Y had secured it in her pocket, she turned upon him angrily, upbraiding
him and his for allowing such outrages to be committed. "But there," she
cried, when quite out of breath, "it's of no use to speak: there are no
men now, and no boys. When I was young, they'd have routed out those
wretches and hung them before they knew where they were. But only let
them come here again, and they shall know what boiling water is."
"They'll be well punished before long," said Ralph, as soon as he could
get in a word. "I don't believe it," cried the old woman. "Don't tell
me! I want to know what my boy, Nick, is about for not making his master
do something. It's shameful. But I see how it is: I shall have to go and
do it myself." Ralph was not sorry to get away from the ungracious old
dame, who stood at her door, shouting messages to his father about his
duty and her intentions, till the lad was out of sight, when he could
not help seeing the comic side of the matter, and wondered, laughingly,
what his father would say to her if she kept her word, and came up to
the castle to ask him why he and her son, Nick, did not go and punish
those wicked men for coming and stealing her bag of meal. "I should like
to be there," said Ralph, half-aloud, as he tramped on: and then his
thoughts took a serious turn again, and he began to ponder upon the
possibilities of his father and their men attacking Captain Purlrose,
and the chances of success. "It ought to be done," thought Ralph, as he
began to climb the path leading to the shelf upon which Master Rayburn's
cottage was built, half-a-mile farther on, "so as to take them by
surprise when part of the men are away. It can hardly be called cowardly
with men like them. Then we could hide in the cavern, and wait till the
rest came back, and take them prisoners too. What's that?" He listened,
and made out the

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