Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings/The Emigrants
XI. The Emigrants
When Uncle Remus went down to the passenger depot one morning recently, the first sight that caught his eye was an old negro man, a woman, and two children sitting in the shade near the door of the baggage-room. One of the children was very young, and the quartet was altogether ragged and forlorn-looking. The sympathies of Uncle Remus were immediately aroused. He approached the group by forced marches, and finally unburdened his curiosity:
“Whar is you m’anderin’ unter, pard?”
The old negro, who seemed to be rather suspicious, looked at Uncle Remus coolly, and appeared to be considering whether he should make any reply. Finally, however, he stretched himself and said:
“We er gwine down in de naberhoods er Tallypoosy, an we ain’t makin’ no fuss ’bout it, nudder.”
“I disremember,” said Uncle Remus, thoughtfully, “whar Tallypoosy is.”
“Oh, hit’s out yan,” replied the old man, motioning his head as if it was just beyond the iron gates of the depot. “Hit’s down in Alabam. When we git dar, maybe well go on twel we gits ter Massasip.”
“Is you got enny folks out dar?” inquired Uncle Remus.
“None dat I knows un.”
“An’ youer takin’ dis ’oman an’ deze chillun out dar whar dey dunno nobody? Whar’s yo’ perwisions?” eying a chest with a rope around it.
“Dem’s our bedcloze,” the old negro explained, noticing the glance of Uncle Remus. “All de vittles what we got we e’t ’fo’ we started.”
“An’ you speck ter retch dar safe an soun’? Whar’s yo’ ticket?”
“Ain’t got none. De man say ez how dey’d pass us thoo. I gin a man a fi’-dollar bill ’fo’ I lef’ Jonesboro, an’ he sed dat settled it.”
“Lemme tell you dis,” said Uncle Remus, straightening up indignantly: “you go an’ rob somebody an’ git on de chain-gang, an’ let de ’oman scratch ’roun’ yer an’ make ’er livin’; but don’t you git on dem kyars—don’t you do it. Yo’ bes’ holt is de chain-gang. You kin make yo’ livin’ dar w’en you can’t make it nowhars else. But don’t you git on dem kyars. Ef you do, youer gone nigger. Ef you ain’t got no money fer ter walk back wid, you better des b’il’ yo’ nes’ right here. I’m a-talkin’ wid de bark on. I done seed deze yer Arkinsaw emmygrants come lopin’ back, an’ some un ’em didn’t have rags nuff on ’em fer ter hide dere nakidness. You leave dat box right whar she is, an, let de ’oman take wun young un an you take de udder wun, an’ den you git in de middle er de big road an’ pull out fer de place whar you come fum. I’m preachin’ now.”
Those who watched say the quartet didn’t take the cars.