It had been five years since Sam Chase had visited his grandparents in Philadelphia. Since then, he had lived only in Baltimore. It was strange how so short a distance could highlight such a difference between temperaments in the north and south. In the south, folks respect a man’s right to search for his runaway property. In the north, folks (well, certain folks), give you the stink eye for doing so. Why, Sam’s own grandparents looked uncomfortable when Sam mentioned that his friend Wesley was in town looking for his father’s runaway slave. ‘Course, Sam knew his grandparents were Quakers, and staunch abolitionists at that, but the law clearly states that runaway slaves must be turned over to their masters. Sam wasn’t about to go against the law. So when Wesley and the local constable come looking for the runaway, Orlando, on Sam’s Grandpa’s farm, Sam eagerly shows them around. But, despite the constable’s incessant searching, there are no slaves to be found.
Then, the next night, Sam runs into Orlando. Suddenly, Sam is faced with a choice: does he hide Orlando so he can get to Canada and be free, at the risk of breaking the law; or obey the law and hand Orlando back to his master. See? You’d never have to deal with these type of issues back in Baltimore.