The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,446 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
all three.  Miles did not yield his seat without a struggle.  In being pulled out his resistance was such that several window lights were broken in the car.  The police being in strong force, however, succeeded in marching their prisoners to the Mayor’s police station at the corner of Fifth and Chestnut streets where they were locked up to await further investigation.  The prisoners thought they were back in “old Virginny” again.  Miles gritted his teeth and felt very indignant, but what could he do?  The infamous prejudice against which they had borne testimony was controlling all the lines of city passenger railways in Philadelphia.  While Miles and his friends were willing to suffer for a principle, the dirt, filth, cold, and disagreeableness of the quarters that they most likely would be compelled to occupy all night and the following day (Sunday) forbade submission.  Added to this Miles felt that his young wife would hardly be able to contain herself while he was locked up.  They sent for the writer to intercede for them.

At a late hour of the night, after going from the alderman’s boardinghouse to a fire engine house and other places, where it was supposed that he might probably be found, on going a third time to his hotel, a little before midnight, he was discovered to be in bed, and it was then ascertained that he had not been out all the evening.  The night was very stormy.  We could not tell whether or not the fruitless chase on which we had been sent in search of the alderman, was in keeping with the spirit that had locked the men up, designed to mislead us; he condescended at last to appear, and accepted our offer to go bail for all of them, and finally issued a discharge.  This was hastily delivered at the station, and the prisoners were released.

But Miles was not satisfied; he had breathed free air in Massachusetts for four years, and being a man of high spirit he felt that he must further test the prejudices of the cars.  Consequently one very cold night, when a deep snow covered the pavements, he was out with his wife, and thought that he would ride; his wife being fair, he put her on the car at the corner of Third and Pine streets, and walked to the corner of Fourth and Pine streets, where he stepped into the car and took his seat.  The conductor straightway ordered him out, on the plea of color.  God had shaded him a little too much.  “How is this, my wife is in this car,” spake Miles.  All eyes gazed around to see who his wife was.  By this time the car had been stopped, and the wrath of the conductor was kindled prodigiously.  He did not, however, lay violent hands upon Miles.  A late decision in court had taught the police that they had no right to interfere, except in cases where the peace was actually being broken; so in order to get rid of this troublesome customer, the car was run off the track, the shivering passengers all leaving it, as though flying from a plague, with the exception of Miles, his wife, and another colored gentleman,

Project Gutenberg
The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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