I left the hotel at nine o'clock the next morning to find Miss Adair. It was
still raining. As soon as I stepped outside I met Uncle Caesar. He was a
big, old black man with fuzzy gray hair.
Uncle Caesar was wearing the strangest coat I had ever seen. It must have been a military officer's coat. It was very long and when it was new it had been gray. But now rain, sun and age had made it a rainbow of colors. Only one of the buttons was left. It was yellow and as big as a fifty cent coin.
Uncle Caesar stood near a horse and carriage. He opened the carriage door and said softly, "Step right in, sir. I'll take you anywhere in the city."
"I want to go to eight-sixty-one Jasmine Street," I said, and I started to climb into the carriage. But the old man stopped me. "Why do you want to go there, sir?"
"What business is it of yours?" I said angrily. Uncle Caesar relaxed and smiled. "Nothing, sir. But it's a lonely part of town. Just step in and I'll take you there right away."
Eight-sixty-one Jasmine Street had been a fine house once, but now it was old and dying. I got out of the carriage.
"That will be two dollars, sir," Uncle Caesar said. I gave him two one-dollar bills. As I handed them to him, I noticed that one had been torn in half and fixed with a piece of blue paper. Also, the upper right hand corner was missing.
Azalea Adair herself opened the door when I knocked. She was about fifty years old. Her white hair was pulled back from her small, tired face. She wore a pale yellow dress. It was old, but very clean.
Azalea Adair led me into her living room. A damaged table, three chairs and an old red sofa were in the center of the floor.