They started calling me Hope when I was four and asked when I would be able to see my mama again. She was dead, but I never believed anyone who said so until I was older. Before they called me Hope, it was Chidi. That was an Igbo name. Master refused to call me an African name, so he mockingly called me Hope.

My master was Andrew Smitherman. He was married to a woman named Mary, and their daughter is Lucy. I was made a servant to the girl in the Big House, but I love her. That was something I would have kept doing if I was a free girl.

"What shall we read today?" she asked me one Sunday afternoon as she sorted out her books.

"Maybe a Psalm?" I asked. "I heard they are good to read.

"Yes, they are," Lucy stood ahead of her writing table, where a Bible lay open. She was a pretty girl, with two strawberry braids and a real pretty cream colored dress with pink roses on it. She arrived at the right page and started reading what she announced was the first Psalm:

"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish."

"So," I said thoughtfully as I arranged her shoes inside the closet, "that means we shouldn't spend time with ungodly people, right?"

"Right," Lucy confirmed.

"It also says not to stand in the sinners' way. Why is that?"

"It means to not stand in their ways, as in follow the same path they do."

To be edited. Make suggestions?