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Rare Ripe Garden Seed

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Mrs. Yardley's Quilting

Written Text


[George listens as Sut Lovingood spins a yarn.]

“I tell yu now, I minds my fust big skeer jis’ es well as rich boys minds thar fust boots, ur seein the fust spotted-hoss sirkis. The red top ove them boots am still a rich, red stripe in thar minds, an’ the burnin red ove my fust skeer has lef es deep a scar ontu my thinkin works. Mam hed me a standin atwixt her knees. I kin feel the knobs ove her jints a-rattlin a-pas’ my ribs yet. She didn’t hev much petticoats tu speak ove, an’ I hed but one — an’ hit wer calliker slit frum the nape ove my naik tu the tail, hilt tugether at the top wif a draw-string an’ at the bottom by the hem. Hit wer the handiest close I ever seed, an’ wud be pow’ful comfurtin in summer ef hit wern’t fur the flies. Ef they was good to run in, I’d war one yet. They beats pasted shuts, an’ britches, es bad es a feather bed beats a bag ove warnut shells fur sleepin on.
“Say, George, wudn’t yu like tu see me intu one ‘bout haf fadid, slit, an’ a-walkin jis’ so, up the middil street ove yure city chuch, a-aimin fur yure pew pen, an’ hit chock full ove yure fine, city gal friends, jis’ arter the peopil hed sot down frum the fust prayer, an’ the orgin beginin tu groan? What wud yu du in sich a margincy? say hoss?”
“Why, I’d shoot you dead, Monday morning before eight o’clock,” was my reply.
“Well, I speck yu wud. But yu’d take a rael ole maid faint fus, rite amung them ar gals. Lordy! Wudn’t yu be shamed ove me! Yit why not ten chuch in sich a suit, when yu hesn’t got no store clothes?
“Well, es I wer sayin, mam wer feedin us brats ontu mush an’ milk, wifout the milk, an’ es I wer the baby then, she hilt me so es tu see that I got my sheer. Whar thar ain’t enuf feed, big childer roots littil childer outen the troff, an’ gobbils up thar part. Jis’ so the yeath over: bishops eats elders; elders eats common peopil; they eats sich cattil es me, I eats possums, possums eats chickins, chickins swallers wums, an’ wums am content tu eat dus, an’ the dus am the aind ove hit all. Hit am all es regilur es the souns frum the tribil down tu the bull base ove a fiddil in good tchune, an’ I speck hit am rite ur hit wudn’t be ‘lowed.
“‘The sheriff!’ his’d mam in a keen, trimblin whisper. Hit sounded tu me like the skreech ove a hen when she sez ‘hawk’ tu her little, rounsturn’d, fuzzy, bead-eyed, stripid-backs.
“I actid jis’ adzacly as they dus. I darted on all fours onder mam’s petticoatails, an’ thar I met, face tu face, the wooden bowl an’ the mush an’ the spoon what she slid onder frum tother side. I’se mad at myself yet, fur rite thar I show’d the fust flash ove the nat’ral born, durn fool what I now is. I orter et hit all up, in jestis tu my stumick an’ my growin, while the sheriff wer levyin ontu the bed an’ the cheers. Tu this day, ef enybody sez ‘sheriff,’ I feels skeer, an’ ef I hears ‘constabil’ menshun’d, my laigs goes thru runnin moshuns, even ef I is asleep. Did yu ever watch a dorg dreamin ove rabbit-huntin? Them’s the moshuns, an’ the feelin am the rabbit’s.
“Sheriffs am orful ‘spectabil peopil; everybody looks up tu em. I never adzacly seed the ‘spectabil part mysef. I’se too fear’d ove em, I reckon, tu ‘zamin fur hit much. One thing I knows, no country atwixt yere an’ Tophit kin ever ‘lect me tu sell out widders’ plunder, ur pour men’s co’n, an’ the tho’ts ove hit gins me a good feelin ; hit sorter flashes thru my heart when I thinks ove hit. I axed a pssun onst, what hit cud be, an’ he pernounced hit to be onregenerit pride, what I orter squelch in prayer, an’ in taindin chuch on colleckshun days. I wer in hopes hit mout be ‘ligion ur sense, a-soakin intu me. Hit feels good, enyhow, an’ I don’t keer ef every suckit rider outen jail knows hit. Sheriffs’ shuts allers hes nettil dus ur fleas inside ove em when they lies down tu sleep, an’ I’se glad ove hit, fur they’se allers discumfortin me, durn em. I scarcely ever git tu drink a ho’n ur, eat a mess in peace. I’ll hurt one sum day, see ef I don’t. Show me a sheriff a-steppin softly roun, an’ a-sorter sightin at me, an’ I’ll show yu a far sampil ove the speed ove a express ingine, fired up wif rich, dry, rosiny skeers. They don’t ketch me much, usin only human laigs es wepuns.
“Ole John Dolton wer a ‘spectabil sheriff, monsusly so, an’ hed the bes’ scent fur poor, fugitive devils — an’ wimen — I ever seed; he wer sure fire. Well, he toted a warrun fur this yere skinful ove durn’d fool, ‘bout that ar misfurtunate negro-meetin bisness, ontil he wore hit intu six seperit squar bits, an’ hed wore out much shoe leather a-chasin ove me. I’d foun a doggery in full milk, an’ hated pow’ful bad tu leave that settilment while hit suck’d free. So I sot intu sorter try an’ wean him off frum botherin me so much. I suckseedid so well that he not only quit racin ove me, an’ wimen, but he wer tetotally spiled es as a sheriff, an’ los’ the ‘spectabil secksun ove his karacter. Tu make yu fool fellers onderstan how hit wer done, I mus’ interjuice yure minds tu one Wat Mastin, a bullit-headed, yung blacksmith.
“Well, las’ year — no, hit wer the year afore las’ — in struttin an’ gobblin time, Wat felt his keepin right warm, so he sot intu bellerin an’ pawin up dus in the neighborhood roun the ole widder McKildrin’s. The more dus he flung up, the wus he got, ontil at las he jis cudn’t stan the ticklin sensashuns anuther minnit. So he put fur the county court clark’s offis, wif his hans sock’d down deep intu his britchis pockets, like he wer fear’d ove pick-pockets, his back roach’d roun, an’ a-chompin his teef ontil he splotch’d his whiskers wif foam. Oh! He wer yearnis’ hot, an’ es restless es a cockroach in a hot skillit.”
“What was the matter with this Mr. Mastin? I cannot understand you, Mr. Lovingood. hed he hydrophobia?” remarked a man in a square-tail coat, and cloth gaiters, who was obtaining subscribers for some forthcoming Encyclopedia of Useful Knowledge, who hed quartered at our camp, uninvited, and really unwanted.
“What du yu mean by high-dry-foby?” and Sut looked puzzled.
“A madness produced by being bit by some rabid animal,” explained Square-tail, in a pompous manner.
“Yas, hoss, he hed high-dry-foby orful; an’ Mary McKildrin, the widder McKildrin’s only darter, hed gin him the complaint. I don’t know whether she bit ‘im ur not; he mout a-cotch hit frum her bref; an’ he wer now in the roach back, chompin stage ove the sickness, so he wer arter the clark fur a tickit tu the hospital. Well, the clark sole ‘im a piece ove paper, part printin an’ part ritin, wif a picter ove two pigs’ hearts, what sum boy hed shot a arrer thru, an’ lef hit stickin, printed at the top. That paper wer a splicin pass — some calls hit a par ove licins — an’ that very nite he tuck Mary, fur better, fur wus, tu hev an’ tu hole tu him his heirs, an’ —”
“Allow me to interrupt you,” sed our guest. “You do not quote the marriage ceremony correctly.”
“Yu go tu hell, mistofer. Yu bothers me.” This outrageous rebuff took the stranger all aback, and he sat down.
“Whar wer I? Oh, yas, he married Mary tight an’ fas’, an’ nex day he wer abil tu be about. His coat, tho’, an’ his trousis look’d jis’ a skrimsun too big, loose-like, an’ heavy tu tote. I axed him ef he felt soun. He sed ‘yas,’ but he’d welded a steamboat shaftez the day afore an’ wer surter tired like. Thar he tole a durn lie, fur he’d been a-ho’nin up dirt mos’ ove the day round the widder’s garden, an’ bellerin in the orchard. Mary an’ him sot squar intu hous’-keepin, an’ ‘mung uther things he bot a lot ove rar ripe garden-seed, frum a Yankee peddler. Rar ripe co’n, rar ripe peas, rar ripe taters, rar ripe everything, an’ the two, yung, durn’d fools wer dreadfully
exercis’d ‘bout hit. Wat sed he ment tu git him a rar ripe hammer an’ anvil, an’ Mary vow’d tu grashus, that she’d hev a rar ripe wheel an’ loom ef money wud git em. Purty soon arter he hed made the garden, he tuck a noshun tu wurk a spell down tu Ataylanty, in the railroad shop, es he sed he hed a sorter ailin in his back, an’ he tho’t weldin rail car-tire an’ ingine axil-trees wer lighter wurk nur sharpinin plows, an’ puttin lap-links in trace-chains. So down he went, an’ foun hit agreed wif him, fur he didn’t cum back ontil the middil ove August. The fust thing he seed when he landid intu his cabin-door, wer a shoe-box wif rockers onder it, an’ the nex thing he seed wer Mary herself, propped up in bed ; an’ the nex thing he seed arter that, wer a par ove littil rat-eyes a-shinin abuv the aind ove the quilt, ontu Mary’s arm, an’ the next an’ last thing he seed wer the two littil rat-eyes aforesed, a-turnin into two hundred thousan’ big green stars, an’ a-swingin round an’ round the room, faster an’ faster, ontil they mix’d intu one orful green flash. He drap’t intu a limber pile on the floor. The durn’d fool what hed weldid the steamboat shaftez hed fainted safe an’ soun es a gal skeered at a mad bull. Mary fotch a weak cat-scream, an’ kivered her hed an’ sot intu work ontu a whifflin dry cry, while littil Rat-eyes gin hitssef up tu suckin. Cryin an’ suckin bof at onst ain’t far, mus’ cum pow’ful strainin on the wet seckshun ove an ‘oman’s constitushun, yet hit am ofen dun, an’ more too. Ole Missis McKildrin, what wer a-nussin Mary, jis’ got up frum knittin, an’ flung a big gourd ove warter squar intu Wat’s face, then she fotch a glass bottil ove swell-skull whisky outen the three-cornered cupboard an’ stood furnint Wat, a-holdin hit in one han, an’ the tin cup in tuther, waitin fur Wat tu cum to. She wer the piusses lookin ole ‘oman jis’ then, yu ever seed outside ove a prayer-meetin. Arter a spell, Wat begun to move, twitchin his fingers, an’ battin his eyes, sorter ‘stonished like. That pius lookin statue sed tu him:

“ ‘My son, jis’ take a drap ove sperrits, honey. Yu’se very sick, dumpling, don’t take on, darlin, ef yu kin help hit, ducky, fur poor Margarit Jane am mons’ous ailin, an’ the leas’ nise ur takin-on will kill the pour sufferin dear, an’ yu’ll loose yure tuckil ducky duv ove a sweet wifey, arter all she’s dun gone thru for yu. My dear son Watty, yu mus’ consider her feelins a littil.’
“Sez Wat, a-turnin up his eyes at that vartus ole relick, sorter sick like— ‘I is a-considerin ‘em a heap, rite now.’
“ ‘Oh, that’s right, my good, kine child.’
“Oh, dam ef ole muther-in-lors can’t plaster humbug over a feller, jis’ es saft an’ easy es they spreads a camrick hanketcher over a three-hour-ole baby’s face. Yu don’t feel hit at all, but hit am thar, a plumb inch thick, an’ stickin fas es court-plaster. She raised Wat’s head, an’ sot the aidge ove the tin cup agin his lower teef, an’ turned up the bottim slow an’ keerful, a-winkin at Mary who wer a-peepin over the aidge ove the coverlid, tu see ef Wat tuck the perskripshun, for a heap ove famerly comfort ‘painded on that ar ho’n ove sperrits. Wun ho’n allers saftens a man, the yeath over. Wat keep a-battin his eyes, wus nur a owl in daylight. At las he raised hissef ontu wun elbow, an’ rested his head in that han, sorter weak like. Sez he, mons’ous trimblin an’ slow: ‘Aprile — May — June — July — an’ mos’ — haf — ove — August,’ a-countin the munths ontu the fingers ove tuther han, wif the thumb, a-shakin ove his head, an’ lookin at his spread fingers like they warn’t his’n, ur they wer nastied wif sumfin. Then he counted ‘em agin, slower, April — May — June — July — an’, mos’ haf ove August,’ an’ he run his thumb atwixt his fingers, es meanin mos haf ove August, an’ look’d at the pint ove hit, like hit mout be a snake’s head. He raised his eyes tu the widder’s face, who were standin jis’ es steady es a hitchin pos’, an’ still a-warin that pius ‘spression ontu her pussonal feturs, an’ a flood ove saft luv fur Wat, a-shinin straight frum her eyes intu his’n. Sez he: ‘That jis’ makes four munths, an’ mos’ a half, don’t hit, Missis McKildrin?’ She never sed one word. Wat reached fur the hath, an’ got a dead fire-coal. Then he made a mark clean acrost a floor-plank. Sez he, ‘April,’ a-holdin down the coal ontu the aind ove the mark, like he wer fear’d hit mout blow away afore he got hit christened April. Sez he, ‘May’ — an’ he marked across the board agin. Then he counted the marks, one, two, a-dottin at ‘em wif the coal. ‘June,’ an’ he marked agin, one, two, three, counted wif the pint ove the coal. He scratched his head wif the littil finger ove the han holdin the charcoal, an’ he drawed hit slowly acrost the board agin, peepin onder his wrist tu see when hit reached the crack, an’ sez he ‘July,’ es he lifted the coal. ‘One, two, three, four,’ countin frum lef tu right, an’ then frum right tu lef. ‘That hain’t but four, no way I kin fix hit. Ole Pike hissef cudn’t make hit five, ef he wer tu sifer ontu hit ontil his laigs turned into figger eights.’ Then he made a mark, haf acrost a plank, spit on his finger, an’ rubbed off a haf inch ove the aind, an’ sez he: ‘Mos’ haf ove August.’ He looked up at the widder, an’ thar she were, same es ever, still a-holdin the flask agin her bussum, an’ sez he, ‘Four months, an’ mos’ a haf. Hain’t enuf, is hit, mammy? Hit’s jus’ ‘bout (lackin a littil) haf enuf, haint it, mammy?’
“Missis McKildrin shuck her head sorter onsartin like, an’ sez she, ‘Take a drap more sperrits, Watty, my dear pet. Dus yu mine buyin that ar rar ripe seed frum the peddler?’ Wat nodded his head, an’ looked, ‘What ove hit,’ but didn’t say hit.
“ ‘This is what cums ove hit, an’ four months an’ a haf am rar ripe time fur babys, adzactly. Tu be sure, hit lacks a day ur two, but Margarit Jane wer allers a pow’ful interprizin gal, an’ a yearly rizer.’
“Sez Wat, ‘How about the taters?’
“ ‘Oh, we et taters es big es goose aigs, afore ole Missis Collinz’es blossomed.’
“‘How ‘bout co’n?’
“ ‘Oh, we shaved down roasin years afore hern tassel’d — ‘
“‘An’ peas?’
“ ‘Yes, son, we hed gobs an’ lots in three weeks. Everything cums in adzactly half the time that hit takes the ole sort, an’ yu knows, my darlin son, yu planted hit waseful. I tho’t then yu’d rar ripe everything on the place. Yu planted often, too, didn’t yu, luv? Fur fear hit wudn’t cum up.’
“ ‘Ye-ye-s-s he — he did,’ sed Mary, a-cryin. Wat studied pow’ful deep a spell, an’ the widder jis’ waited. Widders allers wait, an’ allers win. At las, sez he, ‘Mammy.’ She looked at Mary, an’ winked these yere words at her, es plain es she cud a-talked em. ‘Yu hearn him call me mammy twiste. I’se got him now. His back-bone’s a-limberin fas’, he’ll own the baby yet, see ef he don’t. Jis’ hole still, my darter, an’ let yer mammy knead this dough, then yu may bake hit es brown es yu please.’
“ ‘Mammy, when I married on the fust day ove Aprile — ‘ The widder look’d oneasy; she tho’t he mout be a-cupplin that day, his weddin, an’ the idear, dam fool, tugether. But he warn’t, fur he sed, ‘That day I gin ole man Collins my note ove han fur a hundred dullars, jew in one year arter date, the balluns on this lan. Does yu think that ar seed will change the time any, ur will hit alter the amount? An’ Wat looked at her powerful ankshus.
“She raised the whiskey bottil way abuv her head, wif her thumb on the mouf, an’ fotch the bottim down ontu her han, spat! Sez she, ‘Watty, my dear b’lovid son, pripar tu pay two hundred dullars ‘bout the fust ove October, fur hit’ll be jew jis’ then, es sure es that littil, black-eyed angel in the bed thar, am yer darter.’
“Wat drap’t his head, an’ sed: ‘Then hit’s a damn sure thing.’ Rite yere the baby fotch a rattlin loud squall (I speck Mary wer sorter figetty jis’ then, an’ hurt hit). ‘Yas,’ sez Wat, a-wallin a red eye to’ards the bed. ‘My littil she — what wer hit yu called her name, mammy?’
“ ‘I called her a sweet, littil angel, an’ she is one es sure es yu’re her daddy, my b’luvd son.’
“ ‘Well,’ sez Wat, ‘my littil sweet, patent, rar ripe she angel, ef yu lives tu marryin time, yu’ll ‘stonish sum man body outen his shut, ef yu don’t rar ripe lose yur vartu arter the fust plantin, that’s all.’ He reared up on aind, wif his mouf pouch’d out. He had a pow’ful forrid, fur-reachin, bread funnel, enyhow — cud a-bit the aigs outen a catfish, in two-foot warter, wifout wettin his eyebrows. ‘Dod durn rar ripe seed, an’ rar ripe peddlers, an’ rar ripe notes tu the hottes’ corner ove — ‘
“ ‘Stop, Watty, darlin, don’t swar. ‘Member yu belongs tu meetin.’
“ ‘My blacksmith’s fire,’ ainded Wat, an’ he studied a long spell. Sez he, finally: ‘Did yu save any ove that infunnel doubil-trigger seed?’
“ ‘Yas,’ sez the widder. ‘Thar in that bag by the cupboard.’
“Wat got up ofen the floor, tuck a countin sorter look at the charcoal marks, an’ reached down the bag. He went tu the door an’ called, ‘Suke, muley! Suke, suke, cow, chick, chick, chicky chick.’
“ ‘What’s yu gwine tu du now, my dear son?’ sed Missis McKildrin.
“ ‘I’se jis’ gwine tu feed this actif smart truck tu the cow, an’ the hens, that’s what I’se gwine tu du. Ole muley haint hed a calf in two years, an’ I’ll eat sum rar ripe aigs.’
“Mary now venter’d tu speak, ‘Husban’, I ain’t sure hit’ll work on hens. Cum an’ kiss me, my luv.’
“ ‘I hain’t sure hit’ll work on hens, either,’ sed Wat. ‘They’s powerful onsartin in thar ways, well es wimen,’ an’ he flung out a hanful spiteful like. ‘Takin the rar ripe invenshun all tugether, frum taters an’ peas tu notes of han, an’ childer, I can’t say I likes hit much,’ an’ he flung out anuther hanful. ‘Yer mam hed thuteen the ole way, an’ ef this truck stays ‘bout the hous’, yu’se good fur twenty-six, maybe thuty, fur yu’se a pow’ful interprizin gal, yer mam sez,’ an’ he flung out anuther hanful, overhandid, as hard es ef he wer flingin rocks at a stealin sow.
“ ‘Make yer mine easy,’ sed the widder. ‘Hit never works on married folks only the fust time.’
“ ‘Say them words agin,’ sed Wat. ‘I’se glad tu hear ‘em. Is hit the same way wif notes ove han’?’
“ ‘I speck hit am,’ answer’d the widder, wif jis’ a taste ove strong vinegar in the words, es she sot the flask in the cupboard wif a push.
“Jis’ then ole Doltin, the sheriff, rid up, an’ started ‘stonished when he seed Wat, but he, quick es an ‘oman kin hide a strange hat, drawed the puckerin-string ove that legil face ove his’n, an’ fotch hit up tu the ‘know’d yu wer at home’ sorter look, an’ wishin Wat much joy, sed he’d fotch the baby a present, a par ove red shoes, an’ a calliker dress, fur the luv he bore hits granmam. Missis McKildrin tole him what the rar ripe hed dun, an’ he swore it allers worked jis’ that way, an’ wer ‘stonished at Wat’s not knowin hit. An’ they talked so fas’, an’ so much, that the more Wat listened the less he know’d.
“Arter the Sheriff lef, they onrolled the bundil, an’ Wat straitched out the calliker in the yard. He step’t it off keerfully, ten yards, an’ a littil the rise. He puss’d up his mouf, an’ blow’d out a whistil Seven foot long, lookin up an’ down the middil stripe ove the drygoods, frum aind tu aind. Sez he, ‘Missis McKildrin, that’ll make Rar Ripe a good full frock, won’t hit?’
“ ‘Y-a-s,’ sed she, wif her hans laid up along her jaw, like she wer studyin the thing keerfully. ‘My son, I thinks hit will. An’ I wer jis’ a-thinkin, ef hit wer cut tu ‘vantage, thar mout be nuff lef, squeezed out, tu make yu a Sunday shutin shut, makin the ruffils, an’ ban outen sumthin else.’
“ ‘Put hit in the bag what the rar ripe wer in, an’ by mornin thar’ll be nuff fur the ruffils an’ bans, an’ yu mout make the tail tu drag the yeath, wifout squeezin ur pecin,’ sez Wat. An’ he put a few small wrinkils in the pint ove his nose, what seemed tu bother the widder tu make out the meaning ove; they looked mons’ous like the outward signs ove an onb’lever.
“Jis’ then his eyes sot fas’ ontu somethin a-lyin on the groun whar he’d onrolled the bundil. He walk’d up tu it slow, sorter like a feller goes up tu a log, arter he thinks he seed a snake run onder. He walk’d clean round it twiste, never takin his eyes ofen it. At las he lifted hit on his instep, an’ hilt out his laig strait at that widdered muher-in-lor ove his’n. Sez he, ‘What mout yu call that? Red baby’s shoes don’t giner’lly hev teeth, dus they?’
“ ‘Don’t yu know hit’s a tuckin comb, Watty? The store-keeper’s made a sorter blunder, I speck,’ sed that vartus petticoat-ful ove widderhood.
“ ‘Maybe he hes. I’se durn sure I hes,’ sed Wat, an’ he wrinkil’d his nose agin mons’ous botherinly tu that watchful widder. He scratched his head a spell. Sez he: ‘Ten yards an’ the rise fur a baby’s frock, an’ hit rar ripe at that, gits me; an’ that ar tuckin comb gits me wus.’
“ ‘Oh, fiddilsticks an’ flusterashun,’ sez she. ‘Save the comb. Baby’ll soon want hit.’
“ ‘That’s so, mammy, I’m damn ef hit don’t,’ an’ he slip’t his foot frum onder it, an’ hit scarcely totch the yeath afore he stomp’t hit, an’ the teeth flew all over the widder. He look’d like he’d been stompin a blowin adder, an’ went apas the ‘oman intu the cabin, in a rale Aprile tucky gobbler strut. When he tore the rapper off the sheriff’s present, I seed a littil bit ove white paper fall out. Onbenowenst tu enybody, I sot my foot ontu hit, an’ when they went in I socked it deep intu my pocket, an’ went over tu the stillhouse. I took Jim Dunkin out, an’ arter swarin ‘im wif a uplifted han’, tu keep dark, got him tu read hit tu me, ontil it wer printed on the mindin seckshun ove my brain. Hit run jis’ so:

“My sweet Mary,
I mayn’t git the chance tu talk eny tu yu, so
when Wat gits home, an’ axes enything ‘bout the
comb an’ calliker, yu tell him yer mam foun the
bundil in the road. She’ll back yu up in that ar
statemint, ontil thar’s enuf white fros’ in hell tu
kill snapbeans.
Yures till deth,
Notey Beney. — I hope Wat’ll stay in Atlanty
ontil the merlenium, don’t yu, my dear duv?’

An’ tu that ar las’ remark he’d sot a big D. I reckon he meant that fur Dam Wat.’
“Now, I jis’ know’d es long es I hed that paper, I hilt four aces ontu the sheriff, an’ I meant tu bet on the han, an’ go halves wif Wat, fur I wer sorry fur him, he wer so infunely ‘posed upon. I went tu school tu Sicily Burns, tu larn ‘oman tricks, an’ I tuck a dirplomer, I did, an’ now I’d jes’ like tu see the pussonal feeters ove the she ‘oman what cud stock rar ripe kerds on me, durn’d fool es I is. I hed a talk wif Wat, an’ soon foun out that his mine hed simmer’d down intu a strong belief that the sheriff an’ Mary wer doin thar weavin in the same loom.
“Then I show’d him my four aces, an’ that chip made the pot bile over, an’ he jis’ ‘greed tu be led by me, spontanashusly.
“Jis’ think on that fac’ a minnit, boys. A man what hed sense enuf tu turn a hoss shoe, an’ then nail it on toe aind foremost, being led by me, looks sorter like a plum tree barin tumil bug-balls, but hit wer jis’ so, an’ durn my pictur ef I didn’t lead him tu victory, strait along.
“Wat narrated it, that he b’leved strongly in rare ripe, frum beans, thru notes ove han, plumb tu babys, an’ that his cabin shuld never be wifout it. The widder wer cheerful, Mary wer luvin, an’ the sheriff wer told on the sly, by ole Mister McKildrin’s remainin an’ mos’ pius she-half, that Wat wer es plum blind es ef his eyes wer two tuckil aigs. So the wool grow’d over his eyes, ontil hit wer fit tu shear, an’ dam ef I warn’t at the shearin.
“Things, tharfore, went smoof, an’ es quiet es a greased waggin, runnin in san. Hit’s allers so, jis’ afore a tarin big storm.
“By the time littil Rar Ripe wer ten weeks ole, Doltin begun tu be pow’ful plenty in the neighborhood. Even the brats knowed his hoss’s tracks, an’ go whar he wud, the road led ni ontu Wat’s, ur the widder’s, tu git thar. My time tu play my four aces hed ‘bout cum.”
“And so has orderly bed-time. I wish to repose,” remarked the man of Useful Knowledge, in the square-tail coat and cloth gaiters.
Sut opened his eyes in wonder.
“Yu wish to du what?”
“I wish to go to sleep.”
“Then why the h—l didn’t yu say so? Yu mus’ talk Inglish tu me, ur not git yursef onderstood. I warn’t edikated at no Injun ur Negro school. Say, bunty, warn’t yu standid deep in some creek, when the taylure man put the string tu yu, fur that ar cross atwix a roundabout an’ a flour barril, what yu’se got on in place of a coat?”
My self-made guest looked appealingly at me, as he untied his gaiters, evidently deeply insulted. I shook my head at Sut, who was lying on his breast, with his arms crossed for a pillow, but with head elevated like a lizard’s, watching the traveller’s motions with great interest.
“Say, George, what dus repose mean? That wurd wer used at me jis’ now.”
“Repose means rest.”
“Oh, the devil hit dus ! I’se glad tu hear hit. I tho’t hit wer pussonal. I kin repose now, myself. Say, ole Onsightly Peter, repose sum tu, ef yu kin in that flour barril. I ain’t gwine tu hunt fur yure har ontil mor— —” an’ Sut slept.
When morning broke, the Encyclopedia, or Onsightly Peter as Sut pronounced it, had:
“Folded his tent like the Arab,
And as silently stole away.”