thou wilt be constantly liable to be arrested, and may never again have such a good opportunity to escape from bondage.’
Charles hesitated, but finally concluded to accept this prudent advice.
The time seemed very long to the poor fellow; for he was in a continual panic lest his master should take him back to Virginia
; but he did his appointed tasks faithfully, and none of the family suspected what was passing in his mind.
The long-counted six months expired at last; and that very day, his master said, ‘Charles, grease the carriage-wheels, and have all things in readiness; for I intend to start for home to-morrow.’
The servant appeared to be well pleased with this prospect, and put the carriage and harness in good order.
As soon as that job was completed, he went to Friend Hopper
and told him the news.
When assured that he was now a free man, according to law, he could hardly be made to believe it. He was all of a tremor with anxiety, and it seemed almost impossible to convince him that he was out of danger.
He was instructed to return to his master till next morning, and to send word by one of the hotel servants in case he should be arrested meanwhile.
The next morning, he again called upon Friend Hopper
, who accompanied him to the office of William Lewis
, a highly respectable lawyer, who would never take any fee for his services on such occasions.