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Chesnutt in the Classroom

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Appreciation

OLD PILGRIM GAINEY moved to the North several years ago, and the people of our Missouri town had almost forgotten him, when he turned up again the other day. I met him on the corner by the Market-house.

"Hello, Uncle Pilgrim! You 're back home again, are you? You 've come on a visit, I suppose?"

"No, sah--no, sah--I ain't come on no visit, sah; I 's come ter stay."

"How did you like the North, Uncle Pilgrim?"

"Well--er--jes' middlin', Mistah Dixon, jes' middlin'."

"Did n't you get along well up there?"

"Jes' middlin' well-middlin' well."

"Get good wages?"

"Yas, I s'pose I got good wages. I made twice as much es I does heah."

"You could vote as you pleased, could n't you?"

"O, Lawd, yas! Why, dey runs cullu'd men fuh de legislatur' on de Dimicratic ticket up dar!"

"Up there you had civil rights, didn't you? Your children went to school with the white children? You could stop at the hotels, ride in first-class cars, and sit in any part of the theatres and churches, could n't you?"

"Well, 'bout de chil'en, I did n' had none. 'Bout de chu'ches, I nevah went ter no white chu'ches. But I b'leeves dat dem as has de money doan hab no trouble 'bout gittin' what dey wants."

I don't see why you don't like the North, Uncle Pilgrim?"

"Well, I tell yer jes' how it is, Mistah Dixon. Yer kin git plenty wu'k, an' big pay, an' yer has all de privilege yer wants; but de rale fac' is, dat cullu'd people ain't 'preciated at de Norf. Dat 's what 's de mattah!"

Just then, young Tom Macmillan came up behind the old man, knocked his hat off, and saluted him with a playful kick.

"Look a' heah, Marse Tom, you stop dat now!" said Pilgrim with a delighted grin, which displayed all his wealth of ivory: "Is yer got any terbacker, Marse Tom?"

Tom tossed the old man a half-plug of chewing tobacco.

"Now, dat 's what I calls 'preciation," said Uncle Pilgrim, filling his mouth with the savory weed: "I nevah had dat much tabacker give ter me all de time I wus at de Norf!"