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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Johnson J. Hooper (1815–1862)

Taking the Census, Part Second

“Simon Suggs’ Adventures”

WHEN we were taking the census in Tallapoosa, we had a rare frolic at old Kit Kuncker’s, up on Union Creek, which we must tell about. But first let us introduce Uncle Kit.

Old Kit was a fine specimen of the old-fashioned Georgia wagoner, of the glorious old times when locomotives didn’t whiz about in every direction. He was brought up on the road, and retained a fondness for his early vocation, though now in comparative affluence. Uncle Kit was sixty years old, we suppose, but the merriest old dog alive; and his chirruping laugh sounded every minute in the day. Particularly fond of female society, his great delight was to plague the “womanhood” of his household and settlement in every possible way. His waggery, of one sort or other, was incessant; and as he was the patriarch of his neighborhood—having transplanted every family in it, with himself, from Georgia—his jokes were all considered good jokes, and few dared be offended at his good-humored satire. Besides all this, Uncle Kit was a devoted Jackson man, and an inveterate hater of all nullifiers: hence the name of his creek.

Two “chattels” had Mr. Kuncker which he prized beyond all his other possessions—one of these was a big yellow dog that followed the wagon, and among other accomplishments, predicted the future. Uncle Kit called him Andy, in honor of General Jackson. The other favorite was a fine old roan horse, named “Fiddler Bill,” upon which, when a little “drinky,” he was wont to exhibit very fair horsemanship in the streets, or rather the street, of Dudleyville.

We were making an entry of somebody’s chickens, at a store door in the village just mentioned, one August day, when a familiar “hillo!” reached our ear, and, turning round, we perceived, some twenty yards off, the quizzical face of our old friend projecting over the fore-gate of his wagon, and puckered into five hundred little wrinkles as he cachinated joyously—

“Hillo, ’squire! bless your little union snake-skin, yer Uncle Kit’s so glad to see you, ha! ha! I’m jist back from Wetumpky, because, ya! You see, yer Uncle Kit’s been down to get the trimmins for Niece Susy’s weddin’ next Thursday night. You must come over ’squire—it’s Jim Spraggins that’s gwine to pick up Suse; you see yer Uncle Kit waited for you twell he found you wouldn’t talk it out, he! he! ha!—come over, as I was a-sayin, and you kin take the sensis of the whole krick at one settin’, and buss all the gals besides, he! a! yah! yah!”

We thanked Uncle Kit, and told him we would come; whereupon the jovial old fellow whistled to Andy—who had stepped into the “grocery,” thinking that, of course, his master would stop there, anyhow—“clucked” to Fiddler Bill, who worked in the lead, cracked the steers at the wheels, and so started.

In a moment we heard the sharp “hillo!” again.

“You must be sure to come, ’squire,” said Uncle Kit, stopping his team so as to be heard; “yer Aunt Hetty will look for you certain, he! he!—and if she can raise somethin’ for you to eat, and a year or two o’ corn for your horse, any way in the world, you will be as welcome to it as the water that runs;” and Mr. Kuncker chuckled terribly at the bare idea of our Aunt Hetty’s being straitened to provide viands for animals human or equine!

We repeated our assurances that we should attend; and Uncle Kit, reassuming the lines, said—“Well, now I’m off sure, ’squire. God bless you and Ginnel Jackson, and d—n the nullifiers! Wake up, Fid! Good-by”—and rolled off.

Once again, however, he stopped and shouted back, “Don’t be afeard to come! Yer Uncle Kit has fust-rate spring-water allers on hand!” and he chuckled longer than before at the wit of calling corn-whisky “spring-water”; and put his finger by the side of his old cut-water of a nose. So lively an old dog was Uncle Kit Kuncker.

On the appointed evening, we arrived at Mr. Kuncker’s about dark. The old man was waiting at the fence to receive us.

“Bless your union soul, little squire,” he said, shaking our extended hand with both of his; “yer Uncle Kit is as proud to see you as ef he’d a found a silver dollar with a hole through it. Hetty!” he shouted, “here’s the God-blessed little union ’squire come to see his uncle! Come out and see him, he! he! yah! and, mind and throw a meal-bag, or somethin’ else over your head, twell my little ’squire gits sorter usen to the big ugly! Make haste, you old dried-up witch! Ef you can’t find the bag, take yer apern! he! he! e! a! yah!” and Uncle Kit laughed till he cried.

Mrs. Kuncker presently made her appearance—not with the meal-bag over her head, however—and greeted us most hospitably.

“Don’t mind old Kit’s romancin’, ’squire,” she observed; “I’m afeard he’ll be a fool all his days. We’ve been married now gwine on forty year, and he’s never spoke the fust sensible word yit.”

“Sorter shade your eyes, long at fust, ’squire,” remarked Uncle Kit, as he busied himself in “stripping” our steed “when you look at yer Aunt Hetty. The ugly’s out on her wuss nor the small-pox! ha! ha! yah! and I’m bound to keep it out too, wi’ all sorts o’ warm teas. The Lord will be mighty apt to call her home ef ever it strikes in, I’m a-thinkin’”—and Uncle Kit laughed again, while he placed our saddle upon the fence, with twenty others.

“Come in, ’squire,” said Aunt Hetty, “or that poor, light-hearted old critter ’ill laugh hisself to death”; and we walked with her into Mr. Kuncker’s neat, framed dwelling—the only building of the sort on Union Creek.

The big room of Uncle Kit’s house was full of light and of company. Most of the latter were known to us, but there were some strange faces; and with these we determined to get acquainted as soon as possible. A little removed from the bustling part of the congregation we observed a fat woman, of middle age, with a sleepy expression of face. A little way from her feet, and sprawling on the floor, was a chubby child, about eighteen months old, whose little coat was pinned up, by the hem behind, to its collar; thus leaving no inconsiderable portion of its person exposed. “Here,” thought we, “is an interesting family; let’s take it down;” and approaching the dame, we drew our papers, having first saluted her.

“Gracious! stranger!” she ejaculated, “what’re you arter?”

“Only taking the census.”

“Sally! oh, Sally Heston, do run here,” said Mrs. Naron—for that proved to be her name—“ef here ain’t the man we’ve hearn so much ’bout! Here’s the chicken-man! I do wonder,” she continued, surveying us from crown to soul; “well, hit’s the slimmest crittir, to be sure, ever I seed. Hit’s legs, I do declar, is not as big as my Thomas Jefferson’s. Come here, Thomas Jefferson, and let manne thee af your legth ain’t ath big ath hitthen,” addressing the youngster on the floor.

But Thomas Jefferson did not heed the invitation, but continued to dabble and splash in a little pool of water, which had somehow got there, as proud, apparently, of his sans-culottism 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,
  • And wish for a wife—but it is all in vain—
  • 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 him—I 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,
  • And when you have children you’re never at ease;
  • You’ll go bare and stint, just to make ’em suppo’t,
  • But a bachelor’s care is his back and his throat;
  • Sing down, dary down.”
  • 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’;
  • So smilin’ and pleasin’ when you do draw near—
  • There’s no such delight for the old bachelare!
  • 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-oo-oo-oo!” 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;
  • Sing down, dary down.”
  • 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! Rim, 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 painful effect upon the mind of his wife—“and you never shall set eyes upon him agin, as long as you live!”

    “I—only—wish—to—the—Lord—in—heaven—you 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——”

    “Don’t care!”

    “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 dog—like 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 an adjoining room—which said “cold scraps” consisted, principally, of one or two half-grown hogs baked brown; two or three very fat turkeys; a hind quarter of beef; together with about a half wagon-load of bread, cake, pies, stewed fruit, and so forth.

    “’Squire! ’squire! don’t set thar!” said Uncle Kit, addressing himself to us as we were taking a chair among the masculine portion of the guests; “oh, no! he! yah! yah! your Uncle Kit didn’t bring you here for that, yah! yah! yah! Here’s a little gal has never had her sensis taken, and I want you to see ef you kan’t git ’em, yah! yah!” and Uncle Kit forced us into a chair, greatly against our will, by the side of Miss Winny Folsom, a very pretty girl, with a pouting mouth. Mr. Kuncker drew up a chair behind us.

    Standing near Uncle Kit’s back, we observed a young man who, somehow or other, took a great apparent interest in either Miss Winny or ourself; but he said nothing. He was a rare specimen of the piney-woods’ species of the genus homo. His face was not unhandsome, but he had a considerable stoop of the shoulders, and was knock-kneed to deformity. His coat was “blue mixed,” with a very acute terminus, and it seemed to have a particular affection for the hump of his shoulders, for it touched no other part of his person. His pantaloons were of buff cassimere—most probably bought at second-hand—and contracted, from excessive washing, or some other cause, to a painful scantiness. There was a white “streak” between his vest and the waistband, and a red one between the ends of the legs and the tops of his white cotton socks. A pair of red-leather straps, some twenty inches long, exerted themselves to keep the legs down to this mark; but every time that Mr. Isaac Hetson—that was his name—stooped, the pantaloons had slightly the advantage, by reason of the superior elasticity of the straps, and the red streak was, on every such occasion, made a little wider.

    “Talk to her, ’squire! talk to her!” said Uncle Kit; “when yer Uncle Kit was young, he didn’t do nothin’ but talk to the gals, he-e-yah! yah!”

    We endeavored to make ourselves agreeable to Miss Winny, of course, and during the whispering of one of those confidential nothings common in such circumstances our head came almost in contact with hers. Seizing the opportunity, Mr. Kuncker brought his close up, and with his lips produced such an explosion as might have resulted had we kissed Miss Winny.

    “Ha!” exclaimed the old fellow, starting back in well-feigned amazement; “at it a’ready, ’squire! Well! ’twas a buster, anyway!” whereupon he laughed immoderately, as did most of the company. Miss Winny turned red, and we looked foolish—we suppose.

    “Some people’s too derned smart, anyhow!” said the gentleman in buff cassimere, who supposed that we had really kissed Miss Winny.

    “And some ain’t smart enough, Ikey Hetson,” said Uncle Kit; “or they wouldn’t let other people cut ’em out—would they, Winny?”

    Winny smiled, but said nothing, and Mr. Kuncker raising himself half up, so as again to intercept Mr. Hetson’s view, produced another explosion.

    “For shame, ’squire!” said he, sitting down again.

    “I kin whip any pocket-knife lawyer that ever made a moccasin track in Datesville!” said Ike, striding backward and forward behind Mr. Kuncker’s chair, like a lion in his cage—furiously jealous.

    Uncle Kit laughed until his wife called to him across the room, and told him he was a “stark naitral old fool!”

    “I wouldn’t be a gump, ef I was you, Ike Hetson,” remarked Miss Winny.

    “Them that don’t care nothin’ for me,” replied Ike, “I don’t care nothin’ for them, nuther.”

    “The ’squire’s mouth ain’t pisen, I reckon,” said Miss Winny very sharply; “and it wouldn’t kill a body ef he did kiss ’em!”

    “Let’s see!” said we, doing that same before Miss Winny could help herself.

    “Go it! my rip-roarin’, little union ’squire: you’re elected!” shouted Uncle Kit, in a paroxysm of delight.

    “Dern my everlastin’ dog-skin ef I’ll stand it!” said the furious lover—“I’ll die in my tracks fust! I’m jist as good as town folks, ef they do war shoe-boots and store close. I’m jist a hunderd and forty seving pound, neat weight, and I’m a wheel-horse!” and then Mr. Hetson doubled his fists and shook himself all over, with an energy that looked dangerous, considered in reference to the excessive tightness of his buff cassimeres.

    Aunt Hetty now interposed—“Do, Ikey! do, now, son, don’t be fretted so—don’t be so jealous-hearted! The ’squire didn’t mean no harm in the world, by bussin’ Winny; and Winny didn’t mean none by lettin’ of him——”

    “I didn’t let him: he done it hisself!” said Winny.

    “Oh, well! we all know that, to be sure,” said Aunt Hetty. “It were jist the romancin’ of that simple old crittur, that’s never easy without he’s got somebody in a brile. I wouldn’t mind it, Ikey, no more’n I would——”

    But Mr. Hetson did mind it; and he didn’t wait for Aunt Hetty to fish up a figure whereby to illustrate its insignificance before he made a “burst” at us—but Mr. Kuncker caught him by the shoulder.

    “Stop!” said Uncle Kit.

    “What?” inquired Hetson.

    Uncle Kit paused, and then slowly but most emphatically remarked:

    “You’ll tar them trousers!”—and the whole company laughed at Uncle Kit’s remark, or Ike Hetson’s trousers—or perhaps at both. And Ike hung down his head, and was evidently “used up.”

    “Thar’s but one way to settle this, and to know who’s to have Winny—you or my little union ’squire.”

    “How’s that?” asked Hetson.

    “Andy will tell us all about it!”

    Mr. Hetson turned very pale, for he had great faith in the predictions of Andy.

    A general rush—supper being over—to the big room followed this announcement, and Uncle Kit whistled Andy into the house. The dog-prophet came in slowly and crouchingly, for the fear of his mistress was before his eyes; and as he got opposite Mrs. Kuncker he emitted a deprecatory whine, and with a bound attained his master’s legs. Aunt Hetty, however, made no attempt to strike him.

    “Now, Andy, boy,” said Uncle Kit, “I’ve fetched you in here to tell all about Miss Winny Folsom’s fortin; and you must do it mighty nice and good, for she’s a pretty little union gal!” He then set about drawing a huge circle and several smaller circles within, and an immense number of radii and, between these, rude representations of animals, both real and fabulous—while Andy sat by, wagging his tail and looking very intelligent.

    “It a-i-n-t right—it a-i-n-t right!—it’s a-g-i-n Scriptur’!” said Granny Whipple, shaking her head, and dwelling on the italicized words as she surveyed the necromantic operations of old Kit—“you’re a-doin’ of a w-r-o-n-g thing, Christopher Kuncker! I t-e-l-l you you are!” But Mr. Kuncker only laughed at Granny Whipple.

    While Mr. Kuncker was engaged in preparing for the delivery of the oracles, secundum artem, the conversation in the room turned on the degree of credit to be given them.

    “What do you think ’bout Andy’s fortin tellin’, Miss Wilkerson?” asked Mrs. Naron. “Do you believe he raaly knows what’s gwine to come to pass?”

    “Well, now,” replied Mrs. Wilkerson, “I don’t know what tu say. It’s a mighty strange thing how knowin’ some brutes is. Thar’s my ‘Cherry’ cow, I raaly b’lieve the critter knows when I’m a-gwine to feed her jist as well as I do my own dear self! That minute I picks up my tub to go and tote her the slops, she’ll ‘moo,’ and ‘moo,’ and ‘moo.’ And the knowinest look out of her eyes you ever seen a critter have in all your days!”

    “Oh, law!” exclaimed several old women.

    “Miss Kuncker, what do you say to it?” queried the first speaker; “you oughter know, ef anybody does. He’s your old man’s dog. Does Andy know the futur, or not?”

    “It’s a mighty hard thing,” said Aunt Hetty, “a mighty hard thing to spend a ’pinion ’pon. Sometimes I think it’s only Kit’s devilment—and then, agin, the dog do tell sich quar things, looks like I’m ’bleeged to think he knows. Last week, I b’lieve it was—yes, only last week—Jim Hissup fotch a two-gallon jug o’ sperrets home, for the old man, from town. Well! Kit he ’spicioned Jim o’ drinkin’ some on the way, but Jim denied it mighty bitter. So the old man foch Andy in the house, and Andy give the sign that Jim had tuk some! and then Jim right away owned to it, and told the old man how much he tuk, which was two drinks, as nigh as I can remember!”

    “Good gracious!” burst from three or four.

    “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 tongue—it 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—be—married—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 face—wuss 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? Good-night! God bless the old Ginnul, and damn all nullifiers!”