I see then thet Sonny was a natu’al-born ‘Piscopal, an’ we might ez well make up our minds to it—an’ I told her so, too. They say some is born so. But we thought we’d let him alone an’ let nature take its co’se for awhile—not pressin’ him one way or another. He never had showed no disposition to be christened, an’ ever sence the doctor tried to vaccinate him he seemed to git the notion that christenin’ an’ vaccination was mo’ or less the same thing; an’ sence that time, he’s been mo’ opposed to it than ever.
Sir? Oh no, sir. He didn’t vaccinate him; he thess tried to do it; but Sonny, he wouldn’t begin to allow it. We all tried to indoose ’im. I offered him everything on the farm ef he’d thess roll up his little sleeve an’ let the doctor look at his arm—promised him thet he wouldn’t tech a needle to it tell he said the word. But he wouldn’t. He ’lowed thet me an’ his mama could git vaccinated ef we wanted to, but he wouldn’t.
Then we showed him our marks where we had been vaccinated when we was little, an’ told him how it had kep’ us clair o’ havin’ the smallpock all our lives.
Well, sir, it didn’t make no diff’ence whether we’d been did befo’ or not, he ’lowed thet he wanted to see us vaccinated ag’in.
An’ so, of co’se, thinkin’ it might encour’ge him, we thess had it did over—tryin’ to coax him to consent after each one, an’ makin’ pertend like we enjoyed it.
Then, nothin’ would do but the nigger, Dicey, had to be did, an’ then he ‘lowed thet he wanted the cat did, an’ I tried to strike a bargain with him thet if Kitty got vaccinated he would. But he wouldn’t comp’omise. He thess let on thet Kit had to be did whe’r or no. So I ast the doctor ef it would likely kill the cat, an’ he said he reckoned not, though it might sicken her a little. So I told him to go ahead. Well, sir, befo’ Sonny got thoo, he had had that cat an’ both dogs vaccinated—but let it tech hisself he would not.
I was mighty sorry not to have it did, ’cause they was a nigger thet had the smallpock down to Cedar Branch, fifteen mile away, an’ he didn’t die, neither. He got well. An’ they say when they git well they’re more fatal to a neighborhood ’n when they die.
That was fo’ months ago now, but to this day ever’ time the wind blows from sou’west I feel oneasy, an’ try to entice Sonny to play on the far side o’ the house.
Well, sir, in about ten days after that we was the down-in-the-mouthest crowd on that farm, man an’ beast, thet you ever see. Ever’ last one o’ them vaccinations took, sir, an’ took severe, from the cat up.
But I reckon we ‘re all safe-t guarded now. They ain’t nothin’ on the place thet can fetch it to Sonny, an’ I trust, with care, he may never be exposed.