The Abolitionists eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 198 pages of information about The Abolitionists.
however, was soon forgotten.
“That old barn was a regular station on one of the underground railroads that extended from the Ohio River to Canada.  To but few persons was its true character known, and they were very close-mouthed about it.  I was one of the few that were in the secret.  Being the youngest member of the family, it fell to my lot to drive the horses and cows to and from the pasture in which the old barrack was located, and while there it was an easy matter to visit that establishment and ascertain if it sheltered any fresh arrivals.
“One day I had to report that two fugitives were in the barn, being a mother and child.  Then came the question—­which in that instance was a difficult one to answer—­as to who should convey them to the next station on the line, twenty miles away.  A brother, between five and six years older than I was, and who was something of a dare-devil, did the most of the work of transportation, but he was in bed with typhoid fever.  A hired man, who was employed partly because he was in hearty accord with the humanitarian views of the household, and who on several occasions had taken my brother’s place, was absent.  There was nobody but myself who was ready to undertake the job, and I was only eleven years old.  There was no help for it, however.  The slaves had to be moved on, and I was greatly rejoiced in the prospect of adventure that was opened up to me.  The journey had to be made at night, but for that I cared nothing, as I had repeatedly gone over the route by daylight, and thought I knew the road perfectly.
“Midnight found me on the highway, and on the driver’s seat of one of our farm wagons, to which was attached a span of horses moving in the direction of the north star.  That luminary was not on this occasion visible.  The sky was heavily overcast and the night was very dark.  A light rain was falling.  With all the confidence I had in my own ability, more than once would I have lost the way, but for the sagacity of the horses, which had gone over that route a number of times under similar circumstances.  They acted as if altogether familiar with it.  Those horses proved themselves to be excellent Abolitionists.
“The inclemency of the night was in one respect a great advantage.  It kept at home those who might incline to be too inquisitive.  The few travelers we met passed on with a word of greeting, while I whistled unconcernedly.
“Over the bottom of the wagon was scattered some hay that might be used either as feed for the horses or as a bed for weary travelers.  There was also an old-fashioned buffalo-robe, somewhat dilapidated, that could serve for concealment or as shelter from the elements.  Two or three empty baskets suggested a return from the market.  There was another article that one would hardly have looked for.  This was a smoke-cured ham loosely wrapped in some old sacking.  It had gone over
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The Abolitionists from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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