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[124] had repeatedly gone over the route by daylight, and thought I knew the road perfectly.

Midnight found me on the highway, and on the driver's seat of one of our farm wagons, to which was attached a span of horses moving in the direction of the north star. That luminary was not on this occasion visible. The sky was heavily overcast and the night was very dark. A light rain was falling. With all the confidence I had in my own ability, more than once would I have lost the way, but for the sagacity of the horses, which had gone over that route a number of times under similar circumstances. They acted as if altogether familiar with it. Those horses proved themselves to be excellent Abolitionists.

The inclemency of the night was in one respect a great advantage. It kept at home those who might incline to be too inquisitive. The few travelers we met passed on with a word of greeting, while I whistled unconcernedly.

Over the bottom of the wagon was scattered some hay that might be used either as feed for the horses or as a bed for weary travelers. There was also an old-fashioned buffalo-robe, somewhat dilapidated, that could serve for concealment or as shelter from the elements. Two or three empty baskets suggested a return from the market. There was another article that one would hardly have looked for. This was a smoke-cured ham loosely wrapped in some old sacking. It had gone over that route a number of times. Its odor neutralized the smell by which the presence, immediate or recent, of negroes might be detected.


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