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Uncle Simon’s Sundays Out
by [?]

“No, no, Mas’ Gawge, I don’t ezzactly want to ‘sign, but I’d jes’ lak to have a few Sundays off.”

“A few Sundays off! Well, now, I do believe that you are crazy. What on earth put that into your head?”

“Nuffin’, Mas’ Gawge, I wants to be away f’om my Sabbaf labohs fu’ a little while, dat’s all.”

“Why, what are the hands going to do for some one to exhort them on Sunday. You know they’ve got to shout or burst, and it used to be your delight to get them stirred up until all the back field was ringing.”

“I do’ say dat I ain’ gwine try an’ do dat some mo’, Mastah, min’ I do’ say dat. But in de mean time I’s got somebody else to tek my place, one dat I trained up in de wo’k right undah my own han’. Mebbe he ain’ endowed wif de sperrit as I is, all men cain’t be gifted de same way, but dey ain’t no sputin’ he is powahful. Why, he can handle de Scriptures wif bof han’s, an’ you kin hyeah him prayin’ fu’ two miles.”

“And you want to put this wonder in your place?”

“Yes, suh, fu’ a while, anyhow.”

“Uncle Simon, aren’t you losing your religion?”

“Losin’ my u’ligion? Who, me losin’ my u’ligion! No, suh.”

“Well, aren’t you afraid you’ll lose it on the Sundays that you spend out of your meeting-house?”

“Now, Mas’ Gawge, you a white man, an’ you my mastah, an’ you got larnin’. But what kin’ o’ argyment is dat? Is dat good jedgment?”

“Well, now if it isn’t, you show me why, you’re a logician.” There was a twinkle in the eye of George Marston as he spoke.

“No, I ain’ no ‘gician, Mastah,” the old man contended. “But what kin’ o’ u’ligion you spec’ I got anyhow? Hyeah me been sto’in’ it up fu’ lo, dese many yeahs an’ ain’ got enough to las’ ovah a few Sundays. What kin’ o’ u’ligion is dat?”

The master laughed, “I believe you’ve got me there, Uncle Simon; well go along, but see that your flock is well tended.”

“Thanky, Mas’ Gawge, thanky. I’ll put a shepherd in my place dat’ll put de food down so low dat de littles’ lambs kin enjoy it, but’ll mek it strong enough fu’ de oldes’ ewes.” And with a profound bow the old man went down the steps and hobbled away.

As soon as Uncle Simon was out of sight, George Marston threw back his head and gave a long shout of laughter.

“I wonder,” he mused, “what crotchet that old darkey has got into his head now. He comes with all the air of a white divine to ask for a vacation. Well, I reckon he deserves it. He had me on the religious argument, too. He’s got his grace stored.” And another peal of her husband’s laughter brought Mrs. Marston from the house.

“George, George, what is the matter. What amuses you so that you forget that this is the Sabbath day?”

“Oh, don’t talk to me about Sunday any more, when it comes to the pass that the Reverend Simon Marston wants a vacation. It seems that the cares of his parish have been too pressing upon him and he wishes to be away for some time. He does not say whether he will visit Europe or the Holy Land, however, we shall expect him to come back with much new and interesting material for the edification of his numerous congregation.”

“I wish you would tell me what you mean by all this.”

Thus adjured, George Marston curbed his amusement long enough to recount to his wife the particulars of his interview with Uncle Simon.

“Well, well, and you carry on so, only because one of the servants wishes his Sundays to himself for awhile? Shame on you!”

“Mrs. Marston,” said her husband, solemnly, “you are hopeless–positively, undeniably, hopeless. I do not object to your failing to see the humor in the situation, for you are a woman; but that you should not be curious as to the motives which actuate Uncle Simon, that you should be unmoved by a burning desire to know why this staunch old servant who has for so many years pictured hell each Sunday to his fellow-servants should wish a vacation–that I can neither understand nor forgive.”