LIFE AND TIMES OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS 357
never fail to bear willing testimony to the generous and manly qualities of this brother of the gifted and eloquent Thomas Marshall of Kentucky.
In 1842 I was sent by the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society to hold a Sunday meeting in Pittsfield, N.H., and was given the name of Mr. Hilles, a subscriber to the Liberator. It was supposed that any man who had the courage to take and read the Liberator; edited by Wm. Lloyd Garrison, or the Herald of Freedom, edited by Nathaniel P. Rogers, would gladly receive and give food and shelter to any colored brother laboring in the cause of the slave. As a general rule this was very true.
There were no railroads in New Hampshire in those days, so I reached Pittsfield by stage, glad to be permitted to ride upon the top thereof, for no colored person could be allowed inside. This was many years before the days of civil rights bills, black Congressmen, colored United States Marshals, and such like.
Arriving at Pittsfield, I was asked by the driver where I would stop. I gave him the name of my subscriber to the Liberator. "That is two miles beyond," he said. So after landing his other passengers, he took me on to the house of Mr. Hilles.
I confess I did not seem a very desirable visitor. The day had been warm, and the road dusty. I was covered with dust, and then I was not of the color fashionable in that neighborhood, for colored people were scarce in that part of the old Granite State. I saw in an instant, that though the weather was warm, I was to have a cool reception; but cool or warm, there was no alternative left me but to stay and take what I could get.
Mr. Hilles scarcely spoke to me, and from the moment he saw me jump down from the top of the stage, carpet-bag in hand, his face wore a troubled look. His good wife took the matter more philosophically, and evidently thought my presence there for a day or two could do the family no especial harm; but her manner was restrained, silent, and formal, wholly unlike that of anti-slavery ladies I had met in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
When tea time came, I found that Mr. Hilles had lost his appetite, and could not come to the table. I suspected his trouble was colorphobia, and though I regretted his malady, I knew his case was not necessarily dangerous; and I was not without some confidence in my skill and ability in healing diseases of that type. I was, however, so affected by his condition that I could not eat much of the pie and cake before me, and felt so little in harmony with things about me that I was, for me, remarkably reticent during the evening, both before and after the family worship, for Mr. Hilles was a pious man.
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