The Judge Ignores Particulars

“Do you often have these visitations?” Ogden inquired of Judge Henry. Our host was giving us whiskey in his office, and Dr. MacBride, while we smoked apart from the ladies, had repaired to his quarters in the foreman’s house previous to the service which he was shortly to hold.

The Judge laughed. “They come now and then through the year. I like the bishop to come. And the men always like it. But I fear our friend will scarcely please them so well.” “You don’t mean they’ll--”

“Oh, no. They’ll keep quiet. The fact is, they have a good deal better manners than he has, if he only knew it. They’ll be able to bear him. But as for any good he’ll do--”

“I doubt if he knows a word of science,” said I, musing about the Doctor.

“Science! He doesn’t know what Christianity is yet. I’ve entertained many guests, but none--The whole secret,” broke off Judge Henry, “lies in the way you treat people. As soon as you treat men as your brothers, they are ready to acknowledge you--if you deserve it--as their superior. That’s the whole bottom of Christianity, and that’s what our missionary will never know.” There was a somewhat heavy knock at the office door, and I think we all feared it was Dr. MacBride. But when the Judge opened, the Virginian was standing there in the darkness

“So!” The Judge opened the door wide. He was very hearty to the man he had trusted. “You’re back at last.” “I came to repawt.” While they shook hands, Ogden nudged me. “That the fellow?” I nodded. “Fellow who kicked the cook off the train?” I again nodded, and he looked at the Virginian, his eye and his stature.

Judge Henry, properly democratic, now introduced him to Ogden.

The New Yorker also meant to be properly democratic. “You’re the man I’ve been hearing such a lot about.” But familiarity is not equality. “Then I expect yu’ have the advantage of me, seh,” said the Virginian, very politely. “Shall I repawt tomorro’?” His grave eyes were on the Judge again. Of me he had taken no notice; he had come as an employee to see his employer.

“Yes, yes; I’ll want to hear about the cattle to-morrow. But step inside a moment now. There’s a matter-- ” The Virginian stepped inside, and took off his hat. “Sit down. You had trouble--I’ve heard something about it,” the Judge went on.

The Virginian sat down, grave and graceful. But he held the brim of his hat all the while. He looked at Ogden and me, and then back at his employer. There was reluctance in his eye. I wondered if his employer could be going to make him tell his own exploits in the presence of us outsiders; and there came into my memory the Bengal tiger at a trained-animal show I had once seen.

“You had some trouble,” repeated the Judge.

“Well, there was a time when they maybe wanted to have notions. They’re good boys.” And he smiled a very little.

Contentment increased in the Judge’s face. “Trampas a good boy too?” But this time the Bengal tiger did not smile. He sat with his eye fastened on his employer.

The Judge passed rather quickly on to his next point. “You’ve brought them all back, though, I understand, safe and sound, without a scratch?” The Virginian looked down at his hat, then up again at the Judge, mildly. “I had to part with my cook.” There was no use; Ogden and myself exploded. Even upon the embarrassed Virginian a large grin slowly forced itself. “I guess yu’ know about it,” he murmured. And he looked at me with a sort of reproach. He knew it was I who had told tales out of school.

“I only want to say,” said Ogden, conciliatingly, “that I know I couldn’t have handled those men.” The Virginian relented. “Yu’ never tried, seh.” The Judge had remained serious; but he showed himself plainly

  By PanEris using Melati.

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