Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter IX >> Page 134

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Page 134

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 134 SOUTHWARD HO!
" Was this a disqualification or not ? That was the difficult
question. When first presenting herself, it was observed that
she had advanced a foot. The foot was a good one�a foot of
size and character, and the leg which accompanied it, and of
which more was exhibited than was absolutely necessary to the
examination, was admitted to be an unobjectionable leg. But
somehow, one of the commissioners begged leave to see the other.
This literally occasioned a halt. In place of the required mem-
ber, she thrust forward a stick of English oak, which might b2ve
served to splice the bowsprit of a Baltimore clipper.
There was a sensation �a decided sensation. The commis-
sioners were taken all aback. They hemmed and hawed. A
consideration of the peculiar case was necessary.
"'My good woman,' quotli one of the commissioners, who
served as spokesman. ` You have but one leg.'
You sec, your honor. But it's sure I shall be less apt to run
away from the guid man.'
True ; but whether that consideration will be sufficient to
reconcile him to the deficiency.'
Why not ?' answered the fair suitor, ` seeing that I am a
woman for all that.'
` But you are not a perfect woman.'
Will your honor be so good as to mention if you ever did
meet with a perfect woman ?'" This was a poser. The commissioners were men of expe-
rience. They had seen something of the world. They were
all women's men. The woman was too much for them. They
went again into consultation. The question was a serious one.
Could a woman be a complete woman� a perfect one was not
now the question�who had but a single leg ? The subject of
discussion was reduced to this : what are the requisites of a wife
in Virginia? The result was, that they resolved to let the
woman go, and take her chance. They could not resist a will
so determined. They were naturally dubious whether any of
the sturdy adventurers in the realm of Powhatan would be alto-
gether willing to splice with a lame damsel not particularly
charming, or attractive in any respect : but women for such an
expedition were not in excess. The demand from James river
for wives was exceedingly urgent; the woman's frankness pleased