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|The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson||Mark Twain|
Marse Tom Tramples His Chance
|Page 6 of 7||
He held out the wildcat bill; she stood as she was, and made no movement. It was her turn to scorn persuasive foolery now, and she did not waste it. She said, with a grim implacability in voice and manner which made Tom almost realize that even a former slave can remember for ten minutes insults and injuries returned for compliments and flatteries received, and can also enjoy taking revenge for them when the opportunity offers:
"What does I know? I'll tell you what I knows, I knows enough to bu'st dat will to flinders--en more, mind you, _more!_"
Tom was aghast.
"More?" he said, "What do you call more? Where's there any room for more?"
Roxy laughed a mocking laugh, and said scoffingly, with a toss of her head, and her hands on her hips:
"Yes!--oh, I reckon! _co'se_ you'd like to know--wid yo' po' little ole rag dollah. What you reckon I's gwine to tell _you_ for?-- you ain't got no money. I's gwine to tell yo' uncle--en I'll do it dis minute, too--he'll gimme FIVE dollahs for de news, en mighty glad, too."
She swung herself around disdainfully, and started away. Tom was in a panic. He seized her skirts, and implored her to wait. She turned and said, loftily:
"Look-a-heah, what 'uz it I tole you?"
"You--you--I don't remember anything. What was it you told me?"
"I tole you dat de next time I give you a chance you'd git down on yo' knees en beg for it."
Tom was stupefied for a moment. He was panting with excitement. Then he said:
"Oh, Roxy, you wouldn't require your young master to do such a horrible thing. You can't mean it."
"I'll let you know mighty quick whether I means it or not! You call me names, en as good as spit on me when I comes here, po' en ornery en 'umble, to praise you for bein' growed up so fine and handsome, en tell you how I used to nuss you en tend you en watch you when you 'uz sick en hadn't no mother but me in de whole worl', en beg you to give de po' ole nigger a dollah for to get her som'n' to eat, en you call me names--_names_, dad blame you! Yassir, I gives you jes one chance mo', and dat's _now_, en it las' on'y half a second--you hear?"
Tom slumped to his knees and began to beg, saying:
"You see I'm begging, and it's honest begging, too! Now tell me, Roxy, tell me."
The heir of two centuries of unatoned insult and outrage looked down on him and seemed to drink in deep draughts of satisfaction. Then she said:
"Fine nice young white gen'l'man kneelin' down to a nigger wench! I's wanted to see dat jes once befo' I's called. Now, Gabr'el, blow de hawn, I's ready . . . Git up!"
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|The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson
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