[Illustration: “I would be strikin’ as Mercury, but I think I would be at my best as Apollo.”]
“A loonatick would strike me as the right thing, Josiah Allen, or an idiot from birth.
“Or,” sez I, speakin’ more ironicler as my fear died away, leavin’ in its void a great madness and tiredness, “if you’d brung your scythe along you might personate Old Father Time.”
I guess this kinder madded him, and sez he, “Don’t you want to pose, Samantha?
“Don’t you want to be the Witch of Endor?” sez he.
“Yes,” sez I, “I’d love to! If I wuz her you’d see sights in this room that would bow your old bald head in horrow, and drive you, vain old creeter that you be, back where you belong.”
He wuz afraid he’d gone too fur, and sez he, “Mebby you’d ruther be Venus, Samantha? Mebby you’d ruther appear in the nude?”
Sez I, coldly, “I should think that you’d done your best to make me appear in that way, Josiah Allen. There’s only one thin sheet to keep me from it.
“But,” sez I, spruntin’ up, “if you talk in that way any more to me I’ll holler to Miss Plank!
“Pardner or no pardner, I hain’t a-goin’ to be imposed upon this time of night!”
Sez I, “I should be ashamed if I wuz in your place, the father and grandfather of a family, and the deacon in a meetin’-house, to be up at midnight a-posin’ for statutes and actin’.”
“But,” sez he, “I didn’t know but they would want to sculp me while I wuz here in Chicago, and I thought I’d git a attitude all ready. You never know what may happen, and it’s always well to be prepared, and attitudes are dretful hard to catch onto at a minute’s notice.”
Sez I, “Do you come back to bed, Josiah Allen. What would they want of you for a statute?”
“Wall,” sez he, reluctantly relinquishin’ his toga, or, in other words the flannel blanket and bedspread—
“I see many a statute to-day with not half my good looks, and if Chicago wanted me to ornament it, I wanted to be prepared.”
I sithed aloud, and sez I—
“Here I be waked up for good, as tired as I wuz, all for your vanity and actin’.”
“Wall,” sez he, “Samantha, my mind wuz all so stirred up and excited by seein’ so many ile paintin’s and statutes to-day, that I felt dretful.” And as he sez this my madness all died away, as the way of pardners is, and a great pity stole into my heart.
I do spoze he wuz half delirous with seein’ too much. Like a man who has oversot himself and come down on the floor.
That man had been led round too much that day, for my own pleasure; to gratify my own esthetik taste I had almost ruined the pardner of my youth and middle age.
His mind had been stretched too fur, for the size on’t, so I sez soothin’ly—
“Wall, wall, Josiah, come back to bed and go to sleep, and to-morrow we’ll go and see some live stock and some plows and things.”