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“But, my boy, thee seems to have had a good home,” continued the old gentleman as he looked over my clothes and general appearance. “Why is thee running away?”

Then came the explanation and the solemn Quaker indulged in a hearty laugh. He remarked that he knew my family very well by reputation, and that he had met my father in Abolitionist conventions --meetings he called them.

Then he invited me to go to his home and break bread with him. I vainly tried to decline. The old man would accept no excuse.

“Thy father would not refuse my hospitality.”

That settled the matter, and I accompanied my entertainer to his domicile. I was glad that I did so, as it gave me the opportunity to see and greet Coffin's wife, who was a charming elderly Quaker lady. She had gained a reputation as a helper of the slave almost equal to that of her husband.

When runaways set out on their venturesome journeys, they were generally very indifferently equipped. Ordinarily they had only the working garments they wore on the plantations, and these furnished but slight relief for a condition very near to nudity. Mrs. Coffin set apart a working room in her house, and there sympathizers of both races joined her in garment-making, the result being that very few fugitives left Cincinnati without being decently clothed.

At the Coffin table were several guests beside myself. One was a colored man. He had been a slave, I learned, but his freedom had been purchased, largely through the Coffins' efforts.

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Quaker (Missouri, United States) (1)

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Levi Coffin (2)
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