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Courtin’ On Cutshin
by [?]

Hit was this way, stranger. When hit comes to handlin’ a right peert gal, Jeb Somers air about the porest man on Fryin’ Pan, I reckon; an’ Polly Ann Sturgill have got the vineg’rest tongue on Cutshin or any other crick.

So the boys over on Fryin’ Pan made it up to git ’em together. Abe Shivers–you’ve heerd tell o’ Abe–tol’ Jeb that Polly Ann had seed him in Hazlan (which she hadn’t, of co’se), an’ had said p’int-blank that he was the likeliest feller she’d seed in them mountains. An’ he tol’ Polly Ann that Jeb was ravin’ crazy ’bout her. The pure misery of it jes made him plumb delirious, Abe said; an’ ‘f Polly Ann wanted to find her match fer languige an’ talkin’ out peert–well, she jes ought to strike Jeb Somers. Fact is, stranger, Jeb Somers air might’ nigh a idgit; but Jeb ‘lowed he’d rack right over on Cutshin an’ set up with Polly Ann Sturgill; an’ Abe tells Polly Ann the king bee air comin’. An’ Polly Ann’s cousin, Nance Osborn, comes over from Hell fer Sartain (whut runs into Kingdom-Come) to stay all night an’ see the fun.

Now, I hain’t been a-raftin’ logs down to the settlemints o’ Kaintuck fer nigh on to twenty year fer nothin’, An’ I know gallivantin’ is diff’ent with us mountain fellers an’ you furriners, in the premises, anyways, as them lawyers up to court says; though I reckon hit’s purty much the same atter the premises is over. Whar you says “courtin’,” now, we says “talkin’ to.” Sallie Spurlock over on Fryin’ Pan is a-talkin’ to Jim Howard now. Sallie’s sister hain’t nuver talked to no man. An’ whar you says “makin’ a call on a young lady,” we says “settin’ up with a gal”! An’, stranger, we does it. We hain’t got more’n one room hardly ever in these mountains, an’ we’re jes obleeged to set up to do any courtin’ at all.

Well, you go over to Sallie’s to stay all night some time, an’ purty soon atter supper Jim Howard comes in. The ole man an’ the ole woman goes to bed, an’ the chil’un an’ you go to bed, an’ ef you keeps one eye open you’ll see Jim’s cheer an’ Sallie’s cheer a-movin’ purty soon, till they gets plumb together. Then, stranger, hit begins. Now I want ye to understand that settin’ up means business. We don’t ‘low no foolishness in these mountains; an’ ‘f two fellers happens to meet at the same house, they jes makes the gal say which one she likes best, an’ t’other one gits! Well, you’ll see Jim put his arm ’round Sallie’s neck an’ whisper a long while–jes so. Mebbe you’ve noticed whut fellers us mountain folks air fer whisperin’. You’ve seed fellers a-whisperin’ all over Hazlan on court day, hain’t ye? Ole Tom Perkins ‘ll put his arm aroun’ yo’ neck an’ whisper in yo’ year ef he’s ten mile out’n the woods. I reckon thar’s jes so much devilmint a-goin’ on in these mountains, folks is naturely afeerd to talk out loud.

Well, Jim let’s go an’ Sallie puts her arm aroun’ Jim’s neck an’ whispers a long while–jes so; an’ ‘f you happen to wake up anywhar to two o’clock in the mornin’ you’ll see jes that a-goin’ on. Brother, that’s settin’ up.

Well, Jeb Somers, as I was a-sayin’ in the premises, ‘lowed he’d rack right over on Cutshin an’ set up with Polly Ann comin’ Christmas night. An’ Abe tells Polly Ann Jeb says he aims to have her fer a Christmas gift afore mornin’. Polly Ann jes sniffed sorter, but you know women folks air always mighty ambitious jes to SEE a feller anyways, ‘f he’s a-pinin’ fer ’em. So Jeb come, an’ Jeb was fixed up now fittin’ to kill. Jeb had his hair oiled down nice an’ slick, and his mustache was jes black as powder could make hit. Naturely hit was red; but a feller can’t do nothin’ in these mountains with a red mustache; an’ Jeb had a big black ribbon tied in the butt o’ the bigges’ pistol Abe Shivers could borrer fer him–hit was a badge o’ death an’ deestruction to his enemies, Abe said, an’ I tell ye Jeb did look like a man. He never opened his mouth atter he says “howdy”–Jeb never does say nothin’; Jeb’s one o’ them fellers whut hides thar lack o’ brains by a-lookin’ solemn an’ a-keepin’ still, but thar don’t nobody say much tell the ole folks air gone to bed, an’ Polly Ann jes ‘lowed Jeb was a-waitin’. Fact is, stranger, Abe Shivers had got Jeb a leetle disguised by liquer, an’ he did look fat an’ sassy, ef he couldn’t talk, a-settin’ over in the corner a-plunkin’ the banjer an’ a-knockin’ off “Sour-wood Mountain” an’ “Jinny git aroun'” an’ “Soapsuds over the Fence.”