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As the months passed on, my boy improved in health. When he was a year old,
they called him beautiful. The little vine was taking deep root in my
existence, though its clinging fondness excited a mixture of love and pain.
When I was most sorely oppressed I found a solace in his smiles. I loved to
watch his infant slumbers; but always there was a dark cloud over my
enjoyment. I could never forget that he was a slave. Sometimes I wished
that he might die in infancy. God tried me. My darling became very ill. The
bright eyes grew dull, and the little feet and hands were so icy cold that
I thought death had already touched them. I had prayed for his death, but
never so earnestly as I now prayed for his life; and my prayer was heard.
Alas, what mockery it is for a slave mother to try to pray back her dying
child to life! Death is better than slavery. It was a sad thought that I
had no name to give my child. His father caressed him and treated him
kindly, whenever he had a chance to see him. He was not unwilling that he
should bear his name; but he had no legal claim to it; and if I had
bestowed it upon him, my master would have regarded it as a new crime, a
new piece of insolence, and would, perhaps, revenge it on the boy. O, the
serpent of Slavery has many and poisonous fangs!