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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 100 pages of information about Miss Minerva and William Green Hill.

“He ’d better never hear tell of it,” was the threatening rejoinder.

CHAPTER XVI

The Humble petition

Billy, sitting in an old buggy in front of the livery stable, had just engaged in a long and interesting conversation with Sam Lamb.

He was getting out of the vehicle when the sharp wire around a broken rod caught in the back of his trousers and tore a great hole.  He felt a tingling pain and looked over his shoulder to investigate.  Not being satisfied with the result, he turned his back to the negro and anxiously enquired, “Is my breeches tore, Sam?”

“Dey am dat,” was the reply, “dey am busted Fm Dan ter Beersheba.”

“What I goin’ to do ’bout it?” asked the little boy, “Aunt Minerva sho’ will be mad.  These here’s branspankin’ new trousers what I ain’t never wore tell today.  Ain’t you got a needle an’ thread so’s you can fix ’em.  Sam?”

“Nary er needle,” said Sam Lamb.

“Is my union suit tore, too?” and Billy again turned his back for inspection.

His friend made a close examination.

“Yo’ unions is injured plum scanerous,” was his discouraging decision, “and hit ‘pears ter me dat yo’ hide done suffer too; you’s got er turrible scratch.”

The child sighed.  The injury to the flesh was of small importance,—­he could hide that from his aunt—­but the rent in his trousers was a serious matter.

“I wish I could git ’em mended ’fore I goes home,” he said wistfully.

“I tell you what do,” suggested Sam, “I ’low Miss Cecilia’ll holp yeh; jest go by her house an’ she’ll darn ’em up fer yuh.”

Billy hesitated.

“Well, you see, Sam, me an’ Miss Cecilia’s engaged an’ we’s fixin’ to marry jes’’s soon’s I puts on long pants, an’ I ‘shame’ to ask her.  An’ I don’t berlieve young ’omans patches the breeches of young mans what they’s goin’ to marry nohow.  Do you?  Aunt Minerva ain’ never patched no breeches for the Major.  And then,” with a modest blush, “my unions is tore too, an’ I ain’t got on nothin’ else to hide my skin.”

Again he turned his back to his friend and, his clouded little face looking over his shoulder, he asked, “Do my meat show, Sam?”

“She am visible ter the naked eye,” and Sam Lamb laughed loudly at his own wit.

“I don’t believe God pays me much attention nohow,” said the little boy dolefully; “ev’y day I gets put to bed ’cause sumpin’s all time a-happenin’.  If He’d had a eye on me like He oughter they wouldn’t a been no snaggin’.  Aunt Minerva’s goin’ to be mad th’oo an’ th’oo.”

“May be my of ’oman can fix ’em, so’s dey won’t be so turrible bad,” suggested the negro, “‘taint fer, so you jes’ run down ter my cabin an’ tell Sukey I say fix dem breeches.”

The child needed no second bidding,—­he fairly flew.  Sam’s wife was cooking, but she cheerfully stopped her work to help the little boy.  She sewed up his union suit and put a bright blue patch on his brown linen breeches.

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