The Chronicles of Aunt Minervy Ann/Chapter 4
HOW SHE JOINED THE GEORGIA LEGISLATURE
The second day of the fair, I saw more of Paul Conant. He insisted on taking charge of me, and, in his buggy, we visited every part of the fair-grounds, which had been laid out on a most liberal scale. When dinner-time came I was glad enough to excuse myself and hurry back to the refreshing shade of Major Perdue's veranda. There I found Aunt Minervy Ann swinging the baby in a hammock.
"I 'low'd maybe you'd git tired an' come back, suh; an' so I des let dinner sorter simmer whiles I got dish yer baby ter sleep. I dunner how you all does in Atlanty, but down here we has soon dinner. Dem what wanter kin have two meals a day, but dem what does sho 'nuff work better eat three. Me! I want three, whedder I works er not."
The baby stirred, and Aunt Minervy paused. At that moment a group of men, wearing badges, passed by, evidently officials of the fair going to dinner. They were evidently engaged in a very earnest discussion.
"I'm for Conant," said one, with considerable emphasis.
"Oh, so am I," assented another. "When Jim told me this morning that he was a candidate for the Legislature, I told him flat and plain that I was for Paul Conant."
"That's right," remarked a third. "We want a man there with some business sense, and Conant's the man."
Aunt Minervy Ann laughed. "Ef de Legislatur' up dar in Atlanty is like it wuz when I b'long'd ter it, dey can't drag Marse Paul in dar; no, suh! dey can't drag him in dar."
Amazement must have shown in my face, for Aunt Minervy Ann immediately became solemn. "Ain't you never hear tell 'bout my j'inin' de Legislatur'? You may look an' you may laugh, but dat don't wipe out de trufe. Dey wuz a time when I jined de Legislatur' an' when I b'long'd ter de gang same ez Hamp did. You don't 'spute but what Hamp b'long'd ter de Legislatur', suh?" asked Aunt Minervy Ann, anxious to make out the title of her own membership. No, I didn't dispute Hamp's credentials. He had been elected and he had served.
"I know'd you couldn't 'spute dat, suh," Aunt Minervy Ann went on, "'kaze you wuz down dar when dey choosen'd 'im, an' you wuz dar when dem ar white folks come mighty nigh ku-kluckin' 'im; you wuz right dar wid Marse Tumlin an' Marse Bolivar. I never is ter fergit dat, suh, ner Hamp nudder; an' ef you don't b'lieve it, you des sen' us word you want us. Ef we git de word at midnight we'll git up, an' ef de railroad track is tore up we'll git a waggin, an' ef we can't git a waggin, we'll walk, but what we'll come."
"Well," said I, "tell us about your joining the Legislature."
"I may be long in tellin' it, suh, but 'tain't no long tale," replied Aunt Minervy Ann. "Atter Hamp come up here an' tuck his seat—dat what dey call it den, ef dey don't call it dat now—well, atter he come up an' been here some little time, I tuck notice dat he 'gun ter hol' his head mighty high; a little too high fer ter suit me. He want me ter go up dar wid 'im an' stay dar, 'kaze he sorter skittish 'bout comin' home when dem country boys mought be hangin' 'roun' de depot. But I up an' tol' 'im flat an' plain dat I wa'n't gwine ter leave Miss Vallie an' let er' git usen ter strange niggers, I tol' 'im he mought go an' stay ef he want ter, but de fus' week he miss comin' home, I wuz gwine atter 'im, an' ef I fotch 'im home he won't go back in a hurry; I tol' 'im dat, flat an' plain.
"Well, suh, he done mighty well; I'll say dat fer 'im. He want too many clean shirts an' collars fer ter suit me, but he say he bleeze ter have um dar whar he at, an' I ain't make no complaint 'bout dat; but I took notice dat he wuz sorter offish wid Marse Tumlin. Mo' dan dat, I tuck notice dat needer Marse Tumlin ner Marse Bolivar so much ez look at 'im when dey pass 'im by. I know'd by dat dat sump'n wuz up.
"Now, Hamp ain't had no reg'lar time fer comin' home. Sometimes he'd come "We'n'sday, an' den ag'in he'd come Friday. I ax 'im why he ain't stay de week out an' 'ten' ter his work like he oughter. He say he gettin' des much pay when he at home loafin' 'roun' ez he do when he up yer. Well, suh, dat 'stonish me. You know yo'se'f, suh, dat when folks is gittin' pay fer dat what dey ain't doin', dey's boun' ter be swindlin' gwine on some'rs, ef not wuss, an' dat what I tol' 'im. He laugh an' say dat's on account er politics an' de erpublican party, an' I make answer dat ef dat de case, dey er bofe rank an' rotten; desso.
"We went on fum one thing ter an'er, twel bimeby I ax 'im what dey is 'twixt 'im an' Marse Tumlin an' Marse Bolivar. Hamp say dey ain't nothin' 'ceppin' dat dey done ax 'im fer ter do sump'n dat ain't in 'cordance wid erpublican pencerpuls, an' he bleeze ter effuse um. Well, suh, dis kinder riled me. I know'd right pine-blank dat Hamp ain't know no mo' 'bout erpublican pencerpuls dan I is, an' I wouldn't a-know'd um ef I'd a met um in de road wid der name painted on um; so I ax 'im what erpublican pencerpuls hender'd 'im fum doin' what Marse Tumlin ax 'im ter do. He sot dar an' hummed an' haw'd, an' squirm'd in his cheer, an' chaw'd on de een' er his segyar. I wait long 'nuff, an' den I ax 'im ag'in. Well, suh, dat's been twenty years ago, an' he ain't never tol' me yit what dem erpublican pencerpuls wuz. I ain't flingin' off on um, suh. I 'speck dey wuz a bairlful er dem erpublican pencerpuls, an' maybe all good uns, but I know'd mighty well dat dey ain't hender dat nigger man fum doin' what Marse Tumlin ax 'im ter do.
"So de nex' chance I git, I up'n ax Marse Tumlin what de matter wuz 'twix' him an' Hamp. He say 'twa'n't nothin' much, 'cep' dat Hamp had done come up here in Atlanta an' sol' hisse'f out to a passel er kyarpit-baggers what ain't no intruss down here but ter git han's on all de money in sight. I say, 'He may 'a' gi' hisse'f 'way, Marse Tumlin, but he sho' ain't sell hisse'f, 'kaze I ain't seen one er de money.' Marse Tumlin 'low, 'Well, anyhow, it don't make much diffunce, Minervy Ann. Dem kyarpit-baggers up dar, dey pat 'im on de back an' tell 'im he des ez good ez what dey is. I had de idee, Minervy Ann,' he say, 'dat Hamp wuz lots better dan what dey is, but he ain't; he des 'bout good ez dey is.'
"Marse Tumlin do like he don't wanter talk 'bout it, but dat ain't nigh satchify me. I say, 'Marse Tumlin, what did you want Hamp ter do?' He drum on de arm er de cheer wid his fingers, an' sorter study. Den he say, 'Bein' it's all done an' over wid, I don't min' tellin' you all about it. Does you know who's a-runnin' dis county now?' I had a kinder idee, but I say, 'Who, Marse Tumlin?' He 'low, 'Mahlon Botts an' his br'er Mose; dey er runnin' de county, an' dey er ruinin' it.'
"Den he ax me ef I know de Bottses. Know um! I'd been a-knowin' um sence de year one, an' dey wuz de ve'y drugs an' offscourin's er creation. I ax Marse Tiimlin how come dey ter have holt er de county, an' he say dey make out dey wuz good erpublicans, des ter make de niggers vote um in office—so dey kin make money an' plunder de county. Den I ax 'im what he want Hamp ter do. He say all he want Hamp ter do wuz ter he'p 'im git er whatyoumaycallum—yasser, dat's it, a bill; dat's de ve'y word he say—he want Hamp ter he'p 'im git a bill th'oo de Legislatur'; an' den he went on an' tell me a long rigamarolious 'bout what 'twuz, but I'll never tell you in de roun' worl'."
[The proceedings of the Georgia Legislature reported in the Atlanta New Era, of November 10, 1869, show that the measure in question was a local bill to revive the polling-places in the militia districts of the county represented by the Hon. Hampton Tumlin, and to regulate elections so that there could be no repeating. This verification of Aunt Minervy Ann's statement was made long ago after she told the story, and purely out of curiosity. The discussions shed an illuminating light over her narrative, but it is impossible to reproduce them here, even in brief.]
"He tol' me dat, suh, an' den he le'nt back in de cheer, an' kinder hummed a chune. An' me—I stood up dar by de fireplace an' studied. Right den an' dar I made up my min' ter one thing, an' I ain't never change it, needer; I made up my min' dat ef we wuz all gwine ter be free an' live in de same neighborhoods—dat ef we wuz gwine ter do dat, whatsomever wuz good fer de white folks bleeze ter be good fer de niggers, an' whatsomever wuz good fer Marse Tumlin an' Miss Vallie wuz des ez good fer me an' Hamp.
"I 'low, 'Marse Tumlin, when you gwine up dar whar Hamp at?' He say, 'Oh, I dunno; I'm tired er de infernal place,' desso. Den he look at me right hard. 'What make you ax?' sez he. I 'low, '’Kaze ef youer gwine right soon, I'm gwine wid you.' He laugh an' say, 'What de dickunce you gwine up dar fer?' I 'low, 'I gwine up dar fer ter jine de Legislatur'. I ain't here tell dat dem what jines hatter be baptize in runnin' water, an' ef dey ain't, den I'll jine long wid Hamp.' Marse Tumlin say, 'You reckin Hamp would be glad fer to see you, Minervy Ann?' I 'low, 'He better had be, ef he know what good fer 'im.' Marse Tumlin say, 'Ef I wuz you, Minervy Ann, I wouldn't go up dar spyin' atter Hamp. He'll like you none de better fer it. De las' time I wuz up dar, Hamp wuz havin' a mighty good time. Ef you know what's good fer you, Minervy Ann, you won't go up dar a-doggin' atter Hamp.'
"Well, suh, right at dat time I had de idee dat Marse Tunilin wuz prankin' an' projeckin'; you know how he runs on; but he wa'n't no mo' prankin' dan what I am right now. (Nummine! I'll git back ter Hamp terreckly.) I laugh an' say, 'I ain't gwine ter dog atter Hamp, Marse Tumlin; I des wanter go up dar an' see how he gittin' on, an' fin' out how folks does when dey sets up dar in de Legislatur'. An' ef you'll put dat ar whatshisname—bill; dat's right, suh; bill wuz de word—ef you'll put dat ar bill in yo' pocket, I'll see what Hamp kin do wid it.' Marse Tumlin 'low, '’Tain't no use fer ter see Hamp, Minervy Ann. He done tol' me he can't do nothin'. I lef de bill wid 'im.'
"I say, 'Marse Tumlin, you dunner nothin' 'tall 'bout Hamp. He must er change mighty sence dey 'fo' yistidy if he erfuse ter do what I tell 'im ter do. Ef dat de case, I'll go up dar an' frail 'im out an' come on back home an' ten' ter my work.'
"Marse Tumlin look at me wid his eyes half shot an' kinder laugh way down in his stomach. He 'low, 'Minervy Ann, I been livin' a long time, an' I been knowin' a heap er folks, but you er de bangin'est nigger I ever is see. Free ez you is, I wouldn't take two thousan' dollars fer you, cash money. I'll git Bolivar, an' we'll go up dar on de mornin' train. Vallie kin stay wid er aunt. 'Tain't gwine ter hurt you ter go; I want you ter see some things fer yo'se'f.'
"Well, suh, sho' 'nuff, de nex' mornin' me an' Marse Tumlin an' Marse Bolivar, we got on de train, an' put out, an' 'twa'n't long 'fo' we wuz pullin' in under de kyar-shed. Dat 'uz de fus' time I ever is been ter dis town, an' de racket an' de turmoil kinder tarrify me, but when I see 't'er folks gwine 'long 'tendin' ter der bizness, 'twa'n't no time 'fo' I tuck heart, 'kaze dar wuz Marse Tumlin an' Marse Bolivar right at me, an' dey wuz bowin' an' shakin' han's wid mos' eve'ybody dat come 'long. Dey wuz two mighty pop'lous white men, suh; you know dat yo'se'f.
"I 'speck de train must 'a' got in 'fo' de Legislatur' sot down, 'kaze when we went th'oo a narrer street an' turn inter de one what dey call Decatur, whar dey carry on all de devilment, I hear Marse Tumlin say dat we wuz 'bout a hour too soon. Right atter dat Marse Bolivar say, 'Tumlin, dat ar nigger man 'cross dar wid de gals is got a mighty familious look ter me; I done been seed 'im somewhar, sho'.' Marse Tumlin say, 'Dat's a fac'; I used ter know dat man some'rs.' Well, suh, I lookt de way dey wuz a-lookin', an' dar wuz Hamp! Yassar! Hamp! Hamp an' two mulatter gals. An' I wish you could 'a' seed um; I des wish you could! Dar wuz Hamp all diked out in his Sunday cloze which I tol' 'im p'intedly not ter w'ar while he workin' in de Legislatur'. He had a segyar in his mouf mos' ez big an' ez long ez a waggin-spoke, an' dar he wuz a-bowin' an' scrapin', an' scrapin' an' gigglin', an' de mulatter gals wuz gigglin' an' snickerin' an' squealin'—I declaire, Mr. Tumlin! you oughter be 'shame er yo'se'f; oh, youer too b-a-a-a-d!'"
With powers of mimicry unequalled. Aunt Minervy Ann illustrated the bowing and scraping of Hamp, and reproduced the shrill but not unmusical voices of the mulatto girls.
"I tell you de trufe, suh, whiles you could count ten you might 'a' pusht me over wid a straw, an' den, suh, my dander 'gun ter rise. I must 'a' show'd it in my looks, 'kaze Marse Tumlin laid his han' on my shoulder an' say, 'Don't kick up no racket, Minervy Ann; you got Hamp right whar you want 'im. You know what we come fer.' Well, suh, I hatter stan' dar an' swaller right hard a time er two, 'kaze I ain't got no use fer mulatters; to make um, you got ter spile good white blood an' good nigger blood, an' when dey er made dey got in um all dat's mean an' low down on bofe sides, an' ef dey yever is ter be saved, dey'll all hatter be baptize twice han' runnin'—once fer de white dat's in um, and once fer de black. De Bible mayn't sesso, but common-sense'll tell you dat much.
"Well, suh, I stood dar some little time watchin' Hamp's motions, an' he wuz makin' sech a big fool er hisse'f dat I des come mighty nigh laughin' out loud, but all dat time Marse Tumlin had de idee dat I wuz mad, an' when I start to'rds Hamp, wid my pairsol grabbed in de middle, he 'low, 'Min' yo' eye, Minervy Ann,' I walk up, I did, an' punch Hamp in de back wid de pairsol. Ef I'd 'a' hit 'im on de head wid a pile-driver, he couldn't 'a' been mo' dum'founder'd. He look like he wuz gwine th'oo de sidewalk. I say, 'When you git time, I'd like ter have a little chat wid you.' He 'low, 'Why, why'—an' wid dat he stuck de lit een' er his segyar in his mouf. Well, suh, you may b'lieve you done seed splutterin' an' splatterin', but you ain't never seed none like dat. He made a motion, Hamp did, like he wanter make me 'painted wid de mulatter gals, but I say, 'When you git time fum yo' Legislatur', I got a sesso fer you ter hear.'
"Wid dat, suh, I turn 'roun' an' cross de street an' foller on atter Marse Tumlin an' Marse Bolivar. I ain't mo'n git 'cross, 'fo' here come Hamp. He 'low, 'Why, honey, whyn't you tell me you wuz comin'? When'd you come?' I say, 'Oh, I'm honey, is I? Well, maybe you'll fin' a bee in de comb.' He 'low, 'Whyn't you tell me you wuz comin' so I kin meet you at de train?' I say, 'I wanter see what kinder fambly you got in dis town. An' I seed it! I seed it!'
"Well, suh, I 'speck I'd 'a' got mad ag'in, but 'bout dat time we cotch up wid Marse Tumlin an' Marse Bolivar. Marse Tumlin turn 'roun', he did, an' holler out, 'Well, ef here ain't Minervy Ann! What you doin' up here, an' how did you lef' yo' Miss Vallie?' He shuck han's des like he ain't see me befo' in a mont', an' Marse Bolivar done de same. I humor'd um, suh, but I ain't know what dey wuz up ter fer long atterwards. Dey don't want Hamp ter know dat I come 'long wid um. Den dey went on, an' me an' Hamp went ter whar he stay at.
"When I got 'im off by hisse'f, suh, he sot in ter tellin' me how come 'im ter be wid dem ar gals, an' he want me ter know um, an' he know mighty well I'd like um—you know how men-folks does, suh. But dey wa'n't na'er minit in no day dat yever broke when Hamp kin fool me, an' he know'd it. But I let 'im run on. Bimeby, when he get tired er splanifyin', I 'low, 'What dat paper what Marse Tumlin ax you ter put in de Legislatur'?' He say, 'How you know 'bout dat?' I 'low, 'I hear Marse Tumlin tellin' Miss Vallie 'bout it, an' I hear Miss Vallie wonder an' wonder what de matter wid you.'
"I fetch Miss Vallie in, suh, bekaze Hamp think dey ain't nobody in de worl' like Miss Vallie. One time, des 'fo' de big turmoil, when Marse Tumlin hire Hamp fum de Myrick 'state, he fell sick, an' Miss Vallie (she wa'n't nothin' but a school-gal den) she got sorry fer 'im 'kaze he wuz a hired nigger, an' she'd fill a basket wid things fum de white folks' table an' tote um to 'im. Mo' dan dat, she'd set dar whiles he's eatin' an' ax 'bout his folks. Atter dat, suh, de groun' whar Miss Vallie walk wuz better'n any yuther groun' ter Hamp. So when I call her name up, Hamp ain't say nothin' fer long time.
"Den he shuck his head an' say dey ain't no use talkin', he des can't put dat ar paper in de Legislatur'. He say ef he wuz ter, 'twon't do no good, 'kaze all de erpublicans would jump on it, an' den dey'd jump on him ter boot. I 'low, 'Whar you reckon I'll be whiles all dat jumpin' gwine on?' He say, 'You'll be on de outside, an' ef you wuz on de inside, dey'd hike you out.' 'An' who'd do de hikin'?' sez I. 'De surgeon er de armies,' sez he. 'White er black?' sez I. 'Yaller,' sez Hamp. I 'low, 'Good 'nuff; we'll see which un'll be hiked.' An' I told Hamp right den an' dar, dat ef he erfuse ter put dat paper in, I'll do it myse'f.
"Well, suh, whiles we settin' dar talkin', dey come a-rappin' at de do' an' in walk a big bushy-head mulatter, an' I ain't tellin' you no lie, he de mos' venomous-lookin' creetur you ever laid yo' eyes on. His ha'r wuz all spread out like a scourin' mop, an' he had a grin on 'im ez big ez dat gate dar. Hamp call 'im Arion Alperiar Kidley."
At this point I was compelled to come to the rescue of Aunt Minervy Ann's memory. The stateman's real name was Aaron Alpeora Bradley, and he was one of the most corrupt creatures of that corrupt era. He had a superficial education that only added to the density of his ignorance, but it gave him considerable influence with the negro members of the Legislature. Aunt Minervy Ann accepted the correction with alacrity.
"I fergot his name, suh, but I ain't never fergit him. He so mean-lookin' he make de col' chills run over me. He wuz a low-country mulatter, an' you know how dey talk. Eve'y time he look at me, he'd bow, an' de mo' he bowed de mo' I 'spized 'im. He call Hamp 'Mistooah Tummalin,' an' eve'y time he say sump'n', he'd gi' one er dem venomous grins. I declar' ter gracious, suh, I oughtn't ter talk 'bout dat man dis way, but de way he look wuz scan'lous. I done fergive 'im for dat long time 'go on 'count er what he done; but when I hear white folks 'busin' 'im in dat day an' time I know'd dey had mighty good groun', bekaze dey ain't no human kin look like dat man an' not be mean at bottom.
"Well, suh, Hamp, he up'n tol' dis yer Alpory er Alpiry (whatsomever his name mought be) what I come ter town fer, an' Alpory, he say, 'Mistooah Tummalin, you kyarn't do it. Hit would-er ruin you in de-er party, suh—er ruin you.' I kinder fired up at dat. I 'low, 'How come he can't do it? Ain't he free?' Ol' Alpory, he grin an' he talk, he talk an' he grin, but he ain't budge me. At de offstart I say ef Hamp don't put dat paper in de Legislatur', I'll put it in myse'f , an' at de windin' up I still say dat ef he don't put Marse Tumlin's paper in de Legislatur', den I'll be de one ter do it. Ol' Alpory say, 'You-er is got no marster, ma'am.' Den I snapt 'im up an' cut 'im off short; I say, 'I got one ef I want one. Ain't I free?' Den he went on wid a whole passel er stuff dat I can't make head er tail un, ner him needer, fer dat matter, twel bimeby I say, 'Oh, hush up an' go on whar you gwine.'
"Hamp look so broke up at dis dat I wuz kinder sorry I say it, but dat's de only way ter deal wid dem kind er folks, suh. Ol' Alpory wuz des famishin', suh, fer some un ter b'lieve he's a big Ike; dat 'uz all de matter wid 'im an' I know'd it. So he quit his jawin' when I snapped 'im up, an' he sot dar some time lookin' like a cow does when her cud don't rise. Bimeby he ax Hamp fer ter let 'im see de paper what I want 'im ter put in de Legislatur'. He tuck it, he did, an' look at it sideways an' upside down, an' eve'ywhichaway. Ez ef dat wa'n't 'nuff, he took off his goggles an' wiped um an' put um on ag'in, an' read de paper all over ag'in, noddin' his head an' movin' his mouf, an' grinnin'.
"Atter he got th'oo, he fol' de paper up an' han' it back ter Hamp. He say he can't see no harm in it ter save his life, an' he 'low dat ef Hamp'll put it in at one een' er de Legislatur', he'll put it in at de 't'er een'. Dey call one part a house, but nobody ain't never tell me why dey call a wranglin' gang er men a house. Dey des might ez well call um a hoss an' buggy; eve'y bit an' grain. "Well, suh, de house wuz de part what Hamp b'longs ter, an' de 't'er part wuz whar ol' Alpory b'long'd at, an' by de time dey wuz ready fer ter set in dar dey had e'en 'bout 'greed fer put de paper in at bof e een's.
"I went 'long wid Hamp, sub, an' he show'd me de way ter de gall'ry, an' I sot up dar an' look down on um, an' wonder why all un um, white an 'black, wa'n't at home yearnin' der livin' 'stidder bein' in dat place a-wranglin' an' callin' names, an' howlin' an' wavin' der arms an' han's. Dey wuz a big fat white man settin' up in de pulpit, an' he kep' on a-maulin' it wid a mallet. I dunner what his name wuz, but I hear one big buck nigger call 'im Mr. Cheer. Marse Tumlin tol' me atterwards dat de man wuz de speaker, but all de res' done lots mo' speakin' dan what he did; all un um 'cep' Hamp.
"Yasser; all un um 'cep' Hamp, an' he sot dar so still dat 'twa'n't long 'fo' I 'gun ter git shame un him. He sot dar an' fumble wid some papers, an' helt his head down, an' look like he skeer'd. I watch 'im, suh, twel I got so res'less in de min' I can't set still. Bimeby I got up an' went down ter de front do'; I wuz gwine ter make my way in dar whar Hamp wuz at, an' kinder fetch 'im out'n his dreams, ef so be he wuz dreamin'. An' I'd a gone in, but a nigger man at de do' barred de way. He say, 'Who you want ter see?' I 'low, 'I wanter see Hamp Tumlin, dat's who.' He say, 'Does you mean de Honnerbul Hampton Tumlin?' I 'low, 'Yes, I does ef you wanter put it dat away. Go in dar an' tell 'im dat de Honnerbul Minervy Ann Perdue is out here waitin' fer 'im, an' he better come quick ef he know what good fer 'im.'
"Wid dat, suh, I hear somebody laugh, an' look up an' dar wuz Marse Tumlin standin' not fur fum de do' talkin' wid an'er white man. He 'low, 'Scott, dis is Minervy Ann. She got mo' sense an' grit dan half de white folks you meet.' Well, suh, de man come up, he did, an' shuck han's an' say he mighty glad ter see me. I never is ter fergit his name on 'count er what happen atterwards. 'Bout dat time Hamp come out an' Marse Tumlin an' de 't'er man draw'd off up de hall.
"I say, 'Hamp, why in de name er goodness ain't you 'ten' ter yo' bizness? What you waitin' fer? Is you skeer'd?' He vow an' declair' dat he des waitin' a chance fer ter put de paper in. I tol' 'im dat de way ter git a chance wuz ter make one, an' wid dat he went on in, an' I went back in de gall'ry. Well, suh, 'twa'n't long 'fo' Hamp put in de paper. A man at de foot er de pulpit read it off, an' den a white man settin' not fur fum Hamp jump up an' say he want sump'n done wid it, I dunner what. Hamp say sump'n back at 'im, an' den de white man say he sorry fer ter see de honnerbul gemman gwine back on de erpublican party. Den Mose Bently—I know'd Mose mighty well—he riz an' say ef de erpublican party is got ter be led 'roun' by men like de one what des tuck his seat, it's high time fer honest folks ter turn der backs on it.
"Well, suh, when Mose say dat, I clap my han's, I did, an' holla 'Good! good! now you got it!' I couldn't he'p it fer ter save my life. De man in de pulpit maul de planks wid de mallet like he tryin' ter split um, an' he 'low dat ef folks in de gall'ry don't keep still, he'll have um cle'r'd out. I holla back at 'im, 'You better some er dat gang down dar cle'r'd out!' Quick ez a flash, suh, dat ar Mr. Scott what been talkin' wid Marse Tumlin jump up an' 'low, 'I secon's de motion!' De man in de pulpit say, 'What motion does de gemman fum Floyd secon'?' Den Mr. Scott fling his head back an' low, 'De Honnerbul Minervy Ann Perdue done move dat de flo' be cle'r'd 'stidder de gall'ry. I secon's de motion.'
"Den fum dat he went on an' 'buze de erpublican party, speshually dat ar man what bad de 'spute wid Hamp. Mr. Scott say dey got so little sense dat dey go ag'in a paper put in by one er der own party. He say he ain't keer nothin' 'tall 'bout de paper hisse'f, but be des wanter sbow um up fer what dey wuz.
"He totch'd um, sub, ez you may say, on de raw, an' when he git th'oo be say, 'Now, I hope de cheer will deal wid de motion of de Honnerbul Minervy Ann Perdue.' Mr. Scott say, 'She settin' up dar in de gall'ry an' she got des ez much right ter set on dis flo' ez nineteen out er twenty er dem settin' here.' De man in de pulpit look at me right hard, an' den he 'gun ter laugh. I say, 'You nee'n ter worry yo'se'f 'bout me. You better 'ten' ter dem ar half-drunk niggers an' po' wbite trash down dar. I wouldn't set wid 'em ef I never did fin' a place fer ter set at'
"Wid dat, sub, I pickt up my pairsol an' make my way out, but ez I went I bear um whoopin' an' hollerin'."
"Well, they didn't pass the bill, did they?" I asked.
"What? dat paper er Marse Tumlin's? Bless yo' soul, suh, dey run'd over one an'er tryin' ter pass it. Mr. Scott fit it like he fightin' fire, an' make out he wuz terribly ag'in it, but dat des make um wuss. Hamp say dat inginer'lly dem ar laws has ter wait an' hang fire; but dey tuck up dat un, an' shove it th'oo. Dey tuck mo' time in de 't'er een' er de Legislatur', whar ol' Alpory wuz at, but it went th'oo when it start. I hope dey don't have no sech gwines-on now, suh. Ef dey does de whole county can't drag Paul Conant in dar. I'll jine um myse'f, 'fo' I'll let 'im git in dat kind er crowd."