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The Private Memoirs and Confessions of A Justified Sinner James Hogg

Private Memoirs And Confessions Of A Sinner

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Matters, were at last made up between M'Gill's parents and the schoolmaster, but by that time I had got the start of him, and never in my life did I exert myself so much as to keep the mastery. It was in vain; the powers of enchantment prevailed, and I was again turned down with the tear in my eye. I could think of no amends but one, and, being driven to desperation, I put it in practice. I told a lie of him. I came boldly up to the master, and told him that M'Gill had in my hearing cursed him in a most shocking manner, and called him vile names. He called M'Gill, and charged him with the crime, and the proud young coxcomb was so stunned at the atrocity of the charge that his face grew as red as crimson, and the words stuck in his throat as he feebly denied it. His guilt was manifest, and he was again flogged most nobly and dismissed the school for ever in disgrace, as a most incorrigible vagabond.

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This was a great victory gained, and I rejoiced and exulted exceedingly in it. It had, however, very nigh cost me my life; for I not long thereafter I encountered M'Gill in the fields, on which he came up and challenged me for a liar, daring me to fight him. I refused, and said that I looked on him as quite below my notice; but he would not quit me, and finally told me that he should either lick me, or I should lick him, as he had no other means of being revenged on such a scoundrel. I tried to intimidate him, but it would not do; and I believe I would have given all that I had in the world to be quit of him. He at length went so far as first to kick me, and then strike me on the face; and, being both older and stronger than he, I thought it scarcely became me to take such insults patiently. I was, nevertheless, well aware that the devilish powers of his mother would finally prevail; and either the dread of this, or the inward consciousness of having wronged him, certainly unnerved my arm, for I fought wretchedly, and was soon wholly overcome. I was so sore defeated that I kneeled and was going to beg his pardon; but another thought struck me momentarily, and I threw myself on my face, and inwardly begged aid from heaven; at the same time I felt as if assured that my prayer was heard, and would be answered. While I was in this humble attitude, the villain kicked me with his foot and cursed me; and I, being newly encouraged, arose and encountered him once more. We had not fought long at this second turn before I saw a man hastening towards us; on which I uttered a shout of joy, and laid on valiantly; but my very next look assured me that the man was old John Barnet, whom I had likewise wronged all that was in my power, and between these two wicked persons I expected anything but justice. My arm was again enfeebled, and that of my adversary prevailed. I was knocked down and mauled most grievously, and, while the ruffian was kicking and cuffing me at his will and pleasure, up came old John Barnet, breathless with running, and, at one blow with his open hand, levelled my opponent with the earth. "Tak ye that, maister!" said John, "to learn ye better breeding. Hout awa, man! An ye will fight, fight fair. Gude sauf us, ir ye a gentleman's brood, that ye will kick an' cuff a lad when he's down?"

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The Private Memoirs and Confessions of A Justified Sinner
James Hogg

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