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



  ABOUT one week after the events narrated in the previous chapter, near the end of June, and towards sun-down of a magnificent day, the Boston Express with its superb team of four proud bays, was thundering along the last four wiles of the road to the city.

  Within the coach, among other passengers, was our friend, Mr. Leamington, with his family. As far as mind was concerned, the parson was well; for he was possessor of that peace which God giveth to his own; but the recent sorrow was an added blow to weaken his clay tabernacle. Still the influence of a superb atmosphere and pleasant associates was visible in his face and spirits. The wife had all the happiness her entire confidence in her husband's future well-being could produce; and, but for her children's sake, she would gladly have gone with him not only


to any place on the earth, but beyond it, to the better land—the only home!

  A gig or barouche was now turning out for the approaching stage. In the vehicle rode Mr. Henry Williams and Miss Southton; who, in the moment they were passed by the express, heard two voices cry out,

  "Frank and Carrie! Ma! Frank and Carrie! Pa!"

  "Oh! no, my dears," said the wife in reply. It looks like Henry the head waiter at the hotel. Frank does not dress that way; and Carrie does not stare and look saucy as that wench; you will see the difference directly, my dears."

  "Mr. Williams, as he calls himself," said Mr. Thompson of Cambridge, "is a dandified negro; but after all, he is a clever black. He'll have the starch worked out though, if he marries that runaway jade."

  "Runaway!" said Mrs. L.

  "Yes, madam," replied Mr. T. "But Williams, who has more honor than a white abolitionist, has paid, they say, half the sum for her freedom; and if she will have him, will pay the other. If he redeems a slave—she'll make a slave of him."

  "Ma!" said Julia, "will Carrie dress me, when Frank takes her to the quarters?"


  "She'll always love you, my dear, if you are a good girl."

  "I am good, Ma!—Carrie makes me say my prayers."

  "Pa!" said Master George, "you'll never sell Frank, will you?"

  "Sell Frank!" exclaimed the father, "sell Frank! what put such a thought into your head, my son?"

  "Why, Henry said maybe you would."

  "I should almost as soon think of selling you, my child!" replied Mr. L., looking uneasily at his wife, who now felt her fears on that head return with force.

  "Pa! Henry said Frank would be a great man, if he was free; what is free, pa?" prattled the boy.

  "Frank deserves to be free," interrupted the mother, "for he saved my life!"

  "And he shall be free," added the parson.

  "Perhaps," said our Cambridge man with great bitterness, "the fanatical emancipators will help your servants to their freedom, sooner than you expect, sir; but we have laws—"

  "Which," interrupted Mr. L., "I should never apply to, if this noble negro were tempted to desert us. He is dear to us, gentlemen; and for his own sake, I hope he is firm; but he is human—"


  "And they," in his turn interrupting, said Mr. T., "are rascals and hypocrites, spite of their rigmarole."

  "You are severe, my friend," answered Mr. L.

  "And I am right," warmly continued Mr. T. "Why, sir, I know the gentry—I am their neighbor, sir, and had ought to know them. They'll plunge us into civil war, yet! There's that snivelling, canting old devil—(beg your pardon, sir)—old hypocrite, Sharpinton—why, sir, he has decoyed away niggers by the score! And I met in the south-west, when last from hum, an infernal rascal—(beg pardon, sir)—a fellow, some called him Tibbets, and some called him Somerville—'pon my honor, sir, I beg ten thousand pardons; I did not mean to offend or distress you—"

  "Aye! here we are!" cried somebody, at this juncture—"here we are! There's old Bunker—there's the Hill!" And, in a few moments, the Express was rattling up to the door of the Boston House.

  The usual crowd was there; but two that ought to have been among the expectant throng were not there. Anxiously, but in vain, did Mr. and Mrs. Leamington search with their eyes for the faithful negroes! And when the stage-door opened, and the children cried out, leaping forward—"Catch me, Frank! Catch me Carrie!"—they started back,


alarmed, when the landlord appeared, and said very kindly, "let me lift you out, my little friends!"

  But they cried—"No, no! where's Frank? where's Carrie?" and then imploringly turning to their parents, George said—"Why don't Frank come?—are they free, pa?"

  The passengers preserved a respectful silence, north-easters and all; and when Mr. L. said mildly, yet with a quivering voice—"Children, they are free!—but we shall see them in this life never more!"—tears stood in all eyes; amidst the loud cries of the children, and the ill-repressed sobbings of the mother!

  That moment was like the solemnity and sadness of death; and the family looked as if they came to a vacant home, from the burial of the dead! It was, however, the noble doings of Philanthropism; and its motto waved in triumph over crushed hearts and blighted affections—Ruat coelum, justitia fiat.

  Our friends entered their rooms—empty and desolate; but shortly, a light step approached the parlor, and then came a gentle tap at the door; on which Mr. L. himself opening the door, the landlord respectfully bowing, placed in his hands a letter and then retired. But Mrs. L. and her children were, at the time, in the chamber; and hence Mr. L. remained in the parlor, to read alone that letter. On opening the letter, however, a piece of paper fell on the


floor; but at the moment, Mr. L. paid little attention to that; he was too deeply interested in the letter. The reader may well know who was the writer—it was as follows:

  "Master!—a dear name yet—though I appear as a traitor!—a name I shall ever love, even if my new friends (?) constrain me to use their cold language. Yes, dear master! you knew me better than I know myself: you would never let me vow! Oh! I remember that one sermon—'Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing?' They look on me as noble and free!—alas!—I feel myself a slave now, and worse than before; I have become in my own eyes 'a dog!'—I have done it.

  "Oh! why did I resolve to be free! That instant I was a changed man—alas! how changed! I felt a gulf was between us—a gulf never to be recrossed! Master, am I really a runaway? It cannot be—it was not necessary—it is not necessary. I need not hide—you scorn to hunt me! Ah! master, master! I see your averted look—your waving hand! I hear your voice! You motion and speak me away! You say, 'Frank! if you wish, go!'

  "They have once—but only once—told me to keep myself concealed. Concealed! As if Edward Leamington would ever come after me! No! no!—I will never hide from fear of pursuit, but I hide my-


self from a look of pity and rebuke I dare not encounter! Oh! could I be as I was!—but that can now never be—I am a changed man! I must lie in the bed I have made!

  "But, dear master, I have wronged you in another way, beside the deep wounding of your feelings; I have defrauded you of services—I have taken away Carrie! Do not say no: leave me this little consolation—let me pay you back in time the full value of us both.

  "And the money your bounty and kindness left for our expenses and pleasure—oh! do not—do not refuse to receive it back. I cannot—I dare not use it: it seems like accursed theft; it would burn a brand of infamy on my very soul—do, kind master—take it back willingly. You have often said, you owed me something; reward me by allowing me to return this money, and to make constant efforts to repay you all.

  "And my dear, kind mistress!—my dear little George and Julia!—let them not think too hard of us— Carrie's cries are in my ears!—And my mother! . . . . .

  "Master! I have done wrong—very wrong! But I cannot retrace my steps—I purchase Liberty at a dear rate! . . . . . But farewell! my dear, kind, noble-hearted master! May God bless you—he


does bless you—Farewell! I sign myself, if you will allow me,


  Mr. Leamington folded the letter, and put it into his bosom ; and then looking towards heaven, he said, with great emotion and solemnity,

  "Oh, God! I forgive this misguided brother: And here before Thee, in my intention I do now set him free, and I will do this in my will. I will accept his payments if he can make them, both for his sake and that of my family; but not for my own. Bless and guide and save them both; and for our common Redeemer's sake—Amen."

  He then stooped and picked up the paper that had fallen from the, letter; it was a cheque for twenty-five dollars, which, placing in his pocket-book, he went into the chamber. The composure of his manner and serenity of his countenance had an effect to calm Mrs. L.; and when Mr. L. handed her Frank's letter, he took the children with himself into the parlor, leaving the mother to read the letter alone. When in the parlor, George said,

  "Pa, is not Frank bad? won't he come home?"

  To which Julia added, "Carrie is naughty too; I won't love naughty Carrie!"

  "My dear son," replied the father, "Frank has done wrong; but he is a good man; he is a Chris-


tian too. We shall probably never see him again: and even if he came back, he would never be useful or happy with us anymore. And, my dear little Julia, pa does not think Carrie so very naughty; and I know she is crying that she cannot dress you and put you into bed, and take you in her arms; you must love her yet. But you are both too young for pa to make you understand all he says."

  "But, pa," said George, "I hate the white people here—they steal black people."

  "My dear child," replied the father, "we must not hate any body; the people here entice away black folks, but they call the act by softer names."

  "Are they good, too, pa, like Frank when he is doing wrong?" asked the child.

  "Some of them, we must believe, my dear, are really good people."

  "Pa, what makes these good people call you and ma bad names? A black woman told Carrie not to say master and missis, because you were body-snatchers and slave-drivers."

  "Hard names, my dear boy, do not hurt us, when Our heavenly Father knows we are doing right."

  At this moment Mrs. L. entered the parlor with the letter in her hand, her eyes being red with weeping, and approaching her husband, she affectionately said—

  "I well know, Edward, by your manner, what


you did on reading this letter. Poor fellow!—let him have Carrie! I do not hesitate a moment to do what I know you wish. But oh! my dear Edward, let us to-morrow leave Boston; I cannot stay here among enemies with pleasure, and we both need a change of residence."

  "Dear wife! I blush for my native land, I mourn you have had such reception! To-morrow we will set out for Philadelphia. The weather will continue delightful, and doubtless travelling thither by short stages will do us both good."

  "We need apprehend no delays, now, by refusals at the offices to take our whole family. A strange land this—where it is deemed discreditable to ride in a coach with decent black people, but a very honorable and religious act to creep and prowl around houses to steal or entice away your servants," observed the lady, with some anger.

  "Folks may, dear wife, strain at a gnat, who easily swallow a camel."

  "Some, also, Edward, righteous in their own eyes despise us of the South, as poor sinners; and yet there may be meaner things than owning a slave. Perhaps Frank and Carrie may find out in time."

  Here a servant entered with tea; and the conversation turned into other channels; and, after tea, our friends, weary aud exhausted, went early to bed, intending to set off, next day, for New Haven. Mrs.


L. rang as little as possible for servants; partly because some of the black free servants were impertinent in look and manner, and partly to show, that Southern woman as she was, she could do with less parade and attendance than most northern ladies of the same rank.

  Next day our family, several weeks before their original intention, commenced their homeward journey, and the day after that, in the evening, they were comfortably resting in a hotel at New Haven. Here they remained some days, enjoying the many beautiful walks and drives around the city; striving to forget the past, but often forced to recall it, by exclamations and questions from the children, who, at sight of every fine-looking negro man, in the distance, would say

  "There's Frank! there's Frank! pa!"

  On one occasion, Julia actually broke away from her mother's side, and crying—"Carrie! Carrie! let me go to Carrie!"—she sprang towards a well-dressed, lady-like, black girl, surrounded by a troop of innocent little white children, and seizing her by the dress, exclaimed—"Carrie! naughty Carrie! come home!—come back!" The kind-hearted black girl, lifted her gently in her arms, and saying—"I'm not Carrie, my dear!" she carried her towards Mrs. Leamington.

  That lady, on receiving her child, with something


in her look and tone that affected the black woman, said, "Thank you, my good girl! You do, indeed, look like her—but she is dead to us!" On which the negress curtsied respectfully, and went back to her wondering charge.

  At that very moment a carriage was passing, the coachman on the box, and a lady and gentleman within the coach. The lady was evidently in very poor health, being partly sustained by the gentleman, who, from the disparity of their ages, was probably her father. Attracted by the beauteous sight of the little group around the negress, the invalid had leaned forward for a better view, but the next moment uttering a sudden and piercing cry, as of one dying, she fell back, apparently lifeless, into her father's arms! But our two friends only heard the dreadful shriek; for, at the instant, the coachman struck his horses, and the carriage was borne swiftly away.

  "What a piercing, frightful cry! Edward!" said Mrs. Leamington.

  "I caught a glimpse of a lady's dress—she must have been in much pain; or greatly alarmed! Alas! others have their sorrows too, dear Mary!" answered the husband.

  After walking some time longer around the college and parade ground, Mr. L. and his family returned to their hotel. That evening, shortly after tea a servant brought Mr. L. word that a gentle-


man in the parlor, who declined giving his name, begged to see Mr. L. immediately; on which he followed the waiter to the room. On entering he was met by a gentleman, somewhat advanced in life, but of a benign countenance and evidently from his manner and intonation a southern gentleman; who, in a voice inspiring respect and confidence, commenced:

  "Mr. Leamington, mine is a strange request: yet if you will favor me by accompanying me in the carriage at the door, I will acquaint you with what you were once—perhaps, are yet interested in. May I hope you will ride with me some two miles?"

  Mr. L. looked inquiringly. The elder gentleman continued—"I am, doubtless, to you personally a stranger; and yet we are or will be friends."

  "I will go, sir, interrupted the parson; allow me, first, to inform Mrs. L., and to make a little preparation."

  Accordingly Mr. L. withdrew; and after some five or ten minutes the two gentlemen were seated together in the carriage; which was driven away at a moderate pace from the hotel: the glass and blinds of the coach in front being closed.

  In a moment or two the elder gentleman began: "I am, Mr. L., to you personally unknown; but I have for years known—may I add—respected you. Nay, my dear sir, if I may be honest, I have long


loved you. Prepare yourself, my dear friend; I have a sorrowful tale; and yet it is important to your own peace that you hear it! Dear sir, I see your anxiety—I will not keep you in suspense—perhaps, I need only name myself—William Henderson, of Mobile."

  Mr. L., who had been intensely agitated for the last few moments, as if he foresaw the truth, exclaimed, making strong efforts against being overcome—

  "And you know her!"

  "I know all—I know her!" answered Mr. H.

  "Helen! oh, Helen! it was your Bible!" said Mr. L., burying his face in his hands.

  "I know all, dear Mr. Leamington, and yet I love Helen as my own daughter!" continued Mr. Henderson.

  "It was Helen! then; it was not your daughter?" inquired Mr. Leamington.

  "Where did you find her Bible?" replied Mr. H.

  "It was left in the packet—and she lives?"

  "A penitent and unstained!" answered Mr. H.

  "Oh! God!" fervently cried Mr. F., "my deep soul praises thee. I shall die, blessed be thy holy name! free from that horrible thought! And have I wronged thee by an unrighteous divorce! sweet, innocent Helen!"

  "No! dear Mr. L., you have done no wrong. Be


composed; I will give you now the briefest outlines of what will rejoice your Soul; at our leisure I will go into all the details," said Mr. H.

  The narrative then in brief and afterwards in greater extent given to Mr. L. by Mr. Henderson was this. Among other passengers in the Express, who arrived at New Haven early in the morning, were Somerville and Mrs. Helen Leamington. They were driven down to the packet; but no sooner had the lady come on board, than she entered a stateroom, leaving her enticer on deck in conversation with the captain. Almost immediately the vessel got under weigh; and then the waiting maid came up and handed Tibbets, as he announced himself, a note. What it contained was never known; but after a while, the fellow told the captain he wished a separate room, into which he retreated and bolted the door. Towards evening, Molly, a colored woman, chambermaid on the packet, said to the captain, the lady wished to see him.

  This gentleman, Captain Woodward, was nephew to Mr.W. Henderson. He went into the state-room, where he found Helen in great anguish, who said,

  "Captain, I ask one great favor—I implore it from the depth of my heart—let this colored woman stay constantly with me—let her sleep in this very room—I will tell you all before we reach Charleston."

  To this the captain, suspecting in part, what she


afterwards more fully told him, the more readily consented, as the two were the only cabin passengers. And he determined, moreover, to see that she should in no way be molested by Tibbets, who, however, on coming on board, had paid down the passage money for both—the captain being then of opinion that the lady was his wife. The captain at that interview received from the lady a letter, which he found an opportunity of sending that very night by some passing vessel to New Haven. It was the letter the reader may remember was read on the voyage in the Cutwater. It was only by the earnest entreaties of Helen that Captain Woodward refrained from pitching Tibbets overboard, when she, on the ship's approach to Charleston, told him her whole story; but the captain was so enraged, that after making some arrangement with the pilots, who bailed and boarded him, Tibbets was ordered to leave the ship and proceed to his destination in the pilotboat.

  On the arrival of the packet, Mr. W. Henderson happening to be in Charleston, and coming to see his nephew, was made acquainted with the poor lady's history; and the result was, that he resolved to befriend and restore her to her husband. To this the poor penitent and heart-broken wife, had replied,

  "Oh I sir, I am utterly unworthy this kindness;


but I need a father! alas! my own parents are in their graves, and yet happy for them—I should have brought down their heads with sorrow to the tomb. Oh! give me another trial for life!—but I cannot return! I am innocent of all but this desertion and yet he can never receive me—no—never!"

  Mr. Henderson had not long before buried his only daughter, a lady in age and looks like Helen—indeed like her in many respects; and hence he finally adopted this poor wandering lamb as his own—and she became in time nearly as dear as the buried child.

  At the end of the brief story, by Mr. Henderson related, Mr. Leamington asked—

  "And where is she now?"

  "I wish to carry you to where she is—"

  "Never! I dare not!—I must not!" vehemently interrupted Mr. L. "No! no! I must return, instantly."

  "She only wishes your forgiveness before she dies—my dear friend. Oh! listen before you answer,—four hours ago we were riding in this very carriage; she saw and recognized you, on the Green— she uttered a fearful shriek—she fell back, dead, as I at first supposed, into my arms—"

  Mr. L. here wildly said—"I heard your cry, Helen! It will ring, ever, in my ears! I come! I come! Hurry me on—we may be too late!"


  "There is the house," replied Mr. H. "Helen yet lives, and will for a few hours. God will bless you for this—my dear daughter knows you have forgiven her—but she would hear your voice say—'I forgive'—and, that she may have that joy, I would give my fortune."

  "Oh! Mr. Henderson," said Leamington, "if I cannot now say that word, I shall die without peace, myself."

  "Be composed, dear Mr. L. When we alight, we will stay in the parlor till the physician says you may see her."

  Accordingly, the gentlemen went into the parlor; where free from the fear of the driver, Mr. L. gave way to his moanings, constantly exclaiming—"Why did they report you dead—why did you not return! I would have received you—even Mary would not have blamed me! Why, Mr. Henderson, was I deceived by a false report of her death?"

  "Helen was, indeed," replied Mr. H., "very ill with the fever. The physicians deemed her recovery hopeless. Rumor arose that she was dead—she was so reported at Mobile. The editorial notice and comment you saw, were without our knowledge. Helen, to the surprise of all, however, recovered: but her constitution, weakened by a sorrowful remorse, never recovered the shock of her illness, and since


then, year by year, she has been sinking to the grave."

  "She would have lived, had she come back!" said Mr. L., in a tone that melted Mr. H. into tears. On recovering himself he said—

  "I urged her that I might write you her true story. But she was immovably fixed in one resolve—while her betrayer lived, never to let you know she lived. She said, 'Edward may forgive! but how can he receive me! No! let me go down to the dust, banished, but penitent—but blessed be God—uncontaminated!'"

  The agitation of Mr. L. became, now, very great, when Mr. H., folding him to his bosom, said, "My dear son, be composed, for the sake of the dying."

  "I will be!" answered Mr. L. "I am! when shall I see her?"

  "I am going now," replied Mr. H., "to see if all is ready."

  "Go, immediately, my kind sir, I will be ready—I will be," said Mr. L., who was left now alone. His feelings none can tell, save those who have endured similar trials; yet when Mr. Henderson returned, and with him the physician, they saw Mr. Leamington was braced to bear the interview.

  "Be calm," said the physician, "her last hour is come! I will go with you; she may need my aid."

  The two gentlemen went noiseless up the stairs;


the chamber door was gently opened by the doctor, and, in a moment more, Edward Leamington was kneeling at the bed, his lips kissing the cold hand of the dying, while he tenderly and tremulously whispered—

  "Helen! dear Helen! my own dear Helen!"

  "He forgives! I die—happy!" exclaimed the penitent in a voice of joy; and then she swooned.

  "I dreaded it!" said the physician, greatly moved, "but she will revive;" holding, at the same time, a powerful essence to be inhaled, and bathing her face on which the patient, as she revived, said, faintly—

  "Is he near me?—the lights! One sight of that dear face—reconciled!"

  "Edward is kissing your face, dear Helen!"

  "His voice! hold me once more to your heart!"

  Leamington sat on the side of the couch; and placing his trembling arm gently under the dying, he drew her head upon his bosom, saying with an intense earnestness—

  "Helen! oh! Helen!—look up! You are on my heart!—smile on me as of old!"

  She let her head fall gently backward; and while a sweet smile melted over her countenance, her eyes opened upon Edward's face, with the look of an angel's pure love and then, with the last sigh, whispering—"O God!—I thank thee!" her eye-lids


dropped their long lashes like an innocent babe's—her bosom moved its last throb—and the

  Divorced slept on Edward's breast, to wake—Never more!