Saturday morning came. I borrowed a dollar, came home,
and spent twenty-five cents of it for breakfast; then with what it
cost me to ride down to get on the boat, in all about fifteen cents,
I had left about sixty cents. My ticket on the boat was fifty cents;
I had had some little hymns struck off; we colored people were
very fond of ballads for singing.
A little while after I got on the boat, who should come in but
Brother Holland, who used to be my pastor eight years before, in
Lancaster, Pa. All this had come to pass in the years after I had
known him; so that he did not know anything at all about it. He
was very glad to see me, and asked me where I was going. I told
him the Lord had sent me to Salem. Then I began to tell him my
story. How the Lord had led me. How He had called me to His
work. Dear old man, he listened to me patiently, and when I had
got through he said:
"Well, Sister Smith, you know I don't believe in women
preaching. But still, honey, I have got nothing to say about you.
You go on. The Lord bless you."
I was dumbfounded; for I thought he was in the greatest
sympathy with woman's work, though I had never heard him
express himself with regard to it. But I was glad of the latter
part of what he said.
It was quite a cool day, and the boat got in about two o'clock
in the afternoon. There were no street cars then, as there are
now. There was a big omnibus. They didn't let colored people
ride inside an omnibus in those days. So I took my carpet bag
and had to sit outside on the top of the omnibus.
They didn't let colored people off till all the white people were
off, even if they had to go past where they wanted to stop; so I
had to ride round on the omnibus at least three-quarters of an hour
before I was taken to where I wanted to go.
The woman's name, where I had been told to go, was Mrs.
Curtis. She was a widow, and owned her own house and grounds;
she had quite a nice, comfortable little house. But she was a
queer genius. Old Father Lewis, who had once been pastor of
the A. M. E. Church at Salem, and at this time was pastor of the
church at Jersey City Heights, N. J., had recommended me to
Sister Curtis, because she was alone and had plenty of room, and ,
he thought it would be so nice for me. It was more than a half
mile from the locality in which the colored church was situated,