The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 210 pages of information about The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson.

“Does I mine tellin’ you?  No, dat I don’t!  You ain’t got no ’casion to be shame’ o’ yo’ father, I kin tell you.  He wuz de highest quality in dis whole town—­ole Virginny stock.  Fust famblies, he wuz.  Jes as good stock as de Driscolls en de Howards, de bes’ day dey ever seed.”  She put on a little prouder air, if possible, and added impressively:  “Does you ‘member Cunnel Cecil Burleigh Essex, dat died de same year yo’ young Marse Tom Driscoll’s pappy died, en all de Masons en Odd Fellers en Churches turned out en give him de bigges’ funeral dis town ever seed?  Dat’s de man.”

Under the inspiration of her soaring complacency the departed graces of her earlier days returned to her, and her bearing took to itself a dignity and state that might have passed for queenly if her surroundings had been a little more in keeping with it.

“Dey ain’t another nigger in dis town dat’s as highbawn as you is.  Now den, go ‘long!  En jes you hold yo’ head up as high as you want to—­you has de right, en dat I kin swah.”

CHAPTER 10 —­ The Nymph Revealed

     All say, “How hard it is that we have to die”—­a strange
     complaint to come from the mouths of people who have had to
     live.
—­Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar

     When angry, count four; when very angry, swear. —­
     Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar

Every now and then, after Tom went to bed, he had sudden wakings out of his sleep, and his first thought was, “Oh, joy, it was all a dream!” Then he laid himself heavily down again, with a groan and the muttered words, “A nigger!  I am a nigger!  Oh, I wish I was dead!”

He woke at dawn with one more repetition of this horror, and then he resolved to meddle no more with that treacherous sleep.  He began to think.  Sufficiently bitter thinkings they were.  They wandered along something after this fashion: 

“Why were niggers and whites made?  What crime did the uncreated first nigger commit that the curse of birth was decreed for him?  And why is this awful difference made between white and black? . . .  How hard the nigger’s fate seems, this morning!—­yet until last night such a thought never entered my head.”

He sighed and groaned an hour or more away.  Then “Chambers” came humbly in to say that breakfast was nearly ready.  “Tom” blushed scarlet to see this aristocratic white youth cringe to him, a nigger, and call him “Young Marster.”  He said roughly: 

“Get out of my sight!” and when the youth was gone, he muttered, “He has done me no harm, poor wretch, but he is an eyesore to me now, for he is Driscoll, the young gentleman, and I am a—­oh, I wish I was dead!”

A gigantic eruption, like that of Krakatoa a few years ago, with the accompanying earthquakes, tidal waves, and clouds of volcanic dust, changes the face of the surrounding landscape beyond recognition, bringing down the high lands, elevating the low, making fair lakes where deserts had been, and deserts where green prairies had smiled before.  The tremendous catastrophe which had befallen Tom had changed his moral landscape in much the same way.  Some of his low places he found lifted to ideals, some of his ideas had sunk to the valleys, and lay there with the sackcloth and ashes of pumice stone and sulphur on their ruined heads.

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The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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