Beauty and Booty in Petticoats

Beauty and Booty in Petticoats

Story Highlights

  • Beware of hitchhikers
  • Proper footwear is important
  • Boots were made for walking
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Thrilling Experience of an Ohio Farmer—How a Lady Lost Her Game by a Profuse Display of Leather

The following incident, which occurred last week in Guernsey county, Ohio, has a flavor of the times with Dick Turpin and kindred spirits worked their sweet wills up the people of “Merrie England”.

A gentleman going to Cambridge in a two-horse carriage, for the purpose of paying taxes, was accosted by a well-dressed lady, who asked the privilege of riding with him to the village. He had a pair of excitable horses, and hesitated about risking a lady’s life behind them. But she declared she was not a bit afraid, and the gentleman at last consented to let her share his seat.

She was a sprightly companion, and the gentleman was beginning to congratulate himself upon having her society, when in changing her position, the lady displayed–not the dainty ankle and accompanying stocking that he expected see, but a pair of unmistakable men’s boots!

Here was a surprise indeed. Instantly visions of all the burglaries and highway adventures that have recently made Guernsey county as pleasant an abode as a mining District of California, flashed across his mind. The royal Dane was not more appalled at the appearance of his fatherly ghost than was the farmer at this innocent pair of boots.

No more he thought about “Her feet beneath her petticoats, Like little mice stole in and out” but only of the awful things which might happen from a pair of boots appearing in such a place.

“Robber,” was the only explanation that appeared possible to him, and he acted upon that idea. Politely ignoring the liberal display of calf (it was tanned in the regular way and therefore mentionable here) he drove along as if nothing had happened, less profuse in his compliments, but thinking very rapidly. Suddenly he dropped his whip by the roadside, and as he could not leave his horses in charge of the young lady, he was reluctantly compelled to request her to get out and return it.

Exercising the usual carefulness of her sex in protecting her feet from the gaze of vulgar men, she descended, picked up the whip and handed it to her companion. This was the supreme moment of his life. Instantly striking the horse one tremendous blow, he sped away with the speed of the wind, and left the fair damsel staring after him in vacant wonder. After driving a mile or two he toned down his chargers and made an inspection of the lady’s muff, when he discovered a beautiful revolver, with six holes in one end, and the other end filled with little brown metallic cases, all ready for immediate action. In the satchel of the fair stranger was a full-set of burglar’s tools, with which she doubtless practiced in her moments of relaxation. The gentleman, of course, imagines that he fell in with a dangerous man—a burglar and highwayman, in short—but as it is the sex’s privilege to carry revolvers, and use them, too, if need be, of course he is mistaken. He merely saw the velvet drawn back from the tiger’s claw, a sight which many a poor fellow is often regaled with, without being surrounded with piquant circumstances.

Originally published in the Daily Register of Hudson, NY on 06 Jan 1871.

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