Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings/Uncle Remus and the Savannah Darkey
III. Uncle Remus and the Savannah DarkeyEdit
The notable difference existing between the negroes in the interior of the cotton States and those on the seaboard—a difference that extends to habits and opinions as well as to dialect—has given rise to certain ineradicable prejudices which are quick to display themselves whenever an opportunity offers. These prejudices were forcibly, as well as ludicrously, illustrated in Atlanta recently. A gentleman from Savannah had been spending the summer in the mountains of north Georgia, and found it convenient to take along a body-servant. This body-servant was a very fine specimen of the average coast negro—sleek, well-conditioned, and consequential—disposed to regard with undisguised contempt everything and everybody not indigenous to the rice-growing region—and he paraded around the streets with quite a curious and critical air. Espying Uncle Remus languidly sunning himself on a corner, the Savannah darkey approached.
“I’m sorter up an’ about,” responded Uncle Remus, carelessly and calmly. “How is you stannin’ it?”
“Tanky you, my helt’ mos’ so-so. He mo’ hot dun in de mountain. Seem so lak man mus’ git need de shade. I enty fer see no rice-bud in dis pa’ts.”
“In dis w’ich?” inquired Uncle with a sudden affectation of interest.
“In dis pa’ts. In dis country. Da plenty in Sawanny.”
“Da plenty in Sawanny. I enty fer see no crab an’ no oscher; en swimp, he no stay ’roun’. I lak some rice-bud now.”
“Youer talkin’ ’bout deze yer sparrers, w’ich dey er all head, en ’lev’m un makes one mouffle, I speck,” suggested Uncle Remus. “Well, dey er yer,” he continued, “but dis ain’t no climate whar de rice-birds flies inter yo’ pockets en gits out de money an’ makes de change derse’f; an’ de isters don’t shuck off der shells en run over you on de street, an’ no mo’ duz de s’imp hull derse’f an’ drap in yo’ mouf. But dey er yer, dough. De scads ’ll fetch um.”
“Him po’ country fer true,” commented the Savannah negro; “he no like Sawanny. Down da, we set need de shade an’ eaty de rice-bud, an’ de crab, an’ de swimp tree time de day; an’ de buckra man drinky him wine, an’ smoky him seegyar all troo de night. Plenty fer eat an’ not much fer wuk.”
“Hit’s mighty nice, I speck,” responded Uncle Remus, gravely. “De nigger dat ain’t hope up ’longer high feedin’ ain’t got no grip. But up yer whar fokes is gotter scramble ’roun’ an’ make der own livin’, de vittles w’at’s kumerlated widout enny sweatin’ mos’ allers gener’ly b’longs ter some yuther man by rights. One hoe-cake an’ a rasher er middlin’ meat las’s me fum Sunday ter Sunday, an’ I’m in a mighty big streak er luck w’en I gits dat.”
The Savannah negro here gave utterance to a loud, contemptuous laugh, and began to fumble somewhat ostentatiously with a big brass watch-chain.
“But I speck I struck up wid a payin’ job las’ Chuseday,” continued Uncle Remus, in a hopeful tone.
“Wey you gwan do?”
“Oh, I’m a waitin’ on a culled gemmun fum Savannah—wunner deze yer high livers you bin tellin’ ’bout.”
“I loant ’im two dollars,” responded Uncle Remus, grimly, “an’ I’m a waitin’ on ’im fer de money. Hit’s wunner deze yer jobs w’at las’s a long time.”
The Savannah negro went off after his rice-birds, while Uncle Remus leaned up against the wall and laughed until he was in imminent danger of falling down from sheer exhaustion.