ONE NIGHT when I was over alone with Big Jim, learning to sing, there was a frenzied knocking at the door. Jim opened it, and there were Bessie and her daughter Jennie, almost choked with crying.
"My Charlie dying," Bessie wailed. "He coughed up blood, he's bleeding from the lungs, come quick."
Then she and Jennie started back on the run to their tiny cabin, about fifty yards away, and Jim and I followed. On the way, Jim made a very practical division of labor. He said: "Me make praying business, you give him medicine."
And so it was arranged. As soon as we got inside the cabin Jim dropped on his knees, and, with bowed head, commenced an earnest Christian prayer for Charlie's recovery. Charlie was sitting at the edge of his bed, bent over an old butter can which was used as a cuspidor, and now and then spitting out a little blood. It was a slight hemorrhage, and on the spur of the moment I could think of no medicine except to make him lie down, as quietly as possible, and to loosen everything tight about his clothing, which was almost nothing. When these simple performances were completed I joined Jim on the floor, and helped with the "Amen" in which Jennie also chorused, but Bessie shook so with sobbing she could not enunciate a sound.