“De truff, sho’! jes like I ben tellin’ yer,” said Mammy.
“But, Mammy, what about the little girl? did she ever get well an’ strong, an’ not be lame any more?” asked Dumps.
“Well, honey, yer see de Lord, he fixes all dat. He son’t fur her one night, an’ she jes smiled, bright an’ happy like, an’ laid right back in de angel’s arms; an’ he tuck her right along up thu de hebenly gates, an’ soon as eber he sot her down, an’ her foot totch dem golden streets, de lameness, an’ sickness, an’ po’ness all come right; an’ her fader, an’ her mudder, an’ her niggers wuz all dar, an’ she wuz well an’ strong, an’ good an’ happy. Jes’ like she wush fur de po’ folks, an’ de sick folks, de Lord he fixed it jes dat way fur her. He fixed all dat hisse’f.”
The gin-house on the plantation was some distance from the house, and in an opposite direction from the quarters. It was out in an open field, but a narrow strip of woods lay between the field and the house, so the gin-house was completely hidden.
Just back of the gin-house was a pile of lumber that Major Waldron had had hauled to build a new pick-room, and which was piled so as to form little squares, large enough to hold three of the children at once. During the last ginning season they had gone down once with Mammy to “ride on the gin,” but had soon abandoned that amusement to play housekeeping on the lumber, and have the little squares for rooms. They had often since thought of that evening, and had repeatedly begged Mammy to let them go down to the lumber pile; but she was afraid they would tear their clothes, or hurt themselves in some way, and would never consent.
So one day in the early spring, when Mammy and Aunt Milly were having a great cleaning-up in the nursery and the children had been sent into the yard to play, Chris suggested that they should all slip off, and go and play on the lumber pile.
“Oh yes,” said Dumps, “that will be the very thing, an’ Mammy won’t never know it, ‘cause we’ll be sho’ ter come back befo’ snack-time.”
“But something might happen to us, you know,” said Diddie, “like the boy in my blue book, who went off fishin’ when his mother told him not to, an’ the boat upsetted and drownded him.”
“Tain’t no boat there,” urged Dumps; “tain’t no water even, an’ I don’t b’lieve we’d be drownded; an’ tain’t no bears roun’ this place like them that eat up the bad little chil’en in the Bible; and tain’t no Injuns in this country, an’ tain’t no snakes nor lizards till summer-time, an’ all the cows is out in the pasture; an’ tain’t no ghos’es in the daytime, an’ I don’t b’lieve there’s nothin’ ter happen to us; an’ ef there wuz, I reckon God kin take care of us, can’t he?”
“He won’t do it, though, ef we don’t mind our mother,” replied Diddie.
“Mammy ain’t none of our mother, and tain’t none of her business not to be lettin’ us play on the lumber, neither. Please come, Diddie, we’ll have such a fun, an’ nothin’ can’t hurt us. If you’ll come, we’ll let you keep the hotel, an’ me an’ Tot’ll be the boarders.”