XX. THE OLD MAN'S TROUBLES
"WHAT makes you look so lonesome, Brer Remus?" asked a
well-dressed negro, as the old man came shuffling down the street
by James's corner yesterday.
"Youer mighty right, I'm lonesome, Brer John Henry. W'en a ole
nigger like me is gotter paddle de canoe an' do de fishin' at de
same time, an' w'en you bleedzd ter ketch de fish an' dassent turn
de paddle loose fer ter bait de hook, den I tell you, Brer John,
youer right whar de mink had de goslin'. Mars John and Miss
Sally, dey done bin gone down unto Putmon County fer ter see der
kinfolks mighty nigh fo' days, an' you better bleeve I done bin had
ter scratch 'roun' mighty lively fer ter make de rashuns run out
"I wuz at yo' house las' night, Brer Remus," remarked Brer John
Henry, "but I couldn't roust you outer bed."
"Hit was de unseasonableness er de hour, I speck," said Uncle
"'Pears unto me dat you all chu'ch deacons settin' up mighty late
deze cole nights. You'll be slippin' round arter hours some time er
nudder, an you'll slip bodaciously inter de calaboose. You mine
w'at I tell you.
"It's mighty cole wedder," said Brer John Henry, evidently wishing
to change the subject.
"Cole!" exclaimed Uncle Remus; "hit got pas' cole on der quarter
stretch. You oughter come to my house night 'fo' las'. Den you'd a
foun' me 'live an' kickin'."
"Well, I tell you, Brer John Henry, de cole wuz so cole, an' de
kiver wuz so light, dat I thunk I'd make a raid on Mars John's
shingle pile, an' out I goes an totes in a whole armful. Den I gits
under de kiver an' tells my ole 'oman fer ter lay 'em onto me like
she was roofin' a house. Bimeby she crawls in, an' de shingles w'at
she put on her side fer ter kiver wid, dey all drap off on de flo'.
Den up I gits an' piles 'em on agin, an' w'en I gits in bed my
shingles draps off, an' dat's de way it wuz de whole blessid night.
Fus' it wuz me up an' den de ole 'oman, an' it kep' us pow'ful warm,
too, dat kinder exercise. Oh, you oughter drapt roun' 'bout dat time,
Brer John Henry. You'd a year'd sho' nuff cussin'!"
"You don't tell me, Brer Remus!"
"My ole 'oman say de Ole Boy wouldn't a foun' a riper nigger, ef
he wer' ter scour de country fum Ferginny ter de Alabami"