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Step by Step - or, Tidy's Way to Freedom
by The American Tract Society
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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.



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?

THE END

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