Southerners

Babcock resented Popper, or his shadow, and he was uneasy around Ed, who was all too palpable. He took Ed for a Southerner and tried to stay clear of him. He seldom spoke to him, and then only in the imperative mood, master to servant. Babcock knew no Southerners personally but he had seen them in court often enough – Boyce and Broadus and Buford and Othal, and queried the spelling of their names – and Ed’s manner and appearance said Dixie to him. He imagined Ed at home with his family, a big one, from old geezers through toddlers. He saw them eating their yams and pralines and playing their fiddles and dancing their jigs and guffawing over coarse jokes and beating one another to death with agricultural implements. Later, through a quiet investigation, using his court connections, Babcock found that Ed was actually from Nebraska, so it wasn’t as bad as it might have been, though Nebraska was bad enough.

from Masters Of Atlantis by Charles Portis (1985). I am very grateful to Nige for alerting me to this comic masterpiece. The above is merely one excerpt from a novel whose every page provokes guffaws of mirth.

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