By Donald A. Petesch
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Additional resources for A Spy in the Enemy's Country: The Emergence of Modern Black Literature
10 The Narrative begins: I was born in Tuckahoe, near Hillsborough, and about twelve miles from Eaton, in Talbot county, Maryland. I have no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it. By far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs, and it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keep their slaves thus ignorant. I do not remember to have ever met a slave who could tell of his birthday. " It is little wonder that "The Village" is Walden's briefest chapter.
They were noble souls; they not only possessed loving hearts, but brave ones. We were linked and interlinked Page 27 with each other. I loved them with a love stronger than any thing I have experienced since. It is sometimes said that we slaves do not love and confide in each other. In answer to this assertion, I can say, I never loved any or confided in any people more than my fellow-slaves, and especially those with whom I lived at Mr. Freeland's. I believe we would have died for each other. We never undertook to do any thing, of any importance, without a mutual consultation.
But not only is he their voice, he sees his existence in their existence. Thoreau had three chairs in his cabin, "one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society";15 Douglass had over forty scholars in his illegal Sabbath school: The work of instructing my dear fellow-slaves was the sweetest engagement with which I was ever blessed. We loved each other, and to leave them at the close of the Sabbath was a severe cross indeed.... For the ease with which I passed the year, I was, however, somewhat indebted to the society of my fellow-slaves.