“Lemme see yo’ dog,” said the former.
“Ain’t he cute?” said the latter.
The little darkey picked up the dog and passed it across the gate.
“I wish he was mine,” said the smaller child, as he took the soft, fluffy little ball in his arms; “what’ll you take for him?”
The negro boy had never seen the dog before, but he immediately accepted the ownership thrust upon him and answered without hesitation, “I’ll take a dollar for her.”
“I ain’t got but a nickel. Billy, ain’t you got ’nough money to put with my nickel to make a dollar?”
“Naw; I ain’t got a red cent.”
“I’ll tell you what we’ll do,” suggested Jimmy; “we’ll trade you a baseball mask for him. My mama’s going to give me a new mask ’cause I all time stay at home; so we’ll trade you our old one. Go get it, Billy.”
Thus commanded Billy ran and picked up the bustle where it lay neglected on the grass and handed it to the quasi-owner of the puppy.
The deal was promptly closed and a little black negro went grinning down the street with Miss Minerva’s old bustle tied across his face, leaving behind him a curly-haired dog.
“Ain’t he sweet?” said Jimmy, hugging the fluffy white ball close to his breast, “we got to name him, Billy.”
“Le’s name her Peruny Pearline,” was the suggestion of the other joint owner.
“He ain’t going to be name’ nothing at all like that,” declared Jimmy; “you all time got to name our dogs the scalawaggest name they is. He’s going to be name’ ‘Sam Lamb’ ’cause he’s my partner.”
“She’s a girl dog,” argued Billy, “an’ she can’t be name’ no man’s name. If she could I’d call her Major.”
“I don’t care what sort o’ dog he is, girl or boy, he’s going to be name’ ’Sam Lamb’!” and he fondly stroked the little animal’s soft head.
“Here, Peruny! Here, Perunyl” and Billy tried to snatch her away.
The boys heard a whistle; the dog heard it, too. Springing from the little boy’s arms Sam Lamb Peruny Pearline ran under the gate and flew to meet her master, who was looking for her.
Education and its perils
It was a warm day in early August and the four children were sitting contentedly in the swing. They met almost every afternoon now, but were generally kept under strict surveillance by Miss Minerva.
“’Twon’t be long ’fore we’ll all hafto go to school,” remarked Frances, “and I’ll be mighty sorry; I wish we didn’t ever hafto go to any old school.”
“I wisht we knowed how to read an’ write when we’s born,” said Billy. “If I was God I’d make all my babies so’s they is already eddicated when they gits born. Reckon if we’d pray evy night an’ ask God, He’d learn them babies what He’s makin’ on now how to read an’ write?”
“I don’ care nothing at all ’bout them babies,” put in Jimmy, “’tain’t going to do us no good if all the new babies what Doctor Sanford finds can read and write; it’d jes’ make ’em the sassiest things ever was. ’Sides, I got plenty things to ask God for ‘thout fooling long other folks’ brats, and I ain’t going to meddle with God’s business nohow.”