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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 173 pages of information about Paul Prescott's Charge.

“Yes, sir, and he spread out his arms and spoke in a terrible voice, and was going to carry me off wid him, but I dropped the lamp, and O sir, I’m kilt entirely.”

“This is a strange story,” said ’Squire Newcome, rather suspiciously; “I hope you have not been drinking.”

Hannah protested vehemently that not a drop of liquor had passed her lips, which was true.

“I’ll go out and hunt for the ghost,” said the ’Squire.

“Oh, don’t sir.  He’ll carry you off,” said Hannah, terrified.

“Nonsense!” exclaimed the ’Squire.  “Follow me, or you may stay here if you are frightened.”

This Hannah would by no means do, since the ’Squire had taken the lamp and she would be left in the dark.

Accordingly she followed him with a trembling step, as he penetrated through the kitchen into the back room, ready to run at the least alarm.

The back-door was wide open, but nothing was to be seen of the ghost.

“Perhaps the ghost’s up-stairs,” said Hannah, “I can’t sleep up there this night, shure.”

But something had attracted Squire Newcome’s attention.  It was quite muddy out of doors, and Ben had tracked in considerable mud with him.  The footprints were very perceptible on the painted floor.

“The ghost seems to have had muddy shoes,” said the ’Squire dryly; “I guess I can find him.”

He followed the tracks which witnessed so strongly against Ben, to whose chamber they led.

Ben, though still awake, appeared to be in a profound slumber.

“Ben-ja-min!” said his father, stooping over the bed.

There was no answer.

“Ben-ja-min!” repeated his father, giving him a shake, “what does all this mean?”

“What?” inquired Ben, opening his eyes, and looking very innocent.

“Where have you been, to-night?”

“You sent me to bed,” said Ben, “and I came.”

But the ’Squire was not to be deceived.  He was already in possession of too much information to be put off.  So Ben, who with all his love of mischief was a boy of truth, finally owned up everything.  His father said very little, but told him the next morning that he had made up his mind to send him to a military boarding-school, where the discipline was very strict.  Ben hardly knew whether to be glad or sorry, but finally, as boys like change and variety, came to look upon his new prospects with considerable cheerfulness.

XXIX.

Dawkins in difficulties.

George Dawkins was standing at his desk one morning, when a man entered the office, and stepping up to him, unceremoniously tapped him on the shoulder.

Dawkins turned.  He looked extremely annoyed on perceiving his visitor, whose outward appearance was certainly far from prepossessing.  His face exhibited unmistakable marks of dissipation, nor did the huge breast pin and other cheap finery which he wore conceal the fact of his intense vulgarity.  His eyes were black and twinkling, his complexion very dark, and his air that of a foreigner.  He was, in fact, a Frenchman, though his language would hardly have betrayed him, unless, as sometimes, he chose to interlard his discourse with French phrases.

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