He was originally a flatboatman, and was not only familiar
"It will read well in the papers," exclaimed the son.
"The papers are to know nothing about it," I broke in. "All knowledge of your connection with Mr. or Mrs. Blake is to be buried in this spot before we or you leave it. Not a word of her or him is to cross the lips of either of you from this hour. I have set that down as a condition and it has got to be kept."
"You have, have you," thundered in chorus from father and son. "And who are you to make conditions, and what do you think we are that you expect us to keep them? Can you do anymore than put us back from where we came from?"
For reply I took from my pocket the ring I had fished out of the ashes of their kitchen stove on that memorable visit to their house, and holding it up before their faces, looked them steadily in the eye.
A sudden wild glare followed by a bluish palor that robbed their countenances of their usual semblance of daring ferocity, answered me beyond my fondest hopes.
"I got that out of the stove where you had burned your prison clothing," said I. "It is a cheap affair, but it will send you to the gallows if I choose to use it against you. The pedlar--"
"Hush," exclaimed the father in a low choked tone greatly in contrast to any he had yet used in all our dealings with him. "Throw that ring out of the window and I promise to hold my tongue about any matter you don't want spoke of. I'm not a fool--"
"Nor I," was my quick reply, as I restored the ring to my pocket. "While that remains in my possession together with certain facts concerning your habits in that old house of yours which have lately been made known to me, your life hangs by a thread I can any minute snip in two. Mr. Blake here, has spent some portion of a night in your house and knows how near it lies to a certain precipice, at foot of which--"
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