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still the reputation of drawing the principal part of his gains from another source; that is, he held communication with those hardy and adventurous mariners who, declining the protection of the national flag, plough the seas on their own account, and often reap a richer harvest from those supposed barren plains than the most indefatigable tillers of the ground derive from the fat fields of Essex. In short, Bennet was a smuggler, and this

may be supposed to account for the slovenliness of his farming operations, which subjected him to the sneers and contempt of his rural neighbours. But what cared he ? His purse was better replenished than theirs, and his house filled with fatter flitches of bacon, and larger corbels of meal, a greater store of red herrings, and all those other delicate luxuries which constitute the delight of such hardy epicures. His reputation increased with his comforts. Every man throughout the large scattered parish knew Tom Bennet, and Tom Bennet's mule was reported to be well acquainted with the paths to all the farm-houses thereabouts; where, with a pace stealthy as charity's, modestly, and under the cover of night, he deposited the means of manufacturing punch, dog's-nose, bishop, with other cordials for low spirits.

The traders with whom Tom did business usually

put in upon a retired part of the coast, about four miles off, at those hours of the night which the less industrious section of the community devote to sloth and indulgence in their beds. These honest people appeared to stand in no need of sleep, more particularly when the moon happened to have retired to those caverns beyond the ocean where the interlunar revels are supposed to be celebrated. They were the greatest possible enemies to ostentation. However hardy or heroic might be their deeds, they cared not if they remained for ever in obscurity; and Tom Bennet was much of the same mind.

This daring son of his wits had a helpmate worthy to share the fortunes of one so unsophisticated. She overtopped him by a head, which is not saying a great deal, for though square, sturdy, and by no means deficient in thews and sinews, Tom's stature was moderate as his ambition, while Betty lacked little of the height of a grenadier. She was of stern and masculine countenance, and her dark elf-locks, hanging in irregular masses over her forehead and cheeks, gave her the appearance of a gigantic gipsy. Further to improve this likeness, she generally caparisoned herself in her husband's great-coat of dirty drab, with buttons like crown-pieces; and thus equipped she might often be seen late at night stalking down the narrow pathways or sheep tracks leading from their dwelling towards the coast.

On a dark blustering night, Tom set out early on a visit to the cove under Penmawr Cliffs, where he usually transacted business with his sea-faring friends. He knew very well that he had little to fear from Mr. Howell, the tide-waiter, or from Mr. Rice, the exciseman, both of whom were usually to be found at such hours in the well-sanded and comfortable parlour of the Three Mariners, discussing politics over a bumper of heavy-wet. It is even whispered that the jolly landlord, by way of a joke, and to try their loyalty, used to treat them at parting to a bowl of whiskey-punch, for the principal ingredient of which he was indebted to Mr. Thomas Bennet.

This valuable subject, as I have said, had set out early in the evening, and Betty, according to instructions, left home with a sturdy mule about eleven o'clock. For the sake of variety, and other reasons easy to be guessed, the smugglers did not always fix

upon the same place for their rendez-vous, but sometimes met on the mountain side, sometimes in little cross-roads, and now and then on the King's high-way. The last was the case on the present occasion : Betty, as had been agreed upon, took her station under a spreading old oak where a small shady lane branched off towards the sea-shore. What the nature of her contemplations may have been, I will not pretend to explain. As time ad

vanced without bringing her husband, she grew exceedingly impatient. Few sounds broke the stillness of the night. The seamew, the gull

, or the curlew from time to time wheeled screaming overhead, and the loud wind whistled fiercely in the pine grove, which stretched along the highway. But this was a kind of music which had few charms for Mrs. Bennet. The notes her ear delighted in were the footsteps of Tom's Rosinante, rendered doubly heavy by the weight of kegs. But for these she now listened in vain. Presently, however, the loud roll of carriage-wheels approaching the position she had taken up, monopolised her attention. The circumstance was somewhat strange. For though the road led from the principal town in the county to that of Abertâf, she had seldom, at such an hour, been disturbed by any similar apparition. Nevertheless it being extremely dark, Betty thought it scarcely possible that she should be perceived; and at all events there was little danger that persons in a carriage should pause to speculate on the nature of her business there. Still, conscious that the errand she had come about was none of the most lawful, and willing to make assurance doubly sure, Mrs. Bennet backed her mule as close as possible to the overhanging hedge, placing herself under the lee of the tortuous and gnarled trunk of the oak, that she might be in a position to keep a sharp

look out, without, as she imagined, exposing herself to the observation of the travellers. But, notwithstanding her apparent security, there was a presentiment in her mind that the noise she heard, now every moment increasing in loudness, boded her no good. Her thoughts, as was natural, moved in a dense atmosphere of superstition, so that there was no act of life, however simple, no development, however ordinary, of natural phenomena, which did not, according to her system of interpretation, presage some change of fortune to herself or her neighbours. Considerably agitated, therefore, she scarcely knew why, Mrs. Bennet, bending forward, cast a hurried and alarmed glance along the highway, in the direction from which the sounds

approached. For some minutes she was doomed to depend on the evidence of one sense only for the character of that which caused her uneasiness. The harsh grating of wheels, however, as they dashed over the stony road, the quick and confused tramp of horses, and the cracking of whips, borne to her ear through the darkness, scarcely left any doubt as to what it was. Many carriages, whether by night or by day, she had before now seen, and that too without experiencing any apprehension or flutter of the nerves. What then could be the reason that on this occasion she felt so much disturbed ? Her mind could scarcely have been shaded by more

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