“I declare, my very blood runs cold when I think of it,—your condition and your risks!” said Mr. Wilson.
“Mine has run cold a good many years, Mr. Wilson; at present, it’s about up to the boiling point,” said George.
“Well, my good sir,” continued George, after a few moments’ silence, “I saw you knew me; I thought I’d just have this talk with you, lest your surprised looks should bring me out. I leave early tomorrow morning, before daylight; by tomorrow night I hope to sleep safe in Ohio. I shall travel by daylight, stop at the best hotels, go to the dinner-tables with the lords of the land. So, good-by, sir; if you hear that I’m taken, you may know that I’m dead!”
George stood up like a rock, and put out his hand with the air of a prince. The friendly little old man shook it heartily, and after a little shower of caution, he took his umbrella, and fumbled his way out of the room.
George stood thoughtfully looking at the door, as the old man closed it. A thought seemed to flash across his mind. He hastily stepped to it, and opening it, said,
“Mr. Wilson, one word more.”
The old gentleman entered again, and George, as before, locked the door, and then stood for a few moments looking on the floor, irresolutely. At last, raising his head with a sudden effort—“Mr. Wilson, you have shown yourself a Christian in your treatment of me,—I want to ask one last deed of Christian kindness of you.”
“Well, sir,—what you said was true. I am running a dreadful risk. There isn’t, on earth, a living soul to care if I die,” he added, drawing his breath hard, and speaking with a great effort,—“I shall be kicked out and buried like a dog, and nobody’ll think of it a day after,—only my poor wife! Poor soul! she’ll mourn and grieve; and if you’d only contrive, Mr. Wilson, to send this little pin to her. She gave it to me for a Christmas present, poor child! Give it to her, and tell her I loved her to the last. Will you? Will you?” he added, earnestly.
“Yes, certainly—poor fellow!” said the old gentleman, taking the pin, with watery eyes, and a melancholy quiver in his voice.
“Tell her one thing,” said George; “it’s my last wish, if she can get to Canada, to go there. No matter how kind her mistress is,—no matter how much she loves her home; beg her not to go back,—for slavery always ends in misery. Tell her to bring up our boy a free man, and then he won’t suffer as I have. Tell her this, Mr. Wilson, will you?”
“Yes, George. I’ll tell her; but I trust you won’t die; take heart,—you’re a brave fellow. Trust in the Lord, George. I wish in my heart you were safe through, though,—that’s what I do.”
“Is there a God to trust in?” said George, in such a tone of bitter despair as arrested the old gentleman’s words. “O, I’ve seen things all my life that have made me feel that there can’t be a God. You Christians don’t know how these things look to us. There’s a God for you, but is there any for us?”