NED SIMMS’ “PERDICAMENT.”
BY TIMOTHY CARELESS.
Who has not heard of Ned Simms? the “nice young gentleman” whose name graces the head of this sketch. Presuming that every body has not, we propose to give those who wish, an introduction. Ned, it appears, first took a “peep” into the world on Friday, and was, to use an appropriate phrase, the “most beautifulest and interestingest” little arm-full that Mrs. Simms “ever seen of his age.” At twenty, he stood full six feet in his boots,--was nice, polite, and dressed with such taste, that he looked just the disciple to win and lead captive the hearts of unsuspecting lasses. Upon him smiles, as lovely as the first flower that opens to the entreaties of early spring, fell in showers! Sights—the pleasant relief for slighted hopes—were breathed for him ; and words of praise—sweet as the music that steals from the rich toned guitar at the dull hour of the night to the window of some lady love—soft as the touch of velvet upon the hand of delicacy—were whispered from this to that one ; and any bachelor might well envy the popularity he at one time could boast ; but he is perfection indeed, who has no fault,--daring, who can scale the loftiest peaks of mountains that “tower sublime” and have no fears in looking back—active, who can ride moonbeams and balance on the point of the smallest needle. To this all will agree ; and we now proceed.
Ned Simms, in his search for one in whose bosom to repose the trust of life, was fortunate in his selection ; for Miss Sally R———s, was the one with whom he could live. A few visits from him gave the neighbors an item to talk about, and naturally, he and Miss Sally would be married next week—if not then, the week after ; and so on for a whole year. At length, Mr. R———s gave Miss Sally a party ; and the girls and boys, including Ned Simms, were invited. If you have ever been to a country frolic—partaken of the whole-souled enjoyments from a “roasted potatoe” to a “hasty dish of pudding,” you may have an idea how merrily rung the lively song. The formula of the city was not thought of,--and fun looked from every eye, from the “hopeful six” to the old man R———s. Feet kept time to music, and various reels, waltzes, &c., were performed without difficulty, and the whole knocked off with a “Jump-over-double-trouble-shuffle ;” and then came the luxuries—wine and cakes for the ladies ; cider and “varieties” for the gentlemen. Ned Simms, the “perlite,” was there ; and although the party was ornamented by many a droll phiz, he figured as large as if he had been celebrating his wedding. ‘Twas late when the party broke up, and those living at a distance stopped for the night.
Early the next morning the horses were ready, and the company only waited breakfast. Mr. R———s was busy about matters out doors, while those within were relating their dreams, occasionally touching upon the scenes of the over night. Mr. R———s hadn’t a great liking for Ned, albeit he was one of the “invited” at the party. Whether from want of respect or not we cannot tell, he told Sam not to black Ned’s boots when he did the other gentlemen’s ; yet, when he came into the room, and saw his boots were not blacked he pretended to be very much hurt, and called out—
“You black rascal, how comes it that you did not black Mister Simms boots? Take ‘em off and have ‘em slicked over in no time. I’ll have no more such doin’s.”
“De truf am dist ; Massa Simms no pull he boots orf,” replied Sam.
“Well, oft with ‘em, now, sir!”
Sam hesitated—Ned looked daggers, while the company could hardly keep in order. Ned turned all sorts o’ ways, but saw no chance of escape. If he ran, the impression would be left with Miss Sally that he had something in the boots that did not belong to him ; if he stayed, it would be equally as bad. The truth flashed before him—Friday was the most unlucky day of the seven—and he now tried to get off by saying it did not matter.
“Off with ‘em!” continued the old man.
“Never mind, Mr. R———s, it doesn’t make a bit of difference. Don’t put yourself to any trouble,” said Ned.
“No trouble at all, sir, they must be blackened,” returned Mr. R———s.
“Not the least in the world!—not the least difference in the world,” insisted Ned.
“Off with ‘em, sir!” roared old Mr. R———s.
Remonstrance was in vain ; before Ned could wink his eye, Sam had one boot off, and there he was—he had forgotten his socks—with a foot as black—black—as the coal heavers of –——. Without giving the darkie time to seize the other, he gave him a kick which sent him sprawling on the floor, upsetting in his fall, Miss Sally and one or two others, and catching the first hat, he rushed by Mr. R———s, threw him on top of Sam, bounced on his horse, and sloped amid the roar and shouts of the party, without his breakfast, leaving his boot in the care of any friendly enough to keep it!
Mr. R———s lives on an eminence that overlooks one of the tributaries of the Red River. Ned never returned—but he steered his gallant steed for the little stream, and clearing it in a single bound, he muttered—“boots—boots! if this ain’t a perdicament, I’m not Ned Simms!”—and was soon lost among the trees and bushes.
Source: New York Spirit of the Times 15.37 (8 Nov 1845): 438. (University of Virginia Alderman Library).
Erin Bartels typed this transcript.
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