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Chapter 44 (continued)
'I believe you, Muster Gashford,' interposed the hangman with a grave nod. 'The uncertainties as I've seen in reference to this here state of existence, the unexpected contingencies as have come about!--Oh my eye!' Feeling the subject much too vast for expression, he puffed at his pipe again, and looked the rest.
'I say,' resumed the secretary, in a slow, impressive way; 'we can't tell what may come to pass; and if we should be obliged, against our wills, to have recourse to violence, my lord (who has suffered terribly to-day, as far as words can go) consigns to you two--bearing in mind my recommendation of you both, as good staunch men, beyond all doubt and suspicion--the pleasant task of punishing this Haredale. You may do as you please with him, or his, provided that you show no mercy, and no quarter, and leave no two beams of his house standing where the builder placed them. You may sack it, burn it, do with it as you like, but it must come down; it must be razed to the ground; and he, and all belonging to him, left as shelterless as new-born infants whom their mothers have exposed. Do you understand me?' said Gashford, pausing, and pressing his hands together gently.
'Understand you, master!' cried Hugh. 'You speak plain now. Why, this is hearty!'
'I knew you would like it,' said Gashford, shaking him by the hand; 'I thought you would. Good night! Don't rise, Dennis: I would rather find my way alone. I may have to make other visits here, and it's pleasant to come and go without disturbing you. I can find my way perfectly well. Good night!'
He was gone, and had shut the door behind him. They looked at each other, and nodded approvingly: Dennis stirred up the fire.
'This looks a little more like business!' he said.
'Ay, indeed!' cried Hugh; 'this suits me!'
'I've heerd it said of Muster Gashford,' said the hangman, 'that he'd a surprising memory and wonderful firmness--that he never forgot, and never forgave.--Let's drink his health!'
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