“Murder! Murder! Murder!” he cried “Help! Help! Help! I am drowning. Take me out, it is cold.”
The audience rushed forward expecting to find the teacher in a dangerous situation; but they found him standing, apparently unharmed, in a cistern, the water being a little more than waist deep. Their fright gave way to humor and a merry shout went up from the throats of the scholars.
The colored men and women laughed to one side, while the white people smiled as though they had admired the feat as a fine specimen of falling from the sublime to the ridiculous. Bending down over the well, the larger students caught hold of the teacher’s arms and lifted him out.
He stood before the audience wet and shivering, his clothes sticking to him, and water dripping from his hair. The medal was gone. The teacher dismissed the audience, drew his last month’s pay and left that night for parts unknown.
Sometimes, even a worm will turn when trodden upon.
Belton finds A friend.
Long before the rifle ball, the cannon shot, and the exploding shell were through their fiendish task of covering the earth with mortals slain; while the startled air was yet busy in hurrying to Heaven the groans of the dying soldier, accompanied as they were by the despairing shrieks of his loved ones behind; while horrid War, in frenzied joy, yet waved his bloody sword over the nation’s head, and sought with eager eagle eyes every drop of clotted gore over which he might exult; in the midst of such direful days as these, there were those at the North whom the love of God and the eye of faith taught to leap over the scene of strife to prepare the trembling negro for the day of freedom, which, refusing to have a dawn, had burst in meridian splendor upon his dazzled gaze.
Into the southland there came rushing consecrated Christians, men and women, eager to provide for the negro a Christian education. Those who stayed behind gathered up hoarded treasures and gladly poured them into the lap of the South for the same laudable purpose. As a result of the coming of this army of workers, bearing in their arms millions of money, ere many years had sped, well nigh every southern state could proudly boast of one or more colleges where the aspiring negro might quench has thirst for knowledge.
So when Bernard and Belton had finished their careers at the Winchester public school, colleges abounded in the South beckoning them to enter. Bernard preferred to go to a northern institution, and his mother sent him to enter Harvard University.
Belton was poor and had no means of his own with which to pursue his education; but by the hand of providence a most unexpected door was opened to him. The Winchester correspondent of the Richmond Daily Temps reported the commencement exercises of the Winchester public school of the day that Belton graduated. The congressman present at the exercises spoke so highly of Belton’s speech that the correspondent secured a copy from Belton and sent it to the editor of The Temps.