"You can easily take it away again," replied the matron. "I am but a woman, alone here, and unprotected."
"Not alone, my dear, nor unprotected neither," submitted Mr. Bumble, in a voice tremulous with fear; "I am here, my clear. And besides," said Mr. Bumble, his teeth chattering as he spoke, "Mr. Monks is too much of a gentleman to attempt any violence on parochial persons. Mr. Monks is aware that I am not a young man, my dear, and also that I am a little run to seed, as I may say; but he has heerd—I say I have no doubt Mr. Monks has heerd, my dear—that I am a very determined officer, with very uncommon strength, if I'm once roused. I only want a little rousing, that's all."
As Mr. Bumble spoke, he made a melancholy feint of grasping his lantern with fierce determination, and plainly showed, by the alarmed expression of every feature, that he did want a little rousing, and not a little, prior to making any very warlike demonstration, unless, indeed,