Wlliam Gilmore Simms
As Good as a Comedy and Paddy McGann >> As Good as a Comedy, or The Tennesseean's Story >> Proem

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Novella | U of South Carolina P | 1972
Transcription PROEM.
WE were nine of us, packed snugly enough in a close stage, and
on the high road from Madison, in Georgia, to Montgomery, in
Alabama. The night was dark, and the rain falling. The roads were
bad, and the driver as drunk as the least reasonable desperate could
desire under the circumstances. Everybody has an idea, more or less
vivid, of a dark and rainy night; most persons can form a notion of
the drunken driver of a stagecoach —a swearing, foul-mouthed fellow,
pestilent, full of conceit and insolence, fully conscious of his power
over his nags and passengers, and with just reason enough left to
desire to use his power so as to keep all parties apprehensive his
horses of the whip, and his passengers of an upset. But if you know
nothing of a Georgia road in bad weather, at the time I speak of,
you can form but an imperfect idea of the nervous irritability of the
nine within our vehicle that night, as, trundling through bog and
through brier, over stump and stone, up hill and down dale as
desperate a chase, seemingly, as that of the Wild Horseman of
Burger we momently cursed our fates, that had given us over to
such a keeping and such a progress. We could not see each other's
faces, but we could hear each other's words, and feel each other's
hips and elbows.
"Heck! There we go ! "
"You're into me, stranger, with a monstrous sharp side of your
"Beg pardon, but " [ Jolt, toss, and tumble.]
"We're gone now, I reckon ! "