The Compromises of Life
brimstone an' trim'd with blue an' red flames. Then
he opened.  He commenced onto the sinners. He
threatened 'em orful, tried to skeer 'em with the wust
varmints he could think of, an' arter a while, he got
onto the subject of hell-sarpints, an' he dwelt on it.
He tole 'em how the ole hell-sarpints 'd sarve 'em ef
they didn't repent; how both hot an' cold they'd crawl
over their naked bodies; how they'd 'rap their tails
roun' their necks, poke their tongues down their throats,
an' hiss in their ears. I seed thet my time had come.
I had cotched seven or eight pot-bellied lizzards, an'
had 'em in a narrer bag thet I hlad made a purpose.
So, when he war a rarin' an' a tearin' an' a ravin' onto
his tip-toes, an' a-poundin' ov the pulpit, onbeknowns
to anybody I ontied my bag ov reptiles, put the mouf ov
hit onto the bottom ov his briches-leg, an' begun a
pinchin' ov their tails. Quick as gunpowder they all
took up his leg, makin' a noise like squirrels climbin' a
shell-bark hickory, or a sycamin'. He stopt rite in the
middle of the word 'damnation.'  He looked for an
instant like he were listenin' for somethin'. His ter-
rific features stopped the shoutin'. You could 'a' hearn
a cricket jump. Jess about this time one ov my liz-
zards pops his head out'n the parson's shirt-collar, wag-
gin' his ole brown neck an' surveyin' of the congrega-
shun. The parson seed it, an' it war too much for
him. He got his tongue, the old varmint, an' he cries:
'Pray for me, brethren! pray for me, sisteren! I is
'rastlin' with the arch enemy, rite now! Pray for me
an' save yerselves!  For the hell-sarpints hav' got

  I have abridged the details, which, though very
comic, are, it must be owned, very coarse. The book
abounds with similar burlesque. It is not real life,