|The kitchen quarters|
Mark Twain. The Atlantic
"Twain submitted the manuscript for this piece with the following note: “I enclose … a ‘True Story,’ which has no humor in it … I have not altered the old colored woman’s story except to begin at the beginning, instead of the middle, as she did—and traveled both ways.” The woman in question was Mary Ann Cord (rechristened “Aunt Rachel” here), the cook at his sister-in-law’s farm in Elmira, New York."
"Sometime later, during or immediately after the Civil War, Rachel comes to work as a cook for a group of Union Army officers in New Bern, North Carolina. One Friday night, a platoon of black Union soldiers enters her kitchen "a-waltzin' an a-dancin'!" Shortly thereafter, she sees a familiar face: "an' de pan begin to tremble, an' all of a sudden I knowed!" Rachel is reunited with her son Henry, which inspires her to praise the "Lord God ob heaven" (p. 594). Rachel ends by answering with a double irony the question that prompted her tale: "'Oh, no, Misto C----, I hain't had no trouble. An' no joy!"