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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
by Harriet Jacobs
Linda Brent Timeline and Summary
Linda is born in Edenton, North Carolina, in 1813. Her mother dies when she's six, putting a quick end to her happy childhood. Linda is sent off to her mother's mistress, who is nice and all but still, you know, a slave owner. When Linda is nearly twelve, her mistress dies, and Linda gets a new master: the five-year-old daughter of the villainous Flint family. At fourteen, Linda lives with the Flint family, and Mrs. Flint has grown Dursley-style abusive. When Linda turns fifteen, Dr. Flint thinks, "Sweet! I can finally start my campaign of molestation!" He physically and verbally abuses her, but she resists. Mrs. Flint grows jealous, and Linda fears for her life. She sets her sights on Mr. Sands, hoping that he'll buy her if she has sex with him. First comes love, then comes the baby carriage, and soon Linda is carrying Mr. Sands’s child. Aunt Martha is not thrilled. Neither is Dr. Flint. Linda has her baby, and they're both sick for a long time but survive. The abuse continues. One day, Dr. Flint throws Linda down the stairs; another time, he throws her son across the room; then, when she gets pregnant a second time, Dr. Flint cuts off all of her hair. Dr. Flint finally tells Linda that if she doesn't sleep with him, he'll send her and her children to his son’s plantation. Linda is all about going to the plantation rather than having sex with this gross old man, but she leaves her son behind because he's sick. After a month at the plantation, Linda runs away and ends up hiding in a crawlspace in Aunt Martha’s shed. Meanwhile, Mr. Sands buys Linda’s children. Linda writes Dr. Flint a letter from New York in order to convince him that she is living there. The plan works, and Dr. Flint makes several trips up north looking for Linda. When she learns that Mr. Sands has been elected to Congress and is moving up to Washington, D.C., Linda comes out of hiding to tell him to free her children. Linda lives in her cozy little crawlspace for seven years. It might actually be a little too cozy, since she can't stand, sit, or walk. Finally, her friend Peter finds her passage on a boat to Philadelphia. She and her friend Fanny stow away on the boat and land in Philadelphia. From Philadelphia, they head to New York. Things get better in New York. Linda works as a nursemaid to Mrs. Bruce, a nice English-born woman, and even gets to spend time with her daughter, who's living in Brooklyn. The whole time, Linda is living in fear of Dr. Flint tracking her down and hauling her back to slavery. She has to keep leaving New York to avoid him. After Mrs. Bruce dies, Mr. Bruce takes his little girl to England, bringing Linda along as a nurse. England is awesome. People might be poor, but at least they're not slaves—and no one seems to care that Linda's black. Back in the U.S., the Fugitive Slave Act has made the North a little too hot for Linda. She's constantly afraid of being caught and sent back South. Finally, Dr. Flint dies. His daughter and her new husband, Mr. Dodge, try to get Linda back, but the second Mrs. Bruce intervenes and buys her freedom. Free at last! Linda and her children are finally safe, even if they still don't have a home to call their own.