David Butterworth drew a pencil from his
pocket, picked up a pad of paper from the wagon-
seat beside him, and scribbled two words on the top
sheet. This he held up before his grandfather, who
was holding loose reins over the back of the jogging
horse. Old John Butterworth chuckled as he read the
"So thee is hungry, is thee?" He glanced up at the
sun in the sky above them. "It lacks a good half-
hour yet to noon. Can thee not wait until then before
we get out the lunch basket?"
The boy shook his head vigorously, then held up
one finger, which he moved meaningly.
"Just one sandwich, now; is that it?" asked the
David nodded again, with much energy.
"Well, it was pretty early when we started; so I
don't wonder that thee is hungry. Yes, pull out the
lunch-basket, and get thy one sandwich. But it won't
be time for us to really eat for an hour yet."
David waited for no second bidding, but slipped
down to the floor of the wagon, and began feeling
under the seat for the well-filled lunch-basket. His
grandfather kept the fat brown horse at its steady,
jogging pace, and watched the boy smilingly, as he
opened the basket, and took out the largest sandwich
David and his grandfather were on their way to
market, with a load of newly-made brooms to sell.
The old Quaker had been deaf for several years, and
David often went with him on these trips, to help
him in his bargaining. The boy had become skillful
in writing one or two words to take the place of an
entire sentence, and he and his grandfather had
worked out a sign language of their own, which
saved them much time and trouble in writing.
The Butterworths lived in the southern part of the
State, not far from Cincinnati where they sold the
produce of their farm - wheat, beans, wool, eggs,
and home-made brooms. Sometimes the load bound
for the market was a mixture of all these things;
today the entire back of the covered wagon was filled
with brooms. David glanced at these with pride. He
had helped to raise the broom-corn from which they
were made, and had done his share, also, in their
He closed the lunch-basket, climbed back upon the
seat, and devoured his sandwich, while the wagon
jogged on toward Cincinnati. The last mouthful,
however, went down in a sudden gulp, for a man
dashed around a bend in the road, and came running
toward them at top speed. The man was almost coal-
black; his woolly head was bare, his shirt and
trousers in rags.
David's grandfather saw him at the same time.
"An escaping slave," he exclaimed, "and with the
slave hunters close on his track, too-he looks over
his shoulder as if they might be upon him at any
He shook the reins over the horse's back, and
touched the animal with the old whip which he so
rarely used that, even now, David stared in surprise.
A moment later, the fugitive was beside them.
"Stop!" cried the old man. "Are they close behind
"Yassuh! yassuh! dey'll hab me in no time, shuah!"
The old man could not hear a word, but David
nodded with all his might, as the Negro spoke.
"Quick, then," said old John Butterworth. "Get
into the back of the wagon. Crawl under the brooms
and hide thyself, and don't be frightened if we meet
thy pursuers." In an instant, the Negro had climbed
into the rear of the wagon. He burrowed under the
brooms like a mole.
Then David, struck by a sudden thought, slid off
the seat and himself crawled under the brooms from
John Butterworth, turning to lift and arrange the
brooms over them, smiled in approval.
"Thee has done well, David," he said. "We are
almost certain to meet the men who are after our
friend; but as I shall not be able to hear a word they
say, I shall not be able to answer them."
He looked on the seat for the paper, to toss it out
of sight, but quick-thinking David had carried both
paper and pencil with him under the brooms. A final
glance at the pile of brooms, a touch to the horse,
and the wagon went on once more, its only visible
passenger a pleasant-looking old man taking a load
of brooms to market.
They rounded the bend, and old John glanced cau-
tiously about from under the shade of his broad straw
hat. Just ahead, the road was intersected by another
along which three men came galloping at top speed.
The old man seemed to pay no attention to them. His
horse jogtrotted past the cross-roads only a moment
before the horsemen reached the same spot, all three.
shouting, "Stop! Stop!"
No sound reached the old man's ears; but the
man and the boy under the brooms heard only too
clearly the thunder of hoofs, as the horsemen over-
took the wagon.
One of them seized the brown horse by the bridle
and pulled him to a stop. Another, who had a small
coil of light rope hanging from his arm, rode close,
to the wagon, saying violently, "Why didn't you stop
when we called? Did you see a nigger back there on
"'I am sorry, I cannot hear you, friends," answered
John Butterworth. "Your business must indeed be
urgent, since you stop a peaceful farmer by force."
The men looked at each other in disgust. "He's
deaf," said the first.
"He's only shamming," said another. "I'll make
him hear." Raising his voice to a yell, he shouted,
"Did - you - meet - a - nigger - on the road?"
The old man smiled sadly. "It is no use to shout,"
he said. "I have not heard a word for five years."
"Come on, fellows," said the man with the rope.
"It's no use. These Quakers will tell the truth about
anything but a nigger. If he says he's deaf, he's deaf."
"Right you are," said, the first. "We'll catch that
fellow, though. He can't be far ahead." He let go the
bridle, and with no. further word, the three men
spurred their horses into a gallop once more, and
were gone on the back track. The two people hiding
under the brooms heard the clatter of hoofs diminish
and fade away in the distance. They dared not come
out, however, until they: heard the voice of John
Butterworth assuring them that all was safe.
"Is he thanking us?" the old man inquired of
David, for the Negro was gesticulating, and floods
of words seemed to be pouring forth.
"What shall I do now, massa?" asked the man,
David answered for his grandfather. "We'll set
thee on thy way northward, of course." He turned
to the old man, and scribbled on the pad: "Shall we
take him to James Redstone?"'
His grandfather nodded. "We are nearly there
now," he said.
A few moments later they drove up to the door of
a large white house which had sheltered many run-
away slaves. Mr. Redstone himself came out to greet
"James," said John Butterworth, "we have brought
thee a guest whom we met on the road, and were
obliged to bring somewhat backward on his journey
to the north." He told briefly of their experience with
the Negro and his pursuers. "Now, friend," he added,
turning to the Negro, "thee is safe, and will be
helped from place to place on thy way to Canada.
He turned his horse as he spoke once more to Red-
stone: "David and I are on our way to sell this load
of brooms. We must make haste, or we shall be late."
David slipped back to his place beside his grand-
father, and once more the two jogged along toward
Cincinnati. A few moments passed, and then David
hesitatingly wrote once more upon his paper.
"Yes," laughed the old man, "get out. the lunch-
basket. I am hungry also. It is past our dinner-hour
now, and we have had a busy morning."
As he arranged the basket on the seat between
them, David chuckled over his grandfather's phrase.
It had been a busy morning for them. The afternoon
would be a busy one for the Redstones. The boy's
imagination followed the Negro northward, lying
hidden by day in secret corners of Quaker homes,
riding horseback by night, or being driven in a cov-
ered wagon from one station of the Underground
Railroad to the next. Finally, Canada and freedom!
David sighed with satisfaction, and it seemed to him
that he had, never tasted such a delicious sandwich.