The incidents here related are strictly true; but the truth is not half told. Many such scenes took place, and numbers of the thieves were killed, and some of them proved to be neighbors to those who had shot them!
The villains on this occasion were Bill and Dick, as the reader is aware, and this was the termination of their attempt to save the ’Squire’s pasture, as Duffel suggested, or to get his horses as they themselves desired.
So soon as the thieves were gone, the neighbor remarked to the ’Squire:
“This reminds me of what I was going to say in the early part of the evening, but was led from the subject by the turn our conversation took.”
“I remember, now, you mentioned having seen something, which excited your suspicions that all was not right, in some quarter.”
“Well, it was two men, very dare-devil looking fellows, whom I have seen prowling about on several occasions, looking out, as I thought, for chances to steal; and if I am not greatly mistaken, these are the same men.”
“No doubt of it at all.—This night’s operations have convinced me more than ever of the necessity of strong measures; and the next time I see thieves at their work, I will not stop to scare them, but the first fire will be to wound or kill!”
“I think I shall act on the same principle.”
“I advise you to, and all other honest men. I am satisfied nothing else will do.”
With this they parted, each going to his own home.
It may be well enough to explain more fully than has yet been done, that Bill and Dick acted in two capacities, one of ruffians, the other as gentlemen. Bill was equally at home in either character, and could act the latter quite a la mode. Dick was rather out of his element when it came to the gentleman: he was a little awkward, and by no means at his ease; but give him a daring or desperate act to perform, and he was entirely at home. Yet for all this there was a streak of the man about him, and at heart he was better than either Bill or Duffel.
It was at Dick that the ’Squire aimed the last shot, and the bullet grazed his cheek, doing him no serious injury, however, though it drew the blood and left a scar.
The two villains notwithstanding that they were foiled in their attempt upon the horses, prepared for the prosecution of the rest of their schemes on the morrow with great energy. But leaving them for the present, we will turn to other scenes and characters.
Eveline did not sit down in supine idleness, and mourn over her sad fate. True, at times she gave way to her feelings, when the hopelessness of her situation came upon her, as she strove to penetrate the future, in all its crushing force; and she would then weep for a time. But there was a firmness about her character and a strength of determined resolution in her purposes, which braced her spirit and filled her bosom with feelings such as only have birth and nourishment in heroic souls. She looked her intended fate in the face, with the fixed purpose to meet and conquer it, or perish in the attempt.