At any rate, Anthony concluded that his “young master had counted the chickens before they were hatched.” Indeed here Anthony began to be a deep thinker. He thought, for instance, that he had already been shot three times, at the instance of slave-holders. The first time he was shot was for refusing a flogging when only eighteen years of age. The second time, he was shot in the head with squirrel shot by the sheriff, who was attempting to arrest him for having resisted three “young white ruffians,” who wished to have the pleasure of beating him, but got beaten themselves. And in addition to being shot this time, Anthony was still further “broke in” by a terrible flogging from the Sheriff. The third time Anthony was shot he was about twenty-one years of age. In this instance he was punished for his old offence—he “would not be whipped.”
This time his injury from being shot was light, compared with the two preceding attacks. Also in connection with these murderous conflicts, he could not forget that he had been sold on the auction block. But he had still deeper thinking to do yet. He determined that his young master should never get “fifteen hundred dollars for him on the 1st of January,” unless he got them while he (Anthony) was running. For Anthony had fully made up his mind that when the last day of December ended, his bondage should end also, even if he should have to accept death as a substitute. He then began to think of the Underground Rail Road and of Canada; but who the agents were, or how to find the depot, was a serious puzzle to him. But his time was getting so short he was convinced that whatever he did would have to be done quickly. In this frame of mind he found a man who professed to know something about the Underground Rail Road, and for “thirty dollars” promised to aid him in the matter.
The thirty dollars were raised by the hardest effort and passed over to the pretended friend, with the expectation that it would avail greatly in the emergency. But Anthony found himself sold for thirty dollars, as nothing was done for him. However, the 1st day of January arrived, but Anthony was not to be found to answer to his name at roll call. He had “took out” very early in the morning. Daily he prayed in his place of concealment how to find the U.G.R.R. Ten months passed away, during which time he suffered almost death, but persuaded himself to believe that even that was better than slavery. With Anthony, as it has been with thousands of others similarly situated, just as everything was looking the most hopeless, word came to him in his place of concealment that a friend named Minkins, employed on the steamship City of Richmond, would undertake to conceal him on the boat, if he could be crowded in a certain place, which was about the only spot that would be perfectly safe. This was glorious news to Anthony; but it was well for him that he was ignorant of the situation that awaited him on the boat, or his heart might have failed him. He was willing, however, to risk his life for freedom, and, therefore, went joyfully.