“It is Billy’s time,” said Lina, who seemed to be mistress of ceremonies.
“Tabernicle learnt this here one at school; ‘see, if y’ all can guess it: `Tabby had four kittens but Stillshee didn’t have none ‘t all"’
“I don’t see no sense a tall in that,” argued Jimmy, “’thout some bad little boys drownded ’em.”
“Tabby was a cat,” explained the other boy, “and she had four kittens; and Stillshee was a little girl, and she didn’t have no kittens ’t all.”
“What’s this,” asked Jimmy: “`A man rode’cross a bridge and Fido walked? ‘Had a little dog name’ Fido.”
“You didn’t ask that right, Jimmy,” said Lina, “you always get things wrong. The riddle is, `A man rode across a bridge and Yet he walked,’ and the answer is, `He had a little dog named Yet who walked across the bridge.’”
“Well, I’d ‘nother sight ruther have a little dog name’ Fido,” declared Jimmy. “A little dog name’ Yet and a little girl name’ Stillshee ain’t got no sense a tall to it.”
“Why should a hangman wear suspenders?” asked Lina. “I’ll bet nobody can answer that.”
“To keep his breeches from falling off,” triumphantly answered Frances.
“No, you goose, a hangman should wear suspenders so that he ’d always have a gallows handy.”
In the house of the Lord.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning. The pulpit of the Methodist Church was not occupied by its regular pastor, Brother Johnson. Instead, a traveling minister, collecting funds for a church orphanage in Memphis, was the speaker for the day. Miss Minerva rarely missed a service in her own church. She was always on hand at the Love Feast and the Missionary Rally and gave liberally of her means to every cause. She was sitting in her own pew between Billy and Jimmy, Mr. and Mrs. Garner having remained at home. Across the aisle from her sat Frances Black, between her father and mother; two pews in front of her were Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton, with Lina on the outside next the aisle. The good Major was there, too; it was the only place he could depend upon for seeing Miss Minerva.
The preacher, after an earnest and eloquent discourse from the text, “He will remember the fatherless,” closed the big Bible with a bang calculated to wake any who might be sleeping. He came down from the pulpit and stood close to his hearers as he made his last pathetic appeal.
“My own heart,” said he, “goes out to every orphan child, for in the yellow fever epidemic of ’78, when but two years old, I lost both father and mother. If there are any little orphan children here to-day, I should be glad if they would come up to the front and shake hands with me.”