Before Noon We
Forded The Watauga, A Stream Not So Large As The Nollechucky, And
Were Entertained At The Big Brick House Of Mr. Devault, A Prosperous
And Hospitable Farmer.
This is a rich country.
We had met in the
morning wagon-loads of watermelons and muskmelons, on the way to
Jonesboro, and Mr. Devault set abundance of these refreshing fruits
before us as we lounged on the porch before dinner.
It was here that we made the acquaintance of a colored woman, a
withered, bent old pensioner of the house, whose industry (she
excelled any modern patent apple-parer) was unabated, although she
was by her own confession (a woman, we believe, never owns her age
till she has passed this point) and the testimony of others a hundred
years old. But age had not impaired the brightness of her eyes, nor
the limberness of her tongue, nor her shrewd good sense. She talked
freely about the want of decency and morality in the young colored
folks of the present day. It was n't so when she was a girl. Long,
long time ago, she and her husband had been sold at sheriff's sale
and separated, and she never had another husband. Not that she
blamed her master so much he could n't help it; he got in debt. And
she expounded her philosophy about the rich, and the danger they are
in. The great trouble is that when a person is rich, he can borrow
money so easy, and he keeps drawin' it out of the bank and pilin' up
the debt, like rails on top of one another, till it needs a ladder to
get on to the pile, and then it all comes down in a heap, and the man
has to begin on the bottom rail again.
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