The Taken Girl Author:Elizabeth Gray Vining A persuasive, brilliant writer, an indefatigable abolitionist, a devout Quaker--John Greenleaf Whittier was all of these. But 15-year-old Veer Schuyler, the "taken girl" or servant girl at Mrs. Healy's boarding house, found in him "...a pair of luminous and searching dark eyes, set in an oval face framed in sideburns, and thick, wavy brown hair,... more » a face unexpectedly young, with an expression so full of humor and interest that it made her feel embarrassed."
Living in the Phoebe Moon Home for Orphans and Half-Orphans, and then in the Underwood household as their taken girl, she had constantly been reminded of her "place" in life, She must learn, according to Mrs. Underwood, "to see cake and want cake and not have cake."
But her role as a taken girl was different in Mrs. Healy's Quaker household. She was an integral part of the family--Mr. and Mrs. Healy, Sarah Lewis, Benny Jones, and John Greenleaf Whittier--and she was happy there. Life in Philadelphia before the Civil War was hardly quiet, however. The Quakers braved public wrath to help runaway slaves on their way to the North, and Mr. Whittier's abolitionist newspaper was constantly threatened. Tension mounted, and the city finally exploded into mob violence and the fiery destruction of the abolitionists' newly built Pennsylvania Hall.
Veer shared the tragedy with her beleaguered friends, and at the same time, to her dismay, found herself falling in love with Mr. Whittier.« less