We can tell how many months that man in the foreground has worn those dreadful hobnailed boots; we can count the nails, and we notice that two or three are missing. Those disgusting corduroy trousers have hung about his legs for so many months; all the ugliness of these labourers' faces and the solid earthiness of their lives are there; nothing has been omitted, curtailed, or exaggerated.
The road wound and changed direction entirely according to expedient. It was a "tote road" merely, cutting across these barrens by the directest possible route. Deep mire holes, roots of trees, an infrequent boulder, puddles and cruel ruts diversified the way. Occasional teeth-rattling stretches of "corduroy" led through a swamp. "I don't see how a team can haul a load over this!"
I can see him now with his black hair in a waving lock on his forehead, in worn slippers and faded corduroy coat, sitting on the edge of the table smoking a long pipe, visualizing himself as the lord of a castle the rest of us as vassals of a rather agreeable and intelligent sort!
Lord Marshmoreton might wear corduroy trousers and refuse to entertain the County at garden parties and go to bed with a book when it was his duty to act as host at a formal ball; Maud might give her heart to an impossible person whom nobody had ever heard of; and Reggie might be seen at fashionable restaurants with pugilists; but at any rate evening paper poets had never written facetious verses about their exploits.
He had come to a sudden and, as the duchess often remarked, very suitable end; for, on his sixty-second birthday, clad in all the splendours of his hunting scarlet, top hat, and buff corduroy breeches, the mare he was mercilessly putting at an impossible fence suddenly refused, and Thomas, Duke of Meldrum, shot into a field of turnips; pitched upon his head, and spoke no more.
Amongst all these, some of which belonged to naval and military officers, notaries public, magistrates, bailiffs, and young ecclesiastics the latter with spotless neck-cloths and close-shaven chins there were three countenances which particularly pleased me: the first being that of an ancient earl, who wore a pig-tail, and the back of whose coat was white with powder; the second, that of a yeoman ninety years old and worth 90,000 pounds, who, dressed in an entire suit of whitish corduroy, sometimes slowly trotted up the court on a tall heavy steed, which seemed by no means unused to the plough.
The fresh harrow-lines seemed to stretch like the channellings in a piece of new corduroy, lending a meanly utilitarian air to the expanse, taking away its gradations, and depriving it of all history beyond that of the few recent months, though to every clod and stone there really attached associations enough and to spare echoes of songs from ancient harvest-days, of spoken words, and of sturdy deeds.
"This is fine!" said Doctor Chantry, when we descended from the rough stage which had brought us across a corduroy trail, and found ourselves at the entrance of a spacious wooden tavern. "When I passed Saratoga before there were only three log houses, and the inn had two rooms below and one above.
Venturing over the threshold, Norcross found himself seated at table with some five or six men in corduroy jackets and laced boots, who were, in fact, merchants and professional men from Denver and Pueblo out for fish and such game as the law allowed, and all in holiday mood.
As one sits in a brilliantly illuminated, comfortable, warm theatre, having just come from a cosy and luxurious restaurant, just think of some poor devil half-way along those corduroy boards struggling with a crate of biscuits; the ration "dump" behind, the trenches on in front.