Excerpt from Victoria C. Woodhull: A Biographical Sketch
It is pitiful to be a child without a childhood. Such was she. Not a sunbeam gilded the morning of her life. Her girlish career was a continuous bitterness - an unbroken heart-break. She was worked like a slave - whipped like a convict. Her father was impartial in his cruelty to all his children her mother, with a fickleness of spirit that renders her one of the most erratic of mortals, sometimes abetted him in his scourgings, and at other times shielded the little ones from his blows. In a barrel of rain-water he kept a number of braided green withes made of willow or walnut twigs, and with these stinging weapons, never with an ordinary whip, he would cut the quivering ﬂesh of the children till their tears and blood melted him into mercy. Sometimes he took a handsaw or a stick of fire wood as the instrument of his savagery. Coming home after the children were in bed, on learning of some offence which they had committed, he has been known to waken them out of sleep, and to whip them till morning. In consequence of these brutalities, one of the sons, in his thirteenth year, burst away from home, went to sea, and still bears in a shattered constitution the damning memorial of his father's wrath. I have no remembrance of a father's kiss, says Victoria. Her mother has on occasions tormented and harried her children until they would be thrown into spasms.
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