“Well, you can’t GET your nigger, that’s all—so dry up your blubbering.
Looky here—do you think YOU’D venture to blow on us? Blamed if I think I’d
trust you. Why, if you WAS to blow on us—”
“Well, you can GET your n-----, sure enough, so quit your blubbering. Look
here—do you think YOU’D rat us out? I’ll be darned if I trust you. Why, if
you were to tell on us….”
He stopped, but I never see the duke look so ugly out of his eyes before.
I went on a-whimpering, and says:
He stopped, but I’ve never seen the duke’s eyes look so ugly before. I
kept on wimpering, and said:
“I don’t want to blow on nobody; and I ain’t got no time to blow, nohow. I
got to turn out and find my nigger.”
“I don’t want to tattle on anyone, and I don’t have time to rat on anyone
anyway. I’ve got to go and find my n------.”
He looked kinder bothered, and stood there with his bills fluttering on
his arm, thinking, and wrinkling up his forehead. At last he says:
He looked a little bothered by this, and stood there with his handbills
fluttering under his arm, just thinking and wrinkling his forhead. Finally
“I’ll tell you something. We got to be here three days. If you’ll promise
you won’t blow, and won’t let the nigger blow, I’ll tell you where to find
“I’ll tell you something. We’re going to be here for three days. If you
promise not to tell on us and that you won’t let that n----- tell on us,
I’ll tell you where you can find him.”
So I promised, and he says:
So I promised, and he said:
“A farmer by the name of Silas Ph—” and then he stopped. You see, he
started to tell me the truth; but when he stopped that way, and begun to
study and think again, I reckoned he was changing his mind. And so he was.
He wouldn’t trust me; he wanted to make sure of having me out of the way the
whole three days. So pretty soon he says:
“There’s a farmer by the name of Silas Ph—“ and then he stopped. He’d
started to tell me the truth, you see, but when stopped in mid sentence like
that and begun to think some more, I figured he had changed his mind. And he
had—he wouldn’t trust me. He wanted to make sure that I’d be out of the way
for the next three days. After a minute or so, he said:
“The man that bought him is named Abram Foster—Abram G. Foster—and he
lives forty mile back here in the country, on the road to Lafayette.”
“The man that bought him is named Abram Foster—Abram G. Foster. He lives
forty miles out in the country, on the road to the town of
“All right,” I says, “I can walk it in three days. And I’ll start this
“All right,” I said. “I can walk that in three days. And I’ll start this
“No you wont, you’ll start NOW; and don’t you lose any time about it,
neither, nor do any gabbling by the way. Just keep a tight tongue in your
head and move right along, and then you won’t get into trouble with US, d’ye
“No, you won’t. You’ll start NOW. And don’t lose any time, either, and
don’t go chitchatting along the way. Just keep your mouth shut and keep
moving right along, and then you won’t get into any trouble with US, you
That was the order I wanted, and that was the one I played for. I wanted
to be left free to work my plans.
That was exactly what I wanted to hear, and the thing I’d been trying to
get him to say. I wanted to be left alone so that I could put my plan in
“So clear out,” he says; “and you can tell Mr. Foster whatever you want
to. Maybe you can get him to believe that Jim IS your nigger—some idiots
don’t require documents—leastways I’ve heard there’s such down South here.
And when you tell him the handbill and the reward’s bogus, maybe he’ll
believe you when you explain to him what the idea was for getting ’em out.
Go ’long now, and tell him anything you want to; but mind you don’t work
your jaw any BETWEEN here and there.”
“So move out,” he said. “And you can tell Mr. Foster whatever you want to.
Maybe you can get him to believe that Jim IS your n-----—some idiots don’t
require documents when buying them. Well, that’s what I hear goes on in the
South here. And when you tell him that the handbill and the reward money
aren’t real, maybe he’ll believe you. You can explain to him why we’d made
them in the first place. Tell him anything you like—just don’t say anything
to anyone BETWEEN here and there.”
So I left, and struck for the back country. I didn’t look around, but I
kinder felt like he was watching me. But I knowed I could tire him out at
that. I went straight out in the country as much as a mile before I stopped;
then I doubled back through the woods towards Phelps’. I reckoned I better
start in on my plan straight off without fooling around, because I wanted to
stop Jim’s mouth till these fellows could get away. I didn’t want no trouble
with their kind. I’d seen all I wanted to of them, and wanted to get
entirely shut of them.
So I left, and headed out for the backcountry. I didn’t look around, but I
felt like he was watching me. I knew I could tire him out pretty quickly, so
I went straight out into the countryside for about a mile before I stopped.
Then I doubled back through the woods towards the Phelps farm. I figured I’d
better start working on plan right away and not fool around. I wanted to
make sure Jim didn’t say anything before the king and the duke got away. I
didn’t want any more trouble with them. I’d seen all I wanted of them, and I
wanted to be done with them forever.