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been gone fu' nigh on to fou' months a'ready. Ain't you nevah gwine to stay home no mo'?"
"I tol' you I was gwine away fu' good, didn't I? Well, dat's what I mean."
"Ef you didn't want me, Jim, I wish to Gawd dat you'd 'a lef' me back home among my folks, whaih people knowed me an' would 'a' give me a helpin' han'. Dis hyeah No'f ain't no fittin' place fu' a lone colo'ed ooman less'n she got money."
"It ain't no place fu' nobody dat's jes lazy an' no 'count."
“I ain't no' count? I ain't wuffless. I does de bes' I kin. I been w'okin' like a dog to try an' keep up while you trapsein' 'roun', de Lord knows whaih. When I was single I could git out an' mek my own livin'. I didn't ax nobody no odds, but you wa'nt satisfied ontwel I ma'ied you, an' now, when I's tied down wid a baby, dat's de way you treats me."
The woman sat down and began to cry, and the sight of her tears angered her husband the more.
“Oh, cry,” he exclaimed. "Cry all you want to. I reckon you'll cry you' fill befo' you gits me back. What do I keer about de baby? Dat's jes de trouble. It wa'nt enough fu' me to have to feed an' clothe you a-lyin' 'roun' doin' nothin', a baby had to go an' come too.
"It's yo'n, an' you got a right to tek keer of it, dat's what you have. I ain't a-gwine to waih my soul-case out a-tryin' to pinch along an' sta’ve to def at las'; I'll kill myse'f an' de chile, too, fus."
yo'se'f," he said. Then he laughed. "Who evah hyeahed tell of a niggah killin' hisse'f?"
"Nev' min', nev' min, you jes' go on yo' way rejoicin'. I 'spect you runnin' 'roun' aftah somebody else dat's de reason you caint nevah stay at home no mo','
"Who tol' you dat?" exclaimed the man fiercely. "I ain't runnin' aftah nobody else-'tain't none o' yo' business ef I is."
The denial and implied confession all came out in one breath.
"Ef hit ain't my business, I'd like to know whose it gwine to be. I's yo' lawful wife, an' hit's me dat's astavin' to take keer of yo' chile."
"Doggone de chile; I's tiahed o' hyeahin' 'bout huh."
"You done got tiahed mighty quick when you ain't nevah even seed huh yit. You done got tiahed quick, sho."
"No, an' I do' want to see her, neithah."
"You do' know nothin' 'bout de chile; you do' know whethah you wants to see huh er not."
"Look hyeah, ooman, don't you fool wid me. I ain't right, nohow." Just then, as if conscious of the hubbub she had raised, and anxious to add to it, the baby awoke and began to wail. With quick mother instinct the black woman went to the shabby bed, and taking the child in her arms, began to croon softly to it: "Go s'eepy, baby; don' you be 'f'aid; mammy ain' gwine let nuffin' hu't you, even ef pappy don' wan' look at huh li'l face. Bye, bye, go s'eepy, mammy's li'l gal." Uncon
The man looked up quickly. "Kill sciously she talked to the baby in a
dialect that was even softer than usual. For a moment the child subsided, and the woman turned angrily on her husband: "I don' keer whethah you evah sees dis chile or not. She's a blessed li'l angel, dat's what she is, an' I'll wo'k my fingahs off to raise huh, an' when she grows up, ef any nasty niggah comes erroun' makeyes at huh, I'll tell huh 'bout huh pappy, an' she'll stay wid me an' be my comfo't."
"Keep yo' comfo't. Gawd knows I do' want huh,"
He couldn't see much but a bundle of rags, from which sparkled a pair of beady black eyes. But he put his finger down among the rags. The baby seized it and gurgled. The
"De time 'll come, though, an' I kin wait fu' it. Hush-a-bye, JimHush-a-bye, Jimsella!" The man turned his head slightly. sweat broke out on Jim's brow. "What you call her?"
"I calls huh Jimsella, dat's what I calls her, 'ca'se she de ve'y spittin' image of you. I gwine to jes' lun to huh dat she had a pappy, so she know she's a hones' chile an' kin hol' up huh haid."
They were both silent for awhile, and then Jim said: "Huh name ought to be Jamsella - don't you know Jim's sho't fu' James?"
"I don't keer what it's sho't fu'!" The woman was holding the baby close to her breast and sobbing now. "It wasn't no James dat come acoutin' me down home. It was jes' plain Jim; dat's what de mattah. I reckon you done got to be James." Jim didn't answer, and there was another space of silence, only interrupted by two or three contented gurgles from the baby.
"I bet two bits she don't look like
"Cain't you let me hold de baby a minute?" he said angrily. "You must be 'fraid I'll run off wid huh.” He took the child awkwardly in his
The boiling over of Mandy's clothes took her to the other part of the room, where she was busy for a few minutes. When she turned to look for Jim he had slipped out, and Jimsella was lying on the bed trying to kick free of the coils that swaddled her.
At supper time that evening Jim came in with a piece of "shouldermeat" and a head of cabbage.
"You'll have to git my dinnah ready fu' me to ca'y to-morrer. I's wo'kin' on de street, an' I cain't come home twell night."
"Wha-what!" exclaimed Mandy, "den you ain' gwine leave, aftah all?” "Don't bothah me, ooman," said Jim. "Is Jimsella 'sleep?"
FRANCIS WILSON'S REMINISCENCES OF EUGENE FIELD.*
In the little book called "The Eugene Field I Knew, "** which the Scribners have just published for Francis Wilson, the comedian, there are some amusing instances of the man's quaintness and humor. Mr. Wilson is most emphatic about his friend's devotion to books, and describes him as the life and soul of
the company that used to meet in a certain Chicago book store. Field was always on the lookout for treasure, of course, but he was not always in funds. He used to leave genial warnings, then, in the book which
From the May number of the Newspaper Magazine. **The Eugene Field I Knew. By Francis Wilson. With many illustrations. 12mo. cloth. Price 90 cents. By mail $1.02. Also a limited edition of 204 copies, on hand-made paper, the illustrations being printed on Japan paper, and with a four page facsimile manuscript in colors, each $4 00 net.
he could not at the time purchase. But sometimes, apparently, the temptation was too strong, and he would appeal to Mr. Shakleford, the cashier of The Chicago Evening News, the paper in which his
Sharps and Flats" column was published, for a small advance on that week's salary. Mr. Wilson tells us once, referring to these letters, "Field said that he put upon them $75 worth of work to get an advance of $5." He used to write them in his finest manner and Field's penmanship was peculiarly artistic-placing a decorative initial at the beginning, accompanying the text with some amusing emblem, or even drawing a little picture wherewith to soften the Shacklefordian heart. Mr. Wilson reproduces in fac simile some of these letters. One of them bears the title of "Evening Hymn," and is marked "Con espressione The Opus MDLXIII." words accompanying the music run as follows:
Apropos of these notes concerning Field's financial ways Mr. Wilson recalls how in his youth his friend once beguiled $75 from his guardian and spent it all on postage stamps. He tells also how Field once exchanged his rent money for an illused dog. But he adds that these episodes should not convey the impression that the author had no sense of the proper value of money. "He was too strong mentally not to know his limitations and not to be warned by them. With a commendable knowledge of his weakness he refused to become interested in paint ing and sculpture, and again and again did he refrain even from look ing at certain coveted books, the price of which was beyond him, lest he be tempted to his undoing." At this point Mr. Wilson introduces a characteristic letter of Field's on this very subject:
"I hope that you will keep right along collecting, but do not buy too many French, German, Latin and Italian books; that is not particularly profitable. You ought to be able to get together a splendid lot of American first editions, and if I were you I would certainly do that. In time Americana will be immensely valuable. Keep on piling up autograph letters, and don't forget to keep the letters you get from contemporaneous people; these may in time become of great interest and value. The fad of extra-illustrating has never possessed me, and I am hoping that it will not, for the reason that I could never make it profitable, since I never dispose of what I secure. I have absolutely no sense
of barter-no, I am simply a royal and unmitigated sucker.
"You know that when Diogenes returned from his cruise about Athens, under the auspices of a lantern, his friend Socrates asked him what his racket had been. 'I have been hunting for an honest man," replied he of the tub. 'Indeed!' queries Soc.; 'and did you find any? 'No, that I did not,' quoth Diog.; 'but I ran across a heap of fools.' 'So? saith Soc.; and now, by Pallas! tell me the names of them.' 'That were a tedious job,' answered Diogenes; 'but don't mind telling you that the chiefest and veriest fool of 'em all was a gangling, cadaveras, lantern - jawed, lop - eared, flat - footed Missourian named Field!' 'By the dog, you speak truly,' cried Soc. 'when it comes to the quintessence of damphoolery, Eugene does indeed take the cake.'"
Field called it "damphoolery," or, at any rate, one phase of that engaging failing. As a matter of fact, it was simply the instinct of a born collector. Nothing seemed too insignificant, Mr. Wilson records, for Field to collect. "Among the unusual things in his collection of curios were bottles of all sizes, and in all shapes of men and beasts, unlike anything 'that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.' A few of these vials contained colored liquids, the better to display their grotesque outlines. He had a collection of envelopes such as were used during the War of the Rebellion, all handsomely mounted