Page:True stories of girl heroines.djvu/194

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True Stories of Girl Heroines

you have performed is no crime; it is an honour to the strong young hands that performed it, and the noble young heart that nerved those hands to the deed. Take this sword, and keep it; let it be in your family a treasured heirloom. Let it be handed down to other Mary Bridges yet to come, and with it the tale of how, in the past, a girl, a daughter, a tender maiden, was found strong enough to rally to the defence of her mother, whilst craven hirelings shrank and feared, and coward soldiers looked on and raised no hand to check the violence of a comrade!"

His fierce eyes swept round the hall, and many shrank before the glance; then it softened once more, and he looked straight at Lady Bridges.

"Madam, I bid you farewell. Take home your daughter, and be proud of her. Guard her well; and when the time does come, find her a mate worthy of herself. Mistress Mary Bridges, I kiss your hand. Fare you well, and may you be known to posterity when this tale is told, as 'Mary Bridges of the Sword.'"