Read Books Online, for Free
|The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson||Mark Twain|
The Shame of Judge Driscoll
|Page 2 of 4||
If Judge Driscoll was the recognized first citizen of Dawson's Landing, Pembroke Howard was easily its recognized second citizen. He was called "the great lawyer"--an earned title. He and Driscoll were of the same age--a year or two past sixty.
Although Driscoll was a freethinker and Howard a strong and determined Presbyterian, their warm intimacy suffered no impairment in consequence. They were men whose opinions were their own property and not subject to revision and amendment, suggestion or criticism, by anybody, even their friends.
The day's fishing finished, they came floating downstream in their skiff, talking national politics and other high matters, and presently met a skiff coming up from town, with a man in it who said:
"I reckon you know one of the new twins gave your nephew a kicking last night, Judge?"
"Gave him a kicking."
The old judge's lips paled, and his eyes began to flame. He choked with anger for a moment, then he got out what he was trying to say:
"Well--well--go on! Give me the details!"
The man did it. At the finish the judge was silent a minute, turning over in his mind the shameful picture of Tom's flight over the footlights; then he said, as if musing aloud,
"H'm--I don't understand it. I was asleep at home. He didn't wake me. Thought he was competent to manage his affair without my help, I reckon." His face lit up with pride and pleasure at that thought, and he said with a cheery complacency, "I like that--it's the true old blood-- hey, Pembroke?"
Howard smiled an iron smile, and nodded his head approvingly. Then the news-bringer spoke again.
"But Tom beat the twin on the trial."
The judge looked at the man wonderingly, and said:
"The trial? What trial?"
"Why, Tom had him up before Judge Robinson for assault and battery."
The old man shrank suddenly together like one who has received a death stroke. Howard sprang for him as he sank forward in a swoon, and took him in his arms, and bedded him on his back in the boat. He sprinkled water in his face, and said to the startled visitor:
"Go, now--don't let him come to and find you here. You see what an effect your heedless speech has had; you ought to have been more considerate than to blurt out such a cruel piece of slander as that."
"I'm right down sorry I did it now, Mr. Howard, and I wouldn't have done it if I had thought; but it ain't slander; it's perfectly true, just as I told him."
He rowed away. Presently the old judge came out of his faint and looked up piteously into the sympathetic face that was bent over him.
"Say it ain't true, Pembroke; tell me it ain't true!" he said in a weak voice.
|Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
|The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson
Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004