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    Chapter 9

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    Chapter 10
    Previous Chapter
    _Personal Treatment_

    MISS LUCRETIA--HER KINDNESS--HOW IT WAS MANIFESTED--"IKE"--A
    BATTLE WITH HIM--THE CONSEQUENCES THEREOF--MISS LUCRETIA'S
    BALSAM--BREAD--HOW I OBTAINED IT--BEAMS OF SUNLIGHT AMIDST THE
    GENERAL DARKNESS--SUFFERING FROM COLD--HOW WE TOOK OUR MEALS--
    ORDERS TO PREPARE FOR BALTIMORE--OVERJOYED AT THE THOUGHT OF
    QUITTING THE PLANTATION--EXTRAORDINARY CLEANSING--COUSIN TOM'S
    VERSION OF BALTIMORE--ARRIVAL THERE--KIND RECEPTION GIVEN ME BY
    MRS. SOPHIA AULD--LITTLE TOMMY--MY NEW POSITION--MY NEW DUTIES--A
    TURNING POINT IN MY HISTORY.

    I have nothing cruel or shocking to relate of my own personal
    experience, while I remained on Col. Lloyd's plantation, at the
    home of my old master. An occasional cuff from Aunt Katy, and a
    regular whipping from old master, such as any heedless and
    mischievous boy might get from his father, is all that I can
    mention of this sort. I was not old enough to work in the field,
    and, there being little else than field work to perform, I had
    much leisure. The most I had to do, was, to drive up the cows in
    the evening, to keep the front yard clean, and to perform small
    errands for my young mistress, Lucretia Auld. I have reasons for
    thinking this lady was very kindly disposed toward me, and,
    although I was not often the object of her attention, I
    constantly regarded her as my friend, and was always glad when it
    was my privilege to do her a service. In a family where there
    was so much that was harsh, cold and indifferent, the slightest
    word or look of kindness passed, with me, for its full value.
    Miss Lucretia--as we all continued to call her long after
    her marriage--had bestowed upon me such words and looks as taught
    me that she pitied me, if she did not love me. In addition to
    words and looks, she sometimes gave me a piece of bread and
    butter; a thing not set down in the bill of fare, and which must
    have been an extra ration, planned aside from either Aunt Katy or
    old master, solely out of the tender regard and friendship she
    had for me. Then, too, I one day got into the wars with Uncle
    Able's son, "Ike," and had got sadly worsted; in fact, the little
    rascal had struck me directly in the forehead with a sharp piece
    of cinder, fused with iron, from the old blacksmith's forge,
    which made a cross in my forehead very plainly to be seen now.
    The gash bled very freely, and I roared very loudly and betook
    myself home. The coldhearted Aunt Katy paid no attention either
    to my wound or my roaring, except to tell me it served me right;
    I had no business with Ike; it was good for me; I would now keep
    away _"from dem Lloyd niggers."_ Miss Lucretia, in this state of
    the case, came forward; and, in quite a different spirit from
    that manifested by Aunt Katy, she called me into the parlor (an
    extra privilege of itself) and, without using toward me any of
    the hard-hearted and reproachful epithets of my kitchen
    tormentor, she quietly acted the good Samaritan. With her own
    soft hand she washed the blood from my head and face, fetched her
    own balsam bottle, and with the balsam wetted a nice piece of
    white linen, and bound up my head. The balsam was not more
    healing to the wound in my head, than her kindness was healing to
    the wounds in my spirit, made by the unfeeling words of Aunt
    Katy. After this, Miss Lucretia was my friend. I felt her to be
    such; and I have no doubt that the simple act of binding up my
    head, did much to awaken in her mind an interest in my welfare.
    It is quite true, that this interest was never very marked, and
    it seldom showed itself in anything more than in giving me a
    piece of bread when I was hungry; but this was a great favor on a
    slave plantation, and I was the only one of the children to whom
    such attention was paid. When very
    hungry, I would go into the back yard and play under Miss
    Lucretia's window. When pretty severely pinched by hunger, I had
    a habit of singing, which the good lady very soon came to
    understand as a petition for a piece of bread. When I sung under
    Miss Lucretia's window, I was very apt to get well paid for my
    music. The reader will see that I now had two friends, both at
    important points--Mas' Daniel at the great house, and Miss
    Lucretia at home. From Mas' Daniel I got protection from the
    bigger boys; and from Miss Lucretia I got bread, by singing when
    I was hungry, and sympathy when I was abused by that termagant,
    who had the reins of government in the kitchen. For such
    friendship I felt deeply grateful, and bitter as are my
    recollections of slavery, I love to recall any instances of
    kindness, any sunbeams of humane treatment, which found way to my
    soul through the iron grating of my house of bondage. Such beams
    seem all the brighter from the general darkness into which they
    penetrate, and the impression they make is vividly distinct and
    beautiful.

    As I have before intimated, I was seldom whipped--and never
    severely--by my old master. I suffered little from the treatment
    I received, except from hunger and cold. These were my two great
    physical troubles. I could neither get a sufficiency of food nor
    of clothing; but I suffered less from hunger than from cold. In
    hottest summer and coldest winter, I was kept almost in a state
    of nudity; no shoes, no stockings, no jacket, no trowsers;
    nothing but coarse sackcloth or tow-linen, made into a sort of
    shirt, reaching down to my knees. This I wore night and day,
    changing it once a week. In the day time I could protect myself
    pretty well, by keeping on the sunny side of the house; and in
    bad weather, in the corner of the kitchen chimney. The great
    difficulty was, to keep warm during the night. I had no bed.
    The pigs in the pen had leaves, and the horses in the stable had
    straw, but the children had no beds. They lodged anywhere in the
    ample kitchen. I slept, generally, in a little closet, without
    even a blanket to cover me. In very cold weather. I sometimes
    got down the bag in which cornmeal was usually carried to
    the mill, and crawled into that. Sleeping there, with my head in
    and feet out, I was partly protected, though not comfortable. My
    feet have been so cracked with the frost, that the pen with which
    I am writing might be laid in the gashes. The manner of taking
    our meals at old master's, indicated but little refinement. Our
    corn-meal mush, when sufficiently cooled, was placed in a large
    wooden tray, or trough, like those used in making maple sugar
    here in the north. This tray was set down, either on the floor
    of the kitchen, or out of doors on the ground; and the children
    were called, like so many pigs; and like so many pigs they would
    come, and literally devour the mush--some with oyster shells,
    some with pieces of shingles, and none with spoons. He that eat
    fastest got most, and he that was strongest got the best place;
    and few left the trough really satisfied. I was the most unlucky
    of any, for Aunt Katy had no good feeling for me; and if I pushed
    any of the other children, or if they told her anything
    unfavorable of me, she always believed the worst, and was sure to
    whip me.

    As I grew older and more thoughtful, I was more and more filled
    with a sense of my wretchedness. The cruelty of Aunt Katy, the
    hunger and cold I suffered, and the terrible reports of wrong and
    outrage which came to my ear, together with what I almost daily
    witnessed, led me, when yet but eight or nine years old, to wish
    I had never been born. I used to contrast my condition with the
    black-birds, in whose wild and sweet songs I fancied them so
    happy! Their apparent joy only deepened the shades of my sorrow.
    There are thoughtful days in the lives of children--at least
    there were in mine when they grapple with all the great, primary
    subjects of knowledge, and reach, in a moment, conclusions which
    no subsequent experience can shake. I was just as well aware of
    the unjust, unnatural and murderous character of slavery, when
    nine years old, as I am now. Without any appeal to books, to
    laws, or to authorities of any kind, it was enough to accept God
    as a father, to regard slavery as a crime.

    I was not ten years old when I left Col. Lloyd's plantation for
    Balitmore{sic}. I left that plantation with inexpressible joy.
    I never shall forget the ecstacy with which I received the
    intelligence from my friend, Miss Lucretia, that my old master
    had determined to let me go to Baltimore to live with Mr. Hugh
    Auld, a brother to Mr. Thomas Auld, my old master's son-in-law.
    I received this information about three days before my departure.
    They were three of the happiest days of my childhood. I spent
    the largest part of these three days in the creek, washing off
    the plantation scurf, and preparing for my new home. Mrs.
    Lucretia took a lively interest in getting me ready. She told me
    I must get all the dead skin off my feet and knees, before I
    could go to Baltimore, for the people there were very cleanly,
    and would laugh at me if I looked dirty; and, besides, she was
    intending to give me a pair of trowsers, which I should not put
    on unless I got all the dirt off. This was a warning to which I
    was bound to take heed; for the thought of owning a pair of
    trowsers, was great, indeed. It was almost a sufficient motive,
    not only to induce me to scrub off the _mange_ (as pig drovers
    would call it) but the skin as well. So I went at it in good
    earnest, working for the first time in the hope of reward. I was
    greatly excited, and could hardly consent to sleep, lest I should
    be left. The ties that, ordinarily, bind children to their
    homes, were all severed, or they never had any existence in my
    case, at least so far as the home plantation of Col. L. was
    concerned. I therefore found no severe trail at the moment of my
    departure, such as I had experienced when separated from my home
    in Tuckahoe. My home at my old master's was charmless to me; it
    was not home, but a prison to me; on parting from it, I could not
    feel that I was leaving anything which I could have enjoyed by
    staying. My mother was now long dead; my grandmother was far
    away, so that I seldom saw her; Aunt Katy was my unrelenting
    tormentor; and my two sisters and brothers, owing to our early
    separation in life, and the family-destroying power of slavery,
    were, comparatively, strangers to me. The fact of our
    relationship was almost blotted out. I looked for _home_
    elsewhere, and was confident of finding none which I should
    relish less than the one I was leaving. If, however, I found in
    my new home to which I was going with such blissful
    anticipations--hardship, whipping and nakedness, I had the
    questionable consolation that I should not have escaped any one
    of these evils by remaining under the management of Aunt Katy.
    Then, too, I thought, since I had endured much in this line on
    Lloyd's plantation, I could endure as much elsewhere, and
    especially at Baltimore; for I had something of the feeling about
    that city which is expressed in the saying, that being "hanged in
    England, is better than dying a natural death in Ireland." I had
    the strongest desire to see Baltimore. My cousin Tom--a boy two
    or three years older than I--had been there, and though not
    fluent (he stuttered immoderately) in speech, he had inspired me
    with that desire, by his eloquent description of the place. Tom
    was, sometimes, Capt. Auld's cabin boy; and when he came from
    Baltimore, he was always a sort of hero amongst us, at least till
    his Baltimore trip was forgotten. I could never tell him of
    anything, or point out anything that struck me as beautiful or
    powerful, but that he had seen something in Baltimore far
    surpassing it. Even the great house itself, with all its
    pictures within, and pillars without, he had the hardihood to say
    "was nothing to Baltimore." He bought a trumpet (worth six
    pence) and brought it home; told what he had seen in the windows
    of stores; that he had heard shooting crackers, and seen
    soldiers; that he had seen a steamboat; that there were ships in
    Baltimore that could carry four such sloops as the "Sally Lloyd."
    He said a great deal about the market-house; he spoke of the
    bells ringing; and of many other things which roused my curiosity
    very much; and, indeed, which heightened my hopes of happiness in
    my new home.

    We sailed out of Miles river for Baltimore early 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, indeed, of the months of the year. On setting sail,
    I walked aft, and gave to Col. Lloyd's plantation what I hoped
    would be the last look I should ever give to it, or to any place
    like it. My strong aversion to the great farm, was not owing to
    my own personal suffering, but the daily suffering of others, and
    to the certainty that I must, sooner or later, be placed under
    the barbarous rule of an overseer, such as the accomplished Gore,
    or the brutal and drunken Plummer. After taking this last view,
    I quitted the quarter deck, made my way to the bow of the sloop,
    and spent the remainder of the day in looking ahead; interesting
    myself in what was in the distance, rather than what was near by
    or behind. The vessels, sweeping along the bay, were very
    interesting objects. The broad bay opened like a shoreless ocean
    on my boyish vision, filling me with wonder and admiration.

    Late in the afternoon, we reached Annapolis, the capital of the
    state, stopping there not long enough to admit of my going
    ashore. It was the first large town I had ever seen; and though
    it was inferior to many a factory village in New England, my
    feelings, on seeing it, were excited to a pitch very little below
    that reached by travelers at the first view of Rome. The dome of
    the state house was especially imposing, and surpassed in
    grandeur the appearance of the great house. The great world was
    opening upon me very rapidly, and I was eagerly acquainting
    myself with its multifarious lessons.

    We arrived in Baltimore on Sunday morning, and landed at Smith's
    wharf, not far from Bowly's wharf. We had on board the sloop a
    large flock of sheep, for the Baltimore market; and, after
    assisting in driving them to the slaughter house of Mr. Curtis,
    on Loudon Slater's Hill, I was speedily conducted by Rich--one of
    the hands belonging to the sloop--to my new home in Alliciana
    street, near Gardiner's ship-yard, on Fell's Point. Mr. and Mrs.
    Hugh Auld, my new mistress and master, were both at home, and met
    me at the door with their rosy cheeked little son, Thomas,
    to take care of whom was to constitute my future occupation.
    In fact, it was to "little Tommy," rather than to his parents,
    that old master made a present of me; and though there was no
    _legal_ form or arrangement entered into, I have no doubt that
    Mr. and Mrs. Auld felt that, in due time, I should be the legal
    property of their bright-eyed and beloved boy, Tommy. I was
    struck with the appearance, especially, of my new mistress. Her
    face was lighted with the kindliest emotions; and the reflex
    influence of her countenance, as well as the tenderness with
    which she seemed to regard me, while asking me sundry little
    questions, greatly delighted me, and lit up, to my fancy, the
    pathway of my future. Miss Lucretia was kind; but my new
    mistress, "Miss Sophy," surpassed her in kindness of manner.
    Little Thomas was affectionately told by his mother, that _"there
    was his Freddy,"_ and that "Freddy would take care of him;" and I
    was told to "be kind to little Tommy"--an injunction I scarcely
    needed, for I had already fallen in love with the dear boy; and
    with these little ceremonies I was initiated into my new home,
    and entered upon my peculiar duties, with not a cloud above the
    horizon.

    I may say here, that I regard my removal from Col. Lloyd's
    plantation as one of the most interesting and fortunate events of
    my life. Viewing it in the light of human likelihoods, it is
    quite probable that, but for the mere circumstance of being thus
    removed before the rigors of slavery had fastened upon me; before
    my young spirit had been crushed under the iron control of the
    slave-driver, instead of being, today, a FREEMAN, I might have
    been wearing the galling chains of slavery. I have sometimes
    felt, however, that there was something more intelligent than
    _chance_, and something more certain than _luck_, to be seen in
    the circumstance. If I have made any progress in knowledge; if I
    have cherished any honorable aspirations, or have, in any manner,
    worthily discharged the duties of a member of an oppressed
    people; this little circumstance must be allowed its due weight
    in giving my life that
    direction. I have ever regarded it as the first plain
    manifestation of that

    _Divinity that shapes our ends,
    Rough hew them as we will_.

    I was not the only boy on the plantation that might have been
    sent to live in Baltimore. There was a wide margin from which to
    select. There were boys younger, boys older, and boys of the
    same age, belonging to my old master some at his own house, and
    some at his farm--but the high privilege fell to my lot.

    I may be deemed superstitious and egotistical, in regarding this
    event as a special interposition of Divine Providence in my
    favor; but the thought is a part of my history, and I should be
    false to the earliest and most cherished sentiments of my soul,
    if I suppressed, or hesitated to avow that opinion, although it
    may be characterized as irrational by the wise, and ridiculous by
    the scoffer. From my earliest recollections of serious matters,
    I date the entertainment of something like an ineffaceable
    conviction, that slavery would not always be able to hold me
    within its foul embrace; and this conviction, like a word of
    living faith, strengthened me through the darkest trials of my
    lot. This good spirit was from God; and to him I offer
    thanksgiving and praise.
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    Chapter 10
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