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The Quest of the Silver Fleece
A Novel

written by "Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963"
...ent dead white. "Miss—Miss Smith!" she gasped, overwhelmed with dismay, a picture of wounded pride and consternation. Miss Smith turned around very methodically and took her hand; but while she spoke the girl merely stared at her in stony silence. "Now, dear, don't mean more than I do. I'm an old woman, and I've seen many things. This is but a little corner of the world, and yet many people pass here in thirty years. The trouble with new teachers who come is, that like you, they cannot see black folk as human. All to them are either impossible Zoras, or else lovable Blessings. They forget that Zora is not to be annihilated, but studied and understood, and that Bles is a young man of eighteen and not a clod." "But that he should dare—" Mary began breathlessly. "He hasn't dared," Miss Smith went gently on. "No thought of you but as a teacher has yet entered his dear, simple head. But, my point is simply this: he's a man, and a human one, and if you keep on making much over him, and talking to him and petting him, he'll have the right to interpret your manner in his own way—the same that any young man would." "But—but, he's a—a—" "A Negro. To be sure, he is; and a man in addition. Now, dear, don't take this too much to heart; this is not a rebuke, but a clumsy warning. I am simply trying to make clear to you why you should be careful. Treat poor Zora a little more lovingly, and Bles a little less warmly. They are just human—but, oh! so human." Mary Taylor rose up stiffly and mumbled a brief good-night. She went to her room, and sat down in the dark. The mere mention of the thing was to her so preposterous—no, loathsome, she ...

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