Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature: An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891. Vols. VIVIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 18351860
Hezekiah Bedotts Opinion
By Frances Miriam Whitcher (18141852)
[Born in Whitesboro, N. Y. Died there, 1852. The Widow Bedott Papers. 1856.]
HE was a wonderful hand to moralize, husband was, specially after he begun to enjoy poor health. He made an observation once when he was in one of his poor turns, that I never shall forget the longest day I live. He says to me one winter evenin as we was a settin by the fire,I was a knittin (I was always a wonderful great knitter) and he was a smokin (he was a master hand to smoke, though the doctor used to tell him hed be better off to let tobacker alone; when he was well he used to take his pipe and smoke a spell after hed got the chores done up, and when he want well, used to smoke the biggest part of the time). Well, he took his pipe out of his mouth and turned toward me, and I knowed something was comin, for he had a pertikkeler way of lookin round when he was gwine to say anything oncommon. Well, he says to me, says he, Silly (my name was Prissilly naterally, but he ginerally called me Silly, cause twas handier, you know). Well, he says to me, says he, Silly, and he looked pretty sollem, I tell youhe had a sollem countenance naterallyand after he got to be deacon twas more so, but since hed lost his health he looked sollemer than ever, and certingly you wouldent wonder at it if you knowed how much he underwent. He was troubled with a wonderful pain in his chest, and amazin weakness in the spine of his back, besides the pleurissy in the side, and having the ager a considerable part of the time, and bein broke of his rest o nights cause he was so put to t for breath when he laid down. Why its an onaccountable fact that when that man died he hadent seen a well day in fifteen year, though when he was married and for five or six year after I shouldent desire to see a ruggeder man than he was. But the time Im speakin of hed been out o health nigh upon ten year, and O dear sakes! how he had altered since the first time I ever see him! That was to a quiltin to Squire Smiths a spell afore Sally was married. Id no idee then that Sal Smith was a gwine to be married to Sam Pendergrass. Shed ben keepin company with Mose Hewlitt, for bettern a year, and everybody said that was a settled thing, and lo and behold! all of a sudding she up and took Sam Pendergrass. Well, that was the first time I ever see my husband, and if anybodyd a told me then that I should ever marry him, I should a saidbut lawful sakes! I most forgot, I was gwine to tell you what he said to me that evenin, and when a body begins to tell a thing I believe in finishin ont some time or other. Some folks have a way of talkin round and round and round forevermore, and never comin to the pint. Now theres Miss Jinkins, she that was Poll Bingham afore she was married, she is the tejusest individooal to tell a story that ever I see in all my born days. But I was a gwine to tell you what husband said. He says to me, says he, Silly; says I, What? I dident say, What, Hezekier? for I dident like his name. The first time I ever heard it I near killed myself a laffin. Hezekier Bedott, says I, well, I would give up if I had sich a name, but then you know I had no more idee o marryin the feller than you have this minnit o marryin the governor. I spose you think its curus we should a named our oldest son Hezekiah. Well, we done it to please father and mother Bedott; its father Bedotts name, and he and mother Bedott both used to think that names had ought to go down from gineration to gineration. But we always called him Kier, you know. Speakin o Kier, he is a blessin, aint he? and I aint the only one that thinks so, I guess. Now dont you never tell nobody that I said so, but between you and me I rather guess that if Kezier Winkle thinks she is a gwine to ketch Kier Bedott she is a leetle out of her reckonin. But I was going to tell what husband said. He says to me, says he, Silly; I says, says I, What? If I dident say what when he said Silly hed a kept on saying Silly, from time to eternity. He always did, because you know, he wanted me to pay pertikkeler attention, and I ginerally did; no woman was ever more attentive to her husband than what I was. Well, he says to me, says he, Silly. Says I, What? though Id no idee what he was gwine to say, dident know but what twas something about his sufferings, though he want apt to complain, but he frequently used to remark that he wouldent wish his worst enemy to suffer one minnit as he did all the time; but that cant be called grumblinthink it can? Why Ive seen him in sitivations when youd a thought no mortal could a helped grumblin; but he dident. He and me went once in the dead of winter in a one-hoss shay out to Boonville to see a sister o hisen. You know the snow is amazin deep in that section o the kentry. Well, the hoss got stuck in one o them are flambergasted snow-banks, and there we sot, onable to stir, and to cap all, while we was a sittin there, husband was took with a dretful crik in his back. Now that was what I call a perdickerment, dont you? Most men would a swore, but husband dident. He only said, says he, Consarn it. How did we get out, did you ask? Why we might a been sittin there to this day fur as I know, if there hadent a happened to come along a mess o men in a double team, and they hysted us out. But I was gwine to tell you that observation of hisen. Says he to me, says he, Silly (I could see by the light o the fire, there dident happen to be no candle burnin, if I dont disremember, though my memory is sometimes ruther forgitful, but I know we want apt to burn candles exceptin when we had company)I could see by the light of the fire that his mind was oncommon solemnized. Says he to me, says he, Silly. I says to him, says I, What? He says to me, says he, Were all poor critters!