Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1835–1860
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. VI–VIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 1835–1860
 
Hezekiah Bedott’s Opinion
By Frances Miriam Whitcher (1814–1852)
 
[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 he’d be better off to let tobacker alone; when he was well he used to take his pipe and smoke a spell after he’d got the chores done up, and when he wa’n’t 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 you—he had a sollem countenance naterally—and after he got to be deacon ’twas more so, but since he’d 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 it’s 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 I’m speakin’ of he’d 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 Smith’s a spell afore Sally was married. I’d no idee then that Sal Smith was a gwine to be married to Sam Pendergrass. She’d ben keepin’ company with Mose Hewlitt, for better’n 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 anybody’d a told me then that I should ever marry him, I should a said—but 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’ on’t some time or other. Some folks have a way of talkin’ round and round and round forevermore, and never comin’ to the pint. Now there’s 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 s’pose you think it’s curus we should a named our oldest son Hezekiah. Well, we done it to please father and mother Bedott; it’s father Bedott’s 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’, ain’t he? and I ain’t the only one that thinks so, I guess. Now don’t 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” he’d 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 I’d no idee what he was gwine to say, dident know but what ’twas something about his sufferings, though he wa’n’t 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 can’t be called grumblin’—think it can? Why I’ve seen him in sitivations when you’d 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, don’t 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 don’t disremember, though my memory is sometimes ruther forgitful, but I know we wa’n’t 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, “We’re all poor critters!”
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