Mr. Quest, sitting in state as Clerk to the Magistrates assembled in Quarter Sessions at the Court House, Boisingham, little guessed that the sword at whose shadow he had trembled all these years was even now falling on his head. Still less did he dream that the hand to cut the thread which held it was that of the stupid bumpkin whose warning he had despised.
THE SWORD OF DAMOCLES
At last the weary journey was over, and to George’s intense relief he found himself upon the platform at Boisingham. He was a pretty tough subject, but he felt that a very little more of the company of the fair Edithia would be too much for him. As it happened, the station-master was a particular friend of his, and the astonishment of that worthy when he saw the respectable George in such company could scarcely be expressed in words.
“Why boar! Well I never! Is she a furriner?” he ejaculated in astonishment.
“If you mean me,” said Edithia, who was by now in fine bellicose condition, “I’m no more foreign than you are. Shut up, can’t you? or——” and she took a step towards the stout station-master. He retreated precipitately, caught his heel against the threshold of the booking office and vanished backwards with a crash.
“Steady, marm, steady,” said George. “Save it up now, do, and as for you, don’t you irritate her none of yer, or I won’t answer for the consequences, for she’s an injured woman she is, and injured women is apt to be dangerous.”
It chanced that a fly which had brought somebody to the station was still standing there. George bundled his fair charge into it, telling the driver to go to the Sessions House.
“Now, marm,” he said, “listen to me; I’m a-going to take you to the man as hev wronged you. He’s sitting as clerk to the magistrates. Do you go up and call him your husband. Thin he’ll tell the policeman to take you away. Thin do you sing out for justice, because when people sings out for justice everybody’s bound to hearken, and say how as you wants a warrant agin him for bigamy, and show them the marriage lines. Don’t you be put down, and don’t you spare him. If you don’t startle him you’ll niver get northing out of him.”
“Spare him,” she snarled; “not I. I’ll have his blood. But look here, if he’s put in chokey, where’s the tin to come from?”
“Why, marm,” answered George with splendid mendacity, “it’s the best thing that can happen for you, for if they collar him you git the property, and that’s law.”
“Oh,” she answered, “if I’d known that he’d have been collared long ago, I can tell you.”
“Come,” said George, seeing that they were nearing their destination. “Hev one more nip just to keep your spirits up,” and he produced the brandy bottle, at which she took a long pull.
“Now,” he said, “go for him like a wild cat.”