Marco Paul's Voyages & Travels: Vermont By Jacob Abbott

 -  He ran about in the open air until dinner-time, and
though, when he went in to dinner, he felt - Page 80
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He Ran About In The Open Air Until Dinner-Time, And Though, When He Went In To Dinner, He Felt Oppressed With A Sense Of Guilt And Of Self-Condemnation, He Was Satisfied That No One Suspected Him.

Marco thought that he had had a very lucky escape.

Chapter VII.

A Dilemma.

Though Marco's first feeling was that of relief, to find that he had got back from his truancy without detection, he felt, after all, ill at ease. He kept out of sight till the dinner-bell rang, and then he was almost afraid to go in, for fear that, by some accident or other, his uncle might have noticed his absence, and might ask him something about it. He was usually much interested at dinner-time in talking with Forester about plans for the afternoon; but now he felt guilty and afraid, and he was disinclined to look his uncle or his cousin in the face, or to speak a word.

And yet it was not punishment that Marco was afraid of. There were very few boys who could bear punishment of any kind with more fortitude than he, or to whom the idea of punishment gave less concern. It was the detection itself, rather than what was to come after it, that he feared. There is something in the very act of being detected and exposed in guilt, which the heart instinctively shrinks from; and many a boy would willingly bear in secret twice the pain which the punishment of an offense would bring, rather than have his commission of the offense discovered and made known.

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