Simmons hesitated. He said repeatedly, "Gi' me time! gi' me time!"
Grotait heard of these visits, and was greatly alarmed. He set Dan Tucker and another to watch by turns and report
Messrs. Holdfast and Ransome had an ally inside the house. Eliza Watney had come in from another town, and had no Hillsborough prejudices. She was furious at this new outrage on Little, who had won her regard, and she hoped her brother-in-law would reveal all he knew. Such a confession, she thought, might remove the stigma from himself to those better-educated persons, who had made a tool of her poor ignorant relative.
Accordingly no sooner did the nurse Little had provided inform her, in a low voice, that there was A CHANGE, than she put on her bonnet, and went in all haste to Mr. Holdfast, and also to the chief constable, as she had promised them to do.
But of course she could not go without talking. She met an acquaintance not far from the door, and told her Ned was near his end, and she was going to tell the gentlemen.
Dan Tucker stepped up to this woman, and she was as open-mouthed to him as Eliza had been to her. Dan went directly with the news to Grotait.
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."