Once there was a full-blown Wild Peach, registered in the Family Bible as Susan Mahaly.
Her Pap divided his time between collecting at a Toll-Gate and defending the Military Reputation of Andy Jackson.
The family dwelt in what was then regarded by Cambridge, Mass., as the Twilight Zone of Semi-Culture, viz., Swigget County, Pennsylvania.
Susan wore Linsey-Woolsey from Monday to Saturday. She never had tampered with her Venus de Milo Topography and she did not even suspect that Women had Nerves.
When she was seventeen she had a Fore-Arm like a Member of the Turnverein.
She knew how to Card and Weave and Dye. Also she could make Loose Soap in a kettle out in the Open Air.
Susan never fell down on her Salt-Rising Bread. Her Apple Butter was always A1.
It was commonly agreed that she would make some Man a good Housekeeper, for she was never sickly and could stay on her Feet sixteen hours at a Stretch.
Already she was beginning to look down the Pike for a regular Fellow.
In the year 1840, the Lass of seventeen who failed to get her Hooks on some roaming specimen of the Opposite Gender was in danger of being whispered about as an Old Maid. Celibacy was listed with Arson and Manslaughter.
Rufus was destined to be an Early Victorian Rummy, but he could lift a Saw-Log, and he would stand without being hitched, so Susan nailed him the third time he came snooping around the Toll-Gate.
Rufus did not have a Window to hoist or a Fence to lean on. But there is no Poverty in any Pocket of the Universe until Wealth arrives and begins to get Luggy.
Susan thought she was playing in rare Luck to snare a Six-Footer who owned a good Squirrel Rifle and could out-wrastle all Comers.
The Hills of Pennsylvania were becoming congested, with Neighbors not more than two or three miles apart, so Rufus and his Bride decided to hit a New Trail into the Dark Timber and grow up with the Boundless West.
Relatives of the Young Couple staked them to a team of Pelters, a Muley Cow, a Bird Dog of dubious Ancestry, an Axe and a Skillet, and started them over the Divide toward the perilous Frontier, away out yender in Illinoy.
It was a Hard Life. As they trundled slowly over the rotten Roads, toward the Land of Promise, they had to subsist largely on Venison, Prairie Chicken, Quail, Black Bass, Berries, and Wild Honey. They carried their own Coffee.
Arrived at the Jumping-Off Place, they settled down among the Mink and Musk-Rats. Rufus hewed out and jammed together a little two by twice Cabin with the Flue running up the outside. It looked ornery enough to be the Birthplace of almost any successful American.
The Malaria Mosquito was waiting for the Pioneers. In those good old Chills-and-Fever days, no one ever blamed it on the Female of the Species. Those who had the Shakes allowed that they were being jarred by the Hand of Providence.
When the family ran low on Quinine, all he had to do was hook up and drive fifty miles to the nearest Town, where he would trade the Furs for Necessities such as Apple-Jack and Navy Twist, and possibly a few Luxuries such as Tea and Salt.
On one of these memorable Trips to the Store, a Mood which combined Sentiment with reckless Prodigality seized upon him.
He thought of the brave Woman who was back there in the lonesome Shack, shooing the Prairie Wolves away from the Cradle, and he resolved to reward her.
With only three Gills of Stone Fence under his Wammus, he spread his Wild-Cat Currency on the Counter and purchased a $6 Clock, with jig-saw ornaments, a shiny coat of Varnish, and a Bouquet of Pink Roses on the door.
Susan burst into Tears when she saw it on the Wall, alongside of the Turkey Wing, and vowed that she had married the Best Man in the World.