Grotait came all in a hurry, but Holdfast was there before him, and was actually exhorting Simmons to do a good action in his last moments, and reveal those greater culprits who had employed him, when Grotait, ill at ease, walked in, sat down at the foot of the bed, and fixed his eye on Simmons.
Simmons caught sight of him and stared, but said nothing to him. Yet, when Holdfast had done, Simmons was observed to look at Grotait, though he replied to the other. "If you was a Hillsbro' man, you'd know we tell on dead folk, but not on quick. I told on Ned Simmons, because he was as good as dead; but to tell on Trade, that's different."
"And I think, my poor fellow," suggested Grotait, smoothly, "you might spend your last moments better in telling US what you would wish the Trade to do for your wife, and the child if it lives."
"Well, I think ye might make the old gal an allowance till she marries again."
"Oh, Ned! Ned!" cried the poor woman. "I'll have no man after thee." And a violent burst of grief followed.
"Thou'll do like the rest," said the dying man. "Hold thy bellering, and let me speak, that's got no time to lose. How much will ye allow her, old lad?"
"And what is to come of young 'un?"
"You know better than that, Ned. You are a freeman; but he won't be a freeman's son by our law, thou knowst. But there's plenty of outside trades in Hillsbro'. We'll bind him to one of those, and keep an eye on him, for thy sake."