"If she hadn't seen him pay for it with her own eyes, she would have thought he had stole it."
"If Momma had lived just two more years, she could have seen me become the owner of this little house that we had lived in all them years."
"Along with the house he got permission to gather wood in the thicket, and he made all the boards we needed for the spreadin' out of the house. We got to use the commons for grazin' the cow and the two sheep he got, and them sheep was especially fittin' when there are young'uns at home who need wool socks in the winter."
"Well, to be honest, I didn't buy the house. I still owed quite a bit on it, but it was a debt which would not be called in as long as I kept up his payments. I didn't mind owing money, as long as I stayed alive long enough to pay it back, and I think I was right in thinkin' that way."
"Amen," said Esther.
"Young lady, the first hard won cents are the trickiest to save. There is always a crack where they can slip through or a young mouth ready to gulp it down. Once everybody has enough to wear and eat and you ain't had to borrow no money yet, then things start to get better, but still not easy. Your life springs roots as surely as a sapling and money becomes along more easier and more easier to save. This is so as long as you don't change the way you live. For most folks it's a very thin line between the path and the briar patch. Overnight, like mushroom on a cow pile, things arise out of nowheres and if a husband don't see 'em right away, his wife will and if they both miss it, then them young'uns will let you know right quick like. All of the sudden there seems to be a million things that just got to be bought, right out of the blue, and all of a sudden you feel bad cause there is needs you can't meet. Many a man who didn't have nothin' starts to feel kinda rich when he has some money tucked away. Sometimes he be wrong about the amount of money he can make because he takes all the glory for his good fortune, don't you see. Sometimes he thinks that he can make more and more money, cause that's the way it's always been. After all that figurin' some folks change their whole way of life. It seems to me that as you start enjoyin' your money more, you don't have enough time to do what's got to be done with his business, and left over pennies drop too, so that he slides down faster than he climbed up. His uppitiness makes things go south as quickly as they once went north, for the old saying is still true: pride goeth before the fall."
"This wadn't how Mr. Jefferson done it," said Esther. "He kept to livin' and workin' just the same as before, spendin' almost no money without just cause and bein' very pleased just to get on home and to find a good hot meal waitin' for him. Nothin' really changed except how many helpin' hands there was."
"My bride had in her, without even knowin' it herself, the wonderful and rare gift of bein' able to put the young'uns to use early on, teaching them to help themselves according to their age and doing it all without much arguin'."
"I don't know myself how I done it. Them young'uns mostly took care of one another, helped their daddy with the chickens, toted things for me and tended the garden. None of them ever got a feel for idle hands, but on the other hand they weren't never burdened too much with chores, and never went hungry or dirty."