TWO days after the visit to Friend Felix, a package of letters, postage paid, (and that a dollar,) was brought by the carrier to the barber-shop. The seals showed the writers were mourners. Leaving his shop in charge of quadroon Jerry, a kind of second boss, and just fit for his station, too—Frank hastened into the ironing part of his establishment to read the letters—knowing at a glance whence they came. The first he opened was a double or triple affair, and signed "H. Wardloe." Here is a condensation of its contents—its essence:
"I did you a great, a very great wrong—and I am
very sorry for it. And yet I always more than half
believed you must be true. God be thanked—that dear Edward redeemed you—how would I now feel, if that infernal dealer had got you!—poor Edward, how he looked when he got my note and bid up the $4,000!
—"You know poor Edward has gone to Heaven! Our editor said you would read that in his columns, a day before any letter could reach you.—We knew you were in Philadelphia—you can't be hid— but you ought to have written to some of us.—Ah! Frank, had you seen Edward go up! We ought to be reconciled, I know, but it is very hard—I don't think I ever shall be!—Frank, you meant well when you got Somerville off, but had you known then, what I have since learned, you would have hung him—yes you would—if you had turned hangman yourself! Heaven be praised the awful villain got his due at last! I always felt he'd not die a natural death!
—"I saw the letter you wrote to Edward in Boston, but what was the use of going off that way? Why didn't you let Edward know you wished to stay in the north? Henderson said you'd find them out, though!—
—"Now about the money—don't give yourself
one moment's concern that way;—mark it! I tell
you, Frank, every dollar you owed Edward, and
with compound interest, is paid, and to the last cop-
per: and you'll find the receipts in the enclosure, marked A.
"And Carrie is just as free as yourself—her price is paid, you'll find. But Frank, in enclosure A you'll find a draft on Biddle's Bank—the United States Bank—payable to your order for $5000. And this you shall and must receive, if you don't wish to make your friends angry—the money is for the vast, vast service rendered our parish—you know when.
"My niece told me all about Mrs. Freeman—who wished to consult Mr. Leamington and tell him a great secret; but the old lady, your old mistress, died, you know, suddenly, and did not name you in her will; and I never heard this till after Edward's death. Mr. Jenkins, who you remember was drowned in Broad River, near St. Helena, told me that Woburn had pointed you out as perhaps concerned in the plot; and that was the reason I half suspected and feared you! But lately we instituted a rigorous and ransacking search through all the old drawers, and boxes, and books; and sure enough in Mrs. Freeman's old work-stand, that had never been opened since her death, we found in a sort of needle-book this memorandum:—
"'Frank to be free, and his mother too; and because
F. told me all that I hinted to Mr. Wardloe
and others, &c., &c. If my heirs see this, in case I
should not by any accident get F. into my will—
they must set F. and his mother free. I shall consult Parson L. when he returns. I might die suddenly, as my father died. SARAH FREEMAN.'
"I did my part, Frank, to reward you by paying to my niece all you owed the estate. But Col. Hilson, Dr. Harrison, Wetherill, Brooksea, &c., insisted on making up a little purse of $5000, which they did in a very few hours. * * *
* * * * *
"And now, Frank, won't you go to Liberia? If so, the next ship leaves Savannah six weeks from to-day. Come, leave your strops and razors to some cowardly fellow, and sail in the next packet from Philadelphia for this port. A good many of us will meet you there; I would not like to have you exposed to some bad fellows—whites as well as blacks—among the islands: you can guess why—the secret has leaked out! Kindly, yours,
Another letter was from Mrs. Leamington. We give a few lines.
"* * I told uncle I would write about
Sarah—your dear mother. She died many months ago,
and very suddenly, and full six weeks before we left
the north or arrived at Evergreen. And while you
now mourn that you can never see her again—yet
you will rejoice your oversight had nothing to do with her death. God, Frank, is kind to his people, that they may not have over much sorrow!
"I know you will go to Liberia; and Uncle W. must think so too, yet he affects to doubt it—he says folks up north will keep you for Governor or something; and that they may go farther and fare worse.
* * * Of course, Carrie, you will learn, is to go with you. * * We heard of your marriage; a merry Yankee girl, a near cousin of Mr. Leamington, was there, being in a manner forced to go by her guardian—a deacon or something else, in that Doctor Sharpinton's church. Well, she wrote and gave us such a picture of the lofty Mr. Williams, and his 'disinterested love' towards the preacher, that poor, dear Edward, weak as he was, laughed heartily, and said that Williams ought to have kissed Sally for making fun of such sacred matters. * * I shall be at Savannah when the ship sails with the emigrants. My new maid, Molly Henderson, will go with the company. M. L."
We may readily believe that our two friends, when they kneeled that evening in prayer, could do little else than utter praise and thanksgivings; and that Frank, as soon as he could leave his shop, was on his way to see Friend Felix, and carrying along his package of good news.
After a long and interesting conversation, Mr. Felix said,
"And thee is entirely resolved, then, to prepare immediately to go in the packet for Savannah?"
"We are ready, with your aid and advice, to begin even this very hour," answered Mr. F.
"Well, we will see thy money matters all properly arranged first; and then we will go to Sansom street and have thee enrolled; and then we will set at the packing, friend Freeman."
"When does the packet sail for Savannah?" asked Frank.
"Next week, on third day morning; but we can be ready by that—doesn't thee think we can, Frank?"
"Oh! yes, and I rejoice I shall be able to hear Dr. Jones one more Sabbath."
"Aye, friend Jones," said the quaker, who wished to be witty, "Friend Jones is a great—whig."
"Especially when I have carded and combed him," said the barber; "but who'll do that now?"
"Oh! thee will sell out to Jerry. Jerry is a more natural barber than thee, and was not born to go to Africa. I think I must advance friend Jerry the money ——"
"Only to pay his rent then, Mr. Felix; I shall make him a present of all the fixtures, good will, furniture, and the like."
"Well, Frank, thee is still like thyself, all through. I'll help Jerry the first quarter to pay the rent; but will thee be able to go to bank at ten o'clock to- morrow?
"Yes; for to-night I will tell Jerry of our changes; and that he is to have the shop now all to himself."
And here Mr. F. bade good night to Mr. Felix, and went home.
On Tuesday of next week, or as Mr. Felix called it—third day—(although he never said first star, second star, and the like, but always called the heavenly bodies by their wicked heathen names, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter,) on Tuesday a carriage stopped before the barber shop, out of which with some hard blowing and rubbing, came forth Mr. Felix; on which Mr. and Mrs. Frank Freeman, and little black Edward Leamington toddling alongside, appeared at the door of the shop.
Soon quadroon Jerry handed out some three or
four travelling trunks and a few band-boxes; all
which, with aid of the hack-driver, were secured
behind and in the body of the vehicle. Then Mr. F.
handed in his wife, and with help from Jerry
repacked Mr. Felix; and next, after having lifted in
the seedling governor of Liberia, or Missionary,—who was taken, spite of some little contrary effort on the mother's part, forcibly on to the quaker's lap,—Mr. F. himself entered the carriage; when the driver mounting the box, and Jerry, now head barber, having shut the carriage door and taken his seat with the hack-man, the party was driven towards the Delaware; and soon from Frank and Carrie's eyes for ever vanished—
The Barber's Shop!
On the wharf was gathered a very black cloud, clustering around the Rev. Dr. Jones and his non-descript wig;—said wig that very morning early having for the last time been mournfully—yes tearfully—carded and curled by the Doctor's principal vestry-man—the last official act of his tonsorial life! It was a fitting finale to the episode of his history! And touching and invading the black cloud was a white cloud—a sort of silvery edging—and mostly in quaker dresses; although many were ladies and gentlemen decked in the reigning modes—and several were persons of wealth and distinction.
The packet ship—(the Wade Hampton, Captain
Baker, and his noble mate, Scalinger)—was only
waiting the coming of our party, whose preparations
had demanded every moment that could be granted;
hence, time now only remained for hands to be
pressed right and left, and that along a species of
gauntlet-way, from the carriage to the ship; while governor Edward was handed along and over the heads of his friends, being kissed by the dark looking women and patted on the neck and between the shoulders by the other sort, till he was held up on deck in his own mother's arms!
Behold! there they stand—the three! Look on that group!—my black brother and my black sister, if perchance, you may read my book! Are these not noble? Imitate them, if ye would be Free in reality as well as in name; and if ye would rank individually and nationally among the Peoples, and States, and Kingdoms of the Earth!
See! the ship is moving! She swings from her moorings! Hark!—the cheering! That group stands proud—but their eyes are swimming in tears! Aye! their hearts are divided—for cords of love had been twining around the good men and women they are leaving! Home is in the distance across the waste of waters—but home is also behind them! Now the canvass rises and spreads wings to the Winds; and from the deck a white kerchief is fluttering—and a hat waving—and a child's little hand playfully moving—the first—the last adieu of
Frank and Carrie to the Northern Friends!
God be with you, noble blacks!
We need not dwell on the parting hour from the Southern Home. But, we only say, that spite of all dissuasives and remonstrances, Frank resolved to visit Evergreen. It was a pilgrimage he seemed bent upon if he died in the attempt. The planters, however, determined he should not go alone; and Mr. Wardloe and Colonel Hilson accompanied and stood near, while Frank lingered around three separate spots—the graves!
These gentlemen were wont to speak years after of what they then saw; and always with visible emotion. And they said, when the negro came from his master's grave—they were awed into reverence as if they stood in the presence of some majestic king! But, reader, that negro was more than a mere king, and deserved this monumental record—
Worthy to Stand
And he had his reward; for he and his beloved
wife lived to hear the Liberian Declaration of Independence; and then honored and beloved, they slept in their Father Land. Edward became not, indeed, governor; but he became what his pious mother ever prayed he might become,
A Minister of Jesus Christ,