SEVENTY-FIVE years ago there lived in Connecticut a little girl by the name of Prudence. She was unlike some girls who lived then, and many who live today—unlike them in this, that she loved others almost as well as she loved herself, and did not try to please herself first and only and always.

She was not made any differently from the rest of us, but it must be that she learned when very young the secret that makes people unselfish; everybody does not know it.

However it be, she loved to help all who were in trouble. It would take too long to tell the kind and unselfish things she did when she was a little girl; of all the poor kittens she saved from being tormented to death by bad boys; of the birds she pleaded for when the hunters' guns were abroad; of the ill-used, persecuted school-mates she stood up for when they were picked and jeered at by the others.

She was a bright, strong girl, afraid of nothing and nobody; so many an unhappy child who was treated to taunts and sneers or rude neglect by her mean spirited schoolmates, was made glad when Prudence Crandall became her champion; for if anything roused Prudence to the very highest pitch of indignation, it was to see the strong trample upon the weak; and when she was thoroughly aroused, the other boys and girls had to "step around."

She loved her books for the sake of "knowing things," and when she had marched right through everything that was taught in the village school, her father sent her away to the very best school in the country. By the time she was twenty, she was not only a well-informed, but an accomplished young woman. She could speak in foreign tongues, and play brilliant music, as well as solve hard problems in mathematics.

Now all this knowledge must be used, for a New England girl could not allow anything to go to waste; so she resolved to become a teacher.

She went to Canterbury, and opened a boarding school for young ladies.

It prospered finely, for most things that Prudence set her hand to prospered, until one day a colored girl came, and asked to be allowed to attend school. She wanted to fit herself for a teacher among her own people.

Of course she could come.  Was not that one of the very purposes Miss Prudence was created for,—to help the poor and oppressed?  Sarah Harris was the name of the girl whose skin was a trifle darker than some of the pretty brunettes in Miss Crandall's school.  She had been a slave, but was made free, and came North:

She longed to get an education, for she did not feel as some felt about her, that she was fit only to be a slave.

She was neatly dressed and quiet; very willing to sit at her desk and study all day long, without a kind word from any of the other girls. She was only too happy to be there under any circumstances.

Not many days passed, though, before there was a stir and a flutter. Some people were not willing that their daughters should go to school with a colored girl, and one by one they dropped off, until the colored girl had the school all to herself.

Then Miss Prudence said: "Very well; if we can't have a white school, let us have a black one, So she forthwith opened a school for colored girls, only.

This made a greater stir than ever. The select- men called a town meeting, and some of the fore-most men- of the town passed resolutions that it was wrong to teach colored children to read and write, and that the school ought not to be allowed to go on. Then they went to the Legislature, and got a law, passed that nobody should teach colored children without getting permission of the people of the town.

Miss Crandall did not give up her school, though, and the next thing she knew she was in jail, shut up in a cell!

However, her friends got her released till it was time for the trial.

She was determined to do what little she could, so she went on teaching; but she had a sorry time of it.

When she met people in the street who knew her very well, they looked the other way.

One day she wanted a drink of water, and she stepped into a neighbor's yard to fill her pitcher at their well. What was her surprise when they told her that she could have no water from their well!

But brave Miss Prudence could stand that; she could do without water from that particular well, even if it was cold and sweet, and that in her own well was bitter.

It was a little harder to bear, though, when the "storekeepers," as they used to call them in those days, refused to sell anything to her, and harder still when, one evening after a long day's work in school, she had a violent headache and sent to the doctor's for some medicine, and he would not give her any! They would not even let her go to church if she brought any "niggers" with her, as they called them.

Times are changed now, of course, and even boys and girls have studied Webster's Unabridged, and know that the word "nigger" does not of necessity mean a colored person; they may be black, and they may be white.

At last the trial came on. The brave girl stood up before the judge and jury to be tried. But the lawyers and the judge and the jury got all snarled up; they could not agree; some said the law was unconstitutional. (Ask your father what that means.) So it all amounted to nothing, and she was free again.

Back she went to her school. But the people were just as determined as she. Some of the rough bad ones came at night and set her house on fire.  She found it out in time, though, and put it out.

At last, one dreadful night a mob came, and broke down her doors and windows; then she had to give up, and send away her scholars.

It is hard for us to see how good men and women, as many of them were, could be so blind and mistaken, but prejudice can do strange things; the meaning of the word, you know, is "An unreasoning predilection for or against anything."

If you do not know the meaning of that long word, look it up. Let us hope, though, that none of our grandfathers were among those who persecuted noble Prudence Crandall.

Whoever did it, if they were living today, would be ashamed of it, when they see the great change in the spirit of the people, and know all about Fisk University and Lincoln University, where many colored men and women have graduated and become teachers and preachers. How astonished they would be to know, too, that all the colored people in the United States are free, and that one of them has a seat in the United States Senate.




Mrs. C. M. Livingston.