Business in Mississippi

by Irwin Russell

Irwin Russell

Why , howdy, Mahsr Johnny! Is you gone to keepin' store?
Well, sah, I is surprised! I nebber heard ob dat atore.
Say, ain't you gwine to gib me piece o' good tobacco, please?
I's 'long wid you in Georgia, time we all wuz refugees.

I know'd you would; I alluz tells the people, white an' black,
Dat you's a r'al gen'l'man, an' dat's de libin' tac' —
Yes, sah, dat's what I tells 'em, an' it's nuffin else but true,
An' all de cullud people thinks a mighty heap ob you.

Look heah, sah, don't you want to buy some cotton? Yes, you do;
Dere's oder people wants it, but l'd rader sell to you.
How much? Oh, jes a bale — dat on de wagon in de street —
Dis heah's de sample, — dis cotton's mighty hard to beat!

You'll fin' it on de paper, what de offers is dat's made;
Dey's all de same seditions, — half in cash, half in trade.
Dey's mighty low, sah; come, now, can't you 'prove upon de rates
Dat Barrot Brothers offers — only twelb an' seben-eights?

Lord, Mahsr Johnny, raise it! Don't you know dat I's a frien',
An' when I has de money I is willin' fur to spen'?
My custom's wuff a heap, sah; jes you buy de bale an' see.
Dere didn't nebber nobody lose nuffin off ob me.

Now, what's de use ob gwine dere an' a-zaminin' ob de bale?
When people trades wid me dey alluz gits an hones' sale;
I ain't no han' fur cheatin'; I beliebes in actin' fa'r,
An' ebry-body'll tell you dey alluz foun' me squar.

I isn't like some niggers; I declar' it is a shame
De way some ob dem swin'les — What! de cotton ain't de same
As dat's in de sample! well, l'm blest, sah ef it is!
Dis heah must be my brudder's sample — Yes, sah, dis is his.

If dat don't beat creation! Heah I've done been totin' 'round
A sample different from de cotton! I — will — be — consound!
Mahsr Johnny, you must scuse me. Take de cotton as it stan's,
An' tell me ef you're willin' fur to take it off my han's.

Sho! nebber min' de auger! 'tain't a bit o' use to bore;
De bate is all de same's dis heah place de baggin's tore;
You oughtn't to go pullin' out de cotton dat a-way;
It spites de beauty ob de — What, sah! rocks in dar, you say!

Rocks in dat ar cotton! How de debbil kin dat be?
I packed dat bale myse'f — hol' on a minute, le' — me — see —
My stars! I mus' be crazy! Mahsr Johnny, dis is fine!
I's gone an' hauled my brudder's cotton in, instead ob mine!

Last updated September 05, 2017