A TEARFUL SUBJECT.
" Well, you try it, anyway. Some other prisoners has done it.''
" One er dem big cat-tail-lookin' mullen-stalks would grow in heah, Mars Tom, I reck'n, but she wouldn' be wuth half de trouble she'd coss."
" Don't you believe it. We'll fetch you a little one, and you plant it in the corner, over there, and raise it. And don't call it mullen, call it Pitchiola— that's its right name, when it's in a prison. And you want to water it with your tears."
" Why, I got plenty spring water, Mars Tom."
" You don't want spring water ; you want to water it with your tears. It's the way they always do."
" Why, Mars Tom, I lay I kin raise one er dem mullen-stalks twyste wid spring water whiles another man's a start'n one wid tears."
" That ain't the idea. You got to do it with tears."
" She'll die on my han's, Mars Tom, she sholy will; kase I doan' skasely ever cry."
So Tom was stumped. But he studied it over, and then said Jim would have to worry along the best he could with an onion. He promised he would go to the nigger cabins and drop one, private, in Jim's coffee-pot, in the morning. Jim said he would " jis' 's soon have tobacker in his coffee ;" and found so much fault with it, and with the work and bother of raising the mullen, and jews-harping the rats, and petting and flattering up the snakes and spiders and things, on top of all the other work he had to do on pens, and inscriptions, and journals, and things, which made it more trouble and worry and responsibility to be a prisoner than anything he ever undertook, that Tom most