Page:Twilight.djvu/267

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259
TWILIGHT

does not wish to argue or defend herself, she wants to be left alone. You don't know anything because there is nothing to know. But I daresay you could make mischief. What are you asking to keep your venomous mouth shut? There is no good beating about the bush or talking Christian Science. Come to the point. How much?"

"A thousand pounds!" They were both startled, but Peter spoke first.

"That be damned for a tale." A most unedifying dialogue ensued. Then Peter said, after a short whispered colloquy with Margaret:

"She will give you a hundred pounds, no more and no less. Come, close, or leave it alone. A hundred pounds! Take it or leave it."

Margaret would have interrupted. "I said double," she whispered. He translated it quickly:

"Not a farthing more, she says. She has made up her mind. Either that or clear out and do your damnedest."

Sarah Roope stood out for her price until she nearly exhausted his patience, would have exhausted it but that Margaret, terrified, kept urging and soothing him. Before the end Mrs. Roope said a word that justified him—and he put his two hands on her shoulders. He made no point now of her being a woman. There are times when a man's brutality stands him in good stead, and this was one of such occasions.