THE TWO words proclaimed bright promise. " New Bedford," written "in large yellow letters" on the side of the stagecoach that pulled up to the wharf in Newport, Rhode Island, was read aloud by the young man still as excited by the magic of words as he had been when he mastered the street signs of Baltimore. He and his bride had been told to look up a friend of Ruggles's in Newport if they lacked enough money to complete their trip, but they wanted to get right into this coach and go. As Frederick troubled over the fare, which he could not cover, an impressively somber man standing next to the coach looked him straight in the eye and "in a peculiarly quiet way, . . . said, 'Thee get in.' " Frederick and Anna obeyed.
Not by coincidence, William C. Taber, who spoke the welcome order, and another Quaker gentleman, Joseph Ricketson—the two were recognizable for their calling by their clothing's drabness, for their position by its fineness—also boarded the coach. Ruggles, in arranging for them to conduct the fugitives, had chosen wisely. Ricketson, though not as successful a businessman as Friends are proverbially supposed to be, was a leader in all manner of good works and intellectual endeavors in New Bedford, Massachusetts, while Taber was the proprietor of a thriving bookstore and a director of a private library society, with 3,200 volumes.
The coach stopped at Stone Bridge for breakfast, but Frederick and Anna skipped the meal, and when asked for their fares, they said they "would make it right" upon reaching New Bedford. When at last they drew up to the hotel in that bright, energetic city, their happiness was shadowed: with the fare still unpaid, the driver held their baggage,