Pieces People Ask For/Counting Eggs
Old Moses, who sells eggs and chickens on the streets of Austin for a living, is as honest an old negro as ever lived; but he has got the habit of chatting familiarly with his customers, hence he frequently makes mistakes in counting out the eggs they buy. He carries his wares around in a small cart drawn by a diminutive donkey. He stopped in front of the residence of Mrs. Samuel Burton. The old lady herself came out to the gate to make the purchases.
"Have you got any eggs this morning, Uncle Moses?" she asked.
"Yes, indeed I has. Jess got in ten dozen from de kentry."
"Are they fresh?"
"Fresh? yas, indeed ! I guantees 'em, an'—an'—de hen guantees 'em."
"I'll take nine dozen. You can just count them into this basket."
"All right, mum;" he counts, "one, two, free, foah, five, six, seben, eight, nine, ten.—You can rely on dem bein' fresh. How's your son comin' on de school? He must be mos' grown."
"Yes, Uncle Moses: he is a clerk in a bank in Galveston."
"Why, how ole am de boy?"
"He is eighteen."
"You don't tole me so! Eighteen, and getting a salary already.—Eighteen (counting), nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-foah, twenty-five.—And how's your gal comin' on? She was most growed up de last time I seed her."
"She is married, and living in Dallas."
"Wall, I declar', how de time scoots away! And you say she has childruns? Why, how ole am de gal? She must be jest about"—
"Am dat so?" (counting) "firty-free, firty-foah, firty-five, firty-six, firty-seven, firty-eight, firty-nine, forty, forty-one, forty-two, forty-free.—Hit am singular dat you has sich ole childruns. You don't look more den forty years old yerseff."
"Nonsense, old man; I see you want to flatter me. When a person gets to be fifty-three years old"—
"Fifty-free! I jess dun gwinter bleeve hit; fifty-free, fifty-foah, fifty-five, fifty-six,—I want you to pay 'tenshun when I count de eggs, so dar'll be no mistake,—fifty-nine, sixty, sixty-one, sixty-two, sixty-free, sixty-foah.—Whew! Dat am a warm day. Dis am de time ob year when I feels I'se gettin' ole myself. I ain't long for dis world. You comes from an ole family. When yore fodder died he was sebenty years ole."
"Dat's old, suah.—Sebenty-two, sebenty-free, sebenty-foah, sebenty-five, sebenty-six, sebenty-seben, sebenty-eight, sebenty-eight, sebenty-nine.—And your mudder? She was one ob de noblest lookin' ladies I ebber see. You remind me ob her so much! She libed to mos' a hundred. I bleeves she was done past a centurion when she died."
"No, Uncle Moses: she was only ninety-six when she died."
"Den she wan't no chicken when she died, I know dat.—Ninety-six, ninety-seben, ninety-eight, ninety-nine, one hundred, one, two, free, foah, five, five, six, seben, eight,—dar one hundred and eight nice fresh eggs,—jess nine dozen, and here am one moah egg in case I have discounted myse'f."
Old Mose went on his way rejoicing. A few days afterward Mrs. Barton said to her husband,
"I am afraid we will have to discharge Matilda. I am satisfied that she steals the milk and eggs. I am positive about the eggs, for I bought them day before yesterday, and now about half of them are gone. I stood right there, and heard old Moses count them myself, and there were nine dozen."—Texas Siftings.