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Town and Country; or, life at home and abroad, without and within us eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 291 pages of information about Town and Country; or, life at home and abroad, without and within us.

SAVED BY KINDNESS.

A kind word is of more value than gold or precious stones.

CHAPTER I.

“Then you are here!” said a stern, gruff voice, addressing a pale, sickly-looking youth, whose frame trembled and whose lip quivered as he approached one who sat at the side of a low pine table;—­it was his master, a man of about forty, of athletic form, and of power sufficient to crush the feeble youth.

“Well,” he continued, “if you are sure that you gave it to him, go to bed; but mind you, whisper-breathe not the secret to a living soul, on peril of your life!  You may evade my grasp, but like blood I will track you through life, and add a bitter to your every cup of sweet.”

The lad had no sooner left the room than a man entered, whose carelessly arranged apparel and excited appearance indicated that something of vast importance-at least, as far as he was concerned-burthened his mind.

“Harry,” he said, throwing himself upon a chair, “I fear we are betrayed-discovered—­completely used up.”

“Discovered!” shouted the person addressed.  “How? where? why?”

“It is so, friend Harry.  The boy you sent made a sad error.”

“Then murder the boy!” and, clutching a dagger, he motioned to leave the room, and would have done so to plunge it in the bosom of the lad, had not his informant interfered, and thus prevented him from executing so rash and cruel an act.

“What!-I will-will do it!” he shouted, endeavoring to release himself from the hands of the other.

“Never!” was the bold, unwavering response.  “Move a step, and death shall be thy doom.  Seest thou that?” and the speaker drew from his bosom a richly-mounted pistol.

“Doubtless thou art right,” said Harry, in a more calm manner; “the excitement of the moment urged me to desperation, and, if any but you had arisen in my path, the glistening steel should have met his heart.  But, Bill, how,—­I am confused, my eyes swim,—­tell me, how are we discovered?  Must the last act in the great drama of our fortune-making be crushed in the bud?-and who dare do it?”

“If you will restrain your indignation, I will tell you.”

“A hard task, yet I will try.”

“That answer will not do; you must say something more positive.”

“Then I say, I will.”

“Enough,—­the boy Sim handed the note to the kitchen-girl.”

“But, Bill, think you she suspected its contents?”

“That I cannot say, but she is inquisitive, and has been known to unseal letters committed to her care, by some ingenious way she has invented.  She looked uncommonly wise when she handed it to me and said, ‘Mr. Bang, that’s of no small importance to you.’”

“The deuce she did!  I fear she deserves the halter,” said Harry.

“What, with the h off?”

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