The money was paid, and the deed signed with all necessary formalities.
When the business was entirely completed, the colored man said, ‘Zeke is now free is he?’
When Mr. Godwin
answered ‘Yes,’ he turned to Friend Hopper
and repeated the question.
‘Zeke is free, and nobody can take him; can they, Mr. Hopper
If he was here, he would be in no danger; would he?’
replied, ‘Wherever Zeke may now be, I assure thee he is free.’
Being thus assured, the black man made a low bow, and with a droll expression of countenance said ‘I hope you are very well, Mr. Godwin
I am happy to see you, sir. I am Zeke!’
The speculator, finding himself thus outwitted flew into a violent rage.
He seized Zeke by the collar, and began to threaten and abuse him. But the colored man shook his fist at him, and said, ‘If you don't let me go, Mr. Godwin
, I'll knock you down.
I'm a free citizen of these United States
; and I won't be insulted in this way by anybody.’
interfered between them, and Mr. Godwin
agreed to go before a magistrate to have the case examined.
When the particulars had been recounted, the magistrate answered, ‘You have been outwitted, sir. Zeke is now as free as any man in this room.’
There was something so exhilarating in the consciousness