Chapter XXX: The Attack, Resistance, Arrest

The travel for the last ten days had been pleasant, save the necessity in the more southern part of the State of lying by through the day and traveling at night—the fugitives cheerful and full of hope, nothing transpiring to mar their happiness, until approaching a village in the centre of northern Indiana.
Supposing their proximity to the British Provinces made them safe, with an imprudence not before committed by the discreet runaways, when nearing a blacksmith's shop a mile and a half from the village, Andy in his usual manner, with stentorian voice, commenced the following song:
'I'm on my way to Canada,
That cold and dreary land :
5The dire effects of slavery,
I can no longer stand.
My soul is vexed within me so,
To think that I'm a slave,
I've now resolved to strike the blow,
10For Freedom or the grave.'
All uniting in the chorus,
'O, righteous Father
Wilt thou not pity me;
And aid me on to Canada,
15Where fugitives are free ?
I heard old England plainly say,
If we would all forsake
Our native land of Slavery,
And come across the lake.'
20'There, Ad'line! I golly, don't you hear that?' said Dave Starkweather, the blacksmith, to his wife, both of whom on hearing the unusual noise of singing, thrust their heads out of the door of a little log hut, stood patiently listening to the song, every word of which they distinctly caught; 'them's fugertive slaves, an' I'll have 'em tuck up; they might have passed, but for their singin' praise to that darned Queen! I cant' stan' that no how!'
'No,' replied Adaline, 'I'm sure I don't see what they sing to her for ; she's no 'Merican. We ain't under her now, am we Dave?'
'No we ain't, Ad'line, not sence the battle o' Waterloo, an' I golly, we wouldn't be if we was. The 'Mericans could whip her a darned sight easier now than what they done when they fit her at Waterloo.'
'Lah me, Dave, you could whip 'er yourself, she ai'nt bigger nor tother wimin is she?' said Mrs. Starkweather
'No she ain't, not a darn' bit! replied he.
25'Dave, ask em in the shop to rest,' suggested the wife in a hurried whisper, elbowing her husband as the party advanced, having ceased singing so soon as they saw the faces of white persons.
'Travlin' I reckon?' interrogated the blacksmith, 'little tired, I spose?'
'Yes sir, a little so,' replied Henry
'Didn't come far, I 'spect ?' continued he.
'Not very,' carelessly replied Henry.
30'Take seat there, and rest ye little,' pointing to a smoothly-worn log, used by the visitors of the shop.
'Thank you,' said Henry, 'we will,' all seating themselves in a row.
'Take little somethin?' asked he; stepping back to a corner, taking out of a caddy in the wall, a rather corpulent green bottle, turning it up to his mouth, drenching himself almost to strangulation.
'We don't drink, sir,' replied the fugitives.
'Temperance, I reckon?' enquired the smith.
35'Rather so,' replied Henry.
'Kind o' think we'll have a spell o' weather?'
'Yes,' said Andy, 'dat's certain; we'll have a spell a weatheh!'
On entering the shop, the person at the bellows, a tall, able-bodied young man, was observed to pass out at the back door, a number of persons of both sexes to come frequently look in, and depart, succeeded by others; no import being attached to this, supposing themselves to be an attraction, partly from their singing, and mainly from their color being a novelty in the neighborhood.
During their conversation with the blacksmith, he after eyeing very closely the five strangers, was observed to walk behind the door, stand for some minutes looking as if reading, when resuming his place at the anvil, after which he went out at the back door. Curiosity now, with some anxiety induced Henry to look for the cause of it, when with no little alarm, he discovered a handbill fully descriptive of himself and comrades, having been issued in the town of St. Genevieve, of-fering a heavy reward, particularizing the scene at the Mississippi ferry, the killing of the horses as an aggravated offense, because depriving a poor man of his only means of livelihood, being designed to strengthen inducements to apprehend them, the bill being signed ' John Harris.'
40Evening now ensuing, Henry and comrades, the more easily to pass through the village without attraction, had remained until this hour, resting in the blacksmith shop. Enquiring for some black family in the neighborhood, they were cited to one consisting of an old man and woman, Devan by name, residing on the other side, a short distance from the village.
'Ye'll fine ole Bill of the right stripe,' said the blacksmith knowingly, 'ye needn' be feard o' him. Ye'll fine him and ole Sally just what they say they is; I'll go bail for that. The first log hut ye come to after ye leave the village is thern ; jist knock at the door, an' ye'll fine ole Bill an' Sally all right blame if ye don't. Jis name me; tell 'em Dave Starkweather sent ye there, an' blamed if ye dont fine things at high water mark; I'm tellin' ye so, blamed if I ain't!' was the recomendation of the blacksmith.
'Thank you for your kindness,' replied Henry, politely bowing as they rose from the log, 'good bye sir!'
'Devilish decent lookin' black fellers,' said the man of the anvil, complimenting, designedly for them to hear, 'blamed if they ain't as free as we is—I golly they is!'
Without, as they thought, attracting attention, passing through the village a half mile or more, they came to a log hut on the right side of the way.
45'How yeh do fren? How yeh come on?' saluted a short, rather corpulent wheezing old black man, 'come in. Hi! dahs good many on yeh; ole 'omin come, heah's some frens !' calling his wife Sally, an old woman, shorter in stature, but not less corpulent than he, sitting by a comfortable dry-stump fire.
'How is yeh, frens? How yeh do ? come to da fiah, mighty cole!' said the old woman.
'Quite cool,' replied Andy, rubbing his hands, spreading them out, protecting his face from the heat.
'Yeh is travelin, I reckon, there is good many go 'long heah; we no call t'ask 'em whah da gwine, we knows who da is, case we come from dah. I an, ole man once slave in Faginny; mighty good country fah black folks.'
Sally set immediately about preparing something to give her guests a good meal. Henry admonished them against extra trouble, but they insisted on giving them a good supper.
50Deeming it more prudent, the hut being on the highway, Henry requested to retire until summoned to supper, being shown to the loft attained by a ladder and simple hatchway, the door of which was shut down, and fastened on the lower side.
The floor consisting of rough, unjointed boards, containing great cracks through which the light and heat from below passed up, all could be both seen and heard, which transpired below.
Seeing the old man so frequently open and look out at the door, and being suspicious from the movements of the blacksmith and others, Henry affecting to be sleepy, requested Billy and his wife when ready, to awaken them, when after a few minutes, all were snoring as if fast asleep, Henry lying in such a position as through a knot-hole in the floor, to see every movement in all parts of the room. Directly above him in the rafter within his reach, hung a mowing scythe.
'Now's yeh time, ole man; da all fas' asleep? da snorin' good!' said old Sally, urging Billy to hasten, who immediately left the hut.
The hearts of the fugitives were at once in their mouths, and with difficulty it was by silently reaching over and heavily pressing upon each of them, Henry succeeded in admonishing each to entire quietness and submission.
55Presently entered a white man, who whispering with Sally left the room. Immediately in came old Bill, at the instant of which, Henry found his right hand above him, involuntarily grasped firmly on the snath of the scythe.
'Whah's da?' enquired old Bill, on entering the hut.
'Sho da whah yeh lef' em!' replied the old woman.
'Spose I kin bring 'em in now?' continued old Bill.
'Bring who in?'
60'Da white folks: who else I gwine fetch in yeh 'spose ?'
'Bettah let em 'tay whah da is, an' let de po' men lone, git sumpen t' eat, an' go 'long whah da gwine!' replied Sally, deceptiously.
'Huccum ! yeh talk dat way ? Sho yeh tole me go!' replied Billy.
'Didn' reckon yeh gwine bring 'em on da po' cretahs dis way, fo' da git moufful t' eat an' git way so.'
'How I gwine let 'em go now de white folks all out dah? Say Sally? Dat jis what make I tell yeh so!'
65'Bettah let white folks 'lone, Willum! dat jis what I been tellin' on yeh. Keep foolin' 'long wid white folks, byme by da show yeh! I no trus' white man, no how. Sho! da no fren' o' black folks. But spose body 'blige keep da right side on 'em long so.'
'Ole 'omin,' said Bill, 'yeh knows we make our livin' by da white folks, an' mus' do what da tell us, so whah's da use talkin' lnog so. 'Spose da come in now?'
'Sho, I tole yeh de man sleep? gwine bring white folks on 'em so? give po' cretahs no chance? Go long, do what yeh gwine do; yeh fine out one dese days!' concluded Sally.
Having stealthily risen to their fee standing in a favorable position, Henry in whispers declared to his comrades that with that scythe he intended mowing his way into Canada.
Impatient for their entrance, throwing wide open the door of the hut, which being the signal, in rushed eleven white men, headed by Jud Shirly, constable, Dave Starkweather the blacksmith, and Tom Overton as deputies; George Grove, a respectable well dressed villager, stood giving general orders.
70With light and pistol in hand, Franey, mounting the stairway, commanded a surrender. Eli, standing behind the hatchway, struck the candle from his hand, when with a swing of the scythe there was a screech, fall, and groan heard, then with a shout and leap, Henry in the lead, they cleared the stairs to the lower floor, the white men flying in consternation before them, making their way to the village, alarming the inhabitants.
The fugitives fled in great haste continuing their flight for several miles, when becoming worn down and fatigued, retire under cover of a thicket a mile from a stage tavern kept by old Isaac Slusher of German descent.
The villagers following in quick pursuit, every horse which could be readily obtained being put on the chase, the slaves were overtaken, fired upon—a ball lodging in Charles' thigh—overpowered, and arrested. Deeming it, from the number of idlers about the place, and the condition of the stables, much the safest imprisonment, the captives were taken to the tavern of Slusher, to quarter for the night.
On arriving at this place, a shout of triumph rent the air, and a general cry 'take them into the bar room for inspection! hang them! burn them!' and much more.
Here the captives were derided, scoffed at and ridiculed,turned around, limbs examined, shoved about from side to side, then ordered to sit down on the floor, a non-compliance with which, having arranged themselves for the purpose, at a given signal, a single trip by an equal number of whites, brought the four poor prisoners suddenly to the floor on the broad of their back, their heads striking with great force. At this abuse of helpless men, the shouts of laughter became deafening. It caused them to shun the risk of standing, and keep seated on the floor.
75Charles having been wounded, affected inability to stand, but the injury being a flesh wound, was not serious.
'We'll show ye yer places, ye black devils!' said Ned Bradly a rowdy, drawing back his foot to kick Henry in the face, as he sat upon the floor against the wall, giving him a slight kick in the side as he passed by him.
'Don't do that again sir!' sternly said Henry, with an expression full of meaning, looking him in the face.
Several feet in an instant were drawn back to kick, when Slusher interfering, said:
'Shendlemans! tem black mans ish prishners! you tuz pring tem into mine housh, ant you shandt puse tem dare!' when the rowdies ceased abusing them.
80'Well, gentlemen,' said Tom Overton, a burly, bullying bar room person, 'we'd best git these blacks out of the way, if they's any fun up to night.'
'I cot plendy peds, shendlemans, I ondly vants to know who ish to bay me,' replied Slusher.
'I golly,' retorted Starkweather, 'you needn't give yourself no uneasiness about that, Slusher. I think me, and Shirly, and Grove is good for a night's lodging for five niggers, any how!'
'I'm in that snap, too !' hallooed out Overton.
'Golly ! yes Tom, there's you we like to forgot, blamed if we did't!' responded Starkweather.
85'Dat ish all right nough zo far as te plack man's ish gonzern, put ten dare ish te housh vull o' peoples, vot vare must I gheep tem ?'
'We four,' replied Grove, ' will see you paid, who else? Slusher, we want it understood, that we four stand responsible for all expenses incurred this night, in the taking of these negroes;' evidently expecting to recieve as they claimed, the reward offered in the advertisement.
'Dat vill too, ten,' replied Slusher. 'Vell, I ish ready to lite tese black mans to ped.'
'No Slusher,' interrupted Grove, 'that's not the understanding, we don't pay for beds for niggers to sleep in !'
'No, by Molly !' replied Overton, 'dogged if that aint going a leetle too far! Slusher, you can't choke that down, no how you can fix in. If you do as you please with your own house, these niggers is in our custody, and we'll do as we please with them. We want you to know that we are white men, as well as you are, and can't pay for niggers to sleep in the same house with ourselves.'
90'Gents,' said Ned Bradly, 'do you hear that?'
'What ?' enquired several voices.
'Why old Slusher wants to give the niggers a room up stairs with us!'
'With who ?' shouted they.
'With us white men.'
95'No, blamed if he does!' replied Starkweather.
'We won't stand that!' exclaimed several voices.
'Where's Slusher?' enquired Ben West, a discharged stage driver, who hung about the premises, and now figured prominently.
'Here ish me, shendlemans! answered Slusher, coming from the back part of the house, 'andt you may do as you please midt tem black mans, pud iv you dempt puse me, I vill pudt you all out mine housh!'
'The stable, the stable!' they all cried out, 'put the niggers in the stable, and we'll be satisfied!'
100'Tare ish mine staple—you may pud tem vare you blease,' replied the old man, 'budt you shandt puse me!' 
Securely binding them with cords they were placed in a strongly built log stable closely weather-boarded having but a door and window below, the latter being closely secured, and the door locked on the outside with a staple and padlock. The upper windows being well secured, the blacks thus locked in, were left to their fate, whilst their captors comfortably housed, were rioting in triumph through the night over the misfortune, and blasted prospects for liberty.

Textual Notes

1State] 59; the State, of 62
1day] 59; the day, and 62
4:] 59; ; 62
13thou] 59; Thou 62
13;] 59; , 62
19lake.'] 59; lakes!' 62
20don't] 59; dont 62
20hut,] 59; hut, and stood 62
20have] 59; a' 62
20darned] 59; darn' 62
20'] 59; not in 62
21,] 59; ; 62
21we] 59; am we, Dave?' 62
22/ 'No] 59; Dave?' / 'No, we 62
22if] 59; ef 62
22darned] 59; darn' 62
23whip] 59; wip 62
23,] 59; ! 62
23is] 59; am 62
23-24Starkweather] 59; Mrs. Starkweather. / 'No 62
24ain] 59; arn 62
24!] 59; !' 62
25ask] 59; ask 'em in 62
26'] 59; ', 62
26,] 59; ; 62
26'little] 59; 'little kind 'o tired, 62
27/ 'Yes] 59; spose?' / 'Yes, sir, 62
27-28Henry] 59; replied Henry. / 'Didn't 62
28far] 59; fur 62
30and] 59; an' 62
30smoothly-worn] 59; smootly-worn 62
31,] 59; ; 62
32?'] 59; '?' 62
37,] 59; ; 62
38frequently] 59; come frequently; look 62
39their] 59; not in 62
39eyeing] 59; eying 62
39when resuming] 59; then resume 62
39,] 59; not in 62
39anxiety] 59; some anxiety, induced 62
39of-fering] 59; offering 62
39particularizing] 59; particularising 62
39,] 59; and 62
40,] 59; not in 62
41,] 59; ; 62
41feard] 59; feared 62
41just] 59; jist 62
41blame] 59; , blamed 62
41recomendation] 59; recommendation 62
42,] 59; ; 62
42bye] 59; 'good bye, sir!' 62
43Devilish] 59; Devlish 62
43,] 59; not in 62
43,] 59; ; 62
43if] 59; ef 62
43-44is!'] 59; is!' / 'Without, as 62
44a] 59; not in 62
44half] 59; half a mile 62
45fren] 59; , frien 62
45,] 59; ; 62
45dahs] 59; da's 62
45heah] 59; hear 62
45s] 59; not in 62
45frens] 59; friens 62
46frens] 59; friens 62
46da fiah] 59; de fieh 62
48there is] 59; dare's 62
48heah] 59; hear 62
48whah] 59; whar 62
48dah] 59; dar 62
48,] 59; ' 62
48fah] 59; fer 62
51below] 59; down stairs 62
52,] 59; not in 62
52scythe] 59; sythe 62
53's] 59; not in 62
53?] 59; ! 62
54once] 59; once 'in their 62
54,] 59; ,' 62
54them,] 59; them, that Henry 62
55the instant of] 59; not in 62
55,] 59; instant 62
56Whah] 59; Whar 62
56enquired] 59; inquired 62
57whah] 59; whar 62
58'] 59; not in 62
60white] 59; wite 62
60:] 59; ; 62
60'] 59; not in 62
61Bettah] 59; Betteh 62
61let] 59; let 'em 'tay 62
61whah] 59; whar 62
61'] 59; not in 62
61'] 59; not in 62
61whah] 59; whar 62
61, deceptiously] 59; not in 62
62Huccum !] 59; How cum 62
63cretahs] 59; cretehs 62
63.'] 59; !' 62
64white] 59; wite 62
64dah? Say] 59; dar, say 62
64Dat] 59; Dis 62
64what] 59; wat 62
65Bettah] 59; Betteh 62
65white] 59; wite 62
65what] 59; wat 62
65.] 59; ! 62
65'] 59; not in 62
65white] 59; wite 62
65white] 59; wite 62
65da] 59; de 62
65'] 59; not in 62
65'em] 59; on em' long 62
66da white] 59; de wite 62
66what] 59; wat 62
66whah] 59; whar 62
66da] 59; de 62
66lnog] 59; long 62
66'] 59; not in 62
67?] 59; ! 62
67white] 59; wite 62
67cretahs] 59; cretehs 62
67what] 59; wat 62
67!'] 59; .' 62
68fee] 59; feet, 62
68scythe] 59; sythe 62
69respectable] 59; a respectable, well 62
70Franey,] 59; Shirly 62
70,] 59; not in 62
70scythe] 59; sythe, 62
70,] 59;62
70,] 59;62
71haste] 59; great haste, continuing 62
71and fatigued] 59; with fatigue 62
71retire] 59; retired 62
72,] 59;62
72,] 59;62
72,] 59; not in 62
74,] 59; ; 62
74,] 59; not in 62
74back] 59; backs 62
76devils!'] 59; devils ye!' said 62
76Bradly] 59; Ned Bradly, a 62
77again] 59; that again, sir!' 62
79black] 59; plack 62
79housh] 59; houish 62
79ant] 59; andt 62
80to night] 59; to-night 62
81ondly] 59; ondtly 62
81bay] 59; pay 62
82,] 59; not in 62
82,] 59; not in 62
84yes] 59; 'Golly! yes, Tom, 62
84did] 59; didn 62
85right] 59; righdt 62
85te] 59; to 62
85must] 59; musht 62
86;'] 59; ,' 62
86recieve] 59; receive 62
87,] 59; not in 62
87Slusher. 'Vell,] 59; replied Slusher,' replied Slusher. 62
87lite] 59; lit 62
87black] 59; plack 62
88/ 'No] 59; ped.' / 'No, Slusher,' 62
88,] 59; ; 62
89,] 59; ; 62
89going] 59; goin' 62
89If] 59; If, you 62
89know] 59; to know, that 62
89can't] 59; cant 62
90,'] 59; , 62
92/ 'Why] 59; voices. / 'Why, old 62
97stage driver] 59; stage-driver 62
98!] 59; !' 62
98,] 59; ; 62
98please] 59; blese 62
98black] 59; plack 62
99,] 59; ; 62
100Tare] 59; Dare 62
100blease] 59; blese 62
100,] 59; ; 62
101cords] 59; with cords, they 62
101weather-boarded] 59; closely weather-boarded, having 62
101night] 59; the night, over 62
101the] 59; their 62