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CHAPTER III.
"Good morning, father," said Alfred; "I have been thinking that I surrendered too soon last night; I did not bring out all my forces, because I forgot something I heard that old Baptist minister say when he was lecturing here a few days ago. He said that the Creek Indians would not send the poor fugitives back to their masters. It is true they made a treaty with our government to do so, but they had too much humanity to keep it; and for not doing so, the government withheld two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, which was due to the Indians for some lands, and used it to pay the masters. But that made little difference to them, for they still persisted in disobeying the 'Fugitive Slave Law.' Now don't you think that was a good trait in their character?"

"Yes, Alfred, I do; they manifested a very generous and humane disposition."

"Well, but I think it was very dishonorable for them to break any treaty," said Harry.

"You see, Harry, there is where you and I differ. I think it a great deal better to break a bad promise than to keep it, answered Alfred.

"Come into breakfast, papa," said Cornelia, peeping her little curly head in at the door, "Mamma wants you to come right away, because she has to go to Judy's."

"Very well, we will go now, and not keep mother waiting. Just look at the snow! How it sparkles! Jack Frost has been here, for the windows are all covered and the water in the pitcher is frozen."

"Yes, papa, and see what funny shapes the icicles are in, and the trees and bushes look as if they had their white dresses on," said little Cornelia.

"It will be a splendid morning for a sleigh-ride. Would you like to take one, mother?" asked Harry, after their breakfast was over and family prayer ended.

"Yes, my son, I should; I have to go to Judy's this morning; so we can take the children to school first, and then pay my visit. I should like to have the sleigh at the door pretty early, as I have several places to go to after coming from Judy's."

"Very well, mother, you shall have it immediately. Now bundle sis up warm, for there is a cutting wind, and I think it looks like snowing again. And O! mother, I had nearly forgotten it, there was a poor Irish family coming off the boat last night, who seemed destitute of both clothing and food. If we have time this morning, won't you go and see them?"

"Perhaps I will," said his mother; and Harry ran off, but soon returned, calling, "Come, mother, the sleigh is waiting, and the horse looks as if he was in a hurry to be off."

"Yes, Harry, I am coming; I only went back to get a little milk for
Judy; she is so weak that I think she needs it."

"O mother!" said Alfred as they drove along, "what is more enlivening than the merry jingling of the sleigh bells on a clear frosty day?"

"It is, indeed, very pleasant, Alfred; but while we are enjoying our pleasant winter evenings, and our many sleigh rides, the thought comes to our minds that however much we may like the winter time, there are hundreds in our city who think of its approach with fear and trembling, and who suffer much from cold and hunger, until the pleasant spring time comes again. But you were telling me, Henry, about those poor people, and I was too much occupied to attend to you. Do you know where they live?" asked Mrs. Ford.

"Yes, just along the bank, mother; it is a wretched-looking house, and very much exposed. Poor things! I pitied them very much; they appeared so destitute, and even the children had a care-worn look on their thin faces."

"What! in that old house, Harry?" exclaimed Alfred. "Why the windows have hardly any panes in them, and there are great holes in the walls."

"Yes, Ally, that is the place, and it is, as you say, a rickety old house; but I suppose it is the best they can get. But here we are at school, Ally; you get out first, and I will hand sissy out to you. Take hold of her hand, for the path is slippery."

The children alighted, and then Harry and his mother, after a pleasant ride round the city, drove up to Aunt Judy's cottage.

"O Miss Ford! am dat you? Now who'd a thought on't? I'se sure you's de best woman I ever see'd; now jist tell me what you cum'd out on sich a day as dis for!" asked old Judy as Mrs. Ford entered the cottage. As for Harry, he drove the horse hack to the stable until noon, when he was to call for his mother on his way from school with Ally and Cornelia.

"Why, Judy, we came to see you; I thought that if you were sick, I could perhaps comfort you."

"Wal, I has been sick wid de rheumatiz. O marcy! I'se had sich orful pains all through me, and dats de reason I didn't cum last night. But, bless us! honey, here I'se been standing telling you all my pains and aches, and letting you stand in your wet feet; now come to de fire, my child."

"My feet are not wet, Auntie, only a little cold. Harry brought me around in the sleigh, and we were well wrapped up. Now, Judy, here are a few things for you, some tea and sugar, a loaf of bread, and a bit of bacon."

"Thanks, Missy Ford, I'se so glad to see a little tea; it's so long since I tasted any. And a bit of bacon too! Wal, now I will have a dinner!"

"Do not wait till dinner time, Judy; I want you to make a cup of tea now, and rouse yourself up, and try to recollect all that has passed and happened to you since your childhood, for I promised the children that I would tell them your history."

"Yes, missy, I'll try," said Judy, taking her little cracked earthen teapot, and making her tea.

After it was made, and Judy was refreshed with a good breakfast, she began and told Mrs. Ford the history of her sorrows and troubles, which we will let Mrs. Ford tell to the children herself. It was quite a long narrative.


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