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now I've lived here, clus to the dee-pot, ever sence the road started to run, and seen 'em go out and come in; but I never could see that they went so d-d fast, nuther!”
L. Gaylord Clark.
SUPPOSE we are about as happy as the most of folks,
but as I was sayin' a few days ago to Betsey Bobbet, a neighbourin' female of ours—“Every station-house in life has its various skeletons. But we ort to try to be contented with that spear of life we are called on to handle.” Betsey hain't married, and she don't seem to be contented. She is awful opposed to wimmin's rights—she thinks it is wimmin's only spear to marry, but as yet she can't find any man willin' to lay holt of that spear with her. But you can read in her daily life, and on her eager, willin' countenance, that she fully realises the sweet words of the poet, "While there is life there is hope.”
Betsey hain't handsome. Her cheek-bones are high, and she bein' not much more than skin and bone they show plainer than they would if she was in good order. Her complexion (not that I blame her for it) hain't good, and her eyes are little and sot way back in her head. Time has seen fit to deprive her of her hair and teeth, but her large nose he has kindly suffered her to keep, but she has got the best white ivory teeth money will buy; and two long curls fastened behind each ear, besides frizzles on the top of her head; and if she wasn't naturally bald, and if the curls was the colour of her hair, they would look well. She is awful sentimental; I have seen a good many that had it bad, but of all the sentimental creeters I ever did see, Betsey Bobbet is the sentimentalest; you couldn't squeeze a laugh out of her with a cheeze press.
As I said, she is awful opposed to wimmin's havin' any right, only the right to get married. She holds on to that right as tight as any single woman I ever see, which makes it hard and wearyin' on the single men round here.
For take the men that are the most opposed to wimmin's havin' a right, and talk the most about its bein' her duty to cling to man like a vine to a tree, they don't want Betsey to cling to them, they won't let her cling to 'em. For when they would be a goin' on about how wicked it was for wimmin to vote—and it was her only spear to marry, says I to 'em, "Which had you ruther do, let Betsey Bobbet cling to you or let her vote?” and they would every one of 'em
quail before that question. They would drop their heads before my
keen grey eyes—and move off the subject. But Betsey don't get discourajed. Every time I see her she says in a hopeful, wishful tone, " That the deepest men of minds in the country agree with her in thinkin' that it is wimmin's duty to marry and not to vote.” And then she talks a sight about the retirin' modesty and dignity of the fair sect, and how shameful and revoltin' it would be to see wimmin throwin' 'em away, and boldly and unblushin'ly talkin' about law and justice.
Why, to hear Betsey Bobbet talk about wimmin's throwin' their modesty away, you would think if they ever went to the political pole, they would have to take their dignity and modesty and throw 'em against the pole, and go without any all the rest of their lives
Now I don't believe in no such stuff as that. I think a woman can be bold and unwomanly in other things besides goin' with a thick veil over her face, and a brass-mounted parasol, once a year, and gently and quietly dropping a vote for a Christian President, or a religious and noble-minded pathmaster.
She thinks she talks dreadful polite and proper. She says, “I was cameing," instead of " I was coming ;” and “I have saw,” instead of “I have seen;" and "papah” for paper, and “deah ” for dear. I don't know much about grammer, but common sense goes a good ways. She writes the poetry for the Jonesville Augur, or “ Augah,” as she calls it. She used to write for the opposition paper, the Jonesville Gimlet, but the editer of the Augur, a long-haired chap, who moved into Jonesville a few months ago, lost his wife soon after he come there, and sence that she has turned Dimocrat, and writes for his paper stiddy. They say that he is a dreadful big feelin' man, and I have heard—it came right straight to me—his cousin's wife's sister told it to the mother-in-law of one of my neighbour's brother's wife, that he didn't like Betsey's poetry at all, and all he printed it for was to plague the editer of the Gimlet, because she used to write for him. I myself wouldn't give a cent a bushel for all the poetry she can write. And it seems to me, that if I was Betsey, I wouldn't try to write so much. Howsumever, I don't know what turn I should take if I was Betsey Bobbet; that is a solemn subject, and one I don't love to
I never shall forget the first piece of her poetry I ever see. Josiah Allen and I had both on us been married goin' on a year, and I had occasion to go to his trunk one day, where he kept a lot of old papers, and the first thing I laid my hand on was these verses. Josiah went with her a few times after his wife died, on 4th of July or so, and two or three camp meetin's, and the poetry seemed to be wrote about the time we was married. It was directed over the top of it, “Owed to Josiah,” just as if she were in debt to him. This was the way it read
“OWED TO JOSIAH.
“Josiah, I the tale have hurn,
With rigid ear, and streaming eye,
Why did you,-oh, why did you blow
I saw thee coming down the street,
The stuns that grated 'neath thy feet,
I saw thee washing sheep last night,
I thought, Josiah,
I showed the poetry to Josiah that night after he came home, and told him I had read it. He looked awful ashamed to think I had seen it, and, says he, with a dreadful sheepish look, “The persecution I underwent from that female can never be told; she fairly hunted me down. I hadn't no rest for the soles of my feet. I thought one spell she would marry me in spite of all I could do, without givin' me the benefit of law or gospel.” He see I looked stern, and he added, with a sick lookin' smile, “I thought one spell,” to use Betsey's language, “I was a gonah.”
I didn't smile. Oh no, for the deep principle of my sect was reared up. I says to him, in a tone cold enough to almost freeze his ears, “ Josiah Allen, shet up; of all the cowardly things a man ever done, it is goin' round braggin' about wimmin likin' 'em, and follerin' 'em up. Enny man that'll do that is little enough to crawl through a knot hole without rubbing his clothes.” Says I, “I suppose you made her think the moon rose in your head and set in your heels. I daresay you acted foolish enough round her to sicken a snipe, and if you makes fun of her now to please me, I let you know you have got holt of the wrong individual.
“Now,” says I, “go to bed ;” and I added, in still more freezing accents, "for I want to mend your pantaloons.” We gathered up his shoes and stockin's and started off to