Remus - Uncle Remus in Limbo
UNCLE REMUS IN LIMBO

As the result of a very curious train of circumstances, Uncle Remus was brought up before Recorder Andy Calhoun the other day. He was triumphantly vindicated, but the cir cumstances that led to his arrest as well as his vindication may be of some interest to the reader. It seems that Uncle Remus's " Miss Sally," after counting the clothes brought in by the washerwoman recently, discovered that one of her husband's night-shirts was missing. It happened to be one which she had made herself, and she immediately ealled Uncle Re mus up and told him to go after the missing garment, after describing it with great par ticularity. The old man was perfectly willing to go after the shirt, but two circumstances put him out of humor. The day was Friday.

This fact was ominous enough of itself, but the omen was made portentous by the addi tional fact that Uncle Remus was compelled to turn back, after he had gone a little way, to inquire whether a red or a blue silk vine ran around the collar of the shirt. This was irritat ing, and when the old man got fairly started, he was mad. When he reached the washer woman's house she was out, and he was com pelled to wait some little time for her re turn. When she did come, Uncle Remus was thoroughly worked up, and his anger was in tensified a thousandfold by the loud imper- tinence of the woman, whose piercing treble voice was the delight of the religious congre gation of which she was the leading spirit, and the terror of those against whom it was used as a weapon.

"Whar Mars John night-gown?" exclaimed Uncle Remus savagely, as the woman came up.

"Whose Mars John? I let you know here's what ain't got no Mars John. Not dis week." She held her head high in the air, and her loud tone was irritating.

"Well, den, ef you ain't got no Mars John," said Uncle Remus, "you ain't got no bizness wid Mars John night-gown; en you des might ez well go in dar en git it out'n yo' chist, whar you got it hid away."

"You all hear what he sayin'?" said the woman to two or three negroes who were lounging around.

"Git dat night-gown!" was Uncle Remus's imperative demand.

"Who ever hear talk er men folks w'arin' night-gowns?" the woman exclaimed con temptuously.

"Git dat night-gown, you triflin' huzzy, yelse I'll have you brung up."

"Who up ? Have who brung up, you nasty, low life ole vilyun!"

All this and much more, until presently a policeman came along and arrested the woman on a charge of disorderly conduct. Perhaps he ought to have arrested Uncle Remus on the same charge, but the old man, with an eye to precisely such a contingency, made no great display of his voice. He was very mad, but he didn't yell as the woman did.

At any rate the policeman didn't arrest him, and the woman had no sooner reached the station-house than she preferred a charge of "probusness" (as she called it) against him, and an officer was sent after him.

Both the distinguished persons found friends to answer for their prompt appearance at Recorder Calhoun's court. The woman's society brethren came to her aid in the matter, and Uncle Remus's Miss Sally sent this mes sage over the telephone: -

"John, that miserable old reprobate has been arrested by a policeman.... No, I tell you I'm not joking.... I wish you would go down and get him out.... Ten dollars! ... Well, what 's the use of being a lawyer if you can't get him out without paying ten dollars? Well, it won't do for the old wretch to stay in that station-house all night this kind of weather.... Can't you go now? ... Well, I wish you would.... Come home soon."

The next morning both parties were on hand when court opened. The friends of the woman had employed a young lawyer to de fend her, and he, with an eye to humorous results, pushed the case against Uncle Remus. In the case against the woman, the testimony of the policeman who arrested her was suffi cient, and a small fine was imposed upon her which was promptly paid, after which she and her friends remained in the court-room to en joy the discomfiture of Uncle Remus.

The young lawyer rose and said that as the case against the old man was a serious one he would beg the court to indulge him in a few opening remarks. He proposed to prove, he said, that the language employed by the pri soner (giving solemn emphasis to the word "prisoner") against his client was not only opprobrious, but libelous. The prisoner had in effect charged an honest woman with theft. The charge was not made openly, but by in direction; but in a case of this kind, what was indirection but insinuation? What was in sinuation but slander? What was slander but libel? For his part, he was glad that the case was not to be tried before a jury, for the pri soner was old, and the verdict of a jury, which would be nothing less than a term of years in the penitentiary, might bear too heavily upon him. The young lawyer went on in this strain for three or four minutes, and finally announced that if the prisoner had no counsel he would proceed to call his first witness - the woman who had been so outrageously slandered. Before the witness could be called, however, Uncle Remus spoke up.

"Mars Andy Calhoun," he said, "you bin knowin' me a mighty long time, en I bin knowin' you; but ef dish yer de way de matter stand den I 'm gwineter make admittance un it, 'fo' hit gits wuss. I aint gwineter sacs I didn't exzuse dat 'oman er takin' Mars John night-gown, kaze I did; but yit, 'fo' I go ter de chain-gang, I wish you be so good ez ter sen' er p'leeceman out dar ter dat 'oman house en make 'im git dat night-gown, kaze Miss Sally done sot 'er heart on dat gyarment, en ef she don't git it back, I never is ter year de las' un it. I thank you might'ly ef you do dat, Mars Andy. De way de p'leeceman kin tell it is by er blue silk muscadime vine, w'ich de line she run up'n down in front en 'roun' de collar, en all 'roun' de rizbuns."

It is perhaps neeAless to remark here that when the young lawyer proceeded to call his witness she was gone. She was gone, and she failed to return. The prospect of s domi ciliary visit from a policeman was a little too much for her. The case against Uncle Remus was dismissed, and when the old man got home he found that the brilliantly embroid ered night-shirt had been returned. His Miss Sally gave him a severe lecture, but his only response was: -

"You better lem me hang Mars John night-gown out in de sun, kaze a nigger 'oman w'at'll steal dat kind er doin's ain't none too good fer ter have de small-pox hid some'rs 'roun."



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