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      The Squire's party was much the weakest in numbers,[Pg 9] but luck had given it the best weapons of that chance armament. Alce of Ellenwhorne had a fine knobbed stick, worth a dozen of the enemy's, while Lewnes of Coldblow had an excellent broken bottle. Young Elphee had been through the bruiser-mill, and routed his assailants with successive upper-cuts. The anti-Bardonites, on the other hand, were inclined to waste their strength; they fought in a congested, rabblesome way; also they threw their bottles, not realising that a bottle is much better as a club than a missile. The result was that quite early in the conflict their ammunition gave out, and they were reduced to sticks and fists.

      Actually his tears fell on her hand, and a rather bitter compassion for him drove away the more normal mood. He had killed her, and he was sorry for it. But if he had it all to do over again he would do it, for the sake of the land which was so much more to him than her life.

      "This is not the work of a novice, Lady AnneYou are accustomed to needle-work!"

      "Lady," said Ball, who, in a low voice, had exchanged a few words with Wells, "here thou art no longer safe. Conduct this lady, my friend, to the abbey of Westminster," addressing Wells, "and encounter not those who might, unchecked by me, commit further outrage. Take a boat from the water-sidethat way is yet open. Farewell, lady, I must hence;for even Simon Sudbury, who made John Ball what he is now, may be in peril, and it is for the Lord alone to smite.I seek not the brand to right me!"

      Boarzell Fair was in many ways a mark of the passage of the years and a commentary on history. Not only did the atmosphere and persons of it change very much[Pg 351] as the nineteenth century changed, but the side-shows were so many lights cast on popular opinion, politics, and progress.

      "Ben, I swear I'm your true wife."Naomi leaned against Harry, and his hand stole up and down her arm, stroking its whiteness. Reuben stood watching them, and for a moment he hungered. This was what he had cast away.


      Rose's sobs burst forth afresh. Her friend ran up to her and took her in her arms, badly squeezing poor David, who became purple and entirely animal in his remonstrances.


      But Realf of Grandturzel shook his head. His humiliation was more than he could bear. Without another look at Pete or Tilly, or at Reuben holding the raw chop to his eye, he turned and walked out of the room with bent head and dragging footsteps.


      Pete looked in some surprise at the bruiser, who continued: