Well, the time had arrived when we promised to meet Josiah at the appinted rondevoo. Indeed Blandina, went a little ahead of time, for as second chaperone she said it might be he would get there a little early, and bein’ naturally high-sperited he might get impatient, and she said men ort to be guarded from anything that would wear on their tempers, jest as much as possible.
So I looked ’round a little more, and when I got to the place appinted, there sot Blandina readin’ extracts from “The Noble Achievements of Men” in a paper cover, which she carried ’round in her pocket. But no Josiah wuz there.
Minutes passed; my happiness and peace of mind passin’ off faster than the minute hand, and no Josiah. A quarter of a hour passed, and still no sign of that dear man. And when half an hour had gone by I busted into tears, and Blandina I could see wuz torn with anxiety and offered to go out into the streets of St. Louis and hunt for him. She mistrusted he had wandered off the Fair ground, and that clever creeter wuz willin’ to leave all the allurements that wuz allurin’ her here to hunt for him.
I sez, “I don’t believe he is there. But, oh, where shall we find him? and what state will he be in when found!” Knowin’ the past as we did, we feared for the worst. But jest then Billy Huff happened to pass by and stopped and asked what wuz the matter.
“Oh!” sez I, with the tears runnin’ down my cheeks in copious as torrents, “my pardner is lost!”
“Where did you lose him?” sez he.
I told him how it wuz and he sez, “I’ll bet I can find him for you; I remember his talkin’ last night about a certain place.”
Sez I in tearful axents, “Oh, do! do try, and ease the heart of a distracted companion.”
But when he mentioned the place he thought he wuz I repelled the insinuation with scorn. It wuz one of the most hilarious and vain places of revelry at the Fair, where there wuz lots of bally girls and etcetery, and I sez:
“No, indeed! He may have gone into some meetin’ house and wandered up into the steeple onbeknown to him, or some educational exhibit, or Bible rooms, but never, never in that place.”
But yieldin’ to his arguments I consented to go with him sayin’ we would stay at the door while he reconoitered. But jest as we got to the door who should we see comin’ out radiant and smilin’ but Josiah Allen and Uncle Sime Bentley.
Billy sez, “What did I tell you?”
I couldn’t frame a reply, I had no frame that fitted the remark, but as Billy disappeared to once it didn’t matter. When Josiah ketched my eye and the look it wore, the blush of shame mantiled his cheek—or wuz it remorse?—I couldn’t tell, they look some alike.
And he sez, “We went in, Samantha, to look for a missin’ man, and my corn ached like furiation jest as we wuz passin’ the door, and I couldn’t seem to walk another step, and it looked some like rain and I knew you wouldn’t want me to spile my new coat——”