Frank Freeman's Barber Shop
Rev. Baynard R. Hall, D.D.
New York: Charles Scribner, 1852



  TWO days since the arrival of the Cutwater, and vane still north-east! But Mr. and Mrs. Leamington had excellent rooms at the Boston House; and, had they not been hurrying to Hopeful, they would have been perfectly content with all the accommodations.

  The children, as ever, were with Carrie, at this time of day; and Frank was about, making his observations and acquaintances—the servants being mostly of his own complexion, and a few, who thought more highly of themselves, being paler.

  "This is most cruel and base!" observed the parson, on laying down, for a moment, a newspaper handed him by the landlord.

  "What is it, my dear?" asked Mrs. L.

  "This paragraph about our arrival; and yet I am truly happy to know the editor of this paper, the


Boston Conservator, calls the thing 'not only ungentlemanly and unchristian, but positively atrocious!'"

  "I have not seen what is referred to, Edward."

  "And I am really ashamed, Mary, to let you see it. But then you know what this editor thinks of the thing; and that all Yankees are not abusive and bigoted. However, here it is." And then Mr. L. read the paragraph from the Boston Truth Teller, quoted in the Conservator and with all the severe and well-merited animadversions of its editor.

  "Well!" exclaimed the lady, "after that we may hope to hear no more sneers at Southern chivalry! Why, Edward! is this the land of the Puritans!—but, forgive me; the editor of the Conservator shows there are some—nay, many here, like my husband!"

  "What would Frank say to this, I wonder?" remarked Mr. L.

  "Frank would be almost ready to kick the pitiful sniveller—but—"

  At this instant some one modestly tapped at the door of their private parlor; and on being told to come in, our new acquaintance, Mr. Henry Williams, head waiter of the Boston House, politely bowing, advanced, and presenting a card to Mr. L., stood respectfully awaiting an answer.

  "Say to Dr. Jordan, waiter, that Mr. and Mrs. Leamington are at home, and would be pleased to receive him instantly."


  The waiter bowed, and in a few moments Dr. Jordan was ushered into the room.

  "Dr. Jordan!" cordially said both Mr. L. and his wife, "we are very glad to see you."

  The Doctor returned the salutation, and then seeing he was questioned by looks, rather than words, he went on—"My dear Mr. Leamington, I fear I am the bearer of sad tidings—and yet, in some respects, joyful—"

  "Is my mother so very ill, Doctor?" interrupted Mr. L.

  "My dear sir, let me not keep you in suspense—your excellent mother is no more!"

  Mr. L. made an effort to refrain; but his eyes were blinded with tears, his lips quivered, his bosom heaved, yet at last clasping his hands, he simply said, "My mother! oh! my mother!"

  "Edward!" said his wife tenderly, "Edward, she is in Heaven!"

  "Yes!" added the Doctor, hastily wiping away a tear, "yes! she is in Heaven!"

  "I shall go to her, but she can never return to me!" answered the son.

  "You do not wish it, Edward!—"

  "Oh, no I but it is so unexpected! oh, my mother!—and you will all now lie there, together!—you died not in our arms!"

  "She slept away into life in her Saviour's arms!"


said Dr. Jordan, adding, "A death so peaceful and so painless, I never witnessed."

  "The Lord's will be done!" answered Mr. L. "It is ordered better than we could have ordered—I do not, dear friends, murmur; I cannot but mourn!"

  After a pause Mr. Leamington made such inquiries as were answered by the following statement:

  Contrary to Dr. Jordan's opinion—the family physician—Mrs. Charity Leamington had grown suddenly worse, and about a week before the arrival of the packet she had expired, and was now resting in the village graveyard with all her household save Mr. Edward Leamington. Dr. Jordan had set out from Hopeful at the earliest possible, and had reached Boston on the previous night; where, learning from the papers the arrival and lodgings of the party, he had come to give, in person, the information, and to advise what steps would now be necessary for Mr. L. to take.

  "The weather," remarked the doctor to Mr. L., "is so very unpleasant, that, as no necessity exists for your immediate presence at Hopeful, I would advise your keeping within doors till the sun appears again."

  "And when I do come," replied Mr. L., "the estate is not so large nor matters so complicated, as not to admit an easy and speedy adjustment. You will not leave Boston to-day, doctor?"


  "Pardon me, I shall leave immediately."

  "So soon!" said Mrs. L., "can we not prevail on you to stay several days—at least one?"

  "My dear madam, I regret my medical duties render my return imperative—nay, I must go when the stage is ready ——"

  "And that," said Mr. L., "I fear is now the case. Ah! yes! they are driving around at this moment."

  "Farewell! then, my dear friends; I shall see you in a few days at Hopeful—farewell!" and the doctor hastened to his seat in the coach, which soon was rapidly bearing him homeward.

  Our sorrowing friends retired to their chamber, where we may not intrude. But when Mrs. L. kneeled in prayer that day, she asked for special support in a dark hour now more plainly seeming to threaten—and she was heard!

  When Mr. Henry Williams returned from ushering in Dr. Jordan, he had met Frank accidentally—(perhaps he may have waited somewhere till he saw him approaching,)—accidentally, however, he said, having before obtained an introduction, and smiling, he said—

  "Mr. Freeman, I had the pleasure of waiting on Mr. Leamington a moment ago."

  "Indeed! Henry."

  "If you have no objection—'Mr. Williams,' my dear Mr. Freeman. We northern folks are tenacious


among ourselves of our titles. Beg a thousand pardons, sir, but if we do not respect these little matters, we—you know—my dear Mr. Freeman ——"

  "Well, Mr. Williams," said Frank, taken all aback, "my master, must have been pleased with the substitute."

  "Oh! thank you, my dear sir, for this delicate flattery; any gentleman may well be proud to please, where Mr. Freeman pleases. But do oblige, by yielding to our northern weakness—our prejudices—you know, Mr. Freeman?"

  "Not exactly, Mr. Williams."

  "Your modesty, sir, makes you underrate yourself, but your good sense, sir, will take no offence?"

  "None, sir."

  "Well, sir, we always give gentlemen of every sort their title—we say Mr. Leamington."

  "Why, sir, he is my master—is he not?"

  "Mr. Freeman, if I must have a master, (which God forbid, sir,) I could have none more worthy and excellent than Mr. Leamington; but, sir, while in Rome do as Rome does—you know; when among the free, speak as the free;—pardon me, my friend, I may have been too abrupt—but excuse me, that's my bell ——"

  And away hastened Mr. Henry Williams, and pretty confident that Mr. Freeman had felt hit No. 1.


Yet after all, the bell was not—rung for him, but that Frank could not know.

  Ah! ha! Frank Freeman! what's the matter? The Tibbets you watched for, and would have knocked down, did not come in his own shape! Thy deep soul was probed and you hardly knew how! and behold! nestled away in a secret corner was a wish wide awake! and watching! For conscience sake you had shut your eyes and thought this desire was asleep! Frank! thou art one of nature's noblemen; and nature whispered in thy secret soul what she proclaimed loud enough in the boat to thy master—"Liberty's liberty!" Thou art in danger, Frank; and the more, because that master would not stifle, if he could, that whisper. But remember thy obligations, Frank!—thy vows—thy mother! May not all these demand—a sacrifice?

  The base and degraded white man, as also the black, cannot understand this; but a dreadful conflict raged now in our hero's mind. For a while he thought he should lose his senses! He shuddered like a man on the verge of a great crime that he might commit even while he shrunk away appalled! "Good heavens!" were his thoughts, "am I an object of pity and contempt to the black man!—The


whites think us inferior, and we bear it—but shall this poor negro-fop deem himself; and act as my superior!—me that perilled life to save men like that Tibbets—a scoundrel! Shall he address white men by their titles and I call them master! Yes! yes! —I know it—I could die for him—alas! alas!—my God, is it come to this!—more easily now than say master! But I must do it—I will do it—I will say master—he is my master. And yet I wish I was free!"

  Poor Frank! he did not know a wish thus expressed was very near neighbor to—resolve! Fop, or no fop, Mr. Williams can fire a train, Frank!—he can pull a bell-rope that wakes a clatter inside! And Mr. W. was not done with Frank. From a snug retreat, where he had concealed a dirty and ugly negro boy, he kept his eye on our hero; and, when the next bell rang—(pulled, in all likelihood, on purpose)—he let out Pete, who, running near Frank, halloed out—

  "Run, nigger! run! That's your master's bell! Make haste, or you'll ketch it—slave!"

  Frank let fly, (without thought, of course,) first a "considerable of a blow" with his fist, at Pete's head; and then, with his foot a very energetic kick, at Pete's—blank; both of which favors failed from the activity of the little black fiend: and [illegible] Mr.


Williams saw plain enough that Mr. Freeman had been himself severely hurt by hit No. 2.

  Frank knew the bell was not Mr. L.'s; but he moved off somewhere, and more especially as he heard Pete say to somebody—"That nigga 'ill git raw-hide sure!" In reply to which he heard Mr. Williams say, with great indignation—"For shame! you rascally poltroon! how dare you insult him so! Don't he suffer enough—a man of his feelings—without being so reminded of it?—get out, you black-guard!" This was followed by a scuffle and a hard box on somebody's ear—most likely Pete's; for that knave ran off swearing, and when at safe distance, he called back to Mr. Williams—"You be d——, old nigger Williams—old nigger Williams!" Well managed!—it hit Frank decidedly No. 3.

  Mr. and Mrs. Leamington were all this while in their closets: happy had Frank been in his! Man cannot stand in his own strength. Poor fellow! he did retreat to his room; but other servants were there; and he hastily ran back and kept moving about in the long halls. He could not reason; he could only feel! And the dreadful tossings of his tortured spirit when next wish put itself into words, made him passionately exclaim—"Would to God I could be free!"

  At that instant Frank had resolved; but he did


not know it. He had, however, no longer time for any reflections; for one moving almost noiseless, approached him from behind, and when he turned Carie, now near, said kindly—

  "Frank, master wishes to see you—"

  "Master!" cried he so strangely that the poor black girl was terrified; but she only opened her eyes in surprise, and replied—

  "Yes! and he is very sad—his mudder is dead!"

  "My master's mother dead!" exclaimed he, in his natural manner—"Poor master! poor dear master Edward! No! I must never—" He stopped short. That master had forbade all vows.

  But all this was—pity! Shame is a feeling more powerful and lasting. Shame is for ourselves, pity for others; the former is No. one, the latter, No. two. Hence, when on his way to Mr. L.'s room, Frank met by accident (?) Mr. H. Williams, and that gentleman, in a very kind manner, took his hand and remarked:

  "I am sorry, Mr. Freeman, to learn that Mr. Leamington is in so deep affliction—" and then bowing respectfully went on through the entry: then Frank saw it was quite possible to feel kindly and respectfully towards a man even if we called him Mister (Mr.) as well as Master. And hence, while he yet resolved to call Mr. L. Master, it was for Mr. Leamington's sake. It was from pity and not right; it was a work of condescension and not love!


  Frank did not perceive these steps in the change, nor cared he for the philosophy of the matter; yet this was the process of a change begun. But will it, of necessity, advance to its perfection? If any reader is this far—let him read on and see.

  When the poor fellow entered the room, Mr. L. said tenderly:

  "Frank, my dear mother is dead! We did not sail soon enough. If the weather allow, to-morrow—at all events, by the day after if it be fair—we shall all go up to Hopeful. Please, Frank, have the things ready."

  Frank bowed. He felt it would be like sacrilege to say, "Yes, sir." And he could not say Master so affectionately as before! Mr. L., however, took no notice of a change. If he had a thought, it was that Frank was too much moved to speak.

  "That is all, Frank," said Mr. L., perceiving the man waiting further orders. Frank went out—but, alas! peace went not with him!

  I know, when the first class emancipators arrive at Dr. Ananias Sharpinton's perfection, it becomes a wonder that any negro slave could have any great trouble about so plain a duty as running away! The only surprise is, that the fool does anything else! and that, when he does go, he goes not off with the spoils of the Egyptians!

  But with a man like our Frank, it does take some


time, and does occasion a little trouble and some disquiet to settle all qualms; to determine points of honor; to weigh considerations of gratitude; and to judge accurately under what circumstances one must surrender some rights, forego these, stand upon those, yield or act, and leave consequences—to God. And, although Frank could see as plainly as any male or female philanthropist that from a brutal, licentious, bloody dealer, or a demon like Legree, any slave, black or yellow, ought ever to get away, even if he did mankind and the South the favor of first knocking the villain's brains out; yet it was a question, when, and how, and where, a conscientious, honorable, and greatly benefited negro man should desert such a white man as the Rev. Edward Leamington, and such a white woman as Mrs. Leamington, and such a mother as Sarah! With perfectionists emancipation is a business—a trade—an art; and it may be carried on by rules. It is divide and carry one—sometimes two; and any body can attend to the trade that has brass enough. But with Frank it was a heart-work. He looked not to the applause of men; nor to the speechifier's platform; nor to a seat in Legislature or Congress; nor to the Presidency. He looked to what God might think of the matter! Hear it! A negro may make conscience about running away!—although some may scoff at him!


* * * * * * *

  Well, next day, to every body's wonder, the vane did not stand north-east! What was in the wind none could tell; for the vanes had become fickle and flew round the spire tops, showing a desperate resolution to stand and stick to the legal quarter, but prevented by a windy opposition, till at last all winds subsiding, the vane accidentally rested about west, and staid there!

  It was now determined that the family should set out for Hopeful at four o'clock that very afternoon; and all were consequently busy in making arrangements. When Mr. Leamington, however, went to the office to secure seats, an utterly unforseen difficulty presented itself.

  For some reason the Philanthropic Society had failed in convincing the travelling public that it was duty—nay, and a pleasant duty—for fellow-creatures to travel together, not only in the same vehicle, but on the same seat; and that, in warm weather, in addition to other odors and fragrancies, persons of color, and persons of no color, should delight in the reciprocal inhalation of each others' exhalations. Possibly the earnest and loud vociferations on this point. had made the public—(a person always in the opposition)—obstinate and unreasonable; and simply because the Philanthropic Society said—"they had ought to"—Public had answered—"they


hadn't oughter!" And ever since, when one said, "it should be done if the Union was dissolved!"—the other had replied, "they would die first and the Union might take care of itself!" And when at last dark folks were forced in, white folks got out; and it was prodigiously unprofitable to stage-owners!

  True, an hundred and an hundred times before the era of philanthropism, tidy blacks had been admitted and tolerated; the good-natured whites shrinking up a little, but still looking kind; yet, when the society made a fuss about it, so did the public. And just now public was in the majority; and none, except white people, could ride together in certain stage-coaches.

  When Mr. L. to-day tried to secure seats for all his family, a very polite and gentlemanly agent at the office said,

  "I regret, sir, we cannot book your colored people for seats in this stage ——"

  "You have no room then, sir, for all?"

  "I beg pardon, sir; that is not the difficulty."


  "No, sir, it is disagreeable to us, but ——"

  "Why, sir, what is it?"

  "Why, sir, passengers will not travel with black folks."


  "Can that be possible! Why, sir, we ride down South in the same carriages with our blacks."

  "We cannot, I am sorry to say, sir, oblige you; but our orders are most peremptory to take no blacks."

  "Can nothing be done, Mr. Agent?" with a supplicating manner, asked Mr. L., "we are all ready to go—it will be a great inconvenience to stop."

  "You could have chartered the whole stage an hour ago; but that now is impossible. We have already booked four passengers, and we dare on no account refuse their seats."

  "A separate conveyance would be very expensive?"

  "Very. It is all of one hundred and sixty-five miles to Hopeful. But, sir, in the course of a week I can contrive to send on the black folks. Would that do, sir?"

  "I hardly know what to say. Still as nothing better can be done to-day, and as the same, or some similar difficulty may arise to-morrow, I think we will take seats for my wife, myself, and for two children."

  "We shall call it three seats—your children are small?"

  "My daughter is about five—"

  "We shall call it three seats. Mr. Leamington, I believe?"

  "Yes, sir."

  The agent now wrote the name in his book, ob-


serving at the same time, "You were grossly insulted, sir, at your arrival; our fanatics make us odious, sir."

  To which Mr. L. replied, "We are certainly a strange people in the north, Mr. Agent. I presume I am in some way indirectly indebted to the Emancipators for this hindrance. These people tell many truths, and there are certainly evils, many and great, in our slavery institutions; but yet, I think the spirit and methods of abolitionists hurt the cause of freedom. These things embitter the temper of the South, and in some cases rivet chains; and without any great benefit even to one in a hundred of the poor people that are enticed and helped away. Sir, I wish you good morning." On which the Parson went homeward.

  On reaching home, after an anxious consultation it was concluded to leave Frank and Carrie at Boston, until the return of Mr. and Mrs. L. from Hopeful; but to take the children, Julia and George, with themselves. As for Mrs. L. herself, she was not without secret misgivings; yet was she secretly pleased that her dear husband would not be exposed to any invidious remarks and notices by travelling with the blacks as his slaves; for the brutal character of fanaticism she plain enough saw would not pause for his sorrow. It would taunt him in the church-yard and over the grave of his mother! It


would sneer in his face if he ascended the pulpit—it would scoff at him if he were dying!

  Mr. L. himself had fears, perhaps; but he comforted himself with his customary words, "The will of the Lord be done!" He did, indeed, once say to his wife,—"if the virtue of Frank and Carrie cannot stand trial, why we have judged it to be a little stronger than it is; though, perhaps, poor creatures, if we were in their place, we might not resist as well as they." To which his wife had not replied, she only looked, as she was really thinking—"God grant we may all be as you!—alas! I fear the negroes are too right in their impressions—Edward is going Home!"

* * * * *

  It was with very great persuasion the two children could be induced to go with their parents and leave the negroes—their daily, their hourly companions, playmates, friends! When the hour of separation came, they hung on their necks as if the separation was to be lasting; while the negroes' tears rained down and bathed their innocent faces!

  Reader! at that moment Frank and Carrie would have died for these dear little ones; and when the stage drove away, those noble negro slaves stood amidst a wondering crowd—