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THE GOOPHERED GRAPEVINE







by: Charles W. Chesnutt
About ten years ago my wife was in poor health, and our family
doctor, in whose skill and honesty I had implicit confidence,
advised a change of climate. I was engaged in grape-culture in
northern Ohio, and decided to look for a locality suitable for
carrying on the same business in some Southern State. I wrote to
a cousin who had gone into the turpentine business in central
North Carolina, and he assured me that no better place could be
found in the South than the State and neighborhood in which he
lived: climate and soil were all that could be asked for, and land
could be bought for a mere song. A cordial invitation to visit
him while I looked into the matter was accepted. We found the
weather delightful at that season, the end of the summer, and were
most hospitably entertained. Our host placed a horse and buggy at
our disposal, and himself acted as guide until I got somewhat
familiar with the country.

I went several times to look at a place which I thought might suit
me. It had been at one time a thriving plantation, but shiftless
cultivation had well-night exhausted the soil. There had been a
vineyard of some extent on the place, but it had not been attended
to since the war, and had fallen into utter neglect. The vines--
here partly supported by decayed and broken-down arbors, there
twining themselves among the branches of the slender saplings
which had sprung up among them--grew in wild and unpruned
luxuriance, and the few scanty grapes which they bore were the
undisputed prey of the first comer. The site was admirably
adapted to grape-raising; the soil, with a little attention, could
not have been better; and with the native grape, the luscious
scuppernong, mainly to rely upon, I felt sure that I could
introduce and cultivate successfully a number of other varieties.

One day I went over with my wife, to show her the place. We drove
between the decayed gate-posts--the gate itself had long since
disappeared--and up the straight, sandy lane to the open space
where a dwelling-house had once stood. But the house had fallen a
victim to the fortunes of war, and nothing remained of it except
the brick pillars upon which the sills had rested. We alighted,
and walked about the place for a while; but on Annie's complaining
of weariness I led the way back to the yard, where a pine log,
lying under a spreading elm, formed a shady though somewhat hard
seat. One end of the log was already occupied by a venerable-
looking colored man. He held on his knees a hat full of grapes,
over which he was smacking his lips with great gusto, and a pile
of grape-skins near him indicated that the performance was no new
thing. He respectfully rose as we approached, and was moving
away, when I begged him to keep his seat.

"Don't let us disturb you," I said. "There's plenty of room for
us all."

He resumed his seat with somewhat of embarrassment.

"Do you live around here?" I asked, anxious to put him at his
ease.

"Yas, suh. I lives des ober yander, behine de nex' san'-hill, on
de Lumberton plank-road."

"Do you know anything about the time when this vineyard was
cultivated?"

"Lawd bless yer, suh, I knows all about it. Dey ain' na'er a man
in dis settlement w'at won' tell yer ole Julius McAdoo 'uz bawn
an' raise' on dis yer same plantation. Is you de Norv'n gemman
w'at's gwine ter buy de ole vimya'd?"

"I am looking at it," I replied; "but I don't know that I shall
care to buy unless I can be reasonably sure of making something
out of it."

"Well, suh, you is a stranger ter me, en I is a stranger ter you,
en we is bofe strangers ter one anudder, but 'f I 'uz in yo'
place, I wouldn' buy dis vimya'd."

"Why not?" I asked.

"Well, I dunner whe'r you b'lieves in cunj'in er not,--some er de
w'ite folks don't, er says dey don't,--but de truf er de matter is
dat dis yer ole vimya'd is goophered."

"Is what?" I asked, not grasping the meaning of this unfamiliar
word.

"Is goophered, cunju'd, bewitch'."

He imparted this information with such solemn earnestness, and
with such an air of confidential mystery, that I felt somewhat
interested, while Annie was evidently much impressed, and drew
closer to me.

"How do you know it is bewitched?" I asked.

"I wouldn' spec' fer you ter b'lieve me 'less you know all 'bout
de fac's. But ef you en young miss dere doan' min' lis'n'in' ter
a ole nigger run on a minute er two w'ile you er restin', I kin
'splain to yer how it all happen'."

We assured him that we would be glad to hear how it all happened,
and he began to tell us. At first the current of his memory--or
imagination--seemed somewhat sluggish; but as his embarrassment
wore off, his language flowed more freely, and the story acquired
perspective and coherence. As he became more and more absorbed in
the narrative, his eyes assumed a dreamy expression, and he seemed
to lose sight of his auditors, and to be living over again in
monologue his life on the old plantation.

"Ole Mars Dugal' McAdoo bought dis place long many years befo' de
wah, en I 'member well w'en he sot out all dis yer part er de
plantation in scuppernon's. De vimes growed monst'us fas', en
Mars Dugal' made a thousan' gallon er scuppernon' wine eve'y year.

"Now, ef dey's an'thing a nigger lub, nex' ter 'possum, en
chick'n, en watermillyums, it's scuppernon's. Dey ain' nuffin dat
kin stan' up side'n de scuppernon' fer sweetness; sugar ain't a
suckumstance ter scuppernon'. W'en de season is nigh 'bout ober,
en de grapes begin ter swivel up des a little wid de wrinkles er
ole age,--w'en de skin git sof' en brown,--den de scuppernon' make
you smack yo' lip en roll yo' eye en wush fer mo'; so I reckon it
ain' very 'stonishin' dat niggers lub scuppernon'.

"Dey wuz a sight er niggers in de naberhood er de vimya'd. Dere
wuz ole Mars Henry Brayboy's niggers, en ole Mars Dunkin McLean's
niggers, en Mars Dugal's own niggers; den dey wuz a settlement er
free niggers en po' buckrahs down by de Wim'l'ton Road, en Mars
Dugal' had de only vimya'd in de naberhood. I reckon it ain' so
much so nowadays, but befo' de wah, in slab'ry times, er nigger
didn' mine goin' fi' er ten mile in a night, w'en dey wuz sump'n
good ter eat at de yuther een.

"So atter a w'ile Mars Dugal' begin ter miss his scuppernon's.
Co'se he 'cuse' de niggers er it, but dey all 'nied it ter de
las'. Mars Dugal' sot spring guns en steel traps, en he en de
oberseah sot up nights once't er twice't, tel one night Mars
Dugal'--he 'uz a monst'us keerless man--got his leg shot full er
cow-peas. But somehow er nudder dey couldn' nebber ketch none er
de niggers. I dunner how it happen, but it happen des like I tell
yer, en de grapes kep' on a-goin des de same.

"But bimeby ole Mars Dugal' fix' up a plan ter stop it. Dey 'uz a
cunjuh 'ooman livin' down mongs' de free niggers on de Wim'l'ton
Road, en all de darkies fum Rockfish ter Beaver Crick wuz feared
uv her. She could wuk de mos' powerfulles' kind er goopher,--
could make people hab fits er rheumatiz, er make 'em des dwinel
away en die; en dey say she went out ridin' de niggers at night,
for she wuz a witch 'sides bein' a cunjuh 'ooman. Mars Dugal'
hearn 'bout Aun' Peggy's doin's, en begun ter 'flect whe'r er no
he couldn' git her ter he'p him keep de niggers off'n de
grapevimes. One day in de spring er de year, ole miss pack' up a
basket er chick'n en poun'-cake, en a bottle er scuppernon' wine,
en Mars Dugal' tuk it in his buggy en driv ober ter Aun' Peggy's
cabin. He tuk de basket in, en had a long talk wid Aun' Peggy.
De nex' day Aun' Peggy come up ter de vimya'd. De niggers seed
her slippin' 'roun', en dey soon foun' out what she 'uz doin'
dere. Mars Dugal' had hi'ed her ter goopher de grapevimes. She
sa'ntered 'roun' mongs' de vimes, en tuk a leaf fum dis one, en a
grape-hull fum dat one, en a grape-seed fum anudder one; en den a
little twig fum here, en a little pinch er dirt fum dere,--en put
it all in a big black bottle, wid a snake's toof en a speckle'
hen's gall en some ha'rs fum a black cat's tail, en den fill' de
bottle wid scuppernon' wine. W'en she got de goopher all ready en
fix', she tuk 'n went out in de woods en buried it under de root
uv a red oak tree, en den come back en tole one er de niggers she
done goopher de grapevimes, en a'er a nigger w'at eat dem grapes
'ud be sho ter die inside'n twel' mont's.

"Atter dat de niggers let de scuppernon's 'lone, en Mars Dugal'
didn' hab no 'casion ter fine no mo' fault; en de season wuz mos'
gone, w'en a strange gemman stop at de plantation one night ter
see Mars Dugal' on some business; en his coachman, seein' de
scuppernon's growin' so nice en sweet, slip 'roun' behine de
smoke-house, en et all de scuppernon's he could hole. Nobody
didn' notice it at de time, but dat night, on de way home, de
gemman's hoss runned away en kill' de coachman. W'en we hearn de
noos, Aun' Lucy, de cook, she up 'n say she seed de strange nigger
eat'n' er de scuppernon's behine de smoke-house; en den we knowed
de goopher had b'en er wukkin. Den one er de nigger chilluns
runned away fum de quarters one day, en got in de scuppernon's, en
died de nex' week. W'ite folks say he die' er de fevuh, but de
niggers knowed it wuz de goopher. So you k'n be sho de darkies
didn' hab much ter do wid dem scuppernon' vimes.

"W'en de scuppernon' season 'uz ober fer dat year, Mars Dugal'
foun' he had made fifteen hund'ed gallon er wine; en one er de
niggers hearn him laffin' wid de oberseah fit ter kill, en sayin'
dem fifteen hund'ed gallon er wine wuz monst'us good intrus' on de
ten dollars he laid out on de vimya'd. So I 'low ez he paid Aun'
Peggy ten dollars fer to goopher de grapevimes.

"De goopher didn' wuk no mo' tel de nex' summer, w'en 'long to'ds
de middle er de season one er de fiel' han's died; en ez dat lef'
Mars Dugal' sho't er han's, he went off ter town fer ter buy
anudder. He fotch de noo nigger home wid 'im. He wuz er ole
nigger, er de color er a gingy-cake, en ball ez a hoss-apple on de
top er his head. He wuz a peart ole nigger, do', en could do a
big day's wuk.

"Now it happen dat one er de niggers on de nex' plantation, one er
ole Mars Henry Brayboy's niggers, had runned away de day befo', en
tuk ter de swamp, en ole Mars Dugal' en some er de yuther nabor
w'ite folks had gone out wid dere guns en dere dogs fer ter he'p
'em hunt fer de nigger; en de han's on our own plantation wuz all
so flusterated dat we fuhgot ter tell de noo han' 'bout de goopher
on de scuppernon' vimes. Co'se he smell de grapes en see de
vimes, an atter dahk de fus' thing he done wuz ter slip off ter de
grapevimes 'dout sayin' nuffin ter nobody. Nex' mawnin' he tole
some er de niggers 'bout de fine bait er scuppernon' he et de
night befo'.

"W'en dey tole 'im 'bout de goopher on de grapevimes, he 'uz dat
tarrified dat he turn pale, en look des like he gwine ter die
right in his tracks. De oberseah come up en axed w'at 'uz de
matter; en w'en dey tole 'im Henry be'n eatin' er de scuppernon's,
en got de goopher on 'im, he gin Henry a big drink er w'iskey, en
'low dat de nex' rainy day he take 'im ober ter Aun' Peggy's, en
see ef she wouldn' take de goopher off'n him, seein' ez he didn'
know nuffin erbout it tel he done et de grapes.

"Sho nuff, it rain de nex' day, en de oberseah went ober ter Aun'
Peggy's wid Henry. En Aun' Peggy say dat bein' ez Henry didn'
know 'bout de goopher, en et de grapes in ign'ance er de
quinseconces, she reckon she mought be able fer ter take de
goopher off'n him. So she fotch out er bottle wid some cunjuh
medicine in it, en po'd some out in a go'd fer Henry ter drink.
He manage ter git it down; he say it tas'e like whiskey wid sump'n
bitter in it. She 'lowed dat 'ud keep de goopher off'n him tel de
spring; but w'en de sap begin ter rise in de grapevimes he ha' ter
come en see her agin, en she tell him w'at e's ter do.

"Nex' spring, w'en de sap commence' ter rise in de scuppernon'
vime, Henry tuk a ham one night. Whar'd he git de ham? I doan
know; dey wa'nt no hams on de plantation 'cep'n' w'at 'uz in de
smoke-house, but I never see Henry 'bout de smoke-house. But ez I
wuz a-sayin', he tuk de ham ober ter Aun' Peggy's; en Aun' Peggy
tole 'im dat w'en Mars Dugal' begin ter prume de grapevimes, he
mus' go en take 'n scrape off de sap whar it ooze out'n de cut
een's er de vimes, en 'n'int his ball head wid it; en ef he do dat
once't a year de goopher wouldn' wuk agin 'im long ez he done it.
En bein' ez he fotch her de ham, she fix' it so he kin eat all de
scuppernon' he want.

"So Henry 'n'int his head wid de sap out'n de big grapevime des
ha'f way 'twix' de quarters en de big house, en de goopher nebber
wuk agin him dat summer. But de beatenes' thing you eber see
happen ter Henry. Up ter dat time he wuz ez ball ez a sweeten'
'tater, but des ez soon ez de young leaves begun ter come out on
de grapevimes de ha'r begun ter grow out on Henry's head, en by de
middle er de summer he had de bigges' head er ha'r on de
plantation. Befo' dat, Henry had tol'able good ha'r 'roun de
aidges, but soon ez de young grapes begun ter come Henry's ha'r
begun ter quirl all up in little balls, des like dis yer reg'lar
grapy ha'r, en by de time de grapes got ripe his head look des
like a bunch er grapes. Combin' it didn' do no good; he wuk at it
ha'f de night wid er Jim Crow[1], en think he git it straighten'
out, but in de mawnin' de grapes 'ud be dere des de same. So he
gin it up, en tried ter keep de grapes down by havin' his ha'r cut
sho't.

[1] A small card, resembling a curry-comb in construction, and
used by negroes in the rural districts instead of a comb.

"But dat wa'nt de quares' thing 'bout de goopher. When Henry come
ter de plantation, he wuz gittin' a little ole an stiff in de
j'ints. But dat summer he got des ez spry en libely ez any young
nigger on de plantation; fac' he got so biggity dat Mars Jackson,
de oberseah, ha' ter th'eaten ter whip 'im, ef he didn' stop
cuttin' up his didos en behave hisse'f. But de mos' cur'ouses'
thing happen' in de fall, when de sap begin ter go down in de
grapevimes. Fus', when de grapes 'uz gethered, de knots begun ter
straighten out'n Henry's h'ar; en w'en de leaves begin ter fall,
Henry's ha'r begin ter drap out; en w'en de vimes 'uz b'ar,
Henry's head wuz baller 'n it wuz in de spring, en he begin ter
git ole en stiff in de j'ints ag'in, en paid no mo' tention ter de
gals dyoin' er de whole winter. En nex' spring, w'en he rub de
sap on ag'in, he got young ag'in, en so soopl en libely dat none
er de young niggers on de plantation couldn' jump, ner dance, ner
hoe ez much cotton ez Henry. But in de fall er de year his grapes
begun ter straighten out, en his j'ints ter git stiff, en his ha'r
drap off, en de rheumatiz begin ter wrastle wid 'im.

"Now, ef you'd a knowed ole Mars Dugal' McAdoo, you'd a knowed dat
it ha' ter be a mighty rainy day when he couldn' fine sump'n fer
his niggers ter do, en it ha' ter be a mighty little hole he
couldn' crawl thoo, en ha' ter be a monst'us cloudy night w'en a
dollar git by him in de dahkness; en w'en he see how Henry git
young in de spring en ole in de fall, he 'lowed ter hisse'f ez how
he could make mo' money outen Henry dan by wukkin' him in de
cotton fiel'. 'Long de nex' spring, atter de sap commence' ter
rise, en Henry 'n'int 'is head en commence fer ter git young en
soopl, Mars Dugal' up 'n tuk Henry ter town, en sole 'im fer
fifteen hunder' dollars. Co'se de man w'at bought Henry didn'
know nuffin 'bout de goopher, en Mars Dugal' didn' see no 'casion
fer ter tell 'im. Long to'ds de fall, w'en de sap went down,
Henry begin ter git ole again same ez yuzhal, en his noo marster
begin ter git skeered les'n he gwine ter lose his fifteen-hunder'-
dollar nigger. He sent fer a mighty fine doctor, but de med'cine
didn' 'pear ter do no good; de goopher had a good holt. Henry
tole de doctor 'bout de goopher, but de doctor des laff at 'im.

"One day in de winter Mars Dugal' went ter town, en wuz santerin'
'long de Main Street, when who should he meet but Henry's noo
marster. Dey said 'Hoddy,' en Mars Dugal' ax 'im ter hab a
seegyar; en atter dey run on awhile 'bout de craps en de weather,
Mars Dugal' ax 'im, sorter keerless, like ez ef he des thought of
it,--

"'How you like de nigger I sole you las' spring?'

"Henry's marster shuck his head en knock de ashes off'n his
seegyar.

"'Spec' I made a bad bahgin when I bought dat nigger. Henry done
good wuk all de summer, but sence de fall set in he 'pears ter be
sorter pinin' away. Dey ain' nuffin pertickler de matter wid 'im--
leastways de doctor say so--'cep'n' a tech er de rheumatiz; but
his ha'r is all fell out, en ef he don't pick up his strenk mighty
soon, I spec' I'm gwine ter lose 'im."

"Dey smoked on awhile, en bimeby ole mars say, 'Well, a bahgin's a
bahgin, but you en me is good fren's, en I doan wan' ter see you
lose all de money you paid fer dat digger [sic]; en ef w'at you
say is so, en I ain't 'sputin' it, he ain't wuf much now. I
spec's you wukked him too ha'd dis summer, er e'se de swamps down
here don't agree wid de san'-hill nigger. So you des lemme know,
en ef he gits any wusser I'll be willin' ter gib yer five hund'ed
dollars fer 'im, en take my chances on his livin'.'

"Sho nuff, when Henry begun ter draw up wid de rheumatiz en it
look like he gwine ter die fer sho, his noo marster sen' fer Mars
Dugal', en Mars Dugal' gin him what he promus, en brung Henry home
ag'in. He tuk good keer uv 'im dyoin' er de winter,--give 'im
w'iskey ter rub his rheumatiz, en terbacker ter smoke, en all he
want ter eat,--'caze a nigger w'at he could make a thousan'
dollars a year off'n didn' grow on eve'y huckleberry bush.

"Nex' spring, w'en de sap ris en Henry's ha'r commence' ter
sprout, Mars Dugal' sole 'im ag'in, down in Robeson County dis
time; en he kep' dat sellin' business up fer five year er mo'.
Henry nebber say nuffin 'bout de goopher ter his noo marsters,
'caze he know he gwine ter be tuk good keer uv de nex' winter,
w'en Mars Dugal' buy him back. En Mars Dugal' made 'nuff money
off'n Henry ter buy anudder plantation ober on Beaver Crick.

"But long 'bout de een' er dat five year dey come a stranger ter
stop at de plantation. De fus' day he 'uz dere he went out wid
Mars Dugal' en spent all de mawnin' lookin' ober de vimya'd, en
atter dinner dey spent all de evenin' playin' kya'ds. De niggers
soon 'skiver' dat he wuz a Yankee, en dat he come down ter Norf
C'lina fer ter learn de w'ite folks how to raise grapes en make
wine. He promus Mars Dugal' he cud make de grapevimes b'ar
twice't ez many grapes, en dat de noo wine-press he wuz a-sellin'
would make mo' d'n twice't ez many gallons er wine. En ole Mars
Dugal' des drunk it all in, des 'peared ter be bewitched wit dat
Yankee. W'en de darkies see dat Yankee runnin' 'roun de vimya'd
en diggin' under de grapevimes, dey shuk dere heads, en 'lowed dat
dey feared Mars Dugal' losin' his min'. Mars Dugal' had all de
dirt dug away fum under de roots er all de scuppernon' vimes, an'
let 'em stan' dat away fer a week er mo'. Den dat Yankee made de
niggers fix up a mixtry er lime en ashes en manyo, en po' it roun'
de roots er de grapevimes. Den he 'vise' Mars Dugal' fer ter trim
de vimes close't, en Mars Dugal' tuck 'n done eve'ything de Yankee
tole him ter do. Dyoin' all er dis time, mind yer, 'e wuz libbin'
off'n de fat er de lan', at de big house, en playin' kyards wid
Mars Dugal' eve'y night; en dey say Mars Dugal' los' mo'n a
thousan' dollars dyoin' er de week dat Yankee wuz a runnin' de
grapevimes.

"W'en de sap ris nex' spring, ole Henry 'n'inted his head ez
yuzhal, en his ha'r commence' ter grow des de same ez it done
eve'y year. De scuppernon' vimes growed monst's fas', en de
leaves wuz greener en thicker dan dey eber be'n dyowin my
rememb'ance; en Henry's ha'r growed out thicker dan eber, en he
'peared ter git younger 'n younger, en soopler 'n soopler; en
seein' ez he wuz sho't er han's dat spring, havin' tuk in
consid'able noo groun', Mars Dugal' 'cluded he wouldn' sell Henry
'tel he git de crap in en de cotton chop'. So he kep' Henry on de
plantation.

"But 'long 'bout time fer de grapes ter come on de scuppernon'
vimes, dey 'peared ter come a change ober dem; de leaves wivered
en swivel' up, en de young grapes turn' yaller, en bimeby
eve'ybody on de plantation could see dat de whole vimya'd wuz
dyin'. Mars Dugal' tuck 'n water de vimes en done all he could,
but 't wan' no use: dat Yankee done bus' de watermillyum. One
time de vimes picked up a bit, en Mars Dugal' thought dey wuz
gwine ter come out ag'in; but dat Yankee done dug too close unde'
de roots, en prune de branches too close ter de vime, en all dat
lime en ashes done burn' de life outen de vimes, en dey des kep' a
with'in' en a swivelin'.

"All dis time de goopher wuz a-wukkin'. W'en de vimes commence'
ter wither, Henry commence' ter complain er his rheumatiz, en when
de leaves begin ter dry up his ha'r commence' ter drap out. When
de vimes fresh up a bit Henry 'ud git peart agin, en when de vimes
wither agin Henry 'ud git ole agin, en des kep' gittin' mo' en mo'
fitten fer nuffin; he des pined away, en fine'ly tuk ter his
cabin; en when de big vime whar he got de sap ter 'n'int his head
withered en turned yaller en died, Henry died too,--des went out
sorter like a cannel. Dey didn't 'pear ter be nuffin de matter
wid 'im, 'cep'n de rheumatiz, but his strenk des dwinel' away 'tel
he didn' hab ernuff lef' ter draw his bref. De goopher had got de
under holt, en th'owed Henry fer good en all dat time.

"Mars Dugal' tuk on might'ly 'bout losin' his vimes en his nigger
in de same year; en he swo' dat ef he could git hold er dat Yankee
he'd wear 'im ter a frazzle, en den chaw up de frazzle; en he'd
done it, too, for Mars Dugal' 'uz a monst'us brash man w'en he
once git started. He sot de vimya'd out ober agin, but it wuz
th'ee er fo' year befo' de vimes got ter b'arin' any scuppernon's.

"W'en de wah broke out, Mars Dugal' raise' a comp'ny, en went off
ter fight de Yankees. He saw he wuz mighty glad dat wah come, en
he des want ter kill a Yankee fer eve'y dollar he los' 'long er
dat grape-raisin' Yankee. En I 'spec' he would a done it, too, ef
de Yankees hadn' s'picioned sump'n, en killed him fus'. Atter de
s'render ole miss move' ter town, de niggers all scattered 'way
fum de plantation, en de vimya'd ain' be'n cultervated sence."

"Is that story true?" asked Annie, doubtfully, but seriously, as
the old man concluded his narrative.

"It's des ez true ez I'm a-settin' here, miss. Dey's a easy way
ter prove it: I kin lead de way right ter Henry's grave ober
yander in de plantation buryin'-groun'. En I tell yer w'at,
marster, I wouldn' 'vise yer to buy dis yer ole vimya'd, 'caze de
goopher's on it yit, en dey ain' no tellin' w'en it's gwine ter
crap out."

"But I thought you said all the old vines died."

"Dey did 'pear ter die, but a few ov 'em come out ag'in, en is
mixed in mongs' de yuthers. I ain' skeered ter eat de grapes,
'caze I knows de old vimes fum de noo ones; but wid strangers dey
ain' no tellin' w'at might happen. I wouldn' 'vise yer ter buy
dis vimya'd."

I bought the vineyard, nevertheless, and it has been for a long
time in a thriving condition, and is referred to by the local
press as a striking illustration of the opportunities open to
Northern capital in the development of Southern industries. The
luscious scuppernong holds first rank among our grapes, though we
cultivate a great many other varieties, and our income from grapes
packed and shipped to the Northern markets is quite considerable.
I have not noticed any developments of the goopher in the
vineyard, although I have a mild suspicion that our colored
assistants do not suffer from want of grapes during the season.

I found, when I bought the vineyard, that Uncle Julius had
occupied a cabin on the place for many years, and derived a
respectable revenue from the neglected grapevines. This,
doubtless, accounted for his advice to me not to buy the vineyard,
though whether it inspired the goopher story I am unable to state.
I believe, however, that the wages I pay him for his services are
more than an equivalent for anything he lost by the sale of the
vineyard.





Next: PO' SANDY

Previous: MY ESCAPE FROM SLAVERY



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