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   Chapter 42 HAROLD AND THE DIAMONDS.

Tracy Park By Mary Jane Holmes Characters: 30878

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


When Harold sprang upon the train as it was moving from the station and entered the rear car, he found old Peterkin near the door, button-holing Judge St. Claire, to whom he was talking loudly and angrily of that infernal cheat, Wilson, who had brought the suit against him.

'Yes, yes, I see; I know; but all that will come out on the trial,' the judge said, trying to silence him.

But Peterkin held on, until his eye caught Harold, when he let the judge go, and seating himself beside the young man began in a soft, coaxing tone for him:

'I don't see why in thunder you are goin' agin me, who have allus been your friend, and gin you work when you couldn't git it any where else; and I can't imagine what you're goin' to say, or what you know.'

Harold's face was very red, but his manner was respectful as he replied:

'You cannot be more sorry than I am that I am subpoenaed as a witness against you. I did not seek it. I could not help it: but, being a witness, I must answer the questions truthfully.'

'Thunder and lightning, man! Of course you must! Don't I know that?' the irascible Peterkin growled, getting angry at once. 'Of course you must answer questions, but you needn't blab out stuff they don't ask you, so as to lead 'em on. I know 'em, the blood-hounds; they'll squeeze you dry, once let 'em git an inklin' you know sunthin' more. Now, if this goes agin me, I'm out at least thirty thousand dollars; and between you and I, I don't mind givin' a cool two thousand, or three, or mebby five, right out of pocket, cash down, to anybody whose testimony, without bein' a lie-I don't want nobody to swear false, remember-but, heaven and earth, can't a body furgit a little, and keep back a lot if they want to?' 'What are you trying to say to me?' Harold asked, his face pale with resentment, as he suspected the man's motive.

'Say to you? Nothin', only that I'll give five thousand dollars down to the chap whose testimony gits me off and flings old Wilson.'

'Mr. Peterkin,' Harold said, looking the old wretch full in the face, 'if you are trying to bribe me, let me tell you at once that I am not to be bought. I shall not volunteer information, but shall answer truthfully whatever is asked me.'

'Go to thunder, then! I always knew you were a bad aig,' Peterkin roared; and as there was nothing to be made from Harold, he changed his seat to try his tactics elsewhere.

Left to himself, Harold had time to think of the diamonds, which, indeed, had not been absent from his thoughts a moment, since Jerrie gave them to him. They were closely buttoned in his coat pocket, where they burned like fire, as he wondered where and how Jerrie had found them.

'In the Tramp House it must have been,' he said to himself; 'but who put them there, and how did she chance to find them, and why did she look so wild and excited, so like a crazy person, when she gave them to me, bidding me let no one see them?'

These questions he could not answer, and his brain was all in a whirl when the train reached Springfield, and, with the others, he registered himself at the hotel. Suddenly, like a gleam of lightning seen through a rift of clouds, there came back to him, with a horrible distinctness, the words the child Jerry had spoken to him that day years ago, when he had walked homeward with her through the leafy woods from the Park House, where he had been questioned so closely by Mrs. Tracy with regard to her diamonds and what he had been doing in the house on the morning of their disappearance.

'I know where those diamonds are, but I shan't tell while there is such a fuss,' she had said, and in his abstraction he had scarcely noticed it then, but it came back to him now with fearful significance, making him sick, and faint, and cold, although the great drops of sweat stood thickly upon his lips and under his hair, as, after the gas was lighted, he sat alone in a little reception-room opening from one of the parlors. Did Jerrie know where they were, and had she known all the time and not spoken? And, if so, was she not guilty as an accessory, at least in trying to shield another? For that she took them herself he never for a moment dreamed. It was some one else, and she knew and did not tell. He was certain of it now, as every incident connected with her strange sickness came back to him, when she seemed to be doing penance for another's fault. She had called herself an accessory, and that was what she was, or rather what the world would call her, if it knew. To him she was Jerrie, the girl he loved, and he would defend her to the bitter end, no matter how culpable she had been in keeping silence so long.

But who took them! That was the question puzzling him so much as he sat thinking with his head bent down, and so absorbed that he did not hear a step in the adjoining room, or know that Peterkin had seated himself just where a large mirror showed him distinctly the young man in the next room, whom he recognized at once, though Harold never moved for a few moments or lifted his head.

At last, however, he unbuttoned his coat and after glancing cautiously around to make sure no one was near, he took the box from his pocket, and holding the stones to the light examined them carefully, taking in his hand first the ear-rings and then the pin, and holding them in such a way that two or three times they flashed directly in the eyes of the cruel man watching him.

'Yes, they are Mrs. Tracy's diamonds; there can be no mistake,' he whispered, just as he became conscious that there was some one in the door looking at him.

Quick as thought he put the box out of sight just as Peterkin's voice, exultant and hateful, cried out:

'Hallo, Mr. Prayer-book! your piety won't let you keep back a darned thing you know agin me, but it lets you have in your possession diamonds which I'd eenamost sware was them stones Miss Tracy lost years ago and suspected you of takin. I know the box anyway, I heard it described so often, and I b'lieve I know them diamonds. I seen 'em in the lookin'-glass, settin' in t'other room, and seen you look all round like a thief afore you opened 'em. So, fork over, and mebby you can give me back May Jane's pin you stole at the party the night Mr. Arthur came home. Fork over, I say!'

Too much astonished at first to speak, Harold stood staring at the man who had attacked him so brutally, while his hand closed tightly over the diamonds in his pocket, as if fearing they might be wrenched from him by force.

'Will you fork over, or shall I call the perlice?' Peterkin asked.

'Call the police as soon as you like,' Harold replied, 'but I shall not give you the diamonds.'

'Then you own that you've got 'em! That's half the battle!' Peterkin said, coming up close to him, and looking at him with a meaning smile more detestable than any menace could have been. 'I know you've got 'em, and I can run you if I try, and then what will your doxie think of you! Will she refuse my Bill for a thief, and treat me as if I was dirt?'

'What do you mean, sir?' Harold demanded, feeling intuitively that by his doxie Jerrie was meant, and feeling a great horror, too, lest by some means Jerrie's name should be mixed up with the affair before she had a chance to explain.

The reference to Billy was a puzzle, but Peterkin did not leave him in doubt.

'I mean that you think yourself very fine, and always have, and that are girl of the carpet-bag thinks herself fine, too, and refused my Bill for you, who hain't a cent in the world. I seen it in her face when I twitted her on it, and she riz up agin me like a catamount. But I'll be even with you both yit. I've got you in my power, young man, but-' and here he came a step or two nearer to Harold, and dropping his voice to a whisper said: 'I sha'n't do nothin', nor say nothin' till you've gin your evidence, and if you hold your tongue I will. You tickle me, and I'll tickle you! see!'

Harold was too indignant to reply, and feeling that he was degrading himself every moment he spent in the presence of that man, he left the room without a word, and went to his own apartment, but not to sleep, for never had he spent so wretched a night as that which followed his interview with Peterkin. Of what the man could do to him, he had no fear. His anxiety was all for Jerrie. Where did she find the diamonds, and for whom did she keep silence so long? and what would be said of the act when it was known, as it might be, though not from him?

Two or three times he arose and lighted the gas, examined the diamonds carefully to see if there were not some mistake. But there could be none. He had seen them on the lady's person and had heard them described so accurately that he could not be mistaken; and then the box was the same he had once seen when Jack took him to his mother's room to show him what Uncle Arthur had brought. That was a tortoise shell, of an oval shape, lined with blue satin, and this was a tortoise shell, oval shaped, and lined with blue satin. Harold felt, when at last the daylight shone into his room, that if it had tarried a moment longer he must have gone mad. He was very white and haggard, and there were dark rings under his eyes, when he went down to the office, where the first person he met was Billy, who also looked pale and worn, with a different expression upon his face from anything Harold had ever seen before. It was as if all life and hope had gone, leaving him nothing now to care for. In his anxiety and worry about the diamonds Harold had scarcely given a thought to what Peterkin had said of Jerrie's refusal of Billy, for it seemed so improbable that the latter would presume to offer himself to her; but at sight of Billy's face it came back to him with a throb of pity for the man, and a thrill of joy for himself for whom Peterkin had said his son was rejected.

'Does Billy know of the diamonds, I wonder?' he thought.

As if to answer the question in the negative, Billy came quickly forward, and offering his hand, bade Harold good-morning, and then motioning him to a seat, took one beside him, and began:

'I'm awful sorry, Hal, th-that you are mix-mixed up in th-this but I sup suppose you m-must t-tell the truth.'

'Yes, I must tell the truth, Harold said.'

'Fa-father will be so m-mad,' Billy continued. 'I wi-wish I could t-t-testify f-for you, bu-but I can't. You were th-there, I wa-wan't, and all I know fa-father told me; bu-but d don't volunteer information.'

'No,' Harold said, slowly, wishing that the ocean were rolling between him and this detestable suit.

Once he resolved to go to Judge St. Claire, deliver up the diamonds, and tell him all he knew about them, but this would be bringing Jerrie into the matter, and so he changed his mind and wondered aimlessly about the town until it was time for him to appear at the court-house, where a crowd was gathering. It was late before the suit known as Wilson vs. Peterkin was called, and later still when Harold took the stand.

White and trembling, so that both his hands and his knees were shaking visibly, he seemed more like a criminal than a witness, he was so agitated and pre-occupied, too, it would seem, for at first his answers were given at random, as if he hardly knew what he was saying; nor did he, for over and beyond the sea of long faces confronting him, Judge St. Claire's wondering and curious-Billy's wondering, too-Wilson's disappointed and surprised, and Peterkin's threatening and exultant by turns-he saw only Jerrie coming to him in the lane and asking him to keep the diamonds for her-saw her, too, away back years ago up in the little low room, with her fever-stained cheeks and shorn head, talking the strangest things of prisons, and substitutes, and accessories, and assuring some one that she would never tell, and was going for him, if necessary.

Who was that man? Where was he now? and why had he imposed this terrible secret upon Jerrie?

These were the thoughts crowding through his brain while he was being questioned as to what he knew of the agreement between the plaintiff and defendant while in the office of the latter. Once a thought of Maude crossed his mind with a keen pang of regret, as he remembered the lovely face which had smiled so fondly upon him, mistaking his meaning utterly, and appropriating to herself the love he was trying to tell her was another's. And with thoughts of Maude there came a thought of Arthur, the very first which Harold had given him, Arthur, the crazy man, who himself had hidden the diamonds and for whom Jerrie was ready to sacrifice so much. It was clear as daylight to him now, the anxiety and stain were over, and those who were watching him so intently as he gave his answers at random, with the sweat pouring like rain down his face, were electrified at the start he gave as he came to himself and realized for the first time where he was, and why he was there. Arthur would never see Jerrie wronged. She was safe, and with this load lifted from him, he gave his whole attention to the business on hand, answering the questions now clearly and distinctly.

When at last the lawyer said to him, 'Repeat what you can remember of the conversation which took place between the plaintiff and the defendant on the morning of --, 18-,' he gave one sorry look at poor Billy, who was the picture of shame and confusion, and then, in a clear, distinct voice, which filled every corner of the room, told what he had heard said in his presence, and what he knew of the transaction, proving conclusively that the plaintiff was right and Peterkin a rascal, and this in the face of the man who had asked him not to blab and who shook his fist at him threateningly as the narrative went on.

'Would you believe the defendant under oath?' was asked at the close, and Harold answered, promptly:

'Under oath-yes.'

'Would you, if not under oath?'

'If an untruth would be to his advantage, no,' and then Harold was through.

As he stepped down from the witness stand old Peterkin arose, so angry that at first he could scarcely articulate his words.

'You dog! you liar! you thief! he screamed; 'to stand there and lie so about me! I'll teach you-I'll show 'em what you are. If there's a perlice here, I call on 'em to arrest this feller for them diamonds of Miss Tracy's! They are in his pocket-or was last night. I seen 'em myself, and he dassent deny it.'

By this time the court-house was in wild confusion, as the spectators arose from their seats and pressed forward to where Peterkin stood denouncing Harold, who was white as ashes, and looked as if he were going to faint, as Billy hastened to his side, whispering:

'Lean on me, and I will get you out of this. Father is mad.'

But order was soon restored, though not until Peterkin had yelled again, as Harold was leaving the room:

'Search him, I tell you! Don't let him escape! He's got 'em in his pocket-Miss Tracy's diamonds! Lord of heavens! don't you remember the row there was about 'em years ago?'

Of what followed during the next hour Harold knew very little. There was a crowd around him, and cries of 'He is going to faint!' while Billy's stammering voice called pleadingly, 'St-stand back, ca-can't you, and gi-give him air.'

Then, a deluge of water in his face; then a great darkness and the voices sounded a long way off, and he felt so tired and s

leepy, and thought of Jerry, and Maude, and lived over again the scene in the Tramp-House, when he found the former in the bag, and felt her little fat arms around his neck as he staggered with her through the snow, wondering why she was so heavy, and why her feet were dragging on the ground. When he came more fully to himself, he was in a little room in the court-house, and Billy's arm was lying protectingly across his shoulder, while Billy's father was bellowing like a bull:

'Be you goin' to let him go! Ain't you goin' to git a writ and arrest him! Why don't you handcuff him, somebody? And you, Bill, be you a fool to stan' there a huggin' him as if he was a gal! What do you mean?'

'Ha-Hal is my fr-friend, father. He never to-took the diamonds,' Billy answered, sadly, while Judge St. Claire, who had the box of jewels in his hand and was looking very anxious, turned to the angry man clamoring so loudly for a writ and said, sternly:

'Even if Harold took the diamonds-which he did not, I am certain of that-there is some mistake which he will explain; but if he took them, it is too late to arrest him. A theft commited ten years ago cannot be punished now.'

'May the Lord give you sense,' Peterkin rejoined, with a derisive laugh. 'Don't tell me that a body can't be punished for stealin' diamonds ef 'twas done a hundred years ago,'

'But it is true, nevertheless,' the judge replied.

Turning to another lawyer who was standing near, Peterkin asked:

'Is that so, square? Is it so writ? Is that the law?'

'That is the law,' was the response.

'Wall, I'll be condumbed, if that don't beat all!' Peterkin exclaimed. 'Can't be sent to prison! I swow! There ain't no law or justice for nobody but me, and I must be kicked to the wall! I'll give up, and won't try to be nobody, I vurm!' And as he talked he walked away to ruminate upon the injustice of the law which could not touch Harold Hastings, but could throw its broad arms tightly around himself.

Meanwhile the Judge had ordered a carriage and taken Harold with him to his private room in the hotel, where the hardest part for Hal was yet to come.

'Now, my boy,' the judge said, after he had made Harold lie down upon the couch and had locked the door, 'now, tell me all about it. How came you by the diamond?'

It was such a pitiful, pleading, agonized face which lifted itself from the cushion and looked at Judge St. Claire, as Harold began:

'I cannot tell you now-I must not? but by and by perhaps I can. They were handed to me to keep by some one, just for a little while. I cannot tell you who it was. I think I would die sooner than do it. Certainly I would rather go to prison, as Peterkin wishes me to.'

There was a thoughtful, perplexed look on the judge's face as he said:

'This is very strange, Harold, that you cannot tell who gave them to you, and with some people will be construed against you.'

'Yes, I know it; but I would rather bear it than have that person's name brought in question,' was Harold's reply.

'Do you think that person took them?' the judge asked.

'No, a thousand times, no!' and Harold leaped to his feet and began to pace the floor hurriedly. 'They never took them, never; I'd swear to that with my life. Don't talk any more about it, please; I can't bear it. I have gone through so much to-day, and last night I never slept a wink. Oh, I am so tired!' and with a groan he threw himself again upon the couch, and, closing his eyes, dropped almost instantly into a heavy slumber, from which the judge did not rouse him until after dinner, when he ordered some refreshments sent to his room, and himself awoke the young man, whose face looked pinched, and white, and haggard, and who could only swallow a cup of coffee and a part of a biscuit.

'I am so tired,' he kept repeating; 'but I shall be better in the morning;' and long before the night train had come he was in bed sleeping off the effects of the day's excitement.

The next morning when he went down to the office he was surprised and bewildered at the crowd which gathered around him-the friends who had came on the train to stand by and defend him, if necessary; and as the home faces he had known all his life looked kindly into his, and the familiar voices of his boyhood told him of sympathy for and faith in him, while hand after hand took his in a friendly clasp, that of Dick St. Claire clinging to his with a grasp which said plainer than words could have done: 'I believe in you, Hal, and am so sorry for you,' the tension of his nerves gave way entirely, and, sinking down in their midst, he cried like a child when freed from some terrible danger.

He had not thought before that he cared for himself what people said, but he knew now that he did, and this assurance of confidence from his friends unnerved him for a time; then, dashing away his tears and lifting up his face, on which his old winning smile was breaking, he said:

'Excuse me for this weakness; only girls should cry, but I have borne so much, and your coming was such a surprise. Thank you all. I cannot say what I feel. I should cry again if I did.'

'Never mind, old boy,' Dick's cheery voice called out. 'We know what you would say. We came to help you, just a few of us; but if anything had really happened to you, why, all Shannondale would have turned out to the rescue.'

'Thank you, Dick,' Harold said, the tears starting again; then, as his eye fell for the first time upon Tom, he exclaimed, with a glad ring in his voice, 'and you, too, Tom!'

'Yes, I thought I'd come with the crowd and see the fun,' Tom answered, indifferently, as he walked away by himself.

Tom had said very little, on the train, or after they had reached the hotel, but no one had listened with more eagerness to every detail of the matter than he had done, and all that morning he was busy gathering up every item of information, and listening to the guesses as to who the person could be who gave the diamonds to Harold.

The jewels had been identified by his father and by himself, although an identification was scarcely necessary as Harold had distinctly said:

'They are the Tracy diamonds, and the person who gave them, to me said so.'

But who was the person? That was the question puzzling the heads of all the Shannondale people as the morning wore on, and each went where he liked. At last, toward noon, Tom found himself near Harold in front of the court-house, and going up to him, said:

'Hal, I wan't to talk to you a little while.'

'Yes,' Hal said, assentingly, and selecting out a retired corner, Tom began:

'Hal, I've never shown any great liking for you, and I don't s'pose I have any, but I don't like to see a man kicked for nothing, and so I came over with the rest.'

'Thank you, Tom,' Harold replied, 'I don't think you ever did like me, and I don't think I cared if you didn't, but I'm glad you came. Is that all you wished to say to me?'

'So,' Tom answered. 'Jerrie is very sick-'

'Jerrie! Jerrie sick! Oh, Tom!'

It was a cry of almost despair as Harold thought, 'What if she should die and the people never know.'

'She had an awful headache when you left her in the lane, and I walked home with her, and the next morning she was raving mad-kind of a brain fever, I guess.'

Harold was stupefied, but he managed to ask:

'Does she talk much? What does she say?'

There was alarm in his voice, which the sagacious Tom detected at once, and, strengthened in his suspicion, he replied:

'Nothing about the diamonds, and the Lord knows I hope she won't.'

'What do you mean!' Harold asked, in a frightened tone.

'Don't you worry,' Tom replied. 'I wouldn't harm Jerrie any more than you would, but-Well, Hal, you are a trump! Yes, you are, to hold your tongue and let some think you are the culprit. Hal, Jerrie gave you the diamonds. I saw her do it in the lane as I came up to you. I did not think of it at the time, but afterward it came to me that you took something from her and slipped it into your pocket, and that you both looked scared when you saw me. Jerrie was abstracted and queer all the way to the house, and had a bruise on her head, and she keeps talking of the Tramp House and Peterkin, who, she says, dealt the blow. I went to the Tramp House, and found the old table on the floor, with three of the legs on it; the fourth I couldn't find. I thought at first that the old wretch had quarreled with her about you on account of the suit, and she had squared up to him, and he had struck her; but now I believe he had the diamonds, and she got them from him in some way, and he struck her with the missing table-leg. If you say so, I'll have him arrested.'

Tom had told his story rapidly, while Harold listened breathlessly, until he suggested the arrest of Peterkin, when he exclaimed:

'No, no, Tom. No; don't you see that would mix Jerrie's name up with the diamonds, and that must not be. She must not be mentioned in connection with them until she speaks for herself; and, besides, I do not believe it was Peterkin who took them. It might have been your Uncle Arthur.'

'Uncle Arthur?' Tom said, indignantly. 'Why, he gave them to mother.'

'I know he did,' Harold continued; 'but in a crazy fit he might have taken them away and secreted them and then forgotten it, and Jerrie might have known it, and not been able to find them till now. Many things go to prove that;' and very briefly Harold repeated some incidents connected with Jerrie's illness when she was a child.

'That looks like it, certainly,' Tom said; 'but I am awfully loth to give up arresting the brute, and believe I shall do it yet for assault and battery. He certainly struck her. You will see for yourself the lump on her head.'

So saying Tom arose to go away, but before he went made a remark quite characteristic of him and his feeling for Harold, to whom he said, with a laugh:

'Don't for thunder's sake, think us a kind of a Damon and Pythias twins, because I've joined hands with you against Peterkin and for Jerrie. Herod and Pilate, you know, became friends, but I guess at heart they were Pilate and Herod still.'

'No danger of my presuming at all upon your friendship for myself, though I thank you for your interest in Jerrie,' Harold replied.

Then the two separated, Tom going his way and Harold his, until it was time for the afternoon train which was to take them home.

The suit had gone against Peterkin, and it was in a towering rage that he stood in the long depot, denouncing everybody, and swearing he would sell out Lubbertoo and every dumbed thing he owned in Shannondale and take his money away, 'and then see how they'd git along without his capital to boost 'em.' At Harold he would not even look, for his testimony had been the most damaging of all, and he frowned savagely when on entering the car he saw his son in the same seat with him, talking in low, earnest tones, while Harold was evidently listening to him with interest. Small as he was and mean in personal appearance, there was more of true manhood in Billy's finger than in his father's whole body. The suit had been a pain and trouble to Billy, from beginning to end, for he knew his father was in the wrong, and he bore no malice toward Harold for his part in it, and when the diamonds came up, and his father was clamoring for a writ, he was the first to declare Harold's innocence and to say he would go his bail. Now, there was in his mind another plan by which to benefit his friend, and rival, too-for Billy knew he was that; and the heart of the little man ached with a bitter pain and sense of loss whenever he thought of Jerrie, and lived over again the scene under the butternut tree by the river, when her blue eyes had smiled so kindly upon him and her hands had touched his, even while she was breaking his heart. When Billy reached his majority his father had given him $100,000, and thus he had business of his own to transact, and a part of this was just now centered in Washington Territory, where, in Tacoma, on Puget Sound, he owned real estate and had dealings with several parties. To attend to this an agent was needed for a while, and he said to himself;

'I'll offer it to Hal, with such a salary that he cannot refuse it; that will get him out of the way until this thing blows over.'

Billy knew perfectly well that although everybody said Harold was innocent and that nine-tenths believed it, there would still be a few in Shannondale-the scum whose opinions his father's money controlled-who, without exactly saying they doubted him, would make it unpleasant for him in many ways; and from this he would save him by sending him to Tacoma at once, and thus getting him out of the way of any unpleasantness which might arise from his father's persecutions or those of his clan. It was this which he was proposing to Harold, who at once thought favorably of it-not because he wished to escape from the public, he said, but because of the pay offered, and which seemed to him far more than his services would be worth.

'You are a noble fellow, Billy,' he said. 'I'll think of the plan, and let you know after I've seen Jerrie and Judge St. Claire.'

'A-all ri-right; he'll a-advise you to go,' Billy said, as they arose to leave the car, followed by Peterkin, who had been engaged in a fierce altercation with Tom, who had accused him of having struck Jerrie, and threatened to have him arrested for assault and battery the moment they reached Shannondale.

'Thunder and lightning and guns' old Peterkin exclaimed, while the spittle flew from his mouth like the spray from Niagara. 'I assault and batter Jerry Crawford!-a gal! What do you take me for, young man? I'm a gentleman, I be, if I ain't a Tracy; and I never salted nor battered nobody, and she'll tell you so herself. Heavens and earth! this is the way 'twas,' and Peterkin shook from his head to his feet-for, like most men who clamor so loudly for the law, he had a mortal terror of it for himself, and Tom's threatening looks and words made him afraid. 'This is how 'twas. I found her in the Tramp-House, and I was all-fired mad at her about somethin'-I shan't tell what, for Bill would kill me; but I pitched into her right and left; and, by gum, she pitched into me, so that for a spell it was nip-and-tuck betwixt us; and, by George, if she didn't order me out of the Tramp-House, and said it was her'n; and I'll be dumbed if I don't believe she'd av put me out, too, body and bones, if I hadn't gone. She was just like a tiger; and, I swan, I was kinder feared on her, and backed out with a kinder flourish of my fist on that darned old rotten table, which went all to smash; and that's all I know. You don't call that 'sault and batter, do you?'

Tom could not say that he did, but he replied:

'That's your version of it. Jerrie may have another, and her friends ain't going to have her abused by a chap like you; and my advice is that you hold your tongue, both about her and Harold. It will he better for you. Do you understand?'

'You bet!' Peterkin said, with a meaning nod, breathing a little more freely as he caught sight of the highest tower of Lubbertoo, and more freely still when he arrived at the station, where he was met by his coat-of-arms carriage, instead of a writ, and was suffered to go peaceably home, a disappointed, if not a better man.

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