I suddenly felt weak in the knees, as we say in Arkansas when feeling exhausted. I apologized, “I’m sorry, but I must sit down,” and I plopped down rather hard on the chaise lounge.
Daphne immediately put her hand on my shoulder and in a frightened voice asked, “Jim, are ya alright?”
I just nodded my head in affirmation and began to lie back on my comfortable bed for the night. When my head hit the two pillows arranged to position my skull in the best possible posture, I passed out.
Later I learned from Daphne that Mr. Newcomer was at a loss for words on my sudden loss of consciousness. He just looked at me and then glanced at Daphne.
She said she was assessing whether to call a doctor for me and had a very concerned expression on her face, when her father said in a low callous voice, “I can see that you are infatuated with this man.”
Daphne recounted that she jerked her head to look at him.
Then he continued, “He must seem like a gallant Knights Errant, but he is not who or what you think he is. He will never be the type of person that will be a good husband. Trouble follows him like a dark cloud. I have seen his kind. He will break your heart. I forbid you to see him after he leaves tomorrow.”
She related that she was so shocked by his patriarchal arrogance and patronization that she just stared at him in wide-eyed wonder for a moment. Then she confessed she did the worst thing to a man, who thought his word was law that she could ever do. She began to laugh.
She reported that he was so taken aback that he looked at her as if he had been slapped in the face. However, he quickly recovered, stood up straight and his face took on a demonic countenance. Advancing on Daphne, he drew back his hand as if to slap her. Needless to say her laughter abruptly stopped. She later iterated that she was in fear for her life or she wouldn’t have reacted the way she did.
Reaching down for one of my Colts in my trouser belt, she withdrew it. Quickly stepping backward a few steps, she cocked the pistol. Next she pointed the famous firearm at her father and uttered the most infamous words a 19th century daughter could say to a father, “You don’t tell me what to do.”
Her actions were not what Mr. Newcomer expected. He stopped dead in his tracks and stared at her in slack-jawed unbelief.
Daphne saw Ahab move toward her and warned, “Ahab, if you move one step closer, I swear I will blow his head off.”
Darting a glance at the Black Gladiator, she saw his confused expression. She related that he didn’t know what to do. He had been her guardian for years, and now she was threatening the master who had given him the task of protecting her. Ahab just kept looking back and forth between the Newcomers.
Finally, Mr. Newcomer declared in a huff, “So be it. Tomorrow, ya will leave with Mr. Hager and ya will not darken tha doors of this house again.”
Turning toward the hallway, he stomped toward the parlor door, while ordering Ahab and Bessie, “Y’all come with me.”
Bessie opened the parlor doors and the trio left the room without looking back.
Daphne later told me that she came back to the chaise lounge, sagged down next to me and began to cry.
I had not heard any of the exchanges that had taken place between father and daughter. However, later in the night I awoke to find her asleep in a chair oppose my temporary accommodations with a Colt in her hand.
I didn’t know what to think of her having a weapon, but soon I had succumbed to the enticing arms of Irene, the goddess of peace, and was back in her warm embrace.
The next morning, you might say that the mighty had fallen and the result was an avalanche of hate and discontent.
I awoke to the cacophony of wailing female voices and the gruff intonations of male commands.