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my old master faithfully from youth to old age. She
had been the source of all his wealth; she had peo-
pled his plantation with slaves; she had become a
great grandmother in his service. She had rocked
him in infancy, attended him in childhood, served
him through life, and at his death wiped from his
icy brow the cold death-sweat, and closed his eyes
forever. She was nevertheless left a slave--a slave for
life--a slave in the hands of strangers; and in their
hands she saw her children, her grandchildren, and
her great-grandchildren, divided, like so many sheep,
without being gratified with the small privilege of a
single word, as to their or her own destiny. And, to
cap the climax of their base ingratitude and fiendish
barbarity, my grandmother, who was now very old,
having outlived my old master and all his children,
having seen the beginning and end of all of them,
and her present owners finding she was of but little
value, her frame already racked with the pains of old
age, and complete helplessness fast stealing over her
once active limbs, they took her to the woods, built
her a little hut, put up a little mud-chimney, and
then made her welcome to the privilege of support-
ing herself there in perfect loneliness; thus virtually
turning her out to die! If my poor old grandmother
now lives, she lives to suffer in utter loneliness; she
lives to remember and mourn over the loss of chil-
dren, the loss of grandchildren, and the loss of great-
grandchildren. They are, in the language of the
slave's poet, Whittier,--

"Gone, gone, sold and gone

To the rice swamp dank and lone,

Where the slave-whip ceaseless swings,

Where the noisome insect stings,

Where the fever-demon strews

Poison with the falling dews,

Where the sickly sunbeams glare
<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library-Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

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