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perfectly good front teeth on the upper right side and three
directly under these. There are none on the left side whatever.

"Do you go to the shows, George," I ask. There- I have said
the wrong thing again.

George's six teeth snap. I irk him with such questions.

"Duh shows ain't nuffin' but a 'prade groun' fuh duh debil
an' Hell." He ushers this sentence in with a great slap on his
knee. "Us ain't hab 'em in slab'ry times, us ain't hab 'em atta
duh big war, and us ain't hab no 'pressuns 'till duh show come.
Duh show is ruint duh worl'." emphatically.

When George says "slab'ry times" and the "big war", his speech
slows; I detect a kind of wistfullness in the way he utters these
words. I believe I have discovered the topic of his heart.

"George," I ask, "will you tell me about your life?" He has
been chewing on his cigar. I get up to light it for him, but he will
not let me hold the match for him.

He commences, " 'Bout seben yeahs ago I got a job in duh sshh- . . ."

"George, please start the beginning. I want to hear it all,"
I tell him.

George smiles. He is so likable.

He scratches his head; his hand is gnarled; the fingers do not
bend; they are stiff with age. A tense quietness settles over the
shabby little room; shadows from a fire in the little "number seven"
stove shine through the side grate and play upon its black apron.
George's thoughts have gone on a long journey; I am waiting, anxiously.

He begins slowly. His voice is a little husky; I believe it is
emotion.

"I wuz born in Vaginee, up dere nearly 'bout tuh Norfo'k. Duh
massa who owned me name Carter; dat's where I gits muh name; he owned

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