Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House) by Elizabeth Keckley

The first paroxysm of grief was scarcely over, when a carriage stopped in front of the house; Mrs. Le Bourgois, one of my kind patrons, got out of it and entered the door. She seemed to bring sunshine with her handsome cheery face. She came to where I was, and in her sweet way said :

"Lizzie, I hear that you are going to New York to beg for money to buy your freedom. I have been thinking over the matter, and told Ma it would be a shame to allow you to go North to beg for what we should give you. You have many friends in St. Louis, and I am going to raise the twelve hundred dollars required among them. I have two hundred dollars put away for a present ; am indebted to you one hundred dollars ; mother owes you fifty dollars, and will add another fifty to it; and as I do not want the present, I will make the money a present to you. Don t start for New York now until I see what I can do among your friends."

Like a ray of sunshine she came, and like a ray of sunshine she went away. The flowers no longer were withered, drooping. Again they seemed to bud and grow in fragrance and beauty. Mrs. Le Bourgois, God bless her dear good heart, was more than successful. The twelve hundred dollars were raised, and at last my son and my self were free. Free, free ! what a glorious ring to the word. Free! the bitter heart-struggle was over. Free ! the soul could go out to heaven and to God with no chains to clog its flight or pull it down. Free ! the earth wore a brighter look, and the very stars seemed to sing with joy. Yes, free ! free by the laws of man and the smile of God and Heaven bless them who made me so!