Chapter 5 – Trial 2
That’s right: more trial!
The midwife and Aunt Pine recount their stories that Sarah named Bob Wheedle as the father of her child and then inexplicably swore them to secrecy, and others confirm Sarah’s good, too honest, too trusting character. Uncle Pine has the trickiest moment, when he confirms that Wheedle deserved to be locked up like an animal but then admits that he totally gave the winner of the 1769 Miss Naively Trusting Pageant a key.
Oh, lord. Simeon Trapp calls laborer Braxton Cage to the stand. Have you ever been to an amateur production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream? This actor is the guy who plays Bottom in all of them.
He is here to falsely besmirch Sarah’s name, which would be a huge shock if the Trudge Mob hadn’t told us during their completely pointless scene that this very thing would be happening. Way to spoiler, Mob.
Cage says that he heard Sarah and one of her Nameless Friends “carrying on” and ogling the British troops one afternoon. Scandal! He insists on characterizing what Sarah says as a “sermon,” and then puts on his Sexy Face and elaborates:
“Ruth and Boaz… Isaac and Rebecca… The Song of Solomon.”
Because when young girls are swooning over dashing soldiers, the first two things they think of are a marriage between a 40-year-old widow and a kind elderly man and an arranged marriage between two total strangers. Well done, O Prince of Innuendo.
But with The Song of Solomon, we get it: Sounds like those young Colonial chippies were hot to trudge! And Cage claims that they’d have gone with any of those soldiers! The courtroom audience explodes into a frenzy of scandalized rhubarbing, hubbubbing, and peas-and-carrotsing.
The ladies scream that those are outrageous lies, and then Sarah makes eye contact with a perturbed Bob and sends over a Category 5 Guiltstorm.
Mr. Fox leaps up to save the day by revealing that on the day in question, Braxton Cage was thrown out of the tavern for excessive drunkenness.
Worst. False witness. Ever.
The defense has no further witnesses, but the prosecution has a surprise! One of the justices behind Rhodes points out that this is “most irregular,” but Rhodes hears him anyway because the witness had to travel a long way, and what the hell, we’re all on Sarah’s side.
Not that Rhodes is an activist judge or anything.
We learn that the new witness is a Redcoat named Timothy Reddish.
In case any of you had money riding on it, the calling of said witness was the moment where I reached the limit of my tolerance for symbolic last names and put my fist through the window.
I lost some finger mobility, but the searing pain distracted me enough to carry on and finish this recap, so it was worth it. I am very much looking forward to the next episode of Courage: New Hampshire, in which we’ll meet Robert Taxhikingcommunist and James Patrioticjobcreator.
Everyone is shocked to see sergeant Reddish, who testifies that Wheedle was all torn up about leaving Courage (and, by implication, Sarah). Reddish also explains that he and Wheedle came from similar low origins and owe everything they are now to the King and the King’s army. The actor playing Reddish has picked out and sticks to a plausible accent for this origin story, for which he wins a thousand bonus points and some soft, grateful weeping.
It would be nice if, given their similar backgrounds, Bob Wheedle and Tim Reddish also spoke in similar dialects.
But much like vital infrastructure spending, we can’t always get everything we want, even if it would really help hold things together.
Sergeant Reddish opens up and says that Bob was in love with Sarah. And why is he doing this? Because he, Reddish, knows what it is to be called a bastard! Sarah, awash with emotion, cuddles her completely stiff prop baby bundle.
Dang. Reddish is clearly a stand-up guy with a good conscience, but I’m concerned about all this empathy he’s throwing around. Glenn Beck told me that too much empathy is what drove the Nazis.
Fortunately, it’s met with an immediate counterpush: Outside at deliberations, Nameless Justice #2 prods Rhodes about setting up a new college for the natives and Silas shuts him down because they are in the middle of considering their verdict, for crying out loud.
Liberals. Always trying to drag in entitlements.
Everyone waits for the verdict. The Pines sit at a booth with tankards. Reddish and Wheedle have a private chat and Wheedle says that he doesn’t want to take a wife back with him because Sarah would be in real physical danger from someone like that “fatcat” officer they both remember.
Which, maybe something you could have thought of earlier, Bob? Or are consequences too much like contraception, and best kept out of the equation? I have so much to learn.
The justices are still deliberating. Silas Rhodes is on the side of Right, but there’s still so much actual law to consider.
Fox and Trapp also have a meal together. We know that Fox is a smart one because he has a book again. Try not to hold it against him. Remember, it’s probably a Bible.
Trapp says Fox shouldn’t hold the stunt with the drunk against him, because after all, he’s just “greasing the Governor’s carriage wheels.” Ew.
Sarah weeps because she realizes she was wrong in a way too. Not for foolishly continuing to chase a coward and a jerk who was willing to abandon her and then lie about it, but for wanting to leap into becoming a wife and a mother before God was truly ready for her to do so. Now she knows to be content wherever she is until the Big Guy makes it clear.
Only her baby has no father! What will she do if the court doesn’t order Bob to marry her? I mean, yes, she seems to have been pretty cool with it for a year or so, but now she’s really upset!
When, oh, when will we get that verdict?
Coming up: Chapter 6 – Verdict
(On a sad note, we’re done with Braxton. Here’s one last glimpse to help you carry on.)