wants to sneak into houses, and stir up differences between noble gentlemen and their sons, are you, eh? Hold your tongue, sir.
Joe made no effort to reply. It was the crowning circumstance of his degradation. He extricated himself from his fathers grasp, darted an angry look at the departing guest, and returned into the house.
But for her, thought Joe, as he threw his arms upon a table in the common room, and laid his head upon them, but for Dolly, who I couldnt bear should think me the rascal they would make me out to be if I ran away, this house and I should part to-night.
It being evening by this time, Solomon Daisy, Tom Cobb, and Long Parkes, were all in the common room too, and had from the window been witnesses of what had just occurred. Mr Willet joining them soon afterwards, received the compliments of the company with great composure, and lighting his pipe, sat down among them.
Well see, gentlemen, said John, after a long pause, whos the master of this house, and who isnt. Well see whether boys are to govern men, or men are to govern boys.
And quite right too, assented Solomon Daisy with some approving nods; quite right, Johnny. Very good, Johnny. Well said, Mr Willet. Brayvo, sir.
John slowly brought his eyes to bear upon him, looked at him for a long time, and finally made answer, to the unspeakable consternation of his hearers, When I want encouragement from you, sir, Ill ask you for it. You let me alone, sir. I can get on without you, I hope. Dont you tackle me, sir, if you please.
Dont take it ill, Johnny; I didnt mean any harm, pleaded the little man.
Very good, sir, said John, more than usually obstinate after his late success. Never mind, sir. I can stand pretty firm of myself, sir, I believe, without being shored up by you. And having given utterance to this retort, Mr Willet fixed his eyes upon the boiler, and fell into a kind of tobacco-trance.
The spirits of the company being somewhat damped by this embarrassing line of conduct on the part of their host, nothing more was said for a long time; but at length Mr Cobb took upon himself to remark, as he rose to knock the ashes out of his pipe, that he hoped Joe would thenceforth learn to obey his father in all things; that he had found, that day, he was not one of the sort of men who were to be trifled with; and that he would recommend him, poetically speaking, to mind his eye for the future.
Id recommend you, in return, said Joe, looking up with a flushed face, not to talk to me.
Hold your tongue, sir, cried Mr Willet, suddenly rousing himself, and turning round.
I wont, father, cried Joe, smiting the table with his fist, so that the jugs and glasses rung again; these things are hard enough to bear from you; from anybody else I never will endure them any more. Therefore I say, Mr Cobb, dont talk to me.
Why, who are you, said Mr Cobb, sneeringly, that youre not to be talked to, eh, Joe?
To which Joe returned no answer, but with a very ominous shake of the head, resumed his old position, which he would have peacefully preserved until the house shut up at night, but that Mr Cobb, stimulated by the wonder of the company at the young mans presumption, retorted with sundry taunts, which proved too much for flesh and blood to bear. Crowding into one moment the vexation and the wrath of years, Joe started up, overturned the table, fell upon his long enemy, pummelled him with all his might and main, and finished by driving him with surprising swiftness against a heap of spittoons in one corner; plunging into which, head foremost, with a tremendous crash, he lay at full length among the ruins, stunned and motionless. Then, without waiting to receive the compliments of the bystanders on the victory be had
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