"Now a murrain seize thee and thy news, thou scurvy dog," quoth the Tinker, "for thou speakest but ill of good men.
"Nay," quoth the Tinker--for, by roaming the country, he had learned what dogs were--"take thou what thou wilt have, and let me depart in peace, and may a murrain go with thee.
seize you!" roared the tinker commencing afresh.
on the young devils!' cried the stranger; 'I speak of one; a meek-looking, pale-faced boy, who was apprenticed down here, to a coffin-maker--I wish he had made his coffin, and screwed his body in it--and who afterwards ran away to London, as it was supposed.
That is why I say that the murrain
was the best friend that the borel folk ever had."
But this morning he was in a mood more becoming a man of business, and in the course of his ride along the Basset lanes, with their deep ruts,--lying so far away from a market-town that the labor of drawing produce and manure was enough to take away the best part of the profits on such poor land as that parish was made of,--he got up a due amount of irritation against Moss as a man without capital, who, if murrain
and blight were abroad, was sure to have his share of them, and who, the more you tried to help him out of the mud, would sink the further in.
Palfrey had been losing money of late years, not being able quite to recover his feet after the terrible murrain
which forced him to borrow, his family were far from considering themselves on the same level even as the old-established tradespeople with whom they visited.
An' I know one thing, as if trouble was to come, an' I was to be laid up i' my bed, an' the children was to die--as there's no knowing but what they will--an' the murrain
was to come among the cattle again, an' everything went to rack an' ruin, I say we might be glad to get sight o' Dinah's cap again, wi' her own face under it, border or no border.
None the less, if, by any chance, O man from Jullundur, thou rememberest what thou hast seen, either among the elders sitting under the village tree, or in thine own house, or in company of thy priest when he blesses thy cattle, a murrain
will come among the buffaloes, and a fire in thy thatch, and rats in the corn-bins, and the curse of our Gods upon thy fields that they may be barren before thy feet and after thy ploughshare.' This was part of an old curse picked up from a fakir by the Taksali Gate in the days of Kim's innocence.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson's well-remunerated scribblings in The Telegraph have this week included references to Scylla and Charybdis, Moses and Aaron, cattle murrain
and things being "pre-Cambrian".
Mr Occleshaw also told the reporter that a fatal disease called murrain
had not touched the farm.