Our Favorite Nigger(1)
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Our Favorite Nigger(1)

Every morning his brothers had to struggle to get him up.

Always the same dilemma...

During the planting and also in harvest time.

In fact, because of this daily repetition of such an irritating nuisance, they swore to themselves and to each other, make him to desist of the pursuit of the enlightened men' roads.

The expression, we're quite sure, it may sound strange, even hilarious if the origin of this denomination is ignored. However, as an illustrated man would assert, there're a few human affairs which have not a rational explanation..., even if the creators of the phrase only knew a few letter of the alphabet.

And yes, when they agreed -after a very reconcentrated intellective effort-, and the premise was whispered by each of their voices, they had the dim vision of a less annoying morning routine.

The next dawn, females and males of the familiy, as they recalled the discussion of the previous day, forgot about the endemic frugality of the breakfast. They devoted to the task, especially the women of the house, to hide the books which according to their opinion, were the cause of the whole damage.

And also such harmonious reaction had also been expressed when as an infant of his Mom's dry breasts, he'd stammered what intended to be a word.

That time one of the brothers said, with a note of excitement in his remarks, that he had heard the child to pronounce the syllable ma after dinner.

May be it was exaggerated, but it is true that Mom wept tenderly when she knew it.

What about Dad?

What we know is that there's a real suspicion that he was hidden when he really struggled against the sobs.

By the time the child had pronounced the blessed syllable, he was still a nameless boy. The usual thing consisted in calling him thru playful nicknames. And when they suspected of the incovenience of naming the child in such a heterodox form, were divided into two antagonistic groups and each one of them pleaded for the responsability of giving him a name.

During the baptism ceremony the brotherly harmony was next to be irreversibly damaged by the controversy of the name...

And when the Minister uttered aloud Virgil as the definitive name, those ones who had chosen Isaias, smiled with deep disappointment beating up and down their bloodstream.

There was a celebration, and those ones in the neighborhood who did not look at them warily gathered around. They drank, and then the Minister, as the candlelights were dying in their wicks, had to send them to sleep. Had to get up before the dawn; and when the light was extinguished, many of them knew for first time in life about the dizziness and nausea...

Nobody dares to say that the grief at the Dad's death had been assimilated by the time Virgil took his first footsteps by himself.

We saw them at the church during the Sunday service.

Virgil,next to Mom, crying or smiling at the humility of his world, was the reason for which the eyes of brothers and sisters were shining with the most vivid and fraternal tenderness at the simple sight of him.

Also there had been some arguments for the caring of the infant.

Sisters took the best share of this task.

Brothers ,usually at the corn fields- when they came home, little Virgil was already in bed. But from Saturday's noon 'till Sunday's dusk the child was left in charge of them. And despite the rudiments of poverty, they managed to make him as happy as they could.

Scarcely dressed, Virgil raced to and fro, yelling the innocence of his happiness

Mom used to get annoy for this peculiarity.

Then she required the Minister's help so that he might admonish her sons about this amusement. Although it satisfied her the clerical's exclusive attention, she was not certain when the Minister replied that such a habit did not have none harmful consequence for the boy. And she only smiled, for she couldn't understand, when the Minister, ending up his comments, said the words euphemism and Spartan habit.

How to know if this had as a consequence certain Virgil's reaction.

His brothers and sisters hardly recognized themselves through such behaviour. Dociles and submissives, they'd never have dared to reply a disdainful comment underestimating their dignity...

They knew quite well how and when they had to keep their heads down.

As mere eye witnesses they were taught by Dad.

At first, their faces features twitched and their fists were clenched after the insulting impact was heard. On the contrary, Dad smiled, and very lowly, stammered some apology.

Despite they could not dig the uttered expressions, they were aware of the tone. And that tone was always contemptuously shouted; and with insistance only aimed to beat over flesh which had already been beaten long time ago...

As for Virgil... Damned Boy!

It was such a hard thing to make him to shup up his mouth!

At childhood any impertinent comment made by the child was considered with benevolence. The others, overwhelmed by the embarrassment and just follow the inveterate custom of keeping their heads down, got time to murmur a PaterNoster... Amighty Lord, merciful with them, could with the boy's naughtiness.

Virgil had already learnt to read by the time his brothers took him away to work with them at the cornfields.

It was when the blossoms spread its charming fragances and the mild breezes bring within its puff a fathomless confidence in the coming time.

Quite soon Virgil knew all the lyrics and melodies of the songs which were sung by the others while they're working.

A few time later the lad changed some parts of the verses for considering them a bit imbeciles. His brothers and the others workers -who performed such a repertory with a sort of liturgical contrition- punished the brand new impertinence with some reproachful looks...

By the end of the week the lyrics and melodies were sung just like the Virgil's way.

But were not only reproachful looks which eyed up and down Virgil's complexion when mom had to beg the Mr.Howthrone's forgiveness because of her younger son's diregard...

The cornfield's owner had heard Virgil to sing in a loud tone which, given the circumstances and good manners, was too provoking to be tolerated.

He mentioned in his chant the sound made by men working chained or at least what Mr. Howthrone thought he'd heard.

A minute later Virgil was grabbed from behind by an insurmountable strenght; he was beaten and also dragged for the ground.

Silently, afar of the scene, the Virgil's eldest brother sobbed. Scared by a threatening whip, kept on working...

But worst of all was Mom weeping and down on her knees at Mr.Howthorne's presence.

-Read devil's words, sir... Ain't a bad boy...

At night Mom returned home exultantly proud.

Her sons and daughters gathered at the darkest corner of the house, and swept away by the impotence, hardly knew how to react at that appearance... They had seen her in a devastating genuflection!

One of the boys found out a sort of thin stream of blood sliding down close her ear. He didn't say nothing as he was waiting another of his brother found out the injure.

During and after the dinner the thankfulness expressions to the Lord and Mr.Howthorne's benevolence, were the unique phrases heard at the table. And just like in his childhood, Virgil had been forgiven by the owner...

No one asked Mom for that thin stream bleeding from her ear. She didn't even mention it.

Virgil worked there for about two more harvest.

On a September morning, blowing hard a winter wind. he just simply dissapeared.

Street Talk

Kylie R  

That was an interesting read. What a sad ending!

  about 3 years ago
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