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 PROEM'5
his narrative; apparently discovering, for the first time, that
"comedy" meant something different from story.
"Comedy," said he; "comedy! Well, gentlemen, I tell you that
when I first heard the affair, everybody said 'twas as `good as a
comedy,' and I thought so too. 'Twas over a camp-fire that we first
heard it, and it mout be that we were all of us jest in the humor
to find a comedy in anything. The story mayn't be like a comedy,
the way I tell it, for you see I don't profess to be good in sech
histories; but I reckon of you could ha' seen and heard the chap
that first tell'd us, by them old camp-fires, on the Withlacoochee,
you'd say, as we said all of us, 'twas as `good as a comedy.' "
"Did it make you laugh?" demanded New England, abruptly.
"Laugh ! I guess some did and some didn't," was the satisfactory
but simple reply. "What I saw of the affair myself was no laughing
matter; but we'll keep that back for the last. 'Twas something a'most
too strange for laughing; the more, too, as we know'd it to be nothing
but the truth, and it happened here, too, in one of these western
counties of Georgia."
Here the Georgian put in, confidently
"I reckon I know all about it. I've heard it myself."
"Well! you'd better tell it, then," quoth Tennessee, very coolly.
"Oh, no!" modestly responded Georgia.
"But, oh! yes! Ef you know it, you've a sort of right to it, sence
it's in your own country; and I rather reckon you can make a better
mouthful of it than I. I'm but a poor stick at such things, and am
quite as ready to hear you, stranger, as to talk myself."
"Pshaw ! " exclaimed the Georgian. "Go ahead, man. I'm a mighty
conceited fellow, I know, but that's no reason you should hold me
up to make me say so."
"Gi's your hand, my lad; you're a good we'pon, I see; though,
may-be, a little too quick on trigger."
A gripe of the extended fists followed in the dark, and the Ten-
nesseean proceeded.
"The sarcumstance that I am going to tell you tuck place in one
of the western counties of Georgia, not many years ago, and there's
many a person living who can jest now lay their fingers on the very
parties. I've seen some of them myself. You must take the thing for