LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 191
" What for, pussy ? Are you going to use him for a rattle-box, or a rocking-horse, or what ? "
" I want to make him happy."
" An original reason, certainly."
Here the trader handed up a certificate, signed by Mr. Shelby, which the young man took with the tips of his long fingers, and glanced over carelessly.
" A gentlemanly hand," he said, " and well spelt, too. Well, now, but I 'm not sure, after all, about this religion," said he, the old wicked expression returning to his eye ; " the country is almost ruined with pious white people: such pious politicians as we have just before elections, — such pious goings-on in all departments of church and state, that a fellow does not know who 11 cheat him next. I don't know, either, about religion's being up in the market, just now. I have not looked in the papers lately, to see how it sells. How many hundred dollars, now, do you put on for this religion ? " i
" You like to be a-jokin', now," said the trader ; " but, then, there 's sense under all that ar. I know there 's differences in religion. Some kinds is mis'rable : there 's your meetin' pious ; there 's your singin', roarin' pious ; them ar an't no account, in black or white ; — but these raily is; and I 've seen it in niggers as often as any, your rail softly, quiet, stiddy, honest pious, that the hull world could n't tempt 'em to do nothing that they thinks is wrong; and ye see in this letter what Tom's old master says about him."
" Now," said the young man, stooping gravely over his book of bills, " if you can assure me that I really can buy this kind of pious, and that it will be set down to my account in the book up above, as something belonging to me, I would n't care if I did go a little extra for it. How d' ye say ? "
" Wal, raily, I can't do that," said the trader. " I 'm a-thinkin' that every man '11 have to hang on his own hook, in them ar quarters."