The Trials Of Girlhood.
During the first years of my service in Dr. Flint’s family, I was accustomed to share some
indulgences with the children of my mistress. Though this seemed to me no more than right, I was
grateful for it, and tried to merit the kindness by the faithful discharge of my duties. But I now
entered on my fifteenth year—a sad epoch in the life of a slave girl. My master began to whisper
foul words in my ear. Young as I was, I could not remain ignorant of their import. I tried to treat
them with indifference or contempt. The master’s age, my extreme youth, and the fear that his
conduct would be reported to my grandmother, made him bear this treatment for many months.
He was a crafty man, and resorted to many means to accomplish his purposes. Sometimes he had
stormy, terrific ways, that made his victims tremble; sometimes he assumed a gentleness that he
thought must surely subdue. Of the two, I preferred his stormy moods, although they left me trembling. He tried his utmost to corrupt the pure principles my grandmother had instilled. He peopled
my young mind with unclean images, such as only a vile monster could think of. I turned from
him with disgust and hatred. But he was my master. I was compelled to live under the same roof
with him—where I saw a man forty years my senior daily violating the most sacred commandments of nature. He told me I was his property; that I must be subject to his will in all things. My
soul revolted against the mean tyranny. But where could I turn for protection? No matter whether
the slave girl be as black as ebony or as fair as her mistress. In either case, there is no shadow of
law to protect her from insult, from violence, or even from death; all these are inflicted by fiends
who bear the shape of men. The mistress, who ought to protect the helpless victim, has no other
feelings towards her but those of jealousy and rage. The degradation, the wrongs, the vices, that
grow out of slavery, are more than I can describe. They are greater than you would willingly believe. Surely, if you credited one half the truths that are told you concerning the helpless millions
suffering in this cruel bondage, you at the north would not help to tighten the yoke. You surely
would refuse to do for the master, on your own soil, the mean and cruel work which trained bloodhounds and the lowest class of whites do for him at the south.
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