The All-Black Town: Part 8

A few days later, Truehart went to the Taillefer place. Marse Taillefer’s place was built well before the war, when the Taillefers were the biggest planters in the county. Truehart had been there as a slave, when Marse Taillefer held a frolic every summer and every Christmas. He hadn’t seen it since.

It was a plain place, half the size of the Little house, well-kept despite its age. Truehart went around the back and a servant he didn’t know let him in and told him to wait. He sat by the back door and waited.

Marse Taillefer’s study was a plain room, painted white. Marse Taillefer sat at his desk, his ledger open before him. He said, “Jim, is it? Sit down.”

“Marse Taillefer, I heard you have some swampland you might be willing to sell.”

“I might,” he said. “Will you clear it and plant cotton on it, like you did on Little’s land?”

“I’d like to, sir.”

Taillefer chuckled. “Serves Hiram Little right. Sold you that land and now he’s all riled up that you did something with it.”

“Just grew a little cotton on it, sir.”

“I’d like to bring that man down a peg,” Taillefer said, smiling.

Truehart waited.

Taillefer said, “What did Little ask for his no-good swampland?”

Truehart told him.

Taillefer said, “I can do better than that. I can sell you a hundred and sixty acres at fifty cents an acre.”

Truehart rejoiced in his heart, but all he said was, “I’m mighty obliged to you, Marse Taillefer.”