But before they could rest, they had to grind and cook the corn for their supper. When at last they did go to sleep, they had to lie on the heaps of dirty straw instead of in comfortable beds.
GEORGE AND ELIZA FIND FREEDOM
Tom Loker lay tossing and tumbling in his clean, comfortable bed at the Quaker farmhouse. A pretty, old Quaker lady, with white hair and a kind face, was nursing him. Tom Loker did not like being ill and having to lie in bed. He threw the clothes about, grumbling and using naughty words all the tune.
‘I must ask thee, Thomas Loker, not to use such language,’ said the nice lady, as she smoothed his sheets, and made his bed comfortable again for him.
‘Well, I won’t, granny, if I can help it,’ he replied; ’but it is enough to make a fellow swear, it is so awfully hot.’ He gave another great lunge, and made the sheets and blankets all untidy again.
‘I suppose that fellow George and the girl Eliza are here,’ he said, in a sulky voice, after a few minutes’ silence.
‘Yes, they are,’ said the old lady.
‘They had better get away across the lake,’ said Tom Loker, ’the quicker the better.’
‘Very likely they will do so,’ said the old lady, calmly going on with her knitting.
‘But, listen,’ said Tom Loker, getting excited, ’there are people who are watching the boats for us. I don’t care if I tell now. I hope they will get away, just to spite the others for going and leaving me as they did—the mean puppies, the—’
‘Thomas Loker!’ said the old lady.
‘I tell you, granny, if you bottle a fellow up too tight he’ll split,’ said Tom Loker. ’But about Eliza—tell them to dress her up some way so as to alter her. We have sent a description of what she looks like to the town where the boats start from. She will be caught yet if she doesn’t dress up differently.’
‘I thank thee, Thomas Loker,’ replied the old lady with her usual calmness. ‘We will attend to that. Thank thee.’ Then she went to tell George and Eliza what Tom Loker had said.
They were indeed very grateful to him, and very glad that they had not left him, as his own friends had done, to die by the roadside.
So next day Eliza cut off all her beautiful black hair, and dressed herself like a boy.
‘Don’t I make a pretty young fellow?’ she said to George, laughing and blushing at the same time.
‘You always will be pretty,’ said George gravely, ‘do what you will.’
‘What makes you so sober?’ asked Eliza, kneeling on one knee, and laying her hand on his. ’We are within twenty-four hours of Canada, they say. Only a day and a night on the lake, and then—oh, then!’
‘O Eliza,’ said George, holding her fast, ’that is just it. To be so near liberty, to be almost in sight of it—and then if we lost it. O Eliza, I should die.’