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Not a pleasant road to travel at any time—the high road to Riggan, it was certainly at its worst to-night.

Between twelve and one o'clock, the rain which had been pouring down steadily with true English pertinacity, for two days, was gradually passing into a drizzle still more unpleasant,—a drizzle that soaked into the already soaked clay, that made the mud more slippery, that penetrated a man's clothing and beat softly but irritatingly against his face, and dripped from his hair and hat down upon his neck, however well he might imagine himself protected by his outside wrappings. But, if he was a common traveller—a rough tramp or laborer, who was not protected from it at all, it could not fail to annoy him still more, and consequently to affect his temper.

At the hour I have named, such a traveller was making his way through the mire and drizzle toward Riggan,—a tramp in mud-splashed corduroy and with the regulation handkerchief bundle tied to the thick stick which he carried over his shoulder.

"Dom th rain;—dom th road," he said.

It was not alone the state of the weather that put him out of humor.

"Th' lass," he went on. "Dom her handsome face. Goin' agin a chap—workin' agin him, an' settin' hersen i' his road. Blast me," grinding his teeth—"Blast me if I dunnot ha' it out wi' her!"