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The Widow’s Bandbox
by [?]

“Wal, we wus a lyin’ at Camden there, one arternoon, goin’ to sail for Boston that night. It was a sort o’ soft, pleasant arternoon, kind o’ still, and there wa’n’t nothin’ a goin’ on but jest the hens a craw-crawin’, and a histin’ up one foot, and holdin’ it a spell ’cause they didn’t know when to set it down, and the geese a sissin’ and a pickin’ at the grass. Ye see, Camden wasn’t nothin’ of a place,–’twas jest as if somebody had emptied out a pocketful o’ houses and forgot ’em. There wer’n’t nothin’ a stirrin’ or goin’ on; and so we was all took aback, when ’bout four o’clock in the arternoon there come a boat alongside, with a tall, elegant lady in it, all dressed in deep mournin’. She rared up sort o’ princess-like, and come aboard our ship, and wanted to speak to Cap’n Tucker. Where she come from, or what she wanted, or where she was goin’ to, we none on us knew: she kep’ her veil down so we couldn’t get sight o’ her face. All was, she must see Cap’n Tucker alone right away.

“Wal, Cap’n Tucker he was like the generality o’ cap’ns. He was up to ’bout every thing that any man could do, but it was pretty easy for a woman to come it over him. Ye see, cap’ns, they don’t see women as men do ashore. They don’t have enough of ’em to get tired on ’em; and every woman’s an angel to a sea-cap’n. Anyway, the cap’n he took her into his cabin, and he sot her a chair, and was her humble servant to command, and what would she have of him? And we was all a winkin’, and a nudgin’ each other, and a peekin’ to see what was to come o’ it. And she see it; and so she asks, in a sort o’ princess’ way, to speak to the cap’n alone; and so the doors was shut, and we was left to our own ideas, and a wonderin’ what it was all to be about.

“Wal, you see, it come out arterwards all about what went on; and things went this way. Jest as soon as the doors was shut, and she was left alone with the cap’n, she busted out a cryin’ and a sobbin’ fit to break her heart.

“Wal, the cap’n he tried to comfort her up: but no, she wouldn’t be comforted, but went on a weepin’ and a wailin,’ and a wringin’ on her hands, till the poor cap’n’s heart was a’most broke; for the cap’n was the tenderest-hearted critter that could be, and couldn’t bear to see a child or a woman in trouble noways.

“‘O cap’n!’ said she, ‘I’m the most unfortunate woman. I’m all alone in the world,’ says she, ‘and I don’t know what’ll become of me ef you don’t keep me,’ says she.

“Wal, the cap’n thought it was time to run up his colors; and so says he, ‘Ma’am, I’m a married man, and love my wife,’ says he, ‘and so I can feel for all women in distress,’ says he.

“Oh, well, then!’ says she,’you can feel for me, and know how to pity me. My dear husband’s just died suddenly when he was up the river. He was took with the fever in the woods. I nussed him day and night,’ says she; ‘but he died there in a mis’able little hut far from home and friends,’ says she; ‘and I’ve brought his body down with me, hopin’ Providence would open some way to get it back to our home in Boston. And now, cap’n, you must help me.’

“Then the cap’n see what she was up to: and he hated to do it, and tried to cut her off o’ askin’; but she wa’n’t to be put off.

“‘Now, cap’n,’ says she, ‘ef you’ll take me and the body o’ my husband on board to-night, I’d be willin’ to reward you to any amount. Money would be no object to me,’ says she.