Mrs. Bogane

Damon Runyon

Jack Bogane died at the age of sixty-six.

He was a big ranchman.

He owned the 7—2 Ranch, twenty-six miles southwest of Our Town.

Jack Bogane left a wife when he died. Her name was Hester, and she had been married to Jack Bogane for thirty-two years.

He met her in Denver when she was eighteen years old. Hester was then working as a chambermaid in a hotel. She had been working as a chambermaid or a waitress since she was fourteen.

She was an orphan.

Jack Bogane was already a fairly successful ranchman when he married Hester.

He took her at once to the 7—2 Ranch, and for the next thirty-two years Hester did all the cooking for a ranch crew of anywhere from ten to twenty men, and most of the other housework.

Jack Bogane was a nice fellow, but he was a little near, and he didn’t see any reason why he should employe a cook and other help when he had a wife.

So from four o’clock in the morning until nine o’clock at night, Hester Bogane was cooking, and washing dishes, and making beds, and waiting on men.

She never had time to have any children.

She never saw a movie until she was past forty.

She was sixty years old when Jack died and looked eighty.

He left her the 7—2 Ranch, and a lot of money.

She sold the ranch at once, and moved into Our Town, and bought a big house, and employed ten servants, all women, although there was no one else living in the house but her.

She seldom left the house, and people in Our Town considered her eccentric.

There was a rumor that she had all her meals in bed, and that she would not lift a hand to do anything for herself, but always had a couple of her servants around her to do it for her.

It was said that Mrs. Bogane would not even pick up a handkerchief she had dropped, but would ring for a servant. She had so many servants that they got in one another’s way.

One day some distant relatives of Mrs. Bogane appeared in Our Town, and hired John Getty, the lawyer, to bring suit in court to have a conservator appointed for her on the ground that she was out of her mind.

They said the number of servants she employed proved it.

But when the case came to trial before Judge Organ in the county court, he threw it out when Mrs. Bogane went on the stand and said she felt that after waiting on other people most of her life, she had a right to be waited on herself the few years that she had left to her.

When they heard Mrs. Bogane’s viewpoint, everybody in Our Town, especially the women, said Judge Organ did the proper thing, and he was invited to address several women’s clubs on the subject of equality of the sexes.

Moreover, everybody in Our Town said it served the relatives just right when it came out after Mrs. Bogane’s death that she had left her fortune to found a home for worn-out servant girls.