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 z4PROEM
the little end of a cambric needle. But I learned some strange things
in the campaign, and I ain't a bit sorry that I went. One sarcumstance,
it seems to me, was a leetle more strange than anything I've hearn
in this wagon, and if I could only tell it to you, as I heard some
parts of it tell'd to me, I reckon you'd all say 'twas as good as a
Comedy!"
"As good as a Comedy!" was the hopeful exclamation all round.
"Let's have it, by all means," was the eager chorus of arousing
spirits.
"Ay, Tennessee, out with it, in short order," was the abrupt cry
of the Georgian.
"Oblige us," was the condescending entreaty of South Carolina.
"Go ahead, old horse," yelled the Mississippian, wheeling about
from the middle seat of the stage, and bringing his hard hand flatly
down, and with great emphasis, upon the spacious territory of thigh
that Tennessee claimed for its own, while trespassing greatly upon
that of its neighbors; and the entreaty was promptly followed up
by the machinist from Maine, the ex-editor from New York, and
even the lymphatic pilgrim from Tar River, who, starting from
his seventh heaven of sleep and dream, cried aloud, in half-waking
ecstasy "A comedy, 0! yes, gi's a comedy. I'm mortal fond of
comedy."
"Let it but prove what you promise," said the New Yorker, "and
I'll send it to Harry Placide."
"Harry Placide?" exclaimed Tennessee, inquiringly.
"The great American actor of comedy ! " was the explanatory
answer from New York. "I'll write out your story, should it prove
a good one, and will send it to Harry. He'll make a comedy of it,
if the stuff's in it."
We spare all that New York said on the occasion, in honor of
comedy and Harry Placide, and in respect to native materials for
the comic muse; particularly as the Mississippian wound him up, in
the most prolonged part of his dissertation, with
"Oh! shut up, stranger, anyhow, and don't bother your head
about the actor until we get the play."
Not an unreasonable suggestion. Our Tennesseean seemed to fear
that he had promised too much. He prudently qualified the title of