Armazindy; — fambily name
Ballenger , — you'll find the same,
As her Daddy answered it,
In the old War-rickords yit, —
And, like him, she's airnt the good
Will o' all the neighberhood. —
Name ain't down in History , —
But, i jucks! it ort to be!
Folks is got respec' fer her —
Armazindy Ballenger! —
'Specially the ones 'at knows
Fac's o' how her story goes
From the start: — Her father blowed
Up — eternally furloughed —
When the old " Sultana " bu'st,
And sich men wuz needed wusst. —
Armazindy, 'bout fourteen-
Year-old then — and thin and lean
As a killdee, — but — my la! —
Blamedest nerve you ever saw!
The girl's mother'd allus be'n
Sickly — wuz consumpted when
Word came 'bout her husband. — So
Folks perdicted she'd soon go —
(Kind o' grief I understand,
Losin' my companion, — and
Still a widower — and still
Hinted at, like neighbers will!)
So, app'inted, as folks said,
Ballenger a-bein' dead,
Widder, 'peared-like, gradjully,
Jes' grieved after him tel she
Died, nex' Aprile wuz a year, —
And in Armazindy's keer
Leavin' the two twins, as well
As her pore old miz'able
Old-maid aunty 'at had be'n
Struck with palsy, and wuz then
Jes' a he'pless charge on her —
Armazindy Ballenger.

Jevver watch a primrose 'bout
Minute 'fore it blossoms out —
Kind o' loosen-like, and blow
Up its muscles, don't you know,
And, all suddent, bu'st and bloom
Out life-size? — Well, I persume
'At's the only measure I
Kin size Armazindy by! —
Jes' a child, one minute, — nex',
Woman-grown , in all respec's
And intents and purposuz —
'At's what Armazindy wuz!
Jes' a child , I tell ye! Yit
She made things git up and git
Round that little farm o' hern! —
Shouldered all the whole concern; —
Feed the stock, and milk the cows —
Run the farm and run the house! —
Only thing she didn't do
Wuz to plough and harvest too —
But the house and childern took
Lots o' keer — and had to look
After her old fittified
Grand-aunt. — Lord! ye could 'a' cried,
Seein' Armazindy smile,
'Peared-like, sweeter all the while!
And I've heerd her laugh and say: —
" Jes' afore Pap marched away,
He says, " I depend on you ,
Armazindy, come what may —
You must be a Soldier, too!" "

Neighbers, from the fust, 'ud come —
And she'd let 'em help her some , —
" Thanky, ma'am! " and " Thanky, sir! "
But no charity fer her! —
" She could raise the means to pay
Fer her farm-hands ever' day
Sich wuz needed! " — And she could —
In cash-money jes' as good
As farm-produc's ever brung
Their perducer, old er young!
So folks humored her and smiled,
And at last wuz rickonciled
Fer to let her have her own
Way about it. — But a-goin'
Past to town, they'd stop and see
" Armazindy's fambily, "
As they'd allus laugh and say,
And look sorry right away,
Thinkin' of her Pap, and how
He'd indorse his " Soldier " now!

'Course she couldn't never be
Much in young-folks' company —
Plenty of in -vites to go,
But das't leave the house, you know —
'Less'n Sund'ys sometimes, when
Some old Granny 'd come and 'ten'
Things, while Armazindy has
Got away fer Church er " Class. "
Most the youngsters liked her — and
'Twuzn't hard to understand, —
Fer, by time she wuz sixteen,
Purtier girl you never seen —
'Ceptin' she lacked schoolin', ner
Couldn't rag out stylisher —
Like some neighber -girls, ner thumb
On their blame' melodium,
Whilse their pore old mothers sloshed
Round the old back-porch and washed
Their clothes fer em — rubbed and scrubbed
Fer girls'd ort to jes' be'n clubbed!
— And jes' sich a girl wuz Jule
Reddinhouse. — She'd be'n to school
At New Thessaly , i gum! —
Fool before, but that he'pped some —
'Stablished-like more confidence
'At she never had no sense.
But she wuz a cunnin', sly,
Meek and lowly sort o' lie,
'At men-folks like me and you
B'lieves jes' 'cause we ortn't to. —
Jes' as purty as a snake,
And as pizen — mercy sake!
Well, about them times it wuz,
Young Sol Stephens th'ashed fer us;
And we sent him over to
Armazindy's place to do
Her work fer her. — And-sir! Well —
Mighty little else to tell, —
Sol he fell in love with her —
Armazindy Ballenger!

Bless ye! — 'Ll, of all the love
'At I've ever yit knowed of,
That-air case o' theirn beat all!
W'y, she worshiped him! — And Sol,
'Peared-like, could 'a' kissed the sod
(Sayin' is) where that girl trod!
Went to town, she did, and bought
Lot o' things 'at neighbers thought
Mighty strange fer her to buy, —
Raal chintz dress-goods — and 'way high! —
Cut long in the skyrt, — also
Gaiter-pair o' shoes, you know;
And lace collar; — yes, and fine
Stylish hat, with ivy-vine
And red ribbons, and these-'ere
Artificial flowers and queer
Little beads and spangles, and
Oysturch-feathers round the band!
Wore 'em, Sund'ys, fer a while —
Kind o' went to Church in style,
Sol and Armazindy! — Tel
It was noised round purty well
They wuz promised . — And they wuz —
Sich news travels — well it does! —
Pity 'at that did! — Fer jes'
That-air fac' and nothin' less
Must 'a' putt it in the mind
O' Jule Reddinhouse to find
Out some dratted way to hatch
Out some plan to break the match —
'Cause she done it! — How? they's none
Knows adzac'ly what she done;
Some claims she writ letters to
Sol's folks, up nigh Pleasant View
Somers — and described, you see,
" Armazindy's fambily " —
Hintin' " ef Sol married her ,
He'd jes' be pervidin' fer
Them-air twins o' hern, and old
Palsied aunt 'at couldn't hold
Spoon to mouth, and layin' near
Bedrid' on to eighteen year',
And still likely, 'pearantly,
To live out the century! "
Well — whatever plan Jule laid
Out to reach the p'int she made,
It wuz desper't . — And she won,
Finully, by marryun
Sol herse'f — e-lopin' , too,
With him, like she had to do, —
'Cause her folks 'ud allus swore
" Jule should never marry pore! "

This-here part the story I
Allus haf to hurry by, —
Way 'at Armazindy jes'
Drapped back in her linsey dress,
And grabbed holt her loom, and shet
Her jaws square. — And ef she fret
Any 'bout it — never 'peared
Sign 'at neighbers seed er heerd; —
Most folks liked her all the more —
I know I did — certain-shore! —
('Course I'd knowed her Pap , and what
Stock she come of. — Yes, and thought,
And think yit , no man on earth
'S worth as much as that girl's worth!)

As fer Jule and Sol, they had
Their sheer! — less o' good than bad! —
Her folks let her go. — They said,
" Spite o' them she'd made her bed
And must sleep in it! " — But she,
'Peared-like, didn't sleep so free
As she ust to — ner so late ,
Ner so fine , I'm here to state! —
Sol wuz pore, of course, and she
Wuzn't ust to poverty —
Ner she didn't 'pear to jes'
'Filiate with lonesomeness, —
'Cause Sol he wuz off and out
With his th'asher nigh about
Half the time; er, season done,
He'd be off mi-anderun
Round the country, here and there,
Swappin' hosses. Well, that-air
Kind o' livin' didn't suit
Jule a bit! — and then, to boot,
She had now the keer o' two
Her own childern — and to do
Her own work and cookin' — yes,
And sometimes fer hands , I guess,
Well as fambily of her own. —
Cut her pride clean to the bone!
So how could the whole thing end? —
She set down, one night, and penned
A short note, like — 'at she sewed
On the childern's blanket — blowed
Out the candle — pulled the door
To close after her — and, shore-
Footed as a cat is, clumb
In a rigg there and left home,
With a man a-drivin' who
" Loved her ever fond and true, "
As her note went on to say,
When Sol read the thing next day.

Raaly didn't 'pear to be
Extry waste o' sympathy
Over Sol — pore feller! — Yit,
Sake o' them-air little bit
O' two orphants — as you might
Call 'em then , by law and right, —
Sol's old friends wuz sorry, and
Tried to hold him out their hand
Same as allus: But he'd flinch —
Tel, jes' 'peared-like, inch by inch,
He let all holts go; and so
Took to drinkin', don't you know, —
Tel, to make a long tale short,
He wuz fuller than he ort
To 'a' be'n, at work one day
'Bout his th'asher, and give way,
Kind o' like and fell and ketched
In the beltin'.
. . . Rid and fetched
Armazindy to him. — He
Begged me to. — But time 'at she
Reached his side, he smiled and tried
To speak. — Couldn't. So he died. . . .
Hands all turned and left her there
And went somers else — some where.
Last, she called us back — in clear
Voice as man'll ever hear —
Clear and stiddy, 'peared to me,
As her old Pap's ust to be. —
Give us orders what to do
'Bout the body — he'pped us, too.
So it wuz, Sol Stephens passed
In Armazindy's hands at last.
More'n that, she claimed 'at she
Had consent from him to be
Mother to his childern — now
'Thout no parents anyhow.
Yes-sir! and she's got 'em, too, —
Folks saw nothin' else 'ud do —
So they let her have her way —
Like she's doin' yit to-day!
Years now, I've be'n coaxin' her —
Armazindy Ballenger —
To in-large her fambily
Jes' one more by takin' me —
Which I'm feared she never will,
Though I'm 'lectioneerin' still.
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