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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Mr. Nasby at Last Loses his Post Office

By David Ross Locke (1833–1888)

[From The Struggles—Social, Financial, and Political—of Petroleum V. Nasby. 1872.]

(wich is in the Stait uv Kentucky),
June 29, 1869.
THE DIE is cast! The guilloteen hez fallen! I am no longer Postmaster at ConfedritXRoads, wich is in the State uv Kentucky. The place wich knowd me wunst will know me no more forever; the paper wich Deekin Pogram takes will be handed out by a nigger; a nigger will hev the openin uv letters addressed to parties residin hereabouts, containin remittances; a nigger will hev the riflin uv letters addrest to lottry managers, and extractin the sweets therefrom; a nigger will be.— But I can’t dwell upon the disgustin theme no longer.

I hed bin in Washington two weeks assistin the Caucashens uv that city to put their foot upon the heads uv the cussid niggers who ain’t content to accept the situashen and remain ez they alluz hev bin, inferior beins. To say I hed succeeded, is a week expreshen. I organized a raid onto em so effectooally ez to drive no less than thirty uv em out uv employment, twenty-seven uv wich wuz compelled to steel their bread, wich give us a splendid opportoonity to show up the nateral cussidness uv the Afrikin race, wich we improved.

On my arrival at the Corners, I knew to-wunst that suthin wuz wrong. The bottles behind the bar wuz draped in black; the barrels wuz festooned gloomily (wich is our yoosual method of expressin grief at public calamities), and the premises generally wore a funeral aspeck.

“Wat is it?” gasped I.

Bascom returned not a word, but waved his hand towards the Post Offis.

Rushin thither, I bustid open the door, and reeled almost agin the wall. AT THE GENERAL DELIVERY WUZ THE GRINNIN FACE UV A NIGGER! and settin in my chair wuz Joe Bigler, with Pollock beside him, smokin pipes, and laffin over suthin in a noosepaper.

Bigler caught site of me, and dartin out, pulled me inside them hitherto sacred precinks.

“Permit me,” sed he, jeerinly, “to interdoose you to yoor successor, Mr. Ceezer Lubby.”

“MY SUCCESSOR! Wat does this mean?”

“Show him, Ceezer!”

And the nigger, every tooth in his head shinin, handed me a commishn dooly made out and signed. I saw it all at a glance. I hed left my biznis in the hands uv a depetty. It arrived the day after I left, and Isaker Gavitt, who distribbited the mail, gave it to the cuss. Pollock made out the bonds and went onto em himself, and in ten days the commishn come all regler, whereupon Bigler backt the nigger and took forcible possession uv the office. While I wuz absent they hed hed a percession in honor uv the joyful event, sed perceshn consistin uv Pollock, Bigler, and the new Postmaster, who marched through the streets with the stars and stripes, banners and sich. Bigler remarkt that the percession wuzn’t large, but it wuz talented, eminently respectable, and extremely versateel. He (Bigler) carried the flag and played the fife; Pollock carried a banner with an inscripshen onto it, “Sound the loud timbrel o’er Egypt’s dark sea,” and played the bass drum; while the nigger bore aloft a banner inscribed, “Where Afric’s sunny fountins roll down the golden sands,” with his commission pinned onto it, playin in addishen a pair uv anshent cymbals. Bigler remarkt further that the perceshun created a positive sensashun at the Corners, wich I shood think it wood. “It wuzn’t,” sed the tormentin cuss, “very much like the grand percession wich took place when yoo received yoor commishn. Then the whites at the Corners wuz elated, for they spectid to git wat yoo owed em in doo time, and the niggers wuz correspondinly deprest. They slunk into by-ways and side-ways; they didn’t hold up their heads, and they dusted out ez fast ez they cood git. At this percession there wuz a change. The niggers lined the streets ez we passed, grinnin exultinly, and the whites wuz deprest correspondinly. It’s singler that at the Corners the two races can’t feel good both at the same time.

My arrival hevin become known, by the time I got back to Bascom’s all my friends hed gathered there. There wuznt a dry eye among em; and ez I thot uv the joys once tastid, but now forever fled, mine moistened likewise. There wuz a visible change in their manner towards me. They regarded me with solisitood, but I cood discern that the solisitood wuz not so much for me ez for themselves.

“Wat shel I do?” I askt. “Suthin must be devised, for I can’t starve.”

“Pay me wat yoo owe me!” ejakelatid Bascom.

“Pay me wat yoo owe me!” ejakelatid Deekin Pogram, and the same remark wuz made by all uv em with wonderful yoonanimity. Watever differences uv opinyun ther mite be on other topics, on this they wuz all agreed.

“Gentlemen!” I commenced, backing out into a corner, “is this generous? Is this the treatment I hev a right to expect? Is this —”

I shood hev gone on at length, but jist at that minnit Pollock, Joe Bigler, and the new Postmaster entered.

“I hev biznis!” sed the Postmaster; “not agreeable biznis, but it’s my offishel dooty to perform it.”

At the word “offishel,” comin from his lips, I groaned, wich wuz ekkoed by those present.

“I hev in my hand,” continyood he, “de bond giben by my predecessor, onto wich is de names uv George W. Bascom, Elkanah Pogram, Hugh. McPelter, and Seth Pennibacker, ez sureties. In dis oder hand I hold a skedool ob de property belongin to de ’partment wich wuz turned ober to him by his predecessor, consistin of table, chairs, boxes, locks, bags, et settry, wid sundry dollars worf of stamps, paper, twine, &c. None ob dis post offis property, turned over to my predecessor by his predecessor, is to be found in de offis, and de objick ob dis visit is to notify yoo dat onless immejit payment be made uv de amount thereof, I am directed by de ’partment to bring soot to-wunst against the sed sureties.”

Never before did I so appreciate A. Johnson, and his Postmaster-General Randall. Under their administrashen wat Postmaster wuz ever pulled up for steelin anythin? Eko ansers. This wuz the feather that broke the camel’s back….

Uv course I can’t go back to the Corners under eggsistin circumstances. It wood be uncomfortable for me to live there ez matters hev terminated. I shel make my way to Washinton, and shel see if I can’t git myself electid ez Manager of a Labor Assosiation, and so make a livin till there comes a change in the Administrashen. I wood fasten myself on A. Johnson, but unforchnitly there ain’t enuff in him to tie to. I would ez soon think uv tyin myself to a car wheel in a storm at sea.

(wich wuz Post Master).