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Mystery May
Plantation Mystery, Part 4



Plantation Mystery, Part 4
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.5

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    darning, formerly, thunderous, altogether, slavery, matched, thoughts, daylight, mystery, slave, candlestick, series, tunnel, allow, household, exactly
     content words:    Underground Railroad, Underground Railway, George Saunders


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Plantation Mystery, Part 4
By Mary Lynn Bushong
  

1     When daylight came, Bridie had no chance to quietly ask for help for the Saunders family. Mr. Simon left for town with his son at first light. Bridie reckoned that George and the others had been in the tunnel for a couple of days already. One or two more wouldn't hurt anything.
 
2     One day stretched to two and then three. The formerly quiet household was now a busy one, and thoughts of George were soon pushed to the back of Bridie's mind.
 
3     One afternoon, the family sat in the cool of the wide porch after lunch. Mama had her mending basket open. She selected the color of yarn that most closely matched the color of the sock in her hand that needed darning.
 
4     Bea and Todd sat at the small game table and played checkers. Papa and Grandpa sat quietly sipping their drinks while Abby rubbed Bart's ears.
 
5     "Grandpa," said Abby. "Papa mentioned once that this house was a stop on the Underground Railroad. What exactly did that mean?"
 
6     "The Underground Railway was the name given to the series of safe houses or places where escaped slaves could rest while they went north," said Grandpa. "My father hated slavery. He knew he would be suspected of helping runaways. He had a large tunnel made that ran from near the house, out to the slave cabins."
 
7     Todd looked up from his game. "Is it still there?" he asked.
 
8     "It might be," said Grandpa. "You know, my grandfather kept slaves but didn't want to be bothered seeing them working around the house. He would not allow them to use the regular stairs, but they used a series of halls and stairs that were hidden. Hmmm. I haven't thought of those for years."
 
9     "How come no one showed us the stairs?" asked Todd.
 
10     "Because I think they were blocked off or removed altogether before I was born. I've only heard stories about them," said Grandpa.

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