The Souvenir of Western Women/Judge Pratt in Bedticking

Judge Pratt in Bedticking

In early times Mr. Robert C. Kinney's home in the Chehalem Valley stood with open doors to all who chanced to pass that way. Itinerant pioneer preachers, homeless pedagogues, and judges of the courts were numbered among the many who oft filled a place in the circle around the blazing fire in the wide, open fireplace or at the ample family board. One day in late autumn, when Oregon rains had been more than raining, a tall and stately person, picturesquely attired in sombrero hat, buckskin trousers set off with elaborate fringe down the sides and secured around the waist with a long silken scarf of bright crimson (a Spanish fashion introduced from California), and a heavy flannel shirt of brilliant hue, alighted at the door. This uniquely costumed gentleman was none other than His Honor, Judge Pratt, Oregon's first territorial judge—a man of fine personal appearance and gentlemanly bearing. Saturated by the copious rains, he was doubly glad to seek shelter in Mr. Kinney's home, where the bright fire warmed and the kindly hospitality cheered. After the judge had retired, Mrs. Kinney thoughtfully hung his rain-soaked pantaloons by the fire that they might dry before morning, which they did and more. To those not acquainted "with the peculiarities of wet buckskin we will say that in drying the trousers shrank to such an extent that the judge could not possibly get into them. Having no others with him, the situation was grave, but Mrs. Kinney arose equal to the emergency. Taking one of her blue and white striped bedticks, she set about to make a pair of trousers for the disabled judge, while he reposed in bed till they were completed, "When ready, he gratefully donned these emergency trousers, not so picturesque, perhaps, as the elaborate ones of buckskin, but surely equally attractive. Thus attired, he proceeded on his way to discharge the duties of his office.—(Notes furnished by Mrs. Jane M. Smith of Astoria.)

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