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The Rommany stone

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Pages: 194

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/4/2009 - General Books LLC

By: James Henry Yoxall

Excerpt from book: II. Matt Scargil paused, fell silent, and stared with unseeing eyes in a brown study, as in his tale he came again to that gypsy fire. He shifted uneasily in his ingle-chair: " I don't know why I'm telling ye," he muttered. " It's a thing as I've kept 'nation quiet for many's the good long year. It's nowt, lad. It were all ower i' three days—it's nowt to brag on." Then he cursed the rheumatiz, and said it was time his old bones were a-bed. " The fire," he murmured musingly. " The fire! " and fell silent again : his mind was rapt into the past: in memory he was young and strong again, upon a wild adventure bent: it was a sign and symbol, that gypsy fire. Sign and symbol of the shifting tent, the fresh morning journey into the blue unknown, the free wild wandering, the heath with the breeze brisk upon it, whispering boughs, bramble-berried hedgerows, dapple of shadowy leaves on the floor of the silent lane: partridge-eggs in the furze-clump beside the by-way: the snare, the stealthy shot, the bivouac : fiddle, dance, and song. Alack! that the blood should chill, the sap run down, the flame flicker low: alack!that the rain should hiss on the embers of life's gypsy fire. With a sigh old Scargil turned to his listener, and with a sigh went on. " I handed and toed it all down that dall'd owd Jacob's-ladder, and rare-and-mad with myself I was for the doing it, I can tell 'ee. For one thing 'twas a' hurt to my pride, as a respectable landed dalesman, that rascally Rommanies should count on me, confident, and wait for me coming, cocksure. And another thing angered me, too: I could tell by my nose, half-way down the ladder, that the scamps had suppered on grouse—young grouse, out o' season —and rageous I was at that, for His Grace's sake and the preserves. All the same, I was...  

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