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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library-Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass


in the evening, ready to urge us on with his words,
example, and frequently with the whip. Mr. Covey
was one of the few slaveholders who could and did
work with his hands. He was a hard-working man.
He knew by himself just what a man or a boy could
do. There was no deceiving him. His work went on
in his absence almost as well as in his presence; and
he had the faculty of making us feel that he was
ever present with us. This he did by surprising us.
He seldom approached the spot where we were at
work openly, if he could do it secretly. He always
aimed at taking us by surprise. Such was his cunning,
that we used to call him, among ourselves, "the
snake." When we were at work in the cornfield, he
would sometimes crawl on his hands and knees to
avoid detection, and all at once he would rise
nearly in our midst, and scream out, "Ha, ha!

Come, come! Dash on, dash on!" This being his
mode of attack, it was never safe to stop a single
minute. His comings were like a thief in the night.
He appeared to us as being ever at hand. He was
under every tree, behind every stump, in every bush,
and at every window, on the plantation. He would
sometimes mount his horse, as if bound to St. Mi-
chael's, a distance of seven miles, and in half an
hour afterwards you would see him coiled up in
the corner of the wood-fence, watching every motion
of the slaves. He would, for this purpose, leave his
horse tied up in the woods. Again, he would some-
times walk up to us, and give us orders as though
he was upon the point of starting on a long journey,
turn his back upon us, and make as though he was
going to the house to get ready; and, before he would
get half way thither, he would turn short and crawl
into a fence-corner, or behind some tree, and there
watch us till the going down of the sun.

Mr. Covey's FORTE consisted in his power to de-
ceive. His life was devoted to planning and perpe-
trating the grossest deceptions. Every thing he pos-
sessed in the shape of learning or religion, he made
conform to his disposition to deceive. He seemed
to think himself equal to deceiving the Almighty.
He would make a short prayer in the morning, and
a long prayer at night; and, strange as it may seem,
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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library-Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass



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