Lady Banks Bookshelf

Lady Banks Pick of the Week


Odd Leaves from the Life of a Louisiana Swamp DoctorExcerpted noteworthy poetry and prose from her ladyship's bedside reading stack.

The old lady was a shrewd, active dame, kindhearted and long-tongued, benevolent and impartial, making her coffee as strong for the poor pedestrian with his all upon his back as the broadcloth sojourner with his "up-country pacer." She was a member of the church, as well as the daughter of a man who had once owned a race horse; and these circumstances gave her an indisputable right, she thought, to "let on all she knew" when religion or horseflesh was the theme. At one moment she would be heard discussing whether the new "circus rider" (as she always called him) was as affecting in Timothy as the old one was pathetic in Paul, and anon (not anonymous, for the old lady did everything above board, except rubbing her corns at supper) protecting dad's horse from the invidious comparisons of some visitor who having heard, perhaps, that such horses as Fashion and Boston existed, thought himself qualified to doubt the old lady's assertion that her father's horse "Shumach" had run a mile on one particular occasion. "Don't tell me," was her never failing replay to their doubts, "Don't tell me 'bout Fashun or Bosting or any other beating 'Shumach' a fair race, for the thing was unfeasible: didn't he run a mile a minute by Squire Dim's watch, which always stopt 'zactly at twelve, and didn't he start a minute afore and git out, jes as the long hand war givin' its last quiver on ketchin' the short leg of the watch?" 

--Henry Clay Lewis, in Odd Leaves from the Life of a Louisiana Swamp Doctor, edited by Edwin T. Arnold (Louisiana State University Press, 1997) 9780807121672