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continued to dabble and splash in a little pool of water, which had somehow got there, as proud, apparently, of his sansculottism as ever his illustrious namesake could have been of his.
"Don't you hear me, Thomas Jefferson?" screamed the mother-"don't you hear me, you little torment?”
Thomas Jefferson did hear this time, and hastened to obey. He raised himself up, spread out his fat arms to preserve his equilibrium, turned half round, lost it, and was instantly seated in the miniature pool with a splash that sent several droplets into his mother's face.
Mrs. Naron flew at the child with an energy that contrasted strongly with her oleaginous appearance; and seizing him by the middle, held him up inverted, with one hand, while with the other she inflicted what, in our nursery days, would have been called a "sound spanking," which finished, she reseated herself, and brought him down in a sitting position upon her knee, with sufficient violence to produce a sudden abbreviation of as dreadful a howl as ever vexed human ear.
We didn't altogether relish these indications of a vivacious temperament in Mrs. Naron, and accordingly made our examination as short and smooth as possible. And when she demurred to furnishing the statistical information, because she "never had done sich a thing afore," we admitted the cogency of the reason, and pressed the matter no further; for we were convinced that the government did not expect its officers to run the risk of what Master Thomas Jefferson Naron had got, merely to add another dozen yards of cloth, or score of chickens, to the estimated wealth of the country.
There was now a slight bustle in one corner, for which, at first, we couldn't account. It was among a group of young persons, male and female, who appeared to be urging one of
their number to do something which he was unwilling, or affected to be unwilling, to do. "Do now, Pete." "Oh, you kin-you know you kin." "Pshaw! I wouldn't be a fool!" "Jist this one time, Pete," were some of the exclamations and expostulations that we heard. They were not without effect: a young man in a blue coat, with big brass buttons, cleared his throat, and commenced singing, to a tune whiningly dolorous, nasal, unvaried, and interminable, the popular ditty of
"The Old Bachelare"
'Come, while you set silent, I'll have you to hear,
The truth or a lie, from an old bachelare:
They'll set and they'll think, twell they war out their brains,
Sing down, dary down."
Before this verse was half-finished, Andy (the dog), who was coiled up in the entry, commenced a howling accompaniment, worse even than the vocalism of Mr. Peter Marks, who looked vexed and confused, and stopped singing.
"I wouldn't mind it, Peter," said good old Mrs. Kuncker, who now approached; "I wouldn't mind it. It's nothin' but that dratted yaller brute of old Kit's, and, bless the Lord, it's jist the way he does me, constant-his master's larnt it to himI never kin begin to sing, 'I rode on the sky, quite ondestified I,' or 'Primrose,' or 'Zion,' or any of them sperechal himes, but what the stinkin', yaller cuss strikes up his everlastin' howl, and jist makes me quit whether or no!" and Aunt Hetty went and drove Andy away!
"He! he! yah! yah! e-e- yah!" chuckled Uncle Kit-"ain't Andy got a noble v'ice? Ain't he, 'squire? yah! yah! He sings bass, and yer Aunt Hetty sings tribble, and I'm gwine to
git a middlin'-size dog to sing tenor, and then we'll be fixed— he! he! yah!—and you must come over every other Sunday to yer Uncle Kit's singing school"-laughing immoderately at the conceit.
And Hetty said "pish!" with a worried air, and Mr. Marks re-tuned his pipes:
"But when you are married, it is for to please,
The applause being loud and enthusiastic, Mr. Marks passed his right hand over his well-tallowed side locks, glanced at the buttons of his coat, cleared his throat, and proceeded to give the other side of the picture:
"But when you are gone, your wife will prepar'
A dish of fine dainties, or somethin' that's rar';
Sing down, dary down."
Andy, by this time, had got under the house, and accompanied the singer in the two last lines and the chorus, without any particular reference to "time," but with an earnestness that showed that the love of music was in his soul. Mr. Marks bit his lips and frowned, but as he had only one more verse to sing, determined to try and get through with it:
"When I go abroad, and sich things I do see❞—
(Andy howled furiously.)
"I wish, but in vain, that it only was me"
("Oo-oo-au-e-au-00-00-00!" from the dog!)
"Whilst I must both breeches and petticoat ware"—
(Andy kept "even along.")
"It grieves me to think I'm an old bachelare;
Andy howled through the last line beautifully, but getting into the chorus, commenced a series of barks which seemed likely to be prolonged indefinitely.
"My poor dog!" exclaimed Mr. Kuncker, affecting great anxiety, "my poor dog has got tangled up in that cussed tune, and 'll choke hisself to death! Run, Jim" —to his son-"and ontie the blasted thing, or cut it in two! yah e-e yah! yah! yaw!"
"Bein' as my kumpny ain't adceptable here, I'll dismiss," said Mr. Marks, the vocalist, in a pet; at the same time buttoning up his blue swallow-tail, and sleeking down his greasy locks.
"Couldn't you give us somethin' sperechal before you go?" asked Uncle Kit, "your Aunt Hetty and Andy's tip-top on sperechal songs;" and the wrinkles on Mr. Kuncker's face formed themselves into fifty little smilets.
"Kee-yow! yow!" all of a sudden from Andy, as he ran from under the house.
"Make up your bread with that!" said Aunt Hetty, as she raised up with the tea-kettle in her hand, from which she had been pouring boiling water through a crack upon Andy.
"Old 'oman!" said Uncle Kit passionately, "I'll take that dog kleen away"-thinking, in the energy of his own affection for Andy, that the announcement would have a decidedly pain
ful effect upon the mind of his wife-"and you never shall set eyes upon him agin, as long as you live!”
would!" said Aunt Hetty, emphatically shaking her head between each word.
"I won't do no sich a thing!" said old Kit, in the spirit of contradiction; "I'll keep him here allers, jist to sing! He shall sing 'Primrose'
"Can't help it!"
"And 'Zion,' and
"Can't help that nuther!"
"Won't you come and go with me,' and
"And all the rest of the songs in the Mezooree Harmony, and 'Mearcer's Cluster,' too! Cust ef he sha'n't!"
"Well! well! Christopher, old man!" said Aunt Hetty, in a conciliatory tone; "don't be aggrawated. I oughtent to fret you, I know; and ef Andy'll behave hisself like a decent doglike Bull Wilkerson, now, for a sample, which never comes in the hou}}
"Thar ain't" said Uncle Kit, swelling with indignation at the indirect attack upon the morals of his dog-"thar ain't a dog of a better karackter in the settlement than Andy Kuncker -Bull Wilkerson or no Bull Wilkerson! No! thar ain't no better nor no gentlemanlier a dog in the whole county than Andy! Savin' the presence of this kumpny, I'll be damned ef thar is!" and having so spoken, Mr. Kuncker went out to seek his dog and console him in his afflictions.
As soon as Mr. Kuncker returned, the couple desirous of matrimony took the floor, and 'Squire Berry united them in the bonds of wedlock after the most summary fashion. Uncle Kit then announced that some "cold scraps" were to be found in