176 SLAVE LIFE IN GEORGIA.
bole being very brittle, breaks up into little pieces
as soon as it is touched, filling the fibre w-ith
woody particles. For these reasons, when the
plant is just ripening, all hands are set to pick it,
as this is the most favourable time. The women
pick cleaner and better than the men generally,
because their fingers are more delicate and taper,
and they can more easily lay hold of the cotton as
it lies snug in the pod. Many people may think
it is a very light, pleasant occupation, but it is not;
for let alone the large quantity that each slave
must pick every day, the bole of the plant when
split by ripeness, pricks the fingers, even when
you are very careful, and lacerates the flesh round
the nails so as to cause a great soreness: besides
which, the constant stooping is terribly irksome
and painful, even to the strongest-backed man.
On rainy days the people do not pick at all,
but are sent into the jin-house to jin and pack.
The jinning is for the purpose of separating the
seed, which lies closely embedded in the wool,
and is not easy to get out. The jins I have seen
employed are the roller and saw-jins. Sometimes,
however, the seed is extracted by hand-picking.
This is usually done at night, more to keep the
slaves employed than because it is the most ex-