1. a compelling attraction; fascination
  2. hypnosis as in induced, according to F.A. Mesmer, through animal magnetism
  3. hypnotism

From the first time Lawrence had read the cover of the small pamphlet he had found in the corner of Parson’s General Store, he had fallen in love with the writing of Samuel Humphrey, a man he’d never heard of on a topic that was rarely discussed in the homes, streets, or churches in Virginia.

The pamphlet, The Christian’s Dutiful Work toward Freedom: Tales of the Evils of Oppression in Our Nation, was dirty and stained.  Lawrence didn’t think it belonged in the store, for he saw no additional copies anywhere, but for some reason he decided to hide it within the deep pockets of his overalls.

Mr. Humphrey’s words were like poetry. Upon reading the prose, Lawrence had entered a perpetual state of mesmerism.

Now, 10 years later, it’s pages were even more ragged. Lawrence had unintentionally improved his reading skills each night as he pored over the pages, soaking in Humphrey’s words. His mind seemed to come alive with Humphrey’s arguments.

There were many times Lawrence wanted to talk to his mother about what he had read within the pages of the small pamphlet, but he hesitated after hearing her talk with Mrs. Overton about the ills of the North and their ways creeping in to infiltrate and corrupt the sweet South.

Instead, he gradually began speaking to her about moving North to work there in order to save money for proper training in a trade school. The idea just seem to come to him one day, out of the blue.

The first time he mentioned it, his mother laughed, as if he were telling the most hilarious joke. But the more he mentioned it, the less she laughed. He had discussed the issue with his mother many times over since that first night, and she was unrelenting. On numerous occasions she had admonished him, not understanding why anyone would want to leave the great state of Virginia and head North for Pennsylvania.

Lawrence spoke of work and a future. But really he desired to meet Mr. Humphrey and learn from him. He didn’t speak of this to his mother who would’ve thought he had lost his mind. Instead he began packing his things, saving money little by little, and making his plan. His future awaited him and he knew it wasn’t in Virginia.


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