Summarizing Books with Human Feedback
Scaling human oversight of AI systems for tasks that are difficult to evaluate.
To safely deploy powerful, general-purpose artificial intelligence in the future, we need to ensure that machine learning models act in accordance with human intentions. This challenge has become known as the alignment problem.
A scalable solution to the alignment problem needs to work on tasks where model outputs are difficult or time-consuming for humans to evaluate. To test scalable alignment techniques, we trained a model to summarize entire books, as shown in the following samples. Our model works by first summarizing small sections of a book, then summarizing those summaries into a higher-level summary, and so on.
Source: Project Gutenberg
ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND
THE MILLENNIUM FULCRUM EDITION 3.0
CHAPTER I. Down the Rabbit-Hole
Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, ‘and what is the use of a book,’ thought Alice ‘without pictures or conversations?’
So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her.
There was nothing so VERY remarkable in that; nor did Alice think it so VERY much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, ‘Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!’ (when she thought it over afterwards, it occurred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural); but when the Rabbit actually TOOK A WATCH OUT OF ITS WAISTCOAT-POCKET, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and fortunately was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge.
In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.
The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.
Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her and to wonder what was going to happen next. First, she tried to look down and make out what she was coming to, but it was too dark to see anything; then she looked at the sides of the well, and noticed that they were filled with cupboards and book-shelves; here and there she saw maps and pictures hung upon pegs. She took down a jar from one of the shelves as she passed; it was labelled ‘ORANGE MARMALADE’, but to her great disappointment it was empty: she did not like to drop the jar for fear of killing somebody, so managed to put it into one of the cupboards as she fell past it.
‘Well!’ thought Alice to herself, ‘after such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down stairs! How brave they’ll all think me at home! Why, I wouldn’t say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of the house!’ (Which was very likely true.)
Down, down, down. Would the fall NEVER come to an end! ‘I wonder how many miles I’ve fallen by this time?’ she said aloud. ‘I must be getting somewhere near the centre of the earth. Let me see: that would be four
thousand miles down, I think–’ (for, you see, Alice had learnt several things of this sort in her lessons in the schoolroom, and though this was not a VERY good opportunity for showing off her knowledge, as there was no one to listen to her, still it was good practice to say it over) ‘–yes, that’s about the right distance–but then I wonder what Latitude or Longitude I’ve got to?’ (Alice had no idea what Latitude was, or Longitude either, but thought they were nice grand words to say.)
Presently she began again. ‘I wonder if I shall fall right THROUGH the earth! How funny it’ll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downward! The Antipathies, I think–’ (she was rather glad there WAS no one listening, this time, as it didn’t sound at all the right word) ‘–but I shall have to ask them what the name of the country is, you know. Please, Ma’am, is this New Zealand or Australia?’ (and she tried to curtsey as she spoke–fancy CURTSEYING as you’re falling through the air! Do you think you could manage it?) ‘And what an ignorant little girl she’ll think me for asking! No, it’ll never do to ask: perhaps I shall see it written up somewhere.’
Down, down, down. There was nothing else to do, so Alice soon began talking again. ‘Dinah’ll miss me very much to-night, I should think!’ (Dinah was the cat.) ‘I hope they’ll remember her saucer of milk at tea-time. Dinah my dear! I wish you were down here with me! There are no mice in the air, I’m afraid, but you might catch a bat, and that’s very like a mouse, you know. But do cats eat bats, I wonder?’ And here Alice began to get rather sleepy, and went on saying to herself, in a dreamy sort of way, ‘Do cats eat bats? Do cats eat bats?’ and sometimes, ‘Do bats eat cats?’ for, you see, as she couldn’t answer either question, it didn’t much matter which way she put it. She felt that she was dozing off, and had just begun to dream that she was walking hand in hand with Dinah, and saying to her very earnestly, ‘Now, Dinah, tell me the truth: did you ever eat a bat?’ when suddenly, thump! thump! down she came upon a heap of sticks and dry leaves, and the fall was over.
Alice was not a bit hurt, and she jumped up on to her feet in a moment:
Alice is bored sitting by her sister on the bank, and she’s thinking about making a daisy chain when a white rabbit with pink eyes runs by. She’s surprised to see a rabbit with a waistcoat pocket and a watch, and she follows it down a rabbit hole. She falls down a deep well, and as she’s falling she takes note of the shelves and jars she passes. She thinks about how brave she’ll seem when she gets home, and how she’ll never tell anyone about her fall. She wonders how deep the well is and how many miles she’s fallen.
Alice thinks she’s fallen a thousand miles, and wonders what latitude or longitude she’s at. She wonders if she’ll fall right through the earth and what the name of the country she’ll emerge in is. She starts to get sleepy and starts to dream about walking hand in hand with her cat Dinah, asking her if she’s ever eaten a bat. Suddenly she lands on a heap of sticks and dry leaves, and she’s not hurt. Alice jumps up on her feet in a moment.
The Mouse tells Alice to pay attention, but Alice apologizes and says she was thinking about a knot. The Mouse gets angry and walks away, saying Alice insulted it. The other animals all ask the Mouse to come back and finish its story, but it only shakes its head and walks away. The Lory sighs, saying it’s a pity the Mouse left, and an old Crab tells its daughter that she should learn from this never to lose her temper.
Alice mentions her cat Dinah, who’s good at catching mice. This causes a reaction among the other animals, and they all start to leave. Alice realizes she shouldn’t have mentioned Dinah, and starts to cry again. Soon, the White Rabbit returns, looking for something. Alice figures it’s looking for the fan and gloves it dropped when it was reading the story, and starts looking for them. Soon, the Rabbit notices Alice, and starts looking around too.
Alice is delighted to find that her head is free at last, but then realizes that her shoulders are nowhere to be found. She looks down and sees an immense length of neck, and wonders what all the green stuff below her is. A pigeon then flies into her face, calling her a serpent. Alice tells it she’s not a serpent, but the pigeon continues to call her one, saying it’s been having trouble with serpents lately. Alice realizes that the pigeon is referring to the caterpillars.
Alice tells the pigeon that she’s not a serpent, but a little girl. The pigeon doesn’t believe her, and says that if she’s a little girl, she must have eaten eggs. Alice explains that she has eaten eggs before, but that doesn’t mean she’s a serpent. Alice then starts eating the mushroom again, and manages to shrink herself back to her normal size. She then wonders how to get into the garden, and comes across a little house. She decides not to approach it until she’s shrunk herself down to a smaller size.
The Hatter explains that ever since the Queen had him beheaded for murdering time, Time won’t do anything he asks. Alice asks why there are so many tea things on the table, and the Hatter explains that they keep moving around as the things get used up. The March Hare then suggests that the Dormouse tell them a story, and Alice agrees. The Dormouse starts telling a story about three sisters who lived at the bottom of a well and ate treacle. Alice asks why they lived there, and the Hatter suggests she take more tea.
Alice asks why the three sisters lived at the bottom of a well, and the Dormouse says it was because it was a treacle well. Alice says there’s no such thing, but the Hatter and the March Hare shush her. Alice then asks where they drew the treacle from, and the Hatter says that they could draw water from a water well, so they could draw treacle from a treacle well. Alice is confused by this answer, so she lets the Dormouse continue without interrupting.
The Mock Turtle continues his story, saying that they had the best education in the sea, and that they went to school every day. Alice says she’s been to a day school too, but the Mock Turtle says that hers wasn’t a good school, as it didn’t teach things like washing. The Mock Turtle then says that they also learned things like Reeling and Writhing, and Fainting in Coils. Alice asks what that is, but the Mock Turtle says he’s too stiff to show it to her, and the Gryphon says that it never learnt it either.
The Mock Turtle says that they used to do lessons for 10 hours a day, and that they’re called lessons because they lessen from day to day. Alice asks how they managed on the 11th day, but the Gryphon interrupts, saying that they should talk about the games instead. The Mock Turtle then starts talking about the Lobster Quadrille, saying that they form two lines along the sea-shore, clear the jellyfish out of the way, and then advance twice with a lobster as a partner. Alice asks what a lobster is, but the Gryphon says she probably never met one
Alice accidentally tips over the jury box, causing all the jurors to fall on the crowd below. She apologizes for the accident, thinking that the jurors must be collected and put back in the box immediately, otherwise they’ll die. The King says that the trial cannot proceed until all the jurors are back in their proper places. The King then reads out Rule 42, which says that all persons more than a mile high must leave the court. Everyone looks at Alice, who denies being a mile high. The King and Queen say she is.
Alice says she won’t leave the court, and that the rule isn’t a regular one. The King turns pale and tells the jury to consider their verdict. The White Rabbit announces that a letter has been found, written by the prisoner to someone. It’s not a letter, but a set of verses. The King asks the White Rabbit to read them. The verses are about someone being told that Alice had been to someone, and that she can’t swim. The King says that this proves the prisoner’s guilt. Alice disagrees, saying that it doesn’t prove anything.
Alice falls down a deep well and lands in a heap of sticks and leaves. She follows the White Rabbit down a long passage, but loses sight of it. She finds a bottle that says “Drink Me” on it and drinks it, shrinking to 10 inches tall. She grows to 9 feet tall and then shrinks again. She cries and grows larger again. A mouse appears and Alice asks it for help. The mouse agrees to tell Alice its story if she’ll take it to the shore. Once there, the animals discuss how to get dry again. The Dodo suggests a Caucus-race to get dry. Everyone crowds around Alice asking for prizes. Alice pulls out a box of comfits and hands them out as prizes. The Mouse then asks Alice if she has a prize for herself, and she says she only has a thimble. The Dodo takes the thimble and presents it to Alice, saying they all beg her acceptance
Alice grows larger after drinking a bottle she finds on a table. She stops growing before she gets too big. She then starts to miss being at home and wishes she hadn’t gone down the rabbit hole. She hears the Rabbit calling for her and realizes she’s now much bigger than the Rabbit, so she’s no longer afraid of it. Alice decides her first priority is to grow back to her normal size, and her second priority is to find her way into the garden. She doesn’t know how to do either of those things, however. She sees a Caterpillar smoking a hookah on a mushroom and asks him how she can grow back to her normal size. The Caterpillar tells her that one side of the mushroom will make her grow taller, and the other side will make her shorter. She starts eating the mushroom.
Alice falls down a rabbit hole and grows to giant size after drinking a mysterious bottle. She decides to focus on growing back to her normal size and finding her way into the garden. She meets the Caterpillar who tells her that one side of a mushroom will make her grow taller, the other side shorter. She eats the mushroom and returns to her normal size. Alice attends a party with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. The Queen arrives and orders the execution of the gardeners for making a mistake with the roses. Alice saves them by putting them in a flowerpot. The King and Queen of Hearts preside over a trial. The Queen gets angry and orders Alice to be sentenced to death. Alice wakes up to find her sister by her side.
Source: Project Gutenberg
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
By Jane Austen
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.
“My dear Mr. Bennet,” said his lady to him one day, “have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?”
Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.
“But it is,” returned she; “for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it.”
Mr. Bennet made no answer.
“Do you not want to know who has taken it?” cried his wife impatiently.
“You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it.”
This was invitation enough.
“Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it, that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week.”
“What is his name?”
“Is he married or single?”
“Oh! Single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!”
“How so? How can it affect them?”
“My dear Mr. Bennet,” replied his wife, “how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them.”
“Is that his design in settling here?”
“Design! Nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he may fall in love with one of them, and therefore you must visit him as soon as he comes.”
“I see no occasion for that. You and the girls may go, or you may send them by themselves, which perhaps will be still better, for as you are as handsome as any of them, Mr. Bingley may like you the best of the party.”
“My dear, you flatter me. I certainly have had my share of beauty, but I do not pretend to be anything extraordinary now. When a woman has five grown-up daughters, she ought to give over thinking of her own beauty.”
“In such cases, a woman has not often much beauty to think of.”
“But, my dear, you must indeed go and see Mr. Bingley when he comes into the neighbourhood.”
“It is more than I engage for, I assure you.”
“But consider your daughters. Only think what an establishment it would be for one of them. Sir William and Lady Lucas are determined to go, merely on that account, for in general, you know, they visit no newcomers. Indeed you must go, for it will be impossible for us to visit him if you do not.”
“You are over-scrupulous, surely. I dare say Mr. Bingley will be very glad to see you; and I will send a few lines by you to assure him of my hearty consent to his marrying whichever he chooses of the girls; though I must throw in a good word for my little Lizzy.”
“I desire you will do no such thing. Lizzy is not a bit better than the others; and I am sure she is not half so handsome as Jane, nor half so good-humoured as Lydia. But you are always giving her the preference.”
“They have none of them much to recommend them,” replied he; “they are all silly and ignorant like other girls; but Lizzy has something more of quickness than her sisters.”
“Mr. Bennet, how can you abuse your own children in such a way? You take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion for my poor nerves.”
“You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these last twenty years at least.”
“Ah, you do not know what I suffer.”
“But I hope you will get over it, and live to see many young men of four thousand a year come into the neighbourhood.”
“It will be no use to us, if twenty such should come, since you will not visit them.”
“Depend upon it, my dear, that when there are twenty, I will visit them all.”
Mr. Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three-and-twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his character. Her mind was less difficult to develop. She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented, she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news.
Mr. Bennet was among the earliest of those who waited on Mr. Bingley. He
Mrs. Bennet tells her husband, Mr. Bennet, that Netherfield Park has been leased to a single man of large fortune from the north of England. She assumes he will want to marry one of their daughters. Mr. Bennet doesn’t see the need to visit the man, but Mrs. Bennet insists that he do so, as it’s likely the man will fall in love with one of their daughters. Mr. Bennet says the girls can go visit him instead.
Mrs. Bennet continues to persuade Mr. Bennet to visit Mr. Bingley, insisting it would be good for their daughters. Mr. Bennet agrees to write a letter of introduction to Mr. Bingley, but Mrs. Bennet insists he visit him in person. Mr. Bennet is an odd mixture of quick parts, sarcasm, reserve, and caprice, and his wife has a difficult time understanding him. Her mind is mean and limited, and her life’s goal is to get her daughters married. Mr. Bennet visits Mr. Bingley early on.
The ladies of Longbourn soon visited those of Netherfield, and the visit was soon returned. Miss Bennet’s manners grew on Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley, but Elizabeth still found them to be supercilious. Jane was clearly attracted to Bingley, and Elizabeth thought it was likely that he felt the same way about her. However, Charlotte warned Elizabeth that Jane should show more affection towards Bingley, as he might not realize her feelings otherwise. Elizabeth countered that Bingley would surely realize Jane’s feelings if she showed more affection towards him.
Charlotte says that Jane should make the most of every opportunity to spend time with Bingley, as that is the best way to secure his affections. Elizabeth says Jane is not acting with intent to marry him, and that she has only known him for a fortnight. Charlotte says that happiness in marriage is a matter of chance, and that it doesn’t matter how well you know the other person beforehand. Elizabeth is unaware that Mr. Darcy is becoming interested in her. At first, he hardly thought her pretty, but now he is starting to find her attractive.
At 5pm, the two ladies retire to dress for dinner. Elizabeth is summoned to the dining room at 6pm. During dinner, Bingley asks her several questions, and she notices that he is more attentive to her than the others. After dinner, the ladies criticize Elizabeth’s manners and appearance. Miss Bingley says she looked dirty and untidy, and Mrs. Hurst adds that she looked wild. Bingley, however, defends Elizabeth, saying her affection for her sister is very pleasing.
Mrs. Hurst says she has a great regard for Jane, but that she is worried about her low connections. Bingley says that even if her family had more uncles, it would not make them any less agreeable. After dinner, Elizabeth stays with Jane until she falls asleep. When she goes downstairs, she finds the whole party playing cards. She declines to join them, saying she would rather read. Bingley offers to get her more books from his library.
The day passes much like the previous one, with Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley visiting Jane in the morning and Elizabeth joining them in the drawing room in the evening. Elizabeth observes the conversation between Darcy and Miss Bingley, who constantly compliments him on his handwriting and the length of his letter. Darcy replies to her comments with dry wit, and Bingley teases his sister about her excessive flattery. Miss Bingley then criticizes her brother’s handwriting, saying he leaves out words and blots the rest.
Darcy says that humility is often just carelessness of opinion, and an indirect boast. Bingley asks which of the two he considers his recent display of modesty to be. Darcy says it is an indirect boast, as Bingley is proud of his defects in writing because he considers them as a sign of quickness of thought. Elizabeth says that Darcy has shown Bingley off more than he did himself. Bingley says he is gratified that Elizabeth is converting what his friend said into a compliment on his temper.
Mr. Bennet tells his wife that he expects an addition to their family party that evening. Mrs. Bennet assumes it is Bingley, but her husband says it is a person he has never met before. Mrs. Bennet is shocked by this, and rails against the injustice of the entail, which prevents their estate from being inherited by their own children. Jane and Elizabeth try to explain the nature of an entail to her, but she is beyond reason on the subject. Mr. Bennet explains that the person is his cousin, Mr. Collins, who may inherit the estate when he dies.
Mr. Bennet explains that he has always wanted to reconcile with his late father, but was held back by his own doubts. However, now that he has been ordained as a clergyman, he feels it is his duty to promote peace in all families. He therefore wishes to reconcile with Mr. Bennet, and hopes that his being next in the entail of Longbourn estate will not be a problem. He also says that he plans to stay at their house for a week, from November 18th to November 24th. Mr. Bennet says that he expects him at four o’clock.
Mr. Collins is allowed to go out with the girls, and Mr. Wickham has also accepted the invitation to join them. Mr. Collins describes to Mrs. Phillips the grandeur of Lady Catherine’s mansion, and the improvements he is making to his own humble abode. Mrs. Phillips is very impressed by him, and listens to him with great interest. Mr. Wickham is the center of attraction among the ladies, and Elizabeth finds him very charming. Mr. Collins is also noticed by the ladies, but he is overshadowed by the officers and Mr. Wickham. He is however able to make
Mr. Collins agrees to play cards, and is seated at the table with the others. Mr. Wickham does not play cards, and instead joins Elizabeth and Lydia at their table. Elizabeth is curious to know more about Mr. Darcy, and Wickham starts talking about him. He says that he has known Darcy since childhood, and that he has a very large estate in Derbyshire. Elizabeth says that she has spent four days in the same house as Darcy, and that she finds him disagreeable. Wickham says that he cannot judge him fairly, as he has known him for too
Elizabeth enters the drawing room at Netherfield and looks around for Wickham, but does not see him. She dresses up with more care than usual, hoping to win his heart during the evening. However, she soon learns that Wickham is not present at the party, and that he had gone to town the previous day on some urgent business. Elizabeth becomes very upset by this, and feels that Darcy is responsible for Wickham’s absence. She then dances with Mr. Collins, who is awkward and clumsy. She is happy to be released from him. She then dances with an officer, and
After the dance, Elizabeth returns to Charlotte Lucas and is in conversation with her when Mr. Darcy suddenly approaches her and asks for her hand in marriage. She accepts him without thinking, and Charlotte tries to console her, saying that she might find him agreeable. When the dancing starts again, Darcy approaches Elizabeth to claim her hand. Charlotte warns her not to behave in a manner that would make her appear unpleasant in front of him. Elizabeth and Darcy start talking, and she teases him about his silence.
The next day, Mr. Collins formally declares his intentions to Elizabeth. He asks for a private audience with her, to which Mrs. Bennet agrees instantly. Elizabeth tries to stop her, but Mrs. Bennet insists that she stays and listens to what Collins has to say. Collins begins by saying that he has singled Elizabeth out as the companion of his future life. He then proceeds to explain his reasons for wanting to marry, and for coming to Hertfordshire to select a wife.
Collins continues to explain his reasons for wanting to marry, and says that he thinks it is a right thing for a clergyman to set an example of matrimony in his parish. He also says that he is convinced that it will add greatly to his happiness. He then says that Lady Catherine de Bourgh has advised him to marry, and that she has recommended Elizabeth as a suitable wife for him. He adds that he has chosen to marry from among the Bennet girls because he will inherit their father’s estate after his death.
Elizabeth thanks Charlotte for listening to Collins, and Charlotte assures her that she is happy to be of help. However, her kindness is not entirely selfless - she wants to secure Elizabeth from any further advances from Collins by encouraging him to pursue her instead. Collins then visits Charlotte, and the two quickly agree to get married. Sir and Lady Lucas are happy with the match, as they consider it to be a very good one for their daughter. They also believe that it will be beneficial for Collins to inherit the Longbourn estate. The entire family is happy with the match.
The entire family is happy with the match, and the younger girls hope to come out a year or two earlier than they would have otherwise. Charlotte herself is satisfied with the match, as she has always wanted to get married. She is also pleased that she will be able to provide for herself financially. Collins promises to visit the family again soon, and the entire family is surprised by this. Mr. Bennet then asks him if there is a danger of Lady Catherine’s disapproval, to which he replies that there is.
Mr. Collins leaves for his wedding, and hopes to soon return to Hertfordshire to marry Charlotte. Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner arrive at Longbourn to spend Christmas with the Bennets. Mr. Gardiner is a sensible and well-mannered man, while Mrs. Gardiner is an intelligent and elegant woman. Mrs. Bennet begins to complain to her sister about how poorly things have turned out since her last visit. She blames the Lucases for being manipulative and self-serving. Mrs. Gardiner listens to her sister’s complaints, and tries to comfort her nieces.
Mrs. Gardiner speaks to Elizabeth privately, and asks her about Bingley’s feelings for Jane. Elizabeth explains that Bingley was growing more and more attached to her sister, and that he had offended several other girls at his own ball by not asking them to dance. Mrs. Gardiner suggests that Jane might be persuaded to go back with them to London, in order to escape the gloom that has settled over Longbourn. Elizabeth is pleased by this suggestion. Mrs. Gardiner then suggests that Jane should not be influenced by Bingley’s feelings, as it is unlikely that they would ever meet again.
The next day’s journey is pleasant for Elizabeth, and she enjoys every new sight along the way. When they arrive at the Parsonage, Mr. Collins and Charlotte greet them at the door. Mrs. Collins welcomes her friend with great pleasure, and Elizabeth is satisfied with her decision to come. She observes that Mr. Collins’ behavior is unchanged since his marriage, and that he still behaves in a formal and ostentatious manner. Elizabeth wonders if Charlotte is aware of her husband’s faults, and notices that she blushes on occasion when he speaks inappropriately.
Mr. Collins takes the group on a tour of his garden, which he takes great pride in. Elizabeth admires the neatness and consistency of the garden, and notes that Charlotte seems to enjoy it as well. She learns that Lady Catherine is still in the country, and that she will be attending church the following Sunday. Mr. Collins explains that Lady Catherine will likely invite her and Maria to join her for dinner during their stay. Mr. Collins then praises Lady Catherine’s character and behavior.
The Collins family is very impressed by the manners of Colonel Fitzwilliam, and they are excited to receive an invitation to Rosings. When they arrive at Rosings, Lady Catherine is polite but clearly less interested in their company than she is in her nephews. Colonel Fitzwilliam is especially interested in Elizabeth, and spends much of the evening talking to her. Lady Catherine even asks him to speak louder so that she can hear what they are discussing. Mr. Darcy speaks highly of his sister’s musical abilities.
Lady Catherine explains that she encourages all of her guests to practice music, and that Mrs. Collins is welcome to come to Rosings to play the piano whenever she likes. After coffee, Colonel Fitzwilliam asks Elizabeth to play the piano for him, and she agrees. Lady Catherine listens to half a song before resuming her conversation with her other nephew. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy exchange playful banter, and Elizabeth jokes that Mr. Darcy is trying to intimidate her by coming to hear her play. Elizabeth then threatens to retaliate by revealing things that will shock his relations.
Elizabeth continues to examine Jane’s letters, and notices that they contain no complaints or signs of suffering. However, Elizabeth does notice a lack of cheerfulness in Jane’s writing. Mr. Darcy unexpectedly arrives at the Parsonage, and Elizabeth is surprised to see him. He immediately inquires after her health, and then begins to profess his love for her. Elizabeth is shocked by his declaration, and is silent for a few moments. Darcy takes this as encouragement, and continues to speak passionately about his feelings for her.
Despite her dislike for him, Elizabeth cannot help but be impressed by Darcy’s declaration of love. However, she quickly becomes angry when he continues to speak, and she explains that she does not feel any gratitude towards him. Darcy appears surprised by her response, and becomes angry himself. He struggles to maintain his composure, and then says that he will accept her rejection. Elizabeth responds by asking why he chose to tell her that he liked her against his better judgment.
Elizabeth reads the letter with great interest, and is shocked by its contents. She is initially convinced that Darcy’s account of events is false, but eventually becomes convinced that some of the events described in the letter are true. Elizabeth is particularly disturbed by Darcy’s account of Mr. Wickham’s character, and by the fact that his account of events seems to corroborate Wickham’s own account of events. Elizabeth then reads the will, and becomes convinced that there is duplicity on one side or the other. Elizabeth continues to read the letter, but is unable to reach a definitive conclusion regarding the truth
Elizabeth is shocked by the extravagance and general profligacy that Darcy attributes to Mr. Wickham. She is unable to find any proof that these accusations are unjustified. Elizabeth then considers whether there is any virtue that might rescue Darcy from the accusations made by Mr. Darcy. However, she is unable to find any such virtue. Elizabeth then reads the account of Darcy’s attempts to pursue Miss Darcy, and is reminded of the conversation that she had with Wickham the previous evening. She is shocked by the impropriety of this conversation.
The three sisters set out from Gracechurch Street for the town of Hertfordshire, where they are to meet Mr. Bennet’s carriage. Upon arriving at the inn, they are greeted by Kitty and Lydia, who have been waiting for them. The two girls have been busy visiting a milliner and preparing a meal. Lydia then announces that she has some news about a certain person that they all like. Elizabeth is excited by the prospect of the news, and hopes that it is related to the regiment that is to be stationed nearby.
Lydia reveals that Mary King has gone to stay with her uncle in Liverpool, and that Wickham is therefore safe from an imprudent marriage. Jane asks if there is any strong attachment on either side, and Lydia assures her that there is not. After eating, the party prepares to depart in the carriage. Lydia expresses her hope that one of them will get married before Jane reaches the age of twenty-three. Elizabeth is shocked to realize that her own thoughts had been quite similar in coarseness. Lydia then begins to talk about a recent party they had attended at Colonel Forster
Elizabeth’s opinion of marriage and domestic comfort is based on her own family’s experience. Her father married a woman who was not a good match for him, and their marriage was unhappy. Elizabeth has always been aware of the impropriety of her father’s behavior as a husband, but she respects him and is grateful for his affection towards her. Elizabeth is not entirely satisfied with the regiment’s departure, as she feels that the parties they held were more enjoyable than those held by her mother and sister. She is looking forward to her trip to the Lakes, as it is her best consolation for the uncomfortable hours she
Elizabeth is confident that her expectations of pleasure will be fulfilled once her sister is gone. Lydia promises to write to her mother and Kitty often, but her letters are always short and contain little useful information. After a few weeks, the family’s mood improves, and Mrs. Bennet regains her usual serenity. However, a letter from Mrs. Gardiner postpones their northern tour, as Mr. Gardiner will be unable to join them until a later date. As a result, they are forced to shorten their tour and visit only Derbyshire.
Mr. Darcy invites Elizabeth to walk into the house, but she declines, saying she is not tired. They then stand together on the lawn, but find it very awkward to converse. Eventually, the Gardiners join them, and they all part ways after exchanging pleasantries. Upon returning to the house, the Gardiners express their admiration for Mr. Darcy, and say that he is very different from what they had expected. Elizabeth feels that they have misunderstood his character, but remains silent.
Elizabeth reflects on Mr. Darcy’s character, and thinks that he is not as bad as he is made out to be. She then informs the Gardiners of the negative things she had heard about Mr. Darcy from his relations in Kent, and how his actions were not as bad as they were made out to be. Mrs. Gardiner is surprised by this, but is too busy to think about it further, as she is busy pointing out the various places of interest to her husband. Elizabeth is too preoccupied with her thoughts about Mr. Darcy to pay much attention to the new friends she
Elizabeth is initially disappointed to find no letter from Jane upon their arrival at Lambton, but is later pleased to receive two letters from her sister at once. One of the letters is dated five days earlier, and contains news about their social engagements and other local news. However, the other letter, dated a day later, contains more serious news. It states that Lydia has run off to Scotland with Wickham. Elizabeth immediately reads the second letter, which contains more details about the incident. Elizabeth is shocked by the news, and does not know how to react.
The letter states that Colonel Forster had left Brighton the day before, having received news that Lydia and Wickham were not going to Scotland. He had traced them to Clapham, but could not find them after that. Mrs. Gardiner is very distressed by the news, and is currently ill in bed. Their father is also very upset by the news. Elizabeth is glad that she has been spared some of the distressing scenes, but now longs for her sister’s return.
Elizabeth and her aunt discuss the situation throughout the journey, and by the time they reach Longbourn, they are both exhausted from thinking about it. Upon their arrival, the Gardiner children are delighted to see them, and Jane greets Elizabeth affectionately. Elizabeth asks Jane if there has been any news of the fugitives, but Jane replies that there has not. Jane still holds out hope that everything will turn out well, and that her father will return with news of their marriage. Mrs. Bennet is still in her room, and is greatly distressed by the news.
Mrs. Bennet receives the Gardiners with tears and lamentations, blaming everyone but herself for the situation. She explains that if she had been able to take her family to Brighton, the incident would not have happened. Mr. Gardiner assures her that he will assist Mr. Bennet in finding Lydia and preventing her marriage to Wickham. He also promises to find them in London and make them marry. Mrs. Bennet then asks him to find them as soon as possible, and to prevent Mr. Bennet from fighting with Wickham.
Two days after Mr. Bennet’s return, Jane and Elizabeth are walking in the shrubbery behind the house when the housekeeper, Mrs. Hill, approaches them. She informs them that Mr. Gardiner has sent a letter for Mr. Bennet, and that he has received it. The girls rush to the house to find their father, and when they finally do, Elizabeth asks him if he has received any news. He hands her the letter, and she reads it aloud. The letter states that Mr. Gardiner has found out where Lydia and Wickham are, and that he has seen them both
Mr. Gardiner writes that he has seen both Lydia and Wickham, and that Wickham’s circumstances are not as hopeless as they are believed to be. He also informs Mr. Bennet that there will be some money left over to settle on Lydia, in addition to her own fortune. Mr. Bennet then decides to write back to Mr. Gardiner, informing him that he has full power to act in his name throughout the whole business. Elizabeth is shocked by the news, and wonders how Wickham could be considered worthy of marrying Lydia.
The day of the wedding arrives, and Jane and Elizabeth feel for their sister more than she feels for herself. The family is assembled in the breakfast room to receive Lydia and Wickham. Mrs. Bennet greets them with great joy, while Mr. Bennet remains impassive. Lydia and Wickham appear to be very happy, and Lydia is as wild and untamed as ever. She greets her sisters and asks after their acquaintances in the neighborhood. Elizabeth is disgusted by Wickham’s behavior, but is forced to admit that he is not as bad as she had previously believed.
Lydia is very excited about her marriage, and is eager to show off her new ring to everyone she meets. She is also very proud of her new husband, and brags about how charming he is. After the ceremony, Lydia is eager to show off her new status to all of her neighbors. She also expresses her desire to have her family visit her in Newcastle, where she and Wickham will be staying for the winter. Mrs. Bennet is concerned about Lydia’s move to the North, but Lydia assures her that she will be very happy there.
Wickham is very pleased with the conversation, and never brings it up again. The day of their departure soon arrives, and Mrs. Bennet is forced to bid farewell to her daughter. Mr. Wickham’s farewell is much more affectionate than Lydia’s, and Mr. Bennet expresses his pride in him as a son-in-law. Mrs. Bennet becomes quite depressed after Lydia’s departure, but is soon relieved when she hears news that Mr. Bingley is coming to Netherfield to stay for several weeks. Mrs. Bennet is not particularly interested in seeing him again, but
Mrs. Nicholls had told Mrs. Bennet that Bingley would be arriving soon, and that he would be coming alone. Miss Bennet becomes very nervous upon hearing this news, and explains to Elizabeth that she is not excited or upset by the news. She simply does not want to be the subject of gossip. Elizabeth is unsure whether Bingley is coming with permission or without it, and decides to leave him to himself. Mrs. Bennet then asks Miss Bennet if she will visit Bingley once he arrives, but she refuses, explaining that she does not want to be the subject of gossip.
A few days later, Bingley visits again, alone, as his friend has left for London. Mrs. Bennet invites him to dinner, but he explains that he has other plans. She invites him to come another time, and he accepts. Later that evening, Mrs. Bennet attempts to get Jane and Bingley alone together, but Jane refuses to go down without one of her sisters. Mrs. Bennet then calls for Elizabeth, and the two of them are left alone together.
Mrs. Bennet attempts to get Jane and Bingley alone together, but fails. Bingley is very charming throughout the evening, and agrees to shoot with Mr. Bennet the next morning. After this day, Jane no longer speaks of her indifference towards Bingley. The next morning, Elizabeth sees Jane and Bingley standing together in the drawing room. They quickly turn away from each other, and Elizabeth realizes that they must have been engaged in an intimate conversation. She feels very awkward about the situation.
The rest of the family is surprised to learn that Lady Catherine was the visitor. Elizabeth is spared from much teasing about the matter. The next morning, her father comes to her with a letter in his hand. He explains that he has received a letter from Mr. Collins, who congratulates her on her upcoming nuptials. Mr. Collins then proceeds to warn Elizabeth of the evils she may incur by marrying the gentleman in question. Elizabeth wonders who the gentleman in question could be.
Mr. Collins explains that his motive for writing is to caution Elizabeth about the rumored engagement. He reveals that the man in question is Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth tries to join in her father’s pleasantries, but can only force a reluctant smile. Mr. Collins then proceeds to explain that Lady Catherine has expressed her disapproval of the rumored engagement, and that she will never give her consent to it. He also expresses his disapproval of Elizabeth’s decision to allow Jane and Bingley to live together before their marriage. Elizabeth looks displeased by all of this.
Soon after Mr. Bennet withdraws to the library, Darcy follows him. Elizabeth becomes extremely agitated upon seeing this. She does not fear her father’s opposition, but worries that he will become unhappy because of her choice. Mr. Bennet questions Elizabeth about her choice, and she assures him that she truly loves Darcy. Her father then gives his consent to the marriage, but warns her that she must truly esteem her husband in order to be happy. Elizabeth assures him that she does esteem Darcy, and eventually convinces her father of her sincerity.
Mr. Bennet expresses his approval of Elizabeth’s choice, and is surprised to learn of Darcy’s involvement in the matter. He then decides to offer to pay Darcy the next day, and jokes about how Darcy will rant and storm about his love for Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s mind is then relieved of a heavy weight, and she is able to join the others with composure. That night, she informs her mother of the news, and her mother’s reaction is one of surprise and joy.
Mr. Bennet visits Mr. Bingley, who has leased Netherfield Park. Mrs. Bennet is determined to get one of her daughters married to him. At the ball, Mr. Bingley is well-liked, while Mr. Darcy is cold and disagreeable. Jane is happy to be singled out by Bingley. Mr. Bingley inherited a large fortune from his father, and has a steady friendship with Darcy, despite their very different personalities. The next morning, the Miss Lucases visit the Bennets to talk about the ball. Charlotte says Bingley’s first choice was Jane. Mrs. Bennet hopes Elizabeth won’t be upset by Darcy’s behavior.
Jane is clearly attracted to Bingley, and Elizabeth thinks he might feel the same way about her. Charlotte advises Jane to show more affection towards Bingley to secure his affections. Darcy begins to notice Elizabeth’s intelligence and starts to pay attention to her. The Bennet girls often visit a milliner’s shop in Meryton to see the officers of the nearby militia regiment. Mrs. Bennet receives an invitation to dine with Miss Bingley and her brother. Jane rides her horse to the dinner, but becomes ill and returns home. Miss Bingley then offers Elizabeth the use of her carriage to stay at Netherfield for a while.
Mr. Collins formally proposes to Elizabeth, and explains his reasons for wanting to marry her. He says that he chose to marry from among the Bennet girls because he will inherit their father’s estate after his death. Elizabeth rejects his proposal, saying that she is not the right woman for him. Collins says that he will wait for her reply, and hopes she will give him a more favourable reply the next time he asks her. Meanwhile, Charlotte Lucas arrives at Longbourn to spend the day with the family. She learns about Elizabeth’s refusal of Collins’ proposal. The next day, Collins and Mrs. Bennet remain in a bad mood, while Elizabeth hopes that his resentment might shorten his visit. However, he decides to stay till Saturday as planned. Jane receives a letter from Caroline Bingley, informing her that the Bingley party has left Netherfield and is on its way to town. Jane reads out the
Charlotte and Collins get engaged, and the entire family is happy with the match. However, Elizabeth feels that the match is unsuitable, and that Charlotte is making a mistake. Jane assures Elizabeth that she will get over Bingley soon, and that she does not harbor any ill feelings towards him. Elizabeth is amazed by Jane’s kindness and generosity of spirit, and feels that she has never truly appreciated her sister’s virtues. Mrs. Bennet is miserable, and complains to her husband about how she hates the idea of Charlotte becoming the mistress of Longbourn. Mr. Bennet tells Elizabeth that she should find a man to jilt her, as it would be good for her reputation. Mr. Wickham’s presence in the neighborhood helps to dispel the gloom that had settled over the Bennet household. Everyone openly discusses the details of Bingley’s departure, and condemns Mr. Darcy as a terrible
Elizabeth reads Darcy’s letter several times and becomes convinced that his account of events is true. She reflects on how foolish she had been to mistrust him. Lady Catherine insists that Elizabeth stay for another month, but Elizabeth declines the offer, explaining that she must return to town the following Saturday. Elizabeth reflects on how unjustly she had condemned Darcy, and feels compassion for his disappointed feelings. During the journey, Maria remarks that it seems like only a few days since they first arrived, and Elizabeth privately reflects that there is much that she will have to conceal. Upon reaching Mr. Gardiner’s house, Jane looks well, and Elizabeth has little opportunity to study her spirits. However, she intends to tell Jane about Darcy’s proposal once they reach Longbourn.
Lydia reveals that Mary King has gone to stay with her uncle in Liverpool, which means Wickham is safe from an imprudent marriage. Elizabeth tells Jane about Darcy’s proposal, and Jane is sympathetic towards him. Elizabeth explains that she believes Darcy’s feelings for her will soon fade. Elizabeth is relieved to learn that the regiment is to be removed in a fortnight, as she hopes that will put an end to her troubles with Wickham. Lydia receives an invitation to accompany Mrs. Forster, the wife of the colonel of the regiment, to Brighton. Elizabeth tries to dissuade her father from allowing Lydia to go, but he believes Lydia will behave better in Brighton than she does at home. On the last day of the regiment’s stay in Meryton, Wickham dines with the officers at Longbourn. Elizabeth and Wickham part on friendly terms.
Mr. Gardiner writes to Mr. Bennet informing him that he has found Lydia and Wickham, and that Wickham’s circumstances are not as hopeless as they are believed to be. He also informs him that there will be some money left over to settle on Lydia, in addition to her own fortune. Mr. Bennet agrees to the marriage, and quickly writes a letter to his brother-in-law expressing his eagerness to promote the welfare of his family. Mrs. Bennet is overjoyed by the news and begins to plan the wedding. However, Mr. Bennet refuses to allow Lydia and Wickham into his house, and refuses to provide any financial assistance for the wedding. Elizabeth regrets having told Mr. Darcy about her sister’s situation, as she now fears that he will learn of the unfavorable beginning of the elopement.
The day of the wedding arrives, and the family is happy to see Lydia and Wickham together. Lydia is very excited about her marriage and eager to show off her new ring to everyone she meets. After the ceremony, Lydia expresses her desire to have her sisters stay with her in Newcastle. Mr. Darcy pays off Wickham’s debts and provides Lydia with a generous settlement. He also attends the wedding. Elizabeth reflects on how grateful she is to Mr. Darcy for all that he has done for her family. Wickham asks Elizabeth if she saw his sister while she was in Lambton, and she confirms that she did. He then asks if she liked her. Elizabeth tells him that she did.
Mr. Bingley, a wealthy man, leases Netherfield Park and is well-liked by everyone. Jane is attracted to him, and Elizabeth thinks he might feel the same way about her. Darcy begins to notice Elizabeth’s intelligence and starts to pay attention to her. Mr. Collins, a clergyman, arrives to court one of the Bennet girls. He decides to choose Elizabeth, and after a conversation with Mrs. Bennet, he changes his mind to Jane. Darcy suddenly asks Elizabeth for her hand in marriage, and she accepts without thinking. Darcy and Elizabeth talk, and he says he hopes to see Bingley and Elizabeth together often. Mrs. Bennet is convinced that Jane will be the one to marry Bingley.
Mr. Collins proposes to Elizabeth, but she rejects him, saying she is not the right woman for him. Charlotte and Collins get engaged, and the entire family is happy with the match. However, Elizabeth feels that the match is unsuitable. Lady Catherine invites the group to dine at Rosings, and they are impressed by the grandeur of the house. Darcy unexpectedly declares his love for Elizabeth, and she explains that she has many reasons to dislike him. He explains that he had supported Mr. Wickham financially throughout his life, and that his sister, Georgiana, had been persuaded to elope with Mr. Wickham by Mrs. Younge.
Mr. Bingley leases Netherfield Park and is well-liked by everyone. Jane is attracted to him, and Elizabeth thinks he might feel the same way about her. Darcy starts to notice Elizabeth’s intelligence and eventually asks her to marry him. Mr. Collins chooses to court Elizabeth, but she rejects him, saying she’s not the right woman for him. Charlotte and Collins get engaged, and the entire family is happy with the match. Darcy unexpectedly declares his love for Elizabeth, and she realizes she had been wrong about him. Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner express their admiration for Darcy, saying he’s very different from what they expected. Lady Catherine unexpectedly arrives at Longbourn and declares that Elizabeth’s actions will bring disgrace upon her family. Elizabeth resolves to give up on Darcy if Lady Catherine convinces him to break off his engagement to her. Elizabeth opens up to Jane about her engagement to Darcy, and Jane is happy. The Longbourn family hears that the Collinses have come to Lucas Lodge, and Elizabeth convinces Darcy to reconcile with his aunt.
Source: Project Gutenberg
ROMEO AND JULIET
by William Shakespeare
Escalus, Prince of Verona. Paris, a young Nobleman, kinsman to the Prince. Montague,}Heads of two Houses at variance with each other. Capulet, } An Old Man, Uncle to Capulet. Romeo, Son to Montague. Mercutio, Kinsman to the Prince, and Friend to Romeo. Benvolio, Nephew to Montague, and Friend to Romeo. Tybalt, Nephew to Lady Capulet. Friar Lawrence, a Franciscan. Friar John, of the same Order. Balthasar, Servant to Romeo. Sampson, Servant to Capulet. Gregory, Servant to Capulet. Peter, Servant to Juliet’s Nurse. Abraham, Servant to Montague. An Apothecary. Three Musicians. Chorus. Page to Paris; another Page. An Officer.
Lady Montague, Wife to Montague. Lady Capulet, Wife to Capulet. Juliet, Daughter to Capulet. Nurse to Juliet.
Citizens of Verona; several Men and Women, relations to both houses; Maskers, Guards, Watchmen, and Attendants.
SCENE.–During the greater part of the Play in Verona; once, in the Fifth Act, at Mantua.
Chor. Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life; Whose misadventur’d piteous overthrows Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife. The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love, And the continuance of their parents’ rage, Which but their children’s end naught could remove, Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage; The which, if you with patient ears attend, What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
Scene I. A public place.
[Enter Sampson and Gregory armed with swords and bucklers.]
Sampson. Gregory, o’ my word, we’ll not carry coals.
Gregory. No, for then we should be colliers.
Sampson. I mean, an we be in choler we’ll draw.
Ay, while you live, draw your neck out o’ the collar.
Sampson. I strike quickly, being moved.
Gregory. But thou art not quickly moved to strike.
Sampson. A dog of the house of Montague moves me.
Gregory. To move is to stir; and to be valiant is to stand: therefore, if thou art moved, thou runn’st away.
Sampson. A dog of that house shall move me to stand: I will take the wall of any man or maid of Montague’s.
Gregory. That shows thee a weak slave; for the weakest goes to the wall.
Sampson. True; and therefore women, being the weaker vessels, are ever thrust to the wall: therefore I will push Montague’s men from the wall and thrust his maids to the wall.
Gregory. The quarrel is between our masters and us their men.
Sampson. ’Tis all one, I will show myself a tyrant: when I have fought with the men I will be cruel with the maids, I will cut off their heads.
Gregory. The heads of the maids?
Sampson. Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads; take it in what sense thou wilt.
Gregory. They must take it in sense that feel it.
Sampson. Me they shall feel while I am able to stand: and ’tis known I am a pretty piece of flesh.
Gregory. ’Tis well thou art not fish; if thou hadst, thou hadst been poor-John.–Draw thy tool; Here comes two of the house of Montagues.
Sampson. My naked weapon is out: quarrel! I will back thee.
Gregory. How! turn thy back and run?
Sampson. Fear me not.
Gregory. No, marry; I fear thee!
Sampson. Let us take the law of our sides; let them begin.
Gregory. I will frown as I pass by; and let them take it as they list.
Sampson. Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them; which is disgrace to them if they bear it.
[Enter Abraham and Balthasar.]
Abraham. Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
Sampson. I do bite my thumb, sir.
Abraham. Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
The Chorus introduces the play as a story of star-crossed lovers whose tragic end brings an end to the feud between their parents. Sampson and Gregory enter armed with swords and bucklers. Sampson says they won’t carry coal, but if they are in a bad mood they will draw their swords.
Sampson and Gregory discuss how they will fight for their masters, the house of Montague. Sampson says he will be cruel to the maids once he has fought the men. Abraham and Balthasar approach, and Abraham asks Sampson if he is biting his thumb at them. Sampson replies that he is.
Romeo, Mercutio, Benvolio, and several other people arrive at the party. Romeo wonders if they should offer an excuse for their behavior or not. Benvolio says that they should not waste time with such things. Romeo says he is not in the mood to dance, and Mercutio suggests that he use Cupid’s wings to fly above his troubles. Romeo says he is too weighed down by his love troubles to do so. Mercutio puts on a mask and says that he will play the fool.
Mercutio says that they should not waste time and should get on with the party. Romeo says that he had a dream that night. Mercutio says that he also had a dream. Romeo asks Mercutio what his dream was, and he says that dreamers often lie. Mercutio describes Queen Mab, the fairies’ midwife, who rides through people’s brains at night and causes them to dream of love. Sometimes she causes people to dream of money, or of other things.
Friar Lawrence enters his cell with a basket of flowers. He says that the grey-eyed morn smiles on the night, and that darkness retreats from the path of the sun. Romeo enters the cell. Friar asks Romeo where he has been, and Romeo says that he has been feasting with his enemy. He says that he has been wounded by his enemy, and that his wounds can be healed by the help of the Friar. Romeo says that his heart’s dear love is set on the fair daughter of rich Capulet.
Romeo asks the Friar to marry him and Juliet so that their families’ rancor can turn to pure love. The Friar agrees to help him. Romeo says that he is in a hurry to leave. Mercutio asks where Romeo is. Benvolio says that he is not home. Mercutio says that Rosaline torments Romeo so much that he will surely go mad. Tybalt, the kinsman to Capulet, enters.
Benvolio says that it is hot outside and that the Capulets are out, so they should avoid any brawls. Mercutio says that Benvolio is like a man who enters a tavern and puts his sword on the table, saying that he doesn’t need it. Benvolio says that he is not as hot-tempered as Mercutio. Tybalt approaches them and asks them to follow him. Mercutio says that he is ready to fight if Tybalt wants to fight.
Benvolio tells Mercutio and Tybalt to go somewhere private to talk about their grievances, or else to leave. Romeo arrives, and Tybalt calls him a villain. Romeo says that the reason he loves Tybalt is enough to excuse his rage. Tybalt draws his sword and fights with Romeo. Mercutio draws his sword and fights with Tybalt. Romeo tells Benvolio to draw his sword and beat down their weapons. Tybalt and Mercutio exit with their men.
Romeo and Juliet are in a room. Juliet asks Romeo if he will leave, and he says that he must either stay and die, or leave and live. Nurse enters and says that Lady Capulet is coming to Juliet’s chamber. Juliet says that the window should let day in and life out. Romeo says that more light and light means more dark and dark woes. Nurse says that Lady Capulet is coming to Juliet’s chamber. Juliet says that the window should let day in and life out.
Romeo says goodbye and descends. Juliet says that she must hear from Romeo every day, for in a minute there are many days. She asks if Romeo thinks that they will ever meet again. Romeo says that he does not doubt it, and that all their woes will serve as sweet memories in the future. Lady Capulet enters Juliet’s chamber. She asks Juliet why she is always weeping for her cousin’s death. Juliet says that she cannot choose but weep for her lost friend. Lady Capulet says that Juliet is weeping more for the
Nurse enters Juliet’s chamber and wakes her up. Juliet is already dressed and ready for the wedding. Nurse suddenly cries out that Juliet is dead. Lady Capulet and Capulet rush in, and see Juliet dead on the bed. Capulet says that death has taken Juliet away to make him wail. Friar Lawrence and Paris enter the room. Capulet says that death has wedded Juliet, and that he will die now. Paris is shocked to see Juliet dead.
Nurse and Paris cry out in grief over Juliet’s death. Capulet says that death has taken his child away from him. The friar says that heaven has taken Juliet, and that it is better for her. He asks them to dry their tears and prepare Juliet’s body for the funeral. He says that nature bids them to mourn, but that nature’s tears are reason’s merriment. Capulet says that all things ordained for the festival have turned to funeral.
Romeo says that the woman he is in love with is beautiful, but poor, and that when she dies her beauty will die with her. He says she has sworn to remain chaste, and that he lives dead because of her. Capulet and Paris discuss Paris’ proposal to Capulet’s daughter. Capulet says she is too young to be married yet. Capulet says he will hold an old-fashioned feast that night.
A fight breaks out between the servants of the two feuding families, the Montagues and the Capulets. The Prince arrives and puts an end to the fight, threatening to punish anyone who causes more trouble. Romeo locks himself in his room, and his uncle, Montague, is puzzled by his behavior. Romeo says he is no longer in love with a woman. Capulet invites many guests to his feast that night, including Romeo and his love, Rosaline. Lady Capulet tells Juliet that Paris, a valiant man, seeks her hand in marriage. Juliet says she will look to like him if her mother approves. Lady Capulet tells Juliet that the guests have arrived and that she should prepare for the feast.
Romeo, Mercutio, Benvolio, and other guests arrive at the party. Romeo is not in the mood to dance, and Mercutio suggests he use Cupid’s wings to fly above his troubles. After the dancing, Romeo plans to approach the lady he finds beautiful. Tybalt, a Montague, becomes angry at Romeo’s presence. Capulet tells Tybalt to tolerate Romeo’s presence. Romeo sees Juliet at a window and falls in love with her. Juliet also confesses her love for Romeo. She tells him to send her a message tomorrow so that she can prepare for their marriage.
Romeo locks himself in his room, no longer in love with Rosaline. Capulet invites many guests to his feast, including Romeo and his love, Juliet. Lady Capulet tells Juliet that Paris, a valiant man, seeks her hand in marriage. Romeo sees Juliet and falls in love with her. Juliet confesses her love for Romeo, and they agree to get married. Romeo kills Tybalt in a fight, and is sentenced to exile. Juliet agrees to fake her death and go to Mantua with Romeo. Romeo buys poison to kill Juliet at her grave. He and Paris fight and both die. Juliet wakes up and kills herself. The Prince says heaven has punished the hatred between the Capulets and the Montagues.
Source: Project Gutenberg
[Transcriber’s Note: Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as possible, including obsolete and variant spellings and other inconsistencies. Text that has been changed is noted at the end of this ebook.]
[Illustration: SOLOMON IN HIS PLANTATION SUIT.
Solomon Northup (signed)]
TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE.
A CITIZEN OF NEW-YORK,
KIDNAPPED IN WASHINGTON CITY IN 1841,
RESCUED IN 1853,
FROM A COTTON PLANTATION NEAR THE RED RIVER, IN LOUISIANA.
AUBURN: DERBY AND MILLER.
BUFFALO: DERBY, ORTON AND MULLIGAN.
LONDON: SAMPSON LOW, SON & COMPANY, 47 LUDGATE HILL.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty-three, by
DERBY AND MILLER,
In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the Northern District of New-York.
ENTERED IN LONDON AT STATIONERS’ HALL.
HARRIET BEECHER STOWE:
THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, IS IDENTIFIED WITH THE
THIS NARRATIVE, AFFORDING ANOTHER
Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin,
IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED
“Such dupes are men to custom, and so prone To reverence what is ancient, and can plead A course of long observance for its use, That even servitude, the worst of ills, Because delivered down from sire to son, Is kept and guarded as a sacred thing. But is it fit, or can it bear the shock Of rational discussion, that a man Compounded and made up, like other men, Of elements tumultuous, in whom lust And folly in as ample measure meet, As in the bosom of the slave he rules, Should be a despot absolute, and boast Himself the only freeman of his land?”
EDITOR’S PREFACE, 15
Introductory–Ancestry–The Northup Family–Birth and Parentage–Mintus Northup–Marriage with Anne Hampton–Good Resolutions–Champlain Canal–Rafting Excursion to Canada–Farming–The Violin–Cooking–Removal to Saratoga–Parker and Perry–Slaves and Slavery–The Children–The Beginning of Sorrow, 17
The two Strangers–The Circus Company–Departure from Saratoga–Ventriloquism and Legerdemain–Journey to New-York–Free Papers–Brown and Hamilton–The haste to reach the Circus–Arrival in Washington–Funeral of Harrison–The Sudden Sickness–The Torment of Thirst–The Receding Light–Insensibility–Chains and Darkness, 28
Painful Meditations–James H. Burch–Williams’ Slave Pen in Washington–The Lackey, Radburn–Assert my Freedom–The Anger of the Trader–The Paddle and Cat-o’-nine-tails–The Whipping–New Acquaintances–Ray, Williams, and Randall–Arrival of Little Emily and her Mother in the Pen–Maternal Sorrows–The Story of Eliza, 40
Eliza’s Sorrows–Preparation to Embark–Driven Through the Streets of Washington–Hail, Columbia–The Tomb of Washington–Clem Ray–The Breakfast on the Steamer–The happy Birds–Aquia Creek–Fredericksburgh–Arrival in Richmond–Goodin and his Slave Pen–Robert, of Cincinnati–David and his Wife–Mary and Lethe–Clem’s Return–His subsequent Escape to Canada–The Brig Orleans–James H. Burch, 54
[Transcriber’s Note: Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as possible, including obsolete and variant spellings and other inconsistencies.] Twelve Years a Slave is the narrative of Solomon Northup, a citizen of New York who was kidnapped in Washington City in 1841 and rescued in 1853 from a cotton plantation in Louisiana. This book is dedicated to Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose name is associated with the great reform. Contents: […] COWPER. CONTENTS. […]
Solomon Northup describes his ancestry, his family, and his upbringing in Saratoga, New York. He recalls his first encounter with slavery when he was hired by a circus company. Eliza’s sorrows are described as she is prepared to embark on a journey to Washington. She is driven through the streets of Washington and then taken to Richmond. Goodin and his slave pen are described. Solomon describes the brig Orleans and James H. Burch.
Solomon explains that he was born a freeman in New York, and that he was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841. He was rescued in 1853 after 12 years of bondage. Solomon’s ancestors were slaves in Rhode Island, but his father was emancipated upon the death of his master. He moved to New York and settled in Minerva, where Solomon was born in 1808. Solomon’s father was a hardworking and respected man. His mother died during his captivity.
Solomon’s father was a hardworking and educated man who taught his children to trust in God. He was a bondsman in the house of his master, but was able to earn the right to vote. Solomon married Anne Hampton in 1829. She had lived in the vicinity of his home, and was raised by the proprietor of the Eagle Tavern in Fort Edward. Solomon had been primarily engaged in agricultural labor with his father until he was married. He played the violin as a hobby.
Solomon remained seated on the bench for several hours, pondering his situation. Eventually, he heard footsteps above him, and two men entered the room. One of the men was James H. Burch, a well-known slave dealer in Washington. The other man was Ebenezer Radburn, a simple lackey. Solomon observed the room in which he was confined. It was a small, damp, underground chamber with no windows or furniture. The only door led to a small yard surrounded by a brick wall.
The room Solomon was confined in was a small, damp chamber with no windows or furniture. It was located in a building that appeared to be a private residence, but was actually a slave pen. Burch entered the room and asked Solomon how he felt. Solomon asserted that he was a free man from Saratoga, and demanded to be released immediately. Burch denied that Solomon was free, and claimed that he had purchased him from Georgia. Solomon continued to protest, and Burch grew angry, calling him a liar and other profane names.
Eliza spent the first night of her captivity complaining bitterly about Jacob Brooks, Mrs. Brooks’ husband. She wished she could see Berry, who had always been kind to her. The following night, Burch and Radburn entered the cell and ordered the slaves to prepare to leave. They handcuffed Solomon to Clem, and Eliza and her children followed behind. They were led out of the cell and into a white-washed room that appeared to be an office. There was a rusty sword hanging on the wall. It was a dark night, and the streets were empty.
As they were led through the streets of Washington, Solomon considered how ironic it was that the nation’s capital was home to a slave trade. They were led onto a steamboat and locked in the hold among cargo. Clem was overcome by sadness at the thought of being taken to the south, and wept with Eliza. Solomon resolved to make an escape attempt as soon as he had the chance. After breakfast, they were taken out onto the deck of the boat and sat in silence as passengers walked by to observe them.
Solomon was renamed Platt by Burch, the name that had been forwarded to Freeman, his consignee. The slaves were taken to Freeman’s slave pen, which was similar to Goodin’s in Richmond. They were allowed to wander around the yard until night, when they wrapped their blankets around themselves and slept wherever they could find space. Solomon lay awake that night, thinking about how far he was from home and how he had been treated like a beast. The next day, Solomon was examined by customers, and David, Caroline, and Lethe were sold. Later, Eliza was purchased
Freeman, the keeper of the slave pen in New Orleans, was up early in the morning, preparing his slaves for the sales room. They were all required to wash thoroughly and were given new clothes. Freeman then began to train the slaves to behave and move in a lively manner. The next day, many customers came to examine Freeman’s new lot. He was very talkative, dwelling at length on the slaves’ qualities and characteristics.
Solomon had an idea that would save Ford a great deal of money on transportation costs. He proposed that they use the creek to transport the lumber instead of by land. Ford agreed to let him try the experiment, and he set to work building a raft. Solomon was successful, and Ford was very pleased with the results. From then on, Solomon was in charge of transporting the lumber to Lamourie. The Indians who lived along the creek were a peaceful tribe who subsisted on hunting and fishing. They wore colorful clothing and were skilled riders.
The Indians of the area lived in a village on Indian Creek, but their range extended to the Sabine River. Their chief was Cascalla, and his son-in-law John Baltese was second in command. Sam and Solomon often visited the Indians after their work was done. They were a peaceful people who enjoyed their simple life. They enjoyed whisky and would often hold dances. On one occasion, a herd from Texas had come to visit, and a large fire was lit to roast a deer carcass. The Indians began to dance around the fire, making guttural noises and jumping around. The best
As the sun rose higher in the sky, it became unbearably hot. Solomon stood in the same spot where Tibeats and his men had left him, unable to move due to the tightness of his bindings. He wanted to lie down, but knew he would not be able to get back up. Chapin paced back and forth on the porch all day, looking anxiously up and down the road, as if expecting Tibeats to return with more men. He did not approach Solomon, perhaps because he did not want to interfere with another man’s property. Lawson passed by on his m
Solomon stood in the sun all day, without food or water. Rachel brought him a cup of water once, which he was very grateful for. Finally, Ford arrived at the plantation, and upon seeing Solomon’s condition, immediately cut the cords that bound him. He then went inside the house, where Tibeats and his two friends had just arrived. Solomon attempted to walk, but he was so weak that he fell to the ground. Ford left him alone again, and Tibeats and his friends rode up.
As Solomon continued to run through the swamp, he became more cautious of the alligators and snakes that surrounded him. After midnight, Solomon decided to change his direction, hoping to reach the Pine Woods in the vicinity of Master Ford’s. Once there, he felt he would be safe. His clothes were in tatters, and he was covered in scratches from the trees and branches he had encountered along the way.
Solomon continued to run through the swamp, eventually reaching the Pacoudrie Bayou, the same body of water he had swam through earlier. Just before daybreak, he came upon a small plantation where two men were catching wild hogs. Solomon feared that one of the men would ask for his pass, so he adopted a fierce expression and asked them where William Ford lived. The men pointed him in the right direction, and he quickly left.
Epps was a large, heavy-bodied man with a Roman nose of extraordinary size. He had light hair and blue eyes, and was generally unpleasant in demeanor. Epps had been a driver and overseer in his younger years, but at the time of the story he was in possession of a plantation on Bayou Huff Power. He primarily grew cotton on the plantation, which belonged to Joseph B. Roberts, his wife’s uncle. When drunk, Epps would lash out at his slaves, but when sober he was cunning and reserved.
Solomon described the process of growing cotton, which involved ploughing the ground and planting the seeds. The women would often perform the same tasks as the men, and would care for the animals that were used to plough the fields. After the seeds were planted, the slaves would hoe the fields several times over the course of several weeks. The overseer would whip the slaves if they did not work quickly enough.
Upon arriving at Master Epps’ plantation, Solomon was immediately put to work making an axe-helve. His crooked design was a novelty to Master Epps, who kept it as a curiosity. Solomon began to experience symptoms of illness, and became weak and dizzy. He was forced to continue working in the fields, and was whipped if he did not meet his quota. Eventually, Master Epps sent for a doctor, who informed him that Solomon’s illness was caused by the climate. He was then put on a diet of only the bare minimum of food necessary to sustain life. After several weeks
Solomon was not skilled at picking cotton, and was unable to meet his quota. Master Epps threatened to whip him, but decided to pardon him on that occasion. Solomon was then put to work cutting wood and drawing cotton from the field to the gin-house. He was never permitted to be idle. It was not uncommon for the slaves to be whipped while they were working. The number of lashes given depended on the severity of the offense. Solomon was never permitted to be idle.
In 1845, the cotton crop was decimated by caterpillars, leaving the slaves with little to do. However, there was a rumor that wages were high in St. Mary’s Parish, and laborers were in high demand. As a result, a drove of slaves was assembled in Holmesville, and Epps, Alonson Pierce, Henry Toler, and Addison Roberts were selected to accompany them. Solomon was assigned to take care of the blankets and provisions. That night, they reached a plantation owned by Mr. McCrow, where they were ordered to stop. They slept on the ground, and the
During the journey, the slaves were fed twice a day and slept on the ground. As they progressed, more slaves were hired by the various sugar plantations along the route. Solomon was hired to Judge Turner, a wealthy and distinguished planter who owned a large estate on Bayou Salle. He was given the responsibility of driving the slaves in the sugar fields and whipping those who did not work hard enough. It was the custom in Louisiana to allow slaves to keep the compensation they earned on Sundays, the only day they were allowed to rest.
The only time of year that the slaves are given a break from their labor is during the Christmas holidays. Epps allows his slaves three days off, while others allow more. It is customary for one planter to host a Christmas supper, inviting the slaves from neighboring plantations to join in the festivities. The slaves dress in their best attire, and the table is filled with meat and vegetables. Sometimes the cooking is performed in the kitchen on the plantation, and other times it is done in the shade of trees.
The slaves are treated to a feast of roasted meat, biscuits, peach preserves, and pies. White people from the area also attend the festivities to witness the gastronomical enjoyment of the slaves. After the meal, the slaves are permitted to dance. Solomon was a talented violinist, and his master often received requests to send him to play at various events. He would often return with extra money in his pocket as a result. Solomon became more acquainted with the people of the area as a result of his talent.
Solomon threw the letter into the fire and watched it burn, feeling despondent and despairing. Shaw was eventually driven from the plantation, which relieved Solomon, as he feared Shaw would tell Epps about the letter. Solomon felt his youth passing away, and that he would soon grow old and die. He had no hope of rescue, and could only prostrate himself on the ground and groan in anguish. Wiley, another slave, disregarded the advice of Aunt Phebe and Uncle Abram and was captured by the patrollers. He then escaped, but was later captured again.
In 1850, a year that has now been reached in the story, Wiley, the husband of Phebe, was caught outside of his cabin without a pass. He was attempting to return home before the morning horn sounded, but was spotted by a group of patrollers. These patrollers are an organization that is paid by the planters to capture any slaves that are found wandering outside of their plantations without a pass. Wiley attempted to flee from the patrollers, but was caught and severely beaten by them. He was then brought back to Epps, who beat him even more severely.
Wiley suffered at the hands of Epps, but no more than his other slaves. Epps was known to punish his slaves severely, even for the slightest provocation. One day, a man named O’Niel came to the plantation to purchase Solomon. He intended to put him to work in his tanning business. However, the two could not agree on a price, and O’Niel left the plantation. Shortly after, Epps appeared in the field and whipped Solomon severely, after overhearing him express a desire to leave the plantation.
Solomon was also frequently beaten by Epps, and was often instructed in the art of tanning. Uncle Abram, another slave, was also often beaten by Epps, even though he was a kind and faithful man. One day, Epps returned home intoxicated and stabbed Uncle Abram in the back. His wife was furious, and declared that she expected nothing less from him. Solomon also often protected Patsey from the cruelty of Epps’ wife. He would often refuse to whip her, and even tried to convince Epps’ wife that Patsey was not responsible for her actions.
Solomon explained to Bass that he had a wife and children back in the North, and that he longed to be reunited with them. He begged Bass to help him escape, promising to devote the rest of his life to praying for him. Bass promised to help Solomon, and spoke of his own loneliness and desire to help others. He explained that he had never taken an interest in the fate of another person before. After this, the two rarely spoke to one another, in order to avoid suspicion. Solomon was careful to conceal his true identity from his fellow slaves, knowing that it would be dangerous to reveal it
Solomon knew that it was important to keep his identity a secret, as it could potentially put his freedom at risk. The next day, Bass wrote several letters to various people in the North, including one addressed to William Perry and Cephas Parker. In the letter, he identified himself as Solomon Northup, and explained that he was a free man who had been kidnapped and sold into slavery. Solomon did not see the letter before it was sent, but he later obtained a copy of it.
Bass’ letter was eventually delivered to Anne, who lived in Glens Falls, Warren County. Anne then forwarded the letter to her children, who quickly traveled to the nearby village of Sandy Hill to consult with Henry B. Northup. Northup examined the letter and the relevant statutes of the State, and determined that it would be possible to help Solomon regain his freedom. A memorial was then prepared, detailing Solomon’s life and the events that had transpired since his departure from Washington. It was signed and verified by Anne, and accompanied by several affidavits from prominent citizens. Upon reading the memorial, Governor Hunt
Northup was appointed by the State to travel to Louisiana and attempt to restore Solomon to his freedom. Northup left for Louisiana on December 14th, and was provided with letters of recommendation from several prominent figures in Washington. Upon arriving in Marksville, Northup immediately sought out legal counsel, and was introduced to John P. Waddill, a distinguished legal professional. Waddill read the letters and documents Northup had brought with him, and immediately offered his assistance.
As they traveled to Charleston, Northup informed the custom-house officer that he was traveling with a free citizen of New York, and did not wish to register his servant. Upon arriving in Washington, Northup filed a complaint against Burch for kidnapping and selling him into slavery. Both Burch and Radburn were called to testify, with Radburn testifying that he had known Burch for 14 years and that he had been the keeper of a slave pen in Washington in 1841.
Benjamin O. Shekels was then called to testify on behalf of Burch. He stated that he had kept a hotel in Washington in 1841, and that he had seen Northup there in the spring of that year. He then testified that two men had come to his hotel and offered to sell a colored boy to Burch. He stated that Northup had been present, and that he had represented that he was born and raised in Georgia. He further testified that Burch had paid $650 for Northup, and that he had witnessed the signing of a bill of sale.
Nicholas Northup, a 58 year old resident of Sandy Hill, swore that he had known Solomon Northup since he was born. He stated that Solomon was born in Washington County, and had always resided in New York until 1841. He further declared that Solomon was married in Fort Edward in 1828, and that his wife and children resided in Glens Falls, Warren County. He then declared that Solomon was a free citizen of New York, and that his mother was not a slave at the time of his birth. He further stated that his father, Mintus Northup, was a negro who died
Orville Clark, a resident of Sandy Hill, swore that he had known Mintus Northup and his family since 1810. He stated that Mintus was a free man, as he had always understood, and that his wife was also free. He further declared that he had been acquainted with Solomon Northup since 1818, and that he married Anne Hampton in 1828. He believed that Solomon was a free citizen of New York when he left the state in 1841. He also declared that Anne was a respectable woman of good character, and that he believed her statements regarding Solomon to be true.
Solomon Northup describes his life in Saratoga, New York, before being kidnapped in Washington, D.C. and sold into slavery in Louisiana. He recalls his first encounter with slavery when he was hired by a circus company. Solomon is sold to Edwin Epps, who owns a cotton plantation in Bayou Boeuf. Solomon describes the various tasks performed by slaves on the plantation, as well as the various slaves he meets. Solomon’s story is corroborated by evidence, and the editor is satisfied that he has adhered to the truth. Solomon’s ancestry and birth are also described. Solomon’s account of his experience on Bayou Boeuf presents a picture of slavery as it exists in that locality.
Solomon explains that he was born in New York and was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841. He was rescued in 1853 after 12 years of bondage. Solomon and his wife Anne lived a comfortable life in Saratoga Springs, where they had three children. One day, two men approached Solomon and offered him a job playing the violin for their circus in New York. Solomon accepted the offer, and traveled with the men to Washington, where he was issued papers confirming his freedom. After receiving his wages, Solomon began to experience unpleasant sensations. He lost consciousness and awoke in a dark dungeon chained to a bench. He had been robbed of his money and his free papers.
Solomon is left tied up in the sun all day without food or water. Ford eventually arrives and cuts the cords that bind him. After a month working for Peter Tanner, Solomon is sent back to Tibeats. One morning, Tibeats becomes angry with Solomon for not planing the wood down enough. He grabs a hatchet and approaches Solomon with the intent to kill him. Solomon fights back and eventually flees into the Great Pacoudrie Swamp. He is relieved to have escaped. Solomon runs through the water, hoping the dogs will lose his scent and become confused. Luckily, the water grows deeper the farther he runs, and the dogs are no longer able to follow him. Solomon then enters the Great Pacoudrie Swamp, a large area filled with trees and reptiles.
Solomon continues to run through the swamp, eventually reaching the Pine Woods where he feels safe. He tells Master Ford of his escape and Ford expresses his disapproval of Tibeats’ behavior. Solomon is then sent to work for Mr. Eldret, a new master who treats him well. He works hard and earns Eldret’s trust, eventually being allowed to visit his friends at Ford’s plantation. Solomon is then sold to Edwin Epps, a new master who he hopes will treat him better. One day, Solomon is traveling with a drove of slaves through St. Mary’s Parish when he sees Tibeats sitting in a low groggery.
Solomon burns the letter he wrote to his friend in the North, fearing that Shaw would tell Epps about it. Wiley is captured by the patrollers and severely beaten. He decides to run away from the plantation, but is captured again and severely beaten by Epps. Many slaves attempt to escape, but most are captured and punished severely. Celeste, another slave belonging to Carey, spends several nights secretly coming to Solomon’s cabin for food. Eventually, it becomes too dangerous for her to come to the yard. A large group of slaves attempt to escape to Mexico, but are captured and hung without trial. Solomon believes that the slaves are not ignorant of the magnitude of their wrongs, and that one day they will seek vengeance upon their masters. He describes the events that took place after Patsey was brutally whipped.
Epps, a cruel slave owner, beats his slaves regularly. He stabs Uncle Abram and orders Solomon to whip Patsey until she’s covered in welts and blood. Solomon meets Bass, a carpenter who secretly opposes slavery. They debate the issue and eventually form a bond of trust. Solomon reveals his desire to escape and Bass agrees to help him. He promises to write letters to Solomon’s friends in the North to ask for help. Solomon tells Bass the full story of his life and misfortunes. Bass agrees to write down the names of several people in the North that he will contact. Solomon explains that he has a passport from New York that may be a help. Bass agrees that it’s a good idea to investigate further.
Solomon Northup is born in New York and lives a comfortable life with his wife and three children in Saratoga Springs. One day, two men offer him a job playing the violin for their circus in Washington. After receiving his wages, he loses consciousness and wakes up in a dark dungeon chained to a bench. He has been robbed of his free papers. Solomon is sold to a slave dealer who renames him Platt and sells him to a slave keeper in New Orleans. He hopes to escape by being purchased by a northern ship. William Ford, a Baptist minister, purchases Solomon to work on his plantation. Solomon keeps his true identity a secret, fearing he will be sold as a slave if his past is discovered. Ford is forced to sell 18 slaves, including Solomon, to pay off his debts. Solomon is sold to Tibeats, a mean and tyrannical carpenter.
Solomon escapes Tibeats and flees into the Great Pacoudrie Swamp. He is eventually sent to work for Mr. Eldret, who treats him well. He is then sold to Edwin Epps, a cruel and unjust man who views his slaves as mere property. Solomon works in the fields from April to July and August during the cotton picking season. He is not skilled at picking cotton, but would satisfy his master by bringing in 200 pounds a day. Solomon becomes familiar with the process of sugar-making after working on Hawkins’ plantation for three years. During the Christmas holidays, the slaves are treated to a feast and allowed to dance and celebrate freely. Solomon steals a sheet of paper from the mistress’ house and writes a l