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CLYE CLUR

Mammy 's white fol

Sampson, Emma Spe



Mammy's
White Folks



By

Emma Speed Sampson



Author of
"Billy and the Major"




The Reilly & Lee Co.

Chicago



Copyright, 1919

by
The Reilly & Lee Co.



AU Rights Reserved



Made in U. 8. A.



Published October 30, 1919

Second Printing, November 3, 1919

Third Printing, March 15, 1920



Mammy's White Folks



CONTENTS

CHAPTB* PAGE

1 THE IWWBKRUPTING BABY 11

2 ACCEPTING THE MASCOT 24

3 WARM WATER AND MUSTARD 38

4 THE WILY GODMOTHER 45

5 MAMMY GETS A SURPRISE 53

6 JUSTIFYING A LIE 62

7 THE IMAGINARY PORTRAIT 75

8 A WONDERFUL BIRTHDAY 86

9 ESTBCIK MEETS A FAIRY PRINCE 96

10 BRANCHING OUT 113

11 DOCTOR- JIM DUDLEY 124

12 A FRDSNB IN NEED 134

13 THE TOO-PERFECT ATTENDANT 145

14 A MONOLOGUE ON LOVE 160

15 FINBINQ A NAMESAKE 168

16 A MOMENTOUS DECISION 185

17 ALMOBT A PROPOSAL 195

18 PLANNING FOR A CATCH 205

19 MAMMY LOSES HER WAY 212

20 THE IDENTIFICATION OF MRS. RICHARDS 222

21 A SATISFACTORY EXPLANATION 229

22 AN EMPTY HOUSEHOLD . . , 240



1824062



Contents

CHAPTER PAGE

23 DISGUISING A HOME -.-. 250

24 HER JOYFUL ARRIVAL 260

25 NOTHING THE SAME 269

26 THE PLAN OF PATIENCE 276

27 ESTHER AND JIM N 281

28 SETTING A TRAP 289

29 A PATIENT'S IDENTITY 297

30 THE UNBELIEVABLE STORY 304

31 ESTHER LEARNS THE TRUTH 310

32 CLEARING THE ATMOSPHERE 821

33 MAMMY'S JUSTIFICATION. . 331



Mammy's
White Folks



Mammy's White Folks




" Doc Andy, is you a rang yo' bell? "

" No, Mammy, I didn't ring."

" Well, I done hearn a bell a-janglin', an' fo'
Gawd I can't tell whicht one it is. Mus' a been
the win* an* rain. I never seed a house wif so
many bells, all a-soundin' alike. Fust I think
it is the phome, an' whin I takes down the lil
deceiver, all I kin make out is some gal a-sayin' :
'What number?' An' whin I says: ' Sebenty-
seben, Gyardin Street!' she jaw back wif * In-
f ermation ! * I reckon she take me f er some
fool what don' know whar I libs."

Dr. Wallace laughed as he dealt the cards,
and his two companions joined in. The old
woman looked curiously over the shoulder of
her master as the game went on.

Mammy was worried. As she watched the
play of the three men, disapproval was writ

11



12 Mammy's White Folks

in every feature of her worn old face. She
hated to see Doc Andy frittering away his
time in this fashion. She knew that patients
would not seek him out if he continued to travel
the down-hill path on which he had started.
Card-playing and drinking, as Mammy was
well aware, were not considered desirable re
commendations for a young physician.

Nor did Doc Andy's guests meet with much
favor in the old woman's eyes. True, she did
like solemn Peter Roche, but Peter was an
old college chum of Dr. Wallace. He was not
"one of them thar fly-by-nights," as Mammy
put it, " what never done a lick er wuck in
they lives."

" Mr. Peter," she would s&y, " is a gem'man.
He talks quiet an* dresses quiet an* looks lak
he's willin' ter leave a drap in the bottle mo'n
that there Stanley wif his loud talk an' red
neckercher an* his greedy th'oat."

Stanley was Mammy's pet aversion. She did
not like his roving black eyes and his small
white hands.

" Ain't got no use fer lil-handed men folks,"
she would say. " If'n they'd ever done any-
thin' wuth doin', I 'low they would a-biggened
up."

Andrew Wallace had shown great promise in



The Interrupting Baby 13

his youth in spite of an extreme shyness that
had always held him back at the crucial moment.
His greatest handicap was his fear of women.
He was afraid of all women that is, all but
Mammy. He declared that he would rather
starve than be a woman's doctor. Had he not
possessed a comfortable patrimony, undoubt
edly he would have starved. It made little dif
ference to the inhabitants of the southern city
to which he had come that he had graduated
with the highest honors from one of the best
medical colleges in the country. His experience
in New York hospitals meant nothing to them.
All they knew was that a bashful young man
had come to live in the old Grant house, with
a capable-looking old colored woman to keep
house for him. The doctor's new sign, recently
hung out, was a small and modest one. But it
was really not hung out at all, for it was sus
pended so far behind the vines and lilac bushes
that it could be found only after diligent search.
On that windy, rainy night in late March,
when the lilac leaves were beginning to make a
decided showing and the violets that bordered
the brick walk leading from the street to the
deep hospitable porch were making the air
sweet with their fragrance, the doctor and his
old servant had been established in the Grant



14 Mammy's White Folks

house about four months. Up to that time,
of pay patients he had none, but he had a
growing charity practice. Charity patients
could not object if their physician sat up more
than half the night playing poker with doubtful
companions, nor would they withdraw their
patronage if professional calls were made more
or less haphazardly.

Mammy was the only person who objected
to the doctor's manner of living. The charity
patients were sure to hold a monopoly of his
expert services so long as he kept to his mode
of life. Naturally they were not eager for a
reform. Most of the young men who dropped
in almost every night to enjoy a quiet little
game, or to moisten their parched throats with
Dr. Wallace's best bourbon, would have found
it difficult to conceal their chagrin had they
noticed in their host any yearning for a return
to the straight and narrow path. But wise old
Mammy knew full well that unlimited free
drinks would finally mean limited food and
fuel, clamoring collectors and loss of credit.

Not only did Mammy look with small love
on most of Doc Andy's friends, but she deeply
resented her young master's shyness with
women.

" No doctor ain't a gonter git along 'thout



The Interrupting Baby 15

women folks any mo'n preachers kin. Women
is allus a-thinkin' about they sick souls an'
bodies, an' when they ain't a-worryin' 'bout
they own, they is a-tryin' to heal some other
pusson's. It's allus physic or prayer wif women.
They is got ter hab doctors an' preachers, an'
doctors an' preachers is got ter hab them."

But Dr. Wallace either would or could not
overcome his terror of the fair sex. He man
aged to conceal it where charity patients were
concerned, by presenting a cold, stern exterior,
thereby scaring them until the wiser among them
learned that he was more afraid of them than
they were of him. Some of these women almost
worshipped the young doctor, with the kindly,
sympathetic mouth which he tried so hard to
make grim. Some of them even divined that he
was not happy and wondered why. Dr. Wal
lace had meant to make more of his youth and
his talents. His dream had been so much larger
than the reality this stupid existence with its
humdrum days and carnival nights.

But through it all, Mammy patiently waited,
serenely confident that sooner or later Doc
Andy would come to his senses and turn over a
new leaf.

While Dr. Wallace and his two guests played
slowly and silently, Mammy bustled in and out



16 Mammy's White Folks

of the room, pausing a moment now and then
at her master's side.

The host dealt the cards deftly, and the hig,
silent young man at his left opened up with a
small bet. Peter Roche was a slow and wary
player. Stanley, who sat on the doctor's right,
played quickly and recklessly. The furtive
eagerness with which he glanced at his cards
was an indication that winning or losing meant
more to him than he cared to confess. Grasp
ing a huge pile of red and blue chips, he shoved
them into the center of the table.

" I see, Stanley, you are determined to break
me," declared Dr. Wallace gaily, placing his
last chip on the pile. " I reckon I'll have to
borrow from Peter. Don't go, Mammy, you
might bring me good luck."

"'Me bring you good luck, Doc Andy! I'd
er brung it long ergo if'n I could er. I's mo'
of er hoodoo, I's afeard."

The host helped himself from Peter's
pile.

" I call!" finally he cried.

He won. As he raked in the stacks of red,
white and blue chips, Peter smiled grimly at
the discomfiture of his fellow guest.

" Bluffing, as usual ! " he muttered under his
breath. Stanley's handsome black eyes glit-



The Interrupting Baby 17

tered greedily as his host gleefully piled up his
winnings.

"See, Mammy, what did I tell you? I had
awful luck all evening until you came in."

" No, sir, I nebber bringed no good luck,"
grumbled the old negress, " mus* be somebody
else. But listen! Ain't dat a bell a-janglin? "

" I don't hear anything."

" Well, I hearn sompen, an I's gonter keep
on perusin' roun' til I fin' out what it is."

" Get a bottle first ! " demanded Stanley, but
the old woman marched off without a backward
glance, every line of her erect figure and
bandana-kerchiefed head plainly indicating that
she took orders from nobody but her master.

" I wouldn't stand for her impertinence a
minute," said Stanley, resentfully.

" Impertinence! Mammy impertinent to me!
Why, man, she has raised me ! " declared the
host. " I couldn't get along five minutes with
out Mammy."

Mammy did not return at once. In fact, she
was gone so long that Dr. Wallace wondered if,
unconsciously, he had done something to offend
the dear old woman.

" Don't deal yet, Stanley, please ! Let me
pay my debts," he said, handing over the
stacked chips to Peter.



18 Mammy's White Folks

"Going to stop?" Stanley had a slight
sneer on liis lips.

" Certainly not not while I am the win
ner!"

" Perhaps we had better stop," Peter broke
his silence. " Doc doesn't often get a chance
to stop winner."

"Pooh, that's all right! But what is that
queer noise? It isn't a bell. Mammy," he
called, "what's that racket?"

No answer from Mammy, who was noisily
unlocking the front door It was Stanley's
deal. His small white hands fingered the
cards so rapidly that one could scarcely follow
his motions. Peter looked suspiciously at the
dealer as he flashed the cards from the pack.
Peter opened up with a small bet. He was
nothing of a plunger. He played the game of
poker with the same quiet caution that he
played the game of life. For several rounds
the betting was conservative and sensible. Sud
denly Stanley came in with an alarming increase.

" Let's whoop her up! "

" I think I'll drop out," was Peter's sane
decision. This time Stanley might not be
bluffing.

The host wearily counted out enough blue
chips for a small raise. He wished his guests



The Interrupting Baby 19

would quit and go home. He wished Mammy
would hurry up and get the door open, and
that the strange noise he kept on hearing would
stop.

Again Stanley came in with a big increase.
Dr. Wallace called him. Stanley showed his
disgust at the small amount of his certain win
nings as he laid on the table four smiling kings.

"Gee whillikens!" whistled Peter. "What
sense I did show in going when going was
good. You weren't bluffing after all."

The doctor spread out four aces. Stanley
had his hand curved ready to rake in the chips.
On his countenance was mingled astonishment
and rage.

Peter eyed him keenly. Could it be possible
that Stanley had stacked the deck so that he
might hold the four face cards, and was
defeated only by Andrew Wallace's phenomenal
luck? Peter had clumsy hands that fumbled
the cards, and he was inclined to suspect any
one who was so adroit as Stanley.

Mammy had succeeded at last in opening the
refractory door, and again that strange sound
filled the old house. Dr. Wallace jumped from
his chair, upsetting the card table. The chips,
red, white and blue, rolled over the floor. The
cards were scattered hither and yon. To the



20 Mammy's White Folks

practiced ear of a doctor there was no doubt
about that sound. When Mammy hurriedly
returned to the room with a squirming bundle
held close in her arms, her master was not
astonished.

" Look what some low flung pusson done lef '
on our do'step ! Lef it 'thout so much as ' by
yo' leave ! ' Wet as a rat, too ! "

She laid the bundle on the card table, which
Peter had righted, and with trembling hands
began unwrapping it, grumbling all the while.
The young men stood as though frozen. If
Mammy had been preparing to turn loose a
rattlesnake, they could not have looked more
frightened.

There were many layers around the bit of
humanity that had come among them; first, a
woman's blue-serge, rainsoaked jacket; then, a
piece of blanket; then, several yards of cheap
white flannelette and some bits of coarse lawn.

It was a girl. The stage of its redness made
Dr. Wallace and the knowing Mammy decide
that it could not be much more than a week
old. Such a tiny little girl she was, a philoso
pher, too, as the moment the wrappings were
removed she stopped the incessant wailing and
blinked at the company.

Everybody knows that babies do not hold out



The Interrupting Baby 21

their arms to be taken before they are two
weeks old, nor do they smile. You niay search
through all the baby diaries kept by fond
parents, and nowhere will you see that baby
held out her arms or smiled on the eighth or
even the ninth day. But Mammy would have
it that this little girl held out her arms to her
to be taken, and Doc Andy insisted that she
smiled a little three-cornered smile right in his
face as he bent over her. At any rate Mammy
took her, and the doctor treasured the little
crooked smile in his bashful heart.

" Lawd love us I Now ain't she peart ? Come
here ter yo* Mammy, sugar pie! She gonter
wrop you up warm an* snug."

As the old woman picked up the baby, some
thing fell from the folds of the flannel. Stan
ley sprang forward to get it, but Peter was
ahead of him. It looked like a bundle of legal
documents and that was in Peter's line. It
proved to be nothing more interesting than an
envelope of patterns, " Baby's First Clothes."

' Well, if the po' thing ain't been tryin' ter
make some baby clothes! She's already cut out
them lil white rags, an' I reckon this flannil is
fer pettiskirts. Po' thing! Po* thing! " Mammy
already had forgotten about the low flung
pusson.



22 Mammy's White Folks

'Yes, poor thing!" echoed the doctor.

" And so, you are not such a woman hater as
we have been led to believe!" exclaimed Stan
ley, who had been turning over the swaddling
rags as though searching for something. He
had even slipped his hand into the pockets of the
serge jacket.

" I couldn't hate a little fairy baby like thi^"
declared Dr. Wallace.

" I wasn't speaking of the baby but her
mother."

" Her mother! Who is her mother? "

" Oh, come now, Dr. Wallace! Don't play
the innocent. You are some years older than
this foundling, and so are we."

" I don't know what you are talking about
could you mean but surely not 1 " The doc
tor's face wore a blank look at the suggestion in
his guest's words and his insinuating glance.

"Yes, he means it!" cried Mammy. "He
means it 'caze he ain't got no decency hisse'f
an' he 'lows ev'ybody is lak him. I knows I is
a ol' black 'oman what ain't got no business a
sassin' white folks, but I aint a gonter sot here
an let no po' white trash call my young marster
out'n his name." The old woman's voice arose
almost to a scream.

"Mammy! Mammy! You mustn't say that,"



The Interrupting Baby 23

pleaded Dr. Wallace. " It was a jest on Mr.
Stanley's part."

"Jes' a lie! That's what it war. If'n it
warn't fer de sweetness and beautifulness er dis
lil lamb I'd be a thinkin' he war a-talkin' that
a way jes' ter put us off'n de track an' he was
'sposible fer de baby his own se'f, but Gawd
hisse'f couldn't a formed no miricle ekal ter
lettin' sech a debble be de paw er sech a angel."

" Mammy ! Mammy ! Please calm yourself.
Remember, he is my guest."

" He was the fust ter fergit it."

Stanley was somewhat nonplussed by the old
i regress's tirade, but Peter could not conceal
his mirth and delight at what he considered
Mammy's timely thrust.

" I guess I'll go," and Stanley sullenly took
his departure.

' Yes, an I guess you'll stay away, too,"
Peter muttered as the front door slammed.
' You didn't bother to settle up before
leaving."



Chapter 2
ACCEPTING THE MASCOT

" Doc Andy, I wanter hab a lil talk wif
you."

"All right, Mammy!"

It was the morning after the little creature
had been left on Dr. Wallace's doorstep, a
morning in late March. Everything seemed
swept and scrubbed by the wind and rain of
the night before. The young doctor had a
feeling that he, too, had undergone a kind of
spring cleaning. In the first place, he had
slept well, although he had rather expected
that the baby's crying would keep him awake.
Then, when morning came, he had awakened
with a clear brain and a buoyancy of spirits
that he had not known for months. He had
bounced out of bed, and a moment later
Mammy heard him whistling in his bath. The
old woman chuckled with joy and gave an
extra pat to the little form lying in the crib
she had improvised the night before. It was
an old trunk. She had fitted a feather pillow
in the tray, and there the mite had slept the

24



Accepting the Mascot 25

of one who had sought and found. Was
the mother sleeping, too?

" You lay still, honey, an' go on sleepin while
Mammy knocks up some waffles for Doe
Andy's brefkus. We women folks mus'n do
nothin' ter upset the men folks. He's up two
hours 'fo' he usually is, but that ain't nothin'
to we alls. We's gonter git his brefkus ready
an* say nothin' 'tall. We's gonter manage him,
ain't we, honey? You ain't gonter cry none,
at leas' not at the fust beginning. You's
gonter be sech a good lil baby, th' ain't nobody
hardly gonter know you's aroun'. If you is
good, an' the waffles is right an* crispy, an' the
sun goes on a shinin', then th' ain't nothin' me'n
you can't 'complish."

The sun had gone on shining, the waffles were
as perfect as only Mammy's waffles could be,
and the small interloper had gone on sleeping,
thereby showing the innate tact that Mammy
had hoped she possessed the tact to manage
men folks.

Breakfast was cleared away, and the master
followed his old servant to the kitchen at her
invitation. She felt that she could do her man
aging of men folks better back in her own
domain where she had undisputed sway. Then,
too, the baby was there, still peacefully sleep-,



26 Mammy's White Folks

ing in the trunk tray. The top of the trunk,
propped up with a stick of kindling, acted as
a wind shield, protecting the young baby from
the current of fresh, cool air that came through
the opened window.

" I jes' histed it a minute," explained
Mammy. " The angel Gabrul hisse'f couldn't
cook waffles 'thout some smudge an' smoke."

The kitchen in the old Grant house was a
very pleasant place in spite of the lingering
smell of burning fat. Andy had always liked
any kitchen where Mammy ruled. Ever since
he could remember he had been coming to the
kitchen to have a chat with the faithful soul.
He could recall the time, in the old days in Vir
ginia, when Mammy had been young not
much older than he was on that morning in
March and he had sat in a high chair in the
kitchen and she had made him little thimble-
biscuit and gingerbread boys. What a good
creature she was!

" How is the baby, Mammy? I hope she did
not keep you awake."

The doctor bent over the improvised cradle
and peeped gingerly at the bit of downy head
that showed above the patchwork quilt, Mam
my's best log-cabin pattern, which she had
donated unhesitatingly to the cause.



Accepting the Mascot 27

" Keep me awake ! Why, Doc Andy, she
is the bes' lil sleeper you ever seed, an* she
lap up her milk jes' lak a pig. I done foun'
that a baby what sleeps, eats; an' a baby what
eats, sleeps. You done both from the time you
was bawn, an' this here chil' does the same."

" I'm glad of that, Mammy. I couldn't have
you kept awake."

" Well, as fer that, I wouldn't make no min*
if n I did. Me'n you's been a-sleepin too much
here lately. I reckon the good Gawd done
sent this baby chil' here to wake us up."

" Perhaps! " There was a flush on the young
man's cheek. " And now, Mammy, what is the
understanding we are to have? "

The old woman placed a chair for her young
master where he could see the ray of sunlight
that found its way through the crack in the old
trunk top and fell directly on baby's fluffy
crown.

" Ain't she got a sweet lil shape a-lyin' there
under the kivers? "

The doctor gazed thoughtfully at the child's
form showing in a blurred outline under the
quilt. It was a sweet little shape from the
downy crown to the curve of the back and on
to the foot, which asserted itself in a tiny hump.
There was something very appealing in that






28 Mammy's White Folks

helpless form, the lines so soft and flowing,
accented at certain points as though a great
artist had begun to draw a baby's figure and
with a few strokes of his charcoal had but indi
cated the proportions.

" Her bar is gonter be gol', shiny ' gol',"
declared Mammy. " I done look at it side
ways, an' I done look at it straight, an' which
ever way the light hits it, it sho do shine.
Her eyes is blue now, but they is lil gol'
flecks in 'em, an' that is a sho sign they is ter
turn brown. I is always 'lowed that the putties'
pussons of all is them what has brown eyes an'
goldin bar. Yo' maw was complected that way,
an' she was the putties' gal in the whole county.
They is right flirtified, they do say, but a gal
might be 'lowed ter flirt some."

The doctor smiled at the old woman's talk.

He felt she had something to get out of him

- what, he could not tell, but whatever it was, he

was sure she would not come to the point until

her own good time.

" You done had good luck las' night, didn't
you, Doc Andy? "

" In cards? Yes, good enough, but I think
I'll stop playing cards, Mammy."

" Praise Gawd, that's the bes' luck yit !
Looks like you done had a change er luck from



Accepting the Mascot 29

the minute I hearn the baby a-cryin that time
I kep' a-thinkin 'twar a bell a-ringing.
'Member?"

" Yes, I think you are right."

" An' this mornin' the gemman named Mr.
Carley what done move in the great house a
piece up here on Gyardin street done phomed
over fer you to come see his cook what is took
bad. 'Cose, I ain't thinkin' much 'bout folks
a-givin you the dirty wuck ter do, a callin' you
in fer niggers, but them folks is rich an' it
means they is willin ter pay. 'Tain't no cha'ity
call."

' Well, then I had better be going," laughed
the young man.

"No, sir, don't you be in no hurry!" inter
posed Mammy, quickly. " I done toF Mr.
Carley you had yo' office hour ter keep. I
wa'nt a gonter let no nigger cook think you
didn't hab nothin' ter do but sign her sick-
benefit cyard."

" Well, then, I'll finish my pipe."

"What I's a-thinkin' is I b'lieve this lil
lamb is what oF Marse Bob useter call a
muscat."

" A muscat? Oh, yes, a mascot! " suggested
Dr. Wallace, leaning over the baby to conceal
his grin.



so Mammy's White Folks

1 Yessir, a mascot ! Marse Bob done say
they bring look luck, them mascots, jes' so long
as they stay with you. An' now, Doc
Andy " and at this point the old woman
took on a pleading tone, and the doctor knew
she had at last come to the point " don't you
sen* this po' lil critter ter no orphamige she's
too sweet ter be brung up in them ol* long-
waisted print frocks with the slimiky skirts an'
pinched-in sleeves. She won't be no trouble
ter nobody but me, an* I ain't got a libin' thing
ter do, an* kin keep keer er her easy as dirt.
You won't sen' her away, will you, Doc Andy? "

This problem had been uppermost in Dr.
Wallace's mind when he dropped off to sleep
the night before, and it was first in his thoughts
when he awakened, but somehow it did not seem
to be a vexing problem, and he considered it
quite calmly. What should he do with the
baby? Should he report the matter to the police,
and have the woman tracked and made to take


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