a swampy arm or slow-moving outlet of a lake
The mill is an immense brick building, standing on the shore of the
a pause for relaxation
respite from constant labor the slave has through the whole year, is during the Christmas holidays.
a choice or delicious dish
viands have disappeared, and the hungry maws of the children of toil are satisfied, then, next in the order of amusement, is the Christmas dance.
deliberately vague or ambiguous
I made him some
evasive answer, which only had the effect of increasing his violence.
influence or urge by gentle urging, caressing, or flattering
Now he would command me to come to him, now endeavor to
coax me, but I was careful to keep at a respectful distance.
censure severely or angrily
As he approached, nevertheless, Mistress Epps began to
berate him roundly, heaping upon him many rather disrespectful epithets, and demanding for what reason he had attempted to cut my throat.
make known to the public information previously kept secret
Shortly after this time a circumstance occurred that came nigh
divulging the secret of my real name and history, which I had so long and carefully concealed, and upon which I was convinced depended my final escape.
immune to attack; incapable of being tampered with
He assured me, upon his honor, he would deposit it in the Marksville post-office, and that he would keep it an
inviolable secret forever.
a cherished desire
I was willing to risk a great deal to accomplish my purpose, but should the letter by any means fall into the hands of Epps, it would be a death-blow to my
acting in bad faith
My worst fears were realized, and although it may not be considered entirely creditable, even under the circumstances, yet a resort to
duplicity and downright falsehood was the only refuge that presented itself.
to move in a twisting or contorted motion,
As soon as he was gone I threw the letter in the fire, and, with a desponding and despairing heart, beheld the epistle which had cost me so much anxiety and thought, and which I fondly hoped would have been my forerunner to the land of freedom,
writhe and shrivel on its bed of coals, and dissolve into smoke and ashes.
an unwholesome atmosphere
The summer of my life was passing away; I felt I was growing prematurely old; that a few years more, and toil, and grief, and the poisonous
miasma of the swamps would accomplish their work on me—would consign me to the grave's embrace, to moulder and be forgotten.
assistance in time of difficulty
Repelled, betrayed, cut off: from the hope of
succor, I could only prostrate myself upon the earth and groan in unutterable anguish.
habitually reserved and uncommunicative
The year 1850, down to which time I have now arrived, omitting many occurrences uninteresting to the reader, was an unlucky year for my companion Wiley, the husband of Phebe, whose
taciturn and retiring nature has thus far kept him in the background.
a rebuke for making a mistake
They have the right, either by law, or by general consent, to inflict discretionary
chastisement upon a black man caught beyond the boundaries of his master's estate without a pass, and even to shoot him, if he attempts to escape.
incapable of being put up with
His sufferings became
intolerable, and finally he resolved to run away.
My first impression was that she was some
deranged young mistress, who, escaping from home, was wandering, she knew not whither, and had been attracted to my cabin by the sound of the violin.
the state of being known for some unfavorable act or quality
It was, I presume, a matter of newspaper
notoriety at the time, but all the knowledge I have of it, has been derived from the relation of those living at that period in the immediate vicinity of the excitement.
failing to make or recognize distinctions
The planters on Bayou Boeuf finally rebelled against such reckless destruction of property, but it was not until a regiment of soldiers had arrived from some fort on the Texan frontier, demolished the gallows, and opened the doors of the Alexandria prison, that the
indiscriminate slaughter was stayed.
a dissolute man in fashionable society
This man, as has been intimated, was a notorious
profligate, and withal not on the most friendly terms with Epps.
a dissolute person
Her visits were prompted by friendship merely, but the suspicion gradually entered the brain of Epps, that another and a baser passion led her thither—that it was not Harriet she desired to meet, but rather the unblushing
libertine, his neighbor.
characterized by violent emotions or behavior
tempestuous emotions that were raging there were little in harmony with the calm and quiet beauty of the day.
characteristic of the body as opposed to the mind or spirit
She entertained but confused notions of a future life—not comprehending the distinction between the
corporeal and spiritual existence.
performed comprehensively and completely
Without discrimination, at such times, he applies the rawhide, urging the slaves forward with shouts, and occasional expressions of profanity, while the old man laughs, and commends him as a thorough-going boy.
exemption from punishment or loss
What would be intolerable, coming from the lips of another, could be said by him with
traveling or wandering around
He was a native of Canada, from whence he had wandered in early life, and after visiting all the principal localities in the northern and western States, in the course of his
peregrinations, arrived in the unhealthy region of the Red River.
completely wanting or lacking
Edwin Epps was a person utterly regardless of a black man's rights or wrongs—utterly
destitute of any natural sense of justice, as I well knew.
resembling an abyss in depth; so deep as to be immeasurable
I felt as if sinking down, down, amidst the bitter waters of Slavery, from the
unfathomable depths of which I should never rise again.
make believe with the intent to deceive
I laid down upon my board and
feigned I was asleep.
support with evidence or authority or make more certain
Accompanying this memorial were several affidavits of prominent citizens of Sandy Hill and Fort Edward,
corroborating fully the statements it contained, and also a request of several well known gentlemen to the Governor, that Henry B. Northup be appointed agent under the legislative act.
not admitting of passage into or through
Taking passage on the first steamer that arrived, he pursued his journey up Red River, a sluggish, winding stream, flowing through a vast region of primitive forests and
impenetrable swamps, almost wholly destitute of inhabitants.
present for acceptance or rejection
After reading the letters and documents presented him, and listening to a representation of the circumstances under which I had been carried away into captivity, Mr. Waddill at once
proffered his services, and entered into the affair with great zeal and earnestness.
conspicuously or grossly unconventional or unusual
We have one here in Marksville, an
eccentric creature, who preaches abolitionism as vehemently as any fanatic at the North. He is a generous, inoffensive man, but always maintaining the wrong side of an argument. It affords us a deal of amusement.
put forward, as of an idea
It was accordingly arranged during the ride, that, before I had an opportunity of speaking to Mr. Northup, the sheriff should
propound to me certain questions agreed upon, such as the number and names of my children, the name of my wife before marriage, of places I knew at the North, and so forth.
It was some time before I succeeded in cutting an armful, having, somehow, unaccountably lost the power of
wielding the axe with any manner of precision.
a legal proceeding in a court
Finally, Mr. Taylor assured his client that he was satisfied, and that
litigation would not only be expensive, but utterly useless.
without a basis in reason or fact
The story of the trio of slave-traders is a fabrication as absurd as it is base and
known widely and usually unfavorably
I should have known that such a step would have resulted in rendering me
speak about unimportant matters rapidly and incessantly
When I left her, she was but seven years old, a little
prattling girl, playing with her toys.
represented accurately or precisely
What it may be in other States, I do not profess to know; what it is in the region of Red River, is truly and faithfully
delineated in these pages.