There were four slaves of us in the kitchen--my sister Eliza, my aunt Priscilla, Henny, and myself; and we were allowed less than a half of a bushel of corn-meal per week, and very little else, either in the shape of meat or vegetables. It was not enough for us to
completely wanting or lacking
Bad as all slaveholders are, we seldom meet one
destitute of every element of character commanding respect.
official permission or approval
I have said my master found religious
sanction for his cruelty.
the ability to understand and discriminate between relations
He could not come among us without betraying his sympathy for us, and, stupid as we were, we had the
sagacity to see it.
My city life, he said, had had a very
pernicious effect upon me.
waste time; spend one's time idly or inefficiently
Just as I got into the woods, he came up and told me to stop my cart, and that he would teach me how to
trifle away my time, and break gates.
not in agreement or harmony
To show himself independent of me, he would start and stagger through with his hymn in the most
an asset of special worth or utility
forte consisted in his power to deceive.
My natural elasticity was crushed, my intellect
languished, the disposition to read departed, the cheerful spark that lingered about my eye died; the dark night of slavery closed in upon me; and behold a man transformed into a brute!
very unhappy; full of misery
Those beautiful vessels, robed in purest white, so delightful to the eye of freemen, were to me so many shrouded ghosts, to terrify and torment me with thoughts of my
clouded as with sediment
O that I were free! O, that I were on one of your gallant decks, and under your protecting wing! Alas! betwixt me and you, the
turbid waters roll. Go on, go on. O that I could also go!
provoke as by constant criticism
Thus I used to think, and thus I used to speak to myself;
goaded almost to madness at one moment, and at the next reconciling myself to my wretched lot.
a period marked by distinctive character
The circumstances leading to the change in Mr. Covey's course toward me form an
epoch in my humble history.
ask for or request earnestly
In this state I appeared before my master, humbly
entreating him to interpose his authority for my protection.
a trait of dignified seriousness
He told me, with great
solemnity, I must go back to Covey; but that before I went, I must go with him into another part of the woods, where there was a certain ROOT, which, if I would take some of it with me, carrying it ALWAYS ON MY RIGHT SIDE, would render it impossible for Mr. Covey, or any other white man, to whip me.
organized opposition to authority
From what I know of the effect of these holidays upon the slave, I believe them to be among the most effective means in the hands of the slaveholder in keeping down the spirit of
an event resulting in great loss and misfortune
Were I to be again reduced to the chains of slavery, next to that enslavement, I should regard being the slave of a religious master the greatest
calamity that could befall me.
going beyond what is appropriate, permitted, or courteous
Does he ever venture to suggest a different mode of doing things from that pointed out by his master? He is indeed
presumptuous, and getting above himself; and nothing less than a flogging will do for him.
I held my Sabbath school at the house of a free colored man, whose name I deem it
imprudent to mention; for should it be known, it might embarrass him greatly, though the crime of holding the school was committed ten years ago.
inflict a heavy blow on, with the hand, a tool, or a weapon
When I think that these precious souls are to-day shut up in the prison-house of slavery, my feelings overcome me, and I am almost ready to ask, "Does a righteous God govern the universe? and for what does he hold the thunders in his right hand, if not to
smite the oppressor, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the spoiler?"
fill or soak totally
I therefore, though with great prudence, commenced early to ascertain their views and feelings in regard to their condition, and to
imbue their minds with thoughts of freedom.
On the other hand, away back in the dim distance, under the flickering light of the north star, behind some craggy hill or snow-covered mountain, stood a doubtful freedom--half frozen--
beckoning us to come and share its hospitality.
the place or state in which one suffers eternal punishment
I felt myself surrounded by so many fiends from
be bossy towards
...they commenced making my condition as hard as they could, by
hectoring me around, and sometimes striking me.
a sum of money paid in compensation for loss or injury
Master Hugh, finding he could get no
redress, refused to let me go back again to Mr. Gardner.