Summary and Analysis
Linda is saddened to learn that Mrs. Bruce has died. When Mr. Bruce asks her to accompany him to England as Mary's nurse so that his daughter can visit her mother's relatives, she accepts. After arranging for her children's care, Linda goes to New York to meet Mr. Bruce and Mary, and they begin their voyage to England. After 12 days, they arrive in Liverpool and head to London, where, for the first time in her life, Linda is treated with respect and dignity and experiences "pure, unadulterated freedom." During her visit, Linda has an opportunity to compare the lifestyle of England's poor to that of the poor in the United States. As the houseguest of a clergyman and his family, she also gains a new perspective on Christianity and experiences the true meaning of love and grace. Although she had anticipated only a short visit, Linda remains in England for 10 months.
Linda's observation of England's poor highlights the fundamental differences between poverty and slavery. It also underscores the fallacy that slavery was a "benign" institution that protected blacks and provided them with food and shelter in exchange for their labor. As Linda points out, even though England's poor have no material wealth, they have friends and families and are not subjected to the indignities of poor U.S. blacks, whose lives and families are destroyed by the chattel slavery system.