Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/255

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Touching The Masculine Conscience And The Feminine Reason.

Farmer Battle, meanwhile, had retired to the solitude of his own chamber, to review a domestic situation, which, as Miss Caroline had rightly guessed, he had foreseen, and to some extent prepared for. It may be, however, that he had overlooked the serious difficulties of the case, in the seemly joy of composing a speech which would crush it; at all events, he saw plainly enough now, that the trouble, so far from being ended, had only begun. The outlook perplexed, worried, and distressed him more than his dignity was willing, but as his nerves soon forced him, to admit. His first act, therefore, on reaching his room was to pour out and swallow a large dose of a noxious preparation known as Gump's Elixir, and, as he was able to gulp this down with comparatively few qualms, it assured him, that his system could still endure the most extraordinary and violent shocks without surrender.

But though he could recall the physical man to duty, his mind remained in rebellion, and he sat down, with his body forward, his arms resting on his knees, and his hands clasped, the picture of doubt and embarrassment. He was a man of governed but primitive emotions, and knew nothing of the thousand-and-