The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
a cup of water, lest such an act might be discovered by the hunters, whose fiendish hearts would have found pleasure in meting out the most dire punishments to those guilty of thus violating the laws of Slavery.  The prospect, if not utterly hopeless, was decidedly discouraging.  The way to Boston was entirely closed.  A “reward of $200” was advertised for his capture.  For the first week after arriving at Old Point he entrusted himself to a young friend by the name of E.S.  The fear of the pursuers drove him from his hiding-place at the expiration of the week.  Thence he sought shelter neither with kinfolks, Christians, nor infidels, but in this hour of his calamity he made up his mind that he would try living under a large hotel for a while.  Having watched his opportunity, he managed to reach Higee hotel, a very large house without a cellar, erected on pillars three or four feet above the ground.  One place alone, near the cistern, presented some chance for a hiding-place, sufficient to satisfy him quite well under the circumstances.  This dark and gloomy spot he at once willingly occupied rather than return to Slavery.  In this refuge he remained four weeks.  Of course he could not live without food; but to communicate with man or woman would inevitably subject him to danger.  Charles’ experience in the neighborhood of his old home left no ground for him to hope that he would be likely to find friendly aid anywhere under the shadow of Slavery.  In consequence of these fears he received his food from the “slop tub,” securing this diet in the darkness of night after all was still and quiet around the hotel.  To use his own language, the meals thus obtained were often “sweet” to his taste.

One evening, however, he was not a little alarmed by the approach of an Irish boy who came under the hotel to hunt chickens.  While prowling around in the darkness he appeared to be making his way unconsciously to the very spot where Charles was reposing.  How to meet the danger was to Charles’ mind at first very puzzling, there was no time now to plan.  As quick as thought he feigned the bark of a savage dog accompanied with a furious growl and snarl which he was confident would frighten the boy half out of his senses, and cause him to depart quickly from his private apartment.  The trick succeeded admirably, and the emergency was satisfactorily met, so far as the boy was concerned, but the boy’s father hearing the attack of the dog, swore that he would kill him.  Charles was a silent listener to the threat, and he saw that he could no longer remain in safety in his present quarter.  So that night he took his departure for Bay Shore; here he decided to pass a day in the woods, but the privacy of this place was not altogether satisfactory to Charles’ mind; but where to find a more secure retreat he could not,—­dared not venture to ascertain that day.  It occurred to him, however, that he would be much safer up a tree than hid in the bushes and undergrowth.  He therefore climbed up a large acorn

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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