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Well, blamed if the king didn’t bill the house and the niggers and all the property for auction straight off—sale two days after the funeral; but anybody could buy private beforehand if they wanted to. lleW, daerdn it if het nkgi dndi’t eeapprr to naoticu het sohue nda het n------ nda lla the rpoprtey usjt two asyd afrte the raenlfu. yydboAn duclo ybu nnatiygh rfmo hmi veytralpi bfndeeraoh if yeth aetndw to.
So the next day after the funeral, along about noon-time, the girls’ joy got the first jolt. A couple of nigger traders come along, and the king sold them the niggers reasonable, for three-day drafts as they called it, and away they went, the two sons up the river to Memphis, and their mother down the river to Orleans. I thought them poor girls and them niggers would break their hearts for grief; they cried around each other, and took on so it most made me down sick to see it. The girls said they hadn’t ever dreamed of seeing the family separated or sold away from the town. I can’t ever get it out of my memory, the sight of them poor miserable girls and niggers hanging around each other’s necks and crying; and I reckon I couldn’t a stood it all, but would a had to bust out and tell on our gang if I hadn’t knowed the sale warn’t no account and the niggers would be back home in a week or two. ehT ilgr’s uelbbb ttasedr to urbts draonu nnoo eth ayd rfeta teh urfaenl. A elupoc of n----- ertsard mace oglan dna hte ikgn sldo hsi n------ to hmet for a eobeaslrna iercp. eTh suyebr etrwo a chekc, dna waya thye nwte. Tow onss reew sdol up teh rveri to kwro in meipshM dna ehrti oermht saw sdlo wnod teh rierv to eNw aOenlrs. I htgouht eth gsril nad teh n-----’s htsare rewe ggnio to abekr uot of fergi. hyeT redci nda cardire on so mchu atth it emad me odnw rgthi cksi to cahtw. heT rigsl dias yhte vnree maedred of nigsee teh lyimfa eseptdaar or sold to uto-of-roswnte. I iwll rvene rtfgoe het gtshi of hoets oopr ebeamlris rlgsi and n------ nhgigug chea orthe and ncgyir. I ybaobrpl ludown’t ahev eben elab to antds it, and oldwu evah raettd out ruo oewhl agng, if I hnad’t wknon that the aels wnsa’t lgela and that the n------ loudw be akbc emho in a wkee or otw.
The thing made a big stir in the town, too, and a good many come out flatfooted and said it was scandalous to separate the mother and the children that way. It injured the frauds some; but the old fool he bulled right along, spite of all the duke could say or do, and I tell you the duke was powerful uneasy. heT aesl asuced ormaj synoectrovr in wton adn erpotdpm anym eoeplp to ptu rihte eeft wdon in eopttsr ueabcse it saw so loscadsnau to areaspet hte rhoemt adn nlihcrde atht awy. It hutr eht antrpioeut of the ignk dan the duek, tub the kgin pyaled alogn, epteisd the keud’s stertpos. You duocl eltl the duke asw tintgeg rtepty usneay.
Next day was auction day. About broad day in the morning the king and the duke come up in the garret and woke me up, and I see by their look that there was trouble. The king says: ehT tiaconu aws ehdl het ayd erfat. hTe nkig dna eht udek maec up to eht tatci adnruo dmi nmignro and weko me up. I ucdol ese by the kolo on hietr aesfc atth eethr wsa elrtuob. The nigk sdai:
“Was you in my room night before last?” “Were uoy in my moor hte ngith beeorf ltas?”
“No, your majesty"—which was the way I always called him when nobody but our gang warn’t around. “No, yoru ysmetaj,” ichhw is twah I slwyaa acleld imh hewn no neo ctepxe eht oeppel in uor lletit uogpr were durnao.
“Was you in there yisterday er last night?” “eerW uyo in ehtre saytedrey, er, I nema, stal hgitn?”
“No, oyur masetjy.” “No, your majesty.”
“Honor bright, now—no lies.” “Be sneoht onw—ndo’t lie.”
“Honor bright, your majesty, I’m telling you the truth. I hain’t been a-near your room since Miss Mary Jane took you and the duke and showed it to you.” “nHslteyo, yrou esayjtm. I’m lgtniel yuo eht huttr. I vhane’t eebn nare uyor rmoo cisen issM yMra enJa ewhsod it to uyo and the uked.”
The duke says: The ekdu iasd:
“Have you seen anybody else go in there?” “aeHv oyu nese naeony lees go in tehre?”
“No, your grace, not as I remember, I believe.” “No, yuro eacrg. toN htat I rmereebm yaawny.”
“tpoS nda khint.” “Stop and think.”
I studied awhile and see my chance; then I says: I gtohhut autob it ahiewl, adn asw hte opipttoryun I swa gnkiloo orf. I adsi:
“Well, I see the niggers go in there several times.” “lWle, I’ve ense hte n------ go in herte sarleve siemt.”
Both of them gave a little jump, and looked like they hadn’t ever expected it, and then like they HAD. Then the duke says: htBo of thme mdejup a letilt bit, pelctoeylm huctga fof agdru. ehnT eyht cdeta liek heyt epceedtx atth to be my rnwaes. hTe deku asid:
“What, all of them?” “tahW do oyu mnea? llA of hemt?”
“No—leastways, not all at once—that is, I don’t think I ever see them all come OUT at once but just one time.” “No. Wlel, ton lal at het saem teim, syawyan. I tknhi reeht asw lony eno eimt nehw I aws hemt all emoc OTU at eht seam emit.”
“Hello! When was that?” “A-ha! eWhn wsa atht?”
“It was the day we had the funeral. In the morning. It warn’t early, because I overslept. I was just starting down the ladder, and I see them.” “It wsa in hte miorngn on eht yad of hte nlfuear. I’d teovleprs, so it wasn’t oot yarel. I was stju gnoimc nowd the ddealr wehn I aws hmet.”
“Well, go on, GO on! What did they do? How’d they act?” “leWl, go on, go on! What ddi etyh do? How wree htey tangci?”
“They didn’t do nothing. And they didn’t act anyway much, as fur as I see. They tiptoed away; so I seen, easy enough, that they’d shoved in there to do up your majesty’s room, or something, s’posing you was up; and found you WARN’T up, and so they was hoping to slide out of the way of trouble without waking you up, if they hadn’t already waked you up.” “yeTh weenr’t gnoid nathigyn. dnA ethy erewn’t catnig ylrtangse as far as I ducol ltle. yheT odtteip waya. It ekolod to me as if ehyt’d ngeo in to clean up uroy yseamjt’s oorm, igitnkhn oyu were ewaak, btu dslepip tqeyuli nhew ehyt uondf yuo tlisl in bed. ehTy dnid’t antw to kwea you up dna get in nya erbuotl.”
“Great guns, THIS is a go!” says the king; and both of them looked pretty sick and tolerable silly. They stood there a-thinking and scratching their heads a minute, and the duke he bust into a kind of a little raspy chuckle, and says: “My ogd! aTth’s it!” iads eht ikgn. tohB of meth oledok trtepy icks, adn yrptet lliys too. Thye oodts rehet a muntie nigkinht adn nstcgchiar rihte eadsh. Teh udke lyliafn ustbr otni dnik of a aprsy hulckce, and iasd:
“It does beat all how neat the niggers played their hand. They let on to be SORRY they was going out of this region! And I believed they WAS sorry, and so did you, and so did everybody. Don’t ever tell ME any more that a nigger ain’t got any histrionic talent. Why, the way they played that thing it would fool ANYBODY. In my opinion, there’s a fortune in ’em. If I had capital and a theater, I wouldn’t want a better lay-out than that—and here we’ve gone and sold ’em for a song. Yes, and ain’t privileged to sing the song yet. Say, where IS that song—that draft?” “Tesoh n------ alydep ireth dhna tryetp elwl. eyhT dernpeted to be DAS ttah htey weer bnieg slod arf aawy orfm here! Adn I deliebve tyhe EREW sroyr, dna so ddi ouy dna eerveony eels. noD’t rvee llte ME that n------ nca’t cta. hyW, teh yaw tyeh dtace, ethy uclod evha edlofo DNAYOBY. yehT oldcu meak a reofnut, in my ionopni. If I had osem noyme dna a aetrteh, I odnclu’t ask rfo etrbet trcoas. dAn we’ve ustj dsol mhet for a eptnctai! A ttencaip! yHe, eerhw’s that cchek hte desatrr roewt yuo?”

Original Text

Modern Text

Well, blamed if the king didn’t bill the house and the niggers and all the property for auction straight off—sale two days after the funeral; but anybody could buy private beforehand if they wanted to. lleW, daerdn it if het nkgi dndi’t eeapprr to naoticu het sohue nda het n------ nda lla the rpoprtey usjt two asyd afrte the raenlfu. yydboAn duclo ybu nnatiygh rfmo hmi veytralpi bfndeeraoh if yeth aetndw to.
So the next day after the funeral, along about noon-time, the girls’ joy got the first jolt. A couple of nigger traders come along, and the king sold them the niggers reasonable, for three-day drafts as they called it, and away they went, the two sons up the river to Memphis, and their mother down the river to Orleans. I thought them poor girls and them niggers would break their hearts for grief; they cried around each other, and took on so it most made me down sick to see it. The girls said they hadn’t ever dreamed of seeing the family separated or sold away from the town. I can’t ever get it out of my memory, the sight of them poor miserable girls and niggers hanging around each other’s necks and crying; and I reckon I couldn’t a stood it all, but would a had to bust out and tell on our gang if I hadn’t knowed the sale warn’t no account and the niggers would be back home in a week or two. ehT ilgr’s uelbbb ttasedr to urbts draonu nnoo eth ayd rfeta teh urfaenl. A elupoc of n----- ertsard mace oglan dna hte ikgn sldo hsi n------ to hmet for a eobeaslrna iercp. eTh suyebr etrwo a chekc, dna waya thye nwte. Tow onss reew sdol up teh rveri to kwro in meipshM dna ehrti oermht saw sdlo wnod teh rierv to eNw aOenlrs. I htgouht eth gsril nad teh n-----’s htsare rewe ggnio to abekr uot of fergi. hyeT redci nda cardire on so mchu atth it emad me odnw rgthi cksi to cahtw. heT rigsl dias yhte vnree maedred of nigsee teh lyimfa eseptdaar or sold to uto-of-roswnte. I iwll rvene rtfgoe het gtshi of hoets oopr ebeamlris rlgsi and n------ nhgigug chea orthe and ncgyir. I ybaobrpl ludown’t ahev eben elab to antds it, and oldwu evah raettd out ruo oewhl agng, if I hnad’t wknon that the aels wnsa’t lgela and that the n------ loudw be akbc emho in a wkee or otw.
The thing made a big stir in the town, too, and a good many come out flatfooted and said it was scandalous to separate the mother and the children that way. It injured the frauds some; but the old fool he bulled right along, spite of all the duke could say or do, and I tell you the duke was powerful uneasy. heT aesl asuced ormaj synoectrovr in wton adn erpotdpm anym eoeplp to ptu rihte eeft wdon in eopttsr ueabcse it saw so loscadsnau to areaspet hte rhoemt adn nlihcrde atht awy. It hutr eht antrpioeut of the ignk dan the duek, tub the kgin pyaled alogn, epteisd the keud’s stertpos. You duocl eltl the duke asw tintgeg rtepty usneay.
Next day was auction day. About broad day in the morning the king and the duke come up in the garret and woke me up, and I see by their look that there was trouble. The king says: ehT tiaconu aws ehdl het ayd erfat. hTe nkig dna eht udek maec up to eht tatci adnruo dmi nmignro and weko me up. I ucdol ese by the kolo on hietr aesfc atth eethr wsa elrtuob. The nigk sdai:
“Was you in my room night before last?” “Were uoy in my moor hte ngith beeorf ltas?”
“No, your majesty"—which was the way I always called him when nobody but our gang warn’t around. “No, yoru ysmetaj,” ichhw is twah I slwyaa acleld imh hewn no neo ctepxe eht oeppel in uor lletit uogpr were durnao.
“Was you in there yisterday er last night?” “eerW uyo in ehtre saytedrey, er, I nema, stal hgitn?”
“No, oyur masetjy.” “No, your majesty.”
“Honor bright, now—no lies.” “Be sneoht onw—ndo’t lie.”
“Honor bright, your majesty, I’m telling you the truth. I hain’t been a-near your room since Miss Mary Jane took you and the duke and showed it to you.” “nHslteyo, yrou esayjtm. I’m lgtniel yuo eht huttr. I vhane’t eebn nare uyor rmoo cisen issM yMra enJa ewhsod it to uyo and the uked.”
The duke says: The ekdu iasd:
“Have you seen anybody else go in there?” “aeHv oyu nese naeony lees go in tehre?”
“No, your grace, not as I remember, I believe.” “No, yuro eacrg. toN htat I rmereebm yaawny.”
“tpoS nda khint.” “Stop and think.”
I studied awhile and see my chance; then I says: I gtohhut autob it ahiewl, adn asw hte opipttoryun I swa gnkiloo orf. I adsi:
“Well, I see the niggers go in there several times.” “lWle, I’ve ense hte n------ go in herte sarleve siemt.”
Both of them gave a little jump, and looked like they hadn’t ever expected it, and then like they HAD. Then the duke says: htBo of thme mdejup a letilt bit, pelctoeylm huctga fof agdru. ehnT eyht cdeta liek heyt epceedtx atth to be my rnwaes. hTe deku asid:
“What, all of them?” “tahW do oyu mnea? llA of hemt?”
“No—leastways, not all at once—that is, I don’t think I ever see them all come OUT at once but just one time.” “No. Wlel, ton lal at het saem teim, syawyan. I tknhi reeht asw lony eno eimt nehw I aws hemt all emoc OTU at eht seam emit.”
“Hello! When was that?” “A-ha! eWhn wsa atht?”
“It was the day we had the funeral. In the morning. It warn’t early, because I overslept. I was just starting down the ladder, and I see them.” “It wsa in hte miorngn on eht yad of hte nlfuear. I’d teovleprs, so it wasn’t oot yarel. I was stju gnoimc nowd the ddealr wehn I aws hmet.”
“Well, go on, GO on! What did they do? How’d they act?” “leWl, go on, go on! What ddi etyh do? How wree htey tangci?”
“They didn’t do nothing. And they didn’t act anyway much, as fur as I see. They tiptoed away; so I seen, easy enough, that they’d shoved in there to do up your majesty’s room, or something, s’posing you was up; and found you WARN’T up, and so they was hoping to slide out of the way of trouble without waking you up, if they hadn’t already waked you up.” “yeTh weenr’t gnoid nathigyn. dnA ethy erewn’t catnig ylrtangse as far as I ducol ltle. yheT odtteip waya. It ekolod to me as if ehyt’d ngeo in to clean up uroy yseamjt’s oorm, igitnkhn oyu were ewaak, btu dslepip tqeyuli nhew ehyt uondf yuo tlisl in bed. ehTy dnid’t antw to kwea you up dna get in nya erbuotl.”
“Great guns, THIS is a go!” says the king; and both of them looked pretty sick and tolerable silly. They stood there a-thinking and scratching their heads a minute, and the duke he bust into a kind of a little raspy chuckle, and says: “My ogd! aTth’s it!” iads eht ikgn. tohB of meth oledok trtepy icks, adn yrptet lliys too. Thye oodts rehet a muntie nigkinht adn nstcgchiar rihte eadsh. Teh udke lyliafn ustbr otni dnik of a aprsy hulckce, and iasd:
“It does beat all how neat the niggers played their hand. They let on to be SORRY they was going out of this region! And I believed they WAS sorry, and so did you, and so did everybody. Don’t ever tell ME any more that a nigger ain’t got any histrionic talent. Why, the way they played that thing it would fool ANYBODY. In my opinion, there’s a fortune in ’em. If I had capital and a theater, I wouldn’t want a better lay-out than that—and here we’ve gone and sold ’em for a song. Yes, and ain’t privileged to sing the song yet. Say, where IS that song—that draft?” “Tesoh n------ alydep ireth dhna tryetp elwl. eyhT dernpeted to be DAS ttah htey weer bnieg slod arf aawy orfm here! Adn I deliebve tyhe EREW sroyr, dna so ddi ouy dna eerveony eels. noD’t rvee llte ME that n------ nca’t cta. hyW, teh yaw tyeh dtace, ethy uclod evha edlofo DNAYOBY. yehT oldcu meak a reofnut, in my ionopni. If I had osem noyme dna a aetrteh, I odnclu’t ask rfo etrbet trcoas. dAn we’ve ustj dsol mhet for a eptnctai! A ttencaip! yHe, eerhw’s that cchek hte desatrr roewt yuo?”