Mrs. Bird asks her husband (a senator) what going on in the Senate. When he answers, "Not much," she asks if it’s true that they’ve passed a law that forbids people from helping fugitive slaves.
The senator confirms that it’s true.
Mrs. Bird is definitely against the new law. She’s sure that it’s not Christian, that it will compel otherwise decent people to do evil. She predicts that Senator Bird himself would send away a person in need, just because of this unjust law.
Mrs. Bird soon has a chance to test her theory because old Cudjoe, a servant, comes to let the Birds know that a poor, unfortunate woman has come to the door looking for help.
The Birds go to the kitchen, where they find Eliza, who runs to Mrs. Bird and begs for her protection. Mrs. Bird reassures her that Eliza’s safe.
After they hear Eliza’s story, both the Birds are touched. They leave the runaway slave in the kitchen with Dinah (the cook), and let Dinah know that she should make a bed up for her, and they will do something for her in the morning.
Senator and Mrs. Bird go into the other room and Senator Bird says they need to get Eliza and Harry on the road tonight. Her master will be looking for her bright and early the next morning.
Senator Bird plans to take them to safety himself.
Mrs. Bird tells her husband that she loves him because his heart is better than his head.
Before Eliza leaves, Mrs. Bird gives the young woman some clothes that had belonged to her son, who passed away recently.
The Senator takes Eliza and Harry down a difficult road to honest old John Van Trompe, a man who has freed all of his slaves.
Van Trompe agrees to shelter Eliza and Harry and lets her know that he will protect them – with guns – if anybody tries to come and take them away from his house.