By Harriet E. Wilson
The 1859 novel tracing the lifetime of a mulatto foundling abused through a white relatives in nineteenth century New England.
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Extra info for Our Nig: or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black (Penguin Classics)
More than the others, she was a child of the village, but that does not belie the possibility that even villages can be as dysfunctional as a family isolated and on its own. She may have been better off with a little less attention. When she came to know the true story of her father, S’ee laughed at the punch line of the man caught by the salmon. She had no fond memories—not even the sound of his voice or the smell of his skin—so he was no more than an illustrative figure in a moral tale, and thus of no consequence to her.
But when the branches parted, she shrieked at the figure approaching out of the greenness, as if emerging from her dreams into the bright northern day. “Cover yourself,” she called to her sister, and they dipped in unison until the water rose to their waists. The man strode to the edge and showed his empty hands in greeting. He paused to consider them, as if he could not find his tongue or was perhaps fearful that speech might break the spell. The sisters watched him watching them, and he was a fine, handsome man.
In reality, she had no idea of what was about to occur. S’ee pulled her shift over her head and was naked, and the man felt the softness of her skin, his hands in arcs and circles, kneading flesh, and turning from him, she slid and knelt, squaring her shoulders, her hands firmly on the ground. He whispered her name again and drew close behind her, stroking her legs and back, his nails tracing the contours of her body. He kissed the small of her back, ran his mouth along her spine, and licked the sharp blades of her shoulders.
Our Nig: or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black (Penguin Classics) by Harriet E. Wilson