Page images
[ocr errors]

any oounsel to make in Ireland, a sovereign with a dook brief, That is due to the absence who successfully defended himthere of the thousand guinea self by proving that he took brief. The earnings, however, every penny the prisoner posof the bulk of the practising sessed. If a retort made by barristers in each country is Chief Baron O'Grady contains muoh about the same. The any truth, fees much smaller ordinary junior's ordinary fee than half a sovereign were in is nearly equal, although the his time oocasionally taken at lowest fee in England is a Green Street, which is the guinea, while half-guinea fees Dublin Old Bailey. A barare not unknown in Ireland. rister practising there was, in It is to be feared that in both an emergenoy arising through countries smaller fees than the unexpected absence of the those permissible by the oustom Crown Counsel, briefed for the of the profession are surrep- Crown; and he was so proud titiously taken

by shady of the honour that he kept on counsel from shady clients; repeating on every possible though this practice is far less occasion, “In this case, my common in either oountry than lord, I appear for the Crown," it once was. The Old Bailey At last the Chief Baron grew Bar was the obief offender in tired of this. "I know, I England: there is a story of a know," he said impatiently. member of it being summoned “You usually appear for the before the mess for taking half half-orown, don't you ?”

[ocr errors]



I was mistuk, once, for the Poape of Roame. ...
The drawled fantastic words came floating down
Behind me, five long years ago, when last
I left the old shepherd, Bramble, by his fold.

Bramble was fond, you'll judge, of his own tales,
And cast & gorgeous fly for the unwary :
But I was late, and could not listen then,
Despite his eager leer.

Yet, many a night,
And many a league from home, out of a dream
Of white-chalk coasts, and roofs of Horsham stone,
Coloured like russet apples, there would come
Music of sheep.bells, basing of black-nosed lambs,
Barking of two wise dogs, crushed soents of thyme,
A silver orook, bright as the morning star
Above the naked downs. Then-Bramble's voice,
I was mistuk, once, for the Poape of Roame,
Would almost wake me, wondering what he meant.

Now, five years later, while the larks went up
Over the dew-ponds in a wild-winged glory,
And all the Sussex downs, from weald to sea,
Were patched like one wide crazy quilt, in squares
Of yellow and orimson, clover and mustard-flower,
Edged with white ohalk, I found him once again.
He leaned upon his crook, unbudged by war,
Unohanged, and leering eagerly as of old.

How should I paint old Bramble—the shrewd face,
Brown as the wrinkled loam, the bright brown eyes,
The patriarchal beard, the moleskin cap,
The boots that looked like tree-stumps, the loose cloak
Tanned by all weathers,-every inch of him
A growth of Sussex soil. His baok was bent
Like wind-blown hawthorn, turning from the sea,
With roots that strike the deeper.

Well content
With all his world, and boastful as a child,
In splendid innocence of the worldling's way,
Whose murderous ego skulks behind a hedge
Of modest privet,-no, I cannot paint him.
Better to let him talk, and paint himself.
“Marnin'," he said; and swept away five years.
With absolute dominion over time,

Waiving all prelude, he picked up the thread
We dropped that day, and oast his bait again :-
I was mistuk, once, for the Poape of Roame.-
“Tell me," I said. “Explain.

“Explain. I've dreamed of it.”-
“I raokon you doan't believe it. Drunken Dick,
'Ull tell you 'tis as true's I'm stannin' here.
It happened along of this old silver crook.
I call it silver 'cos it shines so far,
My wife can see it over at Ovingdean
When I'm on Telscombe Tye. They doan't mek crooks
Like this in Sussex now. They've lost the way
To shape 'em. That's what they French papists knowed
Over at Arundel. They tried to buy
My orook, to carry in church. But I woan't sell 'en.
I've heerd there's magio in a orook like this,-
White magio. Well, I rackon it did save Dick
More ways than one, that night, from the old Black Ram.
I've med a song about it. There was once
A Lunnon poet, down here for his health,
Asked me to sing it to 'un, an' I did.
It med him laff, too. "Sing it again,' he says,
But go slow, this time.' 'No, I woan't,' I says
(I knowed what he was trying). No,' I says,

• 'I woan't go slow. You'll ketob 'un if I do.' You see, he meks a tedious mort of money From these here ballad books, an' I wer'n't goin' To let these Lunnon ohuokle-heads suck my brains. I med it to thet ancient tune you liked, The Brown Girl. 'Member it?"

Bramble cleared his throat, Spat at & bee, leaned forward on his crook, Fixed his brown eyes upon a distant spire, Solemnly swelled his lungs, onoe, twice, and thrice; Then, like an old brown thrush, began to sing :

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“ The Davil turns round when he hears the sound

Of bells in a Suggex foald.
One oraok, I rackon, from this good orook

Would make old Scratch leave hoald.
They can't shape crooks to-day like mine,

For the liddle folk helped 'em then.
I've heerd some say as they've see'd 'en shine

From Ditohling to Fairlight Glen.

I loaned 'em a loanst o' my crook one day

To carry in Arundel.
They'd buy 'en to show in their church, they say;

But goald woan't mek me sell.

I never should find a orook so sliok,

So silver in the sun;
And, if you talk to Drunken Dick,

He'll tell you what it's done,

You'll find him spannelling round the Plough;

And, Lord! when Diok was young, He'd drink enough to draown & oow,

And roughen a tiger's tongue. He'd drink Black Ram till his noäse turned blue,

And the liddle black mice turned white. You ask 'en what my crook oan do,

An' what he see'd that night.

He says, as through the fern he ran

('Twas Pharisees' fern, gay I), A wild potatur, as big as a man,

Arose and winked its eye.
He says it took his arm that night,

And waggled its big brown head,
Then gang : This world will never go right

Till Drunken Dick be dead.

Ho shook it off and, rambling round,

Among the goalden gorse,
He heers a kin' of sneering sound

Pro-ciddin' from & horse,
Which reared upright, then said out loud

(While Dick said, “I'll be danged !'), His parients will be tedious proud

When Drunken Dick is hanged.'

I raokon 'twould take a barrel of ale,

Betwix' my dinner and tea,
To mek me see the very nex' thing

That Drunken Diok did see;
For first he thought 'twas elephants walked

Behind him on the Tye,
And then he saw fower rioks of straw

That heaved against the sky,

He saw 'em lift. He saw 'om shift.

He saw gurt beards arise.
He saw 'em slowly lumbering down

A honderd times his size ;
And, as he ran, he heer'd 'em say,

Whenever his head he turned,
*This warld will never be bright and gay

Till Drunken Dick be burned.'

And then as Diok escaped again

And squirmed the churchyard through, The cook that orowns the weather-vane

Cried, 'How d'ye doodle doo?'•Why, how d'ye doodle doo?' says Diok,

I know why you go round.' 'There'll be no luck,' that rooster sbruck,

Till Drunken Dick be drowned ''

And then, as Diok dodged round they barus,

And med for the white chalk ocast,
Ha meets Himself, with the two black horns,

And oyes 'twud mek you roast.
Waloome! waloome!' old Blackamoor oried,

"'Tis muttonless day in hell,
So I think I'll have your kidneys, fried,

And a bit of your liver as well.'

Then Dick he loosed a tarr'ble shout,

And the Devil stopped dead to look; And the sheep-bells rang, and the moon came out,

And it shone on my silver crook. 'I raokon,' says Diok, “if you're oald Nick,

You'd batter be soramblin' home; For those be the ringers of Arundel,

And that is the Poape of Roame.'”

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »