Judge Allan frowned, unsure whether or not that politically influential lawyer had just called him unreasonable, and he decided, to be sure, just glare at Murray. “We are proceeding with naturalization,” he said, and so Rob J. became an American citizen without further delay. On the way back to Holden’s Crossing, he had a few painful memories of his Scottish homeland, which he had just renounced, but it still felt good for him to be an American now. And that despite the problems that were shaking the country at the moment. Just recently, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the last resort that Dred Scott was a slave because Congress did not have the power to ban slavery in the individual states. At first the southerners had cheered, but now they were raging again, as the leaders of the Republican Party had announced that they would not accept the court decision as binding. And Rob J. didn’t want that either, although his wife and son had become hot-blooded southern sympathizers. He had already smuggled dozens of escaped slaves through his secret niche into Canada and was often in very dangerous situations.
For example, one day Alex told him he had seen George Cliburn on the road about a mile from their farm the night before. “He’s sitting on a cart full of hay at three in the morning. What should one think of that? “
“Well, I think you have to work hard if you want to get up earlier than a hard-working Quaker.
But what were you doing outside at three in the morning? ”Said Rob J., and Alex was trying so hard to distract from his late night drinking and philandering with Mal Howard that George Cliburn’s peculiar work ethic was not discussed further.
In the middle of another night, Rob J. was closing the shed door when Alden got in his way. “Can’
not sleep. I ran out of throat cleaner and it occurred to me that I hid it there in the stable. ”He held up a ceramic bottle and offered it to his employer. Though Rob J. rarely wanted a drink and knew that alcohol interfered with the gift, he wanted to share something with Alden.