Page:Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag, Volume 2.djvu/130

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funny stories in her den, till the exhausted victims implored her to take an opium pill and subside before they became furious. She obeyed, and after a few relapses into wandering and joking, finally slumbered.

Then occurred the one thrilling adventure of this happy journey. In the darkest hour before dawn Mat awoke, heard a suspicious noise in the middle room, and asked if Lavinia was on the rampage again. No reply, and, listening, a low, rasping, rustling sound was heard.

"Thieves, of course. Our watches and purses are on the table, and Lavinia has probably forgotten to lock the door. I must attend to this." And up rose the dauntless Matilda, who feared neither man nor ghost.

Grasping her dagger, hitherto used as a paper cutter, but always eager to be steeped in the gore of brigands, robbers, or beasts of prey, she crept to the door and peeped in. The pale glow of the fire showed her a dark figure crouching in the opposite door-way. The click of a pistol caught her ear, 'but dodging quickly, the heroic girl cried sternly from the shelter of Lavinia's bed-curtain,—