Susan Broaddus (b. 1849)
Interviewer: Marietta Silver
Date of interview: Unknown
Source:, published version, p. 44
[The final two sentences, which were not included in the published version, are from the MS version, draft no. 1, chap. 4, p. 22.—Ed.]
Was servin’ gal fo’ Missus. Used to have to stan’ behin’ her at de table an’ reach her de salt an’ syrup an’ anything else she called fo’. Ole Marsa would spell out real fas’ anything he don’t want me to know ‘bout. One day Marsa was fit to be tied, he was in setch a bad mood. Was ravin’ ‘bout de crops, an’ taxes, an’ de triflin’ niggers he got to feed. “Gonna sell ‘em, I swear fo’ Christ, I gonna sell ‘em,” he says. Den ole Missus ask which ones he gonna sell an’ tell him quick to spell it. Den he spell out G-A-B-E, and R-U-F-U-S. ‘Course I stood dere without battin’ an eye, an’ makin’ believe I didn’t even hear him, but I was packin’ dem letters up in my haid all de time. An’ soon’s I finished dishes I rushed down to my father an’ say ‘em to him jus’ like Marsa say ‘em. Father say quiet-like: “Gabe and Rufus,” an’ tol’ me to go on back to de house an’ say I ain’t been out. De next day Gabe and Rufus was gone—dey had run away. Marsa nearly died, got to cussin’ and ravin’ so he took sick. Missus went to town an’ tol’ de sheriff, but dey never could fin’ dose two
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slaves. Was gone to free land. An’ I spec’ dey wondered many times how dem niggers knew dey was goin’ to be sol’.