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41. CHAPTER XLI (continued)
"No, Master Ernest, you shan't," said John, planting himself against the door. "Now, master," he continued, "you may do as you please about me. I've been a good servant to you, and I don't mean to say as you've been a bad master to me, but I do say that if you bear hardly on Master Ernest here I have those in the village as 'll hear on't and let me know; and if I do hear on't I'll come back and break every bone in your skin, so there!"
John's breath came and went quickly, as though he would have been well enough pleased to begin the bone-breaking business at once. Theobald turned of an ashen colour--not, as he explained afterwards, at the idle threats of a detected and angry ruffian, but at such atrocious insolence from one of his own servants.
"I shall leave Master Ernest, John," he rejoined proudly, "to the reproaches of his own conscience." ("Thank God and thank John," thought Ernest.) "As for yourself, I admit that you have been an excellent servant until this unfortunate business came on, and I shall have much pleasure in giving you a character if you want one. Have you anything more to say?"
"No more nor what I have said," said John sullenly, "but what I've said I means and I'll stick to--character or no character."
"Oh, you need not be afraid about your character, John," said Theobald kindly, "and as it is getting late, there can be no occasion for you to leave the house before to-morrow morning."
To this there was no reply from John, who retired, packed up his things, and left the house at once.
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