Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/81

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71
THE READING-CLUB.

We started her goin' at sun-up,
An' kep' her a-bilin' till night,
When forty-odd mo'nahs wuz shoutin',
An' forty more cornin' in sight.

Des den it come into my min', sah,
To gib dem ar niggahs a trile;
An' so I riz up, an' I says, sah,—
I says, with a beautiful smile :
"My Men's, I'm a-gwine to propose you
A small, onsignincant test,
To proobe—out ob all ob de virtues—
Which ob you has charity best.

"Now, hush up a minnit! I'll tell you,
An' den you kin go on an' shout.
De short ob de mattah is: Friday
My barrel ob whiskey gub out;
It happens, too, des at dis moment,
I hasn't de money to buy:
An' so I proposes to you all,
Dat you shill make up de supply.

"To-morrow I'll hab me a barrel
A-settin' out dar on the bluff,
An' eb'ry good Christian's expected
To fotch 'long a pint o' good stuff.
So I'll git my barrel ob whiskey,
An you'll git the feeling dat you
Is got charity down till you're ekal
To gibbin' de debbil his due."

Nes' mohnin', sah, dar wuz de barrel;
An' eb'ry man fotched up a flask,
An' put de neck down in de bunghole,
An' emptied it into de cask.
I thought 'at I'd try how it swallowed,
An' held a gourd under the spout,
An' den gib a turn on de fossit—
When nuffin but water come out !