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96 CHAPTER XVI. What was determined on in a family council. the next day, which was Sunday, like a fellow who is burthened with more than he can carry, I took Tom Peterson into my confidence, and told him the whole of events and revelations of the night before. Tom opened his eyes, when he found out that I was really serious. I had already imparted all of them to Violet and Ephraim; who were confounded beyond measure and wished to reflect the whole day before concluding what course to take. It was a pleasant Sunday forenoon, and Tom and I crossed the North River, to Hoboken, and strolled along to Inez’ cottage. A sudden thought seized me, as I saw the happy and lovely appearance of that little dwelling, where the joint labors of Inez, Nancy, and four or five out of the eight little Foxes, had caused vines to bloom, and pleasant shrubbery, and some late flowers that were quite gay, even at this advanced season.—Nancy herself was out there in front, and welcomed me, and told me to go up at once in 97 the second story, and make myself and my friend at home in Inez’ sitting room. Verily this was a day of telling news, and making confidants . For I again went over the whole history of Martha, to the dancing girl, and asked her whether, in case it was necessary, she would take the Quakeress under her protection and hospitality for a short time. “That I will,” said she, with spirit, “and if Mr. Covert dares set his foot here, against the young woman’s will, Nancy and I will salute him with such a reception that he won’t forget us, years to come.” I told Inez that I might require her to make her words good; and that if so, I would give her due warning. She told me not to be afraid of calling in her assistance; and that she only wanted a good chance to take a little revenge on Covert for his intentions toward her spare cash. It seemed that it was somewhat as I suspected when Inez came down to the office, many months before. The shrewd Spaniard, from some cause or other, had her suspicions aroused, waited a few weeks before purchasing the stock which Covert recommended, and in which Ferris was interested, and then a few weeks longer; and then had the satisfaction to read in the papers how the whole edifice, stock and all of Mr. Pepperich Ferris’s wonderful company had tumbled to the ground—and how luckily her dollars just escaped. You may be sure, the mettlesome Spaniard had fire 98 enough in her veins to resent the deliberate design of cheating her, almost as much as if it had been successfully accomplished . For that it was a deliberate design, there could be no dispute. Even Mr. J. Fitzmore Smytthe came in for his share of the high-strung girl’s displeasure. And, at his next visit, Inez saluted him with such a voluble and fiery tongue, that this genteel and taciturn individual was fain to put his fingers in his ears and beat a retreat in double quick time. That he had received his walking papers, however, was a work of special grace to me; I by no means mourned his absence from Inez’s rooms when I visited there; considering in such cases that two made a much pleasanter party than three. When we returned to New York, I bespoke the services of Tom Peterson, too; for I had a scheme in my head. Tom promised to do anything for me, from tossing Covert out of his own window to holding the light while I wrote him a challenge. When Martha, that night, under my charge, according to the request made in her note, left Covert’s house—he was confined to his room yet, fortunately—I felt that it would perhaps be better for her to go back no more. She was now free from the wretch’s premises, and why should she place herself in his power again? I proposed this, in full family council; and it was considered favorably, until Martha herself put the negative on it. She said that it was her intention to leave, but not tonight. 99 She knew, too, that she would be under the necessity of leaving clandestinely; for Covert had all the restlessness and suspicion of a guilty mind. An additional...


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