XIV. THAT DECEITFUL JUG

UNCLE REMUS was in good humor one evening recently when he dropped casually into the editorial room of "The Constitution," as has been his custom for the past year or two. He had a bag slung across his shoulder, and in the bag was a jug. The presence of this humble but useful vessel in Uncle Remus's bag was made the occasion for several suggestive jokes at his expense by the members of the staff, but the old man's good humor was proof against all insinuations.

"Dat ar jug's bin ter wab, mon. Hit's wunner deze yer ole timers. I got dat jug down dar in Putmon County w'en Mars 'Lisha Ferryman wuz a young man, an' now he's done growed up, an' got ole an' died, an' his chilluns is growed up an' dey kin count dere gran'chilluns, an' yit dar's dat jug des ez lively an' ez lierbul fer ter kick up devilment ez w'at she wuz w'en she come fum de foundry."

"That's the trouble," said one of the young men. "That's the reason we'd like to know what's in it now.

"Now youer gittin' on ma'shy groun'," replied Uncle Remus. "Dat's de p'int. Dat's w'at make me say w'at I duz. I bin knowin' dat jug now gwine on sixty-fi' year, an' de jug w'at's more seetful dan dat jug ain't on de topside er de worrul. Dar she sets," continued the old man, gazing at it reflectively, "dar she sets dez ez natchul ez er ambertype, an' yit whar's de man w'at kin tell w'at kinder confab she's a gwineter carry on w'en dat corn-cob is snatched outen 'er mouf? Dat jug is mighty seetful, mon."

"Well, it don't deceive any of us up here," remarked the agricultural editor, dryly. "We've seen jugs before."

"I boun' you is, boss; I boun' you is. But you ain't seed no seetful jug like dat. Dar she sets a bellyin' out an' lookin' mighty fat an' full, an' yit she'd set dar a bellyin' out ef dere wuzent nuthin' but win' under dat stopper. You knows dat she ain't got no aigs in her, ner no bacon, ner no grits, ner no termartusses, ner no shellotes, an' dat's 'bout all you duz know. Dog my cats ef de seetfulness er dat jug don't git away wid me, continued Uncle Remus, with a chuckle. "I wuz comm' 'cross de bridge des now, an' Brer John Henry seed me wid de bag slung onter my back, an' de jug in it, an' he ups an' sez, sezee:

Heyo, Brer Remus, ain't it gittin' late for watermillions?'

"Hit wuz de seetfulness er dat jug. If Brer John Henry know'd de color er dat watermillion, I speck he'd snatch me up 'fo' de confunce. I 'clar' ter grashus ef dat jug ain't a caution!"

"I suppose it's full of molasses now," remarked one of the young men, sarcastically.

"Hear dat!" exclaimed Uncle Remus, triumphantly -'hear dat! W'at I tell you? I sed dat jug wuz seetful, an' I sticks to it. I bin knowin' dat-"

"What has it got in it?" broke in some one; "molasses, kerosene, or train-oil?"

"Well, I lay she's loaded, boss. I ain't shuk her up sence I drapt in, but I lay she's loaded."

"Yes," said the agricultural editor, "and it's the meanest bug-juice in town-regular sorghum skimmings."

"Dat's needer yer ner dar," responded Uncle Remus. "Po' fokes better be fixin' up for Chrismus now w'ile rashuns is cheap. Dat's me. W'en I year Miss Sally gwine 'bout de house w'isslin' 'W'en I k'n Read my Titles Cier'-an' w'en I see de martins swawmin' atter sundown-an' w'en I year de peckerwoods confabbin' togedder dese moonshiny nights in my een er town-en I knows de hot wedder's a breakin' up, an' I know it's 'bout time fer po' fokes fer ter be rastlin' 'roun' and huntin' up dere rashuns. Dat's me, up an down."

"Well, we are satisfied. Better go and hire a hall," remarked the sporting editor, with a yawn. "If you are engaged in a talking match you have won the money. Blanket him somebody, and take him to the stable."

"An' w'at's mo'," continued the old man, scorning to notice the insinuation, "dough I year Miss Sally w'isslin', an' de peckerwoods a chatterin', I ain't seein' none er deze yer loafin' niggers fixin' up fer ter 'migrate. Dey kin holler Kansas all 'roun' de naberhood, but ceppin' a man come 'long an' spell it wid greenbacks, he don't ketch none er deze yer town niggers. You year me, dey ain't gwine."

"Stand him up on the table," said the Sporting editor; "give him room."

"Better go down yer ter de calaboose, an' git some news fer ter print," said Uncle Remus, with a touch of irony in his tone. "Some new nigger mighter broke inter jail."

"You say the darkeys are not going to emigrate this year?" inquired the agricultural editor, who is interested in these things.

"Shoo! dat dey ain't! I done seed an' I knows."

"Well, how do you know?"

"How you tell w'en crow gwineter light? Niggers bin prom'nadin' by my house all dis summer, holdin' dere heads high up an' de w'ites er dere eyeballs shinin' in de sun. Dey wuz too bigitty fer ter look over de gyardin' palm's. 'Long 'bout den de wedder wuz fetchin' de nat'al sperrits er turkentime outen de pine-trees an' de groun' wuz fa'rly smokin' wid de hotness. Now that it's gittin' sorter airish in de mornin's, dey don't 'pear like de same niggers. Dey done got so dey'll look over in de yard, an' nex' news you know dey'll be tryin' fer ter scrape up 'quaintence wid de dog. W'en dey passes now dey looks at de chicken-coop an' at der tater-patch. W'en you see niggers gittin' dat familious, you kin 'pen' on dere campin' wid you de ballunce er de season. Day 'fo' yistiddy I kotch one un um lookin' over de fence at my shoats, an' I sez, sez I:

'Duz you wanter purchis dem hogs?'

"'Oh, no,' sezee, 'I wuz des lookin' at dere p'ints.'

"'Well, dey ain't p'intin' yo' way, sez I, 'an', fuddermo', ef you don't bodder longer dem hogs dey ain't gwineter clime outer dat pen an' 'tack you, nudder,'" sez I.

"An' I boun'," continued Uncle Remus, driving the corn-cob stopper a little tighter in his deceitful jug and gathering up his bag-"an' I boun' dat my ole muskitil go off 'tween me an' dat same nigger yit, an' he'll be at de bad een', an' dis seetful jug'll 'fuse ter go ter de funer'l."

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