But if Master Tommy was headstrong Master Jacky was selfwilled too and, true to the maxim that every little Irishman’s house is his castle, he fell upon his hated rival and to such purpose that the wouldbe assailant came to grief and (alas to relate!
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fought off my assailant
The wise man always throws himself on the side of his assailants. It is more his interest than it is theirs to find his weak point.