Chesnutt's Works





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Page 8 for the text "Rena," the story that will eventually become The House Behind the Cedars. Click on the manuscript image to get a version that can be magnified.

page 1 and 2
pages 3 and 4
pages 5 and 6
page 7
page 8 (See below.)
page 9
page 10
page 35
page 37

son's tumbledown, leaky tenement. From that point began the more
respectable portion of the town, extending westward for more than a
mile. On Mis' Molly's right, around the lower end of Front Street
and adjacent to the river, lay the ^mainpart of the town known as Camp-
bellton, a straggling settlement of poor houses, occupied by
colored people and some few of the poorest whites. ^ One of the most striking objects in Campbellton was the new, whitewashed fence in front of the enterprising negro's house. A bad end was predicted for him. He was ahead of his time, and time, among other conservative qualities, has a way of sloughing off innovation. The streets of
Campbellton were overgrown with weeds and grass, the fences dilapi-
dated; tThe open ditches, ^ of Campbellton, including the old canal, were more or less full of green-coated stagnant
water,^and bred the frogs that made night vocal and the malaria that
kept half the people alternately quaking with chills and burning
with fever. From the brow of the river a row of decaying warehouses
looked down the long red incline to the muddy current below, and
told a tale of vanished prosperity -- of a time when railroads
were unknown, and Patesville, the head of navigation on the Cape
Clear River, had been the metropolis of central North Carolina.
The flower-garden in front of Mis' Molly's house, a well-kept back
yard, and a flourishing kitchen garden in the rear, gave to her
premises an air of prosperity scarcely in keeping with the general
character of the neighborhood.

^Chapter _____.
But though Mis' Molly lived in a big house on Front Street,
kept a servant, and wore fine clothes,-- lived in fact like a lady-
few of those who paused to admire her garden ever entered her gate.
She belonged, in the first place, in that narrow border-land which
exists in all countries where two widely differing races mingle
on other than equal terms. A free colored-woman, she was frankly de-