In an instant Nimbus was in the midst of the swaying crowd, his strong arms dashing right and left until he stood beside the now terrified remonstrant. "Dar, dar, boys, no mo' ob dat," he cried, as he pushed the howling mass this way and that. "Jes you listen ter Bre'er 'Liab.
"Wal, Bre'er 'Liab, dey sed a heap, but de upshot on't all was dat de white folks hed jes made up dar min's ter run dis kentry, spite ob ebbery ting. Dey sed dat dey wuz all fixed up in ebbery county from ole Virginny clean ter Texas, an' dey wuz gwine ter teach de niggers dere place agin, ef dey hed ter kill a few in each county an' hang 'em up fer scarecrows jes dat 'ere way.
"Is anybody hurt?" "Not ez we knows on, 'cept two dat's lyin' on de groun' right h'yer by ye," said Nimbus. "Dead?" asked 'Liab, with a shudder. He tried to raise himself up but sank back with a groan. "Oh, Bre'er 'Liab! Bre'er 'Liab!" cried Nimbus, his distress overcoming his fear, "is you hurt bad?
The cripple stretched out both hands to his stalwart friend, and the tears which ran down his cheeks attested the sincerity of his words. Nimbus took his outstretched hands, held them in his own a moment, then went to the door, looked carefully about, came back again, and with some embarrassment said, "An' dat ain't all, Bre'er 'Liab. Jes' you look dar."
How I gwine ter know what's in dat paper, hey? Does you read all de papers yer signs, Squar' Nimbus? Not much, I reckons; but den you keeps de minister right h'yer ter han' tu read 'em for ye. Can't all ob us afford dat, Bre'er Nimbus." "Yah, yah, dat's so!" "Good for you, Berry!" from the crowd.
He dragged Nimbus through the crowd to intercept his wife, crying out as soon as they came near: "H'yer, you Sally Ann, what yer tinks now? H'yer's Bre'er Nimbus sez dat ef dat ole cuss, Marse Sykes, should happen ter turn us off, he's jest a gwine ter take us in bag an' baggage, traps, chillen and calamities, an' gib us de bes' de house affo'ds, an' wuk in de crap besides.
Let him alone fer dat. Yis, honey, I'se comin' d'reckly!" he shouted, as his wife called him from his own cabin. "Now Bre'er 'Liab, yer comes ter supper wid us. Lugena's jes' a callin' on't." "Oh, don't, Nimbus," said the other, shrinking away. "I can't! You jes send one of the chillen in with it, as usual."
"But think how much more freedom is worth to you. Here you are a voter, and I " "Bre'er 'Liab," exclaimed Nimbus, starting suddenly up, "what for you no speak 'bout dat afore. Swar to God I nebber tink on't not a word, till dis bressed minit. Why didn't yer say nuffin' 'bout bein' registered yo'self, eh? Yer knowed I'd a tuk yer ef I hed ter tote ye on my back, which I wouldn't.
Now, Miss Mollie, what yer s'pose hez come ob dat ar mule an' carryall? Dat's de question." "I'm sure I don't know, 'Gena, said Mollie thoughtfully. "Ner I don't know, nuther," was the response; "but it's jes my notion dat whar dey is, right dar yer'll fin' Nimbus an' Berry, an' not fur off from dem yer'll find Bre'er 'Liab." "You may be right," said her listener, musingly.
It was past midnight of the day succeeding the meeting, when Nimbus was awakened by a call at his front gate. Opening the door he called out: "Who's dar?" "Nobody but jes we uns, Bre'er Nimbus," replied the unmistakable voice of Berry. "H'yer we is, bag an' baggage, traps an' calamities, jest ez I tole yer. Call off yer dogs, ef yer please, an' come an' 'scort us in as yer promised.