already a little troubled in my conscience by my daring, and now I began to feel the black enormity of the course upon which I had embarked.
"I was only talking sense," I said.
I had a still more dreadful moment when presently I met my cousin in the brick alley behind the yard, that led back to his grocers shop.
"You sneak!" I said, and smacked his face hard forthwith. "Now then," said I.
He started back, astonished and alarmed. His eyes met mine, and I saw a sudden gleam of resolution. He turned his other cheek to me.
"'It it," he said; "'it it. I'll forgive you."
I felt I had never encountered a more detestable way of evading a licking. I shoved him against the wall and left him there, forgiving me, and went back into the house.
"You better not speak to your cousins, George," said my aunt, "till you're in a better state of mind."
I became an outcast forthwith. At supper that night a gloomy silence was broken by my cousin saying, "'E 'it me for telling you, and I turned the other cheek, muvver."
"'E's got the evil one be'ind 'im now, a ridin' on 'is back," said my aunt, to the grave discomfort of the eldest girl, who sat beside me.
After supper my uncle, in a few ill-chosen words, prayed me to repent before I slept.
"Suppose you was took in your sleep, George," he said; "where'd you be then? You jest think of that, me boy." By this time I was thoroughly miserable and frightened, and this suggestion unnerved me dreadfully, but I kept up an impenitent front. "To wake in 'ell," said uncle Nicodemus, in gentle tones. "You don't