There’s been some gossip in Virginia City about Ben Cartwright’s new wife.
My response to the September 2015 Chaps & Spurs Challenge
Rating: K Word count: 581
Somebody Else’s Dog
What was Ben Cartwright thinkin’? A man with his looks – his money! – who wouldn’t jump at the chance to marry a man like that? I could have named a dozen women, right here in Virginia City, who’d have snapped him up. Instead of which, he took himself all the way to New Orleans and brought back that…that Creole hussy!
I’m not being unfair. I call it like it is. I’ve heard the rumors. A little madam, that one, with her fancy ways and her air of superiority, when really she’s no better than she ought to be. I’ve seen her playin’ the fine lady in that big ranch house out at the Ponderosa, when all the time she’s flauntin’ her finery and makin’ eyes at any man who crosses her path. My Pa used to say, “If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.” Reckon someone should tell that to Marie Cartwright! Put the little coquette in her place. She’s no better than the rest of us, for all her pretty face and fancy dresses. And she don’t treat Ben anywhere near as good as he deserves. Leastways, not in my opinion. He deserves a woman who’ll look after him, appreciate what a fine man he is; not one who taunts him and tests his patience every day, and can’t even cook him a decent meal. It’s true. She can’t, and that’s common knowledge. Just as well he’s got that Chinaman to look after his house and put the dinner on the table because his wife sure don’t know how to do it. Considers herself way too good to be doing something as menial as lighting a stove. Instead, she spends her days riding out on that big fancy horse Ben bought for her. No sense of responsibility or decorum. I don’t know why he indulges her when she behaves no better than a spoiled child.
Have you seen the way she parades herself through the town and flirts with all the men at the socials? I don’t know why Ben doesn’t give her a sound hiding and learn her a lesson in decorum. And the way she behaves with young Dan Mellish, it’s simply a scandal! Making eyes at each other and trading smiles in public, like a pair of young lovebirds. If Ben hasn’t noticed that, he’s about the only one in territory who hasn’t!
Men! They’re all the same. Can’t see past a pretty face. Even a man like Ben Cartwright who you’d have thought would have had an ounce more sense, considering all he’s been through. And with two young boys to think about. Surely he could have spared them a thought before he brought a woman like that back to his house. ‘Tain’t right to put someone with her reputation in charge of a couple of innocent children. And now they say she’s expectin’ one of her own. Well, pity the poor child! A woman like that ain’t got no right to be bringin’ a kid into the world in the first place, not when she don’t know how to behave proper herself. Strikes me, when that baby arrives, the chickens’ll soon be home to roost. If that baby grows up to look anything like Ben Cartwright, I’ll eat my hat!
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