Page:True stories of girl heroines.djvu/280

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True Stories of Girl Heroines

me, but I can say nought, and so they get the last word every time;" and the mother shook her head, for in her secret heart she was in far more sympathy with her bairns than was the father, who was seriously disturbed and anxious.

"They shall either learn to obey, or they must be sent away out of reach of that pestilent woman!" he cried, storming up and down. "If they stay here they will bring themselves to prison and death, and us into, I know not what trouble! I'll be bound they are off to some preaching now! I hear there is to be one somewhere hard by. But this shall be the last If they will not promise to attend church with us they must be sent elsewhere. All the town begins to talk of it. Soon it will come to the magistrate's ears, and then——"

The mother clasped her hands, and the tears started to her eyes.

"They are but bairns; they are not near sixteen yet—not even Margaret. What could they do to them?"

"They will make them feel the hand of the law; ay, and us too, as thou wilt plainly see! They talk about sixteen; but have not babes and sucklings been slaughtered ere this by the ruthless soldiers?"

The mother wept, and the father stormed; but the hours passed on, and the girls did not return. It was almost dark ere they entered the house; and upon the fair face of the elder was a strange