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"I don't believe nothin' about it," said a withered old crone, as she sucked away industriously to prevent her pipe going out; "I know Andy can tell what'll happen. Brutes, in a common way"-she continued aphoristically, as she pushed down the tobacco in the bowl of her pipe with her forefinger"is more knowiner 'an humans. Did ye ever hear, 'mongst ye, of the snake at John Green's?"
"Dear Saviour alive!" exclaimed a dozen-"what about the snake?" and they all drew long breaths and opened their eyes at one another.
"I'll tell ye! John Green's sister (the grass widder, as lives with 'em), she goes to her battlin' bench, and what does she see thar, a-quiled up on it, a-sunnin' of itself, but a big black snake
"Laws a-massey!" ejaculated the entire group.
"Jest as I tells ye—thar it was! and it licked out its tongueit did, as sure's you're born-right at the widder, and looked the venomousest ever was! Well, she run in the house and fainted right away; and ef you'll b'lieve me, the very next week, her little boy, as can jest run about, swallowed a punkin seed, and like to a' died. Ef its uncle hadn't a' hit it on the back and a' made the punkin seed fly out, that child never would a' drawd another breath no more'n-shah! you may tell me that snakes and dogs don't know things, but-" and Granny Richards didn't finish the sentence, but bobbed her head emphatically, as much as to say that she couldn't be humbugged by any such assertions.
Everything was now ready: the rings, the radii, the serpents, the bats, the unicorns, and the scorpions, all complete; and Andy was seen seated in the exact center of the whole, upon his hind legs, and looking very wise.
"Yes!" said Uncle Kit, mentally contrasting Andy with
Mrs. Kuncker's favorite; "Bull Wilkerson would look devlish well, settin' thar on his hind legs. Bull Wilkerson! He ain't got the power about him!" Then, explaining to the company that Andy would throw off the cheese without attempting to catch it, if he wished to express a negative, but would toss it up and receive it in his jaws, should he intend to speak affirmatively, he placed a slice of home-made cheese upon the dog's nose.
The company stood around, but outside of the largest circle, Ike Hetson's protruding head thrust farther toward Andy and old Kit than anybody else's. His face was anxious and cadaverous, but he strove to suppress his feelings.
"Now, Andy," began Uncle Kit; "look at your old master Horum-scorum-ef - Mister-Ikey-Hetson-is-to-bemarried-to-Miss-Winny-Folsom-say so!"
Andy threw the cheese on the floor, and thereupon several old women screamed; and the Adam's apple of Mr. Hetson's neck became a very large pippin, in his attempt to swallow his grief. "I knowd it!" said he, in tones the most dolorous, while the corners of his mouth twitched involuntarily and spasmodically.
"Now, Andy," said old Kit, replacing the cheese on Andy's nose: "Horum-scorum-ef -my-little-blessed — union 'squire-is-a-gwine-to-get-Miss Winny-say so quick!”
Up went the cheese, and down again it came into Andy's sepulchral throat!
"Damn the varmint!" ejaculated Mr. Hetson, and, bursting into the magic circle, he kicked Andy vehemently in the side. "Fair fight! nobody tech!-sick him, Andy!" shouted Uncle Kit, in a rage at the breach of the peace committed on the person of his dog.
Andy dashed gallantly at Mr. Hetson, and, seizing one of
his red-leather straps, tore it on one side from the buff cassimere, which, frightened from "its propriety" by the display of canine teeth, retreated, instanter, to the neighborhood of Mr. Hetson's knee! In his struggle to get away from the dog, Ike fell backward over Master Thomas Jefferson Naron; and as his bare and unstrapped leg flew up, nearly at right angles with his body—while its fellow, held quiet by leather and cassimere, lay rigid along the floor-an uproarious shout of laughter at the grotesque spectacle shook the whole house.
"Well!" said the poor fellow as he got up on his freed leg-the other wouldn't work-"the jig's up now-'tain't no use to make a fuss about it—but I wouldn't mind it so bad, ef 'twarn't that he was to git her. Anyhow, I'm off for the Arkansaw!good-by, Winny!" And off he did go, in spite of old Mrs. Kuncker's most strenuous efforts to detain him, and convince him, that "Andy didn't know a thing about it no more'n the man in the moon!"
As for Winny, the little fool, she wept bitterly, as if there were no straight-legged men that would have been glad to marry her!
""Squire," said old Kit, as he lighted us to bed, "you've not taken many sensis to-night?"
"Only one or two."
"Well, it's yer Uncle Kit's fault! He will have his fun, yah! yah! and Ike Hetson's e-e-yah-yah! Never mind; come over next week, and yer Uncle Kit will go all through the settlement wi' you, and down on the river, and to Jim Kent's, which has got a sister so ugly the flies won't light on her facewuss nor yer Aunt Hetty, yah! yah! And yer Uncle Kit will tell you how he and his Jim fooled the man from the big-norrod
outen Fiddler Bill as we go 'long; and Becky Kent will tell you 'bout the frolic me and her had in the krick, the time she started to mill and didn't git thar, yah, yah, e-e-e-yah!”
"Very well, Uncle Kit; sure to come!"
"And 'squire, ef you want one o' Andy's puppies, let yer Uncle Kit know, and he'll save you a raal peart one, eh? Goodnight! God bless the old Ginnul, and damn all nullifiers!" -Simon Suggs' Adventures, "Taking the Census."
James T. Fields
A Lesson to Fault-finders
"WHO stuffed that white owl?" No one spoke in the shop: The barber was busy, and he couldn't stop;
The customers, waiting their turns, were all reading
"Don't you see, Mister Brown,"
How preposterous each wing is,
How flattened the head is, how jammed down the neck isIn short, the whole owl, what an ignorant wreck 'tis!
I make no apology;
I've learned owl-eology.
I've passed days and nights in a hundred collections,
And cannot be blinded to any deflections
Arising from unskilful fingers that fail
To stuff a bird right, from his beak to his tail.
Mister Brown! Mister Brown!
Do take that bird down,
Or you'll soon be the laughing-stock all over town!"