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´╗┐Title: Step by Step; or Tidy's Way to Freedom
Author: American Tract Society
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Step by Step; or Tidy's Way to Freedom" ***

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STEP BY STEP

OR

TIDY'S WAY TO FREEDOM.


                    "Woe to all who grind
                    Their brethren of a common Father down!
                    To all who plunder from the immortal mind
                    Its bright and glorious crown!"
                    --WHITTIER.

[colophon omitted]

Published By The

American Tract Society,

28 Cornhill, Boston.


Transcriber's Note: I have removed page numbers; all italics
are emphasis only. I have omitted running heads and have closed
contractions, e.g. "she 's" becoming "she's"; in addition, on page
180, stanza 3, line 1, I have changed the single quotation mark at the
beginning of the line to a double quotation mark.


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1862, by THE AMERICAN
TRACT SOCIETY, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the
District of Massachusetts.

Riverside, Cambridge:

Stereotyped And Printed By H. O. Houghton.



CONTENTS

CHAP. PAGE


         I.  INTRODUCTION. . . . . .   5
        II.  THE BABY. . . . .   13
       III.  SUNSHINE. . . . .   24
        IV.  SEVERAL EVENTS. . . .   36
         V.  A NEW HOME. . . . .   43
        VI.  BEGINNINGS OF KNOWLEDGE.   50
       VII.  FRANCES. . . . .   62
      VIII.  PRAYER. . . . .   75
        IX.  THE FIRST LESSON. . . .   87
         X.  LONY'S PETITION. . . . .   95
        XI.  ROUGH PLACES. . . . .  105
       XII.  A GREAT UNDERTAKING. .  112
      XIII.  A LONG JOURNEY. . . .  127
       XIV.  CRUELTY. . . . .  137
        XV.  COTTON. . . . .  147
       XVI.  RESCUE. . . . .  154
      XVII.  TRUE LIBERTY. . . .  165
     XVIII.  CROWNING MERCIES. . .  174


OLD DINAH JOHNSON. . . . .



STEP BY STEP.



CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION.

MY DEAR CHILDREN,--All of you who read this little book have doubtless
heard more or less of slavery. You know it is the system by which a
portion of our people hold their fellow-creatures as property, and doom
them to perpetual servitude. It is a hateful and accursed institution,
which God can not look upon but with abhorrence, and which no one of
his children should for a moment tolerate. It is opposed to every thing
Christian and humane, and full of all meanness and cruelty. It treats a
fellow-being, only because his skin is not so fair as our own, as
though he were a dumb animal or a piece of furniture. It allows him
no expression of choice about any thing, and no liberty of action. It
recognizes and employs all the instincts of the lower, but ignores and
tramples down all the faculties of his higher, nature. Can there be a
greater wrong?

It is said by some, in extenuation of this wrong, that the slaves are
well fed and clothed, and are kindly, even affectionately, looked
after. This is true, in some cases,--with the house-servants,
particularly,--but, as a general thing, their food and clothing are
coarse and insufficient. But supposing it was otherwise; supposing they
were provided for with as much liberality as are the working classes at
the North, what is that when put into the balance with all the ills they
suffer? What comfort is it, when a wife is torn from her husband, or a
mother from her children, to know that each is to have enough to eat?
None at all. The most generous provision for the body can not satisfy
the longings of the heart, or compensate for its bereavements.

They suffer, also, a constant dread and fear of change, which is not
the least of their torturing troubles. A kind owner may be taken away by
death, and the new one be harsh and cruel; or necessity may compel
him to sell his slaves, and thus they may be thrown into most unhappy
situations. So they live with a heavy cloud of sorrow always before
them, which their eyes can not look through or beyond. There is no
hope--no EARTHLY hope--for this poor, oppressed race.

Their minds, too, are starved. No education, not even the least, is
allowed. It is a criminal offense in some of the States to teach a slave
to read. Now, if they could be made to exist without any consciousness
of intellectual capacity, it would not be so bad. But this is
impossible. They think and reason and wonder about things which they
see and hear; and, in many cases, feel an eager desire to be instructed.
This desire can not be gratified, because it would unfit them for their
servile condition; therefore all teaching is rigidly denied them. The
treasures of knowledge are bolted and barred to their approach, and
they are kept in the utmost darkness and ignorance. Oh, to starve the
mind!--Is it not far worse than to starve the body?

There is yet another process of famishing to which the slaves are
subjected. They are not, as a general thing, taught by their masters
about God, the salvation of Jesus Christ or the way to heaven. The SOUL
is starved. To be sure, they pick up, here and there, a few crumbs of
religious truth, and make the most of their scanty supply. Many of them
truly love the Lord; and his unseen presence and joyful anticipations
of heaven make them submissive to their hardships, and cheerful and
faithful in their duties. But they can not thank their masters for what
religious light and knowledge they get.

And who are these that hold their fellow-creatures in such cruel
bondage, starving body, mind, and soul with such indifference and
inhumanity? We blush to tell you. Many of them are of the number of
those who profess to love the Lord their God with all the heart, and
their neighbor as themselves. Can it be possible that God's own children
can participate in such a wickedness; can buy and sell, beat and kill,
their fellow-creatures? Can those who have humbly repented of sin, and
by faith accepted of the salvation of Jesus Christ, turn from his holy
cross to abuse others who are redeemed by the same precious blood, and
are heirs to the same glorious immortality? CAN such be Christians?

And, children, you probably all understand that slavery is the sole
cause of the sad war which is now ravaging our beloved country; and
Christian people are praying, not only that the war may cease, but
that the sin which has caused it may cease also. We believe that God is
overruling all things to bring about this happy result, and before this
little story shall meet your eyes, there may be no more slaves within
our borders. Still we shall not have written it in vain, if it help
you to realize, more clearly than you have done, the sufferings and
degradation to which this unfortunate class have been subjected, and to
labor with zeal in the work which will then devolve upon us of educating
and elevating them.

My story is not one of UNUSUAL interest. Thousands and ten of thousands
equally affecting might be told, and many far more romantic and
thrilling. What a day will that be, when the recorded history of every
slave-life shall be read before an assembled universe! What a long
catalogue of martyrs and heroes will then be revealed! What complicated
tales of wrongs and woes! What crowns and palms of victory will then be
awarded! What treasures of wrath heaped up against the day of wrath will
then be poured in fiery indignation upon deserving heads! Truly, then,
will come to pass the saying of the Lord Jesus, "The first shall be last
and the last first."

Then, too, will appear most gloriously the loving kindness and tender
mercy of God, who loves to stoop to the poor and humble, and to care for
those who are friendless and alone. It seems as if our Heavenly Father
took special delight in revealing the truths of salvation to this
untutored people, in a mysterious way leading them into gospel light
and liberty; so that though men take pains to keep them in ignorance,
multitudes of them give evidence of piety, and find consolation for
their miseries in the sweet love of God.

It is the dealings of God in guiding one of these to a knowledge of
himself, that I wish to relate to you in the following chapters.



CHAPTER II. THE BABY.

IN a snug corner of a meager slave-cabin, on a low cot, lies a little
babe asleep. A scarlet honeysuckle of wild and luxuriant growth shades
the uncurtained and unsashed window; and the humming-birds, flitting
among its brilliant blossoms, murmur a constant, gentle lullaby for the
infant sleeper. See, its skin is not so dark but that we may clearly
trace the blue veins underlying it; the lips, half parted, are lovely
as a rosebud; and the soft, silky curls are dewy as the flowers on this
June morning. A dimpled arm and one naked foot have escaped from the
gay patch-work quilt, which some fond hand has closely tucked about the
little form; and the breath comes and goes quickly, as if the folded
eyes were feasting on visions of beauty and delight. Dear little one!

     "We should see the spirits ringing
         Round thee, were the clouds away;
      'Tis the child-heart draws them, singing
         In the silent-seeming clay."

Though that child-heart beats beneath a despised skin, though it has its
resting-place in a hovel, the angels may be there. Their loving, pitying
natures shrink not from poverty, but stoop with heavenly sympathy to the
mean abodes of suffering and misery.

A soft step steals in through the half-opened door, across the room, and
a fervent kiss is laid on the little velvet cheek.

Who is the intruder? Ah, who cares to watch and smile over a sleeping
infant, save its mother? Here, in this rude cabin, is a mother's
heart,--tender with its holy affections, and all aglow with delight, as
she gazes on the beautiful vision before her.

We must call the mother Annie. She had but one name, for she was a
slave. Like the horse or the dog, she must have some appellation by
which, as an individual, she might be designated; a sort of appendage
on which to hang, as it were, the commands, threats, and severities that
from time to time might be administered; but farther than that, for her
own personal uses, why did she need a name? She was not a person, only a
thing,--a piece of property belonging to the Carroll estate.

But for all that, she was a woman and a mother. God had sealed her such,
and who could obliterate his impress, or rob her of the crown he had
placed about her head,--a crown of thorns though it were? Her heart was
as full of all sweet motherly instincts as if she had been born in a
more favored condition; and the swarthy complexion of her child made
it no less dear or lovely in her sight; while a consciousness of its
degradation and sad future served only to deepen and intensify her love.
She knew what her child was born to suffer; but affection thrust far
away the evil day, that she might not lose the happiness of the present.
The babe was hers,--her own,--and for long years yet would be her joy
and comfort.

Annie had other children, but they were wild, romping boys, grown out
of their babyhood, and so very naturally left to run and take care of
themselves. She had not ceased to love them, however, and would have
manifested it more, but for the idol, the little girl baby, which had
now for nearly a year nestled in her arms, and completely possessed
her heart. When they were hungry, they came like chickens about her
cabin-door, and being mistress of the kitchen, she always had plenty of
good, substantial crumbs for them; and when they were sick, she nursed
them with pitying care; but this was about all the attention they
received.

The baby engrossed every leisure moment she could command. Many times a
day she would pause in her work to caress it. She would seat it upon the
floor, amid a perfect bed of honeysuckle blossoms, and bring the bright
orange gourds that grew around the door for its amusement. Sometimes a
broken toy or a shining trinket, which she had picked up in the house,
or a smooth pebble from the yard, would be added to the treasures of the
little one. Then she would come with food, the soft-boiled rice, or the
sweet corn gruel, she knew so well how to prepare; and often, often
she would steal in, as now, out of pure fondness, to watch its peaceful
slumbers.

"Named the pickaninny yet?" asked the master one day, as he passed
the cabin, and carelessly looked in upon the mother and child amusing
themselves within. "'Tis time you did; 'most time to turn her off now,
you see."

"Oh, Massa, don't say dat word," answered the woman, imploringly.
"'Pears I couldn't b'ar to turn her off yet,--couldn't live without her,
no ways. Reckon I'll call her Tidy; dat ar's my sister's name, and she's
got dat same sweet look 'bout de eyes,--don't you think so, Massa? Poor
Tidy! she's"--and Annie stopped, and a deep sigh, instead of words,
filled up the sentence, and tears dropped down upon the baby's forehead.
Memory traveled back to that dreadful night when this only sister had
been dragged from her bed, chained with a slave-gang, and driven off to
the dreaded South, never more to be heard from.

WE talk of the "sunny South;"--to the slave, the South is cold, dark,
and cheerless; the land of untold horrors, the grave of hope and joy.

"'Pears as if my poor old mudder," said Annie, brushing away the tears,
"never got up right smart after Tidy went away. She'd had six children
sold from her afore, and she set stores by her and me, 'cause we was
girls, and we was all she had left, too. Tidy was pooty as a flower;
and dat's just what your fadder, Massa Carroll, sold her for. My poor
mudder--how she cried and took on! but then she grew more settled like.
She said she'd gi'n her up for de good Lord to take care on. She said,
if he could take care of de posies in de woods, he certain sure would
look after her, and so she left off groaning like; but she's never got
over that sad look in her face. 'Oh,' says she to me, says she, 'Annie,
do call dat leetle cretur's name Tidy,--mebbe 'twill make my poor, sore
heart heal up;' and so I will."

"So I would, Annie; yes, so I would," said the Master soothingly. "So I
would, if 'twill be any comfort to poor old Marcia,--clever old soul she
is. She was my mammy, and I was always fond of her. She has trotted me
on her knee, and toted me about on her back, many an hour. I must
go down to the quarters this very day, and see if she has things
comfortable. She's getting old, and we must do well by her in her old
age. And you, Annie, you mustn't mind those other things. We mustn't
borrow trouble. And we can't help it, you know; and we mustn't cry and
fret for what we can't help. What's the use? It don't do any good, you
see, and only makes a bad matter worse. Must take things as they come,
in this world of ours, Annie;" and the Master thought thus to assuage
the tide of bitter recollection in the breast of his down-trodden
bond-woman, and divert her mind from the painful future before her and
her darling child. In vain. The tears still fell over the brow of the
baby, flowing from the deep fountain of sorrow and tenderness that
springs forth only from a mother's heart.

"Oh, Massa," she ventured timidly to say amid her sobs, "please don't
never part baby and me."

"Be a good girl, Annie," said he, "and mind your work, and don't be
borrowing trouble. We'll take good care of you. You've got a nice baby,
that's a fact,--the smartest little thing on the whole plantation; see
how well you can raise her now."

The fond heart of the trembling mother leaped back again to its
happiness at the praise bestowed upon her baby; and taking up the little
blossom, she laid it with pride upon her bosom, murmuring, "Years of
good times we'll have, sweety, afore sich dark days come,--mebbe they'll
never come to you and me."

Alas, vain hope! Scarcely a single year had passed, when one day she
came to the cot to look at the little sleeper, and lo, her treasure was
gone! The master had found it convenient, in making a sale of some
field hands, to THROW IN this infant, by way of closing a satisfactory
bargain.

None can tell, but those who have gone through the trying experience,
how hard it is for a mother to part with her child when God calls it
away by death. But oh, how much harder it must be to have a babe torn
away from the maternal arms by the stern hand of oppression, and flung
out on the cruel tide of selfishness and passion! Let us weep, dear
children, for the poor slave mothers who have to endure such wrongs.

I will not undertake to describe the distress of this poor woman when
the knowledge of her loss burst upon her. It was as when the tall
tree is shivered by the lightning's blast. Her strong frame shook
and trembled beneath the shock; her eye rolled and burned in tearless
anguish, and her voice failed her in the intensity of her grief. For
hours she was unable to move. Alone, uncomforted, she lay upon the
earth, crushed beneath the weight of this unexpected calamity.

"Leave her alone," said the master, "and let her grieve it out. The
cat will mew when her kittens are taken away. She'll get over it before
long, and come up again all right."

"Ye mus' b'ar it, chile," said Annie's poor, old mother, drawing from
her own experience the only comfort which could be of any avail. "De
bressed Lord will help ye; nobody else can. I's so sorry for ye, honey;
but yer poor, old mudder can't do noffin. 'Tis de yoke de Heavenly
Massa puts on yer neck, and ye can't take it off nohow till he ondoes it
hissef wid his own hand. Ye mus' b'ar it, and say, De will ob de bressed
Lord be done."

But, trying as this separation was, it proved to be the first link in
that chain of loving-kindnesses by which this little slave-child was to
be drawn towards God. Do you remember this verse in the Bible: "I have
loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness have
I drawn thee."



CHAPTER III. SUNSHINE.

IF ever there was a sunshiny corner of slavery, it was that into which
a kind Providence dropped this little, helpless babe, now but a little
more than two years old.

It was a pleasant day in early spring when Colonel Lee alighted from
his gig before the family mansion at Rosevale, and laid the child, as a
present, at the feet of his daughter Matilda.

Miss Matilda Lee was about thirty years of age,--as active and thrifty
a little woman as could be found any where within the domains of this
cruel system of oppression. Slavery is like a two-edged knife, cutting
both ways. It not only destroys the black, but demoralizes and ruins
the white race. Those who hold slaves are usually indolent, proud, and
inefficient. They think it a disgrace to work by the side of the negro,
and therefore will allow things to be left in a very careless, untidy
way, rather than put forth their energy to alter or improve them. And as
it is impossible for slaves, untaught and degraded as they are, to give
a neat and thrifty appearance to their homes, we, who have been brought
up at the North, accustomed to work ourselves, assisted by well-trained
domestics, can scarcely realize the many discomforts often to be
experienced in Southern houses. But Miss Lee was unusually energetic and
helpful, desirous of having every thing about her neat and tasteful, and
not afraid to do something towards it with her own hands.

Being the eldest daughter, the entire charge of the family had devolved
upon her since the death of her mother, which had occurred about ten
years before. Within this time, her brothers and sisters had been
married, and now she and her father were all that were left at the old
homestead.

Their servants, too, had dwindled away. Some had been given to the
sons and daughters when they left the parental roof; some had died, and
others had been sold to pay debts and furnish the means of living. Old
Rosa, the cook, Nancy, the waiting-maid, and Methuselah, the ancient
gardener, were all the house-servants that remained. So they lived in
a very quiet and frugal way; and Miss Matilda's activities, not being
entirely engrossed with family cares, found employment in the nurture of
flowers and pets.

The grounds in front of the old-fashioned mansion had been laid out
originally in very elaborate style; and, though of late years they
had been greatly neglected, they still retained traces of their former
splendor. The rose-vines on the inside of the enclosure had grown
over the low, brick wall, to meet and mingle with the trees and bushes
outside, till together they formed a solid and luxuriant mass of
verdure. White and crimson roses shone amid the dark, glossy foliage
of the mountain-laurel, which held up with sturdy stem its own rich
clusters of fluted cups, that seemed to assert equality with the queen
of flowers, and would not be eclipsed by the fragrant loveliness of
their beautiful dependents. The borders of box, which had once been
trimmed and trained into fanciful points and tufts and convolutions of
verdure, had grown into misshapen clumps; and the white, pebbly walks no
longer sparkled in the sunlight.

Still Miss Matilda, by the aid of Methuselah, in appearance almost
as ancient as we may suppose his namesake to have been, found great
pleasure in cultivating her flower-beds; and every year, her crocuses
and hyacinths, crown-imperials and tulips, pinks, lilies, and roses,
none the less beautiful because they are so commonly enjoyed, gave a
cheerful aspect to the place.

Her numerous pets made the house equally bright and pleasant. There
was Sir Walter Raleigh, the dog, and Mrs. Felina, the great, splendid,
Maltese mother of three beautiful blue kittens; Jack and Gill, the
gentle, soft-toned Java sparrows; and Ruby, the unwearying canary
singer, always in loud and uninterpretable conversation with San Rosa,
the mocking-bird. The birds hung in the broad, deep window of the
sitting-room, in the shade of the jasmine and honeysuckle vines that
embowered it and filled the air with delicious perfume. The dog and
cat, when not inclined to active enjoyments, were accommodated with
comfortable beds in the adjoining apartment, which was the sleeping-room
of their mistress.

The new household pet became an occupant of this same room.

"Laws, now, Miss Tilda, ye a'n't gwine to put de chile in ther wid all
de dogs and cats, now. 'Pears ye might have company enough o' nights
widout takin' in a cryin' baby. She'll cry sure widout her mammy, and
what ye gwine to do thin?" and old Rosa stoutly protested against the
arrangement.

"Never mind, Aunt Rosa, don't worry now; I'll manage to take good
care of the little creature. I know what you're after,--you want her
yourself."

"Ho, ho ho! Laws, now, Miss Tilda, you dun know noffing 'bout babies;
takes an old mammy like me to fotch 'em up. Come here, child; what's yer
name?"

The frightened little one, whose tongue had not yet learned to utter
many words, made no attempt to answer, but stood timidly looking from
one to another of the surrounding group.

"She ha'n't got no name, 'ta'n't likely," suggested Nance.

"We must christen her, then," said Miss Lee.

"Carroll called her Tidy," remarked the old gentleman, entering the room
at that moment.

"DAT'S a name of 'spectability," said Rosa, with a satisfied air. "'Tis
my 'pinion chillen should allus have 'spectable names, else they're
'posed on in dis yer world. Nudd's Tidy, now, dere's a spec'men for yer.
Never was no more 'complished 'fectioner dan she. She knowed how to cook
all de earth, she did. Hi! couldn't she barbecue a heifer, or brile
a cock's comb, jest as 'spertly as Miss Tilda here broiders a ruffle.
Right smart cretur she wor. And so YE'RE a gwine to be, honey,--your old
mammy sees it in de tips ob yer fingers;" and Rosa caught up the child,
and well-nigh smothered it with all sorts of maternal fondnesses.

"Now Nance," continued the old negress, turning with an air of authority
to the tall, loose-jointed, reed-like maid, "Now Nance, ye mind yer
doin's in dese yer premises. Don't ye go for to kick de young un round
like as ef she cost noffin'. Ef ye do, look out;" and she shook her
turbaned head, and doubled her fist in very threatening manner before
the girl. "Now we've got a baby in dis yer house, we'll see how de tings
is gwine for to go."

A baby in the Lee mansion did indeed inaugurate a new order of things
in the family. So young a servant they had not had for many a day on the
estate; and Rosa felt at once the responsibility of her position, and
played the mother to her heart's content. All the care of the child's
education seemed from that moment to devolve upon her, notwithstanding
Miss Lee's repeated assertions that SHE designed to bring up the little
one after her own heart, and that Tidy should never wait upon any one
but herself.

Between them both, Tidy had things pretty much her own way. Such an
infant of course could not be expected to comprehend the fact that she
was a slave, and born to be ruled over, and trodden under foot. Like any
other little one, she enjoyed existence, and was as happy as could be
all the day long. Every thing around her,--the chickens and turkeys
in the yard, the flowers in the garden, the kittens and birds in the
sitting-room, and the goodies in the kitchen,--added to her pleasure.
She frisked and gamboled about the house and grounds as free and joyous
as the squirrels in the woods, and without a thought or suspicion that
any thing but happiness was in store for her. She not only slept at
night in the room of her mistress, but when the daily meals were served,
the child, seated on a low bench beside Miss Lee, was fed from her own
dish. So that, in respect to her animal nature, she fared as well as any
child need to; but this was all. Not a word of instruction of any kind
did she receive.

As she grew older, and her active mind, observing and wondering at the
many objects of interest in nature, burst out into childish questions,
"What is this for?" and "Who made that?" her mistress would answer
carelessly, "I don't know," or "You'll find out by and by." Her thirst
for knowledge was never satisfied; for while Miss Lee was good-natured
and gentle in her ways toward the child, she took no pains to impart
information of any kind. Why should she? Tidy was only a slave.

Here, my little readers, you may see the difference between her
condition and your own. You are carefully taught every thing that will
be of use to you. Even before you ask questions, they are answered; and
father and mother, older brothers and sisters, aunties, teachers, and
friends are ready and anxious to explain to you all the curious and
interesting things that come under your notice. Indeed, so desirous are
they to cultivate your intellectual nature, that they seek to stimulate
your appetite for knowledge, by drawing your attention to many things
which otherwise you would overlook. At the same time, they point you to
the great and all-wise Creator, that you may admire and love him who has
made every thing for our highest happiness and good.

But slavery depends for its existence and growth upon the ignorance of
its miserable victims. If Tidy's questions had been answered, and her
curiosity satisfied, she would have gone on in her investigations; and
from studying objects in nature, she would have come to study books, and
perhaps would have read the Bible, and thus found out a great deal which
it is not considered proper for a slave to know.

"We couldn't keep our servants, if we were to instruct them," says
the slaveholder; and therefore he makes the law which constitutes it a
criminal offense to teach a slave to read.

But Tidy was taught to WORK. That is just what slaves are made for,--to
work, and so save their owners the trouble of working themselves.
Slaveholders do not recognize the fact that God designed us all to work,
and has so arranged matters, that true comfort and happiness can only be
reached through the gateway of labor. It is no blessing to be idle, and
let others wait upon us; and in this respect the slaves certainly have
the advantage of their masters.

Tidy was an apt learner, and at eight years of age she could do up Miss
Matilda's ruffles, clean the great brass andirons and fender in the
sitting-room, and set a room to rights as neatly as any person in the
house.


CHAPTER IV. SEVERAL EVENTS.

SHALL I pause here in my narrative to tell you what became of Annie
and some of the other persons who have been mentioned in the preceding
chapters?

Tidy often saw her mother. Miss Lee used to visit Mr. Carroll's family,
and never went without taking Tidy, that the child and her mother might
have a good time together. And good times indeed they were.

When Annie learned that her baby had been taken to Rosevale, that she
was so well cared for, and that they would be able sometimes to see one
another, her grief was very much abated, and she began to think in what
new ways she could show her love for her little one. She saved all the
money she could get; and, as she had opportunity, she would buy a bit
of gay calico, to make the child a frock or an apron. Mothers, you
perceive, are all alike, from the days of Hannah, who made a "little
coat" for her son Samuel, and "brought it to him from year to year,
when she came up with her husband to the yearly sacrifice," down to the
present time. Nothing pleases them more than to provide things useful
and pretty for their little ones. Even this slave-mother, with her
scanty means, felt this same longing. It did her heart good to be
doing something for her child; and so she was constantly planning and
preparing for these visits, that she might never be without something
new and gratifying to give her. In the warm days of summer, she would
take her down to Sweet-Brier Pond, a pretty pool of water right in the
heart of a sweet pine grove, a little way from the house, and Tidy
would have a good splashing frolic in the water, and come out looking
as bright and shining as a newly-polished piece of mahogany. Her mother
would press the water from her dripping locks, and turn the soft, glossy
hair in short, smooth curls over her fingers, put on the new frock,
and then set her out before her admiring eyes, and exclaim in her fond
motherly pride,--

"You's a purty cretur, honey. You dun know noffin how yer mudder lubs
ye."

Tidy remembers to this day the delightful afternoon thus spent the
very last time she went to see her mother, though neither of them then
thought it was to be the last. Mr. Carroll, Annie's master, was very
close in all his business transactions, never allowing, as he remarked,
his left hand to know what his right hand did. He stole Tidy away, as we
have already told you, from her mother; and this was the way he usually
managed in parting his slaves, especially any that were much valued. He
said it was "a part of his religion to deal TENDERLY with his people!"

"'Tis a great deal better," said he, "to avoid a row. They would
moan and wail and make such a fuss, if they knew they were to change
quarters."

Humane man, wasn't he?

Mr. Carroll got into debt, and an opportunity occurring, he sold Annie
and her four boys. The bargain was made without the knowledge of any
one on the estate; and in the night they were transferred to their new
master. Nobody ever knew to what part of the country they were carried.

When the news reached the ear of Marcia, Annie's mother, it proved to be
more than she could bear. Her very last comfort was thus torn from her.
When she was told of it, the poor, decrepit old woman fell from her
chair upon the floor of her cabin insensible. The people lifted her up
and laid her upon the bed, but she never came to consciousness. She lay
without sense or motion until the next day, when she died. The slaves
said, "Old Marcia's heart broke."

Thus little Tidy was left alone in the world, without a single relative
to love her. Didn't she care much about it? That happened thirty
years ago, and she can not speak of it even now without tears. But she
comforts herself by saying, "I shall meet them in heaven." Annie may not
yet have arrived at that blessed home; but Marcia has rejoiced all these
years in the presence of the Lord she loved, and has found, by a glad
experience, that the happiness of heaven can compensate for all the
trials of earth.

     "For God has marked each sorrowing day,
         And numbered every secret tear;
      And heaven's long age of bliss shall pay
         For all his children suffer here."

And now I must tell you of another death which occurred about this same
time. It was that of Colonel Lee. He had been a rich and a proud man,
and it would seem, that, like the rich man in the parable, he had had
all his good things in this life; and now that he had come to the
gates of death, he found himself in a sadly destitute and lamentable
condition. He was afraid to die; and when he came to the very last, his
shrieks of terror and distress were fearful. His mind was wandering, and
he fancied some strong being was binding him with chains and shackles.
He screamed for help, and even called for Rosa, his faithful old
servant, to come and help him.

"Take off those hand-cuffs," he cried; "take them off. I can not bear
them. Don't let them put on those chains. Oh, I can't move! They'll drag
me away! Stop them; help me! save me!"

But, alas! no one could save him. The man who had all his life been
loading his fellow-creatures with chains and fetters was now in the
grasp of One mightier than he, who was "delivering him over into chains
of darkness, to be reserved unto the judgment."

How dreadful was such an end!

"I would rather be a slave with all my sorrows," said Tidy, when she
related this sad story, "and wait for comfort until I get to heaven,
than to have all the riches of all the slaveholders in the world, gained
by injustice and oppression; for I could only carry them as far as the
grave, and there they would be an awful weight to drag me down into
torments for ever."



CHAPTER V. A NEW HOME.

AFTER Colonel Lee's death, which happened when Tidy was about ten years
old, the plantation and all the slaves were sold, and Miss Matilda, with
Tidy, who was her own personal property, found a home with her brother.
Mr. Richard Lee owned an estate about twenty miles from Rosevale.
His lands had once been well cultivated, but now received very little
attention, for medicinal springs had been discovered there a few years
before, and it was expected that these springs, by being made a resort
for invalids and fashionable people, would bring to the family all the
income they could desire.

Mr. and Mrs. Lee were not very pleasant people. They were selfish and
penurious, and hard-hearted and severe towards their servants. They no
doubt were happy to have their sister take up her abode with them; but
there is reason to believe she was chiefly welcome on account of the
valuable little piece of property she brought with her. Tidy was just
exactly what Mrs. Lee wanted to fill a place in her family, which she
had never before been able to supply to her satisfaction. She needed
her as an under-nurse, and waiter-and-tender in general upon her four
children. Amelia, the eldest, was just Tidy's age, and Susan was two
years younger. Then came Lemuel, a boy of three, and George, the baby.

Mammy Grace was the family nurse, but as she was growing old and
somewhat infirm, she required a pair of young, sprightly feet to
run after little Lemmy to keep him out of mischief, and to carry the
teething, worrying baby about. Tidy was just the child for her.

The morning after her arrival, Mrs. Lee instructed her in her duties
thus:--

"You are to do what Mammy Grace and the children tell you to. See that
Lemmy doesn't stuff things into his ears and nose; mind you don't let
the baby fall, and behave yourself."

She wasn't told what would be the consequence if she did not "behave
herself," but Tidy felt that she had something to fear from that
flashing eye and heavy brow. Miss Matilda had protected her, as far as
she was able, though without the child's knowledge, by saying to her
sister that she was willing her little servant should be employed in the
family, but that she was never to be whipped.

"You're mighty saving of your little piece of flesh and blood," said her
sister-in-law. "I find it doesn't work well to be too tender; they need
a little cuffing now and then to keep them straight."

"Tidy is a good child," replied Miss Matilda. "She always does as she is
told, and I have never had occasion to punish her in my life; and I can
not consent to her being treated severely."

"We shall see," said Mrs. Lee; "but, I tell you, I take no impudence
from my hands."

Miss Matilda's stipulation and her constant presence in the family no
doubt screened Tidy from much that was unpleasant from her new mistress;
for if children or servants are ever so well inclined, an ugly and
easily excited temper in a superior will provoke evil dispositions in
them, and MAKE occasions of punishment. But in this case the mistress
was evidently held in check. A knock on the head sometimes, a kick or a
cross word, was the greatest severity she ventured to inflict; so that,
upon the whole, the new home was a pleasant and happy one.

The services Tidy was required to render were a perfect delight to her.
Like all children, she liked to be associated with those of her own age,
and, though called a slave, to all intents and purposes she was
received as the playmate and companion of Amelia and Susan. They were
good-natured, agreeable little girls, and it was a pleasure rather
than a task to walk to and from school, and carry their books and
dinner-basket for them. And to go into the play-house, and have the
handling of the dolls, the tea-sets, and toys, was employment as
charming as it was new.

The nursery was in the cabin of Mammy Grace, which was situated a few
steps from the family mansion, and was distinguished from the log-huts
of the other slaves, by having brick walls and two rooms. The inner room
contained the baby's cradle, a crib for the little one who had not yet
outgrown his noon-day nap, her own bed, and now a cot for Tidy. In the
outer stood the spinning-wheel,--at which the old nurse wrought when not
occupied with the children,--a small table, an old chest of drawers, and
a few rude chairs. Some old carpets which had been discarded from the
house were laid over the floors, and gave an air of comfort to the
place. One shelf by the side of the fireplace held all the china and
plate they had to use; for, you must know, little readers, that slave
cabins contain very few of the conveniences which are so familiar to
you. To assert, as some people do, that the negroes do not need them, is
simply to say that they have never been used to the common comforts of
life, and so do not know their worth.

Nevertheless, the place with all its scantiness of furniture was a happy
abode for Tidy, who found in Mammy Grace even a better mother than old
Rosa had been to her; for, besides being kind and cheerful, she was
pious, and from her lips it was that Tidy first heard the name of
God. Would you believe it? Tidy had lived to be ten years old in this
Christian land, and had never heard of the God who made her. Miss Lee,
with all her kindness, was not a Christian, and never read the Bible,
offered prayer, or went to church; so that the poor child had grown up
thus far as ignorant of religious truth as a heathen.

We may well consider then the providence of God which brought her under
the care of Mammy Grace, the negro nurse, as another link in that golden
chain of love which was to draw her up out of the shame and misery
of her abject condition to the knowledge and service of her Heavenly
Father.



CHAPTER VI. BEGINNINGS OF KNOWLEDGE.

THE first day of the new service was over. The two babies had been
carried to the house and put to bed as usual at sunset, and Mammy Grace
had mixed the corn-pone for supper, and laid it to bake beneath the hot
ashes.

Tidy stretched herself at full length near the open door of the cabin,
and resting her head upon her hand looked out. All was still save the
hum of voices from the house, and now and then the plaintive song of
the whippoorwill in the meadow. The new moon was just hiding its silvery
crescent behind Tulip Mountain, and the shadows were growing every
moment darker among the flower-laden trees that covered its sides.
It was just the hour for thinking; and as the weary child lay there,
watching the stars that, one by one, stepped with such strange,
noiseless grace out upon the clear, blue sky, soothed by the calm
influence that breathed through the beautiful twilight, she soon forgot
herself and her surroundings, and was lost in the mazes of speculation
and wonder. What were these bright spots that kept coming thicker
and faster over her head, winking and blinking at her, as if with a
conscious and friendly intelligence? Who made them? what were they
doing? where did they hide in the daytime? If she could climb up yonder
mountain, and then get to the top of those tall tulip-trees, she was
sure she could reach them, or, at least, see better what they were. Were
they candles, that some unseen hand had lighted and thrust out there,
that the night might not be wholly dark? That could not be, for then the
wind, which was fanning the trees, would blow them out. How the little
mind longed to fathom the mystery! Once she had ventured to ask Miss
Matilda what those bright specks up in the sky were, and she answered,
in an indifferent sort of way, "Stars, you little silly goose,--why,
don't you know? They are stars." And then she was just about as wise and
as satisfied as she had been before.

She was so busy with her thoughts, that she did not perceive Mammy
Grace, as she drew the old, broken-backed rocking-chair up to the door,
and sitting down, with her elbows on her knees and her head upon her
hands, leaned forward, to discover, if possible, what the child was so
intently gazing at. She could discern no object in the deep twilight;
but, struck herself with the still beauty of the scene, she exclaimed,--

"Pooty night, a'n't it? How de stars of heaben do shine!"

The voice disturbed Tidy in her reverie. Her first impulse was to get
up and walk away, that she might finish out her thinking in some other
place, where she could be alone. But the thought flashed through her
mind, that perhaps the kind-looking old nurse at her side might be able
to tell her some of the many things she was so perplexed about; and,
almost before she knew she was speaking, she blurted out,--

"What's them things up thar?"

"Dem bright little shiny tings, honey, in de firm'ment? Laws, don' ye
know? Whar's ye lived all yer days, if ye don' know de stars when ye
sees 'em?"

"Who owns 'em? and what they stuck up ther for?" asked the child,
somewhat encouraged.

"Who owns 'em? Hi! dey's de property ob de Lord ob heaben, chile, I
reckons; and dey's put dar to gib us light o'nights. Jest see 'em shine!
and what a sight of 'em dar is, too; nobody can't count 'em noway. And
de Lord he hold 'em all in de holler ob his hand," said the old negress,
shaping her great black palm to suit the idea; "and he knows 'em all
by name, too. Specs 'tis wonderful; but ebery one ob dem leetle, teenty
tings has got a name, and de great Lord he 'members 'em ebery one."

Tidy's wonder was not at all diminished by what she heard; and the
questions she wanted to ask came up so fast in her mind, she hardly
knew which to utter first. What they were made out of, how they came and
went, what they meant by twinkling so, were things she had long desired
to know; but for the moment these were forgotten in the burning, eager
curiosity she had, now that she had heard the name of their Maker, to
know more of him, and where he was to be found. Half rising from
her former position, and looking earnestly in the face of her humble
instructor, which was beaming with her own admiration of the glorious
works and power of the Lord, she exclaimed vehemently,--

"That Lord,--who's him? I's never heerd of him afore."

"Laws, honey, don' ye know? He's de great Lord of heaben and earf, dat
made you and me and ebery body else. He made all de tings ye sees,--de
trees, de green grass, de birds, de pigs,--dere's noffin dat he didn't
make. Oh, he's de mighty Lord, I tells ye, chile! Didn't ye neber hear
'bout him afore?"

Tidy shook her head; she could hardly speak.

"Tell me some more," she said at last.

"Well, chile, dis great Lord he lib up in de heaben of heabens, way up
ober dat blue sky, and he sits all de time on a great trone, and he sees
ebery ting dat goes on down har in dis yer world. Ef ye does any ting
bad, he puts it down in a great book he's got, and byme-by he'll punish
de wicked folks right orful."

"Whip?" questioned Tidy.

"Whip! no; burn in de hot fire and brimstone for eber and for eber. 'Tis
orful to be wicked, and hab de great Lord punish."

"I ha'n't done noffin," cried out Tidy, fairly trembling with terror.

"Laws, no,--course not, chile; ye's noffin but a chile, ye know; but
some folks does orful tings. But ye needn't be afeard, honey; he's
a good Lord, and lubs us all; and ef ye tries to be good, and 'beys
missus, and neber lies, nor steals, nor swars, he'll be a good friend to
ye. He'll make de sun to shine on yer, and de rain to fall; and when ye
dies, he'll take yer right up dar, to lib wid him allus. There now, jest
hark,--dat's old Si comin' up de lane. Don' ye h'ar him singin'? He lubs
de Lord, he does, and he's allus a-singin'. Hark, now! a'n't it pooty?
Guess de pone's done by dis time;" and she shuffled to the fireplace, to
look after her cake.

Tidy, almost overwhelmed with the weight of knowledge that had been
poured in upon her inquiring spirit, and hardly knowing whether what
she had heard should make her glad or sorry, leaned back against the
door-post, and carelessly listened to the voice, as it came nearer and
nearer. In a minute the words fell with pleasing distinctness upon the
ear.

     "Dear sister, didn't you promise me
         To help me shout and praise him?
      Den come and jine your voice to mine,
         And sing his lub amazin'.
      I tink I hear de trumpet sound,
         About de break of day;
      Good Lord, we'll rise in de mornin',
         And fly, and fly away,
      On de mornin's wings, to Canaan's land,
         To heaben, our happy home,
      Bright angels shall convey our souls
         To de new Jerusalem."

"Hallelujah, amen, bress de Lord. How is ye dis night, Mammy Grace?"
said a cheerful voice at the cabin-door.

"Ho! go 'long, Simon,--I knowed ye was comin'. Ye allus blows yer
trumpet 'fore yer gits here. Come in, help yerse'f to a cha'r. Here,
chile," addressing Tidy, "here's yer supper,--eat it now; and don' ye
neber let what I's telled ye slip out of yer 'membrance."

Which Tidy was not at all likely to do. She picked up the bread which
was thrown to her, and, munching it as she went along, walked away to
the pump to get a drink of water.

Children, when you rise in the morning and come down stairs to the
cheerful breakfast, or when you are called at noon and night, to join
the family circle again around a neatly-spread table, did you ever think
what a refining influence this single custom has upon your life? The
savage eats his meanly-prepared food from the vessel in which it is
cooked, each member of his household dipping with his fingers, or some
rude utensil, into the one dish. He is scarcely raised above the cattle
that eat their fodder at the crib, or the dog that gnaws the bone thrown
to him upon the ground. And are the slaves any better off? They are
neither allowed time, convenience, or inducements to enjoy a practice,
which is so common with us, that we fail to number it among our
privileges, or to recognize its elevating tendency; and yet they are
stigmatized as a debased and brutish class. Can we expect them to be
otherwise? Who is accountable for this degradation? By what system have
they become so reduced? and have any suitable efforts ever been made for
their elevation?


Since I wrote this chapter, I have learned some things with regard to
the freed men at Port Royal, where so many fugitive slaves have taken
refuge during the war, and are now employed by Government, and being
educated by Christian teachers, which will make what I have just said
more apparent. Dr. French, who has labored among this people, in a
public address, drew a pleasing picture of the improvements introduced
into the home-life of the negroes,--how, as they began to feel free, and
earn an independent subsistence, their cabins were whitewashed, swept
clean, kept in order, and pictures and maps, cut from illustrated
newspapers, were pasted up on the walls by the women as a decoration.
He spoke of the rivalry in neatness thus produced, and of the general
elevating and refining effect. On his representation, the commanding
officers and the society by whom he is employed permitted him to
introduce into some twenty-five of the cabins, on twenty-five different
plantations, what had never been known before,--a window with panes of
glass. To this luxury were added tables, good, strong, tin wash-basins,
and soap, stout bed-ticks, and a small looking-glass. The effect of the
father of the family, sitting at the head of his new table, while his
sable wife and children gathered around it, and asking a blessing on the
simple fare, was very touching. Hitherto they had boiled their hominy in
a common skillet, and eaten it out of oyster-shells, when and wherever
they could, some in-doors and some outside, in every variety of
attitude. He said, also, that the ludicrous pranks of both old and
young, on eying themselves for the first time in the mirror, were quite
amusing.



CHAPTER VII. FRANCES.

QUITE a number of children were gathered in the vicinity of the pump,
performing their usual antics, under the direction and leadership of
a girl larger and older than the rest,--a genuine, coal-black,
woolly-headed, thick-lipped young negro. This was the daughter of Venus,
the cook, and her appointment of service was the kitchen. Full of fun,
and nimble as an eel in every joint, her various pranks and feats of
skill were perfectly amazing, and were received with boisterous applause
by the rest of the group.

As she saw Tidy advancing, however, she ceased her evolutions, and,
turning to the others with a comic grimace, she bade them hold off,
while she held discourse with the new-comer.

"Her comes yer white nigger," she said, in a loud whisper, "and I's
boun' to gaffer de las' news;" and putting on a demure face, she
accosted the neatly-appareled child.

"Specs ye're a stranger in dese yer parts. What's yer name?"

"Tidy;--what's yourn?" was the ready response.

"Dey calls me France. Dey don't stop to place fandangles on to names
here. Specs dey'll call YOU Ti."

"I doesn't care; I's willin'," replied Tidy, good-naturedly.

"What's de matter wid yer? Been sick?" proceeded France, with a roguish
twinkle of the eye. "Specs you's had measles or 'sumption,--yer's pale
as deaf; and yer hair,--laws, sakes, it'll a'most stan' alone! de kind's
all done gone out of it."

"Never had much," said Tidy, laughing. "It's most straight, see;" and
she pulled one of the short ringlets out with her fingers. "And I isn't
sick, neither; 'tis my 'plexion."

"'Plexion!" repeated Frances, with a tone of derision; "'tis white folks
has 'plexion; niggers don't hab none. Don't grow white skins in dese yer
parts."

"White's as good as black, I s'pose, a'n't it?" answered Tidy, diverted
by the droll manners of her new acquaintance. "I don't see no odds
nohow."

"'Ta'n't 'spectable, dat's all. Brack's de fashion here on dis yer
plantation. 'Tis tough, b'ars whippin's and hard knocks. Whew! Hi! Ke!
Missus'll cut ye all up to slivers fust time."

"Does missus whip?"

"Reckon she does jest dat ting. Reckons you'll feel it right smart 'fore
you're much older. Hi! she whips like a driver,--cuts de skin all off
de knuckles in little less dan no time at all. Yer'll see; make yer curl
all up."

It was not a very pleasant prospect for Tidy, to be sure; but, more
amused than frightened, she went on with her inquiries.

"What does she whip ye for?"

"Laws, sake, for noffin at all; jest when she takes a notion; jest for
ex'cise, like. Owes me one, now," said the girl. "I breaked de pitcher
dis mornin', and, ho, ho, ho! how missus flied! I runned and 'scaped
her, though."

"She'll catch ye some time."

"No, she don't, not for dat score. Specs I'll dodge till she's got
suffin' else to tink about. Dat's de way dis chile fix it. Shouldn't hab
no skin leff, ef I didn't. Laws, now, ye ought to seen toder day, when
I's done stept on missus' toe. Didn't do it a purpose, sartain true, ef
ye do laugh," said she, shaking her head at the tittering tribe at her
heels. "Dat are leetle Luce pushed, and missus jest had her hand up to
gib Luce an old-fashioned crack on the head wid dat big brack key of
hern. Hi! didn't she fly roun', and forgot all 'bout Luce, a tryin' to
hit dis nig--and dis nig scooted and runned, and when missus' hand
come down wid de big key, thar warn't no nigger's head at all thar--and
missus was gwine to lay it on so drefful hard, dat she falled ober
hersef right down into de kitchen, and by de time she picked hersef up,
bof de nigs war done gone. Ho, ho, ho! I tells ye she was mad enough ter
eat 'em. 'Pears as ef sparks comed right out of dem brack eyes."

The girl's loud voice, as she grew animated in telling her exploits, and
the boisterous glee of her hearers, might have drawn the mistress with
whip in hand from the house, to inflict with double severity the evaded
punishment of the morning, but for the timely interference of Venus,
who, with her clean white apron and turbaned head, majestically emerged
from the kitchen, warning the young rebel and her associates to clear
the premises.

"Along wid yer, and keep yer tongue tween yer teeth, chile, or you'll
cotch it."

So Frances, drawing Tidy along with her, and followed by the whole
troop, turned into the lane that led down to the negro quarters, and as
they saunter along, I will tell you about her.

She was a fair specimen of slave children, full of the merry humor, the
love of fun and frolic peculiar to her race, with not a little admixture
of art and cunning. She was wild, rough, and boisterous, one of the sort
always getting into disgrace. She couldn't step without stumbling, nor
hold anything in her hand without spilling. She never had on a whole
frock, except when it was new, and her bare feet were seldom without
a bandage. She considered herself one of the most unfortunate of
creatures, because she met with so many accidents, and had, in
consequence, to suffer so much punishment; and it was of no use to try
to do differently, she declared, for she "couldn't help it, nohow."

I have seen just such children who were not slaves, haven't you? And I
think I understand the cause of their misfortunes. Shall I give you an
inkling of it? It is because they are so heedless and headlong in their
ways, racing and romping about with perfect recklessness. Don't you
think now that I am right, little reader, you who cried this very day,
because you were always getting into trouble, and getting scolded and
punished for it? You who are always tearing your frock and soiling your
nice white apron, spilling ink on your copy-book, and misplacing your
geography, forgetting your pencil and losing your sponge, and so getting
reproof upon reproof until you are heart-sick and discouraged? I know
what Jessie Smith's father told HER the other day. "You wouldn't meet
with so many mishaps, Jessie, if you didn't RUSH so." Jessie tried,
after that, to move round more gently and carefully, and I think she got
on better.

Frances was just one of these "rushing" children, but she was
good-natured, and Tidy was quite fascinated with her. It was so new to
have an associate of her own age too; and so it came to pass that almost
immediately they were fast friends. Now, as they strolled along in the
starlight, under the great spreading pines which stood as sentinels
here and there along their path, Tidy drank in eagerly all her companion
said, and in a little while had gathered all the interesting points of
information concerning the place and the people. Frances told her how
hard and mean the master and mistress were, and how poorly the slaves
fared down at the quarters. Up at the house they made out very well, she
said; but not half so well as she and her mother did when they lived out
east on Mr. Blackstone's plantation. Then she described the busy summer
season, when hundreds of people came there to board and drink the water
of the springs. Mr. Lee had built two long rows of little brick houses,
she said, down by the springs, where the people lived while they were
here, and there was a great dining cabin with long tables and seats,
and a barbecue hall, where they had barbecues, and then danced all night
long, and had gay times. And there was plenty of money going at such
times, for the people had quantities of money and gave it to the slaves.

The negro quarters consisted of six log cabins, which had once been
whitewashed, but now were extremely wretched in appearance, both without
and within. It is customary on the plantations of the South to have the
houses of the negroes a little removed, perhaps a quarter of a mile,
from the family mansion. Thus, with the exception of the house servants,
who must be within call, the slave portion of the family live by
themselves, and generally in a most uncivilized and miserable way. In
some cases their houses are quite neatly built and kept; but it was not
so on Mr. Lee's estate.

In front of these old huts was a spring, the water bubbling up and
running through a dilapidated, moss-covered spout, into a tub half sunk
in the earth, which in the daytime served as a drinking trough for the
animals, and a bathing-pool for the babies. Brushwood and logs were
lying around in all directions, and here and there a fire was burning,
at which the negroes were cooking their supper. Dogs and a few stray
babies were roaming about, seeming lonely for want of the pigs and
chickens which kept company with them all day, but had now gone to rest.
Boys and girls of larger growth were rollicking and careering over the
place, dancing and singing and entertaining themselves and the whole
settlement with their jollities and noise.

Is it surprising, we must stop to ask, that the colored people are a
degraded class, when we consider the way in which the children live from
their very infancy. No work for them to do, nothing to learn, nobody to
care for them,--they are just left to grow and fatten like swine, till
they are in condition to be sold or to be broken in to their tasks in
the field. Utterly neglected, they contract, of necessity, lazy and
vicious habits, and it is no wonder they have to be whipped and broken
in to work as animals to the yoke or harness; and no wonder that under
such treatment for successive generations, the race should become so
reduced in mental and moral ability, as to be thought by many incapable
of ever reclaiming a position among the enlightened nations of the
earth. Oh, what a weight of guilt have the people of our country
incurred in allowing four millions of those poor people to be so trodden
down in the very midst of us!

When the children reached home again they found Mammy Grace's cabin
quite full of men and women, shouting, singing, and talking in a way
quite unintelligible to our little stranger. After she had dropped upon
her cot for the night, she lifted her head and ventured to ask what
those people had been about.

"Don' ye know, chile? We's had a praisin'-meetin'. We has 'em ebery
week, one week it's here, and one week it's ober to General Doolittle's,
ober de hill yonder. Ef ye's a good chile, honey, ye shall go wid yer
old mammy some time, ye shall."

"What do you do?" asked Tidy.

"We praises, chile,--praises de Lord, and den we prays too."

"What's that?"

"Laws, chile, ye don't know noffin. Whar's ye been fotched up all yer
days? Why, when we wants any ting we can't git oursef, nohow, we ask de
Lord to gib it to us--dat's what it is."

That first day and evening in Tidy's new home was a memorable day in her
experience. It seemed as if she had been lifted up two or three degrees
in existence, so much had she heard and learned. She had enough to
think about as she lay down to rest, for the first time away from Miss
Matilda's sheltering presence.



CHAPTER VIII. PRAYER.

As Tidy grew in stature she grew in favor also with those around her.
Spry but gentle in her movements, obedient, obliging, and apt to learn,
she secured the good-will of her master and mistress, and the visitors
that thronged to the place. If any little service was to be performed
which required more than usual care or expedition, she was the one to be
called upon to do it. It was no easy task to please a person so fretful
and impatient in spirit as Mrs. Lee, yet Tidy, by her promptness and
docility, succeeded admirably. Still, with all her well-doing she was
not able entirely to avoid her harshness and cruelty.

One day, when she had been several months in Mrs. Lee's family, she was
set to find a ball of yarn which had become detached from her mistress's
knitting-work. Diligently she hunted for it every-where,--in Mammy
Grace's cabin, on the veranda, in the drawing-room, dining-room, and
kitchen, up-stairs, down-stairs, and in the lady's chamber, but no ball
was to be found. The mistress grew impatient, and the child searched
again. The mistress became unreasonable and threatened, and the child
really began to tremble for fear of undeserved chastisement. What could
she do?

What do you think she did? I will tell you?

Ever since that first night with Mammy Grace, when Tidy had asked her
what it was to pray, and had been told, "When we wants any ting we can't
git oursefs, nohow, we asks de Lord to gib it to us," these words
had been treasured in her memory; but as yet she had never had an
opportunity to put them to a practical use; for up to this time she
had not really wanted any thing. Her necessities were all supplied even
better than she had reason to expect; for in addition to the plain but
sufficient fare that was allowed her in the cabin, she was never a day
without luxuries from the table of the family. Fruits, tarts, and many
a choice bit of cake, found their way through the children's hands to
their little favorite, so that she had nothing to wish for in the eating
line. Her services with the children were so much in accordance with her
taste as to be almost pastime, and the old nurse was as kind and good as
a mother could be. Never until this day had she been brought into a
real strait; and it was in this emergency that she thought to put Mammy
Grace's suggestion to the test. She had attended the weekly prayer or
"praisin'-meetin's" as they were called, and observed that when the
men and women prayed, they seemed to talk in a familiar way with this
invisible Lord; and she determined to do the same. As she went out for
the third time from the presence of her mistress, downcast and unhappy,
she thought that if she only had such eyes as the Lord had, which Mammy
Grace repeatedly told her were in every place, considering every little
thing in the earth, she would know just where to go to find the missing
ball. At that thought something seemed to whisper, "Pray."

She darted out of the door, ran across the yard, making her way as
speedily as possible to the only retired spot she knew of. This was
a deep gully at the back of the house, through which a tiny stream of
water crept, just moistening the roots of the wild cherry and alder
bushes which grew there in great abundance, and keeping the grass fresh
and green all the summer long. No one ever came to this spot excepting
now and then the laundress with a piece of linen to bleach, or the
children to play hide-and-seek of a moonlight evening. Here she fell
upon her knees, and lifting up her hands as she had seen others do, she
said,--

"Blessed Lord, I want to find missus' ball of yarn, and I can't. You
know whar 'tis. Show me, so I sha'n't get cracks over my head with the
big key. Hallelujah, amen."

She didn't know, innocent child, what this "Hallelujah, amen," meant;
but she remembered that Uncle Simon always ended in that way, and
she supposed it had something important to do with the prayer. So she
uttered it with a feeling of great satisfaction, as though that capped
the climax of her duty, and put the seal of acceptance on her petition;
and then she got up and walked away, as sure as could be that the ball
would be forthcoming. I dare say she expected to see it rolling out
before her from some unthought-of corner as she went along.

Do not laugh at the poor little slave girl, children, or ridicule the
idea of her taking such a small thing to the Lord. If you, and older
people too, were in the habit of carrying all your little troubles to
the throne of grace, I am sure you would find help that you little dream
of. If the Lord in his greatness regards the little sparrows, so that
not one of them shall fall to the ground without his notice, and if he
numbers the hairs of our heads, surely there is nothing that can give
us uneasiness of mind or sorrow of heart too small to commend to his
notice. I wish we might all follow Tidy's example, and I have no doubt
that our heavenly Father, who is quite willing to have his words and his
love tested, would answer us as he did her.

She went directly to the house, carefully looking this way and that,
as if expecting, as I said, that the ball would suddenly appear before
her,--of course it did not,--and passing across the veranda, entered the
hall. A great, old-fashioned, eight-day clock, like the pendulum that
hung in the farmer's kitchen so long, and got tired of ticking, I
imagine, stood in one corner. Just at the foot of this, Tidy saw a white
string protruding. She forgot for the moment what she was hunting after,
and stooped to pick up the string. She pulled at it, but it seemed to
catch in something and slipped through her fingers. She pulled again,
when lo and behold! out came the ball of yarn. Didn't her eyes sparkle?
Didn't her hands twitch with excitement, as she picked it up and carried
it to her mistress? So much for praying, said she to herself; I shall
know what to do the next time I get into trouble.

The next time the affair proved a more serious one. It was no less than
a search for Frances, who had again been guilty of some misdemeanor, and
had hidden herself away to escape punishment. On the second day of her
absence, Mrs. Lee called Tidy, and instructed her to search for the
girl, with the assurance that if she didn't find her, she herself should
get the whipping. It was no very pleasant prospect for Tidy, but she
set to her task earnestly. A half-day she spent going over the
premises,--the house, the out-buildings, the quarters, and the
pine-woods opposite; but the girl was not to be found.

Afraid to come and report her want of success, for a while she was quite
in despair; until again she bethought herself of prayer, and out she ran
to the gully. There she cried,--

"Lord, I's very anxious to find France. I'll thank you to show me whar
she is, and make missus merciful, so she sha'n't lash neither one of
us. Oh, if I could only find France. Blessed Lord, you can help me find
her"----

She was pleading very earnestly when a voice suddenly interrupted her,
and there, at her side, stood the girl.

"Who's dat ar you's conbersin wid 'bout me, little goose?" asked
Frances.

"Oh, France," cried Tidy in delight, "whar was you? Missus set me
lookin' for yer, and she said she'd whip all the skin off me, if I
didn't find yer. Whar's you been?"

"Laws, you nummy, ye don't specs now I's gwine to let all dis yer
plantation know dat secret. Ho, ho, ho! If I telled, I couldn't go dar
'gin no way. I's comed here for my dinner, caus specs dis chile can't
starve nohow. See, my mudder knows whar to put de bones for dis yer
chile," and pushing aside the bushes, she displayed an ample supply of
eatables, which she fell to devouring greedily. Tidy had to reason long
and stoutly with the refractory girl before she could persuade her to
return to the house; and when she accomplished her purpose, she was
probably not aware of the real motive that wrought in that dark, stupid
negro mind. It was not the fear of an increased punishment, if she
remained longer absent,--it was not the faint hope that Tidy held
up, that if she humbly asked her mistress's pardon, she might be
forgiven,--but the thought that if she did not at once return, Tidy must
suffer in her stead, was too much for her. She was, notwithstanding her
black skin and rude nature, too generous to allow that.

So the two wended their way to the kitchen in great trepidation, and
Tidy, stepping round to the sitting-room, timidly informed her mistress
of the arrival, adding in most beseeching manner, "Please, Missus, don't
whip her, 'caus she's so sorry."

"You mind your own business, little sauce-box, or you'll catch it too.
When I want your advice, I'll come for it," and seizing her whip which
she kept on a shelf close by, she proceeded to the kitchen. Miss Matilda
followed, determined to see that justice was done to one at least.

The poor frightened girl fell on her knees.

"Oh, Missus," she cried, "dear Missus, do 'scuse me. I'll neber do dat
ting over 'gin! I'll neber run away 'gin! I'll neber do noffin! Oh,
Missus, please don't, oh, dear,"--as notwithstanding the appeal, the
angry blow fell. Before another could descend, Miss Matilda laid her
hand upon her sister's arm.

"Excuse the girl, Susan," she said, gently, "excuse her just this once,
and give her a trial. See if she won't do better."

It was very hard, for it was contrary to her nature, for Mrs. Lee to
show mercy. However, she did yield, and after a very severe reprimand to
the culprit, and a very unreasonable, angry speech to Tidy, who, to
to [sic] her thinking, had become implicated in Frances' guilt, she
dismissed them both from her presence,--the one chuckling over her
fortunate escape, and the other querying in her mind, whether or no
this unhoped-for mercy was another answer to prayer. Miss Matilda made
a remark as they retired, which Tidy heard, whether it was designed for
her ear or not.

"I always have designed to give that child her liberty when she is old
enough; and if any thing prevents my doing so, I hope she will take it
herself."

Take her liberty! What did that mean? Tidy laid up the saying, and
pondered it in her heart.

Does any one of our little readers ask why Miss Matilda did not free
the child then? Tidy's services paid her owner's board at her brother's
house, and she couldn't afford to give away her very subsistence; COULD
SHE?



CHAPTER IX. THE FIRST LESSON.

THE walk to school was a very delightful one, and as the trio trudged
over the road from day to day, chattering like magpies, laughing,
singing, shouting, and dancing in the exuberance of childish glee,
all seemed equally light-hearted and joyous. Even the little slave who
carried the books which she was unable to read, and the basket of
dinner of which she could not by right partake, with a keen eye for
the beautiful, and a sensitive heart to appreciate nature, could not
apparently have been more happy, if her condition had been reversed, and
she had been made the served instead of the servant.

The way for half a mile lay through a dense pine-wood,--the tall trees
rising like stately pillars in some vast temple filled with balsamic
incense, and floored with a clean, elastic fabric, smooth as polished
marble, over which the little feet lightly and gayly tripped. In the
central depths where the sun's rays never penetrated, and the fallen
leaves lay so thickly on the ground, no flowers could grow, but on the
outer edges spring lavished her treasures. The trailing arbutus added
new fragrance to the perfumed air, frail anemones trembled in the
wind, and violets flourished in the shade. The blood-root lifted its
lily-white blossoms to the light, and the cream-tinted, fragile bells of
the uvularia nestled by its side. Passing the wood and its embroidered
flowery border, a brook ran across the road. The rippling waters were
almost hidden by the bushes which grew upon its banks, where the wild
honeysuckle and touch-me-not, laurels and eglantine, mingled their
beautiful blossoms, and wooed the bee and humming-bird to their
gay bowers. Over this stream a narrow bridge led directly to the
school-house; but the homeward side was so attractive, that the children
always tarried there until they saw the teacher on the step, or heard
the little bell tinkling from the door. Tidy remained with them till
the last minute, and there her bright face might invariably be seen when
school was dismissed in the afternoon. A large flat rock between the
woods and the flowery edges of Pine Run was the place of rendezvous.

One summer's morning they were earlier than usual, and emerging from the
woods, warm and weary with their long walk, they threw themselves down
upon the rock over which in the early day, the shadows of the trees
refreshingly fell. Amelia turned her face toward the Run, and lulled by
the gentle murmuring of the water, and the humming of the insects,
was soon quietly asleep; Susie, with an apron full of burs, was making
furniture for the play-house which they were arranging in a cleft of
the rock; and Tidy, who carried the books, was busily turning over the
leaves and amusing herself with the pictures.

"My sakes!" she exclaimed presently, "what a funny cretur! See that
great lump on his back!" and she pointed with her finger to the picture
of a camel. "Miss Susie! what IS that? Is it a lame horse?"

"Why no, Tidy, that's a camel; 'tisn't a horse at all. I was reading
that very place yesterday,--let me see," and taking the book she read
very intelligently a brief account of the wonderful animal.

"How queer!" said Tidy, deeply interested. "And is there something in
this book about all the pictures?"

"Yes," answered Susie, "if you could only read now, you would know about
every one. See here, on the next page is an elephant; see his great
tusks and his monstrous long trunk," and the child read to her attentive
listener of another of the wonders of creation.

[illustration omitted]

"How I wish I could read,--why can't I?" asked Tidy; and the little
colored face was turned up full of animation. "I don't b'lieve but I
could learn as well as you."

"Why of course you could," answered Amelia, who had risen quite
refreshed by her short nap. "I don't see why not. You can't go to school
you know, because mother wants you to work; but I could teach you just
as well as not."

"Oh, could you? will you?--do begin!" cried the eager child. "Oh, Miss
Mely, if you only would, I'd do any thing for you."

"Look here," said Amelia, seizing the book from her sister's hands, and
by virtue of superior age, constituting herself the teacher; "do you
see those lines?" and she pointed to the columns of letters on the first
page.

"Yes," said the ready pupil, all attention.

"Well, those are letters,--the alphabet, they call it. Every one of them
has got a name, and when you have learned to know them all perfectly, so
that you can call them all right wherever you see 'em, why, then you can
read any thing."

"Any thing?" asked Tidy in amazement.

"Yes, any thing,--all kinds of books and papers and the Bible and every
thing."

"I can learn THEM, I's sure I can," said Tidy. "Le's begin now."

"Well, you see that first one,--that's A. You see how it's made,--two
lines go right up to a point, and then a straight one across. Now say,
what is it?"

"A."

"Yes; and now the next one,--that's B. There's a straight line down and
two curves on the front. What's that?"

"B."

"Now you must remember those two,--I sha'n't tell you any more this
morning, and I shall make you do just as Miss Agnes used to make me.
Miss Agnes was our governess at home before we came here to school. She
made me take a newspaper,--see, here's a piece,--and prick the letters
on it with a pin. Now you take this piece of paper, and prick every A
and every B that you can find on it, and to-morrow I'll show you some
more."

Just then the bell sounded from the schoolhouse, and Amelia and Susan
went to their duties, but not with half so glad a heart as Tidy set
herself to hers. Down she squatted on the rock, and did not leave
the place till her first task was successfully accomplished, and the
precious piece of perforated paper safely stowed away for Amelia's
inspection.

Day after day this process was repeated, until all the letters great and
small had been learned; and now for the more difficult work of putting
them together. There seemed to be but one step between Tidy and perfect
happiness. If she could only have a hymn-book and know how to read it,
she would ask nothing more. She didn't care so much about the Bible. If
she had known, as you do, children, that it is God's word, no doubt she
would have been anxious to learn what it contained. But this truth she
had never heard, and therefore all her desires were centered in the
hymn-book, in which were stored so many of those precious and beautiful
hymns which she loved so much to hear Uncle Simon repeat and sing. Would
she ever be so happy as to be able to sing them from her own book?



CHAPTER X. LONY'S PETITION.

BUT, ah! this is a world of disappointment, and it almost always happens
that if we attain any real good, we have to toil for it. Tidy's path was
not to continue as smooth and pleasant as it had been.

Mr. and Mrs. Lee, by some untoward accident, found out what was going
on, and at once expounded the law and the necessities of the case to
their children, forbidding them in the most peremptory manner, and on
penalty of the severest chastisement, ever to attempt again to give Tidy
or any other slave a lesson. What the punishment was with which they
were threatened she never knew, for the little girls never dared even to
speak upon the subject; but she knew it must be something very dreadful,
and though this was a most cruel blow to her expectations, she loved
them too well to bring them into the slightest danger on her own
account. So she never afterwards alluded to the subject.

Her first impulse was to give up all for lost, and to sit down and
weep despairingly over her disappointment; but she was of too hopeful a
disposition to do so.

"I knows the letters," said she to herself, "and I specs I can learn
myself. I can SCRAMBLE ALONG, some way."

Scrambling indeed! I wonder if any of you, little folks, would be
willing to undertake it.

In her trouble she did not forget the strong hold to which she had
learned to resort in trouble. She PRAYED about it every day, morning,
noon, and night. Indeed the words "Lord, help me learn to read," were
seldom out of her heart. Even when she did not dare to utter them with
her lips, they were mentally ejaculated. Hers was indeed an unceasing
prayer.

"Come chile," said Mammy Grace, one evening in the cool, frosty autumn,
as Tidy was hovering over the embers, eating her corn-bread, "put on de
ole shawl, and we'll tote ober de hills to Massa Bertram's. De meetin's
dare dis yer night, and Si's gwine to go. Come, honey, 'tis chill dis
ebening, and de walk'll put the warmf right smart inter ye;" and they
started off at a quick pace, over the hills, through the woods, down
the lanes, and across little brooks, the pale, cold moonlight streaming
across their path, and the warm sunlight of divine peace and favor
enlivening their hearts as they went on, making nothing at all of a walk
of three miles to sing and pray in company with Christian friends. Would
WE take as much pains to attend a prayer-meeting?

It was not the customary place of meeting, and the people for the most
part were strangers. One party had come by special invitation, to see a
new PIECE OF PROPERTY which had just arrived upon the place,--a piece of
property that thought, and felt, and moved, and walked, like a thing
of life; that loved and feared the Lord, and sung and prayed like any
Christian. What wonderful qualities slaveholders' chattels possess!

The woman, whose name was Apollonia, familiarly called Lony, was a tall,
gaunt, square-built negress, with a skin so black and shining, and her
limbs so rigid, that she might almost have been mistaken for one
of those massive statues we sometimes see carved out of the solid
anthracite. A bright yellow turban on her head rose in shape like an
Egyptian pyramid, adding to her extraordinary hight, and strangely
contrasting with her black, thick, African features. Altogether her
appearance would have been formidable and repelling, but for a look
in her eye like the clear shining after rain, and a tranquil, peaceful
expression which had over-spread her hard visage. Tidy was overawed
and fascinated by the gigantic figure, and when, after a few minutes
of sacred silence, the new comer, who seemed accepted as the presiding
spirit of the occasion, commenced singing, she was more than usually
interested and attentive. The words were not familiar to the company, so
that none could join, and the deep monotone of the woman, at first
low, and by degrees becoming louder and more animated, made every word
distinct and impressive.

     "I was but a youth when first I was called on,
      To think of my soul and the state I was in;
      I saw myself standing from God a great distance,
      And betwixt me and him was a mountain of Sin.

     "Old Satan declared that I had been converted,
      Old Satan persuaded me I was too young;
      And before my days ended that I would grow tired,
      And I'd wish that I'd never so early begun."

"But, praise de Lord," exclaimed the woman, stopping short in her hymn,
and rising suddenly to her feet, "I habn't growed tired yet, and I's
been walkin in de ways of goodness forty years and more. De Lord, he is
good,--I knows he is, for I's tried him and found him out, and I's neber
tired o' praisin him. Bress de Lord! He's new to me ebery mornin, and
fresh as de coolin waters ebery ebening. Praise de Lord! Hallelujah!
When I was a chile, I use to make massa's boys mad so's to hear 'em
swar. It pleased dis wicked cretur to hear de fierce swarrin'. One day I
went to de garden behind de house to git de water-melons for dinner, and
I heerd a voice. 'Pears 'twas like a leetle, soft voice, but I couldn't
see nobody nowhar dat spoke, and it said, 'Lony, Lony, don't yer make
dem boys swar no more, ef ye do, ye'll lose yer soul.' I looked all roun
and roun, for I was skeered a'most to deff, but I couldn't see nobody,
and den I know'd 'twas a voice from heaben, for I'd heerd o' sich, and
I says, 'No, Lord, no, I won't.' I didn't know den what de SOUL was,
or what a drefful ting 'twas to lose it; but I knowd it mus mean suffin
orful. So I began to consider all de time 'bout de soul. Byme-by a
Baptis' min'ster comed to de place, and massa and missus was converted.
Den dey let us hab meetin's and de clersh'-man he comed and talked to
us. I didn't comperhend much he said, 'caus I was young and foolish; but
he telled a good many times 'bout dat ef we want to save our souls we
mus be babtize and git under de Lord's table. Says I to my own sef,
'Specs now ef poor Lony could only find de table of de bressed Lord,
'twould all be well, and she'd be pertected foreber.' So I prayed and
prayed, and one night de good Lord comed hissef, and bringd his great,
splendid table, and all de fair angels dressed in white and gold and
settin roun it, and I got under, and I ate de crumbs dat fell down, and
den 'pears I begun to live. Oh, 'twas sich a peace dat came all ober
me, and I wanted to sing and shout all of de time. And dat's jess whar I
been eber sence, my friends, and I neber wants to come away till I dies;
and den de good Lord'll take me up to de great heabenly mansion, and
gib me de gold robes, and den I shall set up wid de rest and be like 'em
all. And I's willin to wait, 'caus I lubs de Lord and praises him ebery
day. He is de good Lord, and he lubs me and hearkens ebery time I speaks
to him; and I ha'n't 'bleeged to holler loud, nuther, for he's neber far
away, but he keeps close by dis poor soul so he can hear ebery word and
cry. And he'll hear all yer cries, my friends, when ye prays for yersef
or for yer chillen, or yer bredren and sisters. Le's pray, now."

Then kneeling down, this representative of a despised and untutored
race, with a faith that triumphed gloriously over her abject
surroundings, poured forth her supplications, talking with the Lord as a
man talks with his friend, as it were face to face.

"O bressed Lord, dat's in de heaben and de earf and ebery whar; you's
heerd all de tings dat we's asked for. And you knows all dat dese yer
poor chillen wants dat dey hasn't axed for; and if dere's any ob 'em
here, dat doesn't dare to speak out loud, and tell what dey does want,
you can hear it jess as well, ef it is way down deep buried up in de
heart; and oh, bressed Lord, do gib 'em de desires of de heart, 'less
it's suffin dat'll hurt 'em, and den Lord don't gib it to 'em at all."

This was enough for our little Tidy. Her heart swelled, and the great
tears ran down her cheeks, as she thought instantly of the one dear,
cherished petition that she dared not utter, but which was uppermost in
her heart continually; and as the woman pleaded with the Lord to hear
and answer the desires of every soul present, she held that want of hers
up before Him as a cup to be filled, and the Lord verily did fill it
up to the brim. A quiet, restful feeling took the place of the burning,
eager anxiety she had hitherto felt, and from that moment she was sure,
yes, SURE that she would have her wish, and some day be able to read.
Nothing had ever encouraged and strengthened her so much as the earnest
words and prayers of this Christian woman. How thankful she always felt
that she had been brought to the prayer-meeting at Massa Bertram's that
night.



CHAPTER XI. ROUGH PLACES.

To obtain possession of the hymn-book she desired, was not so very
difficult in Tidy's estimation. The numerous visitors at the house,
pleased with her bright face, her gentle manners, and ready attentions,
often dropped a coin into her hand, and these little moneys were
carefully treasured for the accomplishment of her purpose. She
calculated that by Christmas-time she should have enough money to buy
it, and Uncle Simon she knew would procure it for her. Her greatest
anxiety now was to be ready to use it.

But how could she make herself ready? How was she to learn without a
teacher or a book?

There had been an old primer for some time tossing about the
play-room--its scarlet cover looking more gorgeous and tempting in
Tidy's eyes, as they fell upon it day after day, than any trinket or
gewgaw she could have seen; yet she dared not touch it. She was too
honest to appropriate it to herself without leave, and she was afraid
to allude to the forbidden lessons by asking Amelia or Susan for it.
Several times she tried to draw their attention to the neglected book,
and to give them some hint of her own longing for it,--but all to no
avail. One day, however, she had orders from the children to clear up
the room thoroughly.

"Make every thing neat as a pin," said Amelia, "while we go down to
dinner, for we are going to have company this afternoon; and if it looks
right nice, I'll give you an orange."

"What shall I do with dis yer book, then, Miss Mely?" hastily asked
Tidy, as she stooped to pick up the book, and felt herself trembling all
over that she had dared to put her fingers upon it.

"That? Oh, that's no good; throw it away,--we never use it now,--or keep
it yourself, if you want to," said she, after a second thought.

It was done. The book was quickly deposited in a safe place, and the
clearing up proceeded rapidly. The orange was a small consideration; for
had she not got a book, her heart's desire, and now she could learn to
read.

She could learn all alone; she would be her own teacher. If she got into
a very narrow place she would get Uncle Simon to help her out. No one
else on the estate knew how to read, and he didn't know much, but no
doubt he could be of some assistance. Such was Tidy's inward plan.

After this, the little girl might have been seen every evening stretched
at full length on the cabin floor, her head towards the fireplace, where
the choicest pine knots were kindled into a cheerful blaze, with her
spelling-book open before her. She was "clambering" up the rough way of
knowledge.

Did she accomplish her purpose? To be sure she did. Little reader, did
you ever make up your mind to do any thing and fail? There's an old
proverb that says, "Where there's a will there's a way;" and this is
true. Resolution and energy, patience and perseverance, will achieve
nearly every thing you set about. Try it. Try it when you have hard
lessons to do, puzzling examples in arithmetic to solve, that long stint
in sewing to do, that distasteful music to practice, those bad habits to
conquer. Try it faithfully, and when you grow up, you'll be able to say,
from your own experience, "Where there's a will there's a way."

You must not expect, however, that Tidy learned very rapidly or very
perfectly under such discouragements. Think how it would be with
yourself, if you only knew your letters. You might read quite easily
m-a-n, but how do you think you could find out that those letters
spelled man?

Tidy advanced much more expeditiously after she had obtained possession
of her hymn-book. Some of the hymns were quite familiar to her from her
having heard them sung so often at the meetings, and she determined to
study these first; and you may well imagine how proud she felt,--not
sinfully, but innocently proud,--when she seated herself one afternoon
by Mammy Grace's side, and pulling her hymn-book out of her bosom, asked
if she might read a hymn.

"Yes, chile, 'deed ye may, ef ye can. Specs 'twill do yer ole mammy's
heart good to hear ye read de books like de white folks."

And the child opened the book, and in a clear, pleasant, happy voice she
read slowly, but correctly,--

     "My God, the spring of all my joys,
         The life of my delights,
      The glory of my brightest days,
         And comfort of my nights.

     "In darkest shades if he appear,
         My dawning is begun;
      He is my soul's sweet morning star,
         And he my rising sun."

"Look dar, chile," cried the old nurse, springing to her feet, "Massa
George's jess a'most out ob de door. Ef he SHOULD fall and break his
neck, what WOULD 'come of us. Dis yer chile 'd neber hab no more peace
all de days of her life. Yer reads raal pooty, honey; but ye mus'n't
neglect duty for de books, 'caus ef ye do, ye isn't worthy of de
prevelege."

So Tidy had to forego her hymns till the children were put to bed.

After this, in the long winter evenings, in Mammy Grace's snug cabin,
what harvests of enjoyment were gathered from that precious book. Uncle
Simon was the favored guest on such occasions, and always "bringed his
welcome wid hissef," he said, in the shape of pitch-pine fagots, the
richest to be found, by the light of which they read and sung the songs
of Zion, which they dearly loved; the pious old slave in the mean
time commending, congratulating, and encouraging Tidy in her wonderful
intellectual achievements.



CHAPTER XII. A GREAT UNDERTAKING.

PERSONS of will and energy generally have some distinct object before
them which they are striving to reach,--something of importance to
be gained or done. As fast as one thing is attained, another plan
is projected; and so they go on, mounting up from one achievement to
another all through life. And this enterprising spirit begins to be
developed at a very early age in children.

Tidy was one of these active little beings, full of business, never
unhappy for want of something to do; and besides the ordinary and more
trivial occupations of the outer life, her spirit or inner life had ever
a dear, cherished object before it, which engrossed her thoughts,
taxed her capabilities, and raised her above the degraded level of her
companions in servitude.

Now that she had attained one grand point in learning to read, she
ventured on another and far more difficult enterprise. What do you think
it was? Why, nothing more or less than to GET HER LIBERTY.

She had heard Miss Matilda say in the kitchen, "If I don't give the
child her liberty, I hope she will take it." This was her warrant. She
perceived, by Miss Matilda's words and manner, in the first place, that
liberty was desirable, and, in the second, that she COULD take it. But,
ignorant child as she was, she little knew the difficulties that stood
in the way.

She had now lived several years in Mr. Lee's family, and had grown wiser
in many respects. She began to realize more fully what it was to be a
slave, and what her probable prospects were, if she did not escape. She
learned that there was a place, not a great way from her Virginian home,
where people did not hold her race in bondage; where she could go and
come as she pleased, choose her own employers and occupation, be paid
for her labor, provide for herself, and perhaps some day have a home of
her own, with husband and children whom she could hold and enjoy. Do you
think it strange that such a condition seemed attractive, and that she
was willing to make great efforts and run fearful risks to reach it?

She kept her intentions profoundly secret. Even Mammy Grace and Uncle
Simon, her best friends, were not in her confidence. But she prayed
about it constantly, and sought information from every possible source
with regard to this free land,--where it was, and how it could be
reached,--and at last formed her plan, which she determined to carry out
during the coming summer.

She knew she must have money, if she was going to travel, and for a
long time she had been carefully saving up all she could command. She
constantly endeavored to make herself useful in various ways in order to
get it. The summer-time was her money harvest; and this season she was
delighted to find visitors thronging to the Springs in greater numbers
than she had ever seen before. She knew if there was plenty of company,
there would be plenty of business, and consequently a plenty of money;
for the class of people who came there were for the most part wealthy,
and were quite willing to pay for the attentions they received. The
little brick houses in which they lodged were under the care of the
slave girls. Each one had two of these cabins, as they were called, in
charge, and were required to keep them in order, to wait upon the ladies
and children, and serve them at the table. Tidy was unwearied in her
efforts to please. She answered promptly to every call, and kept her
rooms in the neatest manner; and for her pains she received many a
bright coin, which was providently stored away in a little bag, and
concealed beneath her mattress. Perhaps these conscientious people would
not have bestowed money so freely on their favorite young maid, if they
had known the purpose to which it was to be applied. For they say that
slavery is a Christian institution, a sort of missionary enterprise,
which has been divinely appointed for the good of the colored race; and
of course to get away from it is to run away from God and the privileges
and blessings he is so kind as to give.

Tidy, however, thought differently, as the slaves generally do; and as
she had made up her mind that she should gain greater advantages in
a state of freedom, she determined to persevere in her attempt. Her
accumulations finally became so large, that she thought she might
venture to start on her journey.

She knew, too, that she must have clothes quite different from those she
usually wore. And how was she to get these? Ah, she had had an eye for a
long while to this. She and Amelia were not only of the same age, but
of the same size. Tidy had grown in the last two years very rapidly, and
had now reached a womanly hight and figure. She had watched the growth
of Amelia with the keenest interest. So far, it had corresponded with
her own so exactly that she could easily wear the clothes made for
her young mistress. In fact, Amelia often dressed Tidy up in her own
garments that she might get a better idea of how they looked upon
herself. This season, Amelia, for the first time, had a traveling suit
complete, for she was going a journey with her father; and when it
was finished, she was so pleased that she sent for Tidy at once to
participate in her joy, and insisted that she should immediately put it
on, that she might see how it fitted, and if every thing about it was as
it should be. The dress was a dark green merino, made with a very long
pelerine cape, which was the very pink of the fashion, and was the
especial admiration of all the children. Tidy arrayed herself in these,
and, putting the little jaunty cap of the same color on her head, stood
before the glass and surveyed herself with as perfect satisfaction as
the owner of the becoming costume herself experienced. Indeed she
could hardly keep her eye from telling tales of the joy within, as she
inwardly said, "There's many a slip twixt the cup and the lip, and may
be, Miss Amelia, I shall go traveling in this before you do." She felt
that nothing could have been provided more suitable or timely than this
charming suit.

Are you shocked, little reader, that Tidy, the good, exemplary,
conscientious Tidy, should have thought of appropriating Amelia's
wardrobe to herself? I must stop a moment here to explain to you the
slaves' code of morals. They are so ignorant that we must not expect
them to have so high or correct a standard of conduct as we have, or to
be able to make such nice distinctions in questions of right and wrong.

Ever since Mammy Grace had made to her young pupil the first imperfect
revelation of God's character and government, declaring that he would
punish with eternal fire those who should lie, swear, or steal,
the child had held these sins in the greatest abhorrence, and was
scrupulously careful to avoid them. She would not have taken from the
baby-house a trinket, or an article of food from the kitchen, without
leave, on any account. At the same time, she had learned the slave
theory that as they are never paid for their labor, they have a right
to any thing which their labor has purchased, OF WHICH THEY HAVE NEED.
Consequently if a slave is not provided with food sufficient for his
wants, he supplies himself. The pigs and chickens, vegetables and
fruits, or any thing else which he can handily obtain, he helps himself
to, as though they were his own, and never burdens his conscience
with the sin of stealing. A slave, who had obtained his freedom, once
remarked in a public meeting, that when he was a boy, he was OBLIGED
to steal, or TAKE food, as he called it, in order to live, because so
little was provided for him. "But now," said he, while his face shone
with a consciousness of honesty and honor, "I wouldn't take a cent's
worth from any man; no, not for my right hand."

So, you see, that this principle of appropriating what the labor of her
own hands had earned, when necessity demanded it, was that upon which
Tidy was to act. She never needed to steal food, nor even luxuries, for
she always had enough; nor money, because, for her limited wants, she
always had enough of that. But now, when she was going a journey, and
wanted to look especially nice, she felt very glad to have the dress
prepared so fitting for the occasion; and she did not feel a single
misgiving of conscience about taking it when she got ready to use it.
Whether this was just right or not, I shall leave an open question for
you to decide in your own minds. It will bear thought and discussion,
and will be quite a profitable subject for you to consider.

When the preparations were all made, Mammy Grace and old Simon were let
into the secret. Whether they said any thing by way of discussion I do
not know--at any rate, it did not alter Tidy's determination. I think,
however, that she found her two aged friends very useful in aiding her
last movements; and when the eventful moment arrived, and Tidy, attired
in Miss Amelia's garments, with a traveling-bag in her hand, containing
her hymn-book, her money, and a few needed articles, stood at the foot
of the walk that led into the public road, Mammy Grace stood with her in
the starlight of the early summer's morning, and bade her God-speed.

"Ye looks like a lady for all de world, honey; I 'clare dese yer old
eyes neber would a thought 'twas you, in dis yer fine dress--hi, hi, hi!
Specs nobody'll tink ye's run away. De old nuss hates to part wid her
chile; but ef ye must go, ye must, and de bressed Lord go wid ye, and
keep ye safe."

Then giving her a most affectionate hug, she put a paper of eatables in
her hand, and helped her to mount the horse before Uncle Simon, who was
already in the saddle. Where or how the old man procured the horse and
equipments, HE knew--but nobody else did.

The animal was a fast trotter, and brought them speedily five miles to
the village, where Tidy was to take the stage-coach to Baltimore. It
was before railroads and steam-engines were much talked of in Virginia.
Alighting in the outskirts of the town, Simon lifted the young girl to
the ground, and hastily commending her to "de bressed Lord of heaben and
earf," he bade her good-by, and went back to his bondage and toil. They
never saw each other again.

The day was fine, and riding a novel occupation for Tidy, but so full
was her trembling heart of anxiety and fear that she could not enjoy it.
She was afraid to look out of the window lest she might be recognized by
some one; and she dared not look at the two pleasant-faced gentlemen who
were in the coach with her, lest they might question her, and find out
her true condition. So she cuddled back as closely as possible in the
corner, and when they kindly offered her cakes and fruit, she just
ventured to say, "No, thank you." Her own food, which the dear old nurse
had taken so much pains to put up for her, lay untouched in her lap, for
her heart was so absorbed she could not eat.

Night brought her to the hotel in Baltimore. The great city, the large
building, and busy servants running hither and thither quite bewildered
her, and she had to watch herself very closely lest she should betray
herself. The waiters looked at her rather suspiciously; but she behaved
with all propriety, called for her room and supper, paid for what she
had, and in the morning was ready to take her seat in the northern
stage, and no one ventured to molest or question her. How her heart
leaped when she found herself safely on her way to Philadelphia. One
day more, and she would be in a free city. What she should do when she
arrived there, how she was to support herself in future, did not trouble
her. That she might stand on free soil, and lift up her eyes to the
stars that shone on her liberated body was all she thought of; and
to-night this was to be. With every step of the plodding horses, she
grew bolder and more assured, and her faith and hope and joyousness
rose. But, alas! there was a lion in the way of which she had not
dreamed.

"Your pass!" shouted a grim-looking man, as she stepped, bag in hand,
with gentle dignity on the boat that was to take her across the stream
which divided slave territory from our free States. "Where's your pass?
Don't stand there staring at me," said the official, as the frightened
girl looked up as if for an explanation.

A pass! She had never once thought of that! No one had mentioned her
need of it. What was she to do? She looked confounded and terrified.

"No pass?" inquired the man, sternly. "'Tis easy enough to see what
YOU are, then. A runaway!" said he, turning to a man at his right hand,
"make her fast."

Frightened and trembling, Tidy tried to run, but it was of no use; a
strong hand seized her slender arm, and held her securely. Then her
sight seemed to fail her, she grew dizzy, and fell fainting on the deck.
A crowd gathered about her. They remarked her light skin and delicate
features, her ladylike form and neat dress. Could she be a slave? they
asked. Would such a child as she appeared to be attempt to gain her
liberty? They dashed water on her head, and, as her consciousness
returned, she saw the faces of those two pleasant Scotch gentlemen,
who had rode with her the day before all the way from Virginia, looking
kindly and pitifully upon her.

"If you had only told us," they said, "we could have helped you."

But there was no friend or helper in that terrible hour, and poor Tidy,
weeping and almost heart-broken, was carried back to Baltimore, and
thrown into the SLAVE-JAIL.



CHAPTER XIII. A LONG JOURNEY.

IF I pronounce this disastrous event in Tidy's life another link in
the chain of loving-kindness by which God was leading her to himself,
perhaps you will wonder. But, my dear children, adversities are designed
for this very purpose, and are all directed in infinite love and wisdom
for our good. Tidy had prayed that she might be free, and the Lord
heard, and meant to answer her prayer. He meant not only to give her the
liberty she sought, but, more than that, to make her soul free in Christ
Jesus; but there were some things she needed to learn first. She was
not prepared yet to use her personal liberty rightly, nor did she at all
appreciate or desire that other and better freedom. Therefore the Lord
disappointed her at this time, and turned the course of her life, as it
were, upside down, that by painful experiences and narrow straits she
might learn what an all-sufficient Friend he could be to her; that she
might learn too the sinfulness of her own heart, and his free grace and
mercy for her pardon and salvation.

God "leads the blind in the way they know not." Tidy knew nothing of
the method by which he was guiding her, and when she found her hopes
crushed, and herself crouching, forlorn and friendless, weary and
half-famished, in a prison, she gave up all for lost. She felt indeed
cast off and forsaken. For hours she sat and cried despairingly, the
pretty dress crumpled and stained with tears, and the hat which had been
so much admired trampled under foot. Shame, grief, and fear of what was
to come drove her almost to distraction.

At the end of three days, Mr. Lee, acting as her master, who had been
apprised of her arrest, arrived at the prison. But what a wretched
object had he come to see! He could scarcely believe that the miserable,
dejected being before him was the once bright, beautiful Tidy,--such a
change had her disappointment and sorrow wrought. He really pitied
her, if a slaveholder ever can pity a slave, and yet he reproached her
severely. He told her she was a fool to run away; that niggers never
knew when they were well off; that if she had had a thimble-full of
sense she might have known she couldn't make her escape. He said they
had just been offered a thousand dollars for her,--which was then
considered an enormous price,--by a gentleman in Virginia, and they had
been on the point of selling her.

"I's Miss Matilda's," fiercely cried the poor girl at this, "and SHE
wouldn't a sold me; she said she never would."

"Yes, she would, Miss," replied Mr. Lee; "we don't let her throw
away such a valuable piece of property for nothing, I can tell you. A
thousand dollars in the bank isn't a small thing. It wouldn't find feet
to walk off with very soon, that we know."

"Miss Matilda TOLD me to take my liberty," said Tidy, disconsolately.

"Miss Matilda is a fool, like you. But we shall look out she don't cheat
herself in such a fashion. Now you can have your choice, little one;
you can go home with me, and take a good flogging for an example to the
rest, and stay with us till another buyer comes up,--for Mr. Nicholson
won't take such an uncertain piece of goods as you have showed yourself
to be,--or you can go South. There's a trader here ready to take you
right off. I'll give you till tomorrow morning to make up your mind."

"I'll go South," said the poor girl, the next morning. "I can't bear
ever to see Miss Tilda again." And she settled herself down to her fate.
She knew her life of bondage would be hard there, and she would not
have much chance of getting her freedom. But it was better than the
mortification of going back.

So she was sold to Mr. Pervis, the slave-trader. Mr. Pervis made about
fifty purchases in Baltimore and the vicinity, and then organizing his
gang he started for the South. Oh, what a different journey from that
which Tidy had intended when she left home. A thousand miles South, into
the very heart of slavery's dominions, with a company of coarse, stupid,
filthy, wretched creatures, such as she never would have willingly
associated with at home, so much more delicately had she been
reared. Many of these were field-hands sold to go to the cotton
plantations,--sold for "rascality."

Do you know what that means? You think it is ugliness. But no; it is
a DISEASE. It is a droll sort of malady, to which a learned Louisiana
doctor has given a singular name, which I can't spell, and which you
wouldn't know how to pronounce; but the symptoms I can describe. Where
a slave is attacked with this disease, he acts in a very stupid and
careless manner, and does a great deal of mischief, breaking, abusing,
and wasting every thing he can lay his hands on. He tears his clothes,
throws away food, cuts up plants in the field, breaks his tools, hurts
the horses and cattle, and does a vast amount of injury, and in such
a way that it seems as if it was all done on purpose. He will neither
work, nor eat the food offered him; quarrels with the other slaves and
fights with the drivers, and altogether acts in such an ugly way that
the overseer says he is "rascally." If it was really ugliness, he would
be whipped; but, of course, whipping won't cure disease; so the masters
consider it incurable, and sell the slave to go South to work in the
rice-swamps and cotton-fields. They, perhaps, think a change of
climate will do more for the patient than any other means. The Southern
physicians don't have much success, to tell the truth, in curing this
difficulty, for they don't seem to understand it. If they would only
consult with some of their profession at the North, I have no doubt they
would get some valuable suggestions on the subject. I really believe
that the liberty-cure, practised by some judicious money-pathic
physician, would effectually cure this "rascality." I wish I could see
it tried.

Tidy found herself, therefore, in very undesirable company on this
expedition to Georgia, and made up her mind very shortly that there
would not be much enjoyment in it. She did not have to drag wearily
along on foot all the way; for Mr. Lee was considerate enough to suggest
to Mr. Pervis, that, as she had been brought up as a house-servant, and
not accustomed to very hard work, she would not be able to walk much,
and if she was not allowed to ride, there would be no Tidy left by the
time they got to their journey's end, and the thousand dollars which had
just been paid for her would have been thrown away. So Mr. Pervis gave
her a permanent place in one of the wagons, and the other women were
taken up by turns, whenever the poor creatures could step no longer.
The men dragged along, handcuffed in pairs, and their low, brutal, and
profane conversation was dreadful to Tidy. Oh, how often she wished she
had staid contentedly with Mammy Grace, and not tried to run away. And
yet her hope was not utterly gone, for she often caught herself saying,
with closed teeth, "Give me a chance, and I'll try it again." Freedom
looked too attractive to be entirely relinquished.

The gang halted at night, put up their tents, lighted fires and cooked
their mean repast. Then they stretched themselves on the bare ground to
sleep. In the morning, after the wretched breakfast was eaten, the tents
were struck, the wagons loaded again, and they started for another day's
travel,--and so on till the long, wearisome march was over. It took them
many weeks before they arrived at their destination.

There Tidy was soon resold, the trader making two hundred dollars by
the bargain, and she became the property of Mr. Turner, who took her to
Natchez, on the Mississippi River, where she became waiting-maid to Mrs.
Turner, his wife.

The poor girl was never the same in appearance after she left her
Virginia home. A deep pall seemed to have been thrown over her spirit,
and her hopes and happiness lay buried beneath it. Her disposition had
lost its buoyancy, and her face wore a sad, pensive look. She tried
to do her duty here as before, and her skill and neatness made her a
favorite. But there was no one here to care for her and love her as
Mammy Grace had done; and she missed the children sadly. Her hymn-book
was neglected; for when she opened it such a flood of recollections came
over her that the tears blinded her eyes and she could not see a word,
and she never now heard a prayer. She was again in an irreligious
family, and among an ungodly set of servants, and her faith, hope, and
love began to grow dim. A dull, heavy manner, and a careless, reckless
state of mind was growing upon her.

It required deeper sorrow than she had yet experienced to wake her up
from this sluggish, unhappy condition.



CHAPTER XIV. CRUELTY.

SHE was standing one beautiful evening at the front gate of the house,
leaning on the rail, and gazing listlessly up the street. She was
thinking, perhaps, of that starry night when first she had heard of the
name of God, or that other, when her faith had been so wonderfully built
up in listening to the striking experiences and prayer of the memorable
Lony. Perhaps she had wandered farther back to the time, when, under old
Rosa's protection, she had fed the chickens and watered the flowers at
Rosevale with childish content. Whatever it was, the tears would come,
and several times she raised her hand and dashed them away. Then she
turned her head and gazed the other way.

A large hotel stood nearly opposite the house, and across the narrow
street she watched the mingling, busy crowd of black and white, young
and old, coming and going, each intent on his own interests, each
holding in his heart the secret of his own history. Who are they all?
thought Tidy, what business are they all about? I wonder if they are all
happy? not one of them knows or cares for poor, unhappy me,--when lo!
there suddenly loomed up before her a familiar face. She watched it
eagerly as it moved up and down in the throng, for she felt that she had
seen it before. But it was some minutes before she could tell exactly
where. At last it all came to her. It was Arthur Carroll, the son of the
man who had owned her when a baby. She had often seen and played with
him in her visits to her mother. Many years had passed since she last
beheld him, and he had grown to be a young gentleman; but she was sure
it was he. He stepped out of the hotel and came towards the house.
She uttered a little, quick cry, "Why, Mass Arthur!" He turned and
recognized her, and at once stopped to inquire into her condition and
circumstances.

It was almost like a visit to old Virginia to see young Carroll; and as
cold water to a thirsty soul was the news he brought her from that far
country. Tidy drank in eagerly every word he could tell her of the
Lees, and others whom she knew, and they were enjoying an animated
conversation when Tidy's master passed that way. He saw his slave
engaged in familiar talk with a stranger, and remembering the remark
of the trader of whom he had bought her, that she had tried "the
running-away game" once, and must be watched lest she should repeat the
attempt, without waiting to inquire into the circumstances of the case,
he resolved to administer a proper chastisement. Coming up behind, he
struck her a violent blow on the side of the head that sent the frail
girl reeling to the ground.

For a few minutes Tidy lay stunned upon the earth. When she came to
herself, her head was smarting with pain and her heart burned like fire
with indignation, and in a perfect frenzy of distress and mortification
she rushed out of the gate and flew down the street. Up and down,
through the streets and lanes of the city, she ran for hours, not
knowing or caring whither she went, until finally, exhausted and
bewildered, she dropped down upon the ground. Some one raised the
panting girl and took her to the guard-house. There she lay until
morning before she could give any distinct thought to what she had done,
and what course she was now to pursue.

When she began to think clearly, she felt that she had acted very
unwisely. For a slave to resist punishment, if it is ever so undeserved,
or to attempt to escape it by running away, is only to provoke severer
chastisement. That she well knew, and that there was nothing to be done
now, but to walk back to her master's house and meet a fate she could
not avoid. She only hoped that, when she acknowledged her fault, and
frankly told her master that she did it under a wild and bewildering
excitement, he would pardon her and let it pass.

She dragged her weary steps back to her master's house, fainting with
fatigue and hunger, and presented herself before her mistress.

"I's right sorry I runned so," she said, "but I was kind o' scared like,
and didn't know jest what I did. I knows I's no business to run away
when massa cuffed me."

Her mistress made no reply but an angry look; but nothing was said by
any one about what had happened, and Tidy felt that trouble was brewing.
What it would be she could not tell, but her heart was heavy within her.
Nothing occurred that day, but the next morning she was told to tie up
her clothes and be ready to go up the river at ten o'clock. She
knew what going up the river meant. Mr. Turner owned a large cotton
plantation about twenty miles from Natchez, and the severest punishment
dreaded by his servants in the city was to be sent there.

Tom, the coachman, accompanied Tidy, bearing in his pocket a note to the
overseer of the plantation. Would you take a peep into it before she,
whom it most concerned, learned its contents? It ran thus,--

"NATCHEZ, Wednesday, A. M.

"DIOSSY,--

"Give this wench a hundred lashes with the long whip this afternoon.
Wash her down well, and when she is fit to work, put her into the cotton
field.

"ABRAM TURNER."

Oh, let us weep, dear children, for the poor girl, who, for no crime
at all, not even a misdeed, was made to bare her tender skin to such
shameless cruelty. No friend was there to help her, to plead for her, to
deliver her from the relentless, violent hand of the wicked oppressor.
She was left all alone to her terrible suffering. Can we wonder that she
felt that even the Lord had forgotten her?

That night there was scarcely an inch of flesh from her neck to her feet
that was not torn, raw, and bleeding. The salt brine, which is used to
heal the wounds, although when first applied it seems to aggravate
the torture, was poured pitilessly over her, and writhing with agony,
fainting, and almost dead, she was borne to a wretched hut, and laid
on a hard pallet. Three weeks she lay there, sick and helpless; but she
cried unto the Lord in her distress, and he heard her, and prepared to
deliver her, though the time of her deliverance was not yet fully come.
She had been brought low, but her eyes were not yet opened to her true
needs, and she had not yet learned the prayer God would have her offer,
"Be merciful to me, a SINNER."

Children, when you pray, do not be discouraged, if God does not answer
you INSTANTLY. His way is not as our way; and though he hears us, and
means to answer us, he may see that we are not yet ready to receive and
appreciate the blessing we seek. Besides, there is no TIME with God as
we count time. WE reckon by days and weeks, by months and years, but
with him all is "one, eternal NOW;" and he goes steadily on, executing
his purposes of love and mercy, without regard to those points and
measures of time which seem so important to us. We must remember, too,
that it takes longer to do some things than others. A praying woman
whose faith was greatly tried, once asked her minister what this verse
meant,--Luke xviii. 8: "I tell you that he will avenge them SPEEDILY."
He replied, "If you make a loaf of bread in ten minutes, you think you
have done your work speedily. Supposing a steam-engine is to be built.
The pattern must be drafted, the iron brought, the parts cast, fitted,
polished, tried,--it will take months to complete it, and then you may
consider it SPEEDILY executed. So, when we ask God to do something for
us, he may see a good deal of preparation to be necessary,--obstacles
are to be removed, stepping-stones to be laid,--in the words of the
Bible, the rough places are to be made plain, and the crooked ways
straight, before the way of the Lord is prepared, and he can come
directly with the thing we have asked."

It was thus with Tidy. She kept praying all the time to be free, but the
Lord, who meant to give her a larger and better freedom than she
asked, led her through such rough and crooked paths that she was quite
discouraged, and nearly gave up all for lost.

This was her painful condition when she was driven, for the first time
in her life, with a gang of men and women to work in the cotton-field.



CHAPTER XV. COTTON.

LET us look into a cotton-field; we will take this one of a hundred
acres. The cotton is planted in rows, and requires incessant tillage to
secure a good crop. The weeds and long grass grow so rankly in this warm
climate that great watchfulness and care are required to keep them down.
If there should be much rain during the season, they will spread so
rapidly as perhaps quite to outgrow and ruin the crop.

Two gangs of laborers work in the field. The plough-gang go first
through the rows, turning up the soil, and are followed by the hoe-gang,
who break out the weeds, and lay the soil carefully around the roots of
the young plants. This operation has to be repeated again and again; and
so important is it to have it done seasonably that the workers are urged
on, early and late, until the field is in a flourishing condition. Hot
or cold, wet or dry, day and night, sometimes, the poor creatures have
to toil through this busy season. Then there is a little intermission of
the severe labor until the picking time, when again they are obliged to
work incessantly.

Most of the hoers are women and boys, some of whom do the whole allotted
task; others only a quarter, half, or three quarters, according to their
ability. When the children are first put into the field, they are only
put to quarter tasks, and some of the women are unable to do more. The
bell is rung for them at early dawn, when they rise, prepare and eat
their breakfast, and move down to the field. Clad in coarse, filthy, and
scanty clothing, they drag sullenly along, and use their implements of
labor with a slow, reluctant motion, that says very plainly, "This
work is not for ME. My toil will do ME no good." Oh, how would freedom,
kindness, and good wages spur up those unwilling toilers! How would
the bright faces, the cheerful words and songs of independent,
self-interested, intelligent laborers, make those fields to rejoice,
almost imparting vigor and growth to the cotton itself! But, alas! it is
a sad place, a valley of sighs and groans and tears and blood, a realm
of hate and malice, of imprecation and wrath, and every fierce and
wicked passion.

A "water-toter" follows each gang with a pail and calabash; and the
negro-driver stands among them with a long whip in his hand, which he
snaps over their heads continually, and lets the lash fall, with more or
less severity, on one and another, shouting and yelling meanwhile in
a furious and brutal manner, as a boisterous teamster would do to his
unruly oxen.

If the season is wet, the danger to the crop being greater, there is
more necessity for constant toil, and the poor slaves are whipped,
pushed, and driven to the very utmost, and allowed no time to rest.
It is no matter if the old are over-worked, or the young too hardly
pressed, or the feeble women faint under their burdens. So that a good
crop is produced, and the planter can enjoy his luxuries, it is no
consideration that tools are worn out, mules are destroyed, or the
slaves die; more can be bought for next year, and the slaveholder says
it pays to force a crop, though it be at the expense of life among the
hands.

At noon, the dinner is brought to each gang in a cart. The hoers stop
work only long enough to eat their poor fare standing,--and poor fare
indeed it is. The corn that is made into bread is so filled with husks
and ground so poorly that it is scarcely better than the fodder given to
the cattle; and the bacon, if they have any, is badly cured and cooked.
But they must eat that or starve; there is no chance of getting any
thing better. The ploughmen take their dinners in the sheds where the
mules are allowed to rest; and since two hours is usually given these
animals, for rest and foddering, they, of course, must take the same.

At sunset they leave off work, and, tired and hungry, they have to
prepare their own supper; and after hastily eating it, at nine o'clock
the bell is rung for them to go to bed. Sundays they are not usually
required to work, and some planters give their slaves a portion of
Saturday, in the more leisure season; and this intermission of field
labor is all the opportunity they have to wash and mend their clothes,
or for any enjoyment. What a sorry life! sixteen hours out of the
twenty-four, with a hoe in the hand, or a heavy cotton sack or basket
tied about the neck, toiling on under the curses and lash of the driver
and the overseer.

Tidy dreaded it. Brought up as she had been, accustomed to comparatively
neat clothing, good food, cheerful associates, and light work, how could
she live here? She felt that she could not long endure it. Her strength
would fail, her task be unfinished, then she must be punished, and
before long, through hard fare, unwearied toil, and ill usage, she felt
that she should die. But there was no help. Once she had ventured to
send an entreaty to her master to take her back to house service. But he
was hardhearted and unrelenting, and declared with an oath that made her
ears tingle that she should never leave the cotton-field till she died,
and there was no power in heaven or earth that could make him change
his determination. So she hopelessly plodded on, day after day, scorched
beneath the hot sun, and drenched with the pouring rain, weak, faint,
and thirsty, trembling before the coarse shouts, and shrinking from the
tormenting lash of the pitiless driver, sure that her fate was sealed.

[illustration omitted]

Was there no eye to pity, and no arm to rescue? Yes, the unseen God,
whose name is love, was leading her still. Through all the dark, rough
places of her life, his kind, invisible hand was laying link to link in
that wondrous chain which was finally to bring her safe and happy into
his own bosom.



CHAPTER XVI. RESCUE.

THE slaves on Mr. Turner's plantation had no SABBATH. To be sure, they
were not driven to the field on Sunday, because it was considered an
economic provision to let man and beast rest one day out of the seven.
But they had no church to attend, and never had any meetings among
themselves. Indeed there were no pious ones among them. The men took the
day for sport; the women washed and ironed, sewed and cooked, and did
various necessary chores for themselves and children, for which they
were allowed no other opportunity; and spent the rest of the day in rude
singing, dancing, and boisterous merriment.

Tidy could not live as the rest did. She could not forget the
instructions and habits of the past. She preferred to sit up later on
Saturday evening to do the work which others did on Sunday, and when
that day came, she never entered into their coarse gayety and mirth. She
had no heart for it, and did not care though she was reviled and scoffed
at for her particular, pious ways.

One Sunday afternoon, weary with the noise and rioting at the quarters,
homesick and sad, she wandered away from her hovel, and strolling down
the path which led to the cotton-field, she kept on through bush and
brake and wood until she reached the bank of the river. Here, where the
great Mississippi, the Father of Waters, seemed to have broken his way
through tangled and interminable forests, she stood and looked out upon
the broad stream. It lay like a vast mirror reflecting the sunlight,
its surface only now and then disturbed by a passing boat or prowling
king-fisher. Up and down the bank, with folded arms and pensive
countenance, the toil-worn, weary girl walked, her soul in unison with
the solitude and silence of the place. Recollections of the past, which
continually haunted her, but which she had of late striven with all her
might to banish from her mind, now rushed like a mighty tide over
her. She could not help thinking of the pleasant Sabbath days in old
Virginia, when she and Mammy Grace were always permitted to go to
church; and of those sunset hours, when, seated in the door of the neat
cabin, she had joined with the old nurse and Uncle Simon in singing
those beautiful hymns they loved so well. How long it was since she
had tried to sing one! Before she was aware, she was humming, in a low
voice, the once familiar words:--

     "Oh, when shall I see Jesus,
         And reign with him above?
      And from that flowing fountain
         Drink everlasting love?"

Then, suddenly jumping over all the intervening verses, as if she, a
poor shipwrecked soul, were springing to the cable suddenly thrown out
before her, she burst out in a loud strain,--

     "Whene'er you meet with trouble
         And trials on your way,
      Oh, cast your care on Jesus,
         And don't forget to pray."

With what unction Uncle Simon used to pour forth that verse. It was to
him the grand cure-all, the panacea for every heart-trouble; and over
and over again he would sing it, always winding up in his own peculiar
fashion with a quick, jerked-out "Hallelujah! Amen."

His image rose vividly before Tidy at that moment, and, as the tears
began to roll down her cheeks, she clasped her hands over her face, and
cried, "Oh, I has forgot that. I has forgot to pray." Then, falling on
her knees, she poured forth such an earnest prayer as had never before,
perhaps, been heard in that vast solitude. Her heart was relieved by
this outpouring of her griefs to God, and she wondered that she had
allowed herself, notwithstanding her sufferings and discouragements, to
neglect such a privilege. It is so sometimes; grief is so overwhelming
that it seems to shut us away from God; but we can never find comfort
or relief until we have pierced through the clouds, and got near to his
loving ear and heart again. Tidy found this true. "And now," she said
to herself, "I WILL keep on praying until he hears me, and comes to help
me,--I am determined I will."

But perhaps, thought she, I haven't prayed the right prayer; perhaps
there's something about me that's wrong; and she cried with a loud
voice, that was echoed back again from those forest depths, "O Lord,
tell me just how to pray, that I mayn't make no mistake."

No sooner had she uttered this petition than she thought she heard a
voice, and these were its words: "Say, 'O Lord, pluck me out of the
fiery brands, and take my feet out of the miry pit, and make me stand
on the everlasting rock; and, O Lord, save my soul.'" Tidy had heard a
great many of her people tell about dreams and visions and voices, but
she had never before had any such experiences. But this came to her with
a reality she could not doubt or resist. It seemed like a voice from
heaven, and she remarked that great stress was laid upon the last
words, "O Lord, SAVE MY SOUL." Hitherto she had only sought temporal
deliverance. She had never been fully awakened to her condition as a
sinner, and had, therefore, never asked for the salvation of her soul.
Now it was strongly impressed upon her mind that there was something
more to be delivered from than the horrors of the cotton-field. She
was a sinner, was not in favor with God, and if she should die in her
present condition, she would go down to those everlasting burnings which
she had always feared. All this was conveyed to her mind by a sudden
impression, in much shorter time than I can relate it; and at once she
accepted it, and earnestly resolved that she would offer that twofold
prayer every day and hour, till the Lord should be pleased to come for
her help.

Perhaps some of my readers would like to ask if I believe she really
heard a voice. No, I do not. I think it was the Holy Spirit of God that
brought to her mind some of the Scripture expressions she had formerly
heard, and applied them to her heart with power. This is the peculiar
work of the Holy Spirit. When Christ was bidding farewell to his
disciples, he told them he should send the Comforter, which is the Holy
Ghost, who should teach them all things, and BRING ALL THINGS TO THEIR
REMEMBRANCE. I think that God, in his tender love and pity for Tidy,
sent the Holy Ghost to bring to her remembrance those things which had
long been buried in her heart; and at that tranquil hour, in that still,
lonely spot, when her spirit was tender with sorrow, she was just in the
condition to receive his influences, and give attention to the thoughts
he had stirred up within her. And coming to her perception quickly,
like a flash of light, as truth often does, it seemed to her excited
imagination like an audible voice, and the words had all the effect upon
her of a direct revelation from heaven.

This striking experience refreshed the poor girl, and nerved her anew
for her toils and trials. She felt hope again dawning within her; and
though she could see no way, she had faith to believe that the Lord
would appear for her rescue. She prayed the new prayer constantly. It
was her first thought in the morning, and her last at night, and during
every moment of the livelong day was in her heart or on her lips.

One forenoon, as she was drawing her weary length along with the
accustomed gang, picking the ripe, bursting cotton-bolls, a messenger
arrived to say that she was wanted by the master. She almost fainted at
the summons. What could he want her for? Surely it was not for good. Was
he going to inflict cruelty again as unmerited as it had before been?
She threw off her cotton-sack from her neck, to obey the summons;
but she trembled so that she could scarcely walk. Her knees smote one
against another, her heart throbbed, and her tongue cleaved to the
roof of her mouth in her excitement and fright. As she drew near to the
house, she perceived her master with haughty strides walking up and down
the veranda, his hands behind him and his head thrown back, his whole
appearance bearing witness to the proud, imperious spirit within. A
gentleman of milder aspect was seated on a chair, intently eying Tidy as
she approached, and she heard him say,--

"Can you recommend her, Turner? Do you really think she is capable of
filling the place?"

"Capable!" said the master. "Take off that bag, and dress her, and
you'll see. TOO smart, that's her fault. YOU'LL see."

"I like her looks; I'll try her," was the reply; and this was all the
intimation Tidy had that she had been transferred to another master. Her
heart leaped within her at what she heard; but when peremptorily told to
get ready to follow Mr. Meesham, she hesitated. What for, do you think?
Her first impulse was to throw herself at her master's feet, and ask
what had induced him to sell her. But she dared not. He cast upon her
a glance of such spurning contempt that she cringed before him. But she
made up her mind that God only could have moved that stern, proud man to
change a purpose which he had declared to be inflexible. She was right.
God, who controls all hearts, and can turn them withersoever he pleases,
in answer to prayer, had moved that stubborn heart.

Thus the first part of Tidy's new prayer was answered.



CHAPTER XVII. TRUE LIBERTY.

THE new home of Mr. Meesham was in Mobile. The master was an unmarried
man, who wanted a capable superintendent for his domestic concerns, a
neat, lady-like servant to wait upon his table, a trustworthy keeper
of his keys, a leader and director of his household slaves. All this
he found in Tidy, and when she was promoted to the head of the
establishment, dressed in becoming apparel, with plenty of food at her
command, pleasant, easy work to do, and leisure enough for rest and
enjoyment, perhaps you think she was happy.

Ah, she was still a slave, and every day she was painfully reminded of
it. She could not exercise her own judgment, nor act according to her
own sense of right. She must walk in the way her master pointed out, and
do his bidding. Whatever comforts she could pick up as she went along,
she was welcome to; but she must have no choice or will of her own.

Perhaps you think her gratitude to God for his great deliverance would
make her happy. So it did for a time, and then she forgot her deliverer,
and the still greater blessing she needed to ask of him. How many there
are just like her, who cry to God for help in adversity, and forget him
when the help comes. How many who promise God, when they are in trouble
and danger, that if they are spared they will serve him, and, when the
danger is past, entirely forget their vows.

Thus it was with Tidy. She had been brought out of the cotton-field, and
the misery that curtained it all round, into circumstances of plenty and
comparative ease; and, rejoicing that the first part of her prayer was
answered, she forgot all about the second and most important petition,
"O Lord, save my soul."

But God was too faithful to forget it. He allowed her to go on in her
own course a few years longer, and then he laid his hand upon her again.
He prostrated her upon a bed of sickness, and brought her to look death
in the face. Then the Holy Spirit began to deal powerfully with her. She
realized that she was a great sinner. It seemed that she was standing on
the brink of a horrible precipice, and her sins, like so many tormenting
spirits, were ready to cast her headlong into the abyss of destruction.
Whither could she flee for safety?

She found a Bible and tried to read; but it had been so long since she
had looked into a book that she had almost forgotten what she once knew.
It was impossible for her to read right on as we do; she could only pick
out here and there a word and a sentence. One day she opened the book
and her eye fell on the word "Come." She knew that word very well.
It made her think right away of the hymn, "Come, ye sinners, poor and
needy." She thought she would read on just there, and see what it said;
and imperfectly, and after long endeavors, she made out this verse,
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins
be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like
crimson, they shall be as wool." Then she glanced at a verse above,
"Wash ye, make you clean: put away the evil of your doings from before
mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well."

These verses conveyed to her dark, unin-structed mind two very clear
ideas. One was that she was to forsake every thing that appeared to
her like sin, and to do right in future; and the other, that she was
permitted to reason with the Lord about the sins she had committed; both
which she at once resolved to do.

Her prayer now was changed. Before she had begged, entreated the Lord
to forgive her sins; now she brought arguments. "Am I not a poor slave,
Lord," she cried, "that never has known nothing at all. I never heard no
preaching, I never had nobody to tell me how to be saved. I have done a
good many wicked things, but I didn't know they were wicked then; and
I have left undone many things, but I didn't know I ought to be so
particular to do them. And, Lord, out of your own goodness and kindness
won't you forgive this poor child. You are so full of love, pity me,
pity me, O Lord, and save my poor soul. I will try to be good. I will
try to do right. I'll never, never dance no more. I'll try to bear all
the hard knocks I get, and I won't be hard on them that's beneath me,
and I will pray, and try to read the Bible, and I'll talk to the rest of
the people; only, Lord, forgive my sins, and take this load off that's
breaking my heart, and make me feel safe and happy, so I won't be afraid
when I die."

Thus the sick girl prayed with clasped hands upon her bed of pain; but
still her mind was dark. There was no one to tell her of the way of
salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. Had she never heard of Jesus?
She had heard his name, had sung it in her hymns; but she imagined it
to be another name for the Lord, and had never heard of the glorious
salvation that blessed Name imparts.

One night, while in this state of distress and perplexity, Tidy dreamed
a dream. She thought she saw the Lord, seated on a majestic throne, with
thousands and ten thousands of shining angels about him, and she was
brought a guilty criminal before him. Convicted of sin, and not knowing
what else to do, she again commenced pleading in her own behalf, using
every argument she could think of to move the Lord to mercy. There was
no answer, but the great Judge to whom she appealed seemed turned aside
in earnest conversation with one who stood at his right hand, wearing
the human form, but more fair and beautiful than any person she had ever
seen. Then the Lord turned again and looked upon her,--and such a look,
of pity, of love, of forgiveness and reconciliation! A sweet peace
distilled upon her soul, and joy, such as she had never felt, sprang up
in her bosom. "I am forgiven, I am accepted!" she cried, "but not for
any thing I have said. This stranger has undertaken my case. He has
interceded for me. I know not what plea he has used, but it has been
successful, and my soul is saved." In this exultation of joy she awoke.

Yes, her soul WAS free. The plan of salvation had been dimly revealed
to the weeping sinner in the visions of the night. What strange ways the
Lord sometimes takes to reveal his love to his creatures! But his way
is not as our way, and he has ALL means at his control. Every soul will
have an individual history to tell of the revelation of God's mercy to
it.

Thus the second part of Tidy's long-offered prayer was answered. From
this time she rejoiced in the Lord, and gloried in her unknown Saviour.
Her prayers were changed to praises, and she forgot that she was a slave
in the happiness of her new-found soul-liberty.


She kept her Bible at hand, and every now and then picked out some
precious verse; but the long, sweet story of Calvary, hidden between its
covers, she had not yet read. And her voice found delightful employment
in singing the hymns of the olden time, which came to her now with a
meaning they had never had before. The Lord sent her health of body, and
as she returned to her duties, she tried in all things to be faithful
and worthy.



CHAPTER XVIII. CROWNING MERCIES.

THE Lord had not yet exhausted his love towards Tidy, but was designing
still greater mercies for her. He was going to deliver her from the
thralldom of oppression, and to send her to be further instructed in his
truth, and to bear testimony to his loving-kindness in another home.

The master's heart was moved to set her free; and, embarked in a small
vessel, with a New England captain, Tidy found herself at twenty years
of age sailing away from the land of cruel bondage, to a home where she
should know the blessings of freedom. Her emancipation papers were put
into the hands of the captain, and money to provide for her comfort,
with the assurance that while her master lived she should never want.

At first she was sick and almost broken-hearted at the change in her
condition. Much as she longed for freedom, she had formed new ties in
her Mobile home, which it was hard for her affectionate nature to break.
She was old enough now to look forward to some of the difficulties to be
encountered in a land of strangers, seeking employment in unaccustomed
ways. But she went to her Bible as usual in her trouble, and the words
which the Angel of the Covenant addressed to Jacob, when, exiled from
his father's house, he made the stones of Bethel his pillow, came right
home refreshingly to her,--"I am with thee, and will keep thee in
all places whither thou goest." The soreness at her heart was at once
healed, and she cried out, in deep emotion, "Enough, Lord! Now I have
got something to hold on by, and I will never let it go. When I get into
trouble, I shall come and say, Lord, you remember what you said to me on
board ship, and I know you will keep your promise."

Thus fortified for her new life, Tidy arrived at New York. The sun was
just setting as she planted her foot on the soil of freedom; and as
his slanting rays fell upon her, she thought of her toiling, suffering
sisters, driven at this hour from labor to misery, and her heart
sickened at the thought. "O God," she cried, "hasten the day when ALL
shall be free."

Tidy's first experience in this wilderness of delights, where was so
much to be seen, learned, and enjoyed, was a striking one, and proved
how the goodness of God followed her all the days of her life. It was
Saturday evening when she landed. The family with whom the captain
placed her were pious people, and were glad enough of the opportunity on
the morrow of taking an emancipated slave, who had never been inside
a church, to the house of God. It was a humble, un-pretending edifice
where the colored people worshiped, but to her it was spacious and
splendid. How neat and orderly every thing appeared. Men, women, and
children, in their Sunday attire, walked quietly through the streets,
and reverently seated themselves in the place of worship. The minister
ascended the pulpit, and the singers took their places in the choir. It
was communion Sunday, and the table within the altar was spread for the
holy feast. All these strange and incomprehensible proceedings filled
the mind of Tidy with solemnity and awe.

The services began. The prayer and reading of the Scripture seemed to
feed her hungry soul as with the bread of life. Then the congregation
arose and sang,--

     "Alas, and did my Saviour bleed?
         And did my Sovereign die?
      Would he devote his sacred head
         For such a worm as I?
      Oh, the Lamb, the loving Lamb,
         The Lamb on Calvary;

      The Lamb that was slain,
      That liveth again,
         To intercede for me."

All through the hymn she was actually trembling with excitement. Her
whole being was thrilled, her eyes overflowed with tears, and she
could scarcely hold herself up, as verse after verse, with the swelling
chorus, convinced her that they sang the praises of Him whom she had
seen in her dream, who stood between her and an offended God, and whom,
though she knew him not, she loved and cherished in her inmost soul. Oh,
if she could know more about him!

Her wish was to be gratified. As Paul said to the people of Athens,
"Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you," so might
the preacher of righteousness have said to this eager listener. He took
for his text these words: "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was
bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed." Then followed the whole story of
the cross,--the reasons why it was necessary for Jesus to give his life
a ransom for many; the divine love that prompted the sacrifice; the
all-sufficiency of the atonement; and the completeness of Christ's
salvation. He spoke of Jesus as the one accepted Intercessor, Advocate,
and Surety above, and urged his hearers to yield themselves with faith
and love to this faithful and merciful Saviour.

Tidy sat with her eyes fixed on the speaker, her mouth open with
amazement, and her hands clasped tightly over her heart, as if to quiet
its feverish throbs; and when he had finished, and one and another in
the congregation added an earnest "Amen," "Hallelujah," and "Praise the
Lord," she could keep still no longer. "'TIS HE," she cried, raising her
hands, "'TIS HE; But I never heard his name before."

The closing hymn fell with sweet acceptance upon her ear, and calmed, in
some measure, the tumultuous rapture of her spirit:--

     "Earth has engrossed my love too long!
         'Tis time I lift mine eyes
      Upward, dear Father, to thy throne,
         And to my native skies.

     "There the blest Man, my Saviour sits;
         The God! how bright he shines!
      And scatters infinite delights
         On all the happy minds.

     *'Seraphs, with elevated strains,
         Circle the throne around;
      And move and charm the starry plains,
         With an immortal sound.

     "Jesus, the Lord, their harps employs;
         Jesus, my love, they sing!
      Jesus, the life of all our joys,
         Sounds sweet from every string.

     "Now let me mount and join their song,
         And be an angel too;
      My heart, my hand, my ear, my tongue,
         Here's joyful work for you.

     "There ye that love my Saviour sit,
         There I would fain have place,
      Among your thrones, or at your feet,
         So I might see his face."

Is there any thing, dear children, that can penetrate the whole being
with such rapturous joy as the love of Christ? If you have never felt
it, learn to know him that you may experience those "infinite delights"
which he only can pour in upon the soul.

And now we must take leave of Tidy. She lives still, a hearty, humble,
trusting Christian. She has been led to her true rest in God, and in
him she is secure and happy; "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; having
nothing, and yet possessing all things."

"I have every thing I want," she says, as she sits beside me, "for God
is my Father, and his children, you know, Missus, inherits the earth."

"How happens it, then, that you are so poor?" I ask.

"My Father gives me every thing he sees best for me," is her beautiful
reply. "It wouldn't be good for me to have a great many things. When I
need any thing, I ask him, and he always gives it to me. I AM PERFECTLY
SATISFIED."


Dear children, upon this little story-tree two golden apples of
instruction hang, which I want you to pluck and enjoy. One is, that if
God so loved a humble slave-child, and took such pains to bring her to
himself, it is our privilege to feel the same sympathy and love for this
poor despised race. And this love will draw us two ways: first, towards
God, admiring and praising his infinite goodness and compassion; and,
secondly, towards these prostrate, down-trodden people, to do all we
can, in God's name, and for his dear sake, for their elevation and
instruction. Remember, "Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these
little ones, a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple,"--that
is, through this feeling of love, of Christian kindness, "he shall in no
wise lose his reward."

The other,--if God so loved this humble slave-child, he has the same
love towards every one of you. Will you not yield yourselves to his
control, and let his various loving-kindnesses draw you too to himself?



OLD DINAH JOHNSON.

ONE day little Henry Wallace came to his mother's side, as she was
sitting at her work, and, after standing thoughtfully a few moments, he
looked up in her face and said:

"Ma, how many heavens are there?"

"Only one, my child," replied his mother, looking up from her work with
surprise at such a question. "What made you ask me that?"

"Isn't there but one?" inquired Henry, with a little sort of trouble in
his voice. "Then, will Dinah Johnson go to the same heaven we do?"

"Certainly, my dear; for heaven is one glorious temple, and God is the
light of it; and into it will be gathered all those who love the Lord
Jesus Christ, to dwell in his presence, in fullness of joy, for ever.
But Henry, my darling, why did you ask such a question? Don't you want
poor old Dinah to go to the same heaven that we do?"

"Oh, yes, mamma, I love Dinah, and I want her to go to our heaven;
but last Sunday papa told me that the angels were every one fair and
beautiful, and Jacob Sanders says Dinah is a homely old darkey. Now, how
can she change, mamma?"

Henry's mother saw at once where the difficulty lay in her little boy's
mind; so, putting aside her work, she took the child up on her knee, and
explained the matter to him.

"Henry," said she, "I am sorry to hear that Jacob Sanders calls Dinah a
darkey; for those who are so unfortunate as to have a black skin don't
like to be called that or any other bad name. They have trouble enough
without that, and I hope you will never, never do it. They like best to
be called colored persons, and we should always try to please them. We
should pity them, and try to relieve their sorrows, and not increase
them. Don't you think so?"

"Yes, ma, and I do love Dinah, and I don't care if she isn't white, like
you."

"Neither does God, our heavenly Father, care, Henry, about the color of
the skin. The Bible says, 'God is no respecter of persons; but in every
nation, he that feareth him and worketh righteousness, is accepted with
him.' God looks at the soul more than at the body. Nothing colors THE
SOUL but sin. That stains and blackens it all over, and only the blood
of Jesus Christ can wash it pure and white again. But every soul that
has been washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb will be welcomed
into heaven, with songs of great rejoicing; and all will dwell together
in peace and purity, and love and great happiness for ever.

"Poor old Dinah is one of God's dear children. She loves the dear
Saviour very much, and tries in every way to please and honor him; and
she is looking forward with great pleasure to the time when she shall
drop that infirm, old, black body, and be clothed with light as an
angel. I shall be glad for her,--sha'n't you, darling?"

"Yes, indeed, mamma,--so glad;" and the little boy's mind was henceforth
at rest on that point.

But I must tell my readers who old Dinah Johnson was. Once she was a
slave; but when she had become so old that her busy head and hands and
feet could do no more service for her master, he had set her free. Of
course, she was glad to be free,--to feel that she could go where she
liked, and do as she pleased, and keep all the money she could earn for
herself. Precious little it was, though, for her sight was growing dim,
and her hands and feet were all distorted with rheumatism; and what with
pains and poverty and old age, her strength was fast wasting. But she
was happy, really happy.

If you could have looked upon her, though, you wouldn't have supposed
she had any thing to be happy about. With a skin black as night, hair
gray and scanty, her face was as homely as homely could be, and her
limbs were weak and tottering. The old, unpainted house she lived in
shook and creaked with every blast of the wintry wind, and the snow
drifted in at every crack and crevice. Her furniture was very poor,
and her food mean. But it is not what we see outside that makes people
happy. Oh, no; happiness springs from the inside. The fountain is in the
heart, from which the streams of joy and gladness flow.

With all her homeliness and poverty, old Dinah was a jewel in the sight
of the Lord. He had graven her upon the palm of his hand, and written
her name in the book of life; and she was treasured as a precious child
in his loving heart. The name of the Lord was precious to her, also;
they were bound together in a covenant of love. Of course, she was
happy.

Her heavenly Friend never forgot her. He sent many a one to bring her
work and money and fuel and clothes. She was never without her bread and
water,--you know the Lord has told his children that their "BREAD and
WATER shall be SURE,"--and almost always she had a little tea and sugar
in the cupboard. At Thanksgiving time, many a good basket-full of
pies and chickens found their way to her humble door; and when she had
received them, she would raise her hands and eyes to heaven, and thank
the Lord for his goodness, and ask for a blessing upon the kind hearts
that sent the gifts. She did not always know who they were, but she was
sure she should see them and love them in heaven.

The only thing that seemed to trouble old Dinah was that she couldn't
help others; that she couldn't do any thing for her Lord and Saviour.
"I am so black and ugly," she would say, "and so old and lame and poor,
that I a'n't fit to speak to any body; but I'll pray, I'll pray."
She managed to hobble to church; and there, from her high seat in the
gallery,--poor colored people must always have the highest seats in
the house of God,--she could look all around the congregation. She took
especial notice of the young men and women that came into church; and
what do you think she did? Why, she would select this one and that one
to pray for, that they might be converted. She would find out their
names, and something about them; and then she would ask God, a great
many times every day, that he would send his Holy Spirit to them, and
give them new hearts. They didn't know any thing about her, of course,
nor what she was doing. By and by, she would hear the glad news that
they had come to Christ. Then she would choose others. These were
converted, too; and by and by there was a great revival in the church,
and many sinners were saved. After a time, there came a large crowd to
join the church, and number themselves among the Lord's people; and poor
old Dinah saw twelve young men, and several young women stand up in the
aisle that day, and give themselves publicly to God, whom she had picked
out and prayed for in this way. Oh, she was so happy, then! Her old
eyes overflowed with tears of joy, and she couldn't stop thanking and
praising God.

Now this was the good old creature that Henry Wallace thought might have
to go to another heaven, because her skin was black. Do YOU think God
would need to make another heaven for her? No, indeed. But I'll tell
you, dear children, what I think. If there is a place in heaven higher
and nearer God than another, that's the place where poor old Dinah will
be found at last. I think that those who love God most, whether they are
black or white, rich or poor, learned or ignorant, refined or rude, will
stand the nearest to him in heaven. I am sure there was such warm love
between her and the Saviour, that he will not want her to be far away
from him in that bright world. He will call her up close to his side,
and look upon her with sweet, affectionate smiles all the time. And
many a one will wonder, perhaps, who that can be, so favored, so
distinguished. They will never imagine it to be the glorified body of a
poor, old, black slave, from such a wretched home,--will they?

If there are TWO heavens, I would like to be admitted to hers,--wouldn't
you?





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