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Francis Hopkinson Smith
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 369 pages of information about Kennedy Square.
and heard the insult, and it was wholly unprovoked.  Harry did just what was right, and if he hadn’t I’d either have made Willits apologize or I would have shot him myself the moment the affair could have been arranged, no matter where we were.  I know perfectly well”—­here he swept his eyes around—­“that there is not a man in this room who does not feel as I do about Rutter’s treatment of this boy, and so I shall not comment further upon it.”  He dropped his clenched hand and turned to Harry, his voice still clear and distinct but with a note of tenderness through it.  “And now, that pronunciamentos are in order, my boy, here is one which has less of the Bombastes Furioso in it than the one you have just listened to—­but it’s a damned sight more humane and a damned sight more fatherly, and it is this:—­hereafter you belong to me—­you are my son, my comrade, and, if I ever have a dollar to give to any one, my heir.  And now one thing more, and I don’t want any one of you gentlemen within sound of my voice ever to forget it:  When hereafter any one of you reckon with Harry you will please remember that you reckon with me.”

He turned suddenly.  “Excuse me one moment, gentlemen, and I will then see that you get your several carriages.  Alec!—­where’s Alec?”

The old darky stepped out of the shadow.  “I’m yere, sah.”

“Alec, go and tell Matthew to bring my gig to the front porch—­and be sure you see that your young master’s heavy driving-coat is put inside.  Mr. Harry spends the night with me.”

CHAPTER VII

The secrecy enjoined upon everybody conversant with the happenings at Moorlands did not last many hours.  At the club, across dinner tables, at tea, on the street, and in the libraries of Kennedy Square, each detail was gone over, each motive discussed.  None of the facts were exaggerated, nor was the gravity of the situation lightly dismissed.  Duels were not so common as to blunt the sensibilities.  On the contrary, they had begun to be generally deplored and condemned, a fact largely due to the bitterness resulting from a famous encounter which had taken place a year or so before between young Mr. Cocheran, the son of a rich landowner, and Mr. May—­the circumstances being somewhat similar, the misunderstanding having arisen at a ball in Washington over a reigning belle, during which Mr. May had thrown his card in Cocheran’s face.  In this instance all the requirements of the code were complied with.  The duel was fought in an open space behind Nelson’s Hotel, near the Capitol, Mr. Cocheran arriving at half-past five in the morning in a magnificent coach drawn by four white horses, his antagonist reaching the grounds in an ordinary conveyance, the seconds and the two surgeons on horseback.  Both fired simultaneously, with the result that May escaped unhurt, while Cocheran was shot through the head and instantly killed.

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