Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter IX >> Page 136

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Page 136

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 136 SOUTHWARD 110
that he had no leg at all. He, poor fellow, needing a wife as
much as any of the rest, had but little hope of having his wants
supplied by the present consignment. It was doubtful whether
he could have ventured to hope under any circumstances
still more absurd to hope when the supply was small, the seek-
ers many, and all in the market before himself. And when he
saw those returning who had failed to secure companions, he
naturally gave up all notion, if he had ever dared to entertain
any, of gratifying his domestic ambition. But as these disap-
pointed adventurers crossed him on their return, and saw the
wistful eyes which he cast upon the vessel, they bade him deri-
sively go and seek his fortune.
Now's your chance, old fellow !' He soon gathered the
intelligence, and at first his soul revolted at the idea of coupling
with a lame woman.
A woman,' said he to himself, ' gains enough when she gets
a husband. She ought to be finished at the least. Nothing
should be wanting.'
But a moment's reflection made him more indulgent. He
seized his crutches and made toward the vessel. Then he be-
thought himself again and made toward his cabin. But the
tempter prevailed, and he hobbled slowly forward. With help
he was at length brought into the vessel and the presence of
the waiting spinster.
She had been long enough on the anxious benches. They
had been a sort of torture to her patience as well as her hope.
Why,' said he as if only now apprized of her deficiency --
you've got but one leg.'
And you've got none,' she answered pertly.
" This threw him into a cold sweat. He now feared that he
should lose his prize. ' What of that V said he ` better a lame
donkey than no horse. Is it a match ? I'm for you.'
It was now her time to demur. She walked all round him,
he wheeling about the while with the utmost possible effort, to
show how agile he could be, legless or not. The man was good-
looking enough, minus his pins ; and after a painful pause�to
one of the parties at least� she gave him her hand.
The cobbler's rapture was complete. A chair was slung
down the ship's side. Scarcely had this been done when