And Minna goes in, thinking mebbe she’s got to swear to an affidavit or something that Homer couldn’t get a fair trial among people knowing he regarded little ones as so many cockroaches or something to step on.
She got some shock when Homer took her inside and held her tight by the wrist while Old Man Geiger married ’em. That’s about the way it was. She says she was so weak she could hardly stand up, and she hadn’t hardly any voice at all left. But she kept on saying “Why, Homer!” and “Oh, Homer!” and “No, no, Homer!” as soon as she discovered that she had been dragged off to a fate she had always regarded as worse than death; but a lot of good it done her to say them things in a voice not much better than a whisper.
And the dreadful thing was over before she could get strength to say anything more powerful. There she was, married to a man she thought highly of, it’s true, and had a great sympathy for in the foul wrong one of her sex had tried to slip over on him; but a man she had never thought of marrying. I’m telling you what she told me. And after sentence had been pronounced she kept on saying “Why, Homer!” and “Oh, Homer!” and “No, no, Homer!” till there was nothing to do but get some clothes out of her trunk that she’d left down there in time to take the narrow gauge for their wedding tour to Spokane.
The news spread over the valley next day like a brush fire in August. It was startling! Like the newspapers say of a suicide, “No cause could be assigned for the rash act.” They was away ten days and come back to find the whole country was again giving Homer the laugh because Mrs. Tolliver had up and married a prosperous widower from over in Surprise Valley, and had never brought any suit against him. It was said that even the late Mrs. Tolliver was laughing heartily at him.
Homer didn’t seem to care, and Minna certainly didn’t. She was the old-fashioned kind of wife, a kind you don’t hear much of nowadays; the kind that regards her husband as perfect, and looks up to him. She told me about the tumultuous wedding. Neither of ’em had had time for any talk till they got on the train. Then it come out. She says why ever did Homer do such a monstrous thing? And Homer says:
“Well, you told me a change of Venus was the only way out for me—”
“I said a change of venue,” says Minna.
“It sounded like change of Venus,” says Homer, “and I knew Venus was the god of love. And you said you was willing and I knew we was congenial, and I was a desperate man; and so here we are!”
So she cried on his shoulder for twenty miles while he ate a box of figs.
Homer is now a solid citizen, with his money put into a place down at the lower end of the valley, instead of lying in the bank at the mercy of some unscrupulous woman with little ones. And here this summer, with his own work light, he’s been helping me out as riding boss; or, at least I been lavishing money on him for that.