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Frenchman’s Creek
by [?]

And with that, just as he settled himself down for a comfortable chat with her, after his custom, the poor lady points to the two strangers, flings up both hands, and tumbles upon him in a fit of hysterics.

“Stop the hosses!” yells Jim; but already Sammy Hosking was pulling up for dear life at the sound of her screams.

“What in thunder’s wrong with the female?” asks Bligh.

“Female yourself!” answers up Sammy in a pretty passion. “Mrs. Polwhele’s a lady, and I reckon your cussed rudeness upset her. I say nothing of your face, for that you can’t help.”

Bligh started up in a fury, but Mr. Sharl pulled him down on the seat, and then Jim the Guard took a turn.

“Pitch a lady’s luggage into the road, would you?” for this, you must know, was the reason of Bligh’s sulkiness at starting. He had come up soaking from Torpoint Ferry, walked straight to the coach, and pulled the door open to jump inside, when down on his head came rolling a couple of Dutch cheeses that Mrs. Polwhele had crammed on the top of her belongings. This raised his temper, and he began to drag parcel after parcel out and fling them in the mud, shouting that no passenger had a right to fill up the inside of a coach in that fashion. Thereupon Jim sent an ostler running to the landlady that owned the Highflyer, and she told Bligh that he hadn’t booked his seat yet: that the inside was reserved for Mrs. Polwhele: and that he could either take an outside place and behave himself, or be left behind to learn manners. For a while he showed fight: but Mr. Sharl managed to talk sense into him, and the parcels were stowed again and the door shut but a minute before Mrs. Polwhele came downstairs and took her seat as innocent as a lamb.

“Pitch a lady’s luggage into the road, would you?” struck in Jim the Guard, making himself heard above the pillaloo. “Carry on as if the coach belonged to ye, hey? Come down and take your coat off, like a man, and don’t sit there making fool faces at me!”

“My friend is not making faces,” began Mr. Sharl, very gentle-like, trying to keep the peace.

“Call yourself his friend!” Jim snapped him up. “Get off, the pair of you. Friend indeed! Go and buy him a veil.”

But ’twas easily seen that Mrs. Polwhele couldn’t be carried farther. So Sammy Hosking pulled up at a farmhouse a mile beyond St. Germans: and there she was unloaded, with her traps, and put straight to bed: and a farm-boy sent back to Torpoint to fetch a chaise for her as soon as she recovered. And the Highflyer–that had been delayed three-quarters of an hour–rattled off at a gallop, with all on board in the worst of tempers.

When they reached Falmouth–which was not till after ten o’clock at night–and drew up at the “Crown and Anchor,” the first man to hail them was old Parson Polwhele, standing there under the lamp in the entry and taking snuff to keep himself awake.

“Well, my love,” says he, stepping forward to help his wife down and give her a kiss. “And how have you enjoyed the journey?”

But instead of his wife ’twas a bull-necked-looking man that swung himself off the coach-roof, knocking the Parson aside, and bounced into the inn without so much as a “beg your pardon.”

Parson Polwhele was taken aback for the moment by reason that he’d pretty nigh kissed the fellow by accident; and before he could recover, Jim the Guard leans out over the darkness, and, says he, speaking down: “Very sorry, Parson, but your missus wasn’t taken very well t’other side of St. Germans, and we’ve been forced to leave her ‘pon the road.”

Now, the Parson doted on his wife, as well he might. He was a very learned man, you must know, and wrote a thundering great history of Cornwall: but outside of book-learning his head rambled terribly, and Mrs. Polwhele managed him in all the little business of life. “‘Tis like looking after a museum,” she used to declare. “I don’t understand the contents, I’m thankful to say; but, please God, I can keep ’em dusted.” A better-suited couple you couldn’t find, nor a more affectionate; and whenever Mrs. Polwhele tripped it to Plymouth, the Parson would be at Falmouth to welcome her back, and they’d sleep the night at the “Crown and Anchor” and drive home to Manaccan next morning.