The author has always been a close studen tof early English life, and his books are instructive as well as readable. Bladys is an historical romance of the close of the last century. The scene is laid partly near the famous Stewponey Inn, near Stourton Castle, at the time when the country on the road to Chester was infested with highwaymen, and partly at Shewsberry. The story contains the last instance of the burning of a woman for "petty treason," i.e.e, the murder of her husband, which took place at Shrewsburry in 1700. This very interesting Red Sandstone country, with its inhabited caves, the refuge of highwaymen and their confederates, is described.
next, and if further pursued by legal process there, to step into a third.
A highwayman, at the beginning of the century in which we live, who honoured Kinver with residing in it, planted his habitation at the extreme verge of the county, divided from the next by a hollow way, and when the officers came to take him, he leaped the dyke, and mocked them with impunity from the farther side.
But this was not all. The geological structure of the country favoured them. Wherever a cliff, great or small, presented its escarpment, there the soft sandstone was scooped out into labyrinths of chambers, in which families dwelt, who in not a few instances were in league with the land pirates. The plunder could anywhere be safely and easily concealed, and the plunderers could pass through subterranean passages out of one county into another, and so elude pursuit.
The highwaymen belonged by no means to the lowest class. The gentlemen of the road comprised, for the most part, wastrels and gamesters of go
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