Even less than a month, it took Lina Grove to get on foot and when, but rarely, on a passing wagon ride from a provincial village at a sawmill in Alabama to the city of Jefferson, Mississippi, where, as she somehow thought, Lucas Birch, from which she suffered and whom, as the time began to give birth, she went to look for, and did not wait for the letter promised to them when they left six months ago with the news of where he settled, and with money on the road. On the very approach to Jefferson, Lina was told that the name of the guy who works in the city at the woodworking factory was not really Birch, but Bunch, but now it was not turning back. This Byron Bunch really worked in the factory; despite his youth, he shied away from the ordinary amusements of the white shvali, lived modestly and closedly, and on weekends, while his comrades in a few ways available to them, planted a weekly salary in the city, left Jefferson to lead a choir in a rural Negro church. Byron Buncha Lina found in the factory and could ask about Lucas Birch, and from the very first moment, from the very first words in his soul began to grow a feeling he had never known before, not only to name it, but later to confess to himself Byron only the priest Hightower, the only person in Jefferson, with whom he often led long conversations.
Gail Hightower lived in the proud solitude of the outcast ever since he was forced to leave the department after the scandalous death of his wife – which the city had not even believed before that, at the end of almost every week, she was leaving not to go somewhere but to visit relatives – in one from the dubious establishments of Memphis. No matter how hard the hotheads of the local people tried to force the retired priest to get out of Jefferson, he stood up and proved his right to stay in the city, the destination he sought in his youth due to the fact that it was on Jefferson Street that his grandfather fell from the bullets of the northerners when, already at the very end of the war, a handful of riders-confederates committed a boyish desperate raid on the stores of General Grant; The obsession with this episode would not leave Hightower, however much he lived.
According to Lina Byron’s description, Bunch realized that her future child’s father, Joe Brown, was actually in Jefferson, and even worked with him for a while at a woodworking factory, but quit as soon as he began to make good money selling clandestine whiskey; In this case, he was engaged in a couple with a friend named Joe Christmas and with him also lived in a former Negro hut in the backyard of Joanna Berden’s home.
Miss Berden, a woman already in her years, lived most of her life in her house all alone: her grandfather and brother were shot by Colonel Sartoris after the war in the very center of the city, who did not share their conviction that black electoral rights were necessary; for the local she was forever a stranger and content with the community of local blacks. From her house and went up that column of smoke that Lina Grove saw on the way to Jefferson. The house was set on fire, and the mistress was lying at her apartment in the bedroom with a razor-cut throat.
Miss Burden’s assassin was Joe Christmas, as Brown learned from the words, which initially disappeared, but appeared as soon as it became known about the telegram of the relative of the unfortunate, who appointed a reward of one thousand dollars for the capture of the murderer. About Christmass, no one knows where it appeared in the city three years earlier, no one really knew anything, Brown was able to add about his partner a few, but extremely significant in the eyes of Jefferson’s information: first, Christmas was the Niger, although in appearance he was admitted to worst case for italian woman; Secondly, he was the lover of Joanna Berden. No wonder that for the niggers, who had attempted on the bed, and then on the life of the white woman, even three times the Yankees, began an inspired inspiration, which was to last an incomplete week, until Friday, when the villain was finally seized.
Brown was firmly convinced that a vein of Negro blood flowed in the veins of Christmas, Christmas himself had no such certainty, and this uncertainty was the curse of his whole life, only in the last hours of which he finally learned the story of his birth and was convinced – although perhaps, it was to him that he did not care – that everything connected with Negroes, their smell, especially coming from women, was for good reason and persistently pursued him since he remembered himself.
Looking ahead, he learned the truth about his origins thanks to the fact that in the town of Mottstown, next to Jefferson, where he was captured, his grandfather and grandmother lived, old Haynesa, whose daughter, Millie, almost thirty-four years ago sinned and wanted to escape with the circus, who was considered a Mexican, but in fact was in part a Negro; Hynes caught up with the fugitives, shot the circus player, and brought Millie home, where she gave birth to a boy at the right time and died. Soon after the birth of Hines, he took the baby out of the house, and the grandmother never saw her grandson until the day when her heart helped her to recognize Milly’s son in the murdered killer. Hynes threw the baby to the door of the orphanage; It was Christmas time, and the foundling was named Christmas. Hines himself entered the same shelter as a watchman and could triumphantly watch, as the right hand of God punishes the sin of abominable fornication: innocent babies and they suddenly began to call... Joe Christmas “Niger” unanimously. This nickname Christmas remembered.
At the age of five, by the diligence of a hospice sister, whom he accidentally found with a young doctor and who was foolishly afraid of denouncing, Christmas was hurriedly attached to the village in the family of the Makirchens, professing the harsh, bleak religion they revered for Christianity. Here he was required to work hard, to avoid all kinds of filth, to cram the catechism, and mercilessly punished for negligence in the performance of these duties, than they only succeeded in having acquired the steadfast hatred of religion over the years, and the filth and vice represented by the old city of Makirhen, with their tobacco, booze and extravagance, and even more – women, on the contrary, little by little became for him something quite familiar. A few years before the first woman, a prostitute from a nearby town, Christmas with the same as himself, the teenagers from the neighboring farms went somehow to the barn, in which a young Negro taught them the basics, but when it was his turn, something dark rose in him in response to that smell of the Negro, and he simply began brutally beating her. Prostitute Christmas long and simple-heartedly considered a waitress; Makirhen one night went to find sinners, whom he found on country dances, but this find cost him his life; He brought down terrible Old Testament curses on Christmas’ head, and Christmas on his – a tucked-in chair. Makirhen one night went to find sinners, whom he found on country dances, but this find cost him his life; He brought down terrible Old Testament curses on Christmas’ head, and Christmas on his – a tucked-in chair. Makirhen one night went to find sinners, whom he found on country dances, but this find cost him his life; He brought down terrible Old Testament curses on Christmas’ head, and Christmas on his – a tucked-in chair.
Running from the house of adoptive parents, Christmas traveled from Canada to Mexico, never stopping anywhere long, tried many activities; all these years he experienced a strange craving for the Negroes, and often an insurmountable hatred and disgust, declaring his own belonging to this race, only in order not to pay money, even at the price of massacre, in brothels, and even closer to the north it no longer worked.
By the time he was thirty, he had found himself in Jefferson, where he settled in an abandoned black shack on the back of the house Miss Berden, who, learning about the new neighborhood, left food for Christmass in the kitchen, and he accepted this silent gift, but at some point all of these bowls presented themselves to him as a donation to the poor Niger, and, furious, he went upstairs and there silently and rudely mastered the white woman. This episode had an unexpected and fateful for both continuation – a month or so Johanna herself came to the hut to Christmass, and this marked the beginning of a strange relationship lasting three years, sometimes contrary to the will and desire of Christmass, which, incidentally, is not enough in this case meant, for he fell under the power of forces of a different order. The woman, so long asleep in Miss Berden, was awakened; she was becoming unremittingly passionate, even depraved, then suddenly a craving for a sophisticated love ritual awoke in her, and she began to communicate with Christmass through notes left in the agreed places, appointing him visits in secluded places, although neither in the house, nor around him, was there any soul… In one beautiful A moment, two years later, Joanna told Kristmas that she was expecting a baby, but a few months later, it dawned on his mind that no child was foreseen, that Johanna was simply too old and worthless for, he said so directly to her, after which they did not see for a long time s, until it all sorts of tricks does not summon him to her. She begged Christmas only to stand next to him on his knees during prayer, when he refused, sent an old flint pistol on him. The gun was misfired, and Christmass had a razor with her.
Almost a week he was on the run, but at the same time, to everyone’s surprise, he did not try to get out far, all these days, wandering around Jefferson’s neighborhood, as if he only pretended to be looking for salvation; when Christmas was identified in Mottstown, he did not try to resist. But on Monday, on his way to court, he rushed to flee and took refuge in the house of the priest Hightower, where he was shot.
On the eve of Byron Bunch, he brought to Hightower the grandmother Christamus, who told him the story of his grandson, and together they wait for the priest to show in court that on the night of the murder, Christmas was with him, and that, initially refusing, when the persecutors broke into his house, this falsity tried in vain stop them. In the morning of that day in the hut, where Christmas and Brown had previously lived, and where Bunch, in the absence of his masters, visited Lina Grove, Hightower took birth. Mrs. Hines, in some confusion from all events, assured herself that the baby is her grandson Joe.
Contrary to his feelings for Lina, or perhaps because of him, Byron Bunch tried to give the child a father and his mother a husband, but Brown escaped from their hut, and when Bunch overtook him and tried to return him by force, he punched the pursuer of the side and disappeared into this once for all. Lina with the baby in her arms and with Bunch saw later on the road to Tennessee. Not that even she tried to find the child’s father again, rather, she just wanted to see the white light a little more, realizing with some kind of feeling that she should now settle in one place – this would last a lifetime.