The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,197 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
“How have you been getting along in Canada?  Do you like the country?” “First-rate,” said John William.  “You look as though you had neither been starved, nor frozen.  Have you had plenty of work, made some money, and taken care of yourself?” “Yes.”  “When you were on the Underground Rail Road on your way to Canada you promised that you were going to keep from all bad habits; how about the ‘crittur?’ do you take a little sometimes?” “No, I have not drank a drop since I left the South” replied John William with emphasis.  “Good!” “I suppose you smoke and chew at any rate?” “No, neither.  I never think of such a thing.”  “Now don’t you keep late hours at night and swear occasionally?” “No, Sir.  All the leisure that I have of evenings is spent over my books as a general thing; I have not fallen into the fashionable customs of young men.”  Miss Brown, who had been an attentive listener, remarked:  “HE OUGHT TO BE PUT IN A CAGE, ETC.”

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He was twenty-seven years of age when he first landed in Philadelphia, in the month of February, 1860, per steamer Pennsylvania, in which he had been stowed away in a store-room containing a lot of rubbish and furniture; in this way he reached City Point; here a family of Irish emigrants, very dirty, were taken on board, and orders were given that accommodations should be made for them in the room occupied by J.W.  Here was trouble, but only for a moment.  Those into whose charge he had been consigned on the boat knew that the kettle and pot-closet had often been used for Underground Rail Road purposes, and he was safely conducted to quarters among the pots.  The room was exceedingly limited, but he stood it bravely.  On landing he was not able to stand.  It required not only his personal efforts but the help of friends to get him in a condition to walk.  No sooner had he stepped on shore, however, than he began to cry aloud for joy.  “Thank God!” rang out sonorously from his overflowing soul.  Alarmed at this indication of gratitude his friends immediately told him that that would never do; that all hands would be betrayed; that he was far from being safe in Philadelphia.  He suppressed his emotion.  After being delivered into the hands of the Acting Committee, where he was in more private quarters, he gave full vent to the joy he experienced on reaching this city.  He said that he had been trying earnestly for five years to obtain his freedom.  For this special object he had saved up sixty-eight dollars and fifteen cents, all of which but the fifteen cents he willingly paid for his passage on the boat.  Fifteen cents, the balance of his entire capital, was all that he had when he landed in Philadelphia.

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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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