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Old 01-27-2016, 09:34 PM
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«They do and I am keeper here. Now, you’ll give me up that hare at once.»

«Look you,» replied Tom, «we didn’t kill that hare, the dog caught it. If he lets you take it, well and good. Here, Tommy, this gentleman says (Tom pointed to the keeper) that this hare (Tom pointed to the hare) is not yours. Now will you watch it or let him take it?»

At the word «watch it» Tommy stood over the hare and, showing his teeth at the man, growled.

«You see what he says; now you may do as you please,» continued Tom, addressing the man.

«Yes – very well – you’ll be hanged, I see that. But I’ll just go and fetch a few men to help me. Then I’ll take you both to prison.»

«Then, be quick,» replied I, jumping up and pointing the gun at him. Tommy jumped up also to fly at the man, but Tom caught him in time. The keeper started1 running away. As soon as he was out of gun-shot he turned round, shook his fist and then hastened away.

«I am sorry the gun was not loaded,» said I.

«Why, Jacob, what’s come over you? The man is only doing his duty. We have no business here.»

«I think differently,» replied I. «A hare on a common is as much mine as Lord Spencer’s. A common belongs to everybody.»

«That’s my opinion, too; but if he catches us, he’ll put us in prison. We had better run as fast as we can.»

We started at once. But it so happened that when we turned round after a quarter of an hour’s walk, we saw the man coming back with three or four others.

«Let’s run to the bushes,» cried Tom, «and then hide ourselves.»

In ten minutes we reached a swampy place and entered a thick growth of bushes which quite hid us. Tommy followed us, and there we lay.

«Now they will never find us,» said Tom, «If I can only keep the dog quiet. Lie down, Tommy. Watch, and lie down.»

The dog appeared to understand: he lay between us perfectly still. We had remained there about half an hour when we heard voices. They were coming nearer. Tommy gave a low growl. Tom held his mouth with his hand. At last they were close to the bushes, and we heard the keeper say:

«They didn’t go over the hill, that’s for certain. They can’t be far off – come along.»
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