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Fisher's River
(North Carolina)
Scenes and Characters (1859)

  
 

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V.---UNCLE FROST SNOW.

The man who once saw "Uncle Frost Snow" would never forget him; and, of course, being raised under his eye, I can not forget his peculiar features and eccentric actions.  He was of small stature, with a triune countenance---the sad, the quizzical, and the cheerful, the cheerful preponderating---ever ready for a loud, hearty laugh.  He would laugh all over---his countenance, eyes, mouth, and body.  He was energetic and eccentric in all his movements.  He was fond of the "tickler," but not to excess;  hated a "feller what would git down dog drunk under yer foot on the yeth."

He was raised in "Albermarle, Fudginny," and didn't care "a durn whether he b'longed to one on the fust famblys uv Fudginny ur not."  He certainly came from a section where rustic literature had attained to perfection; and he clung to the language of his section and of his youth with great tenacity, as the following incident will show, which I record as a memento of my regard for his memory.

Uncle Frost lived on a poor, broken piece of land, on which most men would have starved, but by uncommon energy and good farming he managed to live well.  He rose early and worked late, obliged to do so or starve.

He had a favorite negro boy named Anderson, who went to a neighbor's house one night, and did not get home next morning till a late hour.  Uncle Frost was up early, and went out, nervously awaiting Anderson's arrival, jumping about like a mountain snowbird, hitching up his "hipped britches"---being an old-fashioned man, he wouldn't wear "gallusses," not he.  "Durned ef they'd strap thar backs in old Dudginny, nur I ain't a-gwine to do it nuther."  Presently Anderson came, and what took place he reported to his neighbor and particular friend, Mrs. Easley, thus:

"You see, Miss Yeasley, folks is gittin' too smart---too big fur thar britches.  Larnin' and big quality words is ruinin' on us fast.  Even the niggers is a-ketchin' big quality words.  My Anderson went down t'other night ter 'Squire Whitlock's to git a par o' britches cut out, and got home late, he did.  Anderson's a good nigger, and I jest wanted to skeer him.  I runs up ter him with a bully hickory, lookin' bagonits at him, and, says I, 'Anderson!  whar you bin?'  says I.  His eyes looked like a skeered buck rabbit.

"'To Mr. Whitlocks's,' says he.

"' To Mr. Whitlock's!'  says I;  'and what fur?'  says I.

"'To get a pair of pantaloons cut out,' says he, mighty qualityfied.

"'Pantaloons!  pantaloons!!'  says I; 'who larnt you to call 'um pantaloons?'  says I.  'Gittin' above yer master?  Talkin' like the Franklins and all the big quality folks, you lamper-jawed, cat-hames puke,' says I.  'You nuver hearn yer master call 'um any thing but britches, nur you sha'n't,' says I.  'I'll larn you to puke up big quality words, you varmunt,' says I;  and I larruped him well, I tell you.  I 'clare, Miss Yeasley, I wouldn't a tetched him ef he'd a said britches; fur I'm 'tarmined my niggers sha'n't talk this big quality talk, nur shall my chillun talk it, ef I can help it;  but my son John, sense he married inter yer fambly, he's quit talkin' like his daddy---got to qualityin' uv it.  I'll let that go, but my niggers sha'n't do it, Miss Yeasley."

 

 

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