Meet us on:
Entire Site
    Try our fun game

    Dueling book covers…may the best design win!

    Random Quote
    "Of all noises, I think music is the least disagreeable."

    Subscribe to Our Newsletter

    Follow us on Twitter

    Never miss a good book again! Follow Read Print on Twitter

    Chapter 5

    • Rate it:
    • Average Rating: 3.8 out of 5 based on 3 ratings
    • 4 Favorites on Read Print
    Launch Reading Mode Next Chapter
    Chapter 6
    Previous Chapter
    As to my own treatment while I lived on Colonel
    Lloyd's plantation, it was very similar to that of the
    other slave children. I was not old enough to work in
    the field, and there being little else than field work
    to do, I had a great deal of leisure time. The most
    I had to do was to drive up the cows at evening,
    keep the fowls out of the garden, keep the front
    yard clean, and run of errands for my old master's
    daughter, Mrs. Lucretia Auld. The most of my lei-
    sure time I spent in helping Master Daniel Lloyd
    in finding his birds, after he had shot them. My
    connection with Master Daniel was of some advan-
    tage to me. He became quite attached to me, and
    was a sort of protector of me. He would not allow
    the older boys to impose upon me, and would divide
    his cakes with me.

    I was seldom whipped by my old master, and suf-
    fered little from any thing else than hunger and
    cold. I suffered much from hunger, but much more
    from cold. In hottest summer and coldest winter, I
    was kept almost naked--no shoes, no stockings, no
    jacket, no trousers, nothing on but a coarse tow linen
    shirt, reaching only to my knees. I had no bed. I
    must have perished with cold, but that, the coldest
    nights, I used to steal a bag which was used for carry-
    ing corn to the mill. I would crawl into this bag,
    and there sleep on the cold, damp, clay floor, with
    my head in and feet out. My feet have been so
    cracked with the frost, that the pen with which I
    am writing might be laid in the gashes.

    We were not regularly allowanced. Our food was
    coarse corn meal boiled. This was called MUSH. It
    was put into a large wooden tray or trough, and set
    down upon the ground. The children were then
    called, like so many pigs, and like so many pigs they
    would come and devour the mush; some with oyster-
    shells, others with pieces of shingle, some with naked
    hands, and none with spoons. He that ate fastest
    got most; he that was strongest secured the best
    place; and few left the trough satisfied.

    I was probably between seven and eight years old
    when I left Colonel Lloyd's plantation. I left it with
    joy. I shall never forget the ecstasy with which I
    received the intelligence that my old master (An-
    thony) had determined to let me go to Baltimore,
    to live with Mr. Hugh Auld, brother to my old
    master's son-in-law, Captain Thomas Auld. I re-
    ceived this information about three days before my
    departure. They were three of the happiest days
    I ever enjoyed. I spent the most part of all these
    three days in the creek, washing off the plantation
    scurf, and preparing myself for my departure.

    The pride of appearance which this would indicate
    was not my own. I spent the time in washing, not so
    much because I wished to, but because Mrs.
    Lucretia had told me I must get all the dead skin
    off my feet and knees before I could go to Balti-
    more; for the people in Baltimore were very cleanly,
    and would laugh at me if I looked dirty. Besides,
    she was going to give me a pair of trousers, which I
    should not put on unless I got all the dirt off me.
    The thought of owning a pair of trousers was great
    indeed! It was almost a sufficient motive, not only
    to make me take off what would be called by pig-
    drovers the mange, but the skin itself. I went at it
    in good earnest, working for the first time with the
    hope of reward.

    The ties that ordinarily bind children to their
    homes were all suspended in my case. I found no
    severe trial in my departure. My home was charm-
    less; it was not home to me; on parting from it, I
    could not feel that I was leaving any thing which I
    could have enjoyed by staying. My mother was dead,
    my grandmother lived far off, so that I seldom saw
    her. I had two sisters and one brother, that lived in
    the same house with me; but the early separation of
    us from our mother had well nigh blotted the fact
    of our relationship from our memories. I looked for
    home elsewhere, and was confident of finding none
    which I should relish less than the one which I was
    leaving. If, however, I found in my new home hard-
    ship, hunger, whipping, and nakedness, I had the
    consolation that I should not have escaped any one
    of them by staying. Having already had more than
    a taste of them in the house of my old master, and
    having endured them there, I very naturally inferred
    my ability to endure them elsewhere, and especially
    at Baltimore; for I had something of the feeling
    about Baltimore that is expressed in the proverb,
    that "being hanged in England is preferable to
    dying a natural death in Ireland." I had the strongest
    desire to see Baltimore. Cousin Tom, though not
    fluent in speech, had inspired me with that desire
    by his eloquent description of the place. I could
    never point out any thing at the Great House, no
    matter how beautiful or powerful, but that he had
    seen something at Baltimore far exceeding, both in
    beauty and strength, the object which I pointed out
    to him. Even the Great House itself, with all its
    pictures, was far inferior to many buildings in Bal-
    timore. So strong was my desire, that I thought a
    gratification of it would fully compensate for what-
    ever loss of comforts I should sustain by the ex-
    change. I left without a regret, and with the highest
    hopes of future happiness.

    We sailed out of Miles River for Baltimore on a
    Saturday morning. I remember only the day of the
    week, for at that time I had no knowledge of the
    days of the month, nor the months of the year. On
    setting sail, I walked aft, and gave to Colonel Lloyd's
    plantation what I hoped would be the last look. I
    then placed myself in the bows of the sloop, and
    there spent the remainder of the day in looking
    ahead, interesting myself in what was in the distance
    rather than in things near by or behind.

    In the afternoon of that day, we reached Annap-
    olis, the capital of the State. We stopped but a
    few moments, so that I had no time to go on shore.
    It was the first large town that I had ever seen, and
    though it would look small compared with some of
    our New England factory villages, I thought it a
    wonderful place for its size--more imposing even
    than the Great House Farm!

    We arrived at Baltimore early on Sunday morn-
    ing, landing at Smith's Wharf, not far from Bow-
    ley's Wharf. We had on board the sloop a large
    flock of sheep; and after aiding in driving them to
    the slaughterhouse of Mr. Curtis on Louden Slater's
    Hill, I was conducted by Rich, one of the hands
    belonging on board of the sloop, to my new home
    in Alliciana Street, near Mr. Gardner's ship-yard, on
    Fells Point.

    Mr. and Mrs. Auld were both at home, and met
    me at the door with their little son Thomas, to take
    care of whom I had been given. And here I saw what
    I had never seen before; it was a white face beaming
    with the most kindly emotions; it was the face of
    my new mistress, Sophia Auld. I wish I could de-
    scribe the rapture that flashed through my soul as I
    beheld it. It was a new and strange sight to me,
    brightening up my pathway with the light of happi-
    ness. Little Thomas was told, there was his Freddy,
    --and I was told to take care of little Thomas; and
    thus I entered upon the duties of my new home with
    the most cheering prospect ahead.

    I look upon my departure from Colonel Lloyd's
    plantation as one of the most interesting events of
    my life. It is possible, and even quite probable, that
    but for the mere circumstance of being removed
    from that plantation to Baltimore, I should have
    to-day, instead of being here seated by my own table,
    in the enjoyment of freedom and the happiness of
    home, writing this Narrative, been confined in the
    galling chains of slavery. Going to live at Baltimore
    laid the foundation, and opened the gateway, to all
    my subsequent prosperity. I have ever regarded it
    as the first plain manifestation of that kind provi-
    dence which has ever since attended me, and marked
    my life with so many favors. I regarded the selection
    of myself as being somewhat remarkable. There were
    a number of slave children that might have been
    sent from the plantation to Baltimore. There were
    those younger, those older, and those of the same
    age. I was chosen from among them all, and was
    the first, last, and only choice.

    I may be deemed superstitious, and even egotisti-
    cal, in regarding this event as a special interposition
    of divine Providence in my favor. But I should be
    false to the earliest sentiments of my soul, if I sup-
    pressed the opinion. I prefer to be true to myself,
    even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others,
    rather than to be false, and incur my own abhor-
    rence. From my earliest recollection, I date the en-
    tertainment of a deep conviction that slavery would
    not always be able to hold me within its foul em-
    brace; and in the darkest hours of my career in slav-
    ery, this living word of faith and spirit of hope de-
    parted not from me, but remained like ministering
    angels to cheer me through the gloom. This good
    spirit was from God, and to him I offer thanksgiving
    and praise.
    Next Chapter
    Chapter 6
    Previous Chapter
    If you're writing a Frederick Douglass essay and need some advice, post your Frederick Douglass essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

    Top 5 Authors

    Top 5 Books

    Book Status
    Want to read

    Are you sure you want to leave this group?