Remus - Uncle Remus Receives a Valentine
Uncle Remus Receives a Valentine

UNCLE REMUS'S Miss Sally determined that the old man should not be slighted on Valen tine's day, and so she hunted around and got a comic one that seemed to fit the case, and put in it a large envelope. Upon this she pasted a number of old postage stamps, and duly addressed it. When the day arrived, she had Uncle Remus called from his work in the garden. He came grumbling.

"When yuther folks 'roun' yer git ter eat in' der sallid en' truck, Mars John nee'nter come axin' me w'at gone wid our'n. Kaze gyarden truck ain't gwineter grow less'n hit's planted, en she can't be planted less'n dey 's some un ter put 'er in de groun'. I ain't mo'n got my back fit ter de mattock twel yer dey come a-hollerin' en a-bawlin'. Hit's Remus dis en Remus dat, en 'fo' de year out hit'll be Remus kill de ole black cat."

"What has the cat done, now?" asked his Miss Sally, who had heard only a part of the old man's growl.

"Nothin' 'tall, Miss Sally; she ain't done nothin' 'tall ter me," said Uncle Remus, in another tone altogether. "Is you want me, Miss Sally ? Dat slick-head house gal squeal so w'en she holler dat I can't tell w'at she say."

"Yes; here is a big letter for you. I expect it is a valentine."

Uncle Remus adjusted his spectacles, took the letter, and examined it carefully on both sides, and then looked curiously at the super scription.

"How do she run, Miss Sally?" indicating the address with his forefinger.

The lady read: "Remus Misery, Esq., West End, Atlanta, Georgia: At Home."

"Ah-yi!" exclaimed the old man, his eyes twinkling humorously. "Dey des know'd I wuz one er de at-home niggers - dey did dat. Is dey got de 'squire on dar sho nuff, Miss Sally ? Some folks calls Mars John kun nul, en some calls 'im major, en some calls 'im jedge; but dish yer 'squire business is bran new ter me. W'at 'uz de yuther name, Miss Sally?"

"Remus Misery."

"How de name er goodness does dey fine folks out dat away? De man w'at writ dat know me by heart. Let 'lone dat, I 'm ole mizerbul Miz'ry."

Still holding the letter, Uncle Remus felt of it carefully, pressing every part of it be tween his thumb and forefinger.

"What are you feeling of it for?" ex claimed his Miss Sally. "Why don't you open it?"

"I'm too ole for dat, Miss Sally," said Uncle Remus. "Ef I feels any little bunch er sumpin' n'er in yer, den I'll know some er deze yer yuther niggers bin fixin' up der cun jerments at me, en I'll des take'n take it 'roun' yan en bury it whar Mars John p'inter made his bed las' night, en dat'll ondo it."

"Well, undoubtedly, you are the craziest old loon in the country."

"Yessum. But you know'd dat nigger man w'at Ole Miss got fum Mars Bill Little endurin' er de war, kaze he could tan hides en make shoes? Well, dat ve'y nigger man ain't bin on our place mo 'n a week, 'fo' he fine a little bunch er sump'n layin' on de top do'-step. He pick 'er up, he did, en open 'er, en dey wan't nothin' in dar but some ha'r, en some frog toes, en some dry roots. He take'n fling it down, he did, en go 'long 'bout his business, en dat night he 'uz tuck wid a misery in de side er de head, en hiz jaw got draw'd down, en look lak die he would spite er all dey kin say and do. Hit went on dis away twel bimeby ole Affikin Jack, he tuck'n come up fum de Albenny place, en time he lay eyes on de nigger, Brer Jack low he 'uz cun jud, en den hit come out dat de nigger done gone en foun' sump'n on de do'-step. Brer Jack ax 'im wharbouts is it, en de nigger 'low he dunno; en den Brer Jack 'low he boun' 'tain't so mighty fur, en lo en beholes! he tuck'n pull de cunjerments fum und' de nigger bed tick. Dat he did, kaze I seed 'im wid my own eyes. En den Brer Jack tuck'n bury it, he did, out whar de dogs make der bed, en he rub de nigger head wid a rabbit foot; en 't wan't two hours 'fo' dat nigger wuz wadin' roun' in de tan vats ten'in' ter he business. Dey ain't no hear-tell 'bout dis, Miss Sally, kaze I seed it wid my own eyes.

"I wish you please, ma'am, open it," con tinued Uncle Remus, "en read w'at de intents un it mought be, kaze I oughter be out yan right now, puttin' dem sallid seed in de groun'."

"Miss Sally" opened the envelope, and drew forth a highly colored cartoon of a negro cramming a huge pie in his mouth. She read: -

"He eats, he sleeps, he steals on the sly,
Nigger, big nigger, with a mouthful of pie."

Uncle Remus took the caricature and ex amined it critically. Contrary to expectations, he did not make any demonstration of anger. He frowned heavily for a moment, and then sighed.

"Is dish year wa't folks calls a volyumtine, Miss Sally?" he asked presently.

"Of course it is."

"Well, den, I'm done. I can't stay 'roun' yer. My time's done up. I'm a-bleedz ter go. I know dey ain't no nigger man w'at 'ud dast ter sen' me dis, en if it's a nigger 'oman, den I ain't got no time ter tarry in de state er Georgy. You all bin treatin' me mighty well, you en Mars John, but w'en dey comes at me dis away, I bleedz ter go."

"Why? What is the matter?"

"No'm; I ain't ezcusin' you all; I ain't excusin' nobody un it. Hit des happen so. Yit I got ter move. I is dat. Fus' news you know, word'll go 'roun' ter my ole 'oman dat I been kyarin on wid some yuther 'oman. She look lak she mighty feebly, my ole 'oman do, but dey ain't no mo' actier creetur dan w'at she is w'en she git 'er Affikin up. En den bime by yer'll come Brer John Henry, en he'll gimme er invite fer ter draw out er de church. Oh, no'm ! Man w'at gits volyuntines, dat man ain't ter have no peace er min' less'n he git out er de country. I done got de 'speunce un it, mon."

It is unnecessary to remark that the old man is still digging around in his Miss Sally's garden and quarreling with the other negroes.


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