Page:Southern Life in Southern Literature.djvu/180

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operatives sallied forth to stake the whole proceeds of their "domestic industry" upon a peck. Egg was struck against egg, point to point, and the egg that was broken was given up as lost to the owner of the one which came whole from the shock.

While the boys were busily employed in the manner just mentioned, the captain's youngest son, George, gave us an anecdote highly descriptive of the Yankee and Georgia character, even in their buddings, and at this early date. "What you think, pa," said he, "Zeph Pettibone went and got his Uncle Zach to turn him a wooden egg, and he won a whole hatful o' eggs from all us boys 'fore we found it out; but when we found it out maybe John Brown didn't smoke him for it, and took away all his eggs and give 'em back to us boys; and you think he did n't go then and git a guinea egg, and win most as many more, and John Brown would o' give it to him agin if all we boys had n't said we thought it was fair. I never see such a boy as that Zeph Pettibone in all my life. He don't mind whipping no more 'an nothing at all, if he can win eggs."

This anecdote, however, only fell in by accident, for there was an all-absorbing subject which occupied the minds of the boys during the whole evening, of which I could occasionally catch distant hints in undertones and whispers, but of which I could make nothing until they were afterward explained by the captain himself. Such as "I'll be bound Pete Jones and Bill Smith stretches him." "By Jockey, soon as they seize him you'll see me down upon him like a duck upon a June bug." "By the time he touches the ground he'll think he's got into a hornet's nest," etc.

"The boys," said the captain, as they retired, "are going to turn out the schoolmaster to-morrow, and you can perceive they think of nothing else. We must go over to the schoolhouse and witness the contest, in order to prevent injury to