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“Nepchune sho did lay off de wuck Yo' Marse Jeems ain' gwine terlet for hisse'f. All he laid off for hisse'f was you work yo'se'f 'tel yo' tongue mos' ter do nothin' an' res' in de shade. He hangin' out yo'mouf. He sho ain' gwine knowed how ter do. One day Marse ter do dat. Come hyeah, Nepchune, Jeems an' Nepchune wuz out in de an' teck a li'l res'. Poor fellow, yo' House gyarden. Marse Jeems 'splained Marse Jeems sorry for you, he sorry ter Nepchune 'bout plantin' de seed, for induschus nigger like you, Nepradish-seed, and turnip-seed, an' all chune. You needs a res', nigger. sorts uv little pinhead seed like mus- Come hyeah." tard-seed. Nepchune say he got de un- 'Nepchune stepped up on de gallery, derstannin' 'bout how ter do. When he an'Marse Jeems say, "Now, Nepchune,
“ went up ter de house an' tol' Marse git up in dis big red hammock an' Jeems he done plant all de seed, Marse stretch yo’se'f out long as you kin.” Jeems say Nepchune bin mighty smart, ‘Nepchune sorter swunk back. Den an' he gin 'im a present. He gin 'im a Marse Jeems say, “Is you work so hard whole plug uv 'bacco.
you got deaf? Poor devil, you sho needs Nex' day Marse Jeems wuz walkin' a good res'. in de gyarden, an' unbeknownst he ‘Nepchune 'bleeged ter git in de hamkicked up a brick layin' out dar. mock an' stretch out. He 'peared Gord 'a' massey! Marse Jeems foun' mighty sorrowful like. Marse Jeems all de papers uv little pinhead seeds mighty dignity dat day; talk mighty onder dat brick. Marse Jeems a mighty onnateral, so gently an'sweetified, Nepcussin' man when he wuz mad. I hyear chune did n' know what wuz de 'casion
“Dat infernal rascal! I'll pun- uv dat soft-soap talkin' to a nigger. ish im sho as I a born man. I sho gwine When Nepchune done stretch out good, punish Nepchune.'
kaze he skyeard not to do dat, Marse 'I kep on studyin' 'bout what Marse Jeems sot hisse's down by de red hamJeems gwine ter do ter Nepchune. I mock. He done tied a twine string ter foun' out. Ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha! de hammock. He sot in a big split-botMarse Jeems's place most jined on ter tom chair an' pull dat string, an' made Merid'an. One day a Merid'an man it swing an' swing. comed ter de plantation an' 'swaded 'Presen'ly Nepchune say, “Marse Marse Jeems ter buy a great, big, long Jeems, l’ze mightily res' up; I wants red hammock. Dat man swung dat ter go out in de fiel', suh." hammock up on Marse Jeems's gal- “No, no, Nepchune. No, no, poor lery an' lef'. Marse Jeems kep' on fellow. I gwine ter let you hab a good studyin' 'bout how Nepchune plant ole reso.” dem seed. I knowed what wuz in his ‘Den Marse Jeems swinged Nepmin'. He studyin' an' studyin' 'bout chune an' swinged ’im, an' swinged ’im. punishin' Nepchune. I sho thought he Eb'ry now an' den some uv de niggers gwine whip Nepchune bad. Dat I did. comed up ter de house, 'tendin' dey No, suh, Marse Jeems mighty notion- 'bleeged ter come on business. Dey ate man. He got heap uv devilment kep' on comin', an' laffin', an' sayin', 'bout 'im, an' heap uv fun. He call “Nepchune, you sho gittin' a good res'. Nepchune up ter de gallery an' say: Dat you is." Nepchune nuvar 'sponded ““Nepchune, I mighty sorry you had nuthin’. Marse Jeems kep' on swingin' ‘
' to work so hard plantin' de gyarden. dat nigger, an' lookin' like he walkin' I knows you tired mos’ ter def, poor ’hind a hearse ter de grabeyard down nigger. I gwine give you some res'. by de ribber. I wuz des shakin' my
ribs lookin' at Nepchune restin' in de ‘All de niggers done flock roun' de long red hammock. 'Pear like Marse gallery den, an' Marse Jeems call out, Jeems could n' git tired swingin' Nep- "Boys, is any of you tired?” Dey all chune. He swinged an' he swinged. 'spond, "No, Marse Jeems, we doan'
“Pear like all de niggers on de plan- need no res'. We ain' tired.” Den tation got business in de house-yard dat Marse Jeems say, “Hurrah for you, day. Mos’ly dey did n' say nuthin'. boys, hurrah!”. Sometimes dey step up close ter de gallery an' look devilish an' call out,
III "Nepchune, is you gittin' a good res'? You ain' nuvar be tired again, I 'spec'.” 'I doan' know but five Injin words.
“Nepchune nuvar said nuthin'. He Dey's Choctaw Injin words. Marse did n'even grin. Mos'ly Nepchune wuz Jeems's plantation wuz close to whar a mighty grinnin' nigger. He did n' dem Choctaw Injins lived in Mis'sippy. 'pear so grinny de day he wuz restin'in Dem Injins say dey’s de frienlies' Injins de hammock. He des' 'peared discom- uv all de Injins. Dey sho did count fused, mightily discomfused wid all de mighty cuyous. “Onarby, tosharby, niggers laffin' at 'im. I seed Nepchune tuckaloo, toochany”: one, two, three, wuz mad. But Marse Jeems - Marse
Marse four, five. Dey helt dey fingers out Jeems got mealy-moufed an sweet- when dey count dem words. Dem Chocspoken more an' more, more an' more. taw Injins sho did meck pretty willer He sho did hab a injoicin' time seein' baskets. Dey dug up some sort uv dat induschus nigger restin' in de red roots, or sumpin,' an' dyed de willer. hammock. Dat wuz a good fun day on Red willer, yaller willer, black willer, Marse Jeems's plantation. 'Pear like all sorts of culled willer. Den dey Marse Jeems mighty induschus, pullin' made de baskets: little baskets for de dat twine string an'swingin' Nepchune. gal chillern at Marse Jeems's house ter
‘Mos'all de niggers on de place, tend- put hick'y nuts in; baskets for Marse in' dis an' tendin' dat, traipsed 'long Jeems's wife ter tote her keys in; great th’ough de house-yard while Nepchune big roun' baskets ter hol' de fold-up wuz gittin' his res'. 'Pear like dey work whar gwine ter be sewed on; cuycould n' keep deyse’ves ’way f’om seein' ous baskets, one on each side runnin' dat sight. Nepchune mos' daid he so down ter a p'int: forks goes down in one mad wid dem niggers. Dey so con- side, knifes in t'other. Den dey made a sarned 'bout poor, tired Nepchune. monst'ous big basket to put dey pusHa, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha! 'Pear like de cooses (pappooses) in. Dem baskets got sun could n'set. Pear like hit got a long strop ter go roun' de haid. Dem hitched in a crotch uv de tree while little puscooses looked comf’able wid Marse Jeems wuz swingin' de poor tired dey heads stickin' out dem baskets. nigger. Ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha! Dat 'Eb'ry year, 'bout time chinka pins nigger would n' nuvar git tired agin. an' ches’nuts an' muscadines gits ripe, Ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha!
dem Injins sho ter come. De Injin men 'Atter while de sun did drap. Den I come ridin' on Injin ponies. Dey sho hyeah Marse Jeems say, “Nepchune, ter be tottin' some blow-guns. I doan' nex' time you gits tired, I gwine gib know whar dey git dem big ole canes. you a long res' agin. I gwine dig a hole Dey gits 'em somewhar, an' tecks out six foot deep for you to res' in. Den all de pith. Den dey mecks Injins ar. when you res'n' dar, you won't hear rers, sharp at one eend, an' feathers on when Gabriel blows his horn."
t'other eend. Jes' blow in one dem blow
guns an' dem arrers goes flyin' out. side uv dey han's, is white, an' de botYou can kill a jay bird dat way, or a toms uv dey foots. Mammy say Gord sparrer. 'Cose nobody ain' gwine kill A'mighty made all de folks white when a robin dat way. Dey wait for de robin he fus' started out ter make 'em. Den ter fly up in a Chiny tree an' git drunk. he got plum tired lookin' at all dem Eb'ry chile on de plantation thinks he white folks. Den he 'cided he'd paint 'bleeged ter hab a blow-gun when dem 'em diff’unt colors. He made some red Choctaw Injins comes ridin' in. Jay folks like Injins, an' some yaller folks, birds better watch out den. Folks say an' some brown folks. Den he studied Choctaw Injins ain' smart as Cher'kee 'bout what he gwine do nex’. He 'cided Injins. I doan' know 'bout dat. Dey sho he'd meck some black folks. Den he tol' mecks pretty baskets an' blow-guns. some de white folks ter git down on But dey doan' know nuthin' 'bout al- all fours, kaze he gwine paint 'em black. phabits like Cher'kee Injins does. He paint dem folks black while dey
'Marse Jeems wuz a mighty smart down on all fours. 'Cose de bottom uv man. I sot my min'an'cotch heaps uv dey han’s an’dey foots did n'git painted smartness f'om Marse Jeems on his black. Dat’s de trufe, sho's I’ze a born lower plantation down in Mis’sippy. nigger. My mammy had heaps uv Dat I did. I 'stonish de Albama nig- knowin's. White folks doan' know how gers wid my smartness when I went much knowin's niggers got. back to de Black Belt. Dat sho is a ‘One day I wuz out in de pastur' gitBlack Belt. Dat ole prairie mud's tin' poke-weed. I hyeard ole crookblack as a tar-ball — an' sticky! Gord hand Sal singin' an' singin'. I cotch de knows hit's sticky! Des' walk ’long a words. Dey wuz hitched on ter a chune. little way an' de mud sticks so fast to Mighty easy ter ketch de words ef dey’s de soles uv yo' foots you cyarn' sca'cely hitched on ter a chune. She kep'on alif' em up. I likes sandy town myse'f, singin':
I like Livi’ston an' Selma.
'Yonder go de bell cow. ‘Bless Gord! I knows I is got gifty
Ketch her by de tail. gab, like Marse Jeems say. I mos' for
Turn her in de pastur',
Milk hit in de pail. got how skyeard I wuz 'bout bad luck.
Milk hit in de pail, Mighty bad luck for bird ter come flyin'
An' strain hit in de gourd. in yo' house. Bird come flyin' in my
Set hit in de cornder, house one day. I druv dat bird out.
And kiver wid a board. Nex' mornin' dar wuz dat same bird 'I sung dat over in my min' 'tel I flatted 'ginst my winder-shutter. I so cotched hit good. 'stressed I des th’owed myse'f down on ‘Dat wuz de day a nigger man comed de flo' an' put my apurn up over my ter Marse Jeems's place f'om Merid'an. haid. I tryin' ter fool dat bird. But I He think he mighty smart kaze he bin could n' fool ’im. He knowed me, an' livin'in Meridan. He seed me, an’ wave dat very day de bad luck struck me. I his ole black paw at me. Den he holfell down an' broke my laig, my poor lered out, “Howdy, sweetie!” He all
, old laig wid de rheumatiz pain mos' dress up mighty fine in white clo’es. killin' me. I could n' skyear de bad Fus' I would n' look at 'im. Den he luck away. Hit done come, an' 'pear holler out agin, “Howdy, sweetie. How like hit gwine ter stay. Poor me! is you to-day?" I say, “I worse off on
'Here I is gifty-gabbin' an' forgittin' 'casion uv seein' you. Sho's I born, all de teachmen's my mammy tol me you look des’ like a black snake in a 'bout huccome niggers han's, an' down bowl uv cream.” Dat smarty-jack nigger fom Merid'an 'pear like he dis- you. You heap more like yo' mammy comfused den. He riz up agin'an' hol- dan yo'se'f. Dat's a sho fac'.” lered out, “You look mighty peart to- 'I stannin' by de car track den. I day, sweetie!” Den I'spond, “Keep yo' axed Jubiter ef de trains wuz regilar in sweetnin' for yo’se'f, ole black snake.” runnin'. He 'spond, “Dey's mighty I sho did discomfuse dat nigger. But regilar in bein' onregilar.” He sho did he kep' on wavin' his black paw at tell de trufe dat time dat one time. me. He did n' come back f'om Meridian Mos’ly Jubiter wuz a big lie-teller. He no more ter call me sweetie.
'joyed tellin' lies. He had 'joymen' 'One nice white lady comed f'om fom sunup ter sundown dat way. Merid'an one time ter see Marse Jeems's 'I bin havin' 'joymen' all dis day des wife. She comed f’om de Norf an' she studyin' 'bout buckwheat cakes. 'Fore mighty ign'an' lady. She seed me set- Christmus come, on Marse Jeems's tin' on de tip-top uv de high ten-rail plantation, 'peared like ebrybody was fence, staked an' ridered, an' she say busy makin' bags. Bags 'pon top uv she so 'feared I gwine fall down. I say bags wuz piled up on de shelves in de I doan' see no use in tumblin' down. I house. I knowed what dem bags was mighty com'fable up hyeah. Den I for. Ebry Christmus dem bags wuz' 'menced callin' out, “Cur rench! Cur piled up dar. 'Bleeged ter hab a highrench! Cur rench!” She ax me what for up pile uv bags for de 'casion. Den de I keep sayin' “Cur rench" so much. I Mistiss had a pile uv dimes an' picatell her she ain' got un'erstannin' ter yunes in her trunk. She knowed what know what I talkin' 'bout. De cows she gwine do wid all dat silver money. an' de bulls got un'erstannin'. Look at I knowed, too, kaze I bin on Marse 'em. Marse Jeems say cows got jog- Jeems's place 'fore dat time. I knowed raphy an' 'rithmetic in dey haids. Ef dem wuz Chris'mus bags for buckwheat. dey long way f'om de cuppen (cow-pen] Niggers nuvar seed buckwheat but one dey starts home soon. Ef dey short time eb’ry year. Dat wuz Christmus way off, dar dey lays 'tel dey see me mornin'. All de niggers got up 'fore sunputtin' down de bars. Dey got heap uv rise dat day. Eb'rybody had big fire in sense.
dey big fireplace by time de sun riz. ‘One time, I wuz a little gal den, Den all uv 'em went flockin' up ter de I layin' down on de flo' kickin' up my house, ter jump out sudden, an' holler heels an' cryin'. Mammy say, “Wha' out, “Christmus gif”! Christmus gif! de matter wid you, chile?” I tol her Christmus gif, marster! Christmus gif', my haid wuz splittin' open wid head- mistiss.” Dem niggers got Christmus ache. She 'spond, “Chile, I spec' you gif's, eb’rybody down ter de suckin' got de hollow horn like de ole red bull babies. Eb'rybody wuz laffin' an' got." Den I got ter laffin' an' laffin'. whoopin'an' hurrahin'. Eb'rybody got Den de headache des upped an' went Christmus in dey bones. off somewhat.
'Den eb'ry nigger gits a bag, an' back *When I comed back from Marse dey troops ter dey cabin. Dey snatches Jeems's place, I met ole black Jubiter. up dey sisters an’ 'mence siftin', siftin', I bin gone seb'ral years. When I went siftin'. Dey knowed dimes an' picadar, de wool on my haid wuz black. yunes wuz in dem buckwheat bags. Wool on my mammy's haid bin white Dey 'termined ter sif' out de money. 'long time. Ole black Jubiter hollered All de chillern des' scrouges one anurr, out to me, “Hi! hi! hi! Is you come an' gits up close ter de sister ter see back ter Al’bama? I mos' did n' know if dey kin git a dime or a picayune wid a hole in it. Dey likes ter hang picayunes 'All de chillern stannin' roun' eb'ryan' dimes roun' dey neck, an' strut whar dances roun' an' hurrahs an' holroun' proud as a ole peacock. Dat lers, 'tel Marse Jeems step out an' say, what dey wants ter do on Christmus “Too much noise! Too much noise! Ef mornin' on Marse Jeems's plantation. you cyarn' be quiet, you mus' go back
*Some uv de marsters in Mis’sippy ter yo' cabins.” Hit gits so quiet den does dat away like Marse Jeems. Some 'pears like somebody's dyin'. But in a doan' do dat away. Dey fix up some minute dey gins ter 'spond, “Yes, suh, sorter way for Christmus fun. Marse Marse Jeems, yes, suh! We gwine be Jeems got a big ole barrel uv whiskey still as a church mouse. Yes, suh, in his smoke-house. He sho gits a bar- Marse Jeems, yes, suh!” rel uv dat once eb'ry year f'om Mobile. 'I gits ter studyin' 'bout dem days He got a 'mission merchan' in Mobile sometimes ’tel hit 'pears like dem days ter sell his cotton. Dat ʼmission mer- is right here agin. 'T wuz a injoicin chan' buys de sugar an' de flour an' de time eb'ry year when de wagons come whiskey an' de rice an' all sort o' gro- back f'om Moscow. Sometimes Marse ceries down in Mobile. He puts 'em on Jeems would han' out some drams ter de steamboat an dey's fotch up ter de de niggers. De house-servants done landin' at Moscow. Den de wagons had egg-nog when dey runned up goes down dar an' hauls 'em up. Dat's Christmus gif'ing. Marse Jeems had a de time we sees oranges an' lemons. bung-hole in de whiskey barrel, an' he'd Dat's de onlies' time. We's mos' crazy teck a mighty cuyous vial, solid heavy when de wagons comes back. Eb’ry- at de bottom, an' let it down th'ough body on de place 'pears ter be plum de bung-hole an' draw up de whiskey. crazy den. All de chillern in special, Dat vial too little ter draw much whiswhite chillern an' nigger chillern. All key. Nobody did n' get none but spedey moufs is waterin' an'drippin'. cial house-niggers. Dey did n'git much. Eb'rybody is hollerin' out, “Yonder ‘All de whiskey Marse Jeems ever comes de wagons!”
drunk was one mint julep once a day. ‘When dey does come, Gord A’mighty! I hyeard him say one day, “Mint is de eb'rybody sho is crazy den. De men grass dat grows on de graves uv all lif's out a great big hogshead of rice. good Virginians." Dat's what I hyeard Dey knocks out de head an' 'mences Marse Jeems say. Dat what he tol his divin' down in de rice an' pullin' out comp’ny settin' up dar on de gallery. tin buckets an' tin pans an' sifters, an' Once eb'ry day Marse Jeems tuck one I dunno what, all packed in de rice. mint julep. All his chillern runned to Sometimes out comes a tin plate wid him den, an' he gin each one a teaspoonletters all roun' de edge, big a, little a, ful of dat good julep. big b, little b. We knows de house-'oman 'Somehow I keeps on studyin' an' one uv de house-'omans - gwine git studyin' 'bout dem ole days. 'Pears like
' dat tin plate. Certain sho, she gwine git I kin set down in Jerushy's cabin an' dat. Dey keeps a-divin' down an' divin' see de fiddler fiddlin'. He sot up on a down in dat rice, an' pres’n’ly out comes high stool on top uv a table. He de one some doll-heads. All de chillern 'gins dat called out de figgirs uv de dance. ter dance an' laf an' holler. Dey knows 'Fore dat, one o' de niggers would step Mistiss gwine cut out doll-bodies an' out an' cut de pigeon wing, an' one stuff 'em wid cotton. Den up in de would give a double shuffle. All de nigseamster's room de seamsters gwine gers would clap an' rap den, an' someter sew de doll-heads on de doll-bodies. body would holler out, “Play ‘Chicken
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