The Underground Railroad eBook

William Still
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,197 pages of information about The Underground Railroad.
to circumstances immediately around her as she was when she rose to a more exalted pitch of laudation of the “Union,” or of execration of the old slavery system.  Her voice was remarkable—­as sweet as any woman’s voice we ever heard, and so clear and distinct as to pass every syllable to the most distant ear in the house.
Without any effort at attentive listening we followed the speaker to the end, not discerning a single grammatical inaccuracy of speech, or the slightest violation of good taste in manner or matter.  At times the current of thoughts flowed in eloquent and poetic expression, and often her quaint humor would expose the ivory in half a thousand mouths.  We confess that we began to wonder, and we asked a fine-looking man before us, “What is her color?  Is she dark or light?” He answered, “She is mulatto; what they call a red mulatto.”  The ‘red’ was new to us.  Our neighbor asked, “How do you like her?” We replied, “She is giving your people the best kind and the very wisest of advice.”  He rejoined, “I wish I had her education.”  To which we added, “That’s just what she tells you is your great duty and your need, and if you are too old to get it yourselves, you must give it to your children.”
The speaker left the impression on our mind that she was not only intelligent and educated, but—­the great end of education—­she was enlightened.  She comprehends perfectly the situation of her people, to whose interests she seems ardently devoted.  The main theme of her discourse, the one string to the harmony of which all the others were attuned, was the grand opportunity that emancipation had afforded to the black race to lift itself to the level of the duties and responsibilities enjoined by it.  “You have muscle power and brain power,” she said; “you must utilize them, or be content to remain forever the inferior race.  Get land, every one that can, and as fast as you ean.  A landless people must be dependent upon the landed people.  A few acres to till for food and a roof, however bumble, over your head, are the castle of your independence, and when you have it you are fortified to act and vote independently whenever your interests are at stake.”  That part of her lecture (and there was much of it) that dwelt on the moral duties and domestic relations of the colored people was pitched on the highest key of sound morality.  She urged the cultivation of the “home life,” the sanctity of the marriage state (a happy contrast to her strong-minded, free-love, white sisters of the North), and the duties of mothers to their daughters.  “Why,” said she in a voice of much surprise, “I have actually heard since I have been South that sometimes colored husbands positively beat their wives!  I do not mean to insinuate for a moment that such things can possibly happen in Mobile.  The very appearance of this congregation forbids it; but I did hear of one terrible husband defending himself for the unmanly practice with
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The Underground Railroad from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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