Celia.—Here comes Monsieur
Rosalind.—With his mouth full of news.
AS YOU LIKE IT.
“You strike dreadful hard, Missa Gladding. If you can’t write, I guess you can make you mark,” said the General, rubbing his shoulders.
“I was larned to do one, and t’other come natural,” said Tom, laughing; “but I didn’t lay it on a bit too hard. You see I had to bring him a pretty good polt, so as to lay him flat, else he might ha’ found it all out, the good-for-nothing son-of-a-gun, to go to sarve a warrant on an old man, just for speaking his mind in meeting. I go in for liberty. And then to insult you and me, Prime, by asking us to help him! But I didn’t mean to strike you, except in the way of friendship.”
“You friendship too smart for me, Missa Gladding, and s’pose I break my neck in de fall, what you friendship good for den?”
“But you hain’t broke nothing but your leg, and I see you’ve got another rigged, and the half dollar Basset give you will more’n pay for that; though, if I was you, I’d come down upon him in damages for the loss—’twas in his sarvice—and then his digging his head right into your stomach, when he come thundering into the boat, I call a regular assault and battery.”
“How you like you cold duck wid sea-weed saace, Missa Gladding?” retorted Primus; and here the two united in peals of laughter.
“Cunning fellow, dat Basset,” said Primus. “He kill two bird wid one stone—knock me into de bottom ob de boat, and chuck you oberboard, all at once.” And the merriment was renewed.
“Do you think he has any suspicions, Prime!” said Tom.
“Dat question acquire some reflexum,” answered the General. “Whedder it was old Holden or de fisherman ghost dat gib him de strike on de back?”
“No, I don’t mean that. I mean whether he thought you or me had anything to do with it.”
“I guess not,” said the General, doubtingly. “If sich an idee git into his head, somebody will put it dere.”
“Well, what did he say coming home?”
“Not much; dere he set in front, wid his back to me, rowing, and his head all tie up wid my bandanna, and he seem sort o’ snarl up, as if he want a night’s rest to take de kinks out ob him. He was not much ’cline to ‘greeable conversashum. I feel kind o’ sorry when I see him so mellancholliky like.”
“You needn’t be so liberal with your sorry. The scamp desarves it all and more, too. The cretur’s cheated us out of half our fun.” How I should ha’ liked to leave him, as we intended, alone with old Holden on the island! The chicken-hearted booby would ha’ half died o’ fright, and then ‘twould ha’ been worth nuts to see how he looked when the old man caught him in the morning, and asked after his business.”
“He nebber stay till dat time. He would hab swum ’cross de channel, and run home.”