The Lancashire Witches eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 680 pages of information about The Lancashire Witches.

“Unchristian feelings, Nicholas,” said Sir Ralph, severely, “and should be overcome.  Turn the other cheek to the smiter.  I trust you bear no malice to Sir Thomas.”

“I bear him no malice, for I hope malice is not in my nature, cousin,” replied Nicholas, “but I owe him a grudge, and when a fitting opportunity occurs—­”

“No more of this, unless you would really incur my displeasure,” rejoined Sir Ralph; “the matter has gone far enough, too far, perhaps for amendment, and if you know it not, I can tell you that Sir Thomas’s claims to Raydale will be difficult to dispute, and so our uncle Robinson has found since he hath taken counsel on the case.”

“Have a care, Sir Ralph,” said Nicholas, noticing that Master Potts was approaching them, with his ears evidently wide open, “there is that little London lawyer hovering about.  But I’ll give the cunning fox a double.  I’m glad to hear you say so, Sir Ralph,” he added, in a tone calculated to reach Potts, “and since our uncle Robinson is so sure of his cause, it may be better to let this blustering knight be.  Perchance, it is the certainty of failure that makes him so insensate.”

“This is meant to blind me, but it shall not serve your turn, cautelous squire,” muttered Potts; “I caught enough of what fell just now from Sir Ralph to satisfy me that he hath strong misgivings.  But it is best not to appear too secure.—­Ah, Sir Ralph,” he added, coming forward, “I was right, you see, in my caution.  I am a man of peace, and strive to prevent quarrels and bloodshed.  Quarrel if you please—­and unfortunately men are prone to anger—­but always settle your disputes in a court of law; always in a court of law, Sir Ralph.  That is the only arena where a sensible man should ever fight.  Take good advice, fee your counsel well, and the chances are ten to one in your favour.  That is what I say to my worthy and singular good client, Sir Thomas; but he is somewhat headstrong and vehement, and will not listen to me.  He is for settling matters by the sword, for making forcible entries and detainers, and ousting the tenants in possession, whereby he would render himself liable to arrest, fine, ransom, and forfeiture; instead of proceeding cautiously and decorously as the law directs, and as I advise, Sir Ralph, by writ of ejectione firmae or action of trespass, the which would assuredly establish his title, and restore him the house and lands.  Or he may proceed by writ of right, which perhaps, in his case, considering the long absence of possession, and the doubts supposed to perplex the title—­though I myself have no doubts about it—­would be the most efficacious.  These are your only true weapons, Sir Ralph—­your writs of entry, assise, and right—­your pleas of novel disseisin, post-disseisin, and re-disseisin—­your remitters, your praecipes, your pones, and your recordari faciases.  These are the sword, shield, and armour of proof of a wise man.”

“Zounds! you take away one’s breath with this hail-storm of writs and pleas, master lawyer!” cried Nicholas.  “But in one respect I am of your ‘worthy and singular good’ client’s, opinion, and would rather trust to my own hand for the defence of my property than to the law to keep it for me.”

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The Lancashire Witches from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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