Page:In the Roar of the Sea.djvu/58

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IN THE ROAR OF THE SEA

that? Upon my word, you will deserve the thanks of the Preventive men. They have no love for him; they have old scores they would gladly wipe off with a broken arm, or, better still, a cracked skull. And pray how did you do this? With the flour-roller?"

"No, sir, I will tell you the whole story."

Then, in its true sequence, with great clearness, she related the entire narrative of events. She told how her father, even with his last breath, had spoken of Coppinger as the man who had troubled his life by marring his work; how that the Captain had entered the parsonage without ceremony when her dear father was lying dead up-stairs, and how he had called there boisterously for Aunt Dionysia because he wanted something of her. She told the old man how that her own feelings had been wrought, by this affront, into anger against Coppinger. Then she related the incident in the lane, and how that, when he raised his arm against her, she had dashed the buttons into his face, frightened his horse, and so produced an accident that might have cost the Captain his life.

"Bless my soul!" exclaimed Mr. Menaida, "and what do you want? Is it an assault? I will run to my law-books and find out; I don't know that it can quite be made out a case of misadventure."

"It is not that, sir."

"Then what do you want?"

"I have been racking my head to think what I ought to do under the circumstances. There can be no doubt that I aggravated him. I was very angry, both because he had been a trouble to my darling papa, and then because he had been so insolent as to enter our house and shout for Aunt Dunes; but there was something more—he had tried to beat Jamie, and it was my father's day of burial. All that roused a bad spirit in me, and I did say very bad words to him—words a man of metal would not bear from even a child, and I suppose I really did lash him to madness, and he would have struck me—but perhaps not, he might have thought better of it. I provoked him, and then I brought about what happened. I have been considering what I ought to do. If I remain here and take no notice, then he will think me very unfeeling, and that I do not care that I have hurt him in mind and body. It came into my head last night that