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" Are you
Oh! mercy, it's he!" cried my mother. Oh! bo quick-Sal-wolatily !"
“ Sall who? What the devil does she moan ?" said my father, rising up, and putting my sister off his knee.
“I never heard of her,” replied Ben, also getting up
“ but Mistress Saunders seems taken all aback, anyhow. Jack ! run and fetch a bucket of water."
“ Jack, stay where you are!" cried my mother, springing from the chair on which she had thrown herself. “Oh, dear me !--the shock was so sudden-I'm so flustered—who'd have thought to have seen you ?”
her brother ?” inquired Ben.
Well, it's the first time I've heard that she had one--but I'll be off, for Mistress Saunders is too gentcel to kiss, I see, before company.” Ben then took his stick, and left the house. It may be as well here to remark that during his absence my father had fallen in with one of the men who had been employed in the pressgang,
and from him he learnt that a woman had given the information by which he was taken. He made the man, who was present when my
mother called upon the officer, describe her person ; and the description in cvery point was so accurate, that my father had no doubt in his mind but that it was my mother who had betrayed him : this knowledge had for years rinkled in his breast; and he had come home, not only from a wish to sce how things were going on, but to reproach my mother with her treachery.
Whether my mother's conscience smote her, or that she perceived by my father's looks that a squall was
brewing, I know not; but as soon as Ben had left the house, she shut the street door, that the neighbours might not hear. Having so done, she turned to my father, who had resumed his seat and his pipe.
6 Well,” said she, putting her apron to her eyes, "you have been away a good six years, and left me to get on how I could with these two poor orphanless children.”
“You know best why I went," replied my father, “and by whose means I was walked off in such a hurry.”
“Me?" replied my mother.
“I'll tell you what next,” said my father, rising, and taking about eighteen inches of inch-and-a-half rope out of his pocket. “ Look you, ma'am, when I first found out that it was by your peaching that I was sent on board of the Tender I made up this colt; and I vowed that I would keep it in my pocket till I served you out—now the time's come.”
Here my father flourished his rope's end. My mother would have flown to the door, but my father was beforehand with her; he turned the key, and, to the astonishment of Virginia and me, he seized my mother, and, holding her at arm's length, gave her several blows-not severe ones, I must acknowledge, indeed they could not have hurt her.
“ There,” said my father; "it's well for you, my lady lady's maid, that I did not fall in with you when I first made up this colt; and it's well for you that I'vo heard a good character of you from the old chap who has just now left the house, or you'd have smarted for the false trick you played upon me.
Howsomever, I've kept my oath, and you may thank your stars that it's not worse.”
My mother, who had not uttered a cry during the punishment, but only looked very indignant, now that my father had finished his speech and was rolling up his colt to put it in his pocket, suddenly threw herself down on the floor, screaming murder with all her might : the noise summoned the neighbours-all Fisher’s Alley was in an uproar, and our house was besieged with people, who attempted to force their way in-for my mother continued her screams, and poor little Virginia became so frightened that she also roared as loud as her mother.
“ I've more than two minds,” said my father, taking the rope's end out of his pocket again—" but, howsomever, since you wish it, all the world shall know it."
My father put his colt into his pocket, and went to unlock the door: my mother, perceiving what he was about, immediately rose and hastened up stairs to her own room. My father then told the neighbours what had occurred, and why my mother had been punished, and the verdict of Fisher's Alley was, "sarved her right.” Ben the Whaler, who was outside with the others, espoused my father's cause;
and as soon as the people dispersed, my father invited him to join him in his pipe and pot.
Little Virginia, still terrified, had crept up to her mother. I, on the contrary, felt the highest respect for one who could dare to punish my mother, who had 60 often punished me; and the knowledge that he was