We went back to the Scheimer homestead and were favorably received. There was no special enthusiasm over our return, no marked demonstrations of delight; but they seemed glad to see us, and all the unpleasant things of the past, if not forgotten, were tacitly ignored on all sides. We passed a pleasant evening together in what seemed a re-united family circle-one of the brothers only was absent-and next morning we met cordially around the breakfast table. I really began to think it was possible that all the old difficulties might be healed, and that the pleasant picture Sarah painted, at Goshen, about settling down happily in Pennsylvania, could be fully realized.
After breakfast I took a conveyance to go three or four miles to see a man who owed me some money for medical services in his family, and was away from Scheimer’s three or four hours. During this brief absence I could not help thinking with genuine satisfaction of the happiness Sarah was experiencing in the gratification of her longing to return home again. Surely, I thought, she must be happy now. No more homesickness, and a full and complete reconciliation with her family; all the anger, abuse, and blows forgotten or forgiven; she restored to her place in the family; and even her objectionable husband received with open arms.
But what an enormous difference there is between fancy and fact. During this brief absence of mine, had come home the brother who had always seemed to concentrate the hatred of the whole family towards me for the wrong they assumed I had done to the youngest daughter who loved me. On my return I found the peaceful home I left in the morning a perfect pandemonium. Sarah was fairly frantic. The whole family were abusing her. The returned brother especially, was calling her all the vile names he could lay his tongue to. I learned afterwards that he had been doing it ever since he came into the house that day and found her at home and heard that I was with her. They had picked, wrenched rather, out of her the secret I had confided to her that I had another wife from whom I was “separated,” but not divorced. My sudden presence on this scene was not exactly oil on troubled waters; it was gunpowder to fire. As soon as Sarah saw me at the door she cried out:
“O! husband, let us go away from here.”
Her mother turned and shouted at me that I had better fly at once or they would kill me. Meanwhile, that mob, which the Scheimer boys seemed always to have at hand, was gathering in the dooryard. I managed to get near enough to Sarah to tell her that I would send a man for her next day, and then if she was willing to come with me she must get away from her family if possible. I then made a rush through the crowd, and reached the road. I think the gang had an indistinct knowledge of the situation, or they would have mobbed me, and perhaps killed me. They knew something was “to pay” at Scheimer’s, but did not know exactly what. Once on the road it was my intention to have gone over to Belvidere, and then on to Oxford, where I should have found a sure refuge with my friend Boston Yankee.