"Doing" A Sheriff
Many persons in the county of Hall, State of Georgia, recollect a queer old customer who used to visit the county site regularly on general muster days and court week. His name was Joseph Johnson, but he was universally known as Uncle Josey. The old man, like many others of that and the present day, loved his dram, and was apt, when he got among the boys in town, to take more than he could conveniently carry. His inseparable companion on all occasions was a black pony, who rejoiced in the name of General Jackson, and whose diminutiveness and sagacity were alike remarkable.
One day, while court was in session in the little village of Gainesville, the attention of the judge and bar was attracted by a rather unusual noise at the door. Looking towards that aperture, his honour discovered the aforesaid pony and rider deliberately entering the hall of justice. This, owing to the fact that the floor of the courthouse was nearly on a level with the ground, was not difficult.
Mr. Sheriff, said the judge, see who is creating such a disturbance of this court.
Its only Uncle Josey and Ginral Jackson, judge, said the intruder, looking up with a drunken leerjest me an the Ginral come to see how you an the boys is gettin along.
Well, Mr. Sheriff, said the judge, totally regardless of the interest manifested in his own and the lawyers behalf by Uncle Josey, you will please collect a fine of ten dollars from Uncle Josey and the General, for contempt of court.
Look a-here, judge, old feller, continued Uncle Josey, as he stroked the Ginrals mane, you dont mean to say it, now, do yer? This child haint had that much money in a coons age; and as for the Ginral here, I know he dont deal in no kind of quine, which he haint done, cept fodder and corn, for these many years.
Very well, then, Mr. Sheriff, continued his honour, in default of the payment of the fine, you will convey the body of Joseph Johnson to the county gaol, there to be retained for the space of twenty-four hours.
Now, judge, you aint in right down good yearnest, is you? Uncle Josey haint never been put into that there boardin-house yet, which he dont want to be, neither, appealed the old man, who was apparently too drunk to know whether it was a joke or not.
The sheriff will do his duty immediately, was the judges stern reply, who began to tire of the old mans drunken insolence. Accordingly, Uncle Josey and the Ginral were marched off towards the county prison, which stood in a retired part of the village. Arriving at the door, the prisoner was commanded by the sheriff to light.
Look a-here, Jess, horse-fly, you aint a-gwine to put yer old uncle Josey in there, is yer?
Bliged to do it, Uncle Josey, replied the sheriff. Ef I dont, the old man [the judge] will give me goss when I go back. I hate it powerful, but I must do it.
But, Jess, couldnt you manage to let the old man git away? Thar aint nobody here to see you. Now, do, Jess. You know how I fit for you in that last run you had longer Jim Smith, what like to a beat you for sheriff, which he would a done it, if it hadnt been for yer uncle Joseys influence.
I know that, Uncle Josey, but thar aint no chance. My oath is very pinted against allowin anybody to escape. So you must go in, cos thar aint no other chance.
I tell you what it is, Jess: Im afeard to go in thar. Looks too dark and dismal.
Thar aint nothing in thar to hurt you, Uncle Josey, which thar haint been for nigh about six months.
Yes, thar is, Jess. You cant fool me that a-way. I know thar is somethin in thar to ketch the old man.
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