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'Slavery is a great evil and we must stand against it,' insisted Millie. 'But we've never seen it ourselves. How are we supposed to know for sure if the awful stories we hear are true?' Effie asked. 'Millie will find out,' Celestia Ann said with certainty. 'I...will?' Millie questioned as she looked from one to the other. 'Of course you will,' Celestia Ann said. 'You can't spend four months on a cotton plantation without seeing for yourself! You will write to us, won't you?' 'What are you talking about?' asked Millie, her head spinning. 'I'm not going anywhere!' 'I thought you knew, Millie. Everybody else knows.' 'What do they know, and how do they know it?' Millie asked, gripping her Bible. When fifteen-year-old Millie Keith prepared a Bible study teaching on the evils of slavery, she didn't know that God was about to give her an opportunity to investigate the truth firsthand. To help cure her persistent cough, she leaves her family and frontier home in Indiana to visit the wealthy plantation in the South owned by her Uncle Horace Dinsmore. Will Millie have the courage to live out her faith amidst relatives she doesn't know?
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Mission City Press is a Christian publishing company dedicated to teaching kids to live a life of faith with passionate devotion to Jesus Christ.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
The Last to Know Do you not know? Have you not heard? ISAIAH 40:28 Fifteen-year-old Millie Keith fought against the thistledown tickle in her chest, the little explosions of prickling in her lungs. She had walked too quickly on her way to the footbridge where the Kankakee Marsh joined the creek. She tried to take shallow breaths of the crisp morning air, but the cough came anyway, shaking her slight frame. 'It's not fair, Jesus!' Millie cried out loud. She wanted to run through the morning, taking great gulps of the autumn air and shouting praises. But instead, she leaned against the handrail, pressing her hand against her chest to ease the pain the coughing always brought. She had survived the terrible season of ague two years before, but the fever had left her weakened, and that winter a racking cough had set in. The second winter she had been little more than an invalid, confined to her bedroom or the couch in the sitting room. 'Her lungs are weakened,' Dr. Chetwood had said. 'A change of climate is necessary. Another winter here . . .' His voice had trailed off. Stuart and Marcia Keith, Millie's parents, had determined that although a change of climate was necessary, it was quite impossible. The cost of sending Millie away for months was beyond their means. Aunt Wealthy had offered to take Millie in, inviting her to come and stay in Lansdale for the winter, but Ohio's climate was just as harsh as Indiana's. Besides, there was still the insurmountable cost of the journey. Now, winter was coming again, and Millie could see the worry in her Mamma's eyes, and several times she caught her Pappa looking at her with a wrinkle on his brow. Millie drew a deep breath, and exhaled carefully. 'I wouldn't leave,' she said aloud, 'even if I had somewhere to go. Mamma needs me.' Suddenly, Joshua 1:9 popped into Millie's head. She shook her long braids as if to shake off the thought. How odd. That isn't even my memory verse. It's John 1:9 that I'm to teach on at Bible study this morning. 'I wouldn't leave,' she repeated with even more conviction. Once upon a time, Millie had dreaded moving to the frontier, leaving the parties, fine gowns, and society of her friends in Lansdale, Ohio. But in the three years they had lived in Pleasant Plains, Indiana, Millie had changed and Pleasant Plains had changed, too. Strangers had been transformed into dear friends. People who had never heard the Gospel before had come to know Jesus and love Him. The Keiths had been good for Pleasant Plains, and the frontier had been good for the Keiths. They had become a mix of the old and the new---the pleasant manners and gentle ways of the society of Lansdale, and the courage, strength and independence of the frontier. Millie paused to take in the changing colors of the Kankakee. It was true that the fevers did come off the swamp in the stagnant summer air, but there was something indescribably sweet about its wildness and solitude. Millie felt the steadfastness of God's love when she sat in Ru's rose garden, and she felt like shouting His praise when she walked alone in the marsh. She had fallen in love with the Kankakee in all its seasons, and had learned its hills and pools almost as well as Rhoda Jane and Gordon Lightcap knew them. On an impulse, Millie set her bookbag down, kicked off her brogans, and wiggled her stockinged toes. She couldn't run, but she could climb. She pulled herself up onto the flat handrail. Her petticoats made climbing awkward, but once she was on her feet, she walked confidently3/4toe-to-heel, arms wide for balance3/4to the very center of the bridge, and then stood admiring the view. The marsh landscape was never the same two days in a row. Even the blue of the sky changed. Now, in early October, the sky was light blue. This afternoon it would hum with jewel-winged dragonflies hovering over the surface of the waters. The wildness of it all seeped into her like the warmth of the sun, filling her with joy. 'For behold,' she shouted, throwing her arms wide, 'He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth3/4the Lord God Almighty is his name!' 'You are a strange girl, Millie Keith.' Millie almost toppled backwards into the stream as she spun around to see who had spoken. Nicholas Ransquate was leaning against the rail. Posed against the rail was a better description. His pantaloons, gaiters, and white shirt were impeccable. There was a deep red bachelor's button tucked in the lapel of his coat, and his hat was perched at a jaunty angle on his balding dome. Millie shook her head. 'Hello, Mr. Ransquate.' Nicholas reached up in a silent offer of assistance. Millie bit her lip. Climbing up onto the rail while no one was watching was one thing. Getting down in any decent fashion with a gentleman present was quite another. She could hardly refuse the offer, so taking the proffered hand in one of hers, and gathering her skirts in the other so they would not billow, she jumped down off the rail. 'I hardly find it strange to exalt in the Lord on such a wondrous morning,' she asserted. 'Most young ladies of your age would be quite content to do so from the safety of terra firma,' Nicholas said. 'They would forgo perching like penguins atop a railing. How old are you now, Millie?' 'Penguins do not perch,' Millie corrected, ignoring his question. Millie glanced sideways at him and then looked away quickly. Is that a new hat? she wondered. Surely not. Nicholas Ransquate was twenty-eight years of age3/4and determined to find a wife. He had made it his custom to speak to every girl in Pleasant Plains on or about her sixteenth birthday, the respectable age for engagement. Everyone could tell when a proposal was coming; Nicholas always bought himself a new hat for the occasion.
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