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110 CHAPTER XVIII. In which is told the end of the scrape— and what came to pass afterwards. new as an adventure and situation of this sort were to Martha, she stood it like a heroine. I had never seen a woman’s conduct more admirable; and, from that moment, my attachment—for such a feeling had already taken root on my mind—was colored with an esteem and respect which made it indeed true love. Previously, the sentiment had perhaps been composed more of pity and sympathy for the wrongs which were encompassing her; but the demeanor she exhibited in these incidents, proved her worthy of a more solid regard, and warmer friendship. Yes, it was while we were waiting there in that cheerless police room, that the inspiration first came to me, of a simple way to cut the knot at once; or, at any rate to remove most of the complications, and make the battle between Covert and Martha a decided one. I felt, I knew, that such a girl as this I could love. Indeed, I felt that I did love her, now; and that my feeling was of that positive, real kind, 111 equally without reserve, and devoid of morbid ardor—a feeling which I divined was the best and the only genuine feeling which should lead to marriage. I bethought me then—for though we waited but a few minutes, thought travels over space and time quick enough—and I bethought me of the little girl in the basement , years before. I saw the scene before me—the good protectress in her plain cap, and the smooth hair parted on her head. I thought of my early crony, Billjiggs. The good lady—ah! How gently she washed that dirty head, while I held the large basin of half-warm water; how the jagged wound made me almost feel sick, although one who helped bring Billjiggs in, pronounced it not so much after all, and laughed, and said that it was more blood than anything else. How the lady looked around, and, finding nothing else handy, took that famous handkerchief, so large, so fragrant, of such beautiful white linen, and bound up Billjiggs’s phrenological developments from the public gaze. Then how the little girl Martha came and neatly tied the knot, with such tender fingers, for fear she might hurt the wound. Even then, did she not exhibit the inward force and strength of her character?—Wouldn’t almost any other little girl have been frightened and held back in alarm? And thus and so, under a semi-arrest, and not knowing but what we would have to pass the night in durance, was determined the love of Jack Engle. In a few minutes, the man who had brought us hither, 112 came up to us and asked for the bundle. He wished to take it away. “To that I must object,” said Martha, turning to him, “and I do not know if thee has any right to do so.” Martha was a different person to deal with, from the boy Nat, and the officer felt it. “Then let the boy bring the things,” said he, “and all of you come in here.” We followed him into an adjoining room. At a little wooden table there was seated the captain of the district. The moment I saw him I felt relieved; for he was an old acquaintance of Ephraim Foster’s, and, besides, he and I knew each other well. Although older than I, he was yet a young man, and we had spent many months in the same studies at the public school. “What, Jack Engle,” he cried, looking up; and then turning to the man who had brought us in, “Oh, Jones, your trouble is all for nothing. These people cannot possibly be anything to that affair.” “Well, if you know them,” answered Jones, “that’s enough, of course.” The officer, in a civil tone, but without showing any vexation or disappointment, asked our excuses, said that the captain would tell us why he had been so particular, and then left the room. My school-friend good-naturedly rose, and pushing his seat along to Martha, informed me how there had been a good deal of serious pilfering in that neighborhood—that 113 from information obtained by the officers, he supposed a still more daring robbery was on foot that very night—and that a female was concerned with the parties in...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781609385118
Related ISBN
9781609385125
MARC Record
OCLC
970693688
Pages
180
Launched on MUSE
2017-03-14
Language
English
Open Access
No
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