“‘Must have been tryin’ t’ make him into a rag doll,’ was the comment of a third.
“‘Brown, if yer goin’ t’ be a womern,’ said one, as they surrounded him, ‘ye’d ought to put on a longer dress. Yer enough t’ scare a hoss.’
“Brown was inarticulate with anger.
“A number of men judging him insane, seized and returned him to his punishment. They heard the unhappy story with loud laughter.
“‘You’d better give up an’ go to the kitchen. Brown,’ said one of them; and there are those who maintain that he got the dinner before he got the trousers.”
“Well, God be praised!” said Darrel, when Trove had finished reading the story; “Brooke was unable to foreclose that day, an’ the next was Sunday, an’ bright an’ early on Monday morning I paid the debt.”
“Mrs. Vaughn has a daughter,” said Trove, blushing.
“Ay; an’ she hath a pretty redness in her lip,” said Darrel, quickly, “an’ a merry flash in her eye. Thou hast yet far to go, boy. Look not upon her now, or she will trip thee. By an’ by, boy, by an’ by.”
There was an odd trait in Darrel. In familiar talk he often made use of “ye”—a shortened you—in speaking to those of old acquaintance. But when there was man or topic to rouse him into higher dignity it was more often “thee” or “thou” with him. Trove made no answer and shortly went away.
In certain court records one may read of the celebrated suit for divorce which enlivened the winter of that year in the north country. It is enough to quote the ringing words of one Colonel Jenkins, who addressed the judge as follows:—
“Picture to yourself, sir, this venerable man, waking from his dream of happiness to be robbed of his trousers—the very insignia of his manhood. Picture him, sir, sitting in calico and despair, mingled with hunger and humiliation. Think of him being addressed as ‘wife.’ Being called ‘wife,’ sir, by this woman he had taken to his heart and home. That, your Honour, was ingratitude sharper than a serpent’s tooth. Picture him driven from his fireside in skirts,—the very drapery of humiliation,—skirts, your Honour, that came barely to the knees and left his nether limbs exposed to the autumnal breeze and the ridicule of the unthinking. Sir, it is for you to say how far the widow may go in her oppression. If such conduct is permitted, in God’s name, who is safe?”
“May it please your Honour,” said the opposing lawyer, “having looked upon these pictures of the learned counsel, it is for you to judge whether you ever saw any that gave you greater joy. They are above all art, your Honour. In the galleries of memory there are none like them—none so charming, so delightful. If I were to die to-morrow, sir, I should thank God that my last hour came not until I had seen these pictures of Colonel Jenkins; and it may be sir, that my happiness would even delay the hand of death. My only regret