I made a practice of writin’ down mornings before I started for the Fair the places I wanted to see that day if the rest of the party consented, and I writ down that mornin’ Liberal Arts, Fisheries, Educational Buildin’, Electricity, Machinery, Transportation, Horticultural and Agricultural Buildin’s and etcetery.
Josiah wanted to know what etcetery meant, and I told him any other place we wanted to see which he said wuz reasonable, and he thought probable he should have to go to some shows on the Pike, he said he had met Uncle Sime Bentley the day before and they talked it over and decided that it seemed to be their duty as solid stiddy men to go to some of the worst shows, specially them that had pretty girls in ’em, so they could be convinced of their iniquity and warn the young Jonesvillians. He said they would take their advice as quick agin if they could warn ’em from experience.
“But Josiah,” sez I, “I wouldn’t take such a distasteful, hateful job onto me, it hain’t your duty to make such a martyr of yourself, specially as you hain’t well.”
But Josiah said he’d always said “He wouldn’t put his hand to the plow and look back,” and he and Uncle Sime had talked it all over and agreed they would make the sacrifice for the good of Jonesville. But I meant to break it up; I knowed it wuzn’t his duty to nasty up his mind, hopin’ to do good by it, when I could never git it cleaned up agin as clean as it wuz before.
Aunt Tryphena come in to make up our room whilst we wuz argyin’ about it. She come earlier than common, for she said she wuz goin’ herself to the Fair that day and take Dotie, who hadn’t been at all. I told her it would be a job to take care of a child in that big crowd.
But she said, “I’d rather take care of Miss Dotie than to eat any time. And as for the crowd it wuz nothin’ to crowds she’d been in when she lived in Paris with Miss Louise and Prince Arthur. She had took him when he wuz a little boy to the Boy Bolony and the Champin Eliza when there wuz millions of folks there.” She wuz always talking of Prince Arthur, which I fancied wuz a pet name for a child, and still given to the young man she wuz constantly talkin’ about through her pride and love for him.
Aunt Tryphena wuz from slave parentage, but she had always lived in white families since a child, so she had little of the peculiar dialect of her race. But she wuz black as the Founder of Evil himself, tall and thin with a mighty head of wool white as snow, which she covered with a yellow turban about her work. She had abnormal powers of falsehood, not for profit or to make trouble, but jest simple lying for lie’s sake. The most incredible stories she would string off, and nothing pleased Billy more than to git her to goin’, as he called it.