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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Proem

Novella | U of South Carolina P | 1972
Transcription 12PROEM
him! It was difficult to conceive in what school he had acquired his
philosophy. It was certainly as cool as that of St. Omer's, but rather
lacking in its refinements. At all events common sense required that,
as I could not entirely escape his action, I should keep as sharp an
eye upon it as possible. It might have been the safest course to reject
the story in regard to its accompaniments, but that would have
seemed unamiable, and I might have incurred the reproach of being
timorous. Besides, there was some curiosity to hear what sort of a
story would issue from such a source, and we were all too much in
need of excitement to offer any discouragements to a new hand
proposing to work for our benefit; so, after modestly suggesting the
propriety of using as little action as possible, we began to look with
considerable anxiety to the reopening of those huge jaws, from which,
to say truth, whatever might be the good things occasionally going
in, but few of us had any anticipations of good things coming out.
But he was slow to begin. He had his preliminary comments upon
what had gone before. His previous silence seems to have been due
to his habit of bolting all his food at once, and digesting it at
leisure. We were now to hear his critical judgment on previous
narratives:-
"I've been mighty well pleased," quoth the Tennesseean, "with
some of them sarcumstances you've been telling among you, fellows,
and I've made considerable judgment on some of them that don't
seem to me made to carry water. But I won't be particular jest now,
except to say that I don't see that the narrow man thar, with his hips
cutting into the saft parts of my knee at every turn down hill (the
New England schoolmaster), I don't see, I say, that he made so
good an one of it as he might have done. Though that, agin, may
be the misfortune of the sarcumstance, and not his fault in telling it.
The sense is, of so be the thing happened as he tells it, then the
whole town and country ought to be licked to Hinders for suffering
the poor gal to be so imposed on. By the powers! I'd fight to the
stump, eny day and eny how, but I'd make the men see that the
poor weak woman was not to be the only sufferer ! "
It would be a tedious task, wanting our Tennesseean's air, tone,
and manner, to follow up this trail, and show upon what grounds
our backwoodsman took offence at the proprieties in our Yankee's
story. It was one of those cruel narratives of seduction, so frequent