that State and reside in his employer's family as a private teacher.
On his way thither, he had as a traveling companion Mrs. Greene
, widow of the eminent Revolutionary general, Nathaniel Greene
, who was returning with her children to Savannah
, after spending the summer at the North
His health being infirm on his arrival at Savannah
, Mrs. Greene
kindly invited him to the hospitalities of her residence until he should become fully restored.
Short of money and in a land of strangers, he was now coolly informed by his employer that his services were not required, he (B.) having employed another teacher in his stead!
hereupon urged him to make her house his home so long as that should be desirable, and pursue under her roof the study of the law, which he then contemplated.
He gratefully accepted the offer, and commenced the study accordingly.
happened to be engaged in embroidering on a peculiar frame known as a tambour.
It was badly constructed, so that it injured the fabric while it impeded its production.
eagerly volunteered to make her a better, and did so on a plan wholly new, to her great delight and that of her children.
A large party of Georgians, from Augusta
and the plantations above, soon after paid Mrs
. G. a visit, several of them being officers who had served under her husband in the Revolutionary war. Among the topics discussed by them around her fireside was the depressed state of Agriculture, and the impossibility of profitably extending the culture of the green-seed Cotton, because of the trouble and expense incurred in separating the seed from the fiber.
These representations impelled Mrs. Greene
to say: “Gentlemen, apply to my young friend, Mr. Whitney
can make any thing.”
She thereupon took them into an adjacent room, where she showed them her tambour-frame and several ingenious toys which Mr.
W. had made for the gratification of her children.
She then introduced them to Whitney
himself, extolling his genius and commending him to their confidence and friendship.
In the conversation which ensued, he observed that he had never seen cotton nor cotton-seed in his life.
promised nothing and gave little encouragement, but went to work.
No cotton in the seed being at hand, he went to Savannah
and searched there among ware-houses and boats until he found a small parcel.
This he carried home and secluded with himself in a basement room, where he set himself at work to devise and construct the implement required.
Tools being few and rude, he was constrained to make better — drawing his own wire, because none could, at that time, be bought in the city of Savannah
. Mrs. Greene
and her next friend, Mr. Miller
, whom she soon after married, were the only persons beside himself who were allowed the entree of his workshop — in fact, the only ones who clearly knew what he was about.
His mysterious hammering and tinkering in that solitary cell were subjects of infinite curiosity, marvel, and ridicule among the younger members of the family.
But he did not interfere with their merriment, nor allow them to interfere with his enterprise; and, before the close of the winter, his