At a climactic moment in the scene, Wilson realizes his cousin Ruggles is of mixed race.
Ruggles one day had an aged female witness who could find no chair and complained to him of exhaustion.
"Let Ruggles take your things—Cousin Egbert's man," she was saying.
The old house has been in Mrs. Ruggles family for two hundred years.
"I trust you fully understand the situation, Ruggles—Colonel Ruggles," he continued to me.
Why, it is Mrs. Ruggles, cried Nancy, glancing over her shoulder.
"You will find us crude, Ruggles, as I warned you," my host observed.
And Ruggles prayed for some power to unloose his thickening tongue.
"I dare say Ruggles and I can be depended upon to decide a minor matter like that," he said.
Dan, slender as he was beside Ruggles great frame, shook the elder man as though he had been a terrier.