The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.

“I will be there certain,” said Henry.  Christmas week he was confident would be granted as usual as a holiday week; a few days before Christmas he went to his master and asked permission to spend said holiday with his mother, in Cumberland county, adding that he would need some spending money, enough at least to pay his fare, etc.  Young master freely granted his request, wrote him a pass, and doled him out enough money to pay his fare thence, but concluded that Henry could pay his way back out of his extra change.  Henry expressed his obligations, etc., and returned to the American Hotel.  The evening before the time appointed for starting on his Underground Rail Road voyage, he had occasion to go out to see the Underground Rail Road agent, and asked the clerk to give him a pass.  This favor was peremptorily refused.  Henry, “not willing to give it up so,” sat down to write a pass for himself; he found it all that was necessary, and was thus enabled to accomplish his business satisfactorily.  Next day his Christmas holiday commenced, but instead of his enjoying the sight of his mother, he felt that he had seen her for the last time in the flesh.  It was a sad reflection.  That evening at dark, he was at the wharf, according to promise.  The man with the ashes immediately appeared and signalled him.  In his three suits of clothing (all on his back), he walked on the boat, and was conducted to the coal covering, where Egyptian darkness prevailed.  The appointed hour for the starting of the steamer, was ten o’clock the following morning.  By the aid of prayer, he endured the suffering that night.  No sooner had the steamer got under way, than a heavy gale was encountered; for between three and four days the gale and fog combined, threatened the steamer with a total loss.  All the freight on deck, consisting of tobacco and cotton, had to be thrown overboard, to save the passengers.

Henry, in his state of darkness, saw nothing, nor could he know the imminent peril that his life was in.  Fortunately he was not sea-sick, but slept well and long on the voyage.  The steamer was five days coming.  On landing at Philadelphia, Henry could scarcely see or walk; the spirit of freedom, however, was burning brightly in the hidden man, and the free gales of fresh air and a few hours on free soil soon enabled him to overcome the difficulties which first presented themselves, and he was soon one of the most joyful mortals living.  He tarried two days with his friends in Philadelphia, and then hastened on to Boston.  After being in Boston two months, he was passing through the market one day, when, to his surprise, he espied his young master, Charles L. Hobson.  Henry was sure, however, that he was not recognized, but suspected that he was hunted.  Instantly, Henry pulled up his coat collar, and drew his hat over his face to disguise himself as much as possible; but he could not wholly recover from the shock he had thus sustained.  He turned aside

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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