VI. UNCLE REMUS WITH THE TOOTHACHE

WHEN Uncle Remus put in an appearance one morning recently, his friends knew he had been in trouble. He had a red cotton handkerchief tied under his chin, and the genial humor that usually makes his aged face its dwelling-place had given way to an expression of grim melancholy. The young men about the office were inclined to chaff him, but his look of sullen resignation remained unchanged.

"What revival did you attend last night?" inquired one.

"What was the color of the mule that did the hammering?" asked another.

"I always told the old man that a suburban chicken coop would fall on him," remarked some one.

"A strange pig has been squealing in his ear," suggested some one else.

But Uncle Remus remained impassive. He seemed to have lost all interest in what was going on around him, and he sighed heavily as he seated himself on the edge of the trash-box in front of the office. Finally some one asked, in a sympathetic tone:

"What is the matter, old man? You look like you'd been through the mill."

"Now you'er knockin' ain't bin thoo de mill sence day 'fo' yistiddy, den dey ain't no mills in de lan'. Ef wunner deze yer scurshun trains had runned over me I couldn't er bin wuss off. I bin trompin' 'roun' in de lowgroun's now gwine on seventy-fl' year, but I ain't see no sich times ez dat w'at I done spe'unst now. Boss, is enny er you all ever rastled wid de toofache?"

"Oh, hundreds of times! The toothache isn't any-thing."

"Den you des played 'roun' de aidges. You ain't had de kine w'at kotch me on de underjaw. You mout a had a gum-bile, but you ain't bin boddered wid de toofache. I wuz settin' up talkin' wid my ole 'oman, kinder puzzlin' 'roun' fer ter see whar de nex' meal's vittles wuz a gwineter cum fum, an' I feel a little ache sorter crawlin' 'long on my jaw-bone, kinder feelin' his way. But de ache don't stay long. He sorter hankered 'roun' like, en den crope back whar he come fum. Bimeby I feel 'im comin' agin, an' dis time hit look like he come up closer-kinder skummishin' 'roun' fer ter see how de lan' lay. Den he went off. Present'y I feel 'im comin', an' dis time hit look like he kyar'd de news unto Mary, fer hit feel like der wuz anudder wun wid 'im. Dey crep' up an' crep' 'roun', an, den dey crope off. Bimeby dey come back, an' dis time dey come like dey wuzent 'fear'd er de s'roundin's, fer dey trot right up unto de toof, sorter zamine it like, an' den trot all roun' it, like deze yer circuous hosses. I sot dar mighty ca'm, but I spected dat sump'n' wuz gwine ter happ'n."

"And it happened, did it?" asked some one in the group surrounding the old man.

"Boss, don't you fergit it," responded Uncle Remus, fervidly. "W'en dem aches gallop back dey galloped fer ter stay, an' dey wuz so mixed up dat I couldn't tell one fum de udder. All night long dey racked an' dey galloped, an' w'en dey got tired er rackin' an' gallopin', dey all close in on de ole toof an' thumped it an' gouged at it twel it 'peared unto me dat dey had got de jaw-bone loosened up, an' wuz tryin' fer ter fetch it up thoo de top er my head an' out at der back er my neck. An' dey got wuss nex' day. Mars John, he seed I wuz 'stracted, an' he tole me fer ter go roun' yere an' git sump'n' put on it, an' de drug man he lowed dat I better have 'er draw'd, an' his wuds wuzent more'n cole 'fo' wunner deze yer watch-youmaycollums-wunner deze dentis' mens-had retched fer it wid a pa'r er tongs w'at don't tu'n loose w'en dey ketches a holt. Leas'ways dey didn't wid me. You oughter seed dat toof, boss. Hit wuz wunner deze yer fo'-prong fellers. Ef she'd a grow'd wrong eend out'ard, I'd a bin a bad nigger long arter I jin'd de chu'ch. You year'd my ho'n!"

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