Harriet E. Wilson
Part 2 out of 2
should not be whipped or be punished at all.
You have not treated her, mother, so as to gain
her love; she is only exhibiting your remissness
in this matter."
She only smothered her resentment until a
convenient opportunity offered. The first time
she was left alone with Nig, she gave her a
thorough beating, to bring up arrearages; and
threatened, if she ever exposed her to James,
she would "cut her tongue out."
James found her, upon his return, sobbing;
but fearful of revenge, she dared not answer his
queries. He guessed their cause, and longed for
returning health to take her under his pro-
SPIRITUAL CONDITION OF NIG.
"What are our joys but dreams? and what our hopes
But goodly shadows in the summer cloud?"
H. K. W.
JAMES did not improve as was hoped. Month
after month passed away, and brought no pros-
pect of returning health. He could not walk
far from the house for want of strength; but he
loved to sit with Aunt Abby in her quiet room,
talking of unseen glories, and heart-experiences,
while planning for the spiritual benefit of those
around them. In these confidential interviews,
Frado was never omitted. They would discuss
the prevalent opinion of the public, that people
of color are really inferior; incapable of cultiva-
tion and refinement. They would glance at the
qualities of Nig, which promised so much if
rightly directed. "I wish you would take her,
James, when you are well, home with YOU," said
Aunt Abby, in one of these seasons.
"Just what I am longing to do, Aunt Abby.
Susan is just of my mind, and we intend to take
her; I have been wishing to do so for years."
"She seems much affected by what she hears
at the evening meetings, and asks me many
questions on serious things; seems to love to
read the Bible; I feel hopes of her."
"I hope she IS thoughtful; no one has a kinder
heart, one capable of loving more devotedly.
But to think how prejudiced the world are to-
wards her people; that she must be reared in
such ignorance as to drown all the finer feelings.
When I think of what she might be, of what she
will be, I feel like grasping time till opinions
change, and thousands like her rise into a noble
freedom. I have seen Frado's grief, because she
is black, amount to agony. It makes me sick to
recall these scenes. Mother pretends to think
she don't know enough to sorrow for anything;
but if she could see her as I have, when she sup-
posed herself entirely alone, except her little dog
Fido, lamenting her loneliness and complexion, I
think, if she is not past feeling, she would retract.
In the summer I was walking near the barn, and
as I stood I heard sobs. 'Oh! oh!' I heard,
'why was I made? why can't I die? Oh, what
have I to live for? No one cares for me only to
get my work. And I feel sick; who cares for
that? Work as long as I can stand, and then
fall down and lay there till I can get up. No
mother, father, brother or sister to care for me,
and then it is, You lazy nigger, lazy nigger--all
because I am black! Oh, if I could die!'
"I stepped into the barn, where I could see
her. She was crouched down by the hay with
her faithful friend Fido, and as she ceased speak-
ing, buried her face in her hands, and cried bit-
terly; then, patting Fido, she kissed him, saying,
'You love me, Fido, don't you? but we must go
work in the field.' She started on her mission;
I called her to me, and told her she need not go,
the hay was doing well.
"She has such confidence in me that she will
do just as I tell her; so we found a seat under
a shady tree, and there I took the opportunity to
combat the notions she seemed to entertain
respecting the loneliness of her condition and
want of sympathizing friends. I assured her that
mother's views were by no means general; that
in our part of the country there were thousands
upon thousands who favored the elevation of
her race, disapproving of oppression in all its
forms; that she was not unpitied, friendless, and
utterly despised; that she might hope for better
things in the future. Having spoken these
words of comfort, I rose with the resolution that
if I recovered my health I would take her home
with me, whether mother was willing or not."
"I don't know what your mother would do
without her; still, I wish she was away."
Susan now came for her long absent husband,
and they returned home to their room.
The month of November was one of great
anxiety on James's account. He was rapidly
A celebrated physician was called, and per-
formed a surgical operation, as a last means.
Should this fail, there was no hope. Of course
he was confined wholly to his room, mostly to
his bed. With all his bodily suffering, all his
anxiety for his family, whom he might not live
to protect, he did not forget Frado. He shielded
her from many beatings, and every day imparted
religious instructions. No one, but his wife,
could move him so easily as Frado; so that in
addition to her daily toil she was often deprived
of her rest at night.
Yet she insisted on being called; she wished
to show her love for one who had been such a
friend to her. Her anxiety and grief increased
as the probabilities of his recovery became
Mrs. Bellmont found her weeping on his ac-
count, shut her up, and whipped her with the
raw-hide, adding an injunction never to be seen
snivelling again because she had a little work to
do. She was very careful never to shed tears on
his account, in her presence, afterwards.
VISITOR AND DEPARTURE.
--"Other cares engross me, and my tired soul with emulative haste,
Looks to its God."
THE brother associated with James in business,
in Baltimore, was sent for to confer with one
who might never be able to see him there.
James began to speak of life as closing; of
heaven, as of a place in immediate prospect; of
aspirations, which waited for fruition in glory.
His brother, Lewis by name, was an especial fa-
vorite of sister Mary; more like her, in disposi-
tion and preferences than James or Jack.
He arrived as soon as possible after the re-
quest, and saw with regret the sure indications
of fatality in his sick brother, and listened to his
admonitions--admonitions to a Christian life--
with tears, and uttered some promises of atten-
tion to the subject so dear to the heart of
How gladly he would have extended healing
aid. But, alas! it was not in his power; so,
after listening to his wishes and arrangements
for his family and business, he decided to return
Anxious for company home, he persuaded his
father and mother to permit Mary to attend him.
She was not at all needed in the sick room; she
did not choose to be useful in the kitchen, and
then she was fully determined to go.
So all the trunks were assembled and cram-
med with the best selections from the wardrobe
of herself and mother, where the last-mentioned
articles could be appropriated.
"Nig was never so helpful before," Mary re-
marked, and wondered what had induced such a
change in place of former sullenness.
Nig was looking further than the present, and
congratulating herself upon some days of peace,
for Mary never lost opportunity of informing
her mother of Nig's delinquencies, were she
Was it strange if she were officious, with such
relief in prospect?
The parting from the sick brother was tearful
and sad. James prayed in their presence for
their renewal in holiness; and urged their im-
mediate attention to eternal realities, and gained
a promise that Susan and Charlie should share
their kindest regards.
No sooner were they on their way, than Nig
slyly crept round to Aunt Abby's room, and tip-
toeing and twisting herself into all shapes, she
"She's gone, Aunt Abby, she's gone, fairly
gone;" and jumped up and down, till Aunt
Abby feared she would attract the notice of her
mistress by such demonstrations.
"Well, she's gone, gone, Aunt Abby. I hope
she'll never come back again."
"No! no! Frado, that's wrong! you would
be wishing her dead; that won't do."
"Well, I'll bet she'll never come back again;
somehow, I feel as though she wouldn't."
"She is James's sister," remonstrated Aunt
"So is our cross sheep just as much, that I
ducked in the river; I'd like to try my hand at
curing HER too."
"But you forget what our good minister told
us last week, about doing good to those that
"Didn't I do good, Aunt Abby, when I washed
and ironed and packed her old duds to get rid
of her, and helped her pack her trunks, and run
here and there for her?"
"Well, well, Frado; you must go finish your
work, or your mistress will be after you, and
remind you severely of Miss Mary, and some
Nig went as she was told, and her clear voice
was heard as she went, singing in joyous notes
the relief she felt at the removal of one of her
Day by day the quiet of the sick man's room
was increased. He was helpless and nervous;
and often wished change of position, thereby
hoping to gain momentary relief. The calls
upon Frado were consequently more frequent,
her nights less tranquil. Her health was im-
paired by lifting the sick man, and by drudgery
in the kitchen. Her ill health she endeavored
to conceal from James, fearing he might have
less repose if there should be a change of at-
tendants; and Mrs. Bellmont, she well knew,
would have no sympathy for her. She was at
last so much reduced as to be unable to stand
erect for any great length of time. She would
SIT at the table to wash her dishes; if she heard
the well-known step of her mistress, she would
rise till she returned to her room, and then sink
down for further rest. Of course she was longer
than usual in completing the services assigned
her. This was a subject of complaint to Mrs.
Bellmont; and Frado endeavored to throw off
all appearance of sickness in her presence.
But it was increasing upon her, and she could
no longer hide her indisposition. Her mistress
entered one day, and finding her seated, com-
manded her to go to work. "I am sick," replied
Frado, rising and walking slowly to her unfin-
ished task, "and cannot stand long, I feel so
Angry that she should venture a reply to her
command, she suddenly inflicted a blow which
lay the tottering girl prostrate on the floor. Ex-
cited by so much indulgence of a dangerous pas-
sion, she seemed left to unrestrained malice; and
snatching a towel, stuffed the mouth of the suf-
ferer, and beat her cruelly.
Frado hoped she would end her misery by
whipping her to death. She bore it with the
hope of a martyr, that her misery would soon
close. Though her mouth was muffled, and the
sounds much stifled, there was a sensible com-
motion, which James' quick ear detected.
"Call Frado to come here," he said faintly, "I
have not seen her to-day."
Susan retired with the request to the kitchen,
where it was evident some brutal scene had just
Mrs. Bellmont replied that she had "some
work to do just now; when that was done, she
Susan's appearance confirmed her husband's
fears, and he requested his father, who sat by
the bedside, to go for her. This was a messen-
ger, as James well knew, who could not be de-
nied; and the girl entered the room, sobbing
and faint with anguish.
James called her to him, and inquired the
cause of her sorrow. She was afraid to expose
the cruel author of her misery, lest she should
provoke new attacks. But after much entreaty,
she told him all, much which had escaped his
watchful ear. Poor James shut his eyes in
silence, as if pained to forgetfulness by the re-
cital. Then turning to Susan, he asked her to
take Charlie, and walk out; "she needed the
fresh air," he said. "And say to mother I wish
Frado to sit by me till you return. I think you
are fading, from staying so long in this sick
room." Mr. B. also left, and Frado was thus left
alone with her friend. Aunt Abby came in to
make her daily visit, and seeing the sick coun-
tenance of the attendant, took her home with
her to administer some cordial. She soon re-
turned, however, and James kept her with him
the rest of the day; and a comfortable night's
repose following, she was enabled to continue, as
usual, her labors. James insisted on her attend-
ing religious meetings in the vicinity with Aunt
Frado, under the instructions of Aunt Abby
and the minister, became a believer in a future
existence--one of happiness or misery. Her
doubt was, IS there a heaven for the black? She
knew there was one for James, and Aunt Abby,
and all good white people; but was there any
for blacks? She had listened attentively to all
the minister said, and all Aunt Abby had told
her; but then it was all for white people.
As James approached that blessed world, she
felt a strong desire to follow, and be with one
who was such a dear, kind friend to her.
While she was exercised with these desires
and aspirations, she attended an evening meet-
ing with Aunt Abby, and the good man urged
all, young or old, to accept the offers of mercy,
to receive a compassionate Jesus as their Sa-
viour. "Come to Christ," he urged, "all, young
or old, white or black, bond or free, come all to
Christ for pardon; repent, believe."
This was the message she longed to hear; it
seemed to be spoken for her. But he had told
them to repent; "what was that?" she asked.
She knew she was unfit for any heaven, made
for whites or blacks. She would gladly repent,
or do anything which would admit her to share
the abode of James.
Her anxiety increased; her countenance bore
marks of solicitude unseen before; and though
she said nothing of her inward contest, they all
observed a change.
James and Aunt Abby hoped it was the
springing of good seed sown by the Spirit of
God. Her tearful attention at the last meeting
encouraged his aunt to hope that her mind was
awakened, her conscience aroused. Aunt Abby
noticed that she was particularly engaged in
reading the Bible; and this strengthened her
conviction that a heavenly Messenger was striv-
ing with her. The neighbors dropped in to in-
quire after the sick, and also if Frado was
"SERIOUS?" They noticed she seemed very
thoughtful and tearful at the meetings. Mrs. Reed
was very inquisitive; but Mrs. Bellmont saw no ap-
pearance of change for the better. She did not
feel responsible for her spiritual culture, and
hardly believed she had a soul.
Nig was in truth suffering much; her feelings
were very intense on any subject, when once
aroused. She read her Bible carefully, and as
often as an opportunity presented, which was
when entirely secluded in her own apartment,
or by Aunt Abby's side, who kindly directed her
to Christ, and instructed her in the way of salva-
Mrs. Bellmont found her one day quietly
reading her Bible. Amazed and half crediting
the reports of officious neighbors, she felt it was
time to interfere. Here she was, reading and
shedding tears over the Bible. She ordered her
to put up the book, and go to work, and not be
snivelling about the house, or stop to read
But there was one little spot seldom penetra-
ted by her mistress' watchful eye: this was her
room, uninviting and comfortless; but to her-
self a safe retreat. Here she would listen to the
pleadings of a Saviour, and try to penetrate the
veil of doubt and sin which clouded her soul,
and long to cast off the fetters of sin, and rise
to the communion of saints.
Mrs. Bellmont, as we before said, did not trou-
ble herself about the future destiny of her ser-
vant. If she did what she desired for HER bene-
fit, it was all the responsibility she acknowledged.
But she seemed to have great aversion to the
notice Nig would attract should she become
pious. How could she meet this case? She re-
solved to make her complaint to John. Strange,
when she was always foiled in this direction, she
should resort to him. It was time something
was done; she had begun to read the Bible openly.
The night of this discovery, as they were
retiring, Mrs. Bellmont introduced the conver-
sation, by saying:
"I want your attention to what I am going
to say. I have let Nig go out to evening meet-
ings a few times, and, if you will believe it, I
found her reading the Bible to-day, just as
though she expected to turn pious nigger, and
preach to white folks. So now you see what
good comes of sending her to school. If she
should get converted she would have to go to
meeting: at least, as long as James lives. I wish
he had not such queer notions about her. It
seems to trouble him to know he must die and
leave her. He says if he should get well he
would take her home with him, or educate her
here. Oh, how awful! What can the child
mean? So careful, too, of her! He says we
shall ruin her health making her work so hard,
and sleep in such a place. O, John! do you
think he is in his right mind?"
"Yes, yes; she is slender."
"Yes, YES!" she repeated sarcastically, "you
know these niggers are just like black snakes;
you CAN'T kill them. If she wasn't tough she
would have been killed long ago. There was
never one of my girls could do half the work."
"Did they ever try?" interposed her husband.
"I think she can do more than all of them
"What a man!" said she, peevishly. "But I
want to know what is going to be done with her
about getting pious?"
"Let her do just as she has a mind to. If it
is a comfort to her, let her enjoy the privilege of
being good. I see no objection."
"I should think YOU were crazy, sure. Don't
you know that every night she will want to go
toting off to meeting? and Sundays, too? and
you know we have a great deal of company
Sundays, and she can't be spared."
"I thought you Christians held to going to
church," remarked Mr. B.
"Yes, but who ever thought of having a nig-
ger go, except to drive others there? Why,
according to you and James, we should very
soon have her in the parlor, as smart as our
own girls. It's of no use talking to you or
James. If you should go on as you would like,
it would not be six months before she would be
leaving me; and that won't do. Just think how
much profit she was to us last summer. We
had no work hired out; she did the work of two
"And got the whippings for two with it!"
remarked Mr. Bellmont.
"I'll beat the money out of her, if I can't get
her worth any other way," retorted Mrs. B.
sharply. While this scene was passing, Frado
was trying to utter the prayer of the publican,
"God be merciful to me a sinner."
We have now
But a small portion of what men call time,
To hold communion.
SPRING opened, and James, instead of rallying,
as was hoped, grew worse daily. Aunt Abby
and Frado were the constant allies of Susan.
Mrs. Bellmont dared not lift him. She was not
"strong enough," she said.
It was very offensive to Mrs. B. to have Nab
about James so much. She had thrown out
many a hint to detain her from so often visiting
the sick-room; but Aunt Abby was too well
accustomed to her ways to mind them. After
various unsuccessful efforts, she resorted to the
following expedient. As she heard her cross
the entry below, to ascend the stairs, she slipped
out and held the latch of the door which led
into the upper entry.
"James does not want to see you, or any one
else," she said.
Aunt Abby hesitated, and returned slowly to
her own room; wondering if it were really
James' wish not to see her. She did not ven-
ture again that day, but still felt disturbed and
anxious about him. She inquired of Frado, and
learned that he was no worse. She asked her if
James did not wish her to come and see him;
what could it mean?
Quite late next morning, Susan came to see
what had become of her aunt.
"Your mother said James did not wish to see
me, and I was afraid I tired him."
"Why, aunt, that is a mistake, I KNOW. What
could mother mean?" asked Susan.
The next time she went to the sitting-room
she asked her mother,--
"Why does not Aunt Abby visit James as she
has done? Where is she?"
"At home. I hope that she will stay there,"
was the answer.
"I should think she would come in and see
James," continued Susan.
"I told her he did not want to see her, and to stay
out. You need make no stir about it; remem-
ber:" she added, with one of her fiery glances.
Susan kept silence. It was a day or two
before James spoke of her absence. The family
were at dinner, and Frado was watching beside
him. He inquired the cause of her absence,
and SHE told him all. After the family returned
he sent his wife for her. When she entered, he
took her hand, and said, "Come to me often,
Aunt. Come any time,--I am always glad to
see you. I have but a little longer to be with
you,--come often, Aunt. Now please help lift
me up, and see if I can rest a little."
Frado was called in, and Susan and Mrs. B. all
attempted; Mrs. B. was too weak; she did not
feel able to lift so much. So the three suc-
ceeded in relieving the sufferer.
Frado returned to her work. Mrs. B. fol-
lowed. Seizing Frado, she said she would "cure
her of tale-bearing," and, placing the wedge of
wood between her teeth, she beat her cruelly
with the raw-hide. Aunt Abby heard the blows,
and came to see if she could hinder them.
Surprised at her sudden appearance, Mrs. B.
suddenly stopped, but forbade her removing the
wood till she gave her permission, and com-
manded Nab to go home.
She was thus tortured when Mr. Bellmont
came in, and, making inquiries which she did
not, because she could not, answer, approached
her; and seeing her situation, quickly removed
the instrument of torture, and sought his wife.
Their conversation we will omit; suffice it to
say, a storm raged which required many days to
exhaust its strength.
Frado was becoming seriously ill. She had
no relish for food, and was constantly over-
worked, and then she had such solicitude about
the future. She wished to pray for pardon.
She did try to pray. Her mistress had told her
it would "do no good for her to attempt prayer;
prayer was for whites, not for blacks. If she
minded her mistress, and did what she com-
manded, it was all that was required of her."
This did not satisfy her, or appease her long-
ings. She knew her instructions did not har-
monize with those of the man of God or Aunt
Abby's. She resolved to persevere. She said
nothing on the subject, unless asked. It was
evident to all her mind was deeply exercised.
James longed to speak with her alone on the
subject. An opportunity presented soon, while
the family were at tea. It was usual to sum-
mon Aunt Abby to keep company with her, as
his death was expected hourly.
As she took her accustomed seat, he asked,
"Are you afraid to stay with me alone, Frado?"
"No," she replied, and stepped to the window
to conceal her emotion.
"Come here, and sit by me; I wish to talk
She approached him, and, taking her hand, he
"How poor you are, Frado! I want to tell
you that I fear I shall never be able to talk with
you again. It is the last time, perhaps, I shall
EVER talk with you. You are old enough to
remember my dying words and profit by them.
I have been sick a long time; I shall die pretty
soon. My Heavenly Father is calling me home.
Had it been his will to let me live I should take
you to live with me; but, as it is, I shall go and
leave you. But, Frado, if you will be a good
girl, and love and serve God, it will be but a
short time before we are in a HEAVENLY home to-
gether. There will never be any sickness or
Frado, overcome with grief, sobbed, and buried
her face in his pillow. She expected he would
die; but to hear him speak of his departure him-
self was unexpected.
"Bid me good bye, Frado."
She kissed him, and sank on her knees by
his bedside; his hand rested on her head; his
eyes were closed; his lips moved in prayer
for this disconsolate child.
His wife entered, and interpreting the scene,
gave him some restoratives, and withdrew for
a short time.
It was a great effort for Frado to cease
sobbing; but she dared not be seen below in
tears; so she choked her grief, and descended
to her usual toil. Susan perceived a change
in her husband. She felt that death was near.
He tenderly looked on her, and said, "Susan,
my wife, our farewells are all spoken. I feel
prepared to go. I shall meet you in heaven.
Death is indeed creeping fast upon me. Let
me see them all once more. Teach Charlie
the way to heaven; lead him up as you come."
The family all assembled. He could not
talk as he wished to them. He seemed to
sink into unconsciousness. They watched him
for hours. He had labored hard for breath
some time, when he seemed to awake sud-
denly, and exclaimed, "Hark! do you hear
"Hear what, my son?" asked the father.
"Their call. Look, look, at the shining
ones! Oh, let me go and be at rest!"
As if waiting for this petition, the Angel of
Death severed the golden thread, and he was
in heaven. At midnight the messenger came.
They called Frado to see his last struggle.
Sinking on her knees at the foot of his bed,
she buried her face in the clothes, and wept
like one inconsolable. They led her from the
room. She seemed to be too much absorbed
to know it was necessary for her to leave.
Next day she would steal into the chamber
as often as she could, to weep over his remains,
and ponder his last words to her. She moved
about the house like an automaton. Every
duty performed--but an abstraction from all,
which shewed her thoughts were busied else-
where. Susan wished her to attend his burial
as one of the family. Lewis and Mary and
Jack it was not thought best to send for, as
the season would not allow them time for the
journey. Susan provided her with a dress for
the occasion, which was her first intimation
that she would be allowed to mingle her grief
The day of the burial she was attired in
her mourning dress; but Susan, in her grief,
had forgotten a bonnet.
She hastily ransacked the closets, and found
one of Mary's, trimmed with bright pink ribbon.
It was too late to change the ribbon, and
she was unwilling to leave Frado at home;
she knew it would be the wish of James she
should go with her. So tying it on, she said,
"Never mind, Frado, you shall see where our
dear James is buried." As she passed out, she
heard the whispers of the by-standers, "Look
there! see there! how that looks,--a black
dress and a pink ribbon!"
Another time, such remarks would have
wounded Frado. She had now a sorrow with
which such were small in comparison.
As she saw his body lowered in the grave
she wished to share it; but she was not fit to
die. She could not go where he was if she
did. She did not love God; she did not serve
him or know how to.
She retired at night to mourn over her
unfitness for heaven, and gaze out upon the
stars, which, she felt, studded the entrance of
heaven, above which James reposed in the
bosom of Jesus, to which her desires were has-
tening. She wished she could see God, and
ask him for eternal life. Aunt Abby had taught
her that He was ever looking upon her. Oh,
if she could see him, or hear him speak words
of forgiveness. Her anxiety increased; her
health seemed impaired, and she felt constrained
to go to Aunt Abby and tell her all about her
She received her like a returning wanderer;
seriously urged her to accept of Christ; ex-
plained the way; read to her from the Bible,
and remarked upon such passages as applied
to her state. She warned her against stifling
that voice which was calling her to heaven;
echoed the farewell words of James, and told
her to come to her with her difficulties, and
not to delay a duty so important as attention
to the truths of religion, and her soul's interests.
Mrs. Bellmont would occasionally give in-
struction, though far different. She would tell
her she could not go where James was; she
need not try. If she should get to heaven at
all, she would never be as high up as he.
HE was the attraction. Should she "want
to go there if she could not see him?"
Mrs. B. seldom mentioned her bereavement,
unless in such allusion to Frado. She donned
her weeds from custom; kept close her crape
veil for so many Sabbaths, and abated nothing
of her characteristic harshness.
The clergyman called to minister consolation
to the afflicted widow and mother. Aunt Abby
seeing him approach the dwelling, knew at once
the object of his visit, and followed him to the
parlor, unasked by Mrs. B! What a daring
affront! The good man dispensed the conso-
lations, of which he was steward, to the appar-
ently grief-smitten mother, who talked like one
schooled in a heavenly atmosphere. Such resig-
nation expressed, as might have graced the trial
of the holiest. Susan, like a mute sufferer,
bared her soul to his sympathy and godly
counsel, but only replied to his questions in
short syllables. When he offered prayer, Frado
stole to the door that she might hear of the
heavenly bliss of one who was her friend on
earth. The prayer caused profuse weeping, as
any tender reminder of the heaven-born was
sure to. When the good man's voice ceased,
she returned to her toil, carefully removing all
trace of sorrow. Her mistress soon followed,
irritated by Nab's impudence in presenting her-
self unasked in the parlor, and upbraided her
with indolence, and bade her apply herself more
diligently. Stung by unmerited rebuke, weak
from sorrow and anxiety, the tears rolled down
her dark face, soon followed by sobs, and then
losing all control of herself, she wept aloud.
This was an act of disobedience. Her mistress
grasping her raw-hide, caused a longer flow of
tears, and wounded a spirit that was craving
Neath the billows of the ocean,
Hidden treasures wait the hand,
That again to light shall raise them
With the diver's magic wand.
G. W. COOK.
THE family, gathered by James' decease, re-
turned to their homes. Susan and Charles
returned to Baltimore. Letters were received
from the absent, expressing their sympathy
and grief. The father bowed like a "bruised
reed," under the loss of his beloved son. He
felt desirous to die the death of the righteous;
also, conscious that he was unprepared, he
resolved to start on the narrow way, and some
time solicit entrance through the gate which
leads to the celestial city. He acknowledged his
too ready acquiescence with Mrs. B., in permit-
ting Frado to be deprived of her only religious
privileges for weeks together. He accordingly
asked his sister to take her to meeting once
more, which she was ready at once to do.
The first opportunity they once more at-
tended meeting together. The minister con-
versed faithfully with every person present.
He was surprised to find the little colored girl
so solicitous, and kindly directed her to the
flowing fountain where she might wash and
be clean. He inquired of the origin of her
anxiety, of her progress up to this time, and
endeavored to make Christ, instead of James,
the attraction of Heaven. He invited her to
come to his house, to speak freely her mind
to him, to pray much, to read her Bible often.
The neighbors, who were at meeting,--among
them Mrs. Reed,--discussed the opinions Mrs.
Bellmont would express on the subject. Mrs.
Reed called and informed Mrs. B. that her col-
ored girl "related her experience the other
night at the meeting."
"What experience?" asked she, quickly, as
if she expected to hear the number of times
she had whipped Frado, and the number of
lashes set forth in plain Arabic numbers.
"Why, you know she is serious, don't you?
She told the minister about it."
Mrs. B. made no reply, but changed the
subject adroitly. Next morning she told Frado
she "should not go out of the house for one
while, except on errands; and if she did not
stop trying to be religious, she would whip
her to death."
Frado pondered; her mistress was a professor
of religion; was SHE going to heaven? then she
did not wish to go. If she should be near James,
even, she could not be happy with those fiery
eyes watching her ascending path. She resolved
to give over all thought of the future world,
and strove daily to put her anxiety far from
Mr. Bellmont found himself unable to do what
James or Jack could accomplish for her. He
talked with her seriously, told her he had seen
her many times punished undeservedly; he did
not wish to have her saucy or disrespectful, but
when she was SURE she did not deserve a whip-
ping, to avoid it if she could. "You are look-
ing sick," he added, "you cannot endure beating
as you once could."
It was not long before an opportunity offered
of profiting by his advice. She was sent for
wood, and not returning as soon as Mrs. B. cal-
culated, she followed her, and, snatching from
the pile a stick, raised it over her.
"Stop!" shouted Frado, "strike me, and I'll
never work a mite more for you;" and throw-
ing down what she had gathered, stood like one
who feels the stirring of free and independent
By this unexpected demonstration, her mis-
tress, in amazement, dropped her weapon, desist-
ing from her purpose of chastisement. Frado
walked towards the house, her mistress following
with the wood she herself was sent after. She
did not know, before, that she had a power to
ward off assaults. Her triumph in seeing her
enter the door with HER burden, repaid her for
much of her former suffering.
It was characteristic of Mrs. B. never to rise
in her majesty, unless she was sure she should
This affair never met with an "after clap," like
Thus passed a year. The usual amount of
scolding, but fewer whippings. Mrs. B. longed
once more for Mary's return, who had been
absent over a year; and she wrote imperatively
for her to come quickly to her. A letter came
in reply, announcing that she would comply as
soon as she was sufficiently recovered from an
illness which detained her.
No serious apprehensions were cherished by
either parent, who constantly looked for notice
of her arrival, by mail. Another letter brought
tidings that Mary was seriously ill; her mother's
presence was solicited.
She started without delay. Before she reached
her destination, a letter came to the parents
announcing her death.
No sooner was the astounding news received,
than Frado rushed into Aunt Abby's, exclaim-
"She's dead, Aunt Abby!"
"Who?" she asked, terrified by the unpre-
"Mary; they've just had a letter."
As Mrs. B. was away, the brother and sister
could freely sympathize, and she sought him in
this fresh sorrow, to communicate such solace as
she could, and to learn particulars of Mary's
untimely death, and assist him in his journey
It seemed a thanksgiving to Frado. Every
hour or two she would pop in into Aunt Abby's
room with some strange query:
"She got into the RIVER again, Aunt Abby,
didn't she; the Jordan is a big one to tumble into,
any how. S'posen she goes to hell, she'll be as
black as I am. Wouldn't mistress be mad to see
her a nigger!" and others of a similar stamp,
not at all acceptable to the pious, sympathetic
dame; but she could not evade them.
The family returned from their sorrowful
journey, leaving the dead behind. Nig looked
for a change in her tyrant; what could subdue
her, if the loss of her idol could not?
Never was Mrs. B. known to shed tears so pro-
fusely, as when she reiterated to one and another
the sad particulars of her darling's sickness and
death. There was, indeed, a season of quiet
grief; it was the lull of the fiery elements. A
few weeks revived the former tempests, and so
at variance did they seem with chastisement
sanctified, that Frado felt them to be unbear-
able. She determined to flee. But where?
Who would take her? Mrs. B. had always repre-
sented her ugly. Perhaps every one thought
her so. Then no one would take her. She was
black, no one would love her. She might have
to return, and then she would be more in her
mistress' power than ever.
She remembered her victory at the wood-pile.
She decided to remain to do as well as she could;
to assert her rights when they were trampled
on; to return once more to her meeting in
the evening, which had been prohibited. She
had learned how to conquer; she would not
abuse the power while Mr. Bellmont was at
But had she not better run away? Where?
She had never been from the place far enough
to decide what course to take. She resolved to
speak to Aunt Abby. SHE mapped the dangers
of her course, her liability to fail in finding so
good friends as John and herself. Frado's mind
was busy for days and nights. She contem-
plated administering poison to her mistress, to
rid herself and the house of so detestable a
But she was restrained by an overruling Prov-
idence; and finally decided to stay contentedly
through her period of service, which would ex-
pire when she was eighteen years of age.
In a few months Jane returned home with her
family, to relieve her parents, upon whom years
and affliction had left the marks of age. The
years intervening since she had left her home,
had, in some degree, softened the opposition to
her unsanctioned marriage with George. The
more Mrs. B. had about her, the more ener-
getic seemed her directing capabilities, and her
fault-finding propensities. Her own, she had full
power over; and Jane after vain endeavors, be-
came disgusted, weary, and perplexed, and de-
cided that, though her mother might suffer, she
could not endure her home. They followed Jack
to the West. Thus vanished all hopes of sym-
pathy or relief from this source to Frado. There
seemed no one capable of enduring the oppres-
sions of the house but her. She turned to the
darkness of the future with the determination
previously formed, to remain until she should be
eighteen. Jane begged her to follow her so
soon as she should be released; but so wearied
out was she by her mistress, she felt disposed to
flee from any and every one having her simili-
tude of name or feature.
Crucified the hopes that cheered me,
All that to the earth endeared me;
Love of wealth and fame and power,
Love,--all have been crucified.
DARKNESS before day. Jane left, but Jack was
now to come again. After Mary's death he vis-
ited home, leaving a wife behind. An orphan
whose home was with a relative, gentle, loving,
the true mate of kind, generous Jack. His
mother was a stranger to her, of course, and
had perfect right to interrogate:
"Is she good looking, Jack?" asked his
"Looks well to me," was the laconic reply.
"Was her FATHER rich?"
"Not worth a copper, as I know of; I never
asked him," answered Jack.
"Hadn't she any property? What did you
marry her for," asked his mother.
"Oh, she's WORTH A MILLION dollars, mother,
though not a cent of it is in money."
"Jack! what do you want to bring such a
poor being into the family, for? You'd better
stay here, at home, and let your wife go. Why
couldn't you try to do better, and not disgrace
"Don't judge, till you see her," was Jack's
reply, and immediately changed the subject.
It was no recommendation to his mother, and
she did not feel prepared to welcome her cor-
dially now he was to come with his wife. He
was indignant at his mother's advice to desert
her. It rankled bitterly in his soul, the bare
suggestion. He had more to bring. He now
came with a child also. He decided to leave the
West, but not his family.
Upon their arrival, Mrs. B. extended a cold
welcome to her new daughter, eyeing her dress
with closest scrutiny. Poverty was to her a
disgrace, and she could not associate with any
thus dishonored. This coldness was felt by Jack's
worthy wife, who only strove the harder to
recommend herself by her obliging, winning
Mrs. B. could never let Jack be with her
alone without complaining of this or that de-
ficiency in his wife.
He cared not so long as the complaints were
piercing his own ears. He would not have
Jenny disquieted. He passed his time in seek-
A letter came from his brother Lewis, then at
the South, soliciting his services. Leaving his
wife, he repaired thither.
Mrs. B. felt that great restraint was removed,
that Jenny was more in her own power. She
wished to make her feel her inferiority; to
relieve Jack of his burden if he would not do
it himself. She watched her incessantly, to
catch at some act of Jenny's which might be
construed into conjugal unfaithfulness.
Near by were a family of cousins, one a
young man of Jack's age, who, from love to his
cousin, proffered all needful courtesy to his
stranger relative. Soon news reached Jack that
Jenny was deserting her covenant vows, and
had formed an illegal intimacy with his cousin.
Meantime Jenny was told by her mother-in-
law that Jack did not marry her untrammelled.
He had another love whom he would be glad,
even now, if he could, to marry. It was very
doubtful if he ever came for her.
Jenny would feel pained by her unwelcome
gossip, and, glancing at her child, she decided,
however true it might be, she had a pledge
which would enchain him yet. Ere long, the
mother's inveterate hate crept out into some
neighbor's enclosure, and, caught up hastily,
they passed the secret round till it became none,
and Lewis was sent for, the brother by whom
Jack was employed. The neighbors saw her
fade in health and spirits; they found letters
never reached their destination when sent by
either. Lewis arrived with the joyful news
that he had come to take Jenny home with
What a relief to her to be freed from the
gnawing taunts of her adversary.
Jenny retired to prepare for the journey, and
Mrs. B. and Henry had a long interview. Next
morning he informed Jenny that new clothes
would be necessary, in order to make her pre-
sentable to Baltimore society, and he should
return without her, and she must stay till she
was suitably attired.
Disheartened, she rushed to her room, and,
after relief from weeping, wrote to Jack to
come; to have pity on her, and take her to him.
No answer came. Mrs. Smith, a neighbor, watch-
ful and friendly, suggested that she write away
from home, and employ some one to carry it to
the office who would elude Mrs. B., who, they
very well knew, had intercepted Jenny's letter,
and influenced Lewis to leave her behind. She
accepted the offer, and Frado succeeded in man-
aging the affair so that Jack soon came to the
rescue, angry, wounded, and forever after alien-
ated from his early home and his mother. Many
times would Frado steal up into Jenny's room,
when she knew she was tortured by her mis-
tress' malignity, and tell some of her own
encounters with her, and tell her she might "be
sure it wouldn't kill her, for she should have
died long before at the same treatment."
Susan and her child succeeded Jenny as vis-
itors. Frado had merged into womanhood, and,
retaining what she had learned, in spite of the
few privileges enjoyed formerly, was striving to
enrich her mind. Her school-books were her
constant companions, and every leisure moment
was applied to them. Susan was delighted to
witness her progress, and some little book from
her was a reward sufficient for any task im-
posed, however difficult. She had her book
always fastened open near her, where she could
glance from toil to soul refreshment. The
approaching spring would close the term of
years which Mrs. B. claimed as the period of
her servitude. Often as she passed the way-
marks of former years did she pause to ponder
on her situation, and wonder if she COULD
succeed in providing for her own wants. Her health
was delicate, yet she resolved to try.
Soon she counted the time by days which
should release her. Mrs. B. felt that she could
not well spare one who could so well adapt her-
self to all departments--man, boy, housekeeper,
domestic, etc. She begged Mrs. Smith to talk
with her, to show her how ungrateful it would
appear to leave a home of such comfort--how
wicked it was to be ungrateful! But Frado
replied that she had had enough of such com-
forts; she wanted some new ones; and as it was
so wicked to be ungrateful, she would go from
temptation; Aunt Abby said "we mustn't put
ourselves in the way of temptation."
Poor little Fido! She shed more tears over
him than over all beside.
The morning for departure dawned. Frado
engaged to work for a family a mile distant.
Mrs. Bellmont dismissed her with the assurance
that she would soon wish herself back again,
and a present of a silver half dollar.
Her wardrobe consisted of one decent dress,
without any superfluous accompaniments. A
Bible from Susan she felt was her greatest
Now was she alone in the world. The past
year had been one of suffering resulting from a
fall, which had left her lame.
The first summer passed pleasantly, and the
wages earned were expended in garments neces-
sary for health and cleanliness. Though feeble,
she was well satisfied with her progress. Shut
up in her room, after her toil was finished, she
studied what poor samples of apparel she had,
and, for the first time, prepared her own gar-
Mrs. Moore, who employed her, was a kind
friend to her, and attempted to heal her
wounded spirit by sympathy and advice, bury-
ing the past in the prospects of the future.
But her failing health was a cloud no kindly
human hand could dissipate. A little light
work was all she could accomplish. A clergy-
man, whose family was small, sought her, and
she was removed there. Her engagement with
Mrs. Moore finished in the fall. Frado was
anxious to keep up her reputation for efficiency,
and often pressed far beyond prudence. In the
winter she entirely gave up work, and confessed
herself thoroughly sick. Mrs. Hale, soon over-
come by additional cares, was taken sick also,
and now it became necessary to adopt some
measures for Frado's comfort, as well as to
relieve Mrs. Hale. Such dark forebodings as
visited her as she lay, solitary and sad, no moans
or sighs could relieve.
The family physician pronounced her case
one of doubtful issue. Frado hoped it was final.
She could not feel relentings that her former
home was abandoned, and yet, should she be in
need of succor could she obtain it from one who
would now so grudgingly bestow it? The
family were applied to, and it was decided to
take her there. She was removed to a room
built out from the main building, used formerly
as a workshop, where cold and rain found unob-
structed access, and here she fought with bitter
reminiscences and future prospects till she be-
came reckless of her faith and hopes and person,
and half wished to end what nature seemed so
tardily to take.
Aunt Abby made her frequent visits, and at
last had her removed to her own apartment,
where she might supply her wants, and minister
to her once more in heavenly things.
Then came the family consultation.
"What is to be done with her," asked Mrs. B.,
"after she is moved there with Nab?"
"Send for the Dr., your brother," Mr. B. re-
"To-night! and for her! Wait till morning,"
"She has waited too long now; I think some-
thing should be done soon."
"I doubt if she is much sick," sharply inter-
rupted Mrs. B.
"Well, we'll see what our brother thinks."
His coming was longed for by Frado, who had
known him well during her long sojourn in the
family; and his praise of her nice butter and
cheese, from which his table was supplied, she
knew he felt as well as spoke.
"You're sick, very sick," he said, quickly,
after a moment's pause. "Take good care of
her, Abby, or she'll never get well. All broken
"Yes, it was at Mrs. Moore's," said Mrs. B.,
"all this was done. She did but little the latter
part of the time she was here."
"It was commenced longer ago than last sum-
mer. Take good care of her; she may never
get well," remarked the Dr.
"We sha'n't pay you for doctoring her; you
may look to the town for that, sir," said Mrs. B.,
and abruptly left the room.
"Oh dear! oh dear!" exclaimed Frado, and
buried her face in the pillow.
A few kind words of consolation, and she was
once more alone in the darkness which envel-
oped her previous days. Yet she felt sure they
owed her a shelter and attention, when disabled,
and she resolved to feel patient, and remain till
she could help herself. Mrs. B. would not at-
tend her, nor permit her domestic to stay with
her at all. Aunt Abby was her sole comforter.
Aunt Abby's nursing had the desired effect, and
she slowly improved. As soon as she was able
to be moved, the kind Mrs. Moore took her to
her home again, and completed what Aunt Abby
had so well commenced. Not that she was well,
or ever would be; but she had recovered so far
as rendered it hopeful she might provide for her
own wants. The clergyman at whose house she
was taken sick, was now seeking some one to
watch his sick children, and as soon as he heard
of her recovery, again asked for her services.
What seemed so light and easy to others, was
too much for Frado; and it became necessary
to ask once more where the sick should find an
All felt that the place where her declining
health began, should be the place of relief; so
they applied once more for a shelter.
"No," exclaimed the indignant Mrs. B., "she
shall never come under this roof again;
never! never!" she repeated, as if each repeti-
tion were a bolt to prevent admission.
One only resource; the public must pay the
expense. So she was removed to the home of
two maidens, (old,) who had principle enough to
be willing to earn the money a charitable public
Three years of weary sickness wasted her,
without extinguishing a life apparently so fee-
ble. Two years had these maidens watched and
cared for her, and they began to weary, and
finally to request the authorities to remove her.
Mrs. Hoggs was a lover of gold and silver, and
she asked the favor of filling her coffers by caring
for the sick. The removal caused severe sick-
By being bolstered in the bed, after a time
she could use her hands, and often would ask for
sewing to beguile the tedium. She had become
very expert with her needle the first year of her
release from Mrs. B., and she had forgotten none
of her skill. Mrs. H. praised her, and as she im-
proved in health, was anxious to employ her.
She told her she could in this way replace her
clothes, and as her board would be paid for, she
would thus gain something.
Many times her hands wrought when her
body was in pain; but the hope that she might
yet help herself, impelled her on.
Thus she reckoned her store of means by a
few dollars, and was hoping soon to come in pos-
session, when she was startled by the announce-
ment that Mrs. Hoggs had reported her to the
physician and town officers as an impostor. That
she was, in truth, able to get up and go to work.
This brought on a severe sickness of two
weeks, when Mrs. Moore again sought her, and
took her to her home. She had formerly had
wealth at her command, but misfortune had de-
prived her of it, and unlocked her heart to sym-
pathies and favors she had never known while it
lasted. Her husband, defrauded of his last
means by a branch of the Bellmont family, had
supported them by manual labor, gone to the
West, and left his wife and four young children.
But she felt humanity required her to give a
shelter to one she knew to be worthy of a hospit-
able reception. Mrs. Moore's physician was
called, and pronounced her a very sick girl, and
encouraged Mrs. M. to keep her and care for her,
and he would see that the authorities were in-
formed of Frado's helplessness, and pledged as-
Here she remained till sufficiently restored to
sew again. Then came the old resolution to take
care of herself, to cast off the unpleasant chari-
ties of the public.
She learned that in some towns in Massachu-
setts, girls make straw bonnets--that it was
easy and profitable. But how should SHE, black,
feeble and poor, find any one to teach her. But
God prepares the way, when human agencies
see no path. Here was found a plain, poor, sim-
ple woman, who could see merit beneath a dark
skin; and when the invalid mulatto told her sor-
rows, she opened her door and her heart, and
took the stranger in. Expert with the needle,
Frado soon equalled her instructress; and she
sought also to teach her the value of useful
books; and while one read aloud to the other of
deeds historic and names renowned, Frado expe-
rienced a new impulse. She felt herself capable
of elevation; she felt that this book information
supplied an undefined dissatisfaction she had
long felt, but could not express. Every leisure
moment was carefully applied to self-improve-
ment, and a devout and Christian exterior in-
vited confidence from the villagers. Thus she
passed months of quiet, growing in the confi-
dence of her neighbors and new found friends.
THE WINDING UP OF THE MATTER.
Nothing new under the sun.
A FEW years ago, within the compass of my
narrative, there appeared often in some of our
New England villages, professed fugitives from
slavery, who recounted their personal experi-
ence in homely phrase, and awakened the indig-
nation of non-slaveholders against brother Pro.
Such a one appeared in the new home of Frado;
and as people of color were rare there, was it
strange she should attract her dark brother; that
he should inquire her out; succeed in seeing
her; feel a strange sensation in his heart towards
her; that he should toy with her shining curls,
feel proud to provoke her to smile and expose
the ivory concealed by thin, ruby lips; that her
sparkling eyes should fascinate; that he should
propose; that they should marry? A short ac-
quaintance was indeed an objection, but she saw
him often, and thought she knew him. He
never spoke of his enslavement to her when
alone, but she felt that, like her own oppression,
it was painful to disturb oftener than was
He was a fine, straight negro, whose back
showed no marks of the lash, erect as if it never
crouched beneath a burden. There was a silent
sympathy which Frado felt attracted her, and
she opened her heart to the presence of love--
that arbitrary and inexorable tyrant.
She removed to Singleton, her former resi-
dence, and there was married. Here were Fra-
do's first feelings of trust and repose on human
arm. She realized, for the first time, the relief
of looking to another for comfortable support.
Occasionally he would leave her to "lecture."
Those tours were prolonged often to weeks.
Of course he had little spare money. Frado was
again feeling her self-dependence, and was at
last compelled to resort alone to that. Samuel
was kind to her when at home, but made no pro-
vision for his absence, which was at last unprece-
He left her to her fate--embarked at sea,
with the disclosure that he had never seen the
South, and that his illiterate harangues were
humbugs for hungry abolitionists. Once more
alone! Yet not alone. A still newer compan-
ionship would soon force itself upon her. No
one wanted her with such prospects. Herself
was burden enough; who would have an addi-
The horrors of her condition nearly prostrated
her, and she was again thrown upon the public
for sustenance. Then followed the birth of her
child. The long absent Samuel unexpectedly
returned, and rescued her from charity. Recov-
ering from her expected illness, she once more
commenced toil for herself and child, in a room
obtained of a poor woman, but with better for-
tune. One so well known would not be wholly
neglected. Kind friends watched her when Sam-
uel was from home, prevented her from suffering,
and when the cold weather pinched the warmly
clad, a kind friend took them in, and thus pre-
served them. At last Samuel's business became
very engrossing, and after long desertion, news
reached his family that he had become a victim
of yellow fever, in New Orleans.
So much toil as was necessary to sustain Fra-
do, was more than she could endure. As soon
as her babe could be nourished without his
mother, she left him in charge of a Mrs. Capon,
and procured an agency, hoping to recruit her
health, and gain an easier livelihood for herself
and child. This afforded her better mainten-
ance than she had yet found. She passed into
the various towns of the State she lived in, then
into Massachusetts. Strange were some of her
adventures. Watched by kidnappers, maltreated
by professed abolitionists, who didn't want
slaves at the South, nor niggers in their own
houses, North. Faugh! to lodge one; to eat
with one; to admit one through the front door;
to sit next one; awful!
Traps slyly laid by the vicious to ensnare her,
she resolutely avoided. In one of her tours,
Providence favored her with a friend who, pity-
ing her cheerless lot, kindly provided her with a
valuable recipe, from which she might herself
manufacture a useful article for her maintenance.
This proved a more agreeable, and an easier way
And thus, to the present time, may you see
her busily employed in preparing her merchan-
dise; then sallying forth to encounter many
frowns, but some kind friends and purchasers.
Nothing turns her from her steadfast purpose of
elevating herself. Reposing on God, she has
thus far journeyed securely. Still an invalid, she
asks your sympathy, gentle reader. Refuse not,
because some part of her history is unknown,
save by the Omniscient God. Enough has been
unrolled to demand your sympathy and aid.
Do you ask the destiny of those connected
with her EARLY history? A few years only have
elapsed since Mr. and Mrs. B. passed into another
world. As age increased, Mrs. B. became more
irritable, so that no one, even her own children,
could remain with her; and she was accompa-
nied by her husband to the home of Lewis,
where, after an agony in death unspeakable, she
passed away. Only a few months since, Aunt
Abby entered heaven. Jack and his wife rest
in heaven, disturbed by no intruders; and Susan
and her child are yet with the living. Jane has
silver locks in place of auburn tresses, but she
has the early love of Henry still, and has never
regretted her exchange of lovers. Frado has
passed from their memories, as Joseph from the
butler's, but she will never cease to track them
till beyond mortal vision.
"TRUTH is stranger than fiction;" and whoever reads the
narrative of Alfrado, will find the assertion verified.
About eight years ago I became acquainted with the author
of this book, and I feel it a privilege to speak a few words
in her behalf. Through the instrumentality of an itinerant
colored lecturer, she was brought to W-----, Mass. This is
an ancient town, where the mothers and daughters seek, not
"wool and flax," but STRAW,--working willingly with their
hands! Here she was introduced to the family of Mrs.
Walker, who kindly consented to receive her as an inmate
of her household, and immediately succeeded in procuring
work for her as a "straw sewer." Being very ingenious,
she soon acquired the art of making hats; but on account
of former hard treatment, her constitution was greatly im-
paired, and she was subject to seasons of sickness. On this
account Mrs. W. gave her a room joining her own chamber,
where she could hear her faintest call. Never shall I forget
the expression of her "black, but comely" face, as she
came to me one day, exclaiming, "O, aunt J-----, I have at
last found a HOME,--and not only a home, but a MOTHER.
My cup runneth over. What shall I render to the Lord
for all his benefits?"
Months passed on, and she was HAPPY--truly happy.
Her health began to improve under the genial sunshine in
which she lived, and she even looked forward with HOPE--
joyful hope to the future. But, alas, "it is not in man that
walketh to direct his steps." One beautiful morning in the
early spring of 1842, as she was taking her usual walk, she
chanced to meet her old friend, the "lecturer," who brought
her to W-----, and with him was a fugitive slave. Young,
well-formed and very handsome, he said he had been a HOUSE-
servant, which seemed to account in some measure for his
gentlemanly manners and pleasing address. The meeting
was entirely accidental; but it was a sad occurrence for poor
Alfrado, as her own sequel tells. Suffice it to say, an
acquaintance and attachment was formed, which, in due time,
resulted in marriage. In a few days she left W-----, and
ALL her home comforts, and took up her abode in New Hamp-
shire. For a while everything went on well, and she dreamed
not of danger; but in an evil hour he left his young and
trusting wife, and embarked for sea. She knew nothing of
all this, and waited for his return. But she waited in vain.
Days passed, weeks passed, and he came not; then her heart
failed her. She felt herself deserted at a time, when, of all
others, she most needed the care and soothing attentions of
a devoted husband. For a time she tried to sustain HERSELF,
but this was impossible. She had friends, but they were
mostly of that class who are poor in the things of earth, but
"rich in faith." The charity on which she depended failed
at last, and there was nothing to save her from the "County
House;" GO SHE MUST. But her feelings on her way thither,
and after her arrival, can be given better in her own language;
and I trust it will be no breach of confidence if I here insert
part of a letter she wrote her mother Walker, concerning the matter.
* * * "The evening before I left for my dreaded jour-
ney to the 'house' which was to be my abode, I packed my
trunk, carefully placing in it every little memento of affection
received from YOU and my friends in W-----, among which
was the portable inkstand, pens and paper. My beautiful
little Bible was laid aside, as a place nearer my heart was
reserved for that. I need not tell you I slept not a moment
that night. My home, my peaceful, quiet home with you, was
before me. I could see my dear little room, with its pleasant
eastern window opening to the morning; but more than all, I
beheld YOU, my mother, gliding softly in and kneeling by my
bed to read, as no one but you CAN read, 'The Lord is my
shepherd,--I shall not want.' But I cannot go on, for tears
blind me. For a description of the morning, and of the scant
breakfast, I must wait until another time.
"We started. The man who came for me was kind as he
could be,--helped me carefully into the wagon, (for I had no
strength,) and drove on. For miles I spoke not a word.
Then the silence would be broken by the driver uttering some
sort of word the horse seemed to understand; for he invariably
quickened his pace. And so, just before nightfall, we halted
at the institution, prepared for the HOMELESS. With cold
civility the matron received me, and bade one of the inmates
shew me my room. She did so; and I followed up two flights
of stairs. I crept as I was able; and when she said, 'Go in
there,' I obeyed, asking for my trunk, which was soon placed
by me. My room was furnished some like the 'prophet's
chamber,' except there was no 'candlestick;' so when I could
creep down I begged for a light, and it was granted. Then I
flung myself on the bed and cried, until I could cry no longer.
I rose up and tried to pray; the Saviour seemed near. I
opened my precious little Bible, and the first verse that caught
my eye was--'I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh
upon me.' O, my mother, could I tell you the comfort this
was to me. I sat down, calm, almost happy, took my pen and
wrote on the inspiration of the moment--
"O, holy Father, by thy power,
Thus far in life I'm brought;
And now in this dark, trying hour,
O God, forsake me not.
"Dids't thou not nourish and sustain
My infancy and youth?
Have I not testimonials plain,
Of thy unchanging truth?
"Though I've no home to call my own,
My heart shall not repine;
The saint may live on earth unknown,
And yet in glory shine.
"When my Redeemer dwelt below,
He chose a lowly lot;
He came unto his own, but lo!
His own received him not.
"Oft was the mountain his abode,
The cold, cold earth his bed;
The midnight moon shone softly down
On his unsheltered head.
"But MY head WAS SHELTERED, and I tried to feel thankful."
Two or three letters were received after this by her friends in
W-----, and then all was silent. No one of us knew whether
she still lived or had gone to her home on high. But it seems
she remained in this house until after the birth of her babe;
then her faithless husband returned, and took her to some town
in New Hampshire, where, for a time, he supported her and his
little son decently well. But again he left her as before--sud-
denly and unexpectedly, and she saw him no more. Her efforts
were again successful in a measure in securing a meagre main-
tenance for a time; but her struggles with poverty and sickness
were severe. At length, a door of hope was opened. A kind
gentleman and lady took her little boy into their own family,
and provided everything necessary for his good; and all this with-
out the hope of remuneration. But let them know, they shall
be "recompensed at the resurrection of the just." God is not
unmindful of this work,--this labor of love. As for the
afflicted mother, she too has been remembered. The heart of a
stranger was moved with compassion, and bestowed a recipe
upon her for restoring gray hair to its former color. She availed
herself of this great help, and has been quite successful; but
her health is again falling, and she has felt herself obliged to
resort to another method of procuring her bread--that of writ-
ing an Autobiography.
I trust she will find a ready sale for her interesting work;
and let all the friends who purchase a volume, remember they
are doing good to one of the most worthy, and I had almost
said most unfortunate, of the human family. I will only add
in conclusion, a few lines, calculated to comfort and strengthen
this sorrowful, homeless one. "I will help thee, saith the
"I will help thee," promise kind
Made by our High Priest above;
Soothing to the troubled mind,
Full of tenderness and love.
"I will help thee" when the storm
Gathers dark on every side;
Safely from impending harm,
In my sheltering bosom hide.
"I will help thee," weary saint,
Cast thy burdens ALL ON ME;
Oh, how cans't thou tire or faint,
While my arm encircles thee.
I have pitied every tear,
Heard and COUNTED every sigh;
Ever lend a gracious ear
To thy supplicating cry.
What though thy wounded bosom bleed,
Pierced by affliction's dart;
Do I not all thy sorrows heed,
And bear thee on my heart?
Soon will the lowly grave become
Thy quiet resting place;
Thy spirit find a peaceful home
In mansions NEAR MY FACE.
There are thy robes and glittering crown,
Outshining yonder sun;
Soon shalt thou lay the body down,
And put those glories on.
Long has thy golden lyre been strung,
Which angels cannot move;
No song to this is ever sung,
But bleeding, dying Love.
Having known the writer of this book for a number of years,
and knowing the many privations and mortifications she has had
to pass through, I the more willingly add my testimony to the
truth of her assertions. She is one of that class, who by some
are considered not only as little lower than the angels, but far
beneath them; but I have long since learned that we are not
to look at the color of the hair, the eyes, or the skin, for the
man or woman; their life is the criterion we are to judge by.
The writer of this book has seemed to be a child of misfortune.
Early in life she was deprived of her parents, and all those
endearing associations to which childhood clings. Indeed, she
may be said not to have had that happy period; for, being tak-
en from home so young, and placed where she had nothing to
love or cling to, I often wonder she had not grown up a MONSTER;
and those very people calling themselves Christians, (the good
Lord deliver me from such,) and they likewise ruined her
health by hard work, both in the field and house. She was in-
deed a slave, in every sense of the word; and a lonely one, too.
But she has found some friends in this degraded world, that
were willing to do by others as they would have others do by
them; that were willing she should live, and have an existence
on the earth with them. She has never enjoyed any degree of
comfortable health since she was eighteen years of age, and a
great deal of the time has been confined to her room and bed.
She is now trying to write a book; and I hope the public will
look favorably on it, and patronize the same, for she is a worthy
Her own health being poor, and having a child to care for,
(for, by the way, she has been married,) and she wishes to edu-
cate him; in her sickness he has been taken from her, and sent
to the county farm, because she could not pay his board every
week; but as soon as she was able, she took him from that
PLACE, and now he has a home where he is contented and happy,
and where he is considered as good as those he is with. He is
an intelligent, smart boy, and no doubt will make a smart man,
if he is rightly managed. He is beloved by his playmates, and
by all the friends of the family; for the family do not recognize
those as friends who do not include him in their family, or as
one of them, and his mother as a daughter--for they treat her
as such; and she certainly deserves all the affection and kind-
ness that is bestowed upon her, and they are always happy to
have her visit them whenever she will. They are not wealthy,
but the latch-string is always out when suffering humanity needs
a shelter; the last loaf they are willing to divide with those more
needy than themselves, remembering these words, Do good as
we have opportunity; and we can always find opportunity, if we
have the disposition.
And now I would say, I hope those who call themselves
friends of our dark-skinned brethren, will lend a helping hand,
and assist our sister, not in giving, but in buying a book; the
expense is trifling, and the reward of doing good is great. Our
duty is to our fellow-beings, and when we let an opportunity
pass, we know not what we lose. Therefore we should do with all
our might what our hands find to do; and remember the words
of Him who went about doing good, that inasmuch as ye have
done a good deed to one of the least of these my brethren, ye
have done it to me; and even a cup of water is not forgot-
ten. Therefore, let us work while the day lasts, and we shall in
no wise lose our reward.
MILFORD, JULY 20th, 1859.
Feeling a deep interest in the welfare of the writer of this
book, and hoping that its circulation will be extensive, I wish to
say a few words in her behalf. I have been acquainted with her
for several years, and have always found her worthy the esteem
of all friends of humanity; one whose soul is alive to the work
to which she puts her hand. . Although her complexion is a lit-
tle darker than my own, I esteem it a privilege to associate with
her, and assist her whenever an opportunity presents itself. It is
with this motive that I write these few lines, knowing this book
must be interesting to all who have any knowledge of the wri-
ter's character, or wish to have. I hope no one will refuse to
aid her in her work, as she is worthy the sympathy of all Chris-
tians, and those who have a spark of humanity in their breasts.
Thinking it unnecessary for me to write a long epistle, I will
close by bidding her God speed.
C. D. S.
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