Aunt Ailsey stirred wearily and crossed her swollen feet upon the hearth.
"Dar ain' nuttin' but a hoot owl dat'll sass you ter yo' face," she muttered, and, as she drew her pipe from her mouth, the gray smoke circled about her head.
The child edged nearer. "I want to speak to you, Aunt Ailsey," she said. She seized the withered hand and held it close in her own rosy ones. "I want you--O Aunt Ailsey, listen! I want you to conjure my hair coal black."
She finished with a gasp, and with parted lips sat waiting. "Coal black, Aunt Ailsey!" she cried again.
A sudden excitement awoke in the old woman's face; her hands shook and she leaned nearer. "Hi! who dat done tole you I could conjure, honey?" she demanded.
"Oh, you can, I know you can. You conjured back Sukey's lover from Eliza Lou, and you conjured all the pains out of Uncle Shadrach's leg." She fell on her knees and laid her head in the old woman's lap. "Conjure quick and I won't holler," she said.
"Gawd in hea