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The Trustfulness Of Polly
by [?]

As the days went on how she counted her savings and exulted in their growth! She already saw herself decked out in her new gown, the envy and admiration of every woman in the neighborhood. She even began to wish that she had a full-length glass in order that she might get the complete effect of her own magnificence. So saving, hoping, dreaming, the time went on until a few days before the limit, and there was only about a dollar to be added to make the required amount. This she could do easily in the remaining time. So Polly was jubilant.

Now everything would have been all right and matters would have ended happily if Sam had only kept on at work. But, no. He must needs stop, and give his mind the chance to be employed with other things. And that is just what happened. For about this time, having nothing else to do, like that old king of Bible renown, he dreamed a dream. But unlike the royal dreamer, he asked no seer or prophet to interpret his dream to him. He merely drove his hand down into his inside pocket, and fished up an ancient dream-book, greasy and tattered with use. Over this he pored until his eyes bulged and his hands shook with excitement.

“Got ’em at last!” he exclaimed. “Dey ain’t no way fu’ dem to git away f’om me. I’s behind ’em. I’s behind ’em I tell you,” and then his face fell and he sat for a long time with his chin in his hand thinking, thinking.

“Polly,” said he when his wife came in, “d’you know what I dremp ’bout las’ night?”

“La! Sam Jackson, you ain’t gone to dreamin’ agin. I thought you done quit all dat foolishness.”

“Now jes’ listen at you runnin’ on. You ain’t never axed me what I dremp ’bout yit.”

“Hit don’ make much diffunce to me, less ‘n you kin dream ’bout a dollah mo’ into my pocket.”

“Dey has been sich things did,” said Sam sententiously. He got up and went out. If there is one thing above another that your professional dreamer does demand, it is appreciation. Sam had failed to get it from Polly, but he found a balm for all his hurts when he met Bob Davis.

“What!” exclaimed Bob. “Dreamed of a nakid black man. Fu’ de Lawd sake, Sam, don’ let de chance pass. You got ’em dis time sho’. I’ll put somep’n’ on it myse’f. Wha’d you think ef we’d win de ‘capital’?”

That was enough. The two parted and Sam hurried home. He crept into the house. Polly was busy hanging clothes on the roof. Where now are the guardian spirits that look after the welfare of trusting women? Where now are the enchanted belongings that even in the hands of the thief cry out to their unsuspecting owners? Gone. All gone with the ages of faith that gave them birth. Without an outcry, without even so much as a warning jingle, the contents of the blue jug and the embodied hope of a woman’s heart were transferred to the gaping pocket of Sam Jackson. Polly went on hanging up clothes on the roof.

Sam chuckled to himself: “She won’t never have a chanst to scol’ me. I’ll git de drawin’s early dis evenin’, an’ go ma’chin’ home wif a new silk fu’ huh, an’ money besides. I do’ want my wife waihin’ no white folks’ secon’-han’ clothes nohow. My, but won’t she be su’prised an’ tickled. I kin jes’ see huh now. Oh, mistah policy-sha’k, I got you now. I been layin’ fu’ you fu’ a long time, but you’s my meat at las’.”

He marched into the policy shop like a conqueror. To the amazement of the clerk, he turned out a pocketful of small coin on the table and played it all in “gigs,” “straddles and combinations.”

“I’ll call on you about ha’ pas’ fou’, Mr. McFadden,” he announced exultantly as he went out.

“Faith, sor,” said McFadden to his colleague, “if that nagur does ketch it he’ll break us, sure.”

Sam could hardly wait for half-past four. A minute before the time he burst in upon McFadden and demanded the drawings. They were handed to him. He held his breath as his eye went down the column of figures. Then he gasped and staggered weakly out of the room. The policy sharks had triumphed again.

Sam walked the streets until nine o’clock that night. He was afraid to go home to Polly. He knew that she had been to the jug and found–. He groaned, but at last his very helplessness drove him in. Polly, with swollen eyes, was sitting by the table, the empty jug lying on its side before her.

“Sam,” she exclaimed, “whaih’s my money? Whaih’s my money I been wo’kin’ fu’ all dis time?”

“Why–Why, Polly–“

“Don’ go beatin’ ‘roun’ de bush. I want ‘o know whaih my money is; you tuck it.”

“Polly, I dremp–“

“I do’ keer what you dremp, I want my money fu’ my dress.”

His face was miserable.

“I thought sho’ dem numbers ‘u’d come out, an’–“

The woman flung herself upon the floor and burst into a storm of tears. Sam bent over her. “Nemmine, Polly,” he said. “Nemmine. I thought I’d su’prise you. Dey beat me dis time.” His teeth clenched. “But when I ketch dem policy sha’ks–“