spell-bound until the lengthening shadows of the twilight hour made her departure safe for Canada. One remark she made impressed me deeply. I told her of the laws for women such as we then lived under, and remarked on the parallel condition of slaves and women. "Yes," said she, "but I am both. I am doubly damned in sex and color. Yes, in class too, for I am poor and ignorant; none of you can ever touch the depth of misery where I stand to-day."52
Complexities of framed response emerge. Gerrit Smith had authorized a paternalist discourse in which the white girls locked into the room with the "beautiful quadroon" were to be made into abolitionists. He framed them as subject to his will and as objects of his efforts at moral improvement. They were to order their relation to the black woman as liberator to exemplary slave, perhaps on the model of the famous abolitionist slogan, "Am I not a woman and a sister?" Stanton, the white female narrator (locked in), reordered the scene in terms of woman's rights, citing "the parallel condition of slaves and women," disobeying patriarchal law by repositioning the women side by side instead of hierarchically. Then, in a startling rejection of both these constructions, the objectified enslaved woman rejects their inscription of her in their stories and speaks her own story: "none of you can ever touch the depth of misery where I stand to-day."
Having been authorized to speak as an abolitionist's model slave and then as a white woman's sister in suffering, Harriet rejected ventriloquism to speak her own truth about race, gender, and class. Even when framed by the expectations of white recorders, black women like Harriet and Truth knew how to step out of the frame. They cast their own shadows. They raised their own voices. This is what we watch for, what we listen for.