seven               

            Don' un'erstan' nuffin' 'bout nuffin' where I at. I in a bed! A real bed, not jus' corn shucks. It up off de flo' an' gots a mattress an' clean white sheets an' ev'thin'. An' I in a room by my lonesome. Keeps 'spectin' mo'e niggers to show, but up 'til now I de onliest one. Dis big woman name o' Beulah brung me. Her lay down de law. Her say Beulah deci'e what's what aroun' de Big House. Iffen I mines her dere won' be a lick o' trouble, maybe. Her add dat "maybe" like her 'spec' I gwon do wrong. Her orn'ry, but not whuppin' orn'ry. Gots funny marks on 'er face like deep-ditch scars; not put on any which-way; mo'e like dey design'. Nev' did see de like. Her make me wash myse'f tip to toe, den has one de girls bring fresh water, makes me wash again. Cain't even smell myse'f my skin so clean. "Cleanliness nex' to Godliness" Beulah say, so I guess her gots religion. De girls' names Tessie an' Marisee. Marisee kine o' simple-mine'd. Tessie kine o' lame. I tries like 'em boaf, but neit'er one takes to me. Fac' is I a freak, iffen you judge by how fo'ks ack. Feeds me good, no matter. Where us live befo'e us lucky get Massah's leavin's; special treat. Here it seem s'if de niggers eat what Massah eat an' mo'e—coun' us chowin' down in de kitchen 'way from spyin' eyes. Dough it seem dey's on'y five fo'ks total live in de Big House. Beulah say Massah own a hun'ert plus slaves, mos'ly fiel' han's, aw men. Lives down de Quarters. Women on'y in de Big House, 'cep' fo' Massah Zach'ry.

            Him contrary. Aw het up firs' time I sees 'im, like him 'bout to boil. Don' simmer down 'til I's bought an' in his pocket, den him fix me wiff dis look—what makes be feel boaf glad and sad it Massah Zach'ry own me. Glad when him ackin' kine; him patch my foot. Sad when him ackin' harsh; dat look like a bullfrog eyes a fly. Mammy say some white fo'ks curse' wiff what call' "double-edge vision"cuts you comin' an' goin', 'spite de way you turn. Seems like Massah Zach'ry  curse', but leas'wise him don' whup. Beulah say "Massah Zach'ry slaves not whupt lessen dey be fiel' han's." Her say Massah gots a overseer, name o' Tune, can skin a man alive.

            I learnt mo'e but I's so tuckert my brain 'bout on de blink. Lonely fo' my mammy. Sorry fo' myse'f. Shouldn't be, I reckon, sleepin' in dis bed.