Summary: Judging a man on appearances isn’t a good idea especially when it’s Adam Cartwright.
Word Count: 1077
“There’s a dance next Friday at the social hall. I know that you don’t know me, but I’m Adam Cartwright, and I would be pleased if you would consent to accompany me to that dance.”
It had been such an innocuous invitation that Adam expected either an affirmative answer or a negative one. Instead he got a look of disgust that he didn’t understand as the young woman turned her back on him and huffed her way into the backroom of the general store as if he was some notorious felon with whom she couldn’t possibly associate. Puzzled and a bit affronted, he watched her go as Joe and Hoss snickered beside him.
“Older brother, looks like you done lost your touch with women. That gal don’t wanna be anywhere near you. Mebbe you oughta think on paying some gal to go with ya to that dance. I don’t think you’re gonna have any luck around here otherwise.”
“Yeah, both Hoss and I found girls to go with, but it looks like you’re out of luck. Being out of town like you were and all the eligible gals are asked or like that one who doesn’t know you and looks at you like you’ve got the pox or something.”
For the previous three weeks, Adam had been traveling on Ponderosa business and then was up at the timber camps. Arriving home the night before, he had needed a shave and a bath and had taken pains that morning to shave carefully again and had dressed in his brand new black shirt and new midnight blue pants. With his brand new black Stetson that replaced his gray hat, he thought he looked quite presentable. In fact, his brothers had teased him about looking like a dandy, but he had asked two women to the dance and both had reacted similarly. They didn’t know him and had apparently decided his looks were unacceptable for some reason. He shrugged in response to his brothers’ taunts.
“Perhaps I’ll go to the dance alone and dance with your ladies after you’ve stomped on their toes enough that they need relief.”
“Ha, ha, ha, very funny.”
“You must be talking about Hoss because I’m a good dancer.”
“Hey, Joe, don’t you be talkin’ that way too.”
Adam chuckled as his younger brothers got busy picking on each other then. It was so easy to redirect them. At least some things were still easy to understand.
At the dance, Adam wore his usual white shirt and tie dressing similarly to Joe. He danced with a number of women but avoided the two who had rejected his invitation as well as the couple women with whom they congregated that evening. As that became apparent to some of the women, those two ladies found that they had few of the ladies willing to keep them company because being out of favor with any of the Cartwrights was a kind of social sin one didn’t want to have. Both young ladies learned quite a lot about Adam Cartwright that night and were embarrassed about how they had treated him because of how he had been dressed. Both had assumed that he was a gunfighter or outlaw or some other type of unsavory character and had based their conclusion solely on his all black clothing not knowing who he was. With so many new arrivals in the city, there were many who at first didn’t know who the Cartwrights were so some social faux pas were to be expected. Both wished they could go back and do that one over again with a different result. Judging him on appearance only had been a major mistake.
A week later, Adam was in town again because he had remembered a cream colored coat hanging in the window of the general store and thought it might be the right size for him. He needed one because he no longer wanted his brown barn coat. He had never liked it much because it was rather picky and wasn’t as warm as he wanted. However, being practical, he knew you didn’t get rid of something that still did the job. However, he had left his coat in the barn one day that week, and Hoss had used it to take care of one of his strays. Unfortunately, it was a dog giving birth to puppies and there were smells in that coat and stains that were never going to come out of that wool no matter what he did or what magic Hop Sing could work. He had told Hoss to keep the coat and use it for the dog and her puppies because he was going to town to get a new one. He had been rather confident but now hoped that new cream colored coat would fit. He got to the store and unfortunately found the young woman who had rejected his invitation to the dance was the only one working at that time. He had to ask her for the coat.
“Mister Cass didn’t think anyone was ever going to buy that coat. He said it was the wrong color. He said a man wouldn’t want to wear a yellow coat because other men might think he was, well, you know, not as brave as he should be.”
Trying on the coat as she prattled on, Adam liked the feel of it and liked the way it complemented his all black clothing far better than that brown jacket ever had. He enjoyed the fit of it, and it was soft and warm too. He could imagine how comfortable it would be to sleep in this one on the trail and pull that soft collar up around his ears. “I’ll take it.”
“You will? Aren’t you afraid of what people will think?”
Frowning slightly and not answering that question, Adam pulled out the money to pay for the coat and walked from the store greeting Mister Cass who was walking in. Cass congratulated the girl on the sale.
“It wasn’t me. He came in here wanting it. Isn’t he going to have trouble with people thinking he’s yellow because he’s wearing that coat? I mean, aren’t people going to say things?”
“You haven’t learned much yet about Adam Cartwright, have you?”