The “boy of twelve,” alluded to, was not Mary’s brother. He was quite a genius of his age, who had escaped from Norfolk, stowed away in a schooner and was known by the name of “Dick Page.”
On arriving in Philadelphia, Dick was delivered, as usual, into the hands of the Committee. The extraordinary smartness of the little fellow (only ten years old), astonished all who saw him. The sympathies of a kind-hearted gentleman and his wife, living in Philadelphia, had been deeply awakened in his behalf, through their relative and friend, Mrs. Hilliard, in whose family, as has been already stated, the boy’s aunt lived. So much were these friends interested to secure Dick’s freedom, that they often contemplated buying him, although they did not like the idea of buying, as the money would go into the pocket of the master, who they considered had no just right to deprive any individual of his freedom. So when Dick arrived the Committee felt that it was as little as they could do, to give these friends the pleasure of seeing the little Underground Rail Road passenger. He was therefore conveyed to the residence of Prof. J.P. Lesley. He could not have been sent to a house in the great city of Brotherly Love, where he would have found a more cordial and sincere reception. After passing an hour or so with them, Dick was brought away, but he had been so touched by their kindness, that he felt that he must see them again, before leaving the city; so just before sundown, one evening, he was missed; search was made for him, but in vain. Great anxiety was felt for him, fearing that he was lost. During the early part of the evening, the writer, with a bell in hand, passed up one street and down another, in quest of the stranger, but no one could give any information of him. Finally about ten o’clock, the mayor’s office was visited with a view of having the police stations telegraphed. Soon the mystery was solved; one of the policemen stated that he had noticed a strange colored boy with Professor Lesley’s children. Hastening to the residence of the professor, sure enough, Dick was there, happy in bed and asleep.
From that time to this, it has been a mystery to know how a boy, a perfect stranger, could make his way alone, (having passed over the route but once), without getting lost, so circuitous was the road that he had to travel, in order to reach Professor Lesley’s house. Having said this much, the way is now open to refer to him again, in Boston at school. He was generously assisted through his education and trade, and was prepared to commence life at his majority, an intelligent mechanic, and a man of promise.