Chesnutt's Works





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Page 9 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
page 9 (See below)
page 10
page 35
page 37

spised by the whites for her taint of negro blood, and mildly en-
vied by the blacks for her fairness of complexion and her material
prosperity. If there were other reasons why Mis' Molly might have
been looked down upon by the white people of Patesville, it is only
history to say that her few drops of dark blood placed her outside
the pale of society, which, giving her nothing, expected nothing of
her, and therefore thought nothing of those things in her which
would have condemned a white woman to social odium. She was a slen-
der woman of medium height, with an olive complexion, straight
hair, and regular features. Youth, a shapely figure, and a pair of
sparkling black eyes, which even in her middle life had not yet
lost all their brillaney, had doubtless once rendered her very at-

Mis' Molly's prosperity was easily accounted for. She owed it
to a wealthy white man, -- an ex-member of congress, the owner of a
large plantation some miles out in the country, and of numerous
slaves. He had never married; it was said that a disappointment in
lobe in early manhood had set him against matrimony. His relations
with Molly began rather late in life. Her parents had belonged to
the class known as 'old issue free colored people', who had their
origin back in the misty colonial period, when race lines were not
closely drawn and the population of North Carolina contained many
Indians, runaway slaves and indentured white servants from the
neighboring colonies, who mingled their blood more or less freely.