“Dey ain’t but one man dat I’s afeard of, en dat’s dat Pudd’nhead Wilson. Dey calls him a pudd’nhead, en says he’s a fool. My lan, dat man ain’t no mo’ fool den I is! He’s de smartes’ man in dis town, lessn’ it’s Jedge Driscoll or maybe Pem Howard. Blame dat man, he worries me wid dem ornery glasses o’ his’n; I b’lieve he’s a witch. But nemmine, I’s gwine to happen aroun’ dah one o’ dese days en let on dat I reckon he wants to print a chillen’s fingers ag’in; en if HE don’t notice dey’s changed, I bound dey ain’t nobody gwine to notice it, en den I’s safe, sho’. But I reckon I’ll tote along a hoss-shoe to keep off de witch work.”
The new Negros gave Roxy no trouble, of course. The master gave her none, for one of his speculations was in jeopardy, and his mind was so occupied that he hardly saw the children when he looked at them, and all Roxy had to do was to get them both into a gale of laughter when he came about; then their faces were mainly cavities exposing gums, and he was gone again before the spasm passed and the little creatures resumed a human aspect.
Within a few days the fate of the speculation became so dubious that Mr. Percy went away with his brother, the judge, to see what could be done with it. It was a land speculation as usual, and it had gotten complicated with a lawsuit. The men were gone seven weeks. Before they got back, Roxy had paid her visit to Wilson, and was satisfied. Wilson took the fingerprints, labeled them with the names and with the date —October the first—put them carefully away, and continued his chat with Roxy, who seemed very anxious that he should admire the great advance in flesh and beauty which the babes had made since he took their fingerprints a month before. He complimented their improvement to her contentment; and as they were without any disguise of jam or other stain, she trembled all the while and was miserably frightened lest at any moment he—
But he didn’t. He discovered nothing; and she went home jubilant, and dropped all concern about the matter permanently out of her mind.
CHAPTER 4 — The Ways of the Changelings
Adam and Eve had
many advantages, but the principal one
was, that they escaped teething. —Pudd’nhead Wilson’s
There is this trouble about special providences—namely, there is so often a doubt as to which party was intended to be the beneficiary. In the case of the children, the bears, and the prophet, the bears got more real satisfaction out of the episode than the prophet did, because they got the children. —Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar
This history must henceforth accommodate itself to the change which Roxana has consummated, and call the real heir “Chambers” and the usurping little slave, “Thomas `a Becket”—shortening this latter name to “Tom,” for daily use, as the people about him did.