Page:A New England Tale.djvu/219

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208
A NEW-ENGLAND TALE.

temptible affair between John and the old basket-maker and the Woodhulls, in which I used my humble professional skill to extricate my friends, who had been perhaps a little hasty in revenging the impertinence of the foolish old man. Lloyd was present at the trial before the justice: I fancied, from the expression of his face, that he wished my friends to be foiled, and this stung me,and stimulated my faculties. I succeeded in winning my cause in spite of law and equity, for they were both against me; and this you know is rather flattering to one's talents. The Woodhull's overwhelmed me with praises and gratitude. I felt sorry for the silly old man, whom they had very unceremoniously unhoused, and I proposed a small subscription to enable him to pay the bill of costs, &c., which was his only receipt from the prosecution. I headed it, and it was soon made up; but the old fellow declined it with as much dignity as if he had been a king in disguise. It was an affair of no moment, and I should probably never have thought of it again, if Lloyd had not the next day made it the text upon which he preached as long a sermon as I would hear, upon the characters of the Woodhulls; he even went so far as to presume to remonstrate with me upon my connection with them; painted their conduct on various occasions in the blackest colours; spoke of their pulling down the old hovel, which had in fact been a mere cumberer of the ground for twenty years, as an act of oppression and cruelty; said their habits were all bad; their pursuits all either foolish or dangerous.