Chapter 28

Aunt Nancy

  • Here's a really gloomy story about Aunt Nancy:
  • Linda’s Aunt Nancy was a slave in Dr. Flint’s family. When she was twenty, her master and mistress allowed her to marry.
  • Nancy was Mrs. Flint’s servant when both women were pregnant. Mrs. Flint made Nancy lie outside her door each night, just in case Mrs. Flint needed anything.
  • One night she has to leave her station—to give birth to a premature baby. Two weeks later, she's back at work tending to Mrs. Flint's new baby. Over six years, she has miscarriage after miscarriage.
  • Finally, the Flints ease up on her, because they're afraid to let such a valuable servant die. She has two live births, but both babies die soon after they're born.
  • Over the years, Nancy has been really kind to Linda, acting as a kind of second mother.
  • When Linda's been in her little cubby for six years, Nancy dies.
  • Mrs. Flint is all sentimental now that Nancy is dead and wants her to be buried near her own future burial plot, since, as Linda snarks, "she was so long used to sleep with her lying near [...], on the entry floor."
  • The clergyman, with surprising humanity, suggests that maybe Nancy's mom would like to have a say in where her daughter was buried.
  • As it turns out, she does. She'd like Aunt Nancy to be buried with the rest of her family in the slave burying ground. Mrs. Flint graciously permits this.
  • Linda watches the funeral from her crawlspace.

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