The "Gopher" tells McCall a story about his dog "Fuse"
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McCall relates the following story in his April 18, 1842 letter. Among other interesting points, the dialogue hints at the Gullah and Caribbean flavor of
John Horse's Black Seminole dialect:
In the evening, after supper, I was sitting at the fire in front of my tent, enjoying a good cigar, which was one of a box I had procured at Tampa from the Charlotte-Harbor Fishermen who brought a small cargo in one of their fishing-smacks direct from Havana, when the Gopher came strolling along, and saluting me with a 'Good even, Coptain,' (he always pronounces the first syllable
of the word as if written with an o,) he seated himself on the ground on the opposite side of the fire, and rolled the tobacco-smoke in a broad curl above his head. Observing that his dog, a great Indian cur, was seated in a very quiet and respectful attitude at his side, I opened the conversation with asking the name of his wolfish follower.
'He name "Fuse," sir,' was the reply.
'Fuse, Fuse, Fuse!' said I, mustering up my remaining knowledge of the Seminole tongue without success, 'what is that in English, John?'
'He English himself, sir.'
'How is that, John?'
'Why, sir, you see, when de dog was giv to me, he was a little puppy 'bout so big,' showing with his hands the length (about eight inches) of the juvenile wolfish cur. 'At dat same time I was courtin' for a wife, and all de gal fuse me, (refused me.) Dis so provoking to me, I git mad,-- and I call de dog "Fuse."'
McCall 400-1. ©
Part 3, Exile: l