Education

Jack Gets a Job: The Next Chapter in the Serialized Antebellum Charleston Novel, “Jack”

Chapter 32

Jack Get’s A Job

Charleston, S.C., Civil War Era Lithograph copy by Harper's Weekly

Charleston, S.C., Civil War Era Lithograph copy by Harper’s Weekly

Jack and me went back to Molly that afternoon and I was shocked when Jack told her that he had done stolen a pile of fruit and vegetables from her but said it was for a good cause and he wanted to work it off and pay her back. At first Molly was angry but then she smiled at Jack and said she had been right about him anyway, that even though he had taken things from her, she was greatly affected by his telling her the truth and offering his services. So she said he could certainly help her and that the next time Jack needed food to just ask and she’d give him all he wanted and she’d even give him a little job if he wanted. So she gave Jack a job helping her sell at the market and said I could help too if I wanted which I said I would. So that’s what we did. I must admit, Jack was the smoothest talker in Charleston and knew how to win people over to his side. And he sold twice as much food in a day as she could so she was all smiles every time Jack showed up for work, which was two or three times a week.

So we had a job all that summer and we made a little money and we had more than enough food for Leroy who was living like a king he said. Jack said he heard Molly talkin’ one day to another woman who had a stall nearby where ladies’ bonnets were being sold-pink ones and yellow ones and big blue ones-and that he overheard them talkin’ about a secret way to the north for runaways. Jack said he was a’goin’ to ask Molly about it to see if she could help Leroy go north but first he wanted to get Leroy’s permission. “Wouldn’t be fittin’ to ask her without Leroy consentin’,” Jack said, “cuz he’s the one takin’ the risk.”

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