Thursday, February 11, 2010

Taking No Chances.

Dark had just settled over the Ozarks when the writer rode up to a shanty, and, dismounting, rapped at the door. A woman soon made her appearance, and in a harsh voice asked what was wanted.
“Can I get lodgings for the night, ma'am?"
“Who be you?"
"A traveller on his way to Jonesville."
"All alone?"
"Ride up a leetle clusser and lemrne see what sort of a lookin' critter yo' are. Might be better and might be wuss. Ar' ye a married man?"
"That settles it. Stranger, I don't think I kin take ye in."
“Is your husband away?"
"I'm a widder with three children, sir. It's five miles to the next shanty, and it's a dark night and goin' to rain purty soon, but a woman has got to look out for herself out yere."
"Why, ma'am, I hope you are not afraid of me!" I protested.
"Not the least mite, stranger, nor of any other human critter on legs! This ar' the situashun. Jim Conover has bin sparklin' me fur three months. This is one of his nights fur comin'. He may pop and he may not, but if he I finds a stranger in the house he may marry the Widder Jones. I'm adoin’ ,my best to git him, and I don't want' no accident to happen."
"Couldn't you stow me away in the garret?"
"Haint got no garret’ sir."
"Only two rooms in the house?"
"That's all. Even if ye was asleep ye might git to snorin' and Jim would be skeered off. You kin see the fix, stranger?"
"Yes, and I will ride on. I shouldn't like to come between you and your chance."
“That’s good of you, sir. I want to show hospitality, and yit I want to git another husband. See!" "I do. Give me a light for my pipe and I will go on, and if I meet Jim I’ll—."
"Jest say that ye' stopped at the Widder Jenner's to ask th' way, and that yo' wonder why forty different men hain't crazy to marry her. That's it — ye' know yer gait, and now scoot before Jim shows up!"

Works Cited:
“Taking No Chances.” Mataura Ensign 278 (15 Apr. 1897) 4 Papers Past. National Library of New Zealand 25 Dec. 2009

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