercise, pitched his hat into the corner cupboard, from which Buffer instantly ejected it without ceremony ; nodded familiarly to Edwin upon the host's
pointing at him and mentioning his name, and then sat down. Baxter took a seat also, but seemed rather backward in the presence of the major-domo, until that illustrious indi- vidual condescended to say— " Come up to the fire, Baxter, and consider my house your own my friend." " Yes, and a valuable property it would be," said Cowslip addressing his friend Buffer, " if you were to stick to it all your life as head guardian of the pantry, and sca- venger:of the pigstye." Buffer smiled and politely enquired of Mr. Cowslip if his maternal parent was aware of his temporary absence from his present domi- cile adding that if it would appear that the excellent lady was in ignorance thereof, he (Buffer) would make it his particular duty to find her out and make her acquainted with the important fact. And when he had said this he rubbed his hands, casting an amorous glance on the frying pan and its attractive contents. " Now Potter," said Mr. Buffer, " we are waiting for you ; these gentlemen are nearly starved to death, and I'm getting a little peckish myself." " Coming directly, Sir," said Potter. " He says he's peckish," said Cowslip to Baxter in a loud whisper, " never know him to be otherwise ; he'd eat me out of house and home if I'd let him—he'd eat a bullock in a week—he's a cannibal. He shot a blackfellow in the bush last Friday, and goes out every night like a ghoul to have a feed. Nice fellow isn't he ?" " Precious nice," answered Baxter, grin- ning and looking up to the ceiling in pre- tended horror. " You must'nt let your friend sleep with him to-night," continued Cowslip, " it would be dangerous ; there would be nothing but his bones left in the morning—and not even them, for Potter will chop them up and boil them down to make a pot of fat to grease his hair with: you won't let him will you ?" " Not by no means," said Baxter highly, delighted. " If you do I'll bring you in as accessory in the middle of the fact, and swear I caught you picking a thigh bone —." The imagi- native discourse of Mr. Cowslip was here cut short by the entrance of Potter bearing the teapot, &c., and the four drew lip their chairs and commenced a furious attack on the chops. " Nice gentlemen these, Sir," said Baxter to Edwin ; " if you get a Guv'ment appoint- ment you'll be introdooced to them as knows somethin' about life." " I've spent my life man and boy for thirty years," said the storekeeper, " as innocent as a baby, and no man could say I was a rascal until after I became acquainted with Benjamin Buffer, son of a gentleman." " Haw, haw !" roared the carrier. " Come, Cowslip," said Buffer, " it is quite time you clipped that free and easy tongue of yours. I overheard your other observations just now, and very complimentary they were. Be good enough to recollect that there is one gentleman in the company at least." " I'll answer for that," said Cowslip, " and Fitzfrizzle himself would allow that I am one, although he never dubs you more than the son of one. And as you are good enough to allude to me as such, I will not forget to give you a lift when my friend Colonel Arthur comes to see me." Buffer smiled, Baxter laughed, and Edwin hid his countenance in a cup of hot tea. " To make you laugh at the wrong side of your mouth, Baxter," said the storekeeper, " two constables came up from the township this morning, and told me that a hundred and fifty blacks were seen on the beach last week ; they're gone south, and it is suspected that they mean mischief, for they're all got spears and waddies. You must keep a sharp look-out and don't tell them you've got any butter, or they will daub you all over with it and lick you to death." " P'rhaps you'll be so good as to lend me a grey-jackets' corporal's guard to see this gen- tleman safe on board, and me down the pass and up again," said Baxter. " You must ask Buffer," replied Cowslip, " that's his department ; promise to bring him something tender for his harness-cask, and he'll do it in a minute." " I must consult Fitzfrizzle," said Mr. Buffer. " Can't do such a thing on my own responsibility. I will write him a note—some more mutton chop, Mr. ——— , I forget your name already." " Herbart, Sir," replied Edwin, " I think I will trouble you for another chop—thank you." In a short time the appetites of all were appeased—the fritters and sugar promised by the storekeeper appeared duly and disap- peared—and Potter was directed to clear away the things: Put glasses and hot water on the table, Potter," said Mr. Cowslip. " See you've been in luck again, Cowslip," said Buffer ; " I am glad to hear it ; a glass of hot grog will do us no harm, so go for the needful at once.'' " O, I'm looking to you," responded Cow- slip, " you don't think you can keep three or four bottles of real Jamaica in that box un- known to me. I havn't got a drop in my house if it was to save me from Buffer- phohia." " I believe that's true," said Buffer, " you never could keep a drop in your house ; I lent you two bottles one day, and you finished them in four hours. I have only one bottle now and I promised that to Fitz- frizzle, but I will venture one small drop on account of this young gentleman, or else not one drop should you taste, Cowslip, I know your weakness." " I assure you," said Edwin, " you need not open it on my account." " O! confound the stupid fool," said the storekeeper aside to Baxter, " get him to bite his tongue off—well, make haste,
Buffer, I'm dying with influenza, and tea always makes me worse." The major-domo unlocked his box accord- ingly, and drew forth the important bottle which he laid on the table, but perceiving that Cowslip was preparing to pounce upon it with avidity, he took it up again and re- quested that gentleman to hold his glass. This, the storekeeper did, telling his friend at the same time that he was beginning to feel ashamed of being in the company of such a miserable screw. Buffer next desired Herbart to help himself, then filled out a glass for the carrier, and after pouring out a quantity for his own peculiar consumption he corked his bottle carefully, and put it on the mantel-shelf close to his own elbow. An animated conversation sprang up. Pipes were lit, and as the genial cloud floated over the heads of the smokers it seemed to give warning that their airy castles might pos- sibly prove to be constructed of as flimsy a material as itself. Anecdotes of a very de- lightful character were related by the store- keeper, who was it very agreeable follow in- deed over a bottle. He congratulated Edwin upon his intention of going by sea to Hobart Town, for, he said, the interior of the country was nearly impassable, the blacks were up in whole regiments, and intended to murder everybody they could find. Edwin thought of Henry Arnott and his sister. Mr. Cowslip told him he might make sure of a good situation, and was, altogether, spirited and amusing. " Come, Buffer, I'll take another thimble- full," said Cowslip. " Not another drop of this will you taste this day, my dear fellow," answered the assistant-superintendent. " O don't say that. Well you are the most niggardly ruffian that I ever--—well, it's no matter ; wait till Arthur comes up, I'll give him a wrinkle or two about you. Excuse me, Mr. Herbart, I have to serve out some pork to the soldiers ; I'll be back again directly." " Don't hurry yourself," said Buffer is the storekeeper rose and left the room. In a short time Mr. Cowslip returned and took his seat, and in a few minutes Potter came in with a message to his master from the watchman on duty, who wanted to see him immediately. Buffer went out to his kitchen, and Cowslip left his seat in order to address a confidential remark to Edwin : " If you get a good situation," said he, " in town, where there's not much to do, I'll exchange with you ; a storekeeper's billet is worth any man's while, I can tell you, though sixty pounds a year is not much—but then there's the pickings, you know : and to get a good situation you must dodge the Governor about everywhere—don't give him any peace at all." As Cowslip spoke he sidled up to the mantle-shelf on which stood Buffer's bottle of rum, then retired to his seat again. Mr. Buffer came back looking rather grave. He took the bottle from the mantle-shelf, locked it up in his box, and said to Herbart, " Excuse me, I must go to the cells ; there's a troublesome fellow there feigning madness, and nobody can go near him but me. I'll see the Superintendent about those men, Baxter, and let you know in the morning what he says." " Well, come along Baxter," said the storekeeper, " there's nothing more to be got in this miserable hole. Good afternoon, Mr. Herbart." So saying, Mr. Cowslip pressed Edwin's hand affectionately, and withdrew, followed by the carrier, who seemed ready to burst with laughter or something else. Edwin was now left to ruminate by the fire alone. He felt comparatively happy at his approaching deliverance from this land of bad report and continually recurring dangers. He fondly hoped that he had seen the worst, and prayed with indescribable fervor that the being he most loved on earth would be pre- served through all impending storms. While thus silently employed, his host returned after half-an-hour's absence ; without speaking he put a dusty ink-bottle and a sheet of paper on the table, sat down and wrote as follows :— Stylus Richard, per ship Ragmuffin the 3rd. Sir.— I entertain considerable doubts concern- ing the sanity of the convict named in the margin. Reason is evidently hurled from her ancestral throne, and the once brilliant horizon of the strong man's intellect is obscured by clouds of darkness. He sent for me just now, and told me that a mope hawk had whispered through the key-hole that I cheated him out of part of his rations every day—that I was a horrid wretch and should be flogged to death as soon as his commission as Flagellator General arrives from the Emperor of the Polar Bears. He wound up by assaulting me with the contents of his wash tub, which I had some difficulty in avoiding. I have again put on the strait waistcoat. His case, I venture with deference to suggest, might be re- ported to the medical department. Baxter, the carrier, is come when better, &c., belonging to Mr. Earlsley and others, to go on board the Betty. Baxter wants five or six men to help him down to the beach they say the blacks were seen going south in great force. I am, Sir, Your obedient servant, B. BUFFER. This document having been carefully folded like a square comet, and directed on the tail to H. Fitzfrizzle, Esq., was dispatched by Potter to the Superintendent's quarters. The messenger returned in a few minutes with a verbal reply to the effect that the supterinten- dent would see Mr Buffer presently. Mr. Buffer sat down and smoked his pipe, observing to Edwin that Mr. Fitzfrizzle smoked himself and did not mind the smell. The pipe was smoked in silence and laid by ; various weighty affairs hung upon the mind of the smoker. When he spoke it was with an air of importance and decision. He in- formed Edwin that Mr. Cowslip was a per- feet specimen of the natural family of the sponges, with many clever tricks at command, and not a despicable fund of low wit, but for all that he was quite unable to 'do' him (Buffer). " As for me," said he, in
continuation with a tremulous motion of the greenish grey eyes, " I am a somewhat silent but very shrewd observer of passing events." Just then a stately step was heard at the door, an aristocratic knock followed, the major domo said " Come in," and Horatio Fitzfrizzle, Esq., came in. He was a dapper gentleman of middle size, with a fair effemi- nate complexion, and was dressed in a respect- able light shooting coat and other garments to correspond. Buffer rose up as he entered and so did Edwin ; the former introduced the latter as " the gentleman who goes by the Betty." Fitzfrizzle bowed, took a seat, and immediately entered into conversation with his subordinate on the contents of the note already transcribed. This lasted about an hour, the superinten- dent rose to go. It was getting gloomy for night was falling rapidly, and the atmos- phere being still charged with heavy clouds, did not reflect that sweetly lingering twilight peculiar to autumn evenings, by which fond lovers in the "hues of youth " delight to ramble. Buffer lugged out his bottle and asked his chief if he would take it with him now or would he prefer to have it sent to his quarters. The chief said he would take it with him, but would insist that Buffer and his guest took a glass each be- fore he did so. The proposition was resisted, but in vain ; the Superintendent's will was law. Glasses and water were ordered in, and Fitzfrizzle poured out the re- quisite quantity of liquor into each tumbler, then filling his nearly to the brim with water, he said, " a toast, gentlemen,—I'll give you a toast—' Our noble selves and the lasses we love best !' "—and raised his tumbler to his lips with a flourish. Hastily putting it down again and wiping his lips, he exclaimed " By Jove, Mr. Buffer, this is real Jamaica, and no mistake !" Buffer tasted the liquid, turned, and spat deliberately into the fire ; these jumping about the room with foaming rage, he ex- claimed —" By the immortal thunder of Jupiter that horrible villain Cowslip has done me at last—he has taken away my bottle of rum and left this infernal vinegar in its place." The frantic shrewd observer might possibly have done some damage had not Fitzfrizzle after laughing till his face grew purple, requested him to think no more of the matter, comforting him with the assur- ance that the rum was now disposed of to the satisfaction of the storekeeper and his friend. Then wishing Edwin and his entertainer good night, he departed. " How long have you been here ?—do you like this kind of life ?" said Edwin, as after a comfortable tea he rolled himself in his dry blanket in a corner of Buffer's room. " A little better than one year," replied Buffer, " and I like it as well as race-horses do cayenne pepper." " Mope-hawk," said a mysterious voice outside the door, " who cheats lunatics out of their grub ?—who steals storekeeper's mutton ?—who is the shrewd observer of pass- ing events, and keeps vinegar for his friends to drink ? Buffer—' The major-domo sprang from his pillow, seized a chair, opened the door in a twink- ling, and hurled the article out upon the dis- turber of his peace. There immediately followed a rush and a scramble, and the "haw haw" of the carrier was heard dis- tinctly above the tumult of the station watch- dogs (To be Continued.)