Books [A Local Tale]
“They don't give you no credit--not them--not if people was starvin' to death. The old merchants here used to carry a man--and they never were sorry, as a rule--always got paid in the end. If times were hard, they had hundreds of dollars on the books, but they knew the money was good. There's good debts and bad debts.
“Just like old Doc Goodwin, he used to charge a little heavy on some cases and if they complained he'd say: “Them that can pay has got to pay for them that can't' He used to be my landlord. Paid $15 rent when I went in there, and paid $22 when I left. Raised it a dollar, when he put in lights, the old Doc did, and that was the only time. New landlord, he jumped it up soon's he got hold of it, and every time he put somethin' new in, up it would go couple more dollars.
“Rents was low when I first went by myself--me and my sister kept house after the folks died--we paid fifteen dollars, that was pretty high--average was ten or twelve. Some paid twenty--but they had all improvements.
“Company houses were cheap rents--all them little houses over on the East side was built by the factories for their help--I guess they don't rent for more than twelve or fifteen dollars to this day. The company used to own a lot of real estate when I was a young man--they were making money too. Now they ain't paid a dividend on the common stock in Lord knows when. There ought to be a law about that. Some of the stockholders get all the gravy and the others don't get nothin.’ That kind of thing keeps up, this country will be just like Europe--few big fellows will own everything.