Jones of Old Lincoln (Chapter 7, page 1 of 27)


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Chapter 7

I dreamed of muddy boots dripping on the carpets of the Tennessee State House of Representatives as two young men talked. The large room was a busy place, filled with all sorts of wonderfully dressed men of the 'Age of Jackson.' The fashions ranged from eastern-tailored, fine-silk frock suits, stylish, square-toed dress shoes, dull-colored, short jackets over wildly patterned waistcoats, and highly polished, knee-high hunting boots to beautiful, butter-hue, fringed hunting coats with beaded designs. Various shapes of bottles with many colors of fluids were displayed on linen-covered serving tables, presided over by black attendants, at each end of the large, rectangular room. Fancy, cut crystal glasses and less dramatic pewter chalices were located haphazardly atop the tables.

Soiled, brass spittoons stood at the corners of the tables and at the bases of candelabras. On the upper portion of the tall room, fingers of shadows streaked from the large, blazing clusters of candelabras. The sounds of conversation fluctuated between frantic shouting and barely audible murmur. The smoke from cheap cigars hung in a heavy haze, the smell blending with burning candles, liquor, sweat, tobacco juice, and coal soot's sharpness.

A shabbily dressed black man and woman, he in patched britches and a tattered well-worn, bed-ticking work shirt, worked in the bright sunshine. A roughed up straw hat was pushed back on his sweating forehead. The woman wore a well-faded, green, thin, open-neck dress with sleeves buttoned tight around her big, busy hands. The bright turban on her head was discolored with perspiration.

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