that route a number of times. Its odor neutralized the smell by which the presence, immediate or recent, of negroes might be detected.
“My fellow-travelers, as my passengers might be called, were interesting companions. Both, in one sense, were children, the mother certainly not being over seventeen years old. She was a comely half-breed mulatto. Her baby—a pretty boy of two years—was one degree nearer white.
“The girl was inclined to be confidential and talkative. She said she was ‘old mas’r’s’ daughter. Her mother had been one of ’old mas’r’s’ people. She had grown up with the other slave children on the place, being in no way favored because of her relationship to her owner. The baby’s father was ’young mas’r’—old master’s son, as it appeared—and who, consequently, was a half-brother of the youthful mother. Slavery sometimes created singular relationships.
“As the story ran, all the people, including the narrator and her baby, when ‘ole mas’r’ died were ‘leveled’ on by the Sheriff’s man. She did not quite understand the meaning of it all, but it was doubtless a case of bankruptcy.
“‘Young mas’r,’ she said, ‘tole’ her she had to run away, taking the baby of course. ’Oh, yes,” she said very emphatically, ’I never would have left Kentuck without Thomas Jefferson’—meaning her little boy. ‘Young mas’r,’ according to her account, arranged the whole proceeding, telling her what course to take by night, where to stop and conceal herself by day, and what signal to give when she reached the ‘big river.’
“When the Ohio had been crossed her young master met her, evidently to the great delight of the poor creature. He gave her some money, and told her that when she reached her destination he would send her some ‘mo.’ After putting her in charge of some kind people, evidently representatives of the underground line, they had parted, according to her description of the incident, in an affecting way. ‘He kissed me and I cried,’ was her simple statement. Notwithstanding the boasted superiority of one race over another, human nature seems to be very much the same, whether we read it in a white face or in a black one.
“The little girlish mother was very much alarmed for the safety of her boy and herself when we began our journey, wanting to get out and conceal herself whenever we heard any one on the road. After several detentions from that cause, the weary creature stretched herself upon the hay beside her sleeping infant and almost immediately fell into a heavy slumber. She could stand the strain no longer. I drew the buffalo-robe over the two sleepers, and there they rested in blissful unconsciousness until the journey was ended.
“Half-way between the termini of my route was a village in which lived a constable who was suspected of being in the employ of the slave-owners.