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Chad's Story of the Goose by F. Hopkinson Smith

The following is the complete text of F. Hopkinson Smith's Chad's Story of the Goose. The various books, short stories and poems we offer are presented free of charge with absolutely no advertising as a public service from Internet Accuracy Project.

Also visit Colonel Carter's Story of the Postmaster by F. Hopkinson Smith.

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Warning: Be aware that this classic short story contains language that may be very offensive to many readers.


Chad's Story of the Goose by F. Hopkinson Smith

CHAD'S STORY OF THE GOOSE

BY F. HOPKINSON SMITH


I nodded my head, and Chad closed the door softly, taking with him a small cup and saucer, and returning in a few minutes followed by that most delicious of all aromas, the savory steam of boiling coffee.

"My Marsa John," he continued, filling the cup with the smoking beverage, "never drank nuffin' but tea, eben at de big dinners when all de gemmen had coffee in de little cups--dat's one ob 'em you's drinkin' out ob now; dey ain't mo' dan fo' on 'em left. Old marsa would have his pot ob tea: Henny use' ter make it for him; makes it now for Miss Nancy.

"Henny was a young gal den, long 'fo' we was married. Henny b'longed to Colonel Lloyd Barbour, on de next plantation to ourn.

"Mo' coffee, Major?" I handed Chad the empty cup. He refilled it, and went straight on without drawing breath.

"Wust scrape I eber got into wid old Marsa John was ober Henny. I tell ye she was a harricane in dem days. She come into de kitchen one time where I was helpin' git de dinner ready, an' de cook had gone to de spring house, an' she says:

"'Chad, what ye cookin' dat smells so nice?'

"'Dat's a goose,' I says, 'cookin' for Marsa John's dinner. We got quality,' says I, pointin' to de dinin'-room do'.

"'Quality!' she says. 'Spec' I know what de quality is. Dat's for you an' de cook.'

"Wid dat she grabs a caarvin' knife from de table, opens de do' ob de big oven, cuts off a leg ob de goose, an' dis'pears round de kitchen corner wid de leg in her mouf.

"'Fo' I knowed whar I was Marsa John come to de kitchen do' an' says, 'Gittin' late, Chad; bring in de dinner.' You see, Major, dey ain't no up an' down stairs in de big house, like it is yer; kitchen an' dinin'-room all on de same flo'.

"Well, sah, I was scared to def, but I tuk dat goose an' laid him wid de cut side down on de bottom of de pan 'fo' de cook got back, put some dressin' an' stuffin' ober him, an' shet de stove do'. Den I tuk de sweet potatoes an' de hominy an' put 'em on de table, an' den I went back in de kitchen to git de baked ham. I put on de ham an' some mo' dishes, an' marsa says, lookin' up:

"'I t'ought dere was a roast goose, Chad.'

"'I ain't yerd nothin' 'bout no goose,' I says, 'I'll ask de cook.'

"Next minute I yerd old marsa a-hollerin':

"'Mammy Jane, ain't we got a goose?'

"'Lord-a-massy! yes, marsa. Chad, you wu'thless nigger, ain't you tuk dat goose out yit?'

"'Is we got a goose?' said I.

"'
Is we got a goose? Didn't you help pick it?'

"I see whar my hair was short, an' I snatched up a hot dish from de hearth, opened de oven do', an' slide de goose in jes as he was, an' lay him down befo' Marsa John.

"'Now see what de ladies'll have for dinner,' says old marsa, pickin' up his caarvin' knife.

"'What'll you take for dinner, miss?' says I. 'Baked ham?'

"'No,' she says, lookin' up to whar Marsa John sat; 'I think I'll take a leg ob dat goose'--jes so.

"Well, marsa, cut off de leg an' put a little stuffin' an' gravy on wid a spoon, an' says to me, 'Chad, see what dat gemman'll have.'

"'What'll you take for dinner, sah?' says I. 'Nice breast o' goose, or slice o' ham?'

"'No; I think I'll take a leg of dat goose,' he says.

"I didn't say nuffin', but I knowed bery well he wa'n't a-gwine to git it.

"But, Major, you oughter seen ole marsa lookin' for der udder leg ob dat goose! He rolled him ober on de dish, dis way an' dat way, an' den he jabbed dat ole bone-handled caarvin' fork in him an' hel' him up ober de dish an' looked under him an' on top ob him, an' den he says, kinder sad like:

"'Chad, whar is de udder leg ob dat goose?'

"'It didn't hab none,' says I.

"'You mean ter say, Chad, dat de gooses on my plantation on'y got one leg?'

"'Some ob 'em has an' some ob 'em ain't. You see, marsa, we got two kinds in de pond, an' we was a little boddered to-day, so Mammy Jane cooked dis one 'cause I cotched it fust.'

"'Well,' said he, lookin' like he look when he send for you in de little room, 'I'll settle wid ye after dinner.'

"Well, dar I was shiverin' an' shakin' in my shoes, an' droppin' gravy an' spillin' de wine on de table-cloth, I was dat shuck up; an' when de dinner was ober he calls all de ladies an' gemmen, an' says, 'Now come down to de duck pond. I'm gwineter show dis nigger dat all de gooses on my plantation got mo' den one leg.'

"I followed 'long, trapesin' after de whole kit an' b'ilin', an' when we got to de pond"--here Chad nearly went into a convulsion with suppressed laughter--"dar was de gooses sittin' on a log in de middle of dat ole green goose-pond wid one leg stuck down so, an' de udder tucked under de wing."

Chad was now on one leg, balancing himself by my chair, the tears running down his cheek.

"'Dar, marsa,' says I, 'don't ye see? Look at dat ole gray goose! Dat's de berry match ob de one we had to-day.'

"Den de ladies all hollered, an' de gemmen laughed so loud dey yerd 'em at de big house.

"'Stop, you black scoun'rel!' Marsa John says, his face gittin' white an' he a-jerkin' his handkerchief from his pocket. 'Shoo!'

"Major, I hope to have my brains kicked out by a lame grasshopper if ebery one ob dem gooses didn't put down de udder leg!

"'Now, you lyin' nigger,' he says, raisin' his cane ober my head, 'I'll show you'--

"'Stop, Marsa John!' I hollered; ''t ain't fair, 't ain't fair.'

"'Why ain't it fair?' says he.

"''Cause,' says I, 'you didn't say "Shoo!" to de goose what was on de table'."

Chad laughed until he choked.

"And did he thrash you?"

"Marsa John? No, sah. He laughed loud as anybody; an' den dat night he says to me as I was puttin' some wood on de fire:

"'Chad, where did dat leg go?' An' so I ups an' tells him all about Henny, an' how I was lyin' 'case I was 'feared de gal would git hurt, an' how she was on'y a-foolin', thinkin' it was my goose; an' den de ole marsa look in de fire for a long time, an' den he says:

"'Dat's Colonel Barbour's Henny, ain't it, Chad?'

"'Yes, marsa,' says I.

"Well, de next mawnin' he had his black horse saddled, an' I held the stirrup for him to git on, an' he rode ober to de Barbour plantation, an' didn't come back till plumb black night. When he come up I held de lantern so I could see his face, for I wa'n't easy in my mine all day. But it was all bright an' shinin' same as a' angel's.

"'Chad,' he says, handin' me de reins, 'I bought yo' Henny dis arternoon from Colonel Barbour, an' she's comin' ober to-morrow, an' you can bofe git married next Sunday.'"



~~~~~~~ THE END ~~~~~~~

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