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 quickened 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 Woodhulls overwhelmed me with praises and gratitude. I felt sorry for the silly old fool, 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.