Azalea Adair and I sat down at the table and began to talk. I told her about
the magazine's offer and she told me about herself. She was from an old southern
family. Her father had been a judge.
Azalea Adair told me she had never traveled or even attended school. Her parents taught her at home with private teachers. We finished our meeting. I promised to return with the agreement the next day, and rose to leave.
At that moment, someone knocked at the back door. Azalea Adair whispered a soft apology and went to answer the caller. She came back a minute later with bright eyes and pink cheeks. She looked ten years younger. "You must have a cup of tea before you go," she said. She shook a little bell on the table, and a small black girl about twelve years old ran into the room.
Azalea Adair opened a tiny old purse and took out a dollar bill. It had been fixed with a piece of blue paper and the upper right hand corner was missing. It was the dollar I had given to Uncle Caesar. "Go to Mister Baker's store, Impy," she said, "and get me twenty-five cents' worth of tea and ten cents' worth of sugar cakes. And please hurry."
The child ran out of the room. We heard the back door close. Then the girl screamed. Her cry mixed with a man's angry voice. Azalea Adair stood up. Her face showed no emotion as she left the room. I heard the man's rough voice and her gentle one. Then a door slammed and she came back into the room.
"I am sorry, but I won't be able to offer you any tea after all," she said. "It seems that Mister Baker has no more tea. Perhaps he will find some for our visit tomorrow."
We said good-bye. I went back to my hotel.