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Harriet Beecher Stowe



UNCLE TOMíS CABIN

or
Life among the Lowly

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER IIn Whichthe Reader Is Introduced to a Man of Humanity

 

Late inthe afternoon of a chilly day in Februarytwogentlemenwere sitting alone over their winein a well-furnisheddiningparlorin the town of P----in Kentucky.  There were noservantspresentand the gentlemenwith chairs closely approachingseemed tobe discussing some subject with great earnestness.

Forconvenience sakewe have saidhithertotwo _gentlemen_.One of thepartieshoweverwhen critically examineddid notseemstrictly speakingto come under the species.  He was a shortthick-setmanwith coarsecommonplace featuresand that swaggeringair ofpretension which marks a low man who is trying to elbow hisway upwardin the world.  He was much over-dressedin a gaudy vestof manycolorsa blue neckerchiefbedropped gayly with yellowspotsandarranged with a flaunting tiequite in keeping withthegeneral air of the man.  His handslarge and coarsewereplentifullybedecked with rings; and he wore a heavy gold watch-chainwith abundle of seals of portentous sizeand a great variety ofcolorsattached to it--whichin the ardor of conversationhewas in thehabit of flourishing and jingling with evident satisfaction.Hisconversation was in free and easy defiance of Murray'sGrammarand wasgarnished at convenient intervals with various profaneexpressionswhich not even the desire to be graphic in our accountshallinduce us to transcribe.

HiscompanionMr. Shelbyhad the appearance of a gentleman;and thearrrangements of the houseand the general air of thehousekeepingindicated easyand even opulent circumstances.  As webeforestatedthe two were in the midst of an earnest conversation.

"Thatis the way I should arrange the matter" said Mr. Shelby.

"Ican't make trade that way--I positively can'tMr. Shelby"said theotherholding up a glass of wine between hiseye andthe light.

"Whythe fact isHaleyTom is an uncommon fellow; he iscertainlyworth that sum anywhere--steadyhonestcapablemanagesmy wholefarm like a clock."

"Youmean honestas niggers go" said Haleyhelpinghimself toa glass of brandy.

"No;I meanreallyTom is a goodsteadysensiblepious fellow.He gotreligion at a camp-meetingfour years ago; and I believehe really_did_ get it.  I've trusted himsince thenwitheverythingI have--moneyhousehorses--and let him come and goround thecountry; and I always found him true and square in everything."

"Somefolks don't believe there is pious niggers Shelby"saidHaleywith a candid flourish of his hand"but _I do_.  Ihad afellownowin this yer last lot I took to Orleans--'t wasas good asa meetinnowreallyto hear that critter pray; andhe wasquite gentle and quiet like.  He fetched me a good sumtoofor Ibought him cheap of a man that was 'bliged to sell out; soI realizedsix hundred on him.  YesI consider religion a valeyablething in aniggerwhen it's the genuine articleand no mistake."

"WellTom's got the real articleif ever a fellow had"rejoinedthe other.  "Whylast fallI let him go to Cincinnatialonetodo business for meand bring home five hundred dollars.`Tom'says I to him`I trust youbecause I think you're aChristian--Iknow you wouldn't cheat.'  Tom comes backsure enough;I knew hewould.  Some low fellowsthey saysaid to him--Tomwhy don'tyou make tracks for Canada?'  `Ahmaster trusted meandIcouldn't'--they told me about it.  I am sorry to part with TomI mustsay.  You ought to let him cover the whole balance of thedebt; andyou wouldHaleyif you had any conscience."

"WellI've got just as much conscience as any man inbusinesscan afford to keep--just a littleyou knowto swearbyas 'twere" said the traderjocularly; "andthenI'm readyto doanything in reason to 'blige friends; but this yeryou seeis aleetle too hard on a fellow--a leetle too hard."  Thetradersighedcontemplativelyand poured out some more brandy.

"WellthenHaleyhow will you trade?" said Mr. Shelbyafter anuneasy interval of silence.

"Wellhaven't you a boy or gal that you could throw inwith Tom?"

"Hum!--nonethat I could well spare; to tell the truthit's onlyhard necessity makes me willing to sell at all.I don'tlike parting with any of my handsthat's a fact."

Here thedoor openedand a small quadroon boybetween fourand fiveyears of ageentered the room.  There was somethingin hisappearance remarkably beautiful and engaging.  His blackhairfineas floss silkhung in glossy curls about his rounddimpledfacewhile a pair of large dark eyesfull of fire andsoftnesslooked out from beneath the richlong lashesas hepeeredcuriously into the apartment.  A gay robe of scarlet andyellowplaidcarefully made and neatly fittedset off to advantagethe darkand rich style of his beauty; and a certain comic air ofassuranceblended with bashfulnessshowed that he had been notunused tobeing petted and noticed by his master.

"HulloaJim Crow!" said Mr. Shelbywhistlingand snappinga bunch ofraisins towards him"pick that upnow!"

The childscamperedwith all his little strengthafterthe prizewhile his master laughed.

"ComehereJim Crow" said he.  The child came upandthe masterpatted the curly headand chucked him under the chin.

"NowJimshow this gentleman how you can dance and sing."The boycommenced one of those wildgrotesque songs common amongthenegroesin a richclear voiceaccompanying his singing withmany comicevolutions of the handsfeetand whole bodyall inperfecttime to the music.

"Bravo!"said Haleythrowing him a quarter of an orange.

"NowJimwalk like old Uncle Cudjoewhen he has therheumatism"said his master.

Instantlythe flexible limbs of the child assumed theappearanceof deformity and distortionaswith his back humpedupandhis master's stick in his handhe hobbled about the roomhischildish face drawn into a doleful puckerand spitting fromright toleftin imitation of an old man.

Bothgentlemen laughed uproariously.

"NowJim" said his master"show us how old Elder Robbinsleads thepsalm."  The boy drew his chubby face down to a formidablelengthand commenced toning a psalm tune through his nosewithimperturbablegravity.

"Hurrah!bravo! what a young 'un!" said Haley; "that chap'sa caseI'll promise.  Tell you what" said hesuddenly clappinghis handon Mr. Shelby's shoulder"fling in that chapand I'llsettle thebusiness--I will.  Comenowif that ain't doing thething upabout the rightest!"

At thismomentthe door was pushed gently openand a youngquadroonwomanapparently about twenty-fiveentered the room.

Thereneeded only a glance from the child to herto identifyher as itsmother.  There was the same richfulldark eyewithits longlashes; the same ripples of silky black hair.  The brownof hercomplexion gave way on the cheek to a perceptible flushwhichdeepened as she saw the gaze of the strange man fixed uponher inbold and undisguised admiration.  Her dress was of theneatestpossible fitand set off to advantage her finely mouldedshape;--adelicately formed hand and a trim foot and ankle wereitems ofappearance that did not escape the quick eye of the traderwell usedto run up at a glance the points of a fine female article.

"WellEliza?" said her masteras she stopped and lookedhesitatinglyat him.

"Iwas looking for Harrypleasesir;" and the boy boundedtowardhershowing his spoilswhich he had gathered in the skirtof hisrobe.

"Welltake him away then" said Mr. Shelby; and hastilyshewithdrewcarrying the child on her arm.

"ByJupiter" said the traderturning to him in admiration"there'san articlenow!  You might make your fortune on that argal inOrleansany day.  I've seen over a thousandin my daypaid downfor gals not a bit handsomer."

"Idon't want to make my fortune on her" said Mr. Shelbydryly;andseeking to turn the conversationhe uncorked a bottle offreshwineand asked his companion's opinion of it.

"Capitalsir--first chop!" said the trader; then turningandslapping his hand familiarly on Shelby's shoulderhe added--

"Comehow will you trade about the gal?--what shall I sayforher--what'll you take?"

"Mr.Haleyshe is not to be sold" said Shelby.  "My wifewould notpart with her for her weight in gold."

"Ayay! women always say such thingscause they ha'nt nosort ofcalculation.  Just show 'em how many watchesfeathersandtrinketsone's weight in gold would buyand that alters thecase_I_reckon."

"Itell youHaleythis must not be spoken of; I say noand I meanno" said Shelbydecidedly.

"Wellyou'll let me have the boythough" said the trader;"youmust own I've come down pretty handsomely for him."

"Whaton earth can you want with the child?" said Shelby.

"WhyI've got a friend that's going into this yer branchof thebusiness--wants to buy up handsome boys to raise for themarket. Fancy articles entirely--sell for waitersand so ontorich 'unsthat can pay for handsome 'uns.  It sets off one of yergreatplaces--a real handsome boy to open doorwaitand tend.They fetcha good sum; and this little devil is such a comicalmusicalconcernhe's just the article!'

"Iwould rather not sell him" said Mr. Shelbythoughtfully;"thefact issirI'm a humane manand I hate to take the boyfrom hismothersir."

"Oyou do?--La! yes--something of that ar natur.  Iunderstandperfectly.  It is mighty onpleasant getting on withwomensometimesI al'ays hates these yer screechin' screamin'times. They are _mighty_ onpleasant; butas I manages businessIgenerally avoids 'emsir.  Nowwhat if you get the girl offfor a dayor a weekor so; then the thing's done quietly--alloverbefore she comes home.  Your wife might get her some ear-ringsor a newgownor some such truckto make up with her."

"I'mafraid not."

"Lorbless yeyes!  These critters ain't like white folksyou know;they gets over thingsonly manage right.  Nowtheysay"said Haleyassuming a candid and confidential air"thatthis kind o' trade is hardening to the feelings; but I neverfound itso.  Fact isI never could do things up the way somefellersmanage the business.  I've seen 'em as would pull a woman'schild outof her armsand set him up to selland she screechin'like madall the time;--very bad policy--damages the article--makes'em quiteunfit for service sometimes.  I knew a real handsome galonceinOrleansas was entirely ruined by this sort o' handling.The fellowthat was trading for her didn't want her baby; and shewas one ofyour real high sortwhen her blood was up.  I tell youshesqueezed up her child in her armsand talkedand went on realawful. It kinder makes my blood run cold to think of 't; and whentheycarried off the childand locked her upshe jest went ravin'madanddied in a week.  Clear wastesirof a thousand dollarsjust forwant of management--there's where 't is.  It's alwaysbest to dothe humane thingsir; that's been _my_ experience."And thetrader leaned back in his chairand folded his armwithan air ofvirtuous decisionapparently considering himself asecondWilberforce.

Thesubject appeared to interest the gentleman deeply; forwhile Mr.Shelby was thoughtfully peeling an orangeHaley brokeoutafreshwith becoming diffidencebut as if actually driven bythe forceof truth to say a few words more.

"Itdon't look wellnowfor a feller to be praisin' himself;but I sayit jest because it's the truth.  I believe I'mreckonedto bring in about the finest droves of niggers that isbroughtin--at leastI've been told so; if I have onceI reckonI have ahundred times--all in good case--fat and likelyand Ilose asfew as any man in the business.  And I lays it all to mymanagementsir; and humanitysirI may sayis the great pillarof _my_management."

Mr. Shelbydid not know what to sayand so he said"Indeed!"

"NowI've been laughed at for my notionssirand I'vebeentalked to.  They an't pop'larand they an't common; but Istuck to'emsir; I've stuck to 'emand realized well on 'em;yessirthey have paid their passageI may say" and the traderlaughed athis joke.

There wassomething so piquant and original in theseelucidationsof humanitythat Mr. Shelby could not help laughingincompany.  Perhaps you laugh toodear reader; but you knowhumanitycomes out in a variety of strange forms now-a-daysandthere isno end to the odd things that humane people will say and do.

Mr.Shelby's laugh encouraged the trader to proceed.

"It'sstrangenowbut I never could beat this into people's heads.Nowtherewas Tom Lokermy old partnerdown in Natchez; he wasa cleverfellowTom wasonly the very devil with niggers--onprinciple't wasyou seefor a better hearted feller never brokebread; 'twas his _system_sir.  I used to talk to Tom.  `WhyTom' Iused to say`when your gals takes on and crywhat's theuse o'crackin on' em over the headand knockin' on 'em round?It'sridiculous' says I`and don't do no sort o' good.  WhyIdon't seeno harm in their cryin'' says I; `it's natur' says I`and ifnatur can't blow off one wayit will another.  BesidesTom'says I`it jest spiles your gals; they get sicklyand downin themouth; and sometimes they gets ugly--particular yallow galsdo--andit's the devil and all gettin' on 'em broke in.  Now' says I`why can'tyou kinder coax 'em upand speak 'em fair?  Depend on itTomalittle humanitythrown in alonggoes a heap further thanall yourjawin' and crackin'; and it pays better' says I`depend on 't.'But Tomcouldn't get the hang on 't; and he spiled so many for methat I hadto break off with himthough he was a good-hearted fellowand asfair a business hand as is goin'"

"Anddo you find your ways of managing do the businessbetterthan Tom's?" said Mr. Shelby.

"WhyyessirI may say so.  You seewhen I any wayscanItakes a leetle care about the onpleasant partslike sellingyoung unsand that--get the gals out of the way--out of sightoutof mindyou know--and when it's clean doneand can't be helpedtheynaturally gets used to it.  'Tan'tyou knowas if it waswhitefolksthat's broughtup in the way of 'spectin' to keeptheirchildren and wivesand all that.  Niggersyou knowthat'sfetched upproperlyha'n't no kind of 'spectations of no kind; soall thesethings comes easier."

"I'mafraid mine are not properly brought upthen" saidMr.Shelby.

"S'posenot; you Kentucky folks spile your niggers.  Youmean wellby 'embut 'tan't no real kindnessarter all.  Nowaniggeryou seewhat's got to be hacked and tumbled round theworldandsold to Tomand Dickand the Lord knows who'tan'tnokindness to be givin' on him notions and expectationsandbringin'on him up too wellfor the rough and tumble comes allthe harderon him arter.  NowI venture to sayyour niggers wouldbe quitechop-fallen in a place where some of your plantationniggerswould be singing and whooping like all possessed.  EverymanyouknowMr. Shelbynaturally thinks well of his own ways;and Ithink I treat niggers just about as well as it's ever worthwhile totreat 'em."

"It'sa happy thing to be satisfied" said Mr. Shelbywith aslightshrugand some perceptible feelings of a disagreeable nature.

"Well"said Haleyafter they had both silently pickedtheir nutsfor a season"what do you say?"

"I'llthink the matter overand talk with my wife" saidMr.Shelby.  "MeantimeHaleyif you want the matter carriedonin thequiet way you speak ofyou'd best not let your business inthisneighborhood be known.  It will get out among my boysand itwill notbe a particularly quiet business getting away any of myfellowsif they know itI'll promise you."

"O!certainlyby all meansmum! of course.  But I'll tell you.I'm in adevil of a hurryand shall want to knowas soon aspossiblewhat I may depend on" said herising and putting onhisovercoat.

"Wellcall up this eveningbetween six and sevenand youshall havemy answer" said Mr. Shelbyand the trader bowedhimselfout of the apartment.

"I'dlike to have been able to kick the fellow down the steps"said he tohimselfas he saw the door fairly closed"with hisimpudentassurance; but he knows how much he has me at advantage.If anybodyhad ever said to me that I should sell Tom down southto one ofthose rascally tradersI should have said`Is thyservant adogthat he should do this thing?'  And now it must comefor aughtI see.  And Eliza's childtoo!  I know that I shall havesome fusswith wife about that; andfor that matterabout Tomtoo.So muchfor being in debt--heigho!  The fellow sees his advantageand meansto push it."

Perhapsthe mildest form of the system of slavery is to beseen inthe State of Kentucky.  The general prevalence ofagriculturalpursuits of a quiet and gradual naturenot requiringthoseperiodic seasons of hurry and pressure that are called forin thebusiness of more southern districtsmakes the task of thenegro amore healthful and reasonable one; while the mastercontentwith amore gradual style of acquisitionhas not those temptationstohardheartedness which always overcome frail human nature whentheprospect of sudden and rapid gain is weighed in the balancewith noheavier counterpoise than the interests of the helplessandunprotected.

Whoevervisits some estates thereand witnesses thegood-humoredindulgence of some masters and mistressesand theaffectionateloyalty of some slavesmight be tempted to dreamtheoft-fabled poetic legend of a patriarchal institutionandall that;but over and above the scene there broods a portentousshadow--theshadow of _law_.  So long as the law considers allthesehuman beingswith beating hearts and living affectionsonly as somany _things_ belonging to a master--so long as thefailureor misfortuneor imprudenceor death of the kindestownermaycause them any day to exchange a life of kindprotectionand indulgence for one of hopeless misery and toil--solong it isimpossible to make anything beautiful or desirable inthe bestregulated administration of slavery.

Mr. Shelbywas a fair average kind of mangood-naturedandkindlyand disposed to easy indulgence of those around himand therehad never been a lack of anything which might contributeto thephysical comfort of the negroes on his estate.  He hadhoweverspeculated largely and quite loosely; had involved himselfdeeplyand his notes to a large amount had come into the hands ofHaley; andthis small piece of information is the key to theprecedingconversation.

Nowithad so happened thatin approaching the doorElizahad caughtenough of the conversation to know that a traderwas makingoffers to her master for somebody.

She wouldgladly have stopped at the door to listenas shecame out;but her mistress just then callingshe was obligedto hastenaway.

Still shethought she heard the trader make an offer forherboy;--could she be mistaken?  Her heart swelled and throbbedand sheinvoluntarily strained him so tight that the little fellowlooked upinto her face in astonishment.

"Elizagirlwhat ails you today?" said her mistresswhenEliza hadupset the wash-pitcherknocked down the workstandandfinallywas abstractedly offering her mistress a long nightgown inplace ofthe silk dress she had ordered her to bring from the wardrobe.

Elizastarted.  "Omissis!" she saidraising her eyes;thenburstinginto tearsshe sat down in a chairand began sobbing.

"WhyEliza childwhat ails you?" said her mistress.

"O!missismissis" said Eliza"there's been a tradertalkingwith master in the parlor!  I heard him."

"Wellsilly childsuppose there has."

"Omissis_do_ you suppose mas'r would sell my Harry?"And thepoor creature threw herself into a chairand sobbedconvulsively.

"Sellhim! Noyou foolish girl!  You know your master neverdeals withthose southern tradersand never means to sell any ofhisservantsas long as they behave well.  Whyyou silly childwho do youthink would want to buy your Harry?  Do you think allthe worldare set on him as you areyou goosie?  Comecheer upand hookmy dress.  There nowput my back hair up in that prettybraid youlearnt the other dayand don't go listening at doorsany more."

"Wellbutmissis_you_ never would give your consent--to--to--"

"Nonsensechild! to be sureI shouldn't.  What do youtalk sofor?  I would as soon have one of my own children sold.ButreallyElizayou are getting altogether too proud of thatlittlefellow.  A man can't put his nose into the doorbut youthink hemust be coming to buy him."

Reassuredby her mistress' confident toneEliza proceedednimbly andadroitly with her toiletlaughing at her own fearsassheproceeded.

Mrs.Shelby was a woman of high classboth intellectuallyandmorally.  To that natural magnanimity and generosity of mindwhich oneoften marks as characteristic of the women of Kentuckyshe addedhigh moral and religious sensibility and principlecarriedout with great energy and ability into practical results.Herhusbandwho made no professions to any particular religiouscharacternevertheless reverenced and respected the consistencyof hersand stoodperhapsa little in awe of her opinion.Certain itwas that he gave her unlimited scope in all herbenevolentefforts for the comfortinstructionand improvementof herservantsthough he never took any decided part in themhimself. In factif not exactly a believer in the doctrine oftheefficiency of the extra good works of saintshe really seemedsomehow orother to fancy that his wife had piety and benevolenceenough fortwo--to indulge a shadowy expectation of getting intoheaventhrough her superabundance of qualities to which he made noparticularpretension.

Theheaviest load on his mindafter his conversation withthetraderlay in the foreseen necessity of breaking to his wifethearrangement contemplated--meeting the importunities andoppositionwhich he knew he should have reason to encounter.

Mrs.Shelbybeing entirely ignorant of her husband'sembarrassmentsand knowing only the general kindliness of histemperhad been quite sincere in the entire incredulity with whichshe hadmet Eliza's suspicions.  In factshe dismissed the matterfrom hermindwithout a second thought; and being occupied inpreparationsfor an evening visitit passed out of her thoughtsentirely.

 

 

CHAPTER IIThe Mother

 

Eliza hadbeen brought up by her mistressfrom girlhoodas apetted and indulged favorite.

Thetraveller in the south must often have remarked thatpeculiarair of refinementthat softness of voice and mannerwhichseems in many cases to be a particular gift to the quadroonandmulatto women.  These natural graces in the quadroon are oftenunitedwith beauty of the most dazzling kindand in almost everycase witha personal appearance prepossessing and agreeable.Elizasuch as we have described heris not a fancy sketchbuttaken fromremembranceas we saw heryears agoin Kentucky.Safe underthe protecting care of her mistressEliza had reachedmaturitywithout those temptations which make beauty so fatal aninheritanceto a slave.  She had been married to a bright and talentedyoungmulatto manwho was a slave on a neighboring estateand borethe nameof George Harris.

This youngman had been hired out by his master to work ina baggingfactorywhere his adroitness and ingenuity caused himto beconsidered the first hand in the place.  He had invented amachinefor the cleaning of the hempwhichconsidering theeducationand circumstances of the inventordisplayed quite asmuchmechanical genius as Whitney's cotton-gin.He waspossessed of a handsome person and pleasing mannersand was ageneral favorite in the factory.  Neverthelessas thisyoung manwas in the eye of the law not a manbut a thingallthesesuperior qualifications were subject to the control of avulgarnarrow-mindedtyrannical master.  This same gentlemanhavingheard of the fame of George's inventiontook a ride overto thefactoryto see what this intelligent chattel had been about.He wasreceived with great enthusiasm by the employerwhocongratulatedhim on possessing so valuable a slave.

He waswaited upon over the factoryshown the machineryby Georgewhoin high spiritstalked so fluentlyheld himselfso erectlooked so handsome and manlythat his master began tofeel anuneasy consciousness of inferiority.  What business hadhis slaveto be marching round the countryinventing machinesandholding up his head among gentlemen?  He'd soon put a stopto it. He'd take him backand put him to hoeing and diggingand"seeif he'd step about so smart."  Accordinglythemanufacturerand allhands concerned were astounded when he suddenly demandedGeorge'swagesand announced his intention of taking him home.

"ButMr. Harris" remonstrated the manufacturer"isn'tthisrather sudden?"

"Whatif it is?--isn't the man _mine_?"

"Wewould be willingsirto increase the rate of compensation."

"Noobject at allsir.  I don't need to hire any of myhands outunless I've a mind to."

"Butsirhe seems peculiarly adapted to this business."

"Daresay he may be; never was much adapted to anythingthat I sethim aboutI'll be bound."

"Butonly think of his inventing this machine" interposedone of theworkmenrather unluckily.

"Oyes! a machine for saving workis it?  He'd invent thatI'll bebound; let a nigger alone for thatany time.They areall labor-saving machines themselvesevery one of 'em.Noheshall tramp!"

George hadstood like one transfixedat hearing his doomthussuddenly pronounced by a power that he knew was irresistible.He foldedhis armstightly pressed in his lipsbut a whole volcanoof bitterfeelings burned in his bosomand sent streams of firethroughhis veins.  He breathed shortand his large dark eyesflashedlike live coals; and he might have broken out into somedangerousebullitionhad not the kindly manufacturer touched himon thearmand saidin a low tone

"GivewayGeorge; go with him for the present.  We'll tryto helpyouyet."

The tyrantobserved the whisperand conjectured its importthough hecould not hear what was said; and he inwardly strengthenedhimself inhis determination to keep the power he possessed overhisvictim.

George wastaken homeand put to the meanest drudgery ofthe farm. He had been able to repress every disrespectful word;but theflashing eyethe gloomy and troubled browwere part ofa naturallanguage that could not be repressed--indubitable signswhichshowed too plainly that the man could not become a thing.

It wasduring the happy period of his employment in thefactorythat George had seen and married his wife.  During thatperiod--beingmuch trusted and favored by his employer--he hadfreeliberty to come and go at discretion.  The marriage was highlyapprovedof by Mrs. Shelbywhowith a little womanly complacencyinmatch-makingfelt pleased to unite her handsome favorite withone of herown class who seemed in every way suited to her; and sothey weremarried in her mistress' great parlorand her mistressherselfadorned the bride's beautiful hair with orange-blossomsand threwover it the bridal veilwhich certainly could scarcehaverested on a fairer head; and there was no lack of white glovesand cakeand wine--of admiring guests to praise the bride's beautyand hermistress' indulgence and liberality.  For a year or two Elizasaw herhusband frequentlyand there was nothing to interrupttheirhappinessexcept the loss of two infant childrento whomshe waspassionately attachedand whom she mourned with a griefso intenseas to call for gentle remonstrance from her mistresswhosoughtwith maternal anxietyto direct her naturally passionatefeelingswithin the bounds of reason and religion.

After thebirth of little Harryhowevershe had graduallybecometranquillized and settled; and every bleeding tie andthrobbingnerveonce more entwined with that little lifeseemedto becomesound and healthfuland Eliza was a happy woman up tothe timethat her husband was rudely torn from his kind employerandbrought under the iron sway of his legal owner.

Themanufacturertrue to his wordvisited Mr. Harris aweek ortwo after George had been taken awaywhenas he hopedthe heatof the occasion had passed awayand tried every possibleinducementto lead him to restore him to his former employment.

"Youneedn't trouble yourself to talk any longer" saidhedoggedly; "I know my own businesssir."

"Idid not presume to interfere with itsir.  I onlythoughtthat you might think it for your interest to let your manto us onthe terms proposed."

"OIunderstand the matter well enough.  I saw your winkingandwhisperingthe day I took him out of the factory; but youdon't comeit over me that way.  It's a free countrysir; theman's_mine_and I do what I please with him--that's it!"

And sofell George's last hope;--nothing before him but alife oftoil and drudgeryrendered more bitter by everylittlesmarting vexation and indignity which tyrannicalingenuitycould devise.

A veryhumane jurist once saidThe worst use you can puta man tois to hang him.  No; there is another use that a man canbe put tothat is WORSE!

 

 

CHAPTERIIITheHusband and Father

 

Mrs.Shelby had gone on her visitand Eliza stood in theverandahrather dejectedly looking after the retreating carriagewhen ahand was laid on her shoulder.  She turnedand a brightsmilelighted up her fine eyes.

"Georgeis it you?  How you frightened me!  Well; I am soglad you's come!  Missis is gone to spend the afternoon; so comeinto mylittle roomand we'll have the time all to ourselves."

Sayingthisshe drew him into a neat little apartmentopening onthe verandahwhere she generally sat at her sewingwithincall of her mistress.

"Howglad I am!--why don't you smile?--and look at Harry--howhegrows."  The boy stood shyly regarding his father throughhiscurlsholding close to the skirts of his mother's dress."Isn'the beautiful?" said Elizalifting his long curls andkissinghim.

"Iwish he'd never been born!" said Georgebitterly.  "IwishI'd neverbeen born myself!"

Surprisedand frightenedEliza sat downleaned her headon herhusband's shoulderand burst into tears.

"TherenowElizait's too bad for me to make you feel sopoorgirl!" said hefondly; "it's too bad: Ohow I wish younever hadseen me--you might have been happy!"

"George! George! how can you talk so?  What dreadful thing hashappenedor is going to happen?  I'm sure we've been very happytilllately."

"Sowe havedear" said George.  Then drawing his child on hiskneehegazed intently on his glorious dark eyesand passedhis handsthrough his long curls.

"Justlike youEliza; and you are the handsomest woman I eversawandthe best one I ever wish to see; butohI wish I'dnever seenyounor you me!"

"OGeorgehow can you!"

"YesElizait's all miserymiserymisery!  My life isbitter aswormwood; the very life is burning out of me.  I'm apoormiserableforlorn drudge; I shall only drag you down withmethat'sall.  What's the use of our trying to do anythingtryingto knowanythingtrying to be anything?  What's the use of living?I wish Iwas dead!"

"Onowdear Georgethat is really wicked!  I know howyou feelabout losing your place in the factoryand you have ahardmaster; but pray be patientand perhaps something--"

"Patient!"said heinterrupting her; "haven't I been patient?Did I saya word when he came and took me awayfor no earthlyreasonfrom the place where everybody was kind to me?  I'd paidhim trulyevery cent of my earnings--and they all say I worked well."

"Wellit _is_ dreadful" said Eliza; "butafter allheis yourmasteryou know."

"Mymaster! and who made him my master?  That's what I thinkof--whatright has he to me?  I'm a man as much as he is.  I'm abetter manthan he is.  I know more about business than he does;I am abetter manager than he is; I can read better than he can;I canwrite a better hand--and I've learned it all myselfand nothanks tohim--I've learned it in spite of him; and now what righthas he tomake a dray-horse of me?--to take me from things I candoand dobetter than he canand put me to work that any horsecan do? He tries to do it; he says he'll bring me down and humblemeand heputs me to just the hardestmeanest and dirtiest workonpurpose!"

"OGeorge!  George! you frighten me!  WhyI never heardyou talkso; I'm afraid you'll do something dreadful.  I don'twonder atyour feelingsat all; but ohdo be careful--dodo--formysake--for Harry's!"

"Ihave been carefuland I have been patientbut it'sgrowingworse and worse; flesh and blood can't bear it anylonger;--everychance he can get to insult and torment mehe takes.I thoughtI could do my work welland keep on quietand have sometime toread and learn out of work hours; but the more he see Ican dothe more he loads on.  He says that though I don't sayanythinghe sees I've got the devil in meand he means to bringit out;and one of these days it will come out in a way that hewon'tlikeor I'm mistaken!"

"Odear! what shall we do?" said Elizamournfully.

"Itwas only yesterday" said George"as I was busy loadingstonesinto a cartthat young Mas'r Tom stood thereslashing hiswhip sonear the horse that the creature was frightened.  I askedhim tostopas pleasant as I could--he just kept right on.I beggedhim againand then he turned on meand began striking me.I held hishandand then he screamed and kicked and ran to hisfatherand told him that I was fighting him.  He came in a rageand saidhe'd teach me who was my master; and he tied me to a treeand cutswitches for young masterand told him that he might whipme till hewas tired;--and he did do it!  If I don't make him rememberitsometime!" and the brow of the young man grew darkand hiseyesburned with an expression that made his young wife tremble."Whomade this man my master?  That's what I want to know!" hesaid.

"Well"said Elizamournfully"I always thought that Imust obeymy master and mistressor I couldn't be a Christian."

"Thereis some sense in itin your case; they have broughtyou uplike a childfed youclothed youindulged youandtaughtyouso that you have a good education; that is somereason whythey should claim you.  But I have been kicked andcuffed andsworn atand at the best only let alone; and whatdo I owe? I've paid for all my keeping a hundred times over.I _won't_bear it.  NoI _won't_!" he saidclenching his handwith afierce frown.

Elizatrembledand was silent.  She had never seen her husbandin thismood before; and her gentle system of ethics seemedto bendlike a reed in the surges of such passions.

"Youknow poor little Carlothat you gave me" added George;"thecreature has been about all the comfort that I've had.He hasslept with me nightsand followed me around daysand kindo' lookedat me as if he understood how I felt.  Wellthe otherday I wasjust feeding him with a few old scraps I picked up bythekitchen doorand Mas'r came alongand said I was feeding himup at hisexpenseand that he couldn't afford to have every niggerkeepinghis dogand ordered me to tie a stone to his neck andthrow himin the pond."

"OGeorgeyou didn't do it!"

"Doit? not I!--but he did.  Mas'r and Tom pelted the poordrowningcreature with stones.  Poor thing! he looked at me somournfulas if he wondered why I didn't save him.  I had to takea floggingbecause I wouldn't do it myself.  I don't care.  Mas'rwill findout that I'm one that whipping won't tame.  My day willcome yetif he don't look out."

"Whatare you going to do?  OGeorgedon't do anything wicked;if youonly trust in Godand try to do righthe'll deliver you."

"Ian't a Christian like youEliza; my heart's full ofbitterness;I can't trust in God.  Why does he let things be so?"

"OGeorgewe must have faith.  Mistress says that when allthings gowrong to uswe must believe that God is doingthe verybest."

"That'seasy to say for people that are sitting on their sofasand ridingin their carriages; but let 'em be where I amIguess itwould come some harder.  I wish I could be good; but myheartburnsand can't be reconciledanyhow.  You couldn't in myplace--youcan't nowif I tell you all I've got to say.  You don'tknow thewhole yet."

"Whatcan be coming now?"

"Welllately Mas'r has been saying that he was a fool tolet memarry off the place; that he hates Mr. Shelby and all histribebecause they are proudand hold their heads up above himand thatI've got proud notions from you; and he says he won't letme comehere any moreand that I shall take a wife and settle downon hisplace.  At first he only scolded and grumbled these things;butyesterday he told me that I should take Mina for a wifeandsettledown in a cabin with heror he would sell me down river."

"Why--butyou were married to _me_by the ministerasmuch as ifyou'd been a white man!" said Elizasimply.

"Don'tyou know a slave can't be married?  There is no lawin thiscountry for that; I can't hold you for my wifeif hechooses topart us.  That's why I wish I'd never seen you--why Iwish I'dnever been born; it would have been better for us both--itwould havebeen better for this poor child if he had never been born.All thismay happen to him yet!"

"Obut master is so kind!"

"Yesbut who knows?--he may die--and then he may be soldto nobodyknows who.  What  pleasure is it that he is handsomeand smartand bright?  I tell youElizathat a sword will piercethroughyour soul for every good and pleasant thing your child isor has; itwill make him worth too much for you to keep."

The wordssmote heavily on Eliza's heart; the vision of thetradercame before her eyesandas if some one had struck hera deadlyblowshe turned pale and gasped for breath.  She lookednervouslyout on the verandahwhere the boytired of the graveconversationhad retiredand where he was riding triumphantlyup anddown on Mr. Shelby's walking-stick.  She would have spokento tellher husband her fearsbut checked herself.

"Nono--he has enough to bearpoor fellow!" she thought."NoI won't tell him; besidesit an't true; Missis neverdeceivesus."

"SoElizamy girl" said the husbandmournfully"bearupnow;and good-byfor I'm going."

"GoingGeorge!  Going where?"

"ToCanada" said hestraightening himself up; and when I'mthereI'll buy you; that's all the hope that's left us.  You havea kindmasterthat won't refuse to sell you.  I'll buy you andtheboy;--God helping meI will!"

"Odreadful! if you should be taken?"

"Iwon't be takenEliza; I'll _die_ first!  I'll be freeor I'lldie!"

"Youwon't kill yourself!"

"Noneed of that.  They will kill mefast enough; theynever willget me down the river alive!"

"OGeorgefor my sakedo be careful!  Don't do anythingwicked;don't lay hands on yourselfor anybody else!  You aretemptedtoo much--too much; but don't--go you must--but go carefullyprudently;pray God to help you."

"WellthenElizahear my plan.  Mas'r took it into hishead tosend me right by herewith a note to Mr. Symmesthatlives amile past.  I believe he expected I should come here totell youwhat I have.  It would please himif he thought it wouldaggravate`Shelby's folks' as he calls 'em.  I'm going home quiteresignedyou understandas if all was over.  I've got somepreparationsmade--and there are those that will help me; andinthe courseof a week or soI shall be among the missingsome day.Pray formeEliza; perhaps the good Lord will hear _you_."

"Opray yourselfGeorgeand go trusting in him; thenyou won'tdo anything wicked."

"Wellnow_good-by_" said Georgeholding Eliza's handsand gazinginto her eyeswithout moving.  They stood silent; thenthere werelast wordsand sobsand bitter weeping--such partingas thosemay make whose hope to meet again is as the spider'sweb--andthe husband and wife were parted.

 

 

CHAPTER IVAn Eveningin Uncle Tom's Cabin

 

The cabinof Uncle Tom was a small log buildingcloseadjoiningto "the house" as the negro _par excellence_ designateshismaster's dwelling.  In front it had a neat garden-patchwhereeverysummerstrawberriesraspberriesand a variety of fruitsandvegetablesflourished under careful tending.  The whole frontof it wascovered by a large scarlet bignonia and a native multiflorarosewhichentwisting and interlacingleft scarce a vestige ofthe roughlogs to be seen.  Herealsoin summervarious brilliantannualssuch as marigoldspetuniasfour-o'clocksfound anindulgentcorner in which to unfold their splendorsand were thedelightand pride of Aunt Chloe's heart.

Let usenter the dwelling.  The evening meal at the houseis overand Aunt Chloewho presided over its preparation as headcookhasleft to inferior officers in the kitchen the business ofclearingaway and washing dishesand come out into her own snugterritoriesto "get her ole man's supper"; thereforedoubt notthat it isher you see by the firepresiding with anxious interestovercertain frizzling items in a stew-panand anon with graveconsiderationlifting the cover of a bake-kettlefrom whence steamforthindubitable intimations of "something good."  A roundblackshiningface is hersso glossy as to suggest the idea that shemight havebeen washed over with white of eggslike one of her owntearusks.  Her whole plump countenance beams with satisfaction andcontentmentfrom under her well-starched checked turbanbearingon ithoweverif we must confess ita little of that tinge ofself-consciousnesswhich becomes the first cook of the neighborhoodas AuntChloe was universally held and acknowledged to be.

A cook shecertainly wasin the very bone and centre ofher soul. Not a chicken or turkey or duck in the barn-yard butlookedgrave when they saw her approachingand seemed evidentlyto bereflecting on their latter end; and certain it was that shewas alwaysmeditating on trussingstuffing and roastingto adegreethat was calculated to inspire terror in any reflecting fowlliving. Her corn-cakein all its varieties of hoe-cakedodgersmuffinsand other species too numerous to mentionwas a sublimemystery toall less practised compounders; and she would shake herfat sideswith honest pride and merrimentas she would narratethefruitless efforts that one and another of her compeers had madeto attainto her elevation.

Thearrival of company at the housethe arranging of dinnersandsuppers "in style" awoke all the energies of her soul;and nosight was more welcome to her than a pile of travellingtrunkslaunched on the verandahfor then she foresaw fresh effortsand freshtriumphs.

Just atpresenthoweverAunt Chloe is looking into thebake-pan;in which congenial operation we shall leave her till wefinish ourpicture of the cottage.

In onecorner of it stood a bedcovered neatly with asnowyspread; and by the side of it was a piece of carpetingofsomeconsiderable size.  On this piece of carpeting Aunt Chloe tookher standas being decidedly in the upper walks of life; and itand thebed by which it layand the whole cornerin factweretreatedwith distinguished considerationand madeso far aspossiblesacred from the marauding inroads and desecrations oflittlefolks.  In factthat corner was the _drawing-room_ oftheestablishment.  In the other corner was a bed of much humblerpretensionsand evidently designed for _use_.  The wall over thefireplacewas adorned with some very brilliant scriptural printsand aportrait of General Washingtondrawn and colored in a mannerwhichwould certainly have astonished that heroif ever he happenedto meetwith its like.

On a roughbench in the cornera couple of woolly-headedboyswithglistening black eyes and fat shining cheekswere busyinsuperintending the first walking operations of the babywhichas isusually the caseconsisted in getting up on its feetbalancinga momentand then tumbling down--each successive failurebeingviolently cheeredas something decidedly clever.

A tablesomewhat rheumatic in its limbswas drawn out infront ofthe fireand covered with a clothdisplaying cups andsaucers ofa decidedly brilliant patternwith other symptoms ofanapproaching meal.  At this table was seated Uncle TomMr.Shelby'sbest handwhoas he is to be the hero of our storywemustdaguerreotype for our readers.  He was a largebroad-chestedpowerfully-mademanof a full glossy blackand a face whose trulyAfricanfeatures were characterized by an expression of grave andsteadygood senseunited with much kindliness and benevolence.There wassomething about his whole air self-respecting and dignifiedyet unitedwith a confiding and humble simplicity.

He wasvery busily intent at this moment on a slate lying before himon whichhe was carefully and slowly endeavoring to accomplish acopy ofsome lettersin which operation he was overlooked byyoungMas'r Georgea smartbright boy of thirteenwho appearedfully torealize the dignity of his position as instructor.

"Notthat wayUncle Tom--not that way" said hebrisklyas UncleTom laboriously brought up the tail of his _g_ thewrong sideout; "that makes a _q_you see."

"Lasakesnowdoes it?" said Uncle Tomlooking with a respectfuladmiringairas his young teacher flourishingly scrawled _q_'s and_g_'sinnumerable for his edification; and thentaking the pencilin hisbigheavy fingershe patiently recommenced.

"Howeasy white folks al'us does things!" said Aunt Chloepausingwhile she was greasing a griddle with a scrap of bacon onher forkand regarding young Master George with pride.  "The wayhe canwritenow! and readtoo! and then to come out here eveningsand readhis lessons to us--it's mighty interestin'!"

"ButAunt ChloeI'm getting mighty hungry" said George."Isn'tthat cake in the skillet almost done?"

"MosedoneMas'r George" said Aunt Chloelifting thelid andpeeping in--"browning beautiful--a real lovely brown.Ah! let mealone for dat.  Missis let Sally try to make some caket' otherdayjes to _larn_ hershe said.  `Ogo wayMissis'said I;`it really hurts my feelin'snowto see good vittlesspilt datar way!  Cake ris all to one side--no shape at all; nomore thanmy shoe; go way!"

And withthis final expression of contempt for Sally'sgreennessAunt Chloe whipped the cover off the bake-kettleanddisclosedto view a neatly-baked pound-cakeof which no cityconfectionerneed to have been ashamed.  This being evidently thecentralpoint of the entertainmentAunt Chloe began now to bustleaboutearnestly in the supper department.

"HereyouMose and Pete! get out  de wayyou niggers!  GetawayMerickyhoney--mammy'll give her baby some finby and by.NowMas'rGeorgeyou jest take off dem booksand set downnow withmy old manand I'll take up de sausagesand have defirstgriddle full of cakes on your plates in less dan no time."

"Theywanted me to come to supper in the house" saidGeorge;"but I knew what was what too well for thatAunt Chloe."

"Soyou did--so you didhoney" said Aunt Chloeheaping thesmokingbatter-cakes on his plate; "you know'd your old aunty'dkeep thebest for you.  Olet you alone for dat! Go way!"Andwiththataunty gave George a nudge with her fingerdesignedto be immensely facetiousand turned again to her griddlewith greatbriskness.

"Nowfor the cake" said Mas'r Georgewhen the activityof thegriddle department had somewhat subsided; andwith thattheyoungster flourished a large knife over the article in question.

"Labless youMas'r George!" said Aunt Chloewithearnestnesscatching his arm"you wouldn't be for cuttin' it widdat argreat heavy knife!  Smash all down--spile all de pretty riseof it. HereI've got a thin old knifeI keeps sharp a purpose.Dar nowsee! comes apart light as a feather!  Now eat away--youwon't getanything to beat dat ar."

"TomLincon says" said Georgespeaking with his mouth full"thattheir Jinny is a better cook than you."

"DemLincons an't much countno way!" said Aunt Chloecontemptuously;"I meanset along side _our_ folks.  They 's'spectablefolks enough in a kinder plain way; butas to gettin'upanything in stylethey don't begin to have a notion on 't.Set Mas'rLinconnowalongside Mas'r Shelby!  Good Lor! and MissisLincon--canshe kinder sweep it into a room like my missis--sokindersplendidyer know!  Ogo way! don't tell me nothin' ofdemLincons!"--and Aunt Chloe tossed her head as one who hoped shedid knowsomething of the world.

"WellthoughI've heard you say" said George"thatJinny wasa pretty fair cook."

"So Idid" said Aunt Chloe--"I may say dat.  Goodplaincommoncookin'Jinny'll do;--make a good pone o' bread--bileher taters_far_--her corn cakes isn't extranot extra nowJinny'scorn cakes isn'tbut then they's far--butLorcometo dehigher branchesand what _can_ she do?  Whyshe makespies--sartinshe does; but what kinder crust?  Can she makeyour realflecky pasteas melts in your mouthand lies all uplike apuff?  NowI went over thar when Miss Mary was gwine to bemarriedand Jinny she jest showed me de weddin' pies.  Jinny andI is goodfriendsye know.  I never said nothin'; but go 'longMas'rGeorge!  WhyI shouldn't sleep a wink for a weekif I hada batch ofpies like dem ar.  Whydey wan't no 'count 't all."

"Isuppose Jinny thought they were ever so nice" said George.

"Thoughtso!--didn't she?  Thar she wasshowing emasinnocent--yeseeit's jest hereJinny _don't know_.  Lorthefamilyan't nothing!  She can't be spected to know!  'Ta'nt nofaulto' hem. AhMas'r Georgeyou doesn't know half 'your privilegesin yerfamily and bringin' up!"  Here Aunt Chloe sighedandrolledup hereyes with emotion.

"I'msureAunt ChloeI understand I my pie and puddingprivileges"said George.  "Ask Tom Lincon if I don't crow overhimeverytime I meet him."

Aunt Chloesat back in her chairand indulged in a heartyguffaw oflaughterat this witticism of young Mas'r'slaughingtill thetears rolled down her blackshining cheeksand varyingtheexercise with playfully slapping and poking Mas'r Georgeyandtellinghim to go wayand that he was a case--that he was fit tokill herand that he sartin would kill herone of these days;andbetween each of these sanguinary predictionsgoing off intoa laugheach longer and stronger than the othertill George reallybegan tothink that he was a very dangerously witty fellowandthat itbecame him to be careful how he talked "as funny as he could."

"Andso ye telled Tomdid ye?  OLor! what young uns will be upter!Ye crowedover Tom?  OLor!  Mas'r Georgeif ye wouldn't make ahornbuglaugh!"

"Yes"said George"I says to him`Tomyou ought to seesome ofAunt Chloe's pies; they're the right sort' says I."

"PitynowTom couldn't" said Aunt Chloeon whosebenevolentheart the idea of Tom's benighted condition seemed tomake astrong impression.  "Ye oughter just ask him here todinnersome o'these timesMas'r George" she added; "it would look quitepretty ofye.  Ye knowMas'r Georgeye oughtenter feel 'bovenobodyon'count yer privileges'cause all our privileges is gi'nto us; weought al'ays to 'member that" said Aunt Chloelookingquiteserious.

"WellI mean to ask Tom heresome day next week" said George;"andyou do your prettiestAunt Chloeand we'll make him stare.Won't wemake him eat so he won't get over it for a fortnight?"

"Yesyes--sartin" said Aunt Chloedelighted;

"you'llsee.  Lor! to think of some of our dinners! Yer minddat argreat chicken pie I made when we guv de dinner toGeneralKnox?  I and Missiswe come pretty near quarrelling aboutdat arcrust.  What does get into ladies sometimesI don't know;butsometimeswhen a body has de heaviest kind o' 'sponsibilityon 'emasye may sayand is all kinder _`seris'_ and taken updey takesdat ar time to be hangin' round and kinder interferin'!NowMississhe wanted me to do dis wayand she wanted me to dodat way;andfinallyI got kinder sarcyandsays I`NowMissisdojist look at dem beautiful white hands o' yourn withlongfingersand all a sparkling with ringslike my white lilieswhen dedew 's on 'em; and look at my great black stumpin hands.Nowdon'tye think dat de Lord must have meant _me_ to make depie-crustand you to stay in de parlor?  Dar! I was jist so sarcyMas'rGeorge."

"Andwhat did mother say?" said George.

"Say?--whyshe kinder larfed in her eyes--dem great handsomeeyes o'hern; andsays she`WellAunt ChloeI think you areabout inthe right on 't' says she; and she went off in de parlor.Sheoughter cracked me over de head for bein' so sarcy; but dar'swhar 'tis--I can't do nothin' with ladies in de kitchen!"

"Wellyou made out well with that dinner--I remembereverybodysaid so" said George.

"Didn'tI?  And wan't I behind de dinin'-room door dat beryday? anddidn't I see de General pass his plate three times forsome moredat bery pie?--andsays he`You must have an uncommoncookMrs.Shelby.'  Lor! I was fit to split myself.

"Andde Gineralhe knows what cookin' is" said Aunt Chloedrawingherself up with an air.  "Bery nice mande Gineral!He comesof one of de bery _fustest_ families in Old Virginny!He knowswhat's whatnowas well as I do--de Gineral.  Ye seethere's_pints_ in all piesMas'r George; but tan't everybodyknows whatthey isor as orter be.  But the Gineralhe knows; Iknew byhis 'marks he made.  Yeshe knows what de pints is!"

By thistimeMaster George had arrived at that pass to whicheven a boycan come (under uncommon circumstanceswhen he reallycould noteat another morsel)andthereforehe was at leisureto noticethe pile of woolly heads and glistening eyes whichwereregarding their operations hungrily from the opposite corner.

"Hereyou MosePete" he saidbreaking off liberal bitsandthrowing it at them; "you want somedon't you?  ComeAuntChloebake them some cakes."

And Georgeand Tom moved to a comfortable seat in the chimney-cornerwhileAunte Chloeafter baking a goodly pile of cakestook herbaby onher lapand began alternately filling its mouth and herownanddistributing to Mose and Petewho seemed rather to prefereatingtheirs as they rolled about on the floor under the tableticklingeach otherand occasionally pulling the baby's toes.

"O!go longwill ye?" said the mothergiving now and thena kickina kind of general wayunder the tablewhen the movementbecame tooobstreperous.  "Can't ye be decent when white folkscomes tosee ye?  Stop dat arnowwill ye?  Better mind yerselvesor I'lltake ye down a button-hole lowerwhen Mas'r George is gone!

Whatmeaning was couched under this terrible threatit isdifficultto say; but certain it is that its awful indistinctnessseemed toproduce very little impression on the youngsinnersaddressed.

"Lanow!" said Uncle Tom"they are so full of tickle allthe whilethey can't behave theirselves."

Here theboys emerged from under the tableandwith handsand faceswell plastered with molassesbegan a vigorous kissingof thebaby.

"Getalong wid ye!" said the motherpushing away theirwoollyheads.  "Ye'll all stick togetherand never get clarifye do datfashion.  Go long to de spring and wash yerselves!" shesaidseconding her exhortations by a slapwhich resounded veryformidablybut which seemed only to knock out so much more laughfrom theyoung onesas they tumbled precipitately over each otherout ofdoorswhere they fairly screamed with merriment.

"Didye ever see such aggravating young uns?" said AuntChloerather complacentlyasproducing an old towelkept forsuchemergenciesshe poured a little water out of the crackedtea-pot onitand began rubbing off the molasses from the baby'sface andhands; andhaving polished her till she shoneshe sether downin Tom's lapwhile she busied herself in clearing awaysupper. The baby employed the intervals in pulling Tom's nosescratchinghis faceand burying her fat hands in his woolly hairwhich lastoperation seemed to afford her special content.

"Aintshe a peart young un?" said Tomholding her fromhim totake a full-length view; thengetting uphe set her onhis broadshoulderand began capering and dancing with herwhileMas'rGeorge snapped at her with his pocket-handkerchiefand Moseand Petenow returned againroared after her like bearstill AuntChloedeclared that they "fairly took her head off" with theirnoise.Asaccording to her own statementthis surgical operationwas amatter of daily occurrence in the cabinthe declaration nowhitabated the merrimenttill every one had roared and tumbledand dancedthemselves down to a state of composure.

"WellnowI hopes you're done" said Aunt Chloewho had beenbusy inpulling out a rude box of a trundle-bed; "and nowyouMose andyou Peteget into thar; for we's goin' to have the meetin'."

"Omotherwe don't wanter.  We wants to sit up tomeetin'--meetin'sis so curis.  We likes 'em."

"LaAunt Chloeshove it underand let 'em sit up" saidMas'rGeorgedecisivelygiving a push to the rude machine.

AuntChloehaving thus saved appearancesseemed highlydelightedto push the thing undersayingas she did so"Wellmebbe 'twill do 'em some good."

The housenow resolved itself into a committee of the wholetoconsider the accommodations and arrangements for the meeting.

"Whatwe's to do for cheersnow_I_ declar I don't know"said AuntChloe.  As the meeting had been held at Uncle Tom'sweeklyfor an indefinite length of timewithout any more "cheers"thereseemed some encouragement to hope that a way would be discoveredatpresent.

"OldUncle Peter sung both de legs out of dat oldest cheerlastweek" suggested Mose.

"Yougo long!  I'll boun' you pulled 'em out; some o' yourshines"said Aunt Chloe.

"Wellit'll standif it only keeps jam up agin de wall!"said Mose.

"DenUncle Peter mus'n't sit in itcause he al'ays hitcheswhen hegets a singing.  He hitched pretty nigh across de roomt'othernight" said Pete.

"GoodLor! get him in itthen" said Mose"and den he'd begin`Comesaints --and sinnershear me tell' and den down he'dgo"--andMose imitated precisely the nasal tones of the old mantumblingon the floorto illustrate the supposed catastrophe.

"Comenowbe decentcan't ye?" said Aunt Chloe; "an'tyershamed?"

Mas'rGeorgehoweverjoined the offender in the laughanddeclareddecidedly that Mose was a "buster."  So the maternaladmonitionseemed rather to fail of effect.

"Wellole man" said Aunt Chloe"you'll have to tote inthem arbar'ls."

"Mother'sbar'ls is like dat ar widder'sMas'r George wasreading'boutin de good book--dey never fails" said Moseasideto Peter.

"I'msure one on 'em caved in last week" said Pete"andlet 'emall down in de middle of de singin'; dat ar was failin'warnt it?"

Duringthis aside between Mose and Petetwo empty caskshad beenrolled into the cabinand being secured from rollingbystones oneach sideboards were laid across themwhich arrangementtogetherwith the turning down of certain tubs and pailsand thedisposingof the rickety chairsat last completed the preparation.

"Mas'rGeorge is such a beautiful readernowI know he'llstay toread for us" said Aunt Chloe; "'pears like 't will be somuch moreinterestin'."

Georgevery readily consentedfor your boy is always readyforanything that makes him of importance.

The roomwas soon filled with a motley assemblagefrom theoldgray-headed patriarch of eightyto the young girl and ladoffifteen.  A little harmless gossip ensued on various themessuch aswhere old Aunt Sally got her new red headkerchiefand how"Missiswas a going to give Lizzy that spotted muslin gownwhenshe'd gother new berage made up;" and how Mas'r Shelby was thinkingof buyinga new sorrel coltthat was going to prove an additionto theglories of the place.  A few of the worshippers belonged tofamilieshard bywho had got permission to attendand who broughtin variouschoice scraps of informationabout the sayings anddoings atthe house and on the placewhich circulated as freelyas thesame sort of small change does in higher circles.

After awhile the singing commencedto the evident delightof allpresent.  Not even all the disadvantage of nasal intonationcouldprevent the effect of the naturally fine voicesin airs atonce wildand spirited.  The words were sometimes the well-knownand commonhymns sung in the churches aboutand sometimes of awildermore indefinite characterpicked up at camp-meetings.

The chorusof one of themwhich ran as followswas sungwith greatenergy and unction:

          "Die on the field of battle
           Die on the field of battle
              Glory in my soul."

 

Anotherspecial favorite had oft repeated the words--

          "OI'm going to glory--won't you come along with me?
           Don't you see the angels beck'ningand a calling me away?
           Don't you see the golden city and the everlasting day?"

 

There wereotherswhich made incessant mention of "Jordan'sbanks"and "Canaan's fields" and the "New Jerusalem;"for thenegromindimpassioned and imaginativealways attaches itselfto hymnsand expressions of a vivid and pictorial nature; andas theysungsome laughedand some criedand some clapped handsor shookhands rejoicingly with each otheras if they had fairlygained theother side of the river.

Variousexhortationsor relations of experiencefollowedandintermingledwith the singing.  One old gray-headed womanlongpast workbut much revered as a sort of chronicle of the pastroseandleaning on her staffsaid--"Wellchil'en!  WellI'mmightyglad to hear ye all and see ye all once more'cause Idon't knowwhen I'll be gone to glory; but I've done got readychil'en;'pears like I'd got my little bundle all tied upand mybonnet onjest a waitin' for the stage to come along and take mehome;sometimesin the nightI think I hear the wheels a rattlin'and I'mlookin' out all the time; nowyou jest be ready tooforI tell yeallchil'en" she said striking her staff hard on thefloor"dat ar _glory_ is a mighty thing!  It's a mighty thingchil'en--youdon'no nothing about it--it's _wonderful_."  And theoldcreature sat downwith streaming tearsas wholly overcomewhile thewhole circle struck up--

               "O Canaanbright Canaan
                I'm bound for the land of Canaan."

Mas'rGeorgeby requestread the last chapters of Revelationofteninterrupted by such exclamations as "The _sakes_ now!""Onlyhear that!"  "Jest think on 't!"  "Isall that a comin'sureenough?"

Georgewho was a bright boyand well trained in religiousthings byhis motherfinding himself an object of general admirationthrew inexpositions of his ownfrom time to timewith a commendableseriousnessand gravityfor which he was admired by the young andblessed bythe old; and it was agreedon all handsthat "a ministercouldn'tlay it off better than he did; that "'t was reely 'mazin'!"

Uncle Tomwas a sort of patriarch in religious mattersintheneighborhood.  Havingnaturallyan organization in which the_morale_was strongly predominanttogether with a greater breadthandcultivation of mind than obtained among his companionshe waslooked upto with great respectas a sort of minister among them;and thesimpleheartysincere style of his exhortations mighthaveedified even better educated persons.  But it was in prayerthat heespecially excelled.  Nothing could exceed the touchingsimplicitythe childlike earnestnessof his prayerenriched withthelanguage of Scripturewhich seemed so entirely to have wroughtitselfinto his beingas to have become a part of himselfand todrop fromhis lips unconsciously; in the language of a pious oldnegrohe"prayed right up."  And so much did his prayer alwaysworkon thedevotional feelings of his audiencesthat there seemedoften adanger that it would be lost altogether in the abundanceof theresponses which broke out everywhere around him.

 

While thisscene was passing in the cabin of the manonequiteotherwise passed in the halls of the master.

The traderand Mr. Shelby were seated together in the dining roomafore-namedat a table covered with papers and writing utensils.

Mr. Shelbywas busy in counting some bundles of billswhichas theywere countedhe pushed over to the traderwhocountedthem likewise.

"Allfair" said the trader; "and now for signing these yer."

Mr. Shelbyhastily drew the bills of sale towards himandsignedthemlike a man that hurries over some disagreeable businessand thenpushed them over with the money.  Haley producedfrom awell-wornvalisea parchmentwhichafter looking over it amomenthehanded to Mr. Shelbywho took it with a gesture ofsuppressedeagerness.

"Walnowthe thing's _done_!" said the tradergetting up.

"It's_done_!" said Mr. Shelbyin a musing tone; andfetching along breathhe repeated_"It's done!"_

"Yerdon't seem to feel much pleased with it'pears to me"said thetrader.

"Haley"said Mr. Shelby"I hope you'll remember that youpromisedon your honoryou wouldn't sell Tomwithout knowingwhat sortof hands he's going into."

"Whyyou've just done it sir" said the trader.

"Circumstancesyou well know_obliged_ me" said Shelbyhaughtily.

"Walyou knowthey may 'blige _me_too" said the trader."HowsomeverI'll do the very best I can in gettin' Tom a goodberth; asto my treatin' on him badyou needn't be a grain afeard.If there'sanything that I thank the Lord forit is that I'm nevernowayscruel."

After theexpositions which the trader had previously givenof hishumane principlesMr. Shelby did not feel particularlyreassuredby these declarations; butas they were the best comfortthe caseadmitted ofhe allowed the trader to depart in silenceand betookhimself to a solitary cigar.

 

 

CHAPTER VShowingthe Feelings of Living Property on Changing Owners

 

Mr. andMrs. Shelby had retired to their apartment forthenight.  He was lounging in a large easy-chairlooking oversomeletters that had come in the afternoon mailand she wasstandingbefore her mirrorbrushing out the complicated braidsand curlsin which Eliza had arranged her hair; fornoticing herpalecheeks and haggard eyesshe had excused her attendance thatnightandordered her to bed.  The employmentnaturally enoughsuggestedher conversation with the girl in the morning; and turningto herhusbandshe saidcarelessly

"Bythe byArthurwho was that low-bred fellow that youlugged into our dinner-table today?"

"Haleyis his name" said Shelbyturning himself rather uneasilyin hischairand continuing with his eyes fixed on a letter.

"Haley! Who is heand what may be his business herepray?"

"Wellhe's a man that I transacted some business withlast timeI was at Natchez" said Mr. Shelby.

"Andhe presumed on it to make himself quite at homeandcall anddine hereay?"

"WhyI invited him; I had some accounts with him" said Shelby.

"Ishe a negro-trader?" said Mrs. Shelbynoticing a certainembarrassmentin her husband's manner.

"Whymy dearwhat put that into your head?" said Shelbylookingup.

"Nothing--onlyEliza came in hereafter dinnerin a greatworrycrying and taking onand said you were talking witha traderand that she heard him make an offer for her boy--theridiculouslittle goose!"

"Shedidhey?" said Mr. Shelbyreturning to his paperwhichhe seemedfor a few moments quite intent uponnot perceivingthat hewas holding it bottom upwards.

"Itwill have to come out" said hementally; "as wellnow asever."

"Itold Eliza" said Mrs. Shelbyas she continued brushingher hair"that she was a little fool for her painsand that younever hadanything to do with that sort of persons.  Of courseIknew younever meant to sell any of our people--least of alltosuch afellow."

"WellEmily" said her husband"so I have always felt andsaid; butthe fact is that my business lies so that I cannotget onwithout.  I shall have to sell some of my hands."

"Tothat creature?  Impossible!  Mr. Shelbyyou cannot beserious."

"I'msorry to say that I am" said Mr. Shelby.  "I'veagreedto sellTom."

"What!our Tom?--that goodfaithful creature!--been yourfaithfulservant from a boy!  OMr. Shelby!--and you have promisedhim hisfreedomtoo--you and I have spoken to him a hundred timesof it. WellI can believe anything now--I can believe _now_ thatyou couldsell little Harrypoor Eliza's only child!" said Mrs.Shelbyina tone between grief and indignation.

"Wellsince you must know allit is so.  I have agreed to sellTom andHarry both; and I don't know why I am to be ratedas if Iwere a monsterfor doing what every one does every day."

"Butwhyof all otherschoose these?" said Mrs. Shelby."Whysell themof all on the placeif you must sell at all?"

"Becausethey will bring the highest sum of any--that's why.I couldchoose anotherif you say so.  The fellow made mea high bidon Elizaif that would suit you any better"said Mr.Shelby.

"Thewretch!" said Mrs. Shelbyvehemently.

"WellI didn't listen to ita moment--out of regard toyourfeelingsI wouldn't;--so give me some credit."

"Mydear" said Mrs. Shelbyrecollecting herself"forgive me.I havebeen hasty.  I was surprisedand entirely unprepared forthis;--butsurely you will allow me to intercede for these poorcreatures. Tom is a noble-heartedfaithful fellowif he is black.I dobelieveMr. Shelbythat if he were put to ithe would laydown hislife for you."

"Iknow it--I dare say;--but what's the use of all this?--Ican't helpmyself."

"Whynot make a pecuniary sacrifice?  I'm willing to bearmy part ofthe inconvenience.  OMr. ShelbyI have tried--triedmostfaithfullyas a Christian woman should--to do my duty tothesepoorsimpledependent creatures.  I have cared for theminstructedthemwatched over themand know all their little caresand joysfor years; and how can I ever hold up my head again amongthemiffor the sake of a little paltry gainwe sell such afaithfulexcellentconfiding creature as poor Tomand tear fromhim in amoment all we have taught him to love and value?  I havetaughtthem the duties of the familyof parent and childandhusbandand wife; and how can I bear to have this open acknowledgmentthat wecare for no tieno dutyno relationhowever sacredcomparedwith money?  I have talked with Eliza about her boy--herduty tohim as a Christian motherto watch over himpray for himand bringhim up in a Christian way; and now what can I sayifyou tearhim awayand sell himsoul and bodyto a profaneunprincipledmanjust to save a little money?  I have told herthat onesoul is worth more than all the money in the world; andhow willshe believe me when she sees us turn round and sell herchild?--sellhimperhapsto certain ruin of body and soul!"

"I'msorry you feel so about it--indeed I am" said Mr.Shelby;"and I respect your feelingstoothough I don't pretendto sharethem to their full extent; but I tell you nowsolemnlyit's of nouse--I can't help myself.  I didn't mean to tell youthisEmily; butin plain wordsthere is no choice between sellingthese twoand selling everything.  Either they must goor _all_must. Haley has come into possession of a mortgagewhichif Idon'tclear off with him directlywill take everything before it.I'verakedand scrapedand borrowedand all but begged--andthe priceof these two was needed to make up the balanceand Ihad togive them up.  Haley fancied the child; he agreed to settlethe matterthat wayand no other.  I was in his powerand _had_to do it. If you feel so to have them soldwould it be any betterto have_all_ sold?"

Mrs.Shelby stood like one stricken.  Finallyturning to hertoiletshe rested her face in her handsand gave a sort of groan.

"Thisis God's curse on slavery!--a bitterbittermostaccursedthing!--a curse to the master and a curse to the slave!I was afool to think I could make anything good out of such adeadlyevil.  It is a sin to hold a slave under laws like ours--Ialwaysfelt it was--I always thought so when I was a girl--Ithought sostill more after I joined the church; but I thought Icould gildit over--I thoughtby kindnessand careand instructionI couldmake the condition of mine better than freedom--fool thatI was!"

"Whywifeyou are getting to be an abolitionistquite."

"Abolitionist!if they knew all I know about slaverythey_might_talk!  We don't need them to tell us; you know I neverthoughtthat slavery was right--never felt willing to own slaves."

"Welltherein you differ from many wise and pious men" saidMr.Shelby.  "You remember Mr. B.'s sermonthe other Sunday?"

"Idon't want to hear such sermons; I never wish to hearMr. B. inour church again.  Ministers can't help the evilperhaps--can'tcure itany more than we can--but defend it!--italwayswent against my common sense.  And I think you didn't thinkmuch ofthat sermoneither."

"Well"said Shelby"I must say these ministers sometimescarrymatters further than we poor sinners would exactly dare todo. We men of the world must wink pretty hard at various thingsand getused to a deal that isn't the exact thing.  But we don'tquitefancywhen women and ministers come out broad and squareand gobeyond us in matters of either modesty or moralsthat's afact. But nowmy dearI trust you see the necessity of the thingand yousee that I have done the very best that circumstances wouldallow."

"Oyesyes!" said Mrs. Shelbyhurriedly and abstractedlyfingeringher gold watch--"I haven't any jewelry of any amount"she addedthoughtfully; "but would not this watch do something?--itwas anexpensive onewhen it was bought.  If I could only at leastsaveEliza's childI would sacrifice anything I have."

"I'msorryvery sorryEmily" said Mr. Shelby"I'm sorrythis takeshold of you so; but it will do no good.  The fact isEmilythething's done; the bills of sale are already signedandin Haley'shands; and you must be thankful it is no worse.  That manhas had itin his power to ruin us all--and now he is fairly off.If youknew the man as I doyou'd think that we had had anarrowescape."

"Ishe so hardthen?"

"Whynot a cruel manexactlybut a man of leather--a man aliveto nothingbut trade and profit--cooland unhesitatingandunrelentingas death and the grave.  He'd sell his own mother ata good percentage--not wishing the old woman any harmeither."

"Andthis wretch owns that goodfaithful Tomand Eliza's child!"

"Wellmy dearthe fact is that this goes rather hard with me;it's athing I hate to think of.  Haley wants to drive mattersand takepossession tomorrow.  I'm going to get out my horse brightand earlyand be off.  I can't see Tomthat's a fact; and youhad betterarrange a drive somewhereand carry Eliza off.  Let thething bedone when she is out of sight."

"Nono" said Mrs. Shelby; "I'll be in no sense accompliceor help inthis cruel business.  I'll go and see poor old TomGodhelp himin his distress!  They shall seeat any ratethat theirmistresscan feel for and with them.  As to ElizaI dare not thinkabout it. The Lord forgive us!  What have we donethat this cruelnecessityshould come on us?"

There wasone listener to this conversation whom Mr. andMrs.Shelby little suspected.

Communicatingwith their apartment was a large closetopeningby a doorinto the outer passage.  When Mrs. Shelby had dismissedEliza forthe nighther feverish and excited mind had suggestedthe ideaof this closet; and she had hidden herself thereandwith herear pressed close against the crack of the doorhadlost not aword of the conversation.

When thevoices died into silenceshe rose and creptstealthilyaway.  Paleshiveringwith rigid features and compressedlipsshelooked an entirely altered being from the soft and timidcreatureshe had been hitherto.  She moved cautiously along theentrypaused one moment at her mistress' doorand raised herhands inmute appeal to Heavenand then turned and glidedinto herown room.  It was a quietneat apartmenton the samefloor withher mistress.  There was a pleasant sunny windowwhereshe hadoften sat singing at her sewing; there a little case ofbooksandvarious little fancy articlesranged by themthe giftsofChristmas holidays; there was her simple wardrobe in the closetand in thedrawers:--here wasin shorther home; andon thewholeahappy one it had been to her.  But thereon the bedlayherslumbering boyhis long curls falling negligently around hisunconsciousfacehis rosy mouth half openhis little fat handsthrown outover the bedclothesand a smile spread like a sunbeamover hiswhole face.

"Poorboy! poor fellow!" said Eliza; "they have sold you!but yourmother will save you yet!"

No teardropped over that pillow; in such straits as thesethe hearthas no tears to give--it drops only bloodbleedingitselfaway in silence.  She took a piece of paper and a penciland wrotehastily

"OMissis! dear Missis! don't think me ungrateful--don't thinkhard ofmeany way--I heard all you and master said tonight.I am goingto try to save my boy--you will not blame me!  God blessand rewardyou for all your kindness!"

Hastilyfolding and directing thisshe went to a drawerand madeup a little package of clothing for her boywhich shetied witha handkerchief firmly round her waist; andso fond isa mother'sremembrancethateven in the terrors of that hourshe didnot forget to put in the little package one or two of hisfavoritetoysreserving a gayly painted parrot to amuse himwhenshe shouldbe called on to awaken him.  It was some trouble toarouse thelittle sleeper; butafter some efforthe sat upandwasplaying with his birdwhile his mother was putting on herbonnet andshawl.

"Whereare you goingmother?" said heas she drew nearthe bedwith his little coat and cap.

His motherdrew nearand looked so earnestly into his eyesthat he atonce divined that something unusual was the matter.

"HushHarry" she said; "mustn't speak loudor they willhear us. A wicked man was coming to take little Harry away fromhismotherand carry him 'way off in the dark; but mother won'tlethim--she's going to put on her little boy's cap and coatandrun offwith himso the ugly man can't catch him."

Sayingthese wordsshe had tied and buttoned on the child'ssimpleoutfitandtaking him in her armsshe whispered to himto be verystill; andopening a door in her room which led intothe outerverandahshe glided noiselessly out.

It was asparklingfrostystarlight nightand the motherwrappedthe shawl close round her childasperfectly quiet withvagueterrorhe clung round her neck.

Old Brunoa great Newfoundlandwho slept at the end ofthe porchrosewith a low growlas she came near.  She gentlyspoke hisnameand the animalan old pet and playmate of hersinstantlywagging his tailprepared to follow herthough apparentlyrevolvingmuchin this simple dog's headwhat such an indiscreetmidnightpromenade might mean.  Some dim ideas of imprudence orimproprietyin the measure seemed to embarrass him considerably;for heoften stoppedas Eliza glided forwardand looked wistfullyfirst ather and then at the houseand thenas if reassured byreflectionhe pattered along after her again.  A few minutesbroughtthem to the window of Uncle Tom's cottageand Elizastoppingtapped lightly on the window-pane.

Theprayer-meeting at Uncle Tom's hadin the order ofhymn-singingbeen protracted to a very late hour; andas UncleTom hadindulged himself in a few lengthy solos afterwardstheconsequencewasthatalthough it was now between twelve andoneo'clockhe and his worthy helpmeet were not yet asleep.

"GoodLord! what's that?" said Aunt Chloestarting up andhastilydrawing the curtain.  "My sakes aliveif it an't Lizy!Get onyour clothesold manquick!--there's old Brunotooapawinround; what on airth!  I'm gwine to open the door."

Andsuiting the action to the wordthe door flew openandthe lightof the tallow candlewhich Tom had hastily lightedfell onthe haggard face and darkwild eyes of the fugitive.

"Lordbless you!--I'm skeered to look at yeLizy!  Are yetuck sickor what's come over ye?"

"I'mrunning away--Uncle Tom and Aunt Chloe--carrying offmychild--Master sold him!"

"Soldhim?" echoed bothlifting up their hands in dismay.

"Yessold him!" said Elizafirmly; "I crept into the closetbyMistress' door tonightand I heard Master tell Missis thathe hadsold my Harryand youUncle Tombothto a trader;and thathe was going off this morning on his horseand that theman was totake possession today."

Tom hadstoodduring this speechwith his hands raisedandhis eyesdilatedlike a man in a dream.  Slowly and graduallyas itsmeaning came over himhe collapsedrather than seatedhimselfon his old chairand sunk his head down upon his knees.

"Thegood Lord have pity on us!" said Aunt Chloe.  "O! itdon'tseem as ifit was true!  What has he donethat Mas'r shouldsell_him_?"

"Hehasn't done anything--it isn't for that.  Master don'twant toselland Missis she's always good.  I heard her plead andbeg forus; but he told her 't was no use; that he was in thisman'sdebtand that this man had got the power over him; and thatif hedidn't pay him off clearit would end in his having to sellthe placeand all the peopleand move off.  YesI heard him saythere wasno choice between selling these two and selling alltheman wasdriving him so hard.  Master said he was sorry; but ohMissis--youought to have heard her talk!  If she an't a Christianand anangelthere never was one.  I'm a wicked girl to leave herso; butthenI can't help it.  She saidherselfone soul wasworth morethan the world; and this boy has a souland if I lethim becarried offwho knows what'll become of it?  It must beright:butif it an't rightthe Lord forgive mefor I can't helpdoing it!"

"Wellold man!" said Aunt Chloe"why don't you gotoo?Will youwait to be toted down riverwhere they kill niggers withhard workand starving?  I'd a heap rather die than go thereanyday! There's time for ye--be off with Lizy--you've got a pass tocome andgo any time.  Comebustle upand I'll get your thingstogether."

Tom slowlyraised his headand looked sorrowfully butquietlyaroundand said

"Nono--I an't going.  Let Eliza go--it's her right!  Iwouldn'tbe the oneto say no--'tan't in _natur_ for her to stay; butyou heardwhat she said!  If I must be soldor all the peopleon theplaceand everything go to rackwhylet me be sold.I s'pose Ican b'ar it as well as any on 'em" he addedwhilesomethinglike a sob and a sigh shook his broadrough chestconvulsively. "Mas'r always found me on the spot--he always will.I neverhave broke trustnor used my pass no ways contrary to mywordandI never will.  It's better for me alone to gothan tobreak upthe place and sell all.  Mas'r an't to blameChloeandhe'll takecare of you and the poor--"

Here heturned to the rough trundle bed full of little woollyheadsandbroke fairly down.  He leaned over the back of thechairandcovered his face with his large hands.  Sobsheavyhoarse andloudshook the chairand great tears fell through hisfingers onthe floor; just such tearssiras you dropped intothe coffinwhere lay your first-born son; such tearswomanasyou shedwhen you heard the cries of your dying babe.  Forsirhe was aman--and you are but another man.  Andwomanthoughdressed insilk and jewelsyou are but a womanandin life'sgreatstraits and mighty griefsye feel but one sorrow!

"Andnow" said Elizaas she stood in the door"I saw myhusbandonly this afternoonand I little knew then what was tocome. They have pushed him to the very last standing placeandhe toldmetodaythat he was going to run away.  Do tryif youcantoget word to him.  Tell him how I wentand why I went; andtell himI'm going to try and find Canada.  You must give my loveto himand tell himif I never see him again" she turned awayand stoodwith her back to them for a momentand then addedina huskyvoice"tell him to be as good as he canand try and meetme in thekingdom of heaven."

"CallBruno in there" she added.  "Shut the door on himpoorbeast!  He mustn't go with me!"

A few lastwords and tearsa few simple adieus and blessingsandclasping her wondering and affrighted child in her armssheglidednoiselessly away.

 

 

CHAPTER VIDiscovery

 

Mr. andMrs. Shelbyafter their protracted discussion of thenightbeforedid not readily sink to reposeandin consequencesleptsomewhat later than usualthe ensuing morning.

"Iwonder what keeps Eliza" said Mrs. Shelbyafter givingher bellrepeated pullsto no purpose.

Mr. Shelbywas standing before his dressing-glasssharpeninghis razor;and just then the door openedand a colored boy enteredwith hisshaving-water.

"Andy"said his mistress"step to Eliza's doorand tellher I haverung for her three times.  Poor thing!" she addedtoherselfwith a sigh.

Andy soonreturnedwith eyes very wide in astonishment.

"LorMissis!  Lizy's drawers is all openand her things alllyingevery which way; and I believe she's just done clared out!"

The truthflashed upon Mr. Shelby and his wife at the same moment.Heexclaimed

"Thenshe suspected itand she's off!"

"TheLord be thanked!" said Mrs. Shelby.  "I trust she is."

"Wifeyou talk like a fool!  Reallyit will be somethingprettyawkward for meif she is.  Haley saw that I hesitated aboutsellingthis childand he'll think I connived at itto get him outof theway.  It touches my honor!"  And Mr. Shelby left theroom hastily.

There wasgreat running and ejaculatingand opening andshuttingof doorsand appearance of faces in all shades of colorindifferent placesfor about a quarter of an hour.  One persononlywhomight have shed some light on the matterwas entirelysilentand that was the head cookAunt Chloe.  Silentlyand witha heavycloud settled down over her once joyous faceshe proceededmaking outher breakfast biscuitsas if she heard and saw nothingof theexcitement around her.

Very soonabout a dozen young imps were roostinglike somanycrowson the verandah railingseach one determined to bethe firstone to apprize the strange Mas'r of his ill luck.

"He'llbe rael madI'll be bound" said Andy.

"_Won't_he swar!" said little black Jake.

"Yesfor he _does_ swar" said woolly-headed Mandy.  "Ihearnhimyesterdayat dinner.  I hearn all about it then'causeI got intothe closet where Missis keeps the great jugsand Ihearnevery word."  And Mandywho had never in her life thoughtofthemeaning of a word she had heardmore than a black catnowtook airsof superior wisdomand strutted aboutforgetting tostatethatthough actually coiled up among the jugs at the timespecifiedshe had been fast asleep all the time.

WhenatlastHaley appearedbooted and spurredhe wassalutedwith the bad tidings on every hand.  The young imps on theverandahwere not disappointed in their hope of hearing him "swar"which hedid with a fluency and fervency which delighted them allamazinglyas they ducked and dodged hither and thitherto be outof thereach of his riding-whip; andall whooping off togethertheytumbledin a pile of immeasurable giggleon the witheredturf underthe verandahwhere they kicked up their heels and shoutedto theirfull satisfaction.

"If Ihad the little devils!" muttered Haleybetween his teeth.

"Butyou ha'nt got 'emthough!" said Andywith a triumphantflourishand making a string of indescribable mouths at theunfortunatetrader's backwhen he was fairly beyond hearing.

"Isay nowShelbythis yer 's a most extro'rnary business!"saidHaleyas he abruptly entered the parlor.  "It seems thatgal's offwith her young un."

"Mr.HaleyMrs. Shelby is present" said Mr. Shelby.

"Ibeg pardonma'am" said Haleybowing slightlywitha stilllowering brow; "but still I sayas I said beforethisyer's asing'lar report.  Is it truesir?"

"Sir"said Mr. Shelby"if you wish to communicate withmeyoumust observe something of the decorum of a gentleman.AndytakeMr. Haley's hat and riding-whip.  Take a seatsir.Yessir;I regret to say that the young womanexcited by overhearingor havingreported to hersomething of this businesshas takenher childin the nightand made off."

"Idid expect fair dealing in this matterI confess" said Haley.

"Wellsir" said Mr. Shelbyturning sharply round upon him"whatam I to understand by that remark?  If any man calls myhonor inquestionI have but one answer for him."

The tradercowered at thisand in a somewhat lower tonesaid that"it was plaguy hard on a fellowthat had made a fairbargainto be gulled that way."

"Mr.Haley" said Mr. Shelby"if I did not think you hadsome causefor disappointmentI should not have borne from youthe rudeand unceremonious style of your entrance into my parlorthismorning.  I say thus muchhoweversince appearances callfor itthat I shall allow of no insinuations cast upon meas ifI were atall partner to any unfairness in this matter.  MoreoverI shallfeel bound to give you every assistancein the use ofhorsesservants&c.in the recovery of your property.  SoinshortHaley" said hesuddenly dropping from the tone of dignifiedcoolnessto his ordinary one of easy frankness"the best way foryou is tokeep good-natured and eat some breakfastand we willthen seewhat is to be done."

Mrs.Shelby now roseand said her engagements would preventher beingat the breakfast-table that morning; anddeputing a veryrespectablemulatto woman to attend to the gentlemen's coffee attheside-boardshe left the room.

"Oldlady don't like your humble servantover and above"saidHaleywith an uneasy effort to be very familiar.

"I amnot accustomed to hear my wife spoken of with suchfreedom"said Mr. Shelbydryly.

"Begpardon; of courseonly a jokeyou know" said Haleyforcing alaugh.

"Somejokes are less agreeable than others" rejoined Shelby.

"Devilishfreenow I've signed those paperscuss him!"mutteredHaley to himself; "quite grandsince yesterday!"

Never didfall of any prime minister at court occasion widersurges ofsensation than the report of Tom's fate among hiscompeerson the place.  It was the topic in every moutheverywhere;andnothing was done in the house or in the fieldbut to discussitsprobable results.  Eliza's flight--an unprecedented event ontheplace--was also a great accessory in stimulating the generalexcitement.

Black Samas he was commonly calledfrom his being aboutthreeshades blacker than any other son of ebony on the placewasrevolvingthe matter profoundly in all its phases and bearingswith acomprehensiveness of vision and a strict lookout to his ownpersonalwell-beingthat would have done credit to any whitepatriot inWashington.

"It'san ill wind dat blow nowhar--dat ar a fact" said Samsententiouslygiving an additional hoist to his pantaloonsandadroitly substituting a long nail in place of a missingsuspender-buttonwith which effort of mechanical genius he seemedhighlydelighted.

"Yesit's an ill wind blows nowhar" he repeated.  "NowdarTom'sdown--walcourse der's room for some nigger to beup--andwhy not dis nigger?--dat's de idee.  Toma ridin' rounddecountry--boots blacked--pass in his pocket--all grand asCuffee--butwho he?  Nowwhy shouldn't Sam?--dat's what I wantto know."

"HallooSam--O Sam! Mas'r wants you to cotch Bill andJerry"said Andycutting short Sam's soliloquy.

"High!what's afoot nowyoung un?"

"Whyyou don't knowI s'posethat Lizy's cut stickandclaredoutwith her young un?"

"Youteach your granny!" said Samwith infinite contempt;"knowedit a heap sight sooner than you did; this nigger an't sogreennow!"

WellanyhowMas'r wants Bill and Jerry geared right up;and youand I 's to go with Mas'r Haleyto look arter her."

"Goodnow! dat's de time o' day!" said Sam.  "It's Samdat'scalled for in dese yer times.  He's de nigger.  See if Idon'tcotch hernow; Mas'r'll see what Sam can do!"

"Ah!butSam" said Andy"you'd better think twice; forMissisdon't want her cotchedand she'll be in yer wool."

"High!"said Samopening his eyes.  "How you know dat?"

"Heardher say somy own selfdis blessed mornin'whenI bring inMas'r's shaving-water.  She sent me to see why Lizydidn'tcome to dress her; and when I telled her she was offshe jestris upand ses she`The Lord be praised;' and Mas'rhe seemedrael madand ses he`Wifeyou talk like a fool.'But Lor!she'll bring him to!  I knows well enough how that'llbe--it'sallers best to stand Missis' side the fencenowI tellyer."

Black Samupon thisscratched his woolly patewhichifit did notcontain very profound wisdomstill contained a greatdeal of aparticular species much in demand among politicians ofallcomplexions and countriesand vulgarly denominated "knowingwhich sidethe bread is buttered;" sostopping with graveconsiderationhe again gave a hitch to his pantaloonswhich washisregularly organized method of assisting his mental perplexities.

"Deran't no saying'--never--'bout no kind o' thing in _dis_yerworld" he saidat last.  Sam spoke like a philosopheremphasizing_this_--as if he had had a large experience in differentsorts ofworldsand therefore had come to his conclusions advisedly.

"Nowsartin I'd a said that Missis would a scoured thevarsalworld after Lizy" added Samthoughtfully.

"Soshe would" said Andy; "but can't ye see through a ladderye blacknigger? Missis don't want dis yer Mas'r Haley to getLizy'sboy; dat's de go!"

"High!"said Samwith an indescribable intonationknownonly tothose who have heard it among the negroes.

"AndI'll tell yer more 'n all" said Andy; "I specs you'dbetter bemaking tracks for dem hosses--mighty suddentoo---forI hearnMissis 'quirin' arter yer--so you've stood foolin' longenough."

Samuponthisbegan to bestir himself in real earnestand aftera while appearedbearing down gloriously towards thehousewith Bill and Jerry in a full canterand adroitly throwinghimselfoff before they had any idea of stoppinghe brought themupalongside of the horse-post like a tornado.  Haley's horsewhich wasa skittish young coltwincedand bouncedandpulledhard at his halter.

"Hoho!" said Sam"skeeryar ye?" and his black visagelighted upwith a curiousmischievous gleam.  "I'll fix ye now!"said he.

There wasa large beech-tree overshadowing the placeandthe smallsharptriangular beech-nuts lay scattered thickly ontheground.  With one of these in his fingersSam approached thecoltstroked and pattedand seemed apparently busy in soothinghisagitation.  On pretence of adjusting the saddlehe adroitlyslippedunder it the sharp little nutin such a manner that theleastweight brought upon the saddle would annoy the nervoussensibilitiesof the animalwithout leaving any perceptible grazeor wound.

"Dar!"he saidrolling his eyes with an approving grin;"mefix 'em!"

At thismoment Mrs. Shelby appeared on the balconybeckoningto him. Sam approached with as good a determination to pay courtas didever suitor after a vacant place at St. James' or Washington.

"Whyhave you been loitering soSam?  I sent Andy to tellyou tohurry."

"Lordbless youMissis!" said Sam"horses won't be cotchedall in amimit; they'd done clared out way down to the south pastureand theLord knows whar!"

"Samhow often must I tell you not to say `Lord bless youand theLord knows' and such things?  It's wicked."

"OLord bless my soul!  I done forgotMissis!  I won't saynothing ofde sort no more."

"WhySamyou just _have_ said it again."

"DidI?  OLord!  I mean--I didn't go fur to say it."

"Youmust be _careful_Sam."

"Justlet me get my breathMissisand I'll start  fair.I'll bebery careful."

"WellSamyou are to go with Mr. Haleyto show him theroadandhelp him.  Be careful of the horsesSam; you knowJerry wasa little lame last week; _don't ride them too fast_."

Mrs.Shelby spoke the last words with a low voiceandstrongemphasis.

"Letdis child alone for dat!" said Samrolling up his eyeswith avolume of meaning.  "Lord knows! High!  Didn't saydat!"said hesuddenly catching his breathwith a ludicrousflourishof apprehensionwhich made his mistress laughspiteofherself.  "YesMissisI'll look out for de hosses!"

"NowAndy" said Samreturning to his stand under thebeech-trees"you see I wouldn't be 't all surprised if dat argen'lman'scrittur should gib a flingby and bywhen he comes tobe agettin' up.  You knowAndycritturs _will_ do such things;"andtherewith Sam poked Andy in the sidein a highly suggestive manner.

"High!"said Andywith an air of instant appreciation.

"Yesyou seeAndyMissis wants to make time--dat ar'sclar toder most or'nary 'bserver.  I jis make a little for her.Nowyouseeget all dese yer hosses loosecaperin' permiscusround disyer lot and down to de wood darand I spec Mas'r won'tbe off ina hurry."

Andygrinned.

"Yersee" said Sam"yer seeAndyif any such thing shouldhappen asthat Mas'r Haley's horse _should_ begin to actcontraryand cut upyou and I jist lets go of our'n to help himand _we'llhelp him_--oh yes!"  And Sam and Andy laid their headsback ontheir shouldersand broke into a lowimmoderate laughsnappingtheir fingers and flourishing their heels with exquisitedelight.

At thisinstantHaley appeared on the verandah.  Somewhatmollifiedby certain cups of very good coffeehe came out smilingandtalkingin tolerably restored humor.  Sam and Andyclawingforcertain fragmentary palm-leaveswhich they were in the habitofconsidering as hatsflew to the horsepoststo be ready to"helpMas'r."

Sam'spalm-leaf had been ingeniously disentangled from allpretensionsto braidas respects its brim; and the slivers startingapartandstanding uprightgave it a blazing air of freedom anddefiancequite equal to that of any Fejee chief; while the wholebrim ofAndy's being departed bodilyhe rapped the crown on hishead witha dexterous thumpand looked about well pleasedas ifto say"Who says I haven't got a hat?"

"Wellboys" said Haley"look alive now; we must lose no time."

"Nota bit of himMas'r!" said Samputting Haley's reinin hishandand holding his stirrupwhile Andy was untying theother twohorses.

Theinstant Haley touched the saddlethe mettlesome creatureboundedfrom the earth with a sudden springthat threw his mastersprawlingsome feet offon the softdry turf.  Samwith franticejaculationsmade a dive at the reinsbut only succeeded inbrushingthe blazing palm-leaf afore-named into the horse's eyeswhich byno means tended to allay the confusion of his nerves.Sowithgreat vehemencehe overturned Samandgiving two orthreecontemptuous snortsflourished his heels vigorously in theairandwas soon prancing away towards the lower end of the lawnfollowedby Bill and Jerrywhom Andy had not failed to let looseaccordingto contractspeeding them off with various direfulejaculations. And now ensued a miscellaneous scene of confusion.Sam andAndy ran and shouted--dogs barked here and there--andMikeMoseMandyFannyand all the smaller specimens on theplaceboth male and femaleracedclapped handswhoopedandshoutedwith outrageous officiousness and untiring zeal.

Haley'shorsewhich was a white oneand very fleet and spiritedappearedto enter into the spirit of the scene with great gusto;and havingfor his coursing ground a lawn of nearly half a milein extentgently sloping down on every side into indefinite woodlandheappeared to take infinite delight in seeing how near he could allowhispursuers to approach himand thenwhen within a hand's breadthwhisk offwith a start and a snortlike a mischievous beast as he wasand careerfar down into some alley of the wood-lot.  Nothing wasfurtherfrom Sam's mind than to have any one of the troop taken untilsuchseason as should seem to him most befitting--and the exertionsthat hemade were certainly most heroic.  Like the sword of CoeurDe Lionwhich always blazed in the front and thickest of the battleSam'spalm-leaf was to be seen everywhere when there was the leastdangerthat a horse could be caught; there he would bear down fulltiltshouting"Now for it! cotch him! cotch him!" in a way thatwould seteverything to indiscriminate rout in a moment.

Haley ranup and downand cursed and swore and stampedmiscellaneously. Mr. Shelby in vain tried to shout directions fromthebalconyand Mrs. Shelby from her chamber window alternatelylaughedand wondered--not without some inkling of what lay at thebottom ofall this confusion.

At lastabout twelve o'clockSam appeared triumphantmounted onJerrywith Haley's horse by his sidereeking withsweatbutwith flashing eyes and dilated nostrilsshowing thatthe spiritof freedom had not yet entirely subsided.

"He'scotched!" he exclaimedtriumphantly.  "If 't hadn'tbeen formetheymight a bust themselvesall on 'em; but I cotched him!"

"You!"growled Haleyin no amiable mood.  "If it hadn'tbeen foryouthis never would have happened."

"Lordbless usMas'r" said Samin a tone of the deepestconcern"and me that has been racin' and chasin' till the sweatjest poursoff me!"

"Wellwell!" said Haley"you've lost me near three hourswith yourcursed nonsense.  Now let's be offand have nomorefooling."

"WhyMas'r" said Samin a deprecating tone"I believeyou meanto kill us all clarhorses and all.  Here we are all justready todrop downand the critters all in a reek of sweat.  WhyMas'rwon't think of startin' on now till arter dinner.  Mas'rs'hoss wantsrubben down; see how he splashed hisself; and Jerrylimps too;don't think Missis would be willin' to have us startdis yerwayno how.  Lord bless youMas'rwe can ketch upifwe dostop.  Lizy never was no great of a walker."

Mrs.Shelbywhogreatly to her amusementhad overheardthisconversation from the verandahnow resolved to do her part.She cameforwardandcourteously expressing her concern forHaley'saccidentpressed him to stay to dinnersaying that thecookshould bring it on the table immediately.

Thusallthings consideredHaleywith rather an equivocalgraceproceeded to the parlorwhile Samrolling his eyes afterhim withunutterable meaningproceeded gravely with the horses tothestable-yard.

"Didyer see himAndy? _did_ yer see him? and Samwhenhe had gotfairly beyond the shelter of the barnand fastened thehorse to apost.  "OLorif it warn't as good as a meetin'nowto see hima dancin' and kickin' and swarin' at us.  Didn't I hearhim? Swar awayole fellow (says I to myself ); will yer have yerhoss nowor wait till you cotch him? (says I).  LorAndyI thinkI can seehim now."  And Sam and Andy leaned up against the barnandlaughed to their hearts' content.

"Yeroughter seen how mad he lookedwhen I brought thehoss up. Lordhe'd a killed meif he durs' to; and there I wasa standin'as innercent and as humble."

"LorI seed you" said Andy; "an't you an old hossSam?"

"Ratherspecks I am" said Sam; "did yer see Missis upstars atthe winder? I seed her laughin'."

"I'msureI was racin' soI didn't see nothing" said Andy.

"Wellyer see" said Samproceeding gravely to wash downHaley'spony"I 'se 'quired what yer may call a habit _o'bobservation_Andy.  It's a very 'portant habitAndy; and I'commendyer to be cultivatin' itnow yer young.  Hist up thathind footAndy.  Yer seeAndyit's _bobservation_ makes all dedifferencein niggers.  Didn't I see which way the wind blew disyermornin'?  Didn't I see what Missis wantedthough she neverlet on? Dat ar's bobservationAndy.  I 'spects it's what you maycall afaculty.  Faculties is different in different peoplesbutcultivationof 'em goes a great way."

"Iguess if I hadn't helped your bobservation dis mornin'yerwouldn't have seen your way so smart" said Andy.

"Andy"said Sam"you's a promisin' childder an't no mannero' doubt. I thinks lots of yerAndy; and I don't feel no waysashamed totake idees from you.  We oughtenter overlook nobodyAndycause the smartest on us gets tripped up sometimes.  And soAndylet's go up to the house now.  I'll be boun' Missis'll giveus anuncommon good bitedis yer time."

 

 

CHAPTERVIITheMother's Struggle

 

It isimpossible to conceive of a human creature more whollydesolateand forlorn than Elizawhen she turned her footstepsfrom UncleTom's cabin.

Herhusband's suffering and dangersand the danger of herchildallblended in her mindwith a confused and stunning senseof therisk she was runningin leaving the only home she had everknownandcutting loose from the protection of a friend whom sheloved andrevered.  Then there was the parting from every familiarobject--theplace where she had grown upthe trees under whichshe hadplayedthe groves where she had walked many an evening inhappierdaysby the side of her young husband--everythingas itlay in theclearfrosty starlightseemed to speak reproachfullyto herand ask her whither could she go from a home like that?

Butstronger than all was maternal lovewrought into a paroxysmof frenzyby the near approach of a fearful danger.  Her boy wasold enoughto have walked by her sideandin an indifferentcaseshewould only have led him by the hand; but now the barethought ofputting him out of her arms made her shudderand shestrainedhim to her bosom with a convulsive graspas she wentrapidlyforward.

The frostyground creaked beneath her feetand she trembledat thesound; every quaking leaf and fluttering shadow sent thebloodbackward to her heartand quickened her footsteps.Shewondered within herself at the strength that seemed to become uponher; for she felt the weight of her boy as if it hadbeen afeatherand every flutter of fear seemed to increase thesupernaturalpower that bore her onwhile from her pale lipsburstforthin frequent ejaculationsthe prayer to a Friendabove--"Lordhelp!  Lordsave me!"

If it were_your_ Harrymotheror your Williethat were goingto be tornfrom you by a brutal tradertomorrow morning--ifyou hadseen the manand heard that the papers were signed anddeliveredand you had only from twelve o'clock till morning tomake goodyour escape--how fast could _you_ walk?  How many milescould youmake in those few brief hourswith the darling at yourbosom--thelittle sleepy head on your shoulder--the smallsoftarmstrustingly holding on to your neck?

For thechild slept.  At firstthe novelty and alarm kepthimwaking; but his mother so hurriedly repressed every breath orsoundandso assured him that if he were only still she wouldcertainlysave himthat he clung quietly round her neckonlyaskingashe found himself sinking to sleep

"MotherI don't need to keep awakedo I?"

"Nomy darling; sleepif you want to."

"Butmotherif I do get asleepyou won't let him get me?"

"No!so may God help me!" said his motherwith a palercheekanda brighter light in her large dark eyes.

"You're_sure_an't youmother?"

"Yes_sure_!" said the motherin a voice that startledherself;for it seemed to her to come from a spirit withinthatwas nopart of her; and the boy dropped his litle weary head onhershoulderand was soon asleep.  How the touch of those warmarmsthegentle breathings that came in her neckseemed to addfire andspirit to her movements!  It seemed to her as if strengthpouredinto her in electric streamsfrom every gentle touch andmovementof the sleepingconfiding child.  Sublime is the dominionof themind over the bodythatfor a timecan make flesh andnerveimpregnableand string the sinews like steelso that theweakbecome so mighty.

Theboundaries of the farmthe grovethe wood-lotpassedby herdizzilyas she walked on; and still she wentleaving onefamiliarobject after anotherslacking notpausing nottillreddeningdaylight found her many a long mile from all traces ofanyfamiliar objects upon the open highway.

She hadoften beenwith her mistressto visit some connectionsin thelittle village of T----not far from the Ohio riverand knewthe road well.  To go thitherto escape across theOhioriverwere the first hurried outlines of her plan ofescape;beyond thatshe could only hope in God.

Whenhorses and vehicles began to move along the highwaywith thatalert perception peculiar to a state of excitementandwhichseems to be a sort of inspirationshe became aware that herheadlongpace and distracted air might bring on her remark andsuspicion. She therefore put the boy on the groundandadjustingher dressand bonnetshe walked on at as rapid a pace as shethoughtconsistent with the preservation of appearances.  In herlittlebundle she had provided a store of cakes and appleswhichshe usedas expedients for quickening the speed of the childrollingthe apple some yards before themwhen the boy would runwith allhis might after it; and this ruseoften repeatedcarriedthem overmany a half-mile.

After awhilethey came to a thick patch of woodlandthroughwhich murmured a clear brook.  As the child complained ofhunger andthirstshe climbed over the fence with him; andsittingdownbehind a large rock which concealed them from the roadshegave him abreakfast out of her little package.  The boywonderedand grieved that she could not eat; and whenputting hisarms roundher neckhe tried to wedge some of his cake into hermouthitseemed to her that the rising in her throat would choke her.

"NonoHarry darling! mother can't eat till you are safe!We must goon--on--till we come to the river!"  And she hurriedagain intothe roadand again constrained herself to walk regularlyandcomposedly forward.

She wasmany miles past any neighborhood where she waspersonallyknown.  If she should chance to meet any who knew hershereflected that the well-known kindness of the family would beof itselfa blind to suspicionas making it an unlikely suppositionthat shecould be a fugitive.  As she was also so white as not tobe knownas of colored lineagewithout a critical surveyand herchild waswhite alsoit was much easier for her to pass onunsuspected.

On thispresumptionshe stopped at noon at a neat farmhouseto restherselfand buy some dinner for her child and self; foras thedanger decreased with the distancethe supernatural tensionof thenervous system lessenedand she found herself both wearyandhungry.

The goodwomankindly and gossippingseemed rather pleasedthanotherwise with having somebody come in to talk with; andacceptedwithout examinationEliza's statementthat she "wasgoing on alittle pieceto spend a week with her friends"--allwhich shehoped in her heart might prove strictly true.

An hourbefore sunsetshe entered the village of T----by theOhio riverweary and foot-sorebut still strong in heart.Her firstglance was at the riverwhich laylike Jordanbetweenher andthe Canaan of liberty on the other side.

It was nowearly springand the river was swollen andturbulent;great cakes of floating ice were swinging heavily toand fro inthe turbid waters.  Owing to the peculiar form ofthe shoreon the Kentucky sidethe land bending far out intothe waterthe ice had been lodged and detained in greatquantitiesand the narrow channel which swept round the bendwas fullof icepiled one cake over anotherthus forming atemporarybarrier to the descending icewhich lodgedand formeda greatundulating raftfilling up the whole riverand extendingalmost tothe Kentucky shore.

Elizastoodfor a momentcontemplating this unfavorableaspect ofthingswhich she saw at once must prevent the usualferry-boatfrom runningand then turned into a small publichouse onthe bankto make a few inquiries.

Thehostesswho was busy in various fizzing and stewingoperationsover the firepreparatory to the evening mealstoppedwith afork in her handas Eliza's sweet and plaintive voicearrestedher.

"Whatis it?" she said.

"Isn'tthere any ferry or boatthat takes people over toB----now?" she said.

"Noindeed!" said the woman; "the boats has stopped running."

Eliza'slook of dismay and disappointment struck the womanand shesaidinquiringly

"Maybe you're wanting to get over?--anybody sick?  Ye seemmightyanxious?"

"I'vegot a child that's very dangerous" said Eliza.  "Ineverheard ofit till last nightand I've walked quite a piece todayin hopesto get to the ferry."

"Wellnowthat's onlucky" said the womanwhose motherlysympathieswere much aroused; I'm re'lly consarned for ye.Solomon!"she calledfrom the windowtowards a small back building.A maninleather apron and very dirty handsappeared at the door.

"IsaySol" said the woman"is that ar man going to totethembar'ls over tonight?"

"Hesaid he should tryif 't was any way prudent" saidthe man.

"There'sa man a piece down herethat's going over with sometruck thiseveningif he durs' to; he'll be in here to suppertonightso you'd better set down and wait.  That's a sweet littlefellow"added the womanoffering him a cake.

But thechildwholly exhaustedcried with weariness.

"Poorfellow! he isn't used to walkingand I've hurriedhim onso" said Eliza.

"Welltake him into this room" said the womanopeninginto asmall bed-roomwhere stood a comfortable bed.  Eliza laidthe wearyboy upon itand held his hands in hers till he was fastasleep. For her there was no rest.  As a fire in her bonesthethought ofthe pursuer urged her on; and she gazed with longingeyes onthe sullensurging waters that lay between her and liberty.

Here wemust take our leave of her for the presenttofollow thecourse of her pursuers.

 

ThoughMrs. Shelby had promised that the dinner should be hurriedon tableyet it was soon seenas the thing has often beenseenbeforethat it required more than one to make a bargain.Soalthough the order was fairly given out in Haley's hearingandcarried to Aunt Chloe by at least half a dozen juvenilemessengersthat dignitary only gave certain very gruff snortsand tossesof her headand went on with every operation in anunusuallyleisurely and circumstantial manner.

For somesingular reasonan impression seemed to reign amongtheservants generally that Missis would not be particularlydisobligedby delay; and it was wonderful what a number of counteraccidentsoccurred constantlyto retard the course of things.Oneluckless wight contrived to upset the gravy; and then gravyhad to begot up _de novo_with due care and formalityAunt Chloewatchingand stirring with dogged precisionanswering shortlytoallsuggestions of hastethat she "warn't a going to have rawgravy onthe tableto help nobody's catchings."  One tumbleddown withthe waterand had to go to the spring for more; andanotherprecipitated the butter into the path of events; andthere wasfrom time to time giggling news brought into the kitchenthat"Mas'r Haley was mighty oneasyand that he couldn't sit inhis cheerno waysbut was a walkin' and stalkin' to the windersandthrough the porch."

"Sarveshim right!" said Aunt Chloeindignantly.  He'll getwus noroneasyone of these daysif he don't mend his ways._His_master'll be sending for himand then see how he'll look!"

"He'llgo to tormentand no mistake" said little Jake.

"Hedesarves it!" said Aunt Chloegrimly; "he's broke a manymanymanyhearts--I tell ye all!" she saidstoppingwitha forkuplifted in her hands; "it's like what Mas'r George readsinRavelations--souls a callin' under the altar! and a callin' onthe Lordfor vengeance on sich!--and by and by the Lord he'll hear'em--so hewill!"

AuntChloewho was much revered in the kitchenwas listenedto withopen mouth; andthe dinner being now fairly sent inthewholekitchen was at leisure to gossip with herand to listen toherremarks.

"Sich'llbe burnt up foreverand no mistake; won't ther?"said Andy.

"I'dbe glad to see itI'll be boun'" said little Jake.

"Chil'en!"said a voicethat made them all start.  It wasUncle Tomwho had come inand stood listening to the conversationat thedoor.

"Chil'en!"he said"I'm afeard you don't know what ye're sayin'.Forever isa _dre'ful_ wordchil'en; it's awful to think on 't.Yououghtenter wish that ar to any human crittur."

"Wewouldn't to anybody but the soul-drivers" said Andy;"nobodycan help wishing it to themthey 's so awful wicked."

"Don'tnatur herself kinder cry out on 'em?" said Aunt Chloe."Don'tdey tear der suckin' baby right off his mother's breastand sellhimand der little children as is crying andholding onby her clothes--don't dey pull 'em off and sells 'em?Don't deytear wife and husband apart?" said Aunt Chloebeginningto cry"when it's jest takin' the very life on 'em?--and all thewhile doesthey feel one bitdon't dey drink and smokeand takeitoncommon easy?  Lorif the devil don't get themwhat's hegoodfor?"  And Aunt Chloe covered her face with her checkedapronand beganto sob in good earnest.

"Prayfor them that 'spitefully use youthe good booksays"says Tom.

"Prayfor 'em!" said Aunt Chloe; "Lorit's too tough!I can'tpray for 'em."

"It'snaturChloeand natur 's strong" said Tom"but theLord'sgrace is stronger; besidesyou oughter think what an awfulstate apoor crittur's soul 's in that'll do them ar things--yououghterthank God that you an't _like_ himChloe.  I'm sure I'drather besoldten thousand times overthan to have all that arpoorcrittur's got to answer for."

"So'd Ia heap" said Jake.  "Lor_shouldn't_ we cotchitAndy?"

Andyshrugged his shouldersand gave an acquiescent whistle.

"I'mglad Mas'r didn't go off this morningas he looked to"said Tom;"that ar hurt me more than sellin'it did.  Mebbe itmight havebeen natural for himbut 't would have come desp'thard onmeas has known him from a baby; but I've seen Mas'rand Ibegin ter feel sort o' reconciled to the Lord's will now.Mas'rcouldn't help hisself; he did rightbut I'm feared thingswill bekinder goin' to rackwhen I'm gone Mas'r can't be spectedto be apryin' round everywharas I've donea keepin' up allthe ends. The boys all means wellbut they 's powerful car'less.That artroubles me."

The bellhere rangand Tom was summoned to the parlor.

"Tom"said his masterkindly"I want you to notice thatI givethis gentleman bonds to forfeit a thousand dollars if youare not onthe spot when he wants you; he's going today to lookafter hisother businessand you can have the day to yourself.Goanywhere you likeboy."

"ThankyouMas'r" said Tom.

"Andmind yourself" said the trader"and don't come it overyourmaster with any o' yer nigger tricks; for I'll take everycent outof himif you an't thar.  If he'd hear to mehe wouldn'ttrust anyon ye--slippery as eels!"

"Mas'r"said Tom--and he stood very straight--"I was jisteightyears old when ole Missis put you into my armsand youwasn't ayear old.  `Thar' says she`Tomthat's to be _your_youngMas'r; take good care on him' says she.  And now I jist askyouMas'rhave I ever broke word to youor gone contrary to you'speciallysince I was a Christian?"

Mr. Shelbywas fairly overcomeand the tears rose to his eyes.

"Mygood boy" said he"the Lord knows you say but the truth;and if Iwas able to help itall the world shouldn't buy you."

"Andsure as I am a Christian woman" said Mrs. Shelby"youshall be redeemed as soon as I can any bring together means.Sir"she said to Haley"take good account of who you sell himtoandlet me know."

"Loryesfor that matter" said the trader"I may bringhim up ina yearnot much the wuss for wearand trade him back."

"I'lltrade with you thenand make it for your advantage"said Mrs.Shelby.

"Ofcourse" said the trader"all 's equal with me; li'vestrade 'emup as downso I does a good business.  All I want is alivin'you knowma'am; that's all any on us wantsIs'pose."

Mr. andMrs. Shelby both felt annoyed and degraded by thefamiliarimpudence of the traderand yet both saw the absolutenecessityof putting a constraint on their feelings.  The morehopelesslysordid and insensible he appearedthe greater becameMrs.Shelby's dread of his succeeding in recapturing Eliza andher childand of course the greater her motive for detaining himby everyfemale artifice.  She therefore graciously smiledassentedchattedfamiliarlyand did all she could to make time passimperceptibly.

At twoo'clock Sam and Andy brought the horses up to the postsapparentlygreatly refreshed and invigorated by the scamperof themorning.

Sam wasthere new oiled from dinnerwith an abundance ofzealousand ready officiousness.  As Haley approachedhe wasboastingin flourishing styleto Andyof the evident and eminentsuccess ofthe operationnow that he had "farly come to it."

"YourmasterI s'posedon't keep no dogs" said Haleythoughtfullyas he prepared to mount.

"Heapson 'em" said Samtriumphantly; "thar's Bruno--he'sa roarer!andbesides that'bout every nigger of us keeps a pupof somenatur or uther."

"Poh!"said Haley--and he said something elsetoowithregard tothe said dogsat which Sam muttered

"Idon't see no use cussin' on 'emno way."

"Butyour master don't keep no dogs (I pretty much know hedon't) fortrackin' out niggers."

Sam knewexactly what he meantbut he kept on a look ofearnestand desperate simplicity.

"Ourdogs all smells round considable sharp.  I spect they'sthe kindthough they han't never had no practice.  They 's _far_dogsthoughat most anythingif you'd get 'em started.HereBruno" he calledwhistling to the lumbering Newfoundlandwho camepitching tumultuously toward them.

"Yougo hang!" said Haleygetting up.  "Cometumble upnow."

Samtumbled up accordinglydexterously contriving to tickleAndy as hedid sowhich occasioned Andy to split out into a laughgreatly toHaley's indignationwho made a cut at him with hisriding-whip.

"I 's'stonished at yerAndy" said Samwith awful gravity."Thisyer's a seris bisnessAndy.  Yer mustn't be a makin' game.This yeran't no way to help Mas'r."

"Ishall take the straight road to the river" said Haleydecidedlyafter they had come to the boundaries of the estate."Iknow the way of all of 'em--they makes tracks for the underground."

"Sartin"said Sam"dat's de idee.  Mas'r Haley hits de thingright inde middle.  Nowder's two roads to de river--dedirt roadand der pike--which Mas'r mean to take?"

Andylooked up innocently at Samsurprised at hearing thisnewgeographical factbut instantly confirmed what he saidby avehementreiteration.

"Cause"said Sam"I'd rather be 'clined to 'magine thatLizy 'dtake de dirt roadbein' it's the least travelled."

Haleynotwithstanding that he was a very old birdandnaturallyinclined to be suspicious of chaffwas rather broughtup by thisview of the case.

"Ifyer warn't both on yer such cussed liarsnow!" hesaidcontemplatively as he pondered a moment.

Thepensivereflective tone in which this was spokenappearedto amuse Andy prodigiouslyand he drew a little behindand shookso as apparently to run a great risk of failing off hishorsewhile Sam's face was immovably composed into the mostdolefulgravity.

"Course"said Sam"Mas'r can do as he'd ruthergo de straightroadifMas'r thinks best--it's all one to us.  Nowwhen Istudy 'ponitI think de straight road de best_deridedly_."

"Shewould naturally go a lonesome way" said Haleythinkingaloudandnot minding Sam's remark.

"Daran't no sayin'" said Sam; "gals is pecular; they neverdoesnothin' ye thinks they will; mose gen'lly the contrary.Gals isnat'lly made contrary; and soif you thinks they've goneone roadit is sartin you'd better go t' otherand then you'llbe sure tofind 'em.  Nowmy private 'pinion isLizy took derroad; so Ithink we'd better take de straight one."

Thisprofound generic view of the female sex did not seem todisposeHaley particularly to the straight roadand he announceddecidedlythat he should go the otherand asked Sam when theyshouldcome to it.

"Alittle piece ahead" said Samgiving a wink to Andy withthe eyewhich was on Andy's side of the head; and he addedgravely"but I've studded on de matterand I'm quite clar weought notto go dat ar way.  I nebber been over it no way.It'sdespit lonesomeand we might lose our way--whar we'd cometodeLord only knows."

"Nevertheless"said Haley"I shall go that way."

"NowI think on 'tI think I hearn 'em tell that dat ar roadwas allfenced up and down by der creekand tharan't itAndy?"

Andywasn't certain; he'd only "hearn tell" about that roadbut neverbeen over it.  In shorthe was strictly noncommittal.

Haleyaccustomed to strike the balance of probabilitiesbetweenlies of greater or lesser magnitudethought that it layin favorof the dirt road aforesaid.  The mention of the thing hethought heperceived was involuntary on Sam's part at firstandhisconfused attempts to dissuade him he set down to a desperatelying onsecond thoughtsas being unwilling to implicate Liza.

WhenthereforeSam indicated the roadHaley plungedbrisklyinto itfollowed by Sam and Andy.

Nowtheroadin factwas an old onethat had formerlybeen athoroughfare to the riverbut abandoned for many yearsafter thelaying of the new pike.  It was open for about an hour'srideandafter that it was cut across by various farms and fences.Sam knewthis fact perfectly well--indeedthe road had been solongclosed upthat Andy had never heard of it.  He therefore rodealong withan air of dutiful submissiononly groaning and vociferatingoccasionallythat 't was "desp't roughand bad for Jerry's foot."

"NowI jest give yer warning" said Haley"I know yer; yerwon't getme to turn off this roadwith all yer fussin'--soyou shetup!"

"Mas'rwill go his own way!" said Samwith rueful submissionat thesame time winking most Portentously to Andywhose delightwas nowvery near the explosive point.

Sam was inwonderful spirits--professed to keep a very brisklookout--atone time exclaiming that he saw "a gal's bonnet"on the topof some distant eminenceor calling to Andy "if thattharwasn't `Lizy' down in the hollow;" always making theseexclamationsin some rough or craggy part of the roadwhere thesuddenquickening of speed was a special inconvenience to allpartiesconcernedand thus keeping Haley in a state of constantcommotion.

Afterriding about an hour in this waythe whole party madeaprecipitate and tumultuous descent into a barn-yard belongingto a largefarming establishment.  Not a soul was in sightallthe handsbeing employed in the fields; butas the barn stoodconspicuouslyand plainly square across the roadit was evidentthat theirjourney in that direction had reached a decided finale.

"Wan'tdat ar what I telled Mas'r?" said Samwith an air ofinjuredinnocence.  "How does strange gentleman spect to knowmore abouta country dan de natives born and raised?"

"Yourascal!" said Haley"you knew all about this."

"Didn'tI tell yer I _knowd_and yer wouldn't believe me?I telledMas'r 't was all shet upand fenced upand I didn'tspect wecould get through--Andy heard me."

It was alltoo true to be disputedand the unlucky man had topocket hiswrath with the best grace he was ableand allthreefaced to the right aboutand took up their line of marchfor thehighway.

Inconsequence of all the various delaysit was aboutthree-quartersof an hour after Eliza had laid her child tosleep inthe village tavern that the party came riding into thesameplace.  Eliza was standing by the windowlooking out inanotherdirectionwhen Sam's quick eye caught a glimpse of her.Haley andAndy were two yards behind.  At this crisisSam contrivedto havehis hat blown offand uttered a loud and characteristicejaculationwhich startled her at once; she drew suddenly back;the wholetrain swept by the windowround to the front door.

A thousandlives seemed to be concentrated in that one momentto Eliza. Her room opened by a side door to the river. She caughther childand sprang down the steps towards it.  The tradercaught afull glimpse of her just as she was disappearingdown thebank; and throwing himself from his horseand callingloudly onSam and Andyhe was after her like a hound after a deer.In thatdizzy moment her feet to her scarce seemed to touch thegroundand a moment brought her to the water's edge.  Right onbehindthey came; andnerved with strength such as God gives onlyto thedesperatewith one wild cry and flying leapshe vaultedsheer overthe turbid current by the shoreon to the raft oficebeyond.  It was a desperate leap--impossible to anything butmadnessand despair; and HaleySamand Andyinstinctively criedoutandlifted up their handsas she did it.

The hugegreen fragment of ice on which she alighted pitchedandcreaked as her weight came on itbut she staid there nota moment. With wild cries and desperate energy she leaped toanotherand still another cake; stumbling--leaping--slipping--springingupwards again!  Her shoes are gone--her stockings cutfrom herfeet--while blood marked every step; but she saw nothingfeltnothingtill dimlyas in a dreamshe saw the Ohio sideand a manhelping her up the bank.

"Yera brave galnowwhoever ye ar!" said the manwithan oath.

Elizarecognized the voice and face for a man who owned afarm notfar from her old home.

"OMr. Symmes!--save me--do save me--do hide me!" said Elia.

"Whywhat's this?" said the man.  "Whyif 'tan't Shelby'sgal!"

"Mychild!--this boy!--he'd sold him!  There is his Mas'r"said shepointing to the Kentucky shore.  "OMr. Symmesyou'vegot alittle boy!"

"So Ihave" said the manas he roughlybut kindlydrewher up thesteep bank.  "Besidesyou're a right brave gal.  Ilikegritwherever I see it."

When theyhad gained the top of the bankthe man paused.

"I'dbe glad to do something for ye" said he; "but thenthere'snowhar I could take ye.  The best I can do is to tell yeto go_thar_" said hepointing to a large white house which stoodby itselfoff the main street of the village.  "Go thar; they'rekindfolks.  Thar's no kind o' danger but they'll help you--they'reup to allthat sort o' thing."

"TheLord bless you!" said Elizaearnestly.

"No'casionno 'casion in the world" said the man.  "WhatI'vedone's ofno 'count."

"Andohsurelysiryou won't tell any one!"

"Goto thundergal!  What do you take a feller for?  In coursenot"said the man.  "Comenowgo along like a likelysensiblegalas you are.  You've arnt your libertyand youshall haveitfor all me."

The womanfolded her child to her bosomand walked firmlyandswiftly away.  The man stood and looked after her.

"Shelbynowmebbe won't think this yer the most neighborlything inthe world; but what's a feller to do?  If he catches oneof my galsin the same fixhe's welcome to pay back.  Somehow Inevercould see no kind o' critter a strivin' and pantin'andtrying toclar theirselveswith the dogs arter 'em and go agin 'em.BesidesIdon't see no kind of 'casion for me to be hunter andcatcherfor other folksneither."

So spokethis poorheathenish Kentuckianwho had not beeninstructedin his constitutional relationsand consequently wasbetrayedinto acting in a sort of Christianized mannerwhichifhe hadbeen better situated and more enlightenedhe would not havebeen leftto do.

Haley hadstood a perfectly amazed spectator of the scenetill Elizahad disappeared up the bankwhen he turned a blankinquiringlook on Sam and Andy.

"Thatar was a tolable fair stroke of business" said Sam.

"Thegal 's got seven devils in herI believe!" said Haley."Howlike a wildcat she jumped!"

"Walnow" said Samscratching his head"I hope Mas'r'll'scuse ustrying dat ar road.  Don't think I feel spry enough fordat arnoway!" and Sam gave a hoarse chuckle.

"_You_laugh!" said the traderwith a growl.

"Lordbless youMas'rI couldn't help it now" said Samgiving wayto the long pent-up delight of his soul.  "She lookedso curi'sa leapin' and springin'--ice a crackin'--and only tohearher--plump! ker chunk! ker splash!  Spring!  Lord! how shegoes it!"and Sam and Andy laughed till the tears rolled downtheircheeks.

"I'llmake ye laugh t' other side yer mouths!" said thetraderlaying about their heads with his riding-whip.

Bothduckedand ran shouting up the bankand were ontheirhorses before he was up.

"Good-eveningMas'r!" said Samwith much gravity.  "I berrymuch spectMissis be anxious 'bout Jerry.  Mas'r Haley won'twant us nolonger.  Missis wouldn't hear of our ridin' the crittersoverLizy's bridge tonight;" andwith a facetious poke into Andy'sribshestarted offfollowed by the latterat full speed--theirshouts oflaughter coming faintly on the wind.

 

 CHAPTERVIIIEliza'sEscape

 

Eliza madeher desperate retreat across the river just inthe duskof twilight.  The gray mist of eveningrising slowly fromthe riverenveloped her as she disappeared up the bankand theswollencurrent and floundering masses of ice presented a hopelessbarrierbetween her and her pursuer.  Haley therefore slowly anddiscontentedlyreturned to the little tavernto ponder furtherwhat wasto be done.  The woman opened to him the door of a littleparlorcovered with a rag carpetwhere stood a table with a veryshiningblack oil-clothsundry lankhigh-backed wood chairswithsomeplaster images in resplendent colors on the mantel-shelfabove avery dimly-smoking grate; a long hard-wood settle extendedits uneasylength by the chimneyand here Haley sat him down tomeditateon the instability of human hopes and happiness in general.

"Whatdid I want with the little cussnow" he said tohimself"that I should have got myself treed like a coonas Iamthisyer way?" and Haley relieved himself by repeating over anot veryselect litany of imprecations on himselfwhichthoughthere wasthe best possible reason to consider them as trueweshallasa matter of tasteomit.

He wasstartled by the loud and dissonant voice of a man who wasapparentlydismounting at the door.  He hurried to the window.

"Bythe land! if this yer an't the nearestnowto whatI've heardfolks call Providence" said Haley.  "I do b'lievethat ar'sTom Loker."

Haleyhastened out.  Standing by the barin the corner of theroomwasa brawnymuscular manfull six feet in heightandbroad inproportion.  He was dressed in a coat of buffalo-skinmade withthe hair outwardwhich gave him a shaggy and fierceappearanceperfectly in keeping with the whole air of his physiognomy.In thehead and face every organ and lineament expressive of brutalandunhesitating violence was in a state of the highest possibledevelopment. Indeedcould our readers fancy a bull-dog come untoman'sestateand walking about in a hat and coatthey would haveno unaptidea of the general style and effect of his physique.He wasaccompanied by a travelling companionin many respects anexactcontrast to himself.  He was short and slenderlithe andcatlike inhis motionsand had a peeringmousing expression abouthis keenblack eyeswith which every feature of his face seemedsharpenedinto sympathy; his thinlong noseran out as if it waseager tobore into the nature of things in general; his sleekthinblack hair was stuck eagerly forwardand all his motionsandevolutions expressed a drycautious acuteness.  The great manpoured outa big tumbler half full of raw spiritsand gulped itdownwithout a word.  The little man stood tiptoeand putting hishead firstto one side and then the otherand snuffing consideratelyin thedirections of the various bottlesordered at last a mintjulepina thin and quivering voiceand with an air of greatcircumspection. When poured outhe took it and looked at it witha sharpcomplacent airlikea man who thinks he has done aboutthe rightthingand hit the nail on the headand proceeded todispose ofit in short and well-advised sips.

"Walnowwho'd a thought this yer luck 'ad come to me?WhyLokerhow are ye?" said Haleycoming forwardandextendinghis hand to the big man.

"Thedevil!" was the civil reply.  "What brought you hereHaley?"

Themousing manwho bore the name of Marksinstantly stoppedhissippingandpoking his head forwardlooked shrewdlyon the newacquaintanceas a cat sometimes looks at a moving dryleaforsome other possible object of pursuit.

"IsayTomthis yer's the luckiest thing in the world.I'm in adevil of a hobbleand you must help me out."

"Ugh?aw! like enough!" grunted his complacent acquaintance."Abody may be pretty sure of thatwhen _you're_ glad to see 'em;somethingto be made off of 'em.  What's the blow now?"

"You'vegot a friend here?" said Haleylooking doubtfullyat Marks;"partnerperhaps?"

"YesI have.  HereMarks! here's that ar feller that Iwas inwith in Natchez."

"Shallbe pleased with his acquaintance" said Marksthrustingout a longthin handlike a raven's claw.  "Mr. HaleyIbelieve?"

"Thesamesir" said Haley.  "And nowgentlemenseein'as we'vemet so happilyI think I'll stand up to a small matterof a treatin this here parlor.  Sonowold coon" said he tothe man atthe bar"get us hot water  and sugarand cigarsandplenty ofthe _real stuff_ and we'll have a blow-out."

Beholdthenthe candles lightedthe fire stimulated to theburningpoint in the grateand our three worthies seated rounda tablewell spread with all the accessories to good fellowshipenumeratedbefore.

Haleybegan a pathetic recital of his peculiar troubles.Loker shutup his mouthand listened to him with gruff andsurlyattention.  Markswho was anxiously and with muchfidgetingcompounding a tumbler of punch to his own peculiartasteoccasionally looked up from his employmentandpokinghis sharpnose and chin almost into Haley's facegave the mostearnestheed to the whole narrative.  The conclusion of itappearedto amuse him extremelyfor he shook his shouldersand sidesin silenceand perked up his thin lips with an airof greatinternal enjoyment.

"Sothenye'r fairly sewed upan't ye?" he said; "he!he! he! It's neatly donetoo."

"Thisyer young-un business makes lots of trouble in thetrade"said Haleydolefully.

"Ifwe could get a breed of gals that didn't carenowfor theiryoung uns" said Marks; "tell yeI think 't would be'bout thegreatest mod'rn improvement I knows on"--and Markspatronizedhis joke by a quiet introductory sniggle.

"Jesso" said Haley; "I never couldn't see into it; younguns isheaps of trouble to 'em; one would thinknowthey'd beglad toget clar on 'em; but they arn't.  And the more trouble ayoung unisand the more good for nothingas a gen'l thingthetighterthey sticks to 'em."

"WalMr. Haley" said Marks"'est pass the hot water.Yessiryou say 'est what I feel and all'us have.  NowI boughta galoncewhen I was in the trade--a tightlikely wench shewastooand quite considerable smart--and she had a young unthat wasmis'able sickly; it had a crooked backor something orother; andI jest gin 't away to a man that thought he'd take hischanceraising on 'tbeing it didn't cost nothin';--never thoughtyer knowof the gal's taking' on about it--butLordyer oughterseen howshe went on.  Whyre'llyshe did seem to me to valleythe childmore 'cause _'t was_ sickly and crossand plagued her;and shewarn't making b'lieveneither--cried about itshe didand loppedroundas if she'd lost every friend she had.  It re'llywas drollto think on 't.  Lordthere ain't no end to women's notions."

"Waljest so with me" said Haley.  "Last summerdown onRed riverI got a gal traded off on mewith a likely lookin'childenoughand his eyes looked as bright as yourn; butcome tolookIfound him stone blind.  Fact--he was stone blind.  WalyeseeIthought there warn't no harm in my jest passing him alongand notsayin' nothin'; and I'd got him nicely swapped off for akeg o'whiskey; but come to get him away from the galshe was jestlike atiger.  So 't was before we startedand I hadn't got mygangchained up; so what should she do but ups on a cotton-balelike acatketches a knife from one of the deck handsandI tellyeshemade all fly for a minittill she saw 't wan't no use;and shejest turns roundand pitches head firstyoung un and allinto theriver--went down plumpand never ris."

"Bah!"said Tom Lokerwho had listened to these stories withill-represseddisgust--"shif'lessboth on ye! _my_ galsdon't cutup no such shinesI tell ye!"

"Indeed!how do you help it?" said Marksbriskly.

"Helpit? whyI buys a galand if she's got a young unto besoldI jest walks up and puts my fist to her faceand says`Lookherenowif you give me one word out of your headI'llsmash yerface in.  I won't hear one word--not the beginning ofa word.' I says to 'em`This yer young un's mineand not yournand you'veno kind o' business with it.  I'm going to sell itfirstchance; mindyou don't cut up none o' yer shines about itor I'llmake ye wish ye'd never been born.'  I tell yethey seesit an't noplaywhen I gets hold.  I makes 'em as whist as fishes;and if oneon 'em begins and gives a yelpwhy--" and Mr. Lokerbroughtdown his fist with a thump that fully explained the hiatus.

"Thatar's what ye may call _emphasis_" said MarkspokingHaley inthe sideand going into another small giggle.  "An't Tompeculiar?he! he! I sayTomI s'pect you make 'em _understand_for allniggers' heads is woolly.  They don't never have no doubto' yourmeaningTom.  If you an't the devilTomyou 's histwinbrotherI'll say that for ye!"

Tomreceived the compliment with becoming modestyand beganto look asaffable as was consistentas John Bunyan says"withhis doggish nature."

Haleywhohad been imbibing very freely of the staple oftheeveningbegan to feel a sensible elevation and enlargement ofhis moralfaculties--a phenomenon not unusual with gentlemen ofa seriousand reflective turnunder similar circumstances.

"WalnowTom" he said"ye re'lly is too badas I al'ayshave toldye; ye knowTomyou and I used to talk over these yermattersdown in Natchezand I used to prove to ye that we madefull asmuchand was as well off for this yer worldby treatin'on 'emwellbesides keepin' a better chance for comin' in thekingdom atlastwhen wust comes to wustand thar an't nothingelse leftto getye know."

"Boh!"said Tom"_don't_ I know?--don't make me too sickwith anyyer stuff--my stomach is a leetle riled now;" and Tomdrank halfa glass of raw brandy.

"Isay" said Haleyand leaning back in his chair andgesturingimpressively"I'll say this nowI al'ays meant to drivemy tradeso as to make money on 't _fust and foremost_as much asany man;butthentrade an't everythingand money an't everything'cause we's all got souls.  I don't carenowwho hears me sayit--and Ithink a cussed sight on it--so I may as well come outwith it. I b'lieve in religionand one of these dayswhen I'vegotmatters tight and snugI calculates to tend to my soul andthem armatters; and so what's the use of doin' any more wickednessthan 'sre'lly necessary?--it don't seem to me it's 't all prudent."

"Tendto yer soul!" repeated Tomcontemptuously; "take abrightlookout to find a soul in you--save yourself any care onthatscore.  If the devil sifts you through a hair sievehe won'tfind one."

"WhyTomyou're cross" said Haley; "why can't ye takeitpleasantnowwhen a feller's talking for your good?"

"Stopthat ar jaw o' yournthere" said Tomgruffly.  "Icanstand mostany talk o' yourn but your pious talk--that kills meright up. After allwhat's the odds between me and you?  'Tan't thatyou careone bit moreor have a bit more feelin'--it's cleansheerdogmeannesswanting to cheat the devil and save your ownskin;don't I see through it?  And your `gettin' religion' as youcall itarter allis too p'isin mean for any crittur;--run up abill withthe devil all your lifeand then sneak out when pay timecomes!Bob!"

"ComecomegentlemenI say; this isn't business" said Marks."There'sdifferent waysyou knowof looking at all subjects.Mr. Haleyis a very nice manno doubtand has his ownconscience;andTomyou have your waysand very good onestooTom; butquarrellingyou knowwon't answer no kind of purpose.Let's goto business.  NowMr. Haleywhat is it?--you want us toundertaketo catch this yer gal?"

"Thegal's no matter of mine--she's Shelby's; it's onlythe boy. I was a fool for buying the monkey!"

"You'regenerally a fool!" said Tomgruffly.

"ComenowLokernone of your huffs" said Markslickinghis lips;"you seeMr. Haley 's a puttin' us in a way of a goodjobIreckon; just hold still--these yer arrangements is my forte.This yergalMr. Haleyhow is she? what is she?"

"Wal!white and handsome--well brought up.  I'd a gin Shelbyeighthundred or a thousandand then made well on her."

"Whiteand handsome--well brought up!" said Markshis sharpeyesnoseand mouthall alive with enterprise.  "Look herenowLokera beautiful opening.  We'll do a business here on ourownaccount;--we does the catchin'; the boyof coursegoes toMr.Haley--we takes the gal to Orleans to speculate on.  An't itbeautiful?"

Tomwhosegreat heavy mouth had stood ajar during thiscommunicationnow suddenly snapped it togetheras a big dog closeson a pieceof meatand seemed to be digesting the idea at his leisure.

"Yesee" said Marks to Haleystirring his punch as hedid so"ye seewe has justices convenient at all p'ints alongshorethat does up any little jobs in our line quite reasonable.Tomhedoes the knockin' down and that ar; and I come in alldressedup--shining boots--everything first chopwhen the swearin''s to bedone.  You oughter seenow" said Marksin a glow ofprofessionalpride"how I can tone it off.  One dayI'm Mr.Twickemfrom New Orleans; 'nother dayI'm just come from myplantationon Pearl riverwhere I works seven hundred niggers;thenagainI come out a distant relation of Henry Clayor someold cockin Kentuck.  Talents is differentyou know.  NowTom'sroarerwhen there's any thumping or fighting to be done; but atlying hean't goodTom an't--ye see it don't come natural to him;butLordif thar's a feller in the country that can swear toanythingand everythingand put in all the circumstances andflourisheswith a long faceand carry 't through better 'n I canwhyI'dlike to see himthat's all! I b'lieve my heartI couldget alongand snake througheven if justices were more particularthan theyis.  Sometimes I rather wish they was more particular;'t wouldbe a heap more relishin' if they was--more funyer know."

Tom Lokerwhoas we have made it appearwas a man ofslowthoughts and movementshere interrupted Marks by bringinghis heavyfist down on the tableso as to make all ring again_"It'lldo!"_ he said.

"Lordbless yeTomye needn't break all the glasses!"saidMarks; "save your fist for time o' need."

"Butgentlemenan't I to come in for a share of theprofits?"said Haley.

"An'tit enough we catch the boy for ye?" said Loker."Whatdo ye want?"

"Wal"said Haley"if I gives you the jobit's worthsomething--sayten per cent. on the profitsexpenses paid."

"Now"said Lokerwith a tremendous oathand striking thetable withhis heavy fist"don't I know _you_Dan Haley?Don't youthink to come it over me!  Suppose Marks and I have takenup thecatchin' tradejest to 'commodate gentlemen like youandgetnothin' for ourselves?--Not by a long chalk! we'll have thegal outand outand you keep quietorye seewe'll haveboth--what'sto hinder?  Han't you show'd us the game?  It's asfree to usas youI hope.  If you or Shelby wants to chase uslook wherethe partridges was last year; if you find them or usyou'requite welcome."

"Owalcertainlyjest let it go at that" said Haleyalarmed;"you catch the boy for the job;--you allers did trade_far_ withmeTomand was up to yer word."

"Yeknow that" said Tom; "I don't pretend none of yoursnivellingwaysbut I won't lie in my 'counts with thedevilhimself.  What I ses I'll doI will do--you know_that_Dan Haley."

"Jessojes so--I said soTom" said Haley; "and if you'donlypromise to have the boy for me in a weekat any pointyou'llnamethat's all I want."

"Butit an't all I wantby a long jump" said Tom.  "Yedon'tthink Idid business with youdown in Natchezfor nothingHaley;I've learned to hold an eelwhen I catch him.  You've gotto forkover fifty dollarsflat downor this child don't starta peg. I know yer."

"Whywhen you have a job in hand that may bring a cleanprofit ofsomewhere about a thousand or sixteen hundredwhyTomyou'reonreasonable" said Haley.

"Yesand hasn't we business booked for five weeks tocome--allwe can do?  And suppose we leaves alland goes tobush-whackinground arter yer young unsand finally doesn'tcatch thegal--and gals allers is the devil _to_ catch--what'sthen?would you pay us a cent--would you?  I think I see you adoin'it--ugh!  Nono; flap down your fifty.  If we get the joband itpaysI'll hand it back; if we don'tit's for ourtrouble--that's_far_an't itMarks?"

"Certainlycertainly" said Markswith a conciliatory tone;"it'sonly a retaining feeyou see--he! he! he!--we lawyersyou know. Walwe must all keep good-natured--keep easyyer know.Tom'llhave the boy for yeranywhere ye'll name; won't yeTom?"

"If Ifind the young unI'll bring him on to Cincinnatiand leavehim at Granny Belcher'son the landing" said Loker.

Marks hadgot from his pocket a greasy pocket-bookand takinga longpaper from thencehe sat downand fixing his keen blackeyes onitbegan mumbling over its contents:  "Barnes--ShelbyCounty--boyJimthree hundred dollars for himdead or alive.

"Edwards--Dickand Lucy--man and wifesix hundred dollars;wenchPolly and two children--six hundred for her or her head.

"I'mjest a runnin' over our businessto see if we can take upthis yerhandily.  Loker" he saidafter a pause"we mustset Adamsand Springer on the track of these yer; they've beenbookedsome time."

"They'llcharge too much" said Tom.

"I'llmanage that ar; they 's young in the businessand mustspect towork cheap" said Marksas he continued to read."Ther'sthree on 'em easy cases'cause all you've got to do is toshoot 'emor swear they is shot; they couldn'tof coursechargemuch forthat.  Them other cases" he saidfolding the paper"willbear puttin' off a spell.  So now let's come to the particulars.NowMr.Haleyyou saw this yer gal when she landed?"

"Tobe sure--plain as I see you."

"Anda man helpin' on her up the bank?" said Loker.

"Tobe sureI did."

"Mostlikely" said Marks"she's took in somewhere; butwhere'sa question.  Tomwhat do you say?"

"Wemust cross the river tonightno mistake" said Tom.

"Butthere's no boat about" said Marks.  "The ice isrunningawfullyTom; an't it dangerous?"

"Don'nonothing 'bout that--only it's got to be done"said Tomdecidedly.

"Dearme" said Marksfidgeting"it'll be--I say" hesaidwalking tothe window"it's dark as a wolf's mouthandTom--"

"Thelong and short isyou're scaredMarks; but I can't helpthat--you'vegot to go.  Suppose you want to lie by a day ortwotillthe gal 's been carried on the underground line up toSanduskyor sobefore you start."

"Ono; I an't a grain afraid" said Marks"only--"

"Onlywhat?" said Tom.

"Wellabout the boat.  Yer see there an't any boat."

"Iheard the woman say there was one coming along thiseveningand that a man was going to cross over in it.  Neck ornothingwe must go with him" said Tom.

"Is'pose you've got good dogs" said Haley.

"Firstrate" said Marks.  "But what's the use? you han'tgotnothin' o' hers to smell on."

"YesI have" said Haleytriumphantly.  "Here's her shawlshe lefton the bed in her hurry; she left her bonnettoo."

"Thatar's lucky" said Loker; "fork over."

"Thoughthe dogs might damage the galif they come on herunawars"said Haley.

"Thatar's a consideration" said Marks.  "Our dogs torea fellerhalf to piecesoncedown in Mobile'fore we could get'em off."

"Wellye seefor this sort that's to be sold for theirlooksthat ar won't answerye see" said Haley.

"I dosee" said Marks.  "Besidesif she's got took in'tan't nogoneither.  Dogs is no 'count in these yer up stateswherethese critters gets carried; of courseye can't get ontheirtrack.  They only does down in plantationswhere niggerswhen theyrunshas to do their own runningand don't get no help."

"Well"said Lokerwho had just stepped out to the bar to makesomeinquiries"they say the man's come with the boat; soMarks--"

Thatworthy cast a rueful look at the comfortable quartershe wasleavingbut slowly rose to obey.  After exchanging a fewwords offurther arrangementHaleywith visible reluctancehandedover thefifty dollars to Tomand the worthy trio separated forthe night.

If any ofour refined and Christian readers object to thesocietyinto which this scene introduces themlet us beg them tobegin andconquer their prejudices in time.  The catching businesswe beg toremind themis rising to the dignity of a lawful andpatrioticprofession.  If all the broad land between the Mississippiand thePacific becomes one great market for bodies and soulsandhumanproperty retains the locomotive tendencies of this nineteenthcenturythe trader and catcher may yet be among our aristocracy.

While thisscene was going on at the tavernSam and Andyin a stateof high felicitationpursued their way home.

Sam was inthe highest possible featherand expressed hisexultationby all sorts of supernatural howls and ejaculationsbydivers oddmotions and contortions of his whole system.  Sometimeshe wouldsit backwardwith his face to the horse's tail and sidesand thenwith a whoop and a somersetcome right side up in hisplaceagainanddrawing on a grave facebegin to lectureAndy inhigh-sounding tones for laughing and playing the fool.Anonslapping his sides with his armshe would burst forth inpeals oflaughterthat made the old woods ring as they passed.With allthese evolutionshe contrived to keep the horses up tothe top oftheir speeduntilbetween ten and eleventheir heelsresoundedon the gravel at the end of the balcony.  Mrs. Shelbyflew tothe railings.

"Isthat youSam?  Where are they?"

"Mas'rHaley 's a-restin' at the tavern; he's dreffulfatiguedMissis."

"AndElizaSam?"

"Walshe's clar 'cross Jordan.  As a body may sayin theland o'Canaan."

"WhySamwhat _do_ you mean?" said Mrs. Shelbybreathlessand almostfaintas the possible meaning of these words cameover her.

"WalMissisde Lord he persarves his own.  Lizy's done goneover theriver into 'Hioas 'markably as if de Lord took herover in acharrit of fire and two hosses."

Sam's veinof piety was always uncommonly fervent in hismistress'presence; and he made great capital of scriptural figuresandimages.

"Comeup hereSam" said Mr. Shelbywho had followed on to theverandah"and tell your mistress what she wants.  ComecomeEmily"said hepassing his arm round her"you are coldand all ina shiver; you allow yourself to feel too much."

"Feeltoo much!  Am not I a woman--a mother?  Are we notbothresponsible to God for this poor girl?  My God! lay not thissin to ourcharge."

"WhatsinEmily?  You see yourself that we have only donewhat wewere obliged to."

"There'san awful feeling of guilt about itthough" saidMrs.Shelby.  "I can't reason it away."

"HereAndyyou niggerbe alive!" called Samunder theverandah;"take these yer hosses to der barn; don't ye hearMas'r acallin'?" and Sam soon appearedpalm-leaf in handat theparlor door.

"NowSamtell us distinctly how the matter was" saidMr.Shelby.  "Where is Elizaif you know?"

"WalMas'rI saw herwith my own eyesa crossin' onthefloatin' ice.  She crossed most 'markably; it wasn't no lessnor amiracle; and I saw a man help her up the 'Hio sideand thenshe waslost in the dusk."

"SamI think this rather apocryphal--this miracle.Crossingon floating ice isn't so easily done" said Mr. Shelby.

"Easy!couldn't nobody a done itwithout de Lord.  Whynow"said Sam"'t was jist dis yer way.  Mas'r Haleyand meand Andywe comes up to de little tavern by the riverand I ridesa leetleahead--(I's so zealous to be a cotchin' Lizythat Icouldn'thold inno way)--and when I comes by the tavern windersureenough there she wasright in plain sightand dey diggin'onbehind.  WalI loses off my hatand sings out nuff to raisethe dead. Course Lizy she harsand she dodges backwhen Mas'rHaley hegoes past the door; and thenI tell yeshe clared outde sidedoor; she went down de river bank;--Mas'r Haley he seedherandyelled outand himand meand Andywe took arter.Down shecome to the riverand thar was the current running tenfeet wideby the shoreand over t' other side ice a sawin' and ajigglingup and downkinder as 't were a great island.  We comerightbehind herand I thought my soul he'd got her sure enough--whenshe ginsich a screech as I never hearnand thar she wasclarover t'other side of the currenton the iceand then on shewentascreeching and a jumpin'--the ice went crack! c'wallop!cracking!chunk! and she a boundin' like a buck!  Lordthe springthat argal's got in her an't commonI'm o' 'pinion."

Mrs.Shelby sat perfectly silentpale with excitementwhile Samtold his story.

"Godbe praisedshe isn't dead!" she said; "but where isthe poorchild now?"

"DeLord will pervide" said Samrolling up his eyes piously."AsI've been a sayin'dis yer 's a providence and no mistakeas Missishas allers been a instructin' on us.  Thar's allersinstrumentsris up to do de Lord's will.  Nowif 't hadn'tbeen forme todayshe'd a been took a dozen times.  Warn't it Istartedoff de hossesdis yer morning' and kept 'em chasin' tillnighdinner time?  And didn't I car Mas'r Haley night five milesout of deroaddis eveningor else he'd a come up with Lizy aseasy as adog arter a coon.  These yer 's all providences."

"Theyare a kind of providences that you'll have to beprettysparing ofMaster Sam.  I allow no such practices withgentlemenon my place" said Mr. Shelbywith as much sternnessas hecould commandunder the circumstances.

Nowthereis no more use in making believe be angry witha negrothan with a child; both instinctively see the true stateof thecasethrough all attempts to affect the contrary; and Samwas in nowise disheartened by this rebukethough he assumed anair ofdoleful gravityand stood with the corners of his mouthlowered inmost penitential style.

"Mas'rquite right--quite; it was ugly on me--there's nodisputin'that ar; and of course Mas'r and Missis wouldn't encourageno suchworks.  I'm sensible of dat ar; but a poor nigger like me's 'mazin'tempted to act ugly sometimeswhen fellers will cut upsuchshines as dat ar Mas'r Haley; he an't no gen'l'man no way;anybody'sbeen raised as I've been can't help a seein' dat ar."

"WellSam" said Mrs. Shelby"as you appear to have apropersense of your errorsyou may go now and tell Aunt Chloeshe mayget you some of that cold ham that was left of dinner today.You andAndy must be hungry."

"Missisis a heap too good for us" said Sammaking hisbow withalacrityand departing.

It will beperceivedas has been before intimatedthatMaster Samhad a native talent that mightundoubtedlyhave raisedhim toeminence in political life--a talent of making capital outofeverything that turned upto be invested for his own especialpraise andglory; and having done up his piety and humilityas hetrustedto the satisfaction of the parlorhe clapped his palm-leafon hisheadwith a sort of rakishfree-and-easy airand proceededto thedominions of Aunt Chloewith the intention of flourishinglargely inthe kitchen.

"I'llspeechify these yer niggers" said Sam to himself"nowI've got a chance.  LordI'll reel it off to make 'em stare!"

It must beobserved that one of Sam's especial delightshad beento ride in attendance on his master to all kinds ofpoliticalgatheringswhereroosted on some rail fenceor perchedaloft insome treehe would sit watching the oratorswith thegreatestapparent gustoand thendescending among the variousbrethrenof his own colorassembled on the same errandhe wouldedify anddelight them with the most ludicrous burlesques andimitationsall delivered with the most imperturbable earnestnessandsolemnity; and though the auditors immediately about him weregenerallyof his own colorit not unfrequently happened that theywerefringed pretty deeply with those of a fairer complexionwholistenedlaughing and winkingto Sam's great self-congratulation.In factSam considered oratory as his vocationand never let slipanopportunity of magnifying his office.

Nowbetween Sam and Aunt Chloe there had existedfrom ancienttimesasort of chronic feudor rather a decided coolness;butasSam was meditating something in the provision departmentas thenecessary and obvious foundation of his operationshedeterminedon the present occasionto be eminently conciliatory;for hewell knew that although "Missis' orders" would undoubtedlybefollowed to the letteryet he should gain a considerable dealbyenlisting the spirit also.  He therefore appeared before AuntChloe witha touchingly subduedresigned expressionlike one whohassuffered immeasurable hardships in behalf of a persecutedfellow-creature--enlargedupon the fact that Missis had directedhim tocome to Aunt Chloe for whatever might be wanting to make upthebalance in his solids and fluids--and thus unequivocallyacknowledgedher right and supremacy in the cooking departmentand allthereto pertaining.

The thingtook accordingly.  No poorsimplevirtuous body wasevercajoled by the attentions of an electioneering politicianwith moreease than Aunt Chloe was won over by Master Sam's suavities;and if hehad been the prodigal son himselfhe could not have beenoverwhelmedwith more maternal bountifulness; and he soon foundhimselfseatedhappy and gloriousover a large tin pancontaininga sort of_olla podrida_ of all that had appeared on the table fortwo orthree days past.  Savory morsels of hamgolden blocks ofcorn-cakefragments of pie of every conceivable mathematicalfigurechicken wingsgizzardsand drumsticksall appeared inpicturesqueconfusion; and Samas monarch of all he surveyedsatwith hispalm-leaf cocked rejoicingly to one sideand patronizingAndy athis right hand.

Thekitchen was full of all his compeerswho had hurried andcrowdedinfrom the various cabinsto hear the terminationof theday's exploits.  Now was Sam's hour of glory.  The story ofthe daywas rehearsedwith all kinds of ornament and varnishingwhichmight be necessary to heighten its effect; for Samlike someof ourfashionable dilettantinever allowed a story to lose anyof itsgilding by passing through his hands.  Roars of laughterattendedthe narrationand were taken up and prolonged by all thesmallerfrywho were lyingin any quantityabout on the flooror perchedin every corner.  In the height of the uproar andlaughterSamhoweverpreserved an immovable gravityonly fromtime totime rolling his eyes upand giving his auditors diversinexpressiblydroll glanceswithout departing from the sententiouselevationof his oratory.

"Yerseefellow-countrymen" said Samelevating a turkey'slegwithenergy"yer seenow what dis yer chile 's up terforfendin'yer all--yesall on yer.  For him as tries to get one o'our peopleis as good as tryin' to get all; yer see the principle's desame--dat ar's clar.  And any one o' these yer drivers thatcomessmelling round arter any our peoplewhyhe's got _me_ inhis way;_I'm_ the feller he's got to set in with--I'm the fellerfor yerall to come tobredren--I'll stand up for yer rights--I'llfend 'emto the last breath!"

"Whybut Samyer telled meonly this mornin'that you'dhelp thisyer Mas'r to cotch Lizy; seems to me yer talk don't hangtogether"said Andy.

"Itell you nowAndy" said Samwith awful superiority"don'tyer be a talkin' 'bout what yer don't know nothin' on; boyslike youAndymeans wellbut they can't be spected to collusitatethe greatprinciples of action."

Andylooked rebukedparticularly by the hard word collusitatewhich mostof the youngerly members of the company seemed to consideras asettler in the casewhile Sam proceeded.

"Datar was _conscience_Andy; when I thought of gwinearterLizyI railly spected Mas'r was sot dat way.  When I foundMissis wassot the contrardat ar was conscience _more yet_--causefellersallers gets more by stickin' to Missis' side--so yer seeI 'spersistent either wayand sticks up to conscienceand holdson toprinciples.  Yes_principles_" said Samgiving anenthusiastictoss to achicken's neck--"what's principles good forif we isn'tpersistentI wanter know?  TharAndyyou may have dat ar bone--tan'tpickedquite clean."

Sam'saudience hanging on his words with open mouthhecould notbut proceed.

"Disyer matter 'bout persistencefeller-niggers" said Samwith theair of one entering into an abstruse subject"disyer'sistency 's a thing what an't seed into very clarby mostanybody. Nowyer seewhen a feller stands up for a thing oneday andnightde contrar de nextfolks ses (and nat'rallyenough deyses)why he an't persistent--hand me dat ar bit o'corn-cakeAndy.  But let's look inter it.  I hope the gen'lmenand derfair sex will scuse my usin' an or'nary sort o' 'parison.Here! I'm a trying to get top o' der hay.  WalI puts up my larderdis yerside; 'tan't no go;--dencause I don't try dere no morebut putsmy larder right de contrar sidean't I persistent?I'mpersistent in wantin' to get up which ary side my larder is;don't youseeall on yer?"

"It'sthe only thing ye ever was persistent inLord knows!"mutteredAunt Chloewho was getting rather restive; the merrimentof theevening being to her somewhat after the Scripturecomparison--like"vinegar upon nitre."

"Yesindeed!" said Samrisingfull of supper and gloryfor aclosing effort.  "Yesmy feller-citizens and ladies of deother sexin generalI has principles--I'm proud to 'oon 'em--they'sperquisite to dese yer timesand ter _all_ times.  I hasprinciplesand I sticks to 'em like forty--jest anything that Ithinks isprincipleI goes in to 't;--I wouldn't mind if dey burntme'live--I'd walk right up to de stakeI wouldand sayhereI comes toshed my last blood fur my principlesfur my countryfur degen'l interests of society."

"Well"said Aunt Chloe"one o' yer principles will have to beto get tobed some time tonightand not be a keepin' everybodyup tillmornin'; nowevery one of you young uns that don't wantto becrackedhad better be scasemighty sudden."

"Niggers!all on yer" said Samwaving his palm-leaf withbenignity"I give yer my blessin'; go to bed nowand be good boys."

Andwiththis pathetic benedictionthe assembly dispersed.

 

 

CHAPTER IXIn WhichIt Appears That a Senator Is But a Man

 

The lightof the cheerful fire shone on the rug and carpetof a coseyparlorand glittered on the sides of the tea-cups andwell-brightenedtea-potas Senator Bird was drawing off his bootspreparatoryto inserting his feet in a pair of new handsome slipperswhich hiswife had been working for him while away on his senatorialtour. Mrs. Birdlooking the very picture of delightwassuperintendingthe arrangements of the tableever and anon minglingadmonitoryremarks to a number of frolicsome juvenileswho wereeffervescingin all those modes of untold gambol and mischief thathaveastonished mothers ever since the flood.

"Tomlet the door-knob alone--there's a man!  Mary! Mary!don't pullthe cat's tail--poor pussy!  Jimyou mustn't climb onthattable--nono!--You don't knowmy dearwhat a surprise itis to usallto see you here tonight!" said sheat lastwhenshe founda space to say something to her husband.

"YesyesI thought I'd just make a run downspend the nightand have alittle comfort at home.  I'm tired to deathandmy headaches!"

Mrs. Birdcast a glance at a camphor-bottlewhich stoodin thehalf-open closetand appeared to meditate an approach toitbuther husband interposed.

"NonoMaryno doctoring! a cup of your good hot teaandsome ofour good home livingis what I want.  It's a tiresomebusinessthis legislating!"

And thesenator smiledas if he rather liked the idea ofconsideringhimself a sacrifice to his country.

"Well"said his wifeafter the business of the tea-table wasgettingrather slack"and what have they been doing in the Senate?"

Nowitwas a very unusual thing for gentle little Mrs. Birdever totrouble her head with what was going on in the houseof thestatevery wisely considering that she had enough to do tomind herown.  Mr. Birdthereforeopened his eyes in surpriseand said

"Notvery much of importance."

"Well;but is it true that they have been passing a lawforbiddingpeople to give meat and drink to those poor coloredfolks thatcome along?  I heard they were talking of some such lawbut Ididn't think any Christian legislature would pass it!"

"WhyMaryyou are getting to be a politicianall at once."

"Nononsense!  I wouldn't give a fip for all your politicsgenerallybut I think this is something downright cruel andunchristian. I hopemy dearno such law has been passed."

"Therehas been a law passed forbidding people to help offthe slavesthat come over from Kentuckymy dear; so much of thatthing hasbeen done by these reckless Abolitioniststhat ourbrethrenin Kentucky are very strongly excitedand it seemsnecessaryand no more than Christian and kindthat somethingshould bedone by our state to quiet the excitement."

"Andwhat is the law?  It don't forbid us to shelter those poorcreaturesa nightdoes itand to give 'em something comfortableto eatand a few old clothesand send them quietly about theirbusiness?"

"Whyyesmy dear; that would be aiding and abettingyou know."

Mrs. Birdwas a timidblushing little womanof about four feetin heightand with mild blue eyesand a peach-blow complexionand thegentlestsweetest voice in the world;--as for courageamoderate-sized cock-turkey had been known to put her to routat thevery first gobbleand a stout house-dogof moderatecapacitywould bring her into subjection merely by a show ofhisteeth.  Her husband and children were her entire worldand inthese sheruled more by entreaty and persuasion than by commandorargument.  There was only one thing that was capable of arousingherandthat provocation came in on the side of her unusuallygentle andsympathetic nature;--anything in the shape of crueltywouldthrow her into a passionwhich was the more alarming andinexplicablein proportion to the general softness of her nature.Generallythe most indulgent and easy to be entreated of all mothersstill herboys had a very reverent remembrance of a most vehementchastisementshe once bestowed on thembecause she found themleaguedwith several graceless boys of the neighborhoodstoningadefenceless kitten.

"I'lltell you what" Master Bill used to say"I was scaredthattime.  Mother came at me so that I thought she was crazyandI waswhipped and tumbled off to bedwithout any supperbeforeI couldget over wondering what had come about; andafter thatI heardmother crying outside the doorwhich made me feel worsethan allthe rest.  I'll tell you what" he'd say"we boysneverstonedanother kitten!"

On thepresent occasionMrs. Bird rose quicklywith veryredcheekswhich quite improved her general appearanceand walkedup to herhusbandwith quite a resolute airand saidin adeterminedtone

"NowJohnI want to know if you think such a law as thatis rightand Christian?"

"Youwon't shoot menowMaryif I say I do!"

"Inever could have thought it of youJohn; you didn'tvote forit?"

"Evensomy fair politician."

"Youought to be ashamedJohn!  Poorhomelesshouseless creatures!It's ashamefulwickedabominable lawand I'll break itfor onethe first time I get a chance; and I hope I _shall_have achanceI do!  Things have got to a pretty passif a womancan't givea warm supper and a bed to poorstarving creaturesjustbecause they are slavesand have been abused and oppressedall theirlivespoor things!"

"ButMaryjust listen to me.  Your feelings are all quiterightdearand interestingand I love you for them; butthendearwemustn't suffer our feelings to run away with our judgment;you mustconsider it's a matter of private feeling--there aregreatpublic interests involved--there is such a state of publicagitationrisingthat we must put aside our private feelings."

"NowJohnI don't know anything about politicsbut I can readmy Bible;and there I see that I must feed the hungryclothethe nakedand comfort the desolate; and that Bible I meantofollow."

"Butin cases where your doing so would involve a greatpublicevil--"

"ObeyingGod never brings on public evils.  I know it can't.It'salways safestall roundto _do as He_ bids us.

"Nowlisten to meMaryand I can state to you a veryclearargumentto show--"

"OnonsenseJohn! you can talk all nightbut you wouldn'tdo it. I put it to youJohn--would _you_ now turn away a poorshiveringhungry creature from your doorbecause he was a runaway?_Would_younow?"

Nowifthe truth must be toldour senator had the misfortuneto be aman who had a particularly humane and accessible natureandturning away anybody that was in trouble never had been hisforte; andwhat was worse for him in this particular pinch of theargumentwasthat his wife knew itandof course was making anassault onrather an indefensible point.  So he had recourse to theusualmeans of gaining time for such cases made and provided; he said"ahem"and coughed several timestook out his pocket-handkerchiefand beganto wipe his glasses.  Mrs. Birdseeing the defencelessconditionof the enemy's territoryhad no more conscience than topush heradvantage.

"Ishould like to see you doing thatJohn--I really should!Turning awoman out of doors in a snowstormfor instance; or maybe you'dtake her up and put her in jailwouldn't you?  You wouldmake agreat hand at that!"

"Ofcourseit would be a very painful duty" began Mr. Birdin amoderate tone.

"DutyJohn! don't use that word!  You know it isn't a duty--itcan't be aduty!  If folks want to keep their slaves fromrunningawaylet 'em treat 'em well--that's my doctrine.  If Ihad slaves(as I hope I never shall have)I'd risk their wantingto runaway from meor you eitherJohn.  I tell you folks don'trun awaywhen they are happy; and when they do runpoor creatures!theysuffer enough with cold and hunger and fearwithout everybody'sturningagainst them; andlaw or no lawI never willso help me God!"

"Mary! Mary!  My dearlet me reason with you."

"Ihate reasoningJohn--especially reasoning on such subjects.There's away you political folks have of coming round and rounda plainright thing; and you don't believe in it yourselveswhenit comesto practice.  I know _you_ well enoughJohn.  You don'tbelieveit's right any more than I do; and you wouldn't do it anysoonerthan I."

At thiscritical junctureold Cudjoethe black man-of-all-workput hishead in at the doorand wished "Missis would come intothekitchen;" and our senatortolerably relievedlooked afterhis littlewife with a whimsical mixture of amusement and vexationandseating himself in the arm-chairbegan to read the papers.

After amomenthis wife's voice was heard at the doorin a quickearnesttone--"John!  John!  I do wish you'd come hereamoment."

He laiddown his paperand went into the kitchenand startedquiteamazed at the sight that presented itself:--A youngandslender womanwith garments torn and frozenwith one shoegoneandthe stocking torn away from the cut and bleeding footwas laidback in a deadly swoon upon two chairs.  There was theimpress ofthe despised race on her faceyet none could helpfeelingits mournful and pathetic beautywhile its stony sharpnessits coldfixeddeathly aspectstruck a solemn chill over him.He drewhis breath shortand stood in silence.  His wifeandtheir onlycolored domesticold Aunt Dinahwere busily engagedinrestorative measures; while old Cudjoe had got the boy on hiskneeandwas busy pulling off his shoes and stockingsand chafinghis littlecold feet.

"Surenowif she an't a sight to behold!" said old Dinahcompassionately;"'pears like 't was the heat that made her faint.She wastol'able peart when she cum inand asked if she couldn'twarmherself here a spell; and I was just a-askin' her where shecum fromand she fainted right down.  Never done much hard workguessbythe looks of her hands."

"Poorcreature!" said Mrs. Birdcompassionatelyas the womanslowlyunclosed her largedark eyesand looked vacantly at her.Suddenlyan expression of agony crossed her faceand shesprang upsaying"Omy Harry!  Have they got him?"

The boyat thisjumped from Cudjoe's kneeand runningto herside put up his arms.  "Ohe's here! he's here!" sheexclaimed.

"Oma'am!" said shewildlyto Mrs. Bird"do protectus! don'tlet them get him!"

"Nobodyshall hurt you herepoor woman" said Mrs. Birdencouragingly. "You are safe; don't be afraid."

"Godbless you!" said the womancovering her face and sobbing;while thelittle boyseeing her cryingtried to get intoher lap.

With manygentle and womanly officeswhich none knew betterhow torender than Mrs. Birdthe poor woman wasin timerenderedmorecalm.  A temporary bed was provided for her on the settlenear thefire; andafter a short timeshe fell into a heavyslumberwith the childwho seemed no less wearysoundly sleepingon herarm; for the mother resistedwith nervous anxietythekindestattempts to take him from her; andeven in sleepher armencircledhim with an unrelaxing claspas if she could not eventhen bebeguiled of her vigilant hold.

Mr. andMrs. Bird had gone back to the parlorwherestrangeas it mayappearno reference was madeon either sidetothepreceding conversation; but Mrs. Bird busied herself withherknitting-workand Mr. Bird pretended to be reading the paper.

"Iwonder who and what she is!" said Mr. Birdat lastashe laid itdown.

"Whenshe wakes up and feels a little restedwe will see"said Mrs.Bird.

"Isaywife!" said Mr. Bird after musing in silence overhisnewspaper.

"Welldear!"

"Shecouldn't wear one of your gownscould sheby anylettingdownor such matter?  She seems to be rather larger thanyou are."

A quiteperceptible smile glimmered on Mrs. Bird's faceas sheanswered"We'll see."

Anotherpauseand Mr. Bird again broke out

"Isaywife!"

"Well! What now?"

"Whythere's that old bombazin cloakthat you keep on purposeto putover me when I take my afternoon's nap; you might as wellgive herthat--she needs clothes."

At thisinstantDinah looked in to say that the woman wasawakeandwanted to see Missis.

Mr. andMrs. Bird went into the kitchenfollowed by the twoeldestboysthe smaller fry havingby this timebeen safelydisposedof in bed.

The womanwas now sitting up on the settleby the fire.She waslooking steadily into the blazewith a calmheart-brokenexpressionvery different from her former agitated wildness.

"Didyou want me?" said Mrs. Birdin gentle tones.  "Ihope youfeelbetter nowpoor woman!"

Along-drawnshivering sigh was the only answer; but shelifted herdark eyesand fixed them on her with such a forlornandimploring expressionthat the tears came into the littlewoman'seyes.

"Youneedn't be afraid of anything; we are friends herepoor woman!Tell mewhere you came fromand what you want" said she.

"Icame from Kentucky" said the woman.

"When?"said Mr. Birdtaking up the interogatory.

"Tonight."

"Howdid you come?"

"Icrossed on the ice."

"Crossedon the ice!" said every one present.

"Yes"said the womanslowly"I did.  God helping meIcrossed onthe ice; for they were behind me--right behind--andthere wasno other way!"

"LawMissis" said Cudjoe"the ice is all in broken-upblocksaswinging and a tetering up and down in the water!"

"Iknow it was--I know it!" said shewildly; "but I did it!I wouldn'thave thought I could--I didn't think I should getoverbutI didn't care!  I could but dieif I didn't.  The Lordhelped me;nobody knows how much the Lord can help 'emtill theytry"said the womanwith a flashing eye.

"Wereyou a slave?" said Mr. Bird.

"Yessir; I belonged to a man in Kentucky."

"Washe unkind to you?"

"Nosir; he was a good master."

"Andwas your mistress unkind to you?"

"Nosir--no! my mistress was always good to me."

"Whatcould induce you to leave a good homethenand runawayandgo through such dangers?"

The womanlooked up at Mrs. Birdwith a keenscrutinizingglanceand it did not escape her that she was dressed in deepmourning.

"Ma'am"she saidsuddenly"have you ever lost a child?"

Thequestion was unexpectedand it was thrust on a new wound;for it wasonly a month since a darling child of the familyhad beenlaid in the grave.

Mr. Birdturned around and walked to the windowand Mrs.Bird burstinto tears; butrecovering her voiceshe said

"Whydo you ask that?  I have lost a little one."

"Thenyou will feel for me.  I have lost twoone afteranother--left'em buried there when I came away; and I had onlythis oneleft.  I never slept a night without him; he was all I had.He was mycomfort and prideday and night; andma'amtheywere goingto take him away from me--to _sell_ him--sell him downsouthma'amto go all alone--a baby that had never been awayfrom hismother in his life!  I couldn't stand itma'am.  I knewI nevershould be good for anythingif they did; and when I knewthe papersthe papers were signedand he was soldI took him andcame offin the night; and they chased me--the man that boughthimandsome of Mas'r's folks--and they were coming down rightbehind meand I heard 'em.  I jumped right on to the ice; and howI gotacrossI don't know--butfirst I knewa man was helpingme up thebank."

The womandid not sob nor weep.  She had gone to a placewheretears are dry; but every one around her wasin some waycharacteristicof themselvesshowing signs of hearty sympathy.

The twolittle boysafter a desperate rummaging in their pocketsin searchof those pocket-handkerchiefs which mothers know arenever tobe found therehad thrown themselves disconsolatelyinto theskirts of their mother's gownwhere they were sobbingand wipingtheir eyes and nosesto their hearts' content;--Mrs.Bird hadher face fairly hidden in her pocket-handkerchief; andold Dinahwith tears streaming down her blackhonest facewasejaculating"Lord have mercy on us!" with all the fervor of acamp-meeting;--whileold Cudjoerubbing his eyes very hard withhis cuffsand making a most uncommon variety of wry facesoccasionallyresponded in the same keywith great fervor.  Oursenatorwas a statesmanand of course could not be expected tocrylikeother mortals; and so he turned his back to the companyand lookedout of the windowand seemed particularly busy inclearinghis throat and wiping his spectacle-glassesoccasionallyblowinghis nose in a manner that was calculated to excite suspicionhad anyone been in a state to observe critically.

"Howcame you to tell me you had a kind master?" he suddenlyexclaimedgulping down very resolutely some kind of rising in histhroatand turning suddenly round upon the woman.

"Becausehe _was_ a kind master; I'll say that of himanyway;--andmy mistress was kind; but they couldn't help themselves.They wereowing money; and there was some wayI can't tell howthat a manhad a hold on themand they were obliged to give himhis will. I listenedand heard him telling mistress thatandshebegging and pleading for me--and he told her he couldn'thelphimselfand that the papers were all drawn;--and thenit was Itook him and left my homeand came away.  I knew 'twas no useof my trying to liveif they did it; for 't 'pears likethis childis all I have."

"Haveyou no husband?"

"Yesbut he belongs to another man.  His master is real hardto himand won't let him come to see mehardly ever; andhe's grownharder and harder upon usand he threatens to sell himdownsouth;--it's like I'll never see _him_ again!"

The quiettone in which the woman pronounced these words mighthave led asuperficial observer to think that she was entirelyapathetic;but there was a calmsettled depth of anguish in herlargedark eyethat spoke of something far otherwise.

"Andwhere do you mean to gomy poor woman?" said Mrs. Bird.

"ToCanadaif I only knew where that was.  Is it very far offisCanada?" said shelooking upwith a simpleconfiding airto Mrs.Bird's face.

"Poorthing!" said Mrs. Birdinvoluntarily.

"Is't a very great way offthink?" said the womanearnestly.

"Muchfurther than you thinkpoor child!" said Mrs. Bird;"butwe will try to think what can be done for you.  HereDinahmake herup a bed in your own roomclose by the kitchenand I'llthink whatto do for her in the morning.  Meanwhilenever fearpoorwoman; put your trust in God; he will protect you."

Mrs. Birdand her husband reentered the parlor.  She sat downin herlittle rocking-chair before the fireswaying thoughtfullyto andfro.  Mr. Bird strode up and down the roomgrumbling tohimself"Pish!  pshaw! confounded awkward business!"  Atlengthstridingup to his wifehe said

"Isaywifeshe'll have to get away from herethis very night.Thatfellow will be down on the scent bright and early tomorrowmorning:if 't was only the womanshe could lie quiet till it wasover; butthat little chap can't be kept still by a troop of horseand footI'll warrant me; he'll bring it all outpopping his headout ofsome window or door.  A pretty kettle of fish it would befor metooto be caught with them both herejust now!  No; they'llhave to begot off tonight."

"Tonight! How is it possible?--where to?"

"WellI know pretty well where to" said the senatorbeginningto put onhis bootswith a reflective air; andstopping whenhis legwas half inhe embraced his knee with both handsand seemedto go off in deep meditation.

"It'sa confounded awkwardugly business" said heat lastbeginningto tug at his boot-straps again"and that's a fact!"After oneboot was fairly onthe senator sat with the otherin hishandprofoundly studying the figure of the carpet.  "Itwill haveto be donethoughfor aught I see--hang it all!" andhe drewthe other boot anxiously onand looked out of the window.

Nowlittle Mrs. Bird was a discreet woman--a woman whonever inher life said"I told you so!" andon the presentoccasionthough pretty well aware of the shape her husband'smeditationswere takingshe very prudently forbore to meddle withthemonlysat very quietly in her chairand looked quite readyto hearher liege lord's intentionswhen he should think properto utterthem.

"Yousee" he said"there's my old clientVan Trompehas comeover fromKentuckyand set all his slaves free; and he hasbought aplace seven miles up the creekhereback in thewoodswhere nobody goesunless they go on purpose; and it's aplace thatisn't found in a hurry.  There she'd be safe enough;but theplague of the thing isnobody could drive a carriage theretonightbut _me_."

"Whynot?  Cudjoe is an excellent driver."

"Ayaybut here it is.  The creek has to be crossed twice;and thesecond crossing is quite dangerousunless one knows it asI do. I have crossed it a hundred times on horsebackand knowexactlythe turns to take.  And soyou seethere's no help for it.Cudjoemust put in the horsesas quietly as may beabouttwelveo'clockand I'll take her over; and thento give color tothematterhe must carry me on to the next tavern to take thestage forColumbusthat comes by about three or fourand so itwill lookas if I had had the carriage only for that.  I shall getintobusiness bright and early in the morning.  But I'm thinkingI shallfeel rather cheap thereafter all that's been said anddone; buthang itI can't help it!"

"Yourheart is better than your headin this caseJohn"said thewifelaying her little white hand on his.  "Could I everhave lovedyouhad I not known you better than you know yourself?"And thelittle woman looked so handsomewith the tears sparklingin hereyesthat the senator thought he must be a decidedly cleverfellowtoget such a pretty creature into such a passionateadmirationof him; and sowhat could he do but walk off soberlyto seeabout the carriage.  At the doorhoweverhe stopped amomentand then coming backhe saidwith some hesitation.

"MaryI don't know how you'd feel about itbut there's thatdrawerfull of things--of--of--poor little Henry's."  So sayinghe turnedquickly on his heeland shut the door after him.

His wifeopened the little bed-room door adjoining her room andtaking thecandleset it down on the top of a bureau there;then froma small recess she took a keyand put it thoughtfullyin thelock of a drawerand made a sudden pausewhile two boyswhoboylikehad followed close on her heelsstood lookingwithsilentsignificant glancesat their mother.  And oh! mother thatreadsthishas there never been in your house a draweror a closettheopening of which has been to you like the opening again of alittlegrave?  Ah! happy mother that you areif it has not been so.

Mrs. Birdslowly opened the drawer.  There were little coatsof many aform and patternpiles of apronsand rows of smallstockings;and even a pair of little shoesworn and rubbedat thetoeswere peeping from the folds of a paper.  There was atoy horseand wagona topa ball--memorials gathered with manya tear andmany a heart-break!  She sat down by the drawerandleaningher head on her hands over itwept till the tears fellthroughher fingers into the drawer; then suddenly raising herheadshebeganwith nervous hasteselecting the plainest andmostsubstantial articlesand gathering them into a bundle.

"Mamma"said one of the boysgently touching her arm"yougoing to give away _those_ things?"

"Mydear boys" she saidsoftly and earnestly"if our dearlovinglittle Henry looks down from heavenhe would be gladto have usdo this.  I could not find it in my heart to give themaway toany common person--to anybody that was happy; but I givethem to amother more heart-broken and sorrowful than I am; and Ihope Godwill send his blessings with them!"

There arein this world blessed soulswhose sorrows allspring upinto joys for others; whose earthly hopeslaid in thegrave withmany tearsare the seed from which spring healingflowersand balm for the desolate and the distressed.  Among suchwas thedelicate woman who sits there by the lampdropping slowtearswhile she prepares the memorials of her own lost one fortheoutcast wanderer.

After awhileMrs. Bird opened a wardrobeandtaking fromthence aplainserviceable dress or twoshe sat down busilyto herwork-tableandwith needlescissorsand thimbleathandquietly commenced the "letting down" process which herhusbandhadrecommendedand continued busily at it till the old clock inthe cornerstruck twelveand she heard the low rattling of wheelsat thedoor.

"Mary"said her husbandcoming inwith his overcoat inhis hand"you must wake her up now; we must be off."

Mrs. Birdhastily deposited the various articles she hadcollectedin a small plain trunkand locking itdesired herhusband tosee it in the carriageand then proceeded to callthewoman.  Soonarrayed in a cloakbonnetand shawlthat hadbelongedto her benefactressshe appeared at the door with herchild inher arms.  Mr. Bird hurried her into the carriageandMrs. Birdpressed on after her to the carriage steps.  Eliza leanedout of thecarriageand put out her hand--a hand as soft andbeautifulas was given in return.  She fixed her largedark eyesfull ofearnest meaningon Mrs. Bird's faceand seemed going tospeak. Her lips moved--she tried once or twicebut there was nosound--andpointing upwardwith a look never to be forgottenshe fellback in the seatand covered her face.  The door wasshutandthe carriage drove on.

What asituationnowfor a patriotic senatorthat had beenall theweek before spurring up the legislature of his nativestate topass more stringent resolutions against escaping fugitivestheirharborers and abettors!

Our goodsenator in his native state had not been exceededby any ofhis brethren at Washingtonin the sort of eloquencewhich haswon for them immortal renown!  How sublimely he had satwith hishands in his pocketsand scouted all sentimental weaknessof thosewho would put the welfare of a few miserable fugitivesbeforegreat state interests!

He was asbold as a lion about itand "mightily convinced"not onlyhimselfbut everybody that heard him;--but then his ideaof afugitive was only an idea of the letters that spell theword--orat the mostthe image of a little newspaper picture ofa man witha stick and bundle with "Ran away from the subscriber"under it. The magic of the real presence of distress--theimploringhuman eyethe frailtrembling human handthedespairingappeal of helpless agony--these he had never tried.He hadnever thought that a fugitive might be a hapless motheradefenceless child--like that one which was now wearing hislost boy'slittle well-known cap; and soas our poor senatorwas notstone or steel--as he was a manand a downrightnoble-heartedonetoo--he wasas everybody must seein a sadcase forhis patriotism.  And you need not exult over himgoodbrother ofthe Southern States; for we have some inklings thatmany ofyouunder similar circumstanceswould not do much better.We havereason to knowin Kentuckyas in Mississippiare nobleandgenerous heartsto whom never was tale of suffering told in vain.Ahgoodbrother! is it fair for you to expect of us services whichyour ownbravehonorable heart would not allow you to renderwere youin our place?

Be that asit mayif our good senator was a political sinnerhe was ina fair way to expiate it by his night's penance.There hadbeen a long continuous period of rainy weatherand thesoftrichearth of Ohioas every one knowsis admirably suitedto themanufacture of mud--and the road was an Ohio railroad ofthe goodold times.

"Andpraywhat sort of a road may that be?" says some easterntravellerwho has been accustomed to connect no ideas witharailroadbut those of smoothness or speed.

Knowtheninnocent eastern friendthat in benighted regionsof thewestwhere the mud is of unfathomable and sublime depthroads aremade of round rough logsarranged transversely sideby sideand coated over in their pristine freshness with earthturfandwhatsoever may come to handand then the rejoicingnativecalleth it a roadand straightway essayeth to ride thereupon.In processof timethe rains wash off all the turf and grassaforesaidmove the logs hither and thitherin picturesque positionsupdownand crosswisewith divers chasms and ruts of black mudintervening.

Over sucha road as this our senator went stumbling alongmakingmoral reflections as continuously as under the circumstancescould beexpected--the carriage proceeding along much asfollows--bump!bump! bump! slush! down in the mud!--the senatorwoman andchildreversing their positions so suddenly as to comewithoutany very accurate adjustmentagainst the windows of thedown-hillside.  Carriage sticks fastwhile Cudjoe on the outsideis heardmaking a great muster among the horses.  After variousineffectualpullings and twitchingsjust as the senator is losingallpatiencethe carriage suddenly rights itself with a bounce--twofrontwheels go down into another abyssand senatorwomanandchildalltumble promiscuously on to the front seat--senator'shat isjammed over his eyes and nose quite unceremoniouslyand heconsidershimself fairly extinguished;--child criesand Cudjoe ontheoutside delivers animated addresses to the horseswho arekickingand flounderingand straining under repeated cracks ofthe whip. Carriage springs upwith another bounce--down go thehindwheels--senatorwomanand childfly over on to the backseathiselbows encountering her bonnetand both her feet beingjammedinto his hatwhich flies off in the concussion.  After afewmoments the "slough" is passedand the horses stoppanting;--thesenatorfinds his hatthe woman straightens her bonnet and hushesher childand they brace themselves for what is yet to come.

For awhile only the continuous bump! bump! intermingledjust byway of varietywith divers side plunges and compoundshakes;and they begin to flatter themselves that they are not sobadly offafter all.  At lastwith a square plungewhich putsall on totheir feet and then down into their seats withincrediblequicknessthe carriage stops--andafter muchoutsidecommotionCudjoe appears at the door.

"Pleasesirit's powerful bad spotthis' yer.  I don'tknow howwe's to get clar out.  I'm a thinkin' we'll have to be agettin'rails."

Thesenator despairingly steps outpicking gingerly for somefirmfoothold; down goes one foot an immeasurable depth--hetries topull it uploses his balanceand tumbles over into themudandis fished outin a very despairing conditionby Cudjoe.

But weforbearout of sympathy to our readers' bones.Westerntravellerswho have beguiled the midnight hour in theinterestingprocess of pulling down rail fencesto pry theircarriagesout of mud holeswill have a respectful and mournfulsympathywith our unfortunate hero.  We beg them to drop a silenttearandpass on.

It wasfull late in the night when the carriage emergeddrippingand bespatteredout of the creekand stood at the doorof a largefarmhouse.

It took noinconsiderable perseverance to arouse the inmates;but atlast the respectable proprietor appearedand undid the door.He was agreattallbristling Orson of a fellowfull six feetand someinches in his stockingsand arrayed in a red flannelhunting-shirt. A very heavy mat of sandy hairin a decidedlytousledconditionand a beard of some days' growthgave the worthyman anappearanceto say the leastnot particularly prepossessing.He stoodfor a few minutes holding the candle aloftand blinkingon ourtravellers with a dismal and mystified expression that wastrulyludicrous.  It cost some effort of our senator to induce himtocomprehend the case fully; and while he is doing his best atthatweshall give him a little introduction to our readers.

Honest oldJohn Van Trompe was once quite a considerable land-ownerandslave-owner in the State of Kentucky.  Having "nothing ofthebear abouthim but the skin" and being gifted by nature witha greathonestjust heartquite equal to his gigantic framehe hadbeen for some years witnessing with repressed uneasinesstheworkings of a system equally bad for oppressor and oppressed.At lastone dayJohn's great heart had swelled altogether toobig towear his bonds any longer; so he just took his pocket-bookout of hisdeskand went over into Ohioand bought a quarter ofa townshipof goodrich landmade out free papers for all hispeople--menwomenand children--packed them up in wagonsandsent themoff to settle down; and then honest John turned his faceup thecreekand sat quietly down on a snugretired farmtoenjoy hisconscience and his reflections.

"Areyou the man that will shelter a poor woman and childfromslave-catchers?" said the senatorexplicitly.

"Irather think I am" said honest Johnwith some considerableemphasis.

"Ithought so"' said the senator.

"Ifthere's anybody comes" said the good manstretching his tallmuscularform upward"why here I'm ready for him: and I've gotsevensonseach six foot highand they'll be ready for 'em.Give ourrespects to 'em" said John; "tell 'em it's no matterhow soonthey call--make no kinder difference to us" said Johnrunninghis fingers through the shock of hair that thatched hisheadandbursting out into a great laugh.

Wearyjadedand spiritlessEliza dragged herself up tothe doorwith her child lying in a heavy sleep on her arm.The roughman held the candle to her faceand uttering a kind ofcompassionategruntopened the door of a small bed-room adjoiningto thelarge kitchen where they were standingand motioned herto go in. He took down a candleand lighting itset it uponthe tableand then addressed himself to Eliza.

"NowI saygalyou needn't be a bit afeardlet who willcomehere.  I'm up to all that sort o' thing" said hepointingto two orthree goodly rifles over the mantel-piece; "and mostpeoplethat know me know that 't wouldn't be healthy to try to getanybodyout o' my house when I'm agin it.  So _now_ you jist go tosleep nowas quiet as if yer mother was a rockin' ye" said heas he shutthe door.

"Whythis is an uncommon handsome un" he said to the senator."Ahwell; handsome uns has the greatest cause to runsometimesif theyhas any kind o' feelinsuch as decent women should.I know allabout that."

Thesenatorin a few wordsbriefly explained Eliza's history.

"O!ou! aw! nowI want to know?" said the good manpitifully;"sho!now sho!  That's natur nowpoor crittur! hunted downnow like adeer--hunted downjest for havin' natural feelin'sand doin'what no kind o' mother could help a doin'!  I tell yewhatthese yer things make me come the nighest to swearin'nowo' mostanything" said honest Johnas he wiped his eyes with theback of agreatfreckledyellow hand.  "I tell yer whatstrangerit wasyears and years before I'd jine the church'cause theministersround in our parts used to preach that the Bible went infor theseere cuttings up--and I couldn't be up to 'em with theirGreek andHebrewand so I took up agin 'emBible and all.  I neverjined thechurch till I found a minister that was up to 'em allin Greekand all thatand he said right the contrary; and thenI tookright holdand jined the church--I did nowfact" saidJohnwhohad been all this time uncorking some very frisky bottledciderwhich at this juncture he presented.

"Ye'dbetter jest put up herenowtill daylight" said heheartily"and I'll call up the old womanand have a bedgot readyfor you in no time."

"Thankyoumy good friend" said the senator"I must bealongtotake the night stage for Columbus."

"Ah!wellthenif you mustI'll go a piece with youandshow you across road that will take you there better than theroad youcame on.  That road's mighty bad."

Johnequipped himselfandwith a lantern in handwas soonseenguiding the senator's carriage towards a road that randown in ahollowback of his dwelling.  When they partedthesenatorput into his hand a ten-dollar bill.

"It'sfor her" he saidbriefly.

"Ayay" said Johnwith equal conciseness.

They shookhandsand parted.

 

 

CHAPTER XTheProperty Is Carried Off

 

TheFebruary morning looked gray and drizzling through thewindow ofUncle Tom's cabin.  It looked on downcast facestheimages ofmournful hearts.  The little table stood out before thefirecovered with an ironing-cloth; a coarse but clean shirt ortwofreshfrom the ironhung on the back of a chair by the fireand AuntChloe had another spread out before her on the table.Carefullyshe rubbed and ironed every fold and every hemwith themostscrupulous exactnessevery now and then raising her hand toher faceto wipe off the tears that were coursing down her cheeks.

Tom satbywith his Testament open on his kneeand his headleaningupon his hand;--but neither spoke.  It was yet earlyand thechildren lay all asleep together in their little rudetrundle-bed.

Tomwhohadto the fullthe gentledomestic heartwhich woefor them! has been a peculiar characteristic of hisunhappyracegot up and walked silently to look at his children.

"It'sthe last time" he said.

Aunt Chloedid not answeronly rubbed away over and overon thecoarse shirtalready as smooth as hands could make it; andfinallysetting her iron suddenly down with a despairing plungeshe satdown to the tableand "lifted up her voice and wept."

"S'posewe must be resigned; but oh Lord! how ken I?  If I know'danythingwhar you 's goin'or how they'd sarve you!  Missis saysshe'll tryand 'deem yein a year or two; but Lor! nobodynevercomes up that goes down thar!  They kills 'em! I've hearn 'emtell howdey works 'em up on dem ar plantations."

"There'llbe the same God thereChloethat there is here."

"Well"said Aunt Chloe"s'pose dere will; but de Lord letsdreffulthings happensometimes.  I don't seem to get nocomfortdat way."

"I'min the Lord's hands" said Tom; "nothin' can go no furderthan helets it;--and thar's _one_ thing I can thank him for.It's _me_that's sold and going downand not you nur the chil'en.Hereyou're safe;--what comes will come only on me; and the Lordhe'll helpme--I know he will."

Ahbravemanly heart--smothering thine own sorrowtocomfortthy beloved ones!  Tom spoke with a thick utteranceandwith abitter choking in his throat--but he spoke brave and strong.

"Let'sthink on our marcies!" he addedtremulouslyas ifhe wasquite sure he needed to think on them very hard indeed.

"Marcies!"said Aunt Chloe; "don't see no marcy in 't!'tan'tright! tan't right it should be so!  Mas'r never ought terleft it sothat ye _could_ be took for his debts.  Ye've arnt himall hegets for yetwice over.  He owed ye yer freedomand oughtter gin 'tto yer years ago.  Mebbe he can't help himself nowbutI feelit's wrong.  Nothing can't beat that ar out o' me.  Sich afaithfulcrittur as ye've been--and allers sot his business 'foreyer ownevery way--and reckoned on him more than yer own wife andchil'en! Them as sells heart's love and heart's bloodto get outtharscrapesde Lord'll be up to 'em!"

"Chloe!nowif ye love meye won't talk sowhen perhapsjest thelast time we'll ever have together!  And I'll tell yeChloeitgoes agin me to hear one word agin Mas'r.  Wan't he putin my armsa baby?--it's natur I should think a heap of him.And hecouldn't be spected to think so much of poor Tom.  Mas'rs isused tohavin' all these yer things done for 'emand nat'lly theydon'tthink so much on 't.  They can't be spected tono way.Set him'longside of other Mas'rs--who's had the treatment and livin'I've had? And he never would have let this yer come on meif hecould haveseed it aforehand.  I know he wouldn't."

"Walany waythar's wrong about it _somewhar_" said AuntChloeinwhom a stubborn sense of justice was a predominant trait;"Ican't jest make out whar 't isbut thar's wrong somewharI'm_clar_ o'that."

"Yerought ter look up to the Lord above--he's aboveall--thardon't a sparrow fall without him."

"Itdon't seem to comfort mebut I spect it orter" said AuntChloe."Butdar's no use talkin'; I'll jes wet up de corn-cakeand get yeone goodbreakfast'cause nobody knows when you'll get another."

In orderto appreciate the sufferings of the negroes soldsouthitmust be remembered that all the instinctive affectionsof thatrace are peculiarly strong.  Their local attachments areveryabiding.  They are not naturally daring and enterprisingbuthome-lovingand affectionate.  Add to this all the terrors withwhichignorance invests the unknownand add to thisagainthatselling tothe south is set before the negro from childhood as thelastseverity of punishment.  The threat that terrifies more thanwhippingor torture of any kind is the threat of being sent downriver. We have ourselves heard this feeling expressed by themand seenthe unaffected horror with which they will sit in theirgossippinghoursand tell frightful stories of that "down river"which tothem is

          "That undiscovered countryfrom whose bourn
           No traveller returns."

Amissionary figure among the fugitives in Canada told us thatmany ofthe fugitives confessed themselves to have escapedfromcomparatively kind mastersand that they were induced tobrave theperils of escapein almost every caseby the desperatehorrorwith which they regarded being sold south--a doom whichwashanging either over themselves or their husbandstheir wivesorchildren.  This nerves the Africannaturally patienttimidandunenterprisingwith heroic courageand leads him to sufferhungercoldpainthe perils of the wildernessand the moredreadpenalties of recapture.

The simplemorning meal now smoked on the tablefor Mrs. Shelbyhadexcused Aunt Chloe's attendance at the great house thatmorning. The poor soul had expended all her little energies onthisfarewell feast--had killed and dressed her choicest chickenandprepared her corn-cake with scrupulous exactnessjust to herhusband'stasteand brought out certain mysterious jars on themantel-piecesome preserves that were never produced except onextremeoccasions.

"LorPete" said Mosetriumphantly"han't we got a busterof abreakfast!" at the same time catching at a fragment of thechicken.

Aunt Chloegave him a sudden box on the ear.  "Thar now! crowingover thelast breakfast yer poor daddy's gwine to have to home!"

"OChloe!" said Tomgently.

"WalI can't help it" said Aunt Chloehiding her facein herapron; "I 's so tossed about itit makes me act ugly."

The boysstood quite stilllooking first at their father andthen attheir motherwhile the babyclimbing up her clothesbegan animperiouscommanding cry.

"Thar!"said Aunt Chloewiping her eyes and taking up the baby;"nowI's doneI hope--now do eat something.  This yer's mynicestchicken.  Tharboysye shall have somepoor critturs!Yermammy's been cross to yer."

The boysneeded no second invitationand went in with greatzeal forthe eatables; and it was well they did soasotherwisethere would have been very little performed to anypurpose bythe party.

"Now"said Aunt Chloebustling about after breakfast"I mustput up yerclothes.  Jest like as nothe'll take 'em all away.I knowthar ways--mean as dirtthey is! Walnowyer flannelsforrhumatis is in this corner; so be careful'cause therewon'tnobody make ye no more.  Then here's yer old shirtsand theseyer is new ones.  I toed off these yer stockings lastnightandput de ball in 'em to mend with.  But Lor!  who'll evermend forye?" and Aunt Chloeagain overcomelaid her head on thebox sideand sobbed.  "To think on 't! no crittur to do for yesick orwell!  I don't railly think I ought ter be good now!"

The boyshaving eaten everything there was on thebreakfast-tablebegan now to take some thought of the case; andseeingtheir mother cryingand their father looking very sadbegan towhimper and put their hands to their eyes.  Uncle Tom hadthe babyon his kneeand was letting her enjoy herself to theutmostextentscratching his face and pulling his hairandoccasionallybreaking out into clamorous explosions of delightevidentlyarising out of her own internal reflections.

"Aycrow awaypoor crittur!" said Aunt Chloe; ye'll haveto come toittoo! ye'll live to see yer husband soldor mebbebe soldyerself; and these yer boysthey's to be soldI s'posetoojestlike as notwhen dey gets good for somethin'; an't nouse inniggers havin' nothin'!"

Here oneof the boys called out"Thar's Missis a-comin' in!"

"Shecan't do no good; what's she coming for?" said Aunt Chloe.

Mrs.Shelby entered.  Aunt Chloe set a chair for her in amannerdecidedly gruff and crusty.  She did not seem to noticeeither theaction or the manner.  She looked pale and anxious.

"Tom"she said"I come to--" and stopping suddenlyandregardingthe silent groupshe sat down in the chairandcoveringher facewith her handkerchiefbegan to sob.

"LornowMissisdon't--don't!" said Aunt Chloeburstingout in herturn; and for a few moments they all wept in company.And inthose tears they all shed togetherthe high and the lowlymeltedaway all the heart-burnings and anger of the oppressed. Oye whovisit the distresseddo ye know that everything your moneycan buygiven with a coldaverted faceis not worth one honesttear shedin real sympathy?

"Mygood fellow" said Mrs. Shelby"I can't give you anythingto do youany good.  If I give you moneyit will only be takenfrom you. But I tell you solemnlyand before Godthat I willkeep traceof youand bring you back as soon as I can commandthemoney;--andtill thentrust in God!"

Here theboys called out that Mas'r Haley was comingand thenanunceremonious kick pushed open the door.  Haley stood therein veryill humorhaving ridden hard the night beforeand beingnot at allpacified by his ill success in recapturing his prey.

"Come"said he"ye niggerye'r ready?  Servantma'am!"said hetaking off his hatas he saw Mrs. Shelby.

Aunt Chloeshut and corded the boxandgetting uplookedgruffly onthe traderher tears seeming suddenly turnedto sparksof fire.

Tom roseup meeklyto follow his new masterand raisedup hisheavy box on his shoulder.  His wife took the baby in herarms to gowith him to the wagonand the childrenstill cryingtrailed onbehind.

Mrs.Shelbywalking up to the traderdetained him for afewmomentstalking with him in an earnest manner; and while shewas thustalkingthe whole family party proceeded to a wagonthatstoodready harnessed at the door.  A crowd of all the old andyounghands on the place stood gathered around itto bid farewellto theirold associate.  Tom had been looked up toboth as a headservantand a Christian teacherby all the placeand there wasmuchhonest sympathy and grief about himparticularly among the women.

"WhyChloeyou bar it better 'n we do!" said one of the womenwho hadbeen weeping freelynoticing the gloomy calmnesswith whichAunt Chloe stood by the wagon.

"I'sdone _my_ tears!" she saidlooking grimly at the traderwho wascoming up.  "I does not feel to cry 'fore dat arold limbno how!"

"Getin!" said Haley to Tomas he strode through the crowdofservantswho looked at him with lowering brows.

Tom gotinand Haleydrawing out from under the wagonseat aheavy pair of shacklesmade them fast around each ankle.

Asmothered groan of indignation ran through the wholecircleand Mrs. Shelby spoke from the verandah--"Mr.HaleyIassure you that precaution is entirely unnecessary."

"Don'knowma'am; I've lost one five hundred dollars fromthis yerplaceand I can't afford to run no more risks."

"Whatelse could she spect on him?" said Aunt Chloeindignantlywhile the two boyswho now seemed to comprehend atonce theirfather's destinyclung to her gownsobbing andgroaningvehemently.

"I'msorry" said Tom"that Mas'r George happened to be away."

George hadgone to spend two or three days with a companionon aneighboring estateand having departed early in the morningbeforeTom's misfortune had been made publichad left withouthearing ofit.

"Givemy love to Mas'r George" he saidearnestly.

Haleywhipped up the horseandwith a steadymournfullookfixed to the last on the old placeTom was whirled away.

Mr. Shelbyat this time was not at home.  He had sold Tomunder thespur of a driving necessityto get out of the power ofa man whomhe dreaded--and his first feelingafter the consummationof thebargainhad been that of relief.  But his wife's expostulationsawoke hishalf-slumbering regrets; and Tom's manly disinterestednessincreasedthe unpleasantness of his feelings.  It was in vain thathe said tohimself that he had a _right_ to do it--that everybodydidit--and that some did it without even the excuse of necessity;--hecould notsatisfy his own feelings; and that he might not witnesstheunpleasant scenes of the consummationhe had gone on a shortbusinesstour up the countryhoping that all would be over beforehereturned.

Tom andHaley rattled on along the dusty roadwhirlingpast everyold familiar spotuntil the bounds of the estate werefairlypassedand they found themselves out on the open pike.After theyhad ridden about a mileHaley suddenly drew up at thedoor of ablacksmith's shopwhentaking out with him a pair ofhandcuffshe stepped into the shopto have a little alterationin them.

"Theseyer 's a little too small for his build" said Haleyshowingthe fettersand pointing out to Tom.

"Lor!nowif thar an't Shelby's Tom.  He han't sold himnow?"said the smith.

"Yeshe has" said Haley.

"Nowye don't! wellreely" said the smith"who'd athoughtit!  Whyye needn't go to fetterin' him up this yer way.He's thefaithfullestbest crittur--"

"Yesyes" said Haley; "but your good fellers are justthecritturs to want ter run off.  Them stupid onesas doesn'tcare wharthey goand shiflessdrunken onesas don't care fornothin'they'll stick byand like as not be rather pleased to betotedround; but these yer prime fellersthey hates it like sin.No way butto fetter 'em; got legs--they'll use 'em--no mistake."

"Well"said the smithfeeling among his tools"themplantationsdown tharstrangeran't jest the place a Kentuckniggerwants to go to; they dies thar tol'able fastdon't they?"

"Walyestol'able fastther dying is; what with the'climatingand one thing and anotherthey dies so as to keep themarket uppretty brisk" said Haley.

"Walnowa feller can't help thinkin' it's a mighty pityto have anicequietlikely felleras good un as Tom isgo downto befairly ground up on one of them ar sugar plantations."

"Walhe's got a fa'r chance.  I promised to do well by him.I'll gethim in house-servant in some good old familyandthenifhe stands the fever and 'climatinghe'll have a berthgood asany nigger ought ter ask for."

"Heleaves his wife and chil'en up heres'pose?"

"Yes;but he'll get another thar.  Lordthar's women enougheverywhar"said Haley.

Tom wassitting very mournfully on the outside of the shopwhile thisconversation was going on.  Suddenly he heard the quickshortclick of a horse's hoof behind him; andbefore he couldfairlyawake from his surpriseyoung Master George sprang intothe wagonthrew his arms tumultuously round his neckand wassobbingand scolding with energy.

"Ideclareit's real mean!  I don't care what they sayanyof 'em! It's a nastymean shame!  If I was a manthey shouldn'tdoit--they should not_so_!" said Georgewith a kind ofsubduedhowl.

"O!Mas'r George! this does me good!" said Tom.  "Icouldn'tbar to gooff without seein' ye!  It does me real goodye can'ttell!" Here Tom made some movement of his feetand George's eyefell onthe fetters.

"Whata shame!" he exclaimedlifting his hands.  "I'llknockthat oldfellow down--I will!"

"Noyou won'tMas'r George; and you must not talk so loud.It won'thelp me anyto anger him."

"WellI won'tthenfor your sake; but only to think ofit--isn'tit a shame?  They never sent for menor sent me any wordandif ithadn't been for Tom LinconI shouldn't have heard it.I tellyouI blew 'em up wellall of 'emat home!"

"Thatar wasn't rightI'm 'feardMas'r George."

"Can'thelp it!  I say it's a shame!  Look hereUncle Tom"said heturning his back to the shopand speaking in a mysterioustone_"I've brought you my dollar!"_

"O! Icouldn't think o' takin' on 'tMas'r Georgeno waysin theworld!" said Tomquite moved.

"Butyou _shall_ take it!" said George; "look here--I toldAunt ChloeI'd do itand she advised me just to make a hole initandput a string throughso you could hang it round your neckand keepit out of sight; else this mean scamp would take it away.I tell yeTomI want to blow him up! it would do me good!"

"Nodon't Mas'r Georgefor it won't do _me_ any good."

"WellI won'tfor your sake" said Georgebusily tyinghis dollarround Tom's neck; "but therenowbutton your coattight overitand keep itand rememberevery time you see itthat I'llcome down after youand bring you back.  Aunt Chloe andI havebeen talking about it.  I told her not to fear; I'll see toitandI'll tease father's life outif he don't do it."

"O!Mas'r Georgeye mustn't talk so 'bout yer father!"

"LorUncle TomI don't mean anything bad."

"AndnowMas'r George" said Tom"ye must be a good boy;'memberhow many hearts is sot on ye.  Al'ays keep close toyermother.  Don't be gettin' into any of them foolish ways boyshas ofgettin' too big to mind their mothers.  Tell ye whatMas'rGeorgethe Lord gives good many things twice over; but he don'tgive ye amother but once.  Ye'll never see sich another womanMas'rGeorgeif ye live to be a hundred years old.  Sonowyouhold on toherand grow upand be a comfort to herthar's myown goodboy--you will nowwon't ye?"

"YesI willUncle Tom" said George seriously.

"Andbe careful of yer speakingMas'r George.  Young boyswhen theycomes to your ageis wilfulsometimes-- it is naturtheyshould be.  But real gentlemensuch as I hopes you'll benever letsfall on words that isn't 'spectful to thar parents.Ye an't'fendedMas'r George?"

"NoindeedUncle Tom; you always did give me good advice."

"I'solderye know" said Tomstroking the boy's finecurly headwith his largestrong handbut speaking in a voice astender asa woman's"and I sees all that's bound up in you.OMas'rGeorgeyou has everything--l'arnin'privilegesreadin'writin'--andyou'll grow up to be a greatlearnedgood man andall thepeople on the place and your mother and father'll be soproud onye!  Be a good Mas'rlike yer father; and be a Christianlike yermother.  'Member yer Creator in the days o' yer youthMas'rGeorge."

"I'llbe _real_ goodUncle TomI tell you" said George."I'mgoing to be a _first-rater_; and don't you be discouraged.I'll haveyou back to the placeyet.  As I told Aunt Chloe thismorningI'll build our house all overand you shall have a roomfor aparlor with a carpet on itwhen I'm a man.  Oyou'll havegood timesyet!"

Haley nowcame to the doorwith the handcuffs in his hands.

"LookherenowMister" said Georgewith an air of greatsuperiorityas he got out"I shall let father and mother knowhow youtreat Uncle Tom!"

"You'rewelcome" said the trader.

"Ishould think you'd be ashamed to spend all your lifebuying menand womenand chaining themlike cattle!  I shouldthinkyou'd feel mean!" said George.

"Solong as your grand folks wants to buy men and womenI'm asgood asthey is" said Haley; "'tan't any meaner sellin' on'emthat't is buyin'!"

"I'llnever do eitherwhen I'm a man" said George; "I'mashamedthis daythat I'm a Kentuckian.  I always was proud ofitbefore;" and George sat very straight on his horseand lookedround withan airas if he expected the state would be impressedwith hisopinion.

"Wellgood-byUncle Tom; keep a stiff upper lip" said George.

"Good-byMas'r George" said Tomlooking fondly andadmiringlyat him.  "God Almighty bless you!  Ah! Kentucky han'tgot manylike you!" he saidin the fulness of his heartas thefrankboyish face was lost to his view.  Away he wentand Tomlookedtill the clatter of his horse's heels died awaythe lastsound orsight of his home.  But over his heart there seemed to bea warmspotwhere those young hands had placed that precious dollar.Tom put uphis handand held it close to his heart.

"NowI tell ye whatTom" said Haleyas he came up tothe wagonand threw in the handcuffs"I mean to start fa'rwith yeas I gen'ally do with my niggers; and I'll tell ye nowto beginwithyou treat me fa'rand I'll treat you fa'r;I an'tnever hard on my niggers.  Calculates to do the best for'em Ican.  Nowye seeyou'd better jest settle down comfortableand not betryin' no tricks; because nigger's tricks of all sortsI'm up toand it's no use.  If niggers is quietand don't try toget offthey has good times with me; and if they don'twhyit'stharfaultand not mine."

Tomassured Haley that he had no present intentions ofrunningoff.  In factthe exhortation seemed rather a superfluousone to aman with a great pair of iron fetters on his feet.But Mr.Haley had got in the habit of commencing his relations withhis stockwith little exhortations of this naturecalculatedashe deemedto inspire cheerfulness and confidenceand prevent thenecessityof any unpleasant scenes.

And herefor the presentwe take our leave of Tomtopursue thefortunes of other characters in our story.

 

 

CHAPTER XIIn WhichProperty Gets into an Improper State of Mind

 

It waslate in a drizzly afternoon that a traveler alighted at thedoor of asmall country hotelin the village of N----in Kentucky.In thebarroom he found assembled quite a miscellaneous companywhomstress of weather had driven to harborand the place presentedthe usualscenery of such reunions.  Greattallraw-bonedKentuckiansattired in hunting-shirtsand trailing their loosejointsover a vast extent of territorywith the easy lounge peculiarto therace--rifles stacked away in the cornershot-pouchesgame-bagshunting-dogsand little negroesall rolled togetherin thecorners--were the characteristic features in the picture.At eachend of the fireplace sat a long-legged gentlemanwith hischairtipped backhis hat on his headand the heels of his muddybootsreposing sublimely on the mantel-piece--a positionwe willinform ourreadersdecidedly favorable to the turn of reflectionincidentto western tavernswhere travellers exhibit a decidedpreferencefor this particular mode of elevating their understandings.

Mine hostwho stood behind the barlike most of his country menwas greatof staturegood-natured and loose-jointedwith anenormousshock of hair on his headand a great tall haton the topof that.

In facteverybody in the room bore on his head thischaracteristicemblem of man's sovereignty; whether itwere felthatpalm-leafgreasy beaveror fine new chapeauthereit reposedwith true republican independence.  In truthit appearedto be thecharacteristic mark of every individual.  Some wore themtippedrakishly to one side--these were your men of humorjollyfree-and-easydogs; some had them jammed independently down overtheirnoses--these were your hard charactersthorough menwhowhen theywore their hats_wanted_ to wear themand to wear themjust asthey had a mind to; there were those who had them set faroverback--wide-awake menwho wanted a clear prospect; whilecarelessmenwho did not knowor carehow their hats sathadthemshaking about in all directions.  The various hatsin factwere quitea Shakespearean study.

Diversnegroesin very free-and-easy pantaloonsand with noredundancyin the shirt linewere scuttling abouthither andthitherwithout bringing to pass any very particular resultsexceptexpressing a generic willingness to turn over everythingincreation generally for the benefit of Mas'r and his guests.Add tothis picture a jollycracklingrollicking firegoingrejoicinglyup a great wide chimney--the outer door and everywindowbeing set wide openand the calico window-curtain floppingandsnapping in a good stiff breeze of damp raw air--and you havean idea ofthe jollities of a Kentucky tavern.

YourKentuckian of the present day is a good illustration of thedoctrineof transmitted instincts and pecularities.  His fathersweremighty hunters--men who lived in the woodsand slept underthe free open heavenswith the stars to hold their candles; andtheirdescendant to this day always acts as if the house were hiscamp--wearshis hat at all hourstumbles himself aboutandputs hisheels on the tops of chairs or mantelpiecesjust as hisfatherrolled on the green swardand put his upon trees andlogs--keepsall the windows and doors openwinter and summerthat hemay get air enough for his great lungs--calls everybody"stranger"with nonchalant bonhommieand is altogether thefrankesteasiestmost jovial creature living.

Into suchan assembly of the free and easy our traveller entered.He was ashortthick-set mancarefully dressedwith a roundgood-naturedcountenanceand something rather fussy andparticularin his appearance.  He was very careful of his valiseandumbrellabringing them in with his own handsand resistingpertinaciouslyall offers from the various servants to relievehim ofthem.  He looked round the barroom with rather an anxiousairandretreating with his valuables to the warmest cornerdisposedthem under his chairsat downand looked ratherapprehensivelyup at the worthy whose heels illustrated the end ofthemantel-piecewho was spitting from right to leftwith acourageand energy rather alarming to gentlemen of weak nerves andparticularhabits.

"Isaystrangerhow are ye?" said the aforesaid gentlemanfiring anhonorary salute of tobacco-juice in the direction of thenewarrival.

"WellI reckon" was the reply of the otheras he dodgedwith somealarmthe threatening honor.

"Anynews?" said the respondenttaking out a strip oftobaccoand a large hunting-knife from his pocket.

"Notthat I know of" said the man.

"Chaw?"said the first speakerhanding the old gentlemana bit ofhis tobaccowith a decidedly brotherly air.

"Nothank ye--it don't agree with me" said the littlemanedging off.

"Don'teh?" said the othereasilyand stowing away themorsel inhis own mouthin order to keep up the supply oftobacco-juicefor the general benefit of society.

The oldgentleman uniformly gave a little start wheneverhislong-sided brother fired in his direction; and this beingobservedby his companionhe very good-naturedly turned hisartilleryto another quarterand proceeded to storm one ofthefire-irons with a degree of military talent fully sufficientto take acity.

"What'sthat?" said the old gentlemanobserving some ofthecompany formed in a group around a large handbill.

"Niggeradvertised!" said one of the companybriefly.

Mr.Wilsonfor that was the old gentleman's namerose upandaftercarefully adjusting his valise and umbrellaproceededdeliberatelyto take out his spectacles and fix them on his nose;andthisoperation being performedread as follows:

 

    "Ran away from the subscribermy mulatto boyGeorge. SaidGeorge six feet in heighta very light mulattobrown
curlyhair; is very intelligentspeaks handsomelycan read
andwritewill probably try to pass for a white manis
deeplyscarred on his back and shouldershas been branded
in hisright hand with the letter H.
    "I will give four hundred dollars for him aliveand
thesame sum for satisfactory proof that he has been killed."

 

The oldgentleman read this advertisement from end to endin a lowvoiceas if he were studying it.

Thelong-legged veteranwho had been besieging the fire-ironas beforerelatednow took down his cumbrous lengthand rearingaloft histall formwalked up to the advertisement and verydeliberatelyspit a full discharge of tobacco-juice on it.

"There'smy mind upon that!" said hebrieflyand sat down again.

"Whynowstrangerwhat's that for?" said mine host.

"I'ddo it all the same to the writer of that ar paperif he washere"said the long mancoolly resuming his old employment ofcuttingtobacco.  "Any man that owns a boy like thatand can'tfind anybetter way o' treating on him_deserves_ to lose him.Suchpapers as these is a shame to Kentucky; that's my mind rightoutifanybody wants to know!"

"Wellnowthat's a fact" said mine hostas he made anentry inhis book.

"I'vegot a gang of boyssir" said the long manresuming hisattack onthe fire-irons"and I jest tells 'em--`Boys' saysI--`_run_now! dig! put! jest when ye want to!  I never shall cometo lookafter you!'  That's the way I keep mine.  Let 'em know theyare freeto run any timeand it jest breaks up their wanting to.More 'nallI've got free papers for 'em all recordedin case Igetskeeled up any o' these timesand they know it; and I tellyestrangerthere an't a fellow in our parts gets more out ofhisniggers than I do.  Whymy boys have been to Cincinnatiwithfivehundred dollars' worth of coltsand brought me back the moneyallstraighttime and agin.  It stands to reason they should.Treat 'emlike dogsand you'll have dogs' works and dogs' actions.Treat 'emlike menand you'll have men's works."  And the honestdroverinhis warmthendorsed this moral sentiment by firing aperfect_feu de joi_ at the fireplace.

"Ithink you're altogether rightfriend" said Mr. Wilson; "andthis boydescribed here _is_ a fine fellow--no mistake about that.He workedfor me some half-dozen years in my bagging factoryand he wasmy best handsir.  He is an ingenious fellowtoo: heinvented amachine for the cleaning of hemp--a really valuableaffair;it's gone into use in several factories.  His master holdsthe patentof it."

"I'llwarrant ye" said the drover"holds it and makes moneyout of itand then turns round and brands the boy in hisrighthand.  If I had a fair chanceI'd mark himI reckon so thathe'd carryit _one_ while."

"Theseyer knowin' boys is allers aggravatin' and sarcy"said acoarse-looking fellowfrom the other side of the room;"that'swhy they gets cut up and marked so.  If they behavedthemselvesthey wouldn't."

"Thatis to saythe Lord made 'em menand it's a hardsqueezegettin 'em down into beasts" said the droverdryly.

"Brightniggers isn't no kind of 'vantage to their masters"continuedthe otherwell entrenchedin a coarseunconsciousobtusenessfrom the contempt of his opponent; "what's the use o'talentsand them thingsif you can't get the use on 'em yourself?Whyallthe use they make on 't is to get round you.  I've hadone or twoof these fellersand I jest sold 'em down river.  I knewI'd got tolose 'emfirst or lastif I didn't."

"Bettersend orders up to the Lordto make you a setandleave outtheir souls entirely" said the drover.

Here theconversation was interrupted by the approach of a smallone-horsebuggy to the inn.  It had a genteel appearanceandawell-dressedgentlemanly man sat on the seatwith a coloredservantdriving.

The wholeparty examined the new comer with the interest withwhich aset of loafers in a rainy day usually examine everynewcomer. He was very tallwith a darkSpanish complexionfineexpressiveblack eyesand close-curling hairalso of a glossyblackness. His well-formed aquiline nosestraight thin lipsandtheadmirable contour of his finely-formed limbsimpressed thewholecompany instantly with the idea of something uncommon.He walkedeasily in among the companyand with a nod indicatedto hiswaiter where to place his trunkbowed to the companyandwith hishat in his handwalked up leisurely to the barand gavein hisname as Henry ButterOaklandsShelby County.  Turningwithanindifferent airhe sauntered up to the advertisementandread itover.

"Jim"he said to his man"seems to me we met a boy somethinglike thisup at Beman'sdidn't we?"

"YesMas'rsaid Jim"only I an't sure about the hand."

"WellI didn't lookof course" said the stranger with acarelessyawn.  Then walking up to the landlordhe desired himto furnishhim with a private apartmentas he had some writing todoimmediately.

Thelandlord was all obsequiousand a relay of about sevennegroesold and youngmale and femalelittle and bigwere soonwhizzingaboutlike a covey of partridgesbustlinghurryingtreadingon each other's toesand tumbling over each otherintheir zealto get Mas'r's room readywhile he seated himself easilyon a chairin the middle of the roomand entered into conversationwith theman who sat next to him.

ThemanufacturerMr. Wilsonfrom the time of the entranceof thestrangerhad regarded him with an air of disturbed anduneasycuriosity.  He seemed to himself to have met and beenacquaintedwith him somewherebut he could not recollect.Every fewmomentswhen the man spokeor movedor smiledhewouldstart and fix his eyes on himand then suddenly withdrawthemasthe brightdark eyes met his with such unconcerned coolness.At lastasudden recollection seemed to flash upon himfor he staredat thestranger with such an air of blank amazement and alarmthathe walkedup to him.

"Mr.WilsonI think" said hein a tone of recognitionandextendinghis hand.  "I beg your pardonI didn't recollectyoubefore.  I see you remember me--Mr. Butlerof OaklandsShelbyCounty."

"Ye--yes--yessir" said Mr. Wilsonlike one speaking ina dream.

Just thena negro boy enteredand announced that Mas'r'sroom wasready.

"Jimsee to the trunks" said the gentlemannegligently;thenaddressing himself to Mr. Wilsonhe added--"I shouldlike tohave a few moments' conversation with you on businessin myroomif you please."

Mr. Wilsonfollowed himas one who walks in his sleep; andtheyproceeded to a large upper chamberwhere a new-made firewascracklingand various servants flying aboutputting finishingtouches tothe arrangements.

When allwas doneand the servants departedthe young mandeliberatelylocked the doorand putting the key in his pocketfacedaboutand folding his arms on his bosomlooked Mr. Wilsonfull inthe face.

"George!"said Mr. Wilson.

"YesGeorge" said the young man.

"Icouldn't have thought it!"

"I ampretty well disguisedI fancy" said the young manwith asmile.  "A little walnut bark has made my yellow skin agenteelbrownand I've dyed my hair black; so you see I don'tanswer tothe advertisement at all."

"OGeorge! but this is a dangerous game you are playing.I couldnot have advised you to it."

"Ican do it on my own responsibility" said Georgewiththe sameproud smile.

We remark_en passant_that George wasby his father's sideof whitedescent.  His mother was one of those unfortunatesof herracemarked out by personal beauty to be the slave of thepassionsof her possessorand the mother of children who may neverknow afather.  From one of the proudest families in Kentucky hehadinherited a set of fine European featuresand a highindomitablespirit. From his mother he had received only a slight mulattotingeamply compensated by its accompanying richdark eye.A slightchange in the tint of the skin and the color of his hairhadmetamorphosed him into the Spanish-looking fellow he thenappeared;and as gracefulness of movement and gentlemanly mannershad alwaysbeen perfectly natural to himhe found no difficultyin playingthe bold part he had adopted--that of a gentlemantravellingwith his domestic.

Mr.Wilsona good-natured but extremely fidgety and cautiousoldgentlemanambled up and down the roomappearingas JohnBunyanhath it"much tumbled up and down in his mind" anddividedbetweenhis wish to help Georgeand a certain confused notion ofmaintaininglaw and order: soas he shambled abouthe deliveredhimself asfollows:

"WellGeorgeI s'pose you're running away--leaving yourlawfulmasterGeorge--(I don't wonder at it)--at the same timeI'm sorryGeorge--yesdecidedly--I think I must say thatGeorge--it'smy duty to tell you so."

"Whyare you sorrysir?" said Georgecalmly.

"Whyto see youas it weresetting yourself in oppositionto thelaws of your country."

"_My_country!" said Georgewith a strong and bitter emphasis;"whatcountry have Ibut the grave--and I wish to Godthat I waslaid there!"

"WhyGeorgeno--no--it won't do; this way of talking iswicked--unscriptural. Georgeyou've got a hard master--in factheis--well he conducts himself reprehensibly--I can't pretend todefendhim.  But you know how the angel commandedHagar to returntoher mistressand submit herself under the hand;and theapostlesent back Onesimus to his master."

"Don'tquote Bible at me that wayMr. Wilson" said Georgewith aflashing eye"don't! for my wife is a Christianand I meanto beifever I get to where I can; but to quote Bible to a fellowin mycircumstancesis enough to make him give it up altogether.I appealto God Almighty;--I'm willing to go with the case toHimandask Him if I do wrong to seek my freedom."

"Thesefeelings are quite naturalGeorge" said thegood-naturedmanblowing his nose.  "Yesthey're naturalbut itis my dutynot to encourage 'em in you.  Yesmy boyI'm sorryfor younow; it's a bad case--very bad; but the apostle says`Leteveryoneabide in the condition in which he is called.'  We mustall submitto the indications of ProvidenceGeorge--don't you see?"

Georgestood with his head drawn backhis arms folded tightlyover hisbroad breastand a bitter smile curling his lips.

"IwonderMr. Wilsonif the Indians should come and take youa prisoneraway from your wife and childrenand want to keepyou allyour life hoeing corn for themif you'd think it your dutyto abidein the condition in which you were called.  I rather thinkthat you'dthink the first stray horse you could find an indicationofProvidence--shouldn't you?"

The littleold gentleman stared with both eyes at thisillustrationof the case; butthough not much of a reasonerhehad thesense in which some logicians on this particular subjectdo notexcel--that of saying nothingwhere nothing could be said.Soas hestood carefully stroking his umbrellaand folding andpattingdown all the creases in ithe proceeded on with hisexhortationsin a general way.

"YouseeGeorgeyou knownowI always have stood your friend;andwhatever I've saidI've said for your good.  Nowhereit seemsto meyou're running an awful risk.  You can't hopeto carryit out.  If you're takenit will be worse with you thanever;they'll only abuse youand half kill youand sell you downtheriver."

"Mr.WilsonI know all this" said George.  "I _do_ run ariskbut--"he threw open his overcoatand showed two pistols andabowie-knife.  "There!" he said"I'm ready for'em!  Down southI never_will_ go.

No! if itcomes to thatI can earn myself at least six feet offreesoil--the first and last I shall ever own in Kentucky!"

"WhyGeorgethis state of mind is awful; it's getting reallydesperateGeorge.  I'm concerned.  Going to break the lawsof yourcountry!"

"Mycountry again!  Mr. Wilson_you_ have a country; but whatcountryhave _I_or any one like meborn of slave mothers?What lawsare there for us?  We don't make them--we don't consenttothem--we have nothing to do with them; all they do for us isto crushusand keep us down.  Haven't I heard your Fourth-of-Julyspeeches? Don't you tell us allonce a yearthat governmentsderivetheir just power from the consent of the governed?  Can't afellow_think_that hears such things?  Can't he put this and thattogetherand see what it comes to?"

Mr.Wilson's mind was one of those that may not unaptly berepresentedby a bale of cotton--downysoftbenevolently fuzzyandconfused.  He really pitied George with all his heartand hada sort ofdim and cloudy perception of the style of feeling thatagitatedhim; but he deemed it his duty to go on talking _good_ tohimwithinfinite pertinacity.

"Georgethis is bad.  I must tell youyou knowas a friendyou'dbetter not be meddling with such notions; they are badGeorgevery badfor boys in your condition--very;" and Mr.Wilson satdown to a tableand began nervously chewing the handleof hisumbrella.

"SeeherenowMr. Wilson" said Georgecoming up and sittinghimselfdeterminately down in front of him; "look at menow.Don't Isit before youevery wayjust as much a man as you are?Look at myface--look at my hands--look at my body" and theyoung mandrew himself up proudly; "why am I _not_ a manasmuch asanybody?  WellMr. Wilsonhear what I can tell you.I had afather--one of your Kentucky gentlemen--who didn't thinkenough ofme to keep me from being sold with his dogs and horsesto satisfythe estatewhen he died.  I saw my mother put up atsheriff'ssalewith her seven children.  They were sold before hereyesoneby oneall to different masters; and I was the youngest.She cameand kneeled down before old Mas'rand begged him to buyher withmethat she might have at least one child with her; andhe kickedher away with his heavy boot.  I saw him do it; and thelast thatI heard was her moans and screamswhen I was tied tohishorse's neckto be carried off to his place."

"Wellthen?"

"Mymaster traded with one of the menand bought my oldest sister.She was apiousgood girl--a member of the Baptist church--andashandsome as my poor mother had been.  She was well brought upand hadgood manners.  At firstI was glad she was boughtfor I hadone friend near me.  I was soon sorry for it.  SirIhave stoodat the door and heard her whippedwhen it seemed asif everyblow cut into my naked heartand I couldn't do anythingto helpher; and she was whippedsirfor wanting to live a decentChristianlifesuch as your laws give no slave girl a right tolive; andat last I saw her chained with a trader's gangto besent tomarket in Orleans--sent there for nothing else but that--andthat's thelast I know of her.  WellI grew up--long years andyears--nofatherno motherno sisternot a living soul thatcared forme more than a dog; nothing but whippingscoldingstarving. WhysirI've been so hungry that I have been glad totake thebones they threw to their dogs; and yetwhen I was alittlefellowand laid awake whole nights and criedit wasn'tthehungerit wasn't the whippingI cried for.  Nosirit wasfor _mymother_ and _my sisters_--it was because I hadn't a friendto love meon earth.  I never knew what peace or comfort was.  I neverhad a kindword spoken to me till I came to work in your factory.Mr.Wilsonyou treated me well; you encouraged me to do welland tolearn to read and writeand to try to make something ofmyself;and God knows how grateful I am for it.  ThensirI found mywife; you've seen her--you know how beautiful she is.When Ifound she loved mewhen I married herI scarcely couldbelieve Iwas aliveI was so happy; andsirshe is as goodas she isbeautiful.  But now what?  Whynow comes my mastertakesme rightaway from my workand my friendsand all I likeandgrinds medown into the very dirt!  And why?  Becausehe saysIforgot whoI was; he saysto teach me that I am only a nigger!After alland last of allhe comes between me and my wifeandsays Ishall give her upand live with another woman.  And allthis yourlaws give him power to doin spite of God or man.Mr.Wilsonlook at it!  There isn't _one_ of all these thingsthathavebroken the hearts of my mother and my sisterand my wife andmyselfbut your laws allowand give every man power to doinKentuckyand none can say to him nay!  Do you call these the lawsof _my_country?  SirI haven't any countryanymore than I haveanyfather.  But I'm going to have one.  I don't want anythingof_your_countryexcept to be let alone--to go peaceably out ofit; andwhen I get to Canadawhere the laws will own me and protectme_that_shall be my countryand its laws I will obey.  But ifany mantries to stop melet him take carefor I am desperate.I'll fightfor my liberty to the last breath I breathe.  You sayyourfathers did it; if it was right for themit is right for me!"

Thisspeechdelivered partly while sitting at the tableandpartlywalking up and down the room--delivered with tearsandflashingeyesand despairing gestures--was altogether too muchfor thegood-natured old body to whom it was addressedwho hadpulled outa great yellow silk pocket-handkerchiefand wasmopping uphis face with great energy.

"Blast'em all!" he suddenly broke out.  "Haven't I alwayssaidso--the infernal old cusses!  I hope I an't swearingnow.Well! goaheadGeorgego ahead; but be carefulmy boy; don'tshootanybodyGeorgeunless--well--you'd _better_ not shootIreckon; atleastI wouldn't _hit_ anybodyyou know.  Where isyour wifeGeorge?" he addedas he nervously roseand beganwalkingthe room.

"Gonesir gonewith her child in her armsthe Lord onlyknowswhere;--gone after the north star; and when we ever meetor whetherwe meet at all in this worldno creature can tell."

"Isit possible! astonishing! from such a kind family?"

"Kindfamilies get in debtand the laws of _our_ countryallow themto sell the child out of its mother's bosom to pay itsmaster'sdebts" said Georgebitterly.

"Wellwell" said the honest old manfumbling in his pocket:"Is'poseperhapsI an't following my judgment--hang itI _won't_follow my judgment!" he addedsuddenly; "so hereGeorge"andtaking out a roll of bills from his pocket-bookheofferedthem to George.

"Nomy kindgood sir!" said George"you've done a greatdeal formeand this might get you into trouble.  I have moneyenoughIhopeto take me as far as I need it."

"No;but you mustGeorge.  Money is a great help everywhere;--can't havetoo muchif you get it honestly.  Take it--_do_ takeit_now_--domy boy!"

"Onconditionsirthat I may repay it at some futuretimeIwill" said Georgetaking up the money.

"AndnowGeorgehow long are you going to travel in thisway?--notlong or farI hope.  It's well carried onbut too bold.And thisblack fellow--who is he?"

"Atrue fellowwho went to Canada more than a year ago.He heardafter he got therethat his master was so angry at himfor goingoff that he had whipped his poor old mother; and he hascome allthe way back to comfort herand get a chance to get her away."

"Hashe got her?"

"Notyet; he has been hanging about the placeand found nochanceyet.  Meanwhilehe is going with me as far as Ohiotoput meamong friends that helped himand then he will come backafter her.

"Dangerousvery dangerous!" said the old man.

Georgedrew himself upand smiled disdainfully.

The oldgentleman eyed him from head to footwith a sortofinnocent wonder.

"Georgesomething has brought you out wonderfully.  You holdup yourheadand speak and move like another man" said Mr. Wilson.

"BecauseI'm a _freeman_!" said Georgeproudly.  "Yessir;I've saidMas'r for the last time to any man.  _I'm free!"_

"Takecare!  You are not sure--you may be taken."

"Allmen are free and equal _in the grave_if it comes tothatMr.Wilson" said George.

"I'mperfectly dumb-founded with your boldness!" said Mr.Wilson--"tocome right here to the nearest tavern!"

"Mr.Wilsonit is _so_ boldand this tavern is so nearthatthey willnever think of it; they will look for me on aheadandyouyourself wouldn't know me.  Jim's master don't live in thiscounty; heisn't known in these parts.  Besideshe is given up;nobody islooking after himand nobody will take me up from theadvertisementI think."

"Butthe mark in your hand?"

Georgedrew off his gloveand showed a newly-healed scarin hishand.

"Thatis a parting proof of Mr. Harris' regard" he saidscornfully."Afortnight agohe took it into his head to give it to mebecause hesaid he believed I should try to get away one ofthesedays.  Looks interestingdoesn't it?" he saiddrawing hisglove onagain.

"Ideclaremy very blood runs cold when I think of it--yourconditionand your risks!" said Mr. Wilson.

"Minehas run cold a good many yearsMr. Wilson; at presentit's aboutup to the boiling point" said George.

"Wellmy good sir" continued Georgeafter a few moments'silence"I saw you knew me; I thought I'd just have this talk withyoulestyour surprised looks should bring me out.  I leave earlytomorrowmorningbefore daylight; by tomorrow night I hope tosleep safein Ohio.  I shall travel by daylightstop at the besthotelsgoto the dinner-tables with the lords of the land.Sogood-bysir; if you hear that I'm takenyou may know thatI'm dead!"

Georgestood up like a rockand put out his hand with theair of aprince.  The friendly little old man shook it heartilyand aftera little shower of cautionhe took his umbrellaandfumbledhis way out of the room.

Georgestood thoughtfully looking at the dooras the oldman closedit.  A thought seemed to flash across his mind.He hastilystepped to itand opening itsaid

"Mr.Wilsonone word more."

The oldgentleman entered againand Georgeas beforelockedthe doorand then stood for a few moments looking on thefloorirresolutely.  At lastraising his head with a suddeneffort--"Mr.Wilsonyou have shown yourself a Christian inyourtreatment of me--I want to ask one last deed of Christiankindnessof you."

"WellGeorge."

"Wellsir--what you said was true.  I _am_ running adreadfulrisk.  There isn'ton eartha living soul to care if Idie"he addeddrawing his breath hardand speaking with a greateffort--"Ishall be kicked out and buried like a dogand nobody'llthink ofit a day after--_only my poor wife!_  Poor soul! she'llmourn andgrieve; and if you'd only contriveMr. Wilsonto sendthislittle pin to her.  She gave it to me for a Christmas presentpoorchild!  Give it to herand tell her I loved her to the last.Will you? _Will_ you?" he addedearnestly.

"Yescertainly--poor fellow!" said the old gentlemantakingthe pinwith watery eyesand a melancholy quiver in his voice.

"Tellher one thing" said George; "it's my last wishifshe _can_get to Canadato go there.  No matter how kind hermistressis--no matter how much she loves her home; beg her notto goback--for slavery always ends in misery.  Tell her to bringup our boya free manand then he won't suffer as I have.  Tell herthisMr.Wilsonwill you?"

"YesGeorge.  I'll tell her; but I trust you won't die;takeheart--you're a brave fellow.  Trust in the LordGeorge.I wish inmy heart you were safe throughthough--that's what I do."

"_Is_there a God to trust in?" said Georgein such a tone ofbitterdespair as arrested the old gentleman's words.  "OI'veseenthings all my life that have made me feel that there can't bea God. You Christians don't know how these things look to us.There's aGod for youbut is there any for us?"

"Onowdon't--don'tmy boy!" said the old manalmostsobbing ashe spoke; "don't feel so!  There is--there is; cloudsanddarkness are around about himbut righteousness and judgmentare thehabitation of his throne.  There's a _God_George--believeit; trustin Himand I'm sure He'll help you.  Everything will besetright--if not in this lifein another."

The realpiety and benevolence of the simple old man invested himwith atemporary dignity and authorityas he spoke.  George stoppedhisdistracted walk up and down the roomstood thoughtfullya momentand then saidquietly

"Thankyou for saying thatmy good friend; I'll _think of that_."

 

 

CHAPTERXIISelectIncident of Lawful Trade

 

"InRamah there was a voice heard--weepingand lamentation
andgreat mourning; Rachel weeping for her childrenand would not
becomforted."

Mr. Haleyand Tom jogged onward in their wagoneachfor a timeabsorbedin his own reflections.  Nowthe reflections of two mensittingside by side are a curious thing--seated on the same seathaving thesame eyesearshands and organs of all sortsandhavingpass before their eyes the same objects--it is wonderfulwhat avariety we shall find in these same reflections!

AsforexampleMr. Haley: he thought first of Tom's lengthandbreadthand heightand what he would sell forif he waskept fatand in good case till he got him into market.  He thoughtof how heshould make out his gang; he thought of the respectivemarketvalue of certain supposititious men and women and childrenwho wereto compose itand other kindred topics of the business;then hethought of himselfand how humane he wasthat whereasother menchained their "niggers" hand and foot bothhe only putfetters onthe feetand left Tom the use of his handsas longas hebehaved well; and he sighed to think how ungrateful humannaturewasso that there was even room to doubt whether Tomappreciatedhis mercies.  He had been taken in so by "niggers"whom hehad favored; but still he was astonished to considerhowgood-natured he yet remained!

As to Tomhe was thinking over some words of an unfashionableold bookwhich kept running through his headagain and againasfollows: "We have here no continuing citybut we seek one to come;whereforeGod himself is not ashamed to be called our God; for hehathprepared for us a city."  These words of an ancient volumegot upprincipally by "ignorant and unlearned men" havethroughall timekept upsomehowa strange sort of power over the mindsof poorsimple fellowslike Tom.  They stir up the soul from itsdepthsand rouseas with trumpet callcourageenergyandenthusiasmwhere before was only the blackness of despair.

Mr. Haleypulled out of his pocket sundry newspapersandbeganlooking over their advertisementswith absorbed interest.He was nota remarkably fluent readerand was in the habit ofreading ina sort of recitative half-aloudby way of calling inhis earsto verify the deductions of his eyes.  In this tone heslowlyrecited the following paragraph:

 

    "EXECUTOR'S SALE--NEGROES!--Agreeably to order of courtwill besoldon TuesdayFebruary 20before the Court-housedoorinthe town of WashingtonKentuckythe following negroes:Hagaraged 60; Johnaged 30; Benaged 21; Saulaged 25;Albertaged 14.  Sold for the benefit of the creditors and heirsof theestate of Jesse Blutchford

                                       SAMUELMORRIS                                        THOMAS FLINT                                            Executors."

 

"Thisyer I must look at" said he to Tomfor want ofsomebodyelse to talk to.

"YeseeI'm going to get up a prime gang to take down with yeTom; it'llmake it sociable and pleasant like--good company willye know. We must drive right to Washington first and foremostand thenI'll clap you into jailwhile I does the business."

Tomreceived this agreeable intelligence quite meekly; simplywonderingin his own hearthow many of these doomed men hadwives andchildrenand whether they would feel as he did aboutleavingthem.  It is to be confessedtoothat the naiveoff-handinformationthat he was to be thrown into jail by no means producedanagreeable impression on a poor fellow who had always pridedhimself ona strictly honest and upright course of life.  YesTomwe mustconfess itwas rather proud of his honestypoor fellow--nothavingvery much else to be proud of;--if he had belonged to someof thehigher walks of societyheperhapswould never have beenreduced tosuch straits.  Howeverthe day wore onand the eveningsaw Haleyand Tom comfortably accommodated in Washington--the onein atavernand the other in a jail.

Abouteleven o'clock the next daya mixed throng was gatheredaround thecourt-house steps--smokingchewingspittingswearingand conversingaccording to their respective tastes andturns--waitingfor the auction to commence.  The men and women tobe soldsat in a group aparttalking in a low tone to each other.The womanwho had been advertised by the name of Hagar was a regularAfrican infeature and figure.  She might have been sixtybut wasolder thanthat by hard work and diseasewas partially blindandsomewhatcrippled with rheumatism.  By her side stood her onlyremainingsonAlberta bright-looking little fellow of fourteenyears. The boy was the only survivor of a large familywho hadbeensuccessively sold away from her to a southern market.  Themotherheld on to him with both her shaking handsand eyed withintensetrepidation every one who walked up to examine him.

"Don'tbe feardAunt Hagar" said the oldest of the men"Ispoke to Mas'r Thomas 'bout itand he thought he might manageto sellyou in a lot both together."

"Deyneedn't call me worn out yet" said shelifting hershakinghands.  "I can cook yetand scruband scour--I'm wutha buyingif I do come cheap;--tell em dat ar--you _tell_ em"she addedearnestly.

Haley hereforced his way into the groupwalked up to theold manpulled his mouth open and looked infelt of his teethmade himstand and straighten himselfbend his backand performvariousevolutions to show his muscles; and then passed on to thenextandput him through the same trial.  Walking up last to theboyhefelt of his armsstraightened his handsand looked athisfingersand made him jumpto show his agility.

"Hean't gwine to be sold widout me!" said the old womanwithpassionateeagerness; "he and I goes in a lot together; I 's railstrongyetMas'r and can do heaps o' work--heaps on itMas'r."

"Onplantation?" said Haleywith a contemptuous glance."Likelystory!" andas if satisfied with his examinationhe walkedout andlookedand stood with his hands in his pockethis cigarin hismouthand his hat cocked on one sideready for action.

"Whatthink of 'em?" said a man who had been followingHaley'sexaminationas if to make up his own mind from it.

"Wal"said Haleyspitting"I shall put inI thinkfortheyoungerly ones and the boy."

"Theywant to sell the boy and the old woman together"said theman.

"Findit a tight pull;--whyshe's an old rack o' bones--notworth hersalt."

"Youwouldn't then?" said the man.

"Anybody'd be a fool 't would.  She's half blindcrookedwithrheumatisand foolish to boot."

"Somebuys up these yer old crittursand ses there's asight morewear in 'em than a body 'd think" said the manreflectively.

"Nogo't all" said Haley; "wouldn't take her for apresent--fact--I've_seen_now."

"Wal't is kinder pitynownot to buy her with her son--herheartseems so sot on him--s'pose they fling her in cheap."

"Themthat's got money to spend that ar wayit's all well enough.I shallbid off on that ar boy for a plantation-hand;--wouldn't bebotheredwith herno waynotif they'd give her to me" said Haley.

"She'lltake on desp't" said the man.

"Nat'llyshe will" said the tradercoolly.

Theconversation was here interrupted by a busy hum in theaudience;and the auctioneera shortbustlingimportant fellowelbowedhis way into the crowd.  The old woman drew in her breathand caughtinstinctively at her son.

"Keepclose to yer mammyAlbert--close--dey'll put usuptogedder" she said.

"OmammyI'm feard they won't" said the boy.

"Deymustchild; I can't liveno waysif they don't"said theold creaturevehemently.

Thestentorian tones of the auctioneercalling out to clearthe waynow announced that the sale was about to commence.A placewas clearedand the bidding began.  The different men onthe listwere soon knocked off at prices which showed a prettybriskdemand in the market; two of them fell to Haley.

"Comenowyoung un" said the auctioneergiving the boya touchwith his hammer"be up and show your springsnow."

"Putus two up togeddertogedder--do pleaseMas'r" saidthe oldwomanholding fast to her boy.

"Beoff" said the mangrufflypushing her hands away;"youcome last.  Nowdarkeyspring;" andwith the wordhe pushedthe boy toward the blockwhile a deepheavy groanrosebehind him.  The boy pausedand looked back; but therewas notime to stayanddashing the tears from his largebrighteyeshewas up in a moment.

His finefigurealert limbsand bright faceraised aninstantcompetitionand half a dozen bids simultaneously met theear of theauctioneer.  Anxioushalf-frightenedhe looked fromside tosideas he heard the clatter of contending bids--nowherenowthere--till the hammer fell.  Haley had got him.  He waspushedfrom the block toward his new masterbut stopped onemomentand looked backwhen his poor old mothertrembling ineverylimbheld out her shaking hands toward him.

"Buyme tooMas'rfor de dear Lord's sake!--buy me--Ishall dieif you don't!"

"You'lldie if I dothat's the kink of it" said Haley--"no!"And heturned on his heel.

Thebidding for the poor old creature was summary.  The man whohadaddressed Haleyand who seemed not destitute of compassionbought herfor a trifleand the spectators began to disperse.

The poorvictims of the salewho had been brought up inone placetogether for yearsgathered round the despairing oldmotherwhose agony was pitiful to see.

"Couldn'tdey leave me one?  Mas'r allers said I should haveone--hedid" she repeated over and overin heart-broken tones.

"Trustin the LordAunt Hagar" said the oldest of themensorrowfully.

"Whatgood will it do?" said shesobbing passionately.

"Mothermother--don't! don't!" said the boy.  "They sayyou 's gota good master."

"Idon't care--I don't care. OAlbert! ohmy boy! you's my lastbaby.  Lordhow ken I?"

"Cometake her offcan't some of ye?" said Haleydryly;"don'tdo no good for her to go on that ar way."

The oldmen of the companypartly by persuasion and partlyby forceloosed the poor creature's last despairing holdandasthey ledher off to her new master's wagonstrove to comfort her.

"Now!"said Haleypushing his three purchases togetherandproducinga bundle of handcuffswhich he proceeded to put ontheirwrists; and fastening each handcuff to a long chainhe drovethembefore him to the jail.

A few dayssaw Haleywith his possessionssafely depositedon one ofthe Ohio boats.  It was the commencement of his gangtobeaugmentedas the boat moved onby various other merchandiseof thesame kindwhich heor his agenthad stored for him invariouspoints along shore.

The LaBelle Riviereas brave and beautiful a boat as everwalked thewaters of her namesake riverwas floating gayly downthestreamunder a brilliant skythe stripes and stars of freeAmericawaving and fluttering over head; the guards crowded withwell-dressedladies and gentlemen walking and enjoying thedelightfulday.  All was full of lifebuoyant and rejoicing;--allbutHaley's gangwho were storedwith other freighton the lowerdeckandwhosomehowdid not seem to appreciate their variousprivilegesas they sat in a knottalking to each other in low tones.

"Boys"said Haleycoming upbriskly"I hope you keep up goodheartandare cheerful.  Nowno sulksye see; keep stiffupper lipboys; do well by meand I'll do well by you."

The boysaddressed responded the invariable "YesMas'r"for agesthe watchword of poor Africa; but it's to be owned theydid notlook particularly cheerful; they had their various littleprejudicesin favor of wivesmotherssistersand childrenseenfor thelast time--and though "they that wasted them required ofthemmirth" it was not instantly forthcoming.

"I'vegot a wife" spoke out the article enumerated as "Johnagedthirty" and he laid his chained hand on Tom's knee--"andshe don'tknow a word about thispoor girl!"

"Wheredoes she live?" said Tom.

"In atavern a piece down here" said John; "I wishnowI _could_see her once more in this world" he added.

Poor John!It _was_ rather natural; and the tears that fellas hespokecame as naturally as if he had been a white man.Tom drew along breath from a sore heartand triedin his poorwaytocomfort him.

And overheadin the cabinsat fathers and mothershusbandsand wives;and merrydancing children moved round among themlike somany little butterfliesand everything was going onquite easyand comfortable.

"Omamma" said a boywho had just come up from below"there'sa negro trader on boardand he's brought four or fiveslavesdown there."

"Poorcreatures!" said the motherin a tone between griefandindignation.

"What'sthat?" said another lady.

"Somepoor slaves below" said the mother.

"Andthey've got chains on" said the boy.

"Whata shame to our country that such sights are to beseen!"said another lady.

"Othere's a great deal to be said on both sides of thesubject"said a genteel womanwho sat at her state-room doorsewingwhile her little girl and boy were playing round her."I'vebeen southand I must say I think the negroes are betteroff thanthey would be to be free."

"Insome respectssome of them are well offI grant"said thelady to whose remark she had answered.  "The mostdreadfulpart of slaveryto my mindis its outrages on thefeelingsand affections--the separating of familiesfor example."

"That_is_ a bad thingcertainly" said the other ladyholding upa baby's dress she had just completedand lookingintentlyon its trimmings; "but thenI fancyit don't occur often."

"Oit does" said the first ladyeagerly; "I've lived manyyearsinKentucky and Virginia bothand I've seen enough to make anyone'sheart sick.  Supposema'amyour two childrenthereshould betaken from youand sold?"

"Wecan't reason from our feelings to those of this class ofpersons"said the other ladysorting out some worsteds on her lap.

"Indeedma'amyou can know nothing of themif you say so"answeredthe first ladywarmly.  "I was born and brought upamongthem.  I know they _do_ feeljust as keenly--even more soperhaps--aswe do."

The ladysaid "Indeed!" yawnedand looked out the cabinwindowand finally repeatedfor a finalethe remark with whichshe hadbegun--"After allI think they are better off than theywould beto be free."

"It'sundoubtedly the intention of Providence that theAfricanrace should be servants--kept in a low condition" saidagrave-looking gentleman in blacka clergymanseated by thecabindoor.  "`Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shallhe
be'the scripture says."

"Isaystrangeris that ar what that text means?" saida tallmanstanding by.

"Undoubtedly. It pleased Providencefor some inscrutablereasontodoom the race to bondageages ago; and we must not setup ouropinion against that."

"Wellthenwe'll all go ahead and buy up niggers" said the man"ifthat's the way of Providence--won't weSquire?" said heturning toHaleywho had been standingwith his hands in hispocketsby the stove and intently listening to the conversation.

"Yes"continued the tall man"we must all be resigned to thedecrees ofProvidence.  Niggers must be soldand trucked roundand keptunder; it's what they's made for.  'Pears like this yerview 'squite refreshingan't itstranger?" said he to Haley.

"Inever thought on 't"  said Haley"I couldn't havesaidas muchmyself; I ha'nt no larning.  I took up the trade just tomake aliving; if 'tan't rightI calculated to 'pent on 't intimeyeknow."

"Andnow you'll save yerself the troublewon't ye?" said thetall man. "See what 't isnowto know scripture.  If ye'donlystudied yer Biblelike this yer good manye might have know'dit beforeand saved ye a heap o' trouble.  Ye could jist havesaid`Cussed be'--what's his name?--`and 't would all have comeright.'" And the strangerwho was no other than the honest droverwhom weintroduced to our readers in the Kentucky tavernsat downand begansmokingwith a curious smile on his longdry face.

A tallslender young manwith a face expressive of greatfeelingand intelligencehere broke inand repeated the words"`Allthings whatsoever ye would that men should do unto youdoye even sounto them.'  I suppose" he added"_that_ isscriptureas much as`Cursed be Canaan.'"

"Walit seems quite _as_ plain a textstranger" saidJohn thedrover"to poor fellows like usnow;" and John smokedon like avolcano.

The youngman pausedlooked as if he was going to saymorewhensuddenly the boat stoppedand the company made theusualsteamboat rushto see where they were landing.

"Boththem ar chaps parsons?" said John to one of the menas theywere going out.

The mannodded.

As theboat stoppeda black woman came running wildly up theplankdarted into the crowdflew up to where the slave gangsatandthrew her arms round that unfortunate piece of merchandisebeforeenumerate--"Johnaged thirty" and with sobs and tearsbemoanedhim as her husband.

But whatneeds tell the storytold too oft--every day told--ofheart-stringsrent and broken--the weak broken and torn forthe profitand convenience of the strong!  It needs not to betold;--everyday is telling it--telling ittooin the ear ofOne who isnot deafthough he be long silent.

The youngman who had spoken for the cause of humanity and Godbeforestood with folded armslooking on this scene.  He turnedand Haleywas standing at his side.  "My friend" he saidspeakingwith thick utterance"how can youhow dare youcarryon a tradelike this?  Look at those poor creatures!  Here I amrejoicingin my heart that I am going home to my wife and child;and thesame bell which is a signal to carry me onward towards themwill partthis poor man and his wife forever.  Depend upon itGodwill bringyou into judgment for this."

The traderturned away in silence.

"Isaynow" said the drovertouching his elbow"there'sdifferencesin parsonsan't there?  `Cussed be Canaan' don't seemto go downwith this 'undoes it?"

Haley gavean uneasy growl.

"Andthat ar an't the worst on 't" said John; "mabbee itwon't godown with the Lordneitherwhen ye come to settle withHimoneo' these daysas all on us mustI reckon."

Haleywalked reflectively to the other end of the boat.

"If Imake pretty handsomely on one or two next gangs" he thought"Ireckon I'll stop off this yer; it's really getting dangerous."And hetook out his pocket-bookand began adding over hisaccounts--aprocess which many gentlemen besides Mr. Haley havefound aspecific for an uneasy conscience.

The boatswept proudly away from the shoreand all went onmerrilyas before.  Men talkedand loafedand readand smoked.Womensewedand children playedand the boat passed on her way.

One daywhen she lay to for a while at a small town in KentuckyHaley wentup into the place on a little matter of business.

Tomwhosefetters did not prevent his taking a moderatecircuithad drawn near the side of the boatand stood listlesslygazingover the railing.  After a timehe saw the trader returningwith analert stepin company with a colored womanbearing inher arms ayoung child.  She was dressed quite respectablyand acoloredman followed herbringing along a small trunk.  The womancamecheerfully onwardtalkingas she camewith the man who boreher trunkand so passed up the plank into the boat.  The bellrungthesteamer whizzedthe engine groaned and coughedand awayswept theboat down the river.

The womanwalked forward among the boxes and bales of thelowerdeckandsitting downbusied herself with chirruping toher baby.

Haley madea turn or two about the boatand thencoming upseatedhimself near herand began saying something to her inanindifferent undertone.

Tom soonnoticed a heavy cloud passing over the woman'sbrow; andthat she answered rapidlyand with great vehemence.

"Idon't believe it--I won't believe it!" he heard her say."You'rejist a foolin with me."

"Ifyou won't believe itlook here!" said the mandrawingout apaper; "this yer's the bill of saleand there's your master'sname toit; and I paid down good solid cash for ittooI can tellyou--sonow!"

"Idon't believe Mas'r would cheat me so; it can't be true!"said thewomanwith increasing agitation.

"Youcan ask any of these men herethat can read writing.Here!"he saidto a man that was passing by"jist read this yerwon'tyou!  This yer gal won't believe mewhen I tell her what 'tis."

"Whyit's a bill of salesigned by John Fosdick" saidthe man"making over to you the girl Lucy and her child.It's allstraight enoughfor aught I see."

Thewoman's passionate exclamations collected a crowd aroundherandthe trader briefly explained to them the cause of theagitation.

"Hetold me that I was going down to Louisvilleto hire outas cook tothe same tavern where my husband works--that's whatMas'r toldmehis own self; and I can't believe he'd lie to me"said thewoman.

"Buthe has sold youmy poor womanthere's no doubt about it"said agood-natured looking manwho had been examining thepapers;"he has done itand no mistake."

"Thenit's no account talking" said the womansuddenlygrowingquite calm; andclasping her child tighter in her armsshe satdown on her boxturned her back roundand gazed listlesslyinto theriver.

"Goingto take it easyafter all!" said the trader.  "Gal'sgotgritIsee."

The womanlooked calmas the boat went on; and a beautifulsoftsummer breeze passed like a compassionate spirit over herhead--thegentle breezethat never inquires whether the brow isdusky orfair that it fans.  And she saw sunshine sparkling on thewateringolden ripplesand heard gay voicesfull of ease andpleasuretalking around her everywhere; but her heart lay as ifa greatstone had fallen on it.  Her baby raised himself up againstherandstroked her cheeks with his little hands; andspringingup anddowncrowing and chattingseemed determined to arouse her.Shestrained him suddenly and tightly in her armsand slowly onetear afteranother fell on his wonderingunconscious face; andgraduallyshe seemedand little by littleto grow calmerand busiedherself with tending and nursing him.

The childa boy of ten monthswas uncommonly large andstrong ofhis ageand very vigorous in his limbs.  Neverfor amomentstillhe kept his mother constantly busy in holding himandguarding his springing activity.

"That'sa fine chap!" said a mansuddenly stopping oppositeto himwith his hands in his pockets.  "How old is he?"

"Tenmonths and a half" said the mother.

The manwhistled to the boyand offered him part of a stickof candywhich he eagerly grabbed atand very soon had itin ababy's general depositoryto withis mouth.

"Rumfellow!" said the man "Knows what's what!" and hewhistledand walkedon.  When he had got to the other side of the boathe cameacross Haleywho was smoking on top of a pile of boxes.

Thestranger produced a matchand lighted a cigarsayingas he didso

"Decentishkind o' wench you've got round therestranger."

"WhyI reckon she _is_ tol'able fair" said Haleyblowingthe smokeout of his mouth.

"Takingher down south?" said the man.

Haleynoddedand smoked on.

"Plantationhand?" said the man.

"Wal"said Haley"I'm fillin' out an order for a plantationand Ithink I shall put her in.  They telled me she was a goodcook; andthey can use her for thator set her at the cotton-picking.She's gotthe right fingers for that; I looked at 'em.  Sell welleitherway;" and Haley resumed his cigar.

"Theywon't want the young 'un on the plantation" saidthe man.

"Ishall sell himfirst chance I find" said Haleylightinganothercigar.

"S'poseyou'd be selling him tol'able cheap" said thestrangermounting the pile of boxesand sitting down comfortably.

"Don'tknow 'bout that" said Haley; "he's a pretty smartyoung 'unstraightfatstrong; flesh as hard as a brick!"

"Verytruebut then there's the bother and expense of raisin'."

"Nonsense!"said Haley; "they is raised as easy as any kindof critterthere is going; they an't a bit more trouble than pups.This yerchap will be running all aroundin a month."

"I'vegot a good place for raisin'and I thought of takin'in alittle more stock" said the man.  "One cook lost ayoung 'unlastweek--got drownded in a washtubwhile she was a hangin' outtheclothes--and I reckon it would be well enough to set her toraisin'this yer."

Haley andthe stranger smoked a while in silenceneitherseemingwilling to broach the test question of the interview.At lastthe man resumed:

"Youwouldn't think of wantin' more than ten dollars forthat archapseeing you _must_ get him off yer handany how?"

Haleyshook his headand spit impressively.

"Thatwon't dono ways" he saidand began his smoking again.

"Wellstrangerwhat will you take?"

"Wellnow" said Haley"I _could_ raise that ar chap myselfor get himraised; he's oncommon likely and healthyandhe'd fetcha hundred dollarssix months hence; andin a year ortwohe'dbring two hundredif I had him in the right spot; Ishan'ttake a cent less nor fifty for him now."

"Ostranger! that's rediculousaltogether" said the man.

"Fact!"said Haleywith a decisive nod of his head.

"I'llgive thirty for him" said the stranger"but not acentmore."

"NowI'll tell ye what I will do" said Haleyspittingagainwith renewed decision.  "I'll split the differenceandsayforty-five; and that's the most I will do."

"Wellagreed!" said the manafter an interval.

"Done!"said Haley.  "Where do you land?"

"AtLouisville" said the man.

"Louisville"said Haley.  "Very fairwe get there about dusk.Chap willbe asleep--all fair--get him off quietlyand noscreaming--happensbeautiful--I like to do everything quietly--Ihates allkind of agitation and fluster."  And soafter a transferof certainbills had passed from the man's pocket-book to thetrader'she resumed his cigar.

It was abrighttranquil evening when the boat stopped at thewharf atLouisville.  The woman had been sitting with her babyin herarmsnow wrapped in a heavy sleep.  When she heard the nameof theplace called outshe hastily laid the child down in a littlecradleformed by the hollow among the boxesfirst carefullyspreadingunder it her cloak; and then she sprung to the side ofthe boatin hopes thatamong the various hotel-waiters who throngedthe wharfshe might see her husband.  In this hopeshe pressedforward tothe front railsandstretching far over themstrainedher eyesintently on the moving heads on the shoreand the crowdpressed inbetween her and the child.

"Now'syour time" said Haleytaking the sleeping child upandhanding him to the stranger.  "Don't wake him upand sethim tocryingnow; it would make a devil of a fuss with the gal."The mantook the bundle carefullyand was soon lost in the crowdthat wentup the wharf.

When theboatcreakingand groaningand puffinghadloosedfrom the wharfand was beginning slowly to strainherselfalongthe woman returned to her old seat.The traderwas sitting there--the child was gone!

"Whywhy--where?" she beganin bewildered surprise.

"Lucy"said the trader"your child's gone; you may as wellknow itfirst as last.  You seeI know'd you couldn't takehim downsouth; and I got a chance to sell him to a first-ratefamilythat'll raise him better than you can."

The traderhad arrived at that stage of Christian andpoliticalperfection which has been recommended by some preachersandpoliticians of the northlatelyin which he had completelyovercomeevery humane weakness and prejudice.  His heart was exactlywhereyourssirand mine could be broughtwith proper effortandcultivation.  The wild look of anguish and utter despair thatthe womancast on him might have disturbed one less practised; buthe wasused to it.  He had seen that same look hundreds of times.You canget used to such thingstoomy friend; and it is thegreatobject of recent efforts to make our whole northern communityused tothemfor the glory of the Union.  So the trader onlyregardedthe mortal anguish which he saw working in those darkfeaturesthose clenched handsand suffocating breathingsasnecessaryincidents of the tradeand merely calculated whethershe wasgoing to screamand get up a commotion on the boat; forlike othersupporters of our peculiar institutionhe decidedlydislikedagitation.

But thewoman did not scream.  The shot had passed toostraightand direct through the heartfor cry or tear.

Dizzilyshe sat down.  Her slack hands fell lifeless byher side. Her eyes looked straight forwardbut she saw nothing.All thenoise and hum of the boatthe groaning of the machinerymingleddreamily to her bewildered ear; and the poordumb-strickenheart hadneither cry not tear to show for its utter misery.  She wasquitecalm.

Thetraderwhoconsidering his advantageswas almost ashumane assome of our politiciansseemed to feel called on toadministersuch consolation as the case admitted of.

"Iknow this yer comes kinder hardat firstLucy" said he;"butsuch a smartsensible gal as you arewon't give way to it.You seeit's _necessary_and can't be helped!"

"O!don'tMas'rdon't!" said the womanwith a voice likeone thatis smothering.

"You'rea smart wenchLucy" he persisted; "I mean to dowell byyeand get ye a nice place down river; and you'll soongetanother husband--such a likely gal as you--"

"O!Mas'rif you _only_ won't talk to me now" said the womanin a voiceof such quick and living anguish that the traderfelt thatthere was something at present in the case beyond hisstyle ofoperation.  He got upand the woman turned awayandburied herhead in her cloak.

The traderwalked up and down for a timeand occasionallystoppedand looked at her.

"Takesit hardrather" he soliloquized"but quiettho';--lether sweat a while; she'll come rightby and by!"

Tom hadwatched the whole transaction from first to lastand had aperfect understanding of its results.  To himit lookedlikesomething unutterably horrible and cruelbecausepoorignorantblack soul! he had not learned to generalizeand to takeenlargedviews.  If he had only been instructed by certain ministersofChristianityhe might have thought better of itand seen init anevery-day incident of a lawful trade; a trade which is thevitalsuport of an institution which an American divinetells ushas "noevils but such as are inseparable from any other relations
insocial and domestic life."  But Tomas we seebeing apoorignorantfellowwhose reading had been confined entirely to theNewTestamentcould not comfort and solace himself with viewslikethese.  His very soul bled within him for what seemed to himthe_wrongs_ of the poor suffering thing that lay like a crushedreed onthe boxes; the feelinglivingbleedingyet immortal_thing_which American state law coolly classes with the bundlesand balesand boxesamong which she is lying.

Tom drewnearand tried to say something; but she only groaned.Honestlyand with tears running down his own cheekshe spokeof a heartof love in the skiesof a pitying Jesusand aneternalhome; but the ear was deaf with anguishand the palsiedheartcould not feel.

Night cameon--night calmunmovedand gloriousshining downwith herinnumerable and solemn angel eyestwinklingbeautifulbutsilent.  There was no speech nor languageno pitying voice orhelpinghandfrom that distant sky.  One after anotherthe voicesofbusiness or pleasure died away; all on the boat were sleepingand theripples at the prow were plainly heard.  Tom stretchedhimselfout on a boxand thereas he layhe heardever andanonasmothered sob or cry from the prostrate creature--"O! whatshall Ido?  O Lord!  O good Lorddo help me!" and soeverandanonuntil the murmur died away in silence.

AtmidnightTom wakedwith a sudden start.  Something blackpassedquickly by him to the side of the boatand he hearda splashin the water.  No one else saw or heard anything.He raisedhis head--the woman's place was vacant!  He got upand soughtabout him in vain.  The poor bleeding heart was stillat lastand the river rippled and dimpled just as brightly as ifit had notclosed above it.

Patience!patience! ye whose hearts swell indignant at wrongslikethese.  Not one throb of anguishnot one tear of theoppressedis forgotten by the Man of Sorrowsthe Lord of Glory.In hispatientgenerous bosom he bears the anguish of a world.Bear thoulike himin patienceand labor in love; for sure ashe is God"the year of his redeemed _shall_ come."

The traderwaked up bright and earlyand came out to see to hislivestock.  It was now his turn to look about in perplexity.

"Wherealive is that gal?" he said to Tom.

Tomwhohad learned the wisdom of keeping counseldid notfeelcalled upon to state his observations and suspicionsbutsaid hedid not know.

"Shesurely couldn't have got off in the night at any ofthelandingsfor I was awakeand on the lookoutwhenever theboatstopped.  I never trust these yer things to other folks."

Thisspeech was addressed to Tom quite confidentiallyas ifit wassomething that would be specially interesting to him.Tom madeno answer.

The tradersearched the boat from stem to sternamong boxesbales andbarrelsaround the machineryby the chimneysin vain.

"NowI sayTombe fair about this yer" he saidwhenafterafruitless searchhe came where Tom was standing.  "Youknowsomethingabout itnow.  Don't tell me--I know you do.  I sawthe galstretched out here about ten o'clockand ag'in attwelveand ag'in between one and two; and then at four she wasgoneandyou was a sleeping right there all the time.  Nowyouknowsomething--you can't help it."

"WellMas'r" said Tom"towards morning something brushedby meandI kinder half woke; and then I hearn a great splashand then Iclare woke upand the gal was gone.  That's all I knowon 't."

The traderwas not shocked nor amazed; becauseas we said beforehe wasused to a great many things that you are not used to.Even theawful presence of Death struck no solemn chill upon him.He hadseen Death many times--met him in the way of tradeandgotacquainted with him--and he only thought of him as a hardcustomerthat embarrassed his property operations very unfairly;and so heonly swore that the gal was a baggageand that he wasdevilishunluckyand thatif things went on in this wayhe shouldnot make acent on the trip.  In shorthe seemed to considerhimself anill-used mandecidedly; but there was no help for itas thewoman had escaped into a state which _never will_ give upafugitive--not even at the demand of the whole glorious Union.Thetraderthereforesat discontentedly downwith his littleaccount-bookand put down the missing body and soul under the headof_losses!_

"He'sa shocking creatureisn't he--this trader? so unfeeling!It'sdreadfulreally!"

"Obut nobody thinks anything of these traders!  They areuniversallydespised--never received into any decent society."

But whosirmakes the trader?  Who is most to blame?Theenlightenedcultivatedintelligent manwho supports thesystem ofwhich the trader is the inevitable resultor the poortraderhimself?  You make the public statement that calls forhis tradethat debauches and depraves himtill he feels noshame init; and in what are you better than he?

Are youeducated and he ignorantyou high and he lowyourefinedand he coarseyou talented and he simple?

In the dayof a future judgmentthese very considerationsmay makeit more tolerable for him than for you.

Inconcluding these little incidents of lawful tradewemust begthe world not to think that American legislatorsareentirely destitute of humanityas mightperhapsbeunfairlyinferred from the great efforts made in our nationalbody toprotect and perpetuate this species of traffic.

Who doesnot know how our great men are outdoing themselvesindeclaiming against the _foreign_ slave-trade.  There are aperfecthost of Clarksons and Wilberforces risen upamong us onthatsubjectmost edifying to hear and behold.  Trading negroesfromAfricadear readeris so horrid!  It is not to be thought of!Buttrading them from Kentucky--that's quite another thing!

 

 

CHAPTERXIIIThe QuakerSettlement

 

A quietscene now rises before us.  A largeroomyneatly-paintedkitchenits yellow floor glossy and smoothandwithout aparticle of dust; a neatwell-blacked cooking-stove;rows ofshining tinsuggestive of unmentionable good things totheappetite; glossy green wood chairsold and firm; a smallflag-bottomedrocking-chairwith a patch-work cushion in itneatlycontrivedout of small pieces of different colored woollen goodsand alarger sized onemotherly and oldwhose wide arms breathedhospitableinvitationseconded by the solicitation of its feathercushions--areal comfortablepersuasive old chairand worthinthe way ofhonesthomely enjoymenta dozen of your plush orbrochetelledrawing-room gentry; and in the chairgently swayingback andforwardher eyes bent on some fine sewingsat our fineold friendEliza.  Yesthere she ispaler and thinner than inherKentucky homewith a world of quiet sorrow lying under theshadow ofher long eyelashesand marking the outline of hergentlemouth! It was plain to see how old and firm the girlish heartwas grownunder the discipline of heavy sorrow; and whenanonherlarge darkeye was raised to follow the gambols of her little Harrywho wassportinglike some tropical butterflyhither and thitherover thefloorshe showed a depth of firmness and steady resolvethat wasnever there in her earlier and happier days.

By herside sat a woman with a bright tin pan in her lapintowhich shewas carefully sorting some dried peaches.  She mightbefifty-five or sixty; but hers was one of those faces that timeseems totouch only to brighten and adorn.  The snowy fisse crapecapmadeafter the strait Quaker pattern--the plain white muslinhandkerchieflying in placid folds across her bosom--the drabshawl anddress--showed at once the community to which she belonged.Her facewas round and rosywith a healthful downy softnesssuggestiveof a ripe peach.  Her hairpartially silvered by agewas partedsmoothly back from a high placid foreheadon which timehadwritten no inscriptionexcept peace on earthgood will tomenandbeneath shone a large pair of clearhonestloving browneyes; youonly needed to look straight into themto feel that yousaw to thebottom of a heart as good and true as ever throbbed inwoman'sbosom.  So much has been said and sung of beautiful younggirlswhydon't somebody wake up to the beauty of old women?If anywant to get up an inspiration under this headwe refer themto ourgood friend Rachel Hallidayjust as she sits there in herlittlerocking-chair.  It had a turn for quacking and squeaking--thatchairhad--either from having taken cold in early lifeor fromsomeasthmatic affectionor perhaps from nervous derangement; butas shegently swung backward and forwardthe chair kept up a kindof subdued"creechy crawchy" that would have been intolerable inany otherchair.  But old Simeon Halliday often declared it was asgood asany music to himand the children all avowed that theywouldn'tmiss of hearing mother's chair for anything in the world.For why?for twenty years or morenothing but loving wordsandgentlemoralitiesand motherly loving kindnesshad come from thatchair;--head-achesand heart-aches innumerable had been curedthere--difficultiesspiritual and temporal solved there--all byone goodloving womanGod bless her!

"Andso thee still thinks of going to CanadaEliza?" she saidas she wasquietly looking over her peaches.

"Yesma'am" said Elizafirmly.  "I must go onward. I darenot stop."

"Andwhat'll thee dowhen thee gets there?  Thee must thinkaboutthatmy daughter."

"Mydaughter" came naturally from the lips of RachelHalliday;for hers was just the face and form that made "mother"seem themost natural word in the world.

Eliza'shands trembledand some tears fell on her finework; butshe answeredfirmly

"Ishall do--anything I can find.  I hope I can find something."

"Theeknows thee can stay hereas long as thee pleases"saidRachel.

"Othank you" said Eliza"but"--she pointed toHarry--"Ican'tsleep nights; I can't rest.  Last night I dreamed I saw thatman cominginto the yard" she saidshuddering.

"Poorchild!" said Rachelwiping her eyes; "but theemustn'tfeel so.  The Lord hath ordered it so that never hath afugitivebeen stolen from our village.  I trust thine will not bethefirst."

The doorhere openedand a little shortroundpin-cushionywomanstood at the doorwith a cheeryblooming facelike aripeapple.  She was dressedlike Rachelin sober graywiththe muslinfolded neatly across her roundplump little chest.

"RuthStedman" said Rachelcoming joyfully forward; "howis theeRuth? she saidheartily taking both her hands.

"Nicely"said Ruthtaking off her little drab bonnetanddusting itwith her handkerchiefdisplayingas she did soa roundlittle headon which the Quaker cap sat with a sortof jauntyairdespite all the stroking and patting of thesmall fathandswhich were busily applied to arranging it.Certainstray locks of decidedly curly hairtoohad escapedhere andthereand had to be coaxed and cajoled into theirplaceagain; and then the new comerwho might have beenfive-and-twentyturned from the small looking-glassbeforewhich shehad been making these arrangementsand looked wellpleased--asmost people who looked at her might have been--forshe wasdecidedly a wholesomewhole-heartedchirruping littlewomanasever gladdened man's heart withal.

"Ruththis friend is Eliza Harris; and this is the littleboy I toldthee of."

"I amglad to see theeEliza--very" said Ruthshakinghandsasif Eliza were an old friend she had long been expecting;"andthis is thy dear boy--I brought a cake for him" she saidholdingout a little heart to the boywho came upgazing throughhis curlsand accepted it shyly.

"Where'sthy babyRuth?" said Rachel.

"Ohe's coming; but thy Mary caught him as I came inandran offwith him to the barnto show him to the children."

At thismomentthe door openedand Maryan honestrosy-lookinggirlwith large brown eyeslike her mother'scame inwith the baby.

"Ah!ha!" said Rachelcoming upand taking the greatwhitefat fellowin her arms"how good he looksand how he does grow!"

"Tobe surehe does" said little bustling Ruthas she tookthe childand began taking off a little blue silk hoodandvariouslayers and wrappers of outer garments; and having given atwitchhereand a pull thereand variously adjusted and arrangedhimandkissed him heartilyshe set him on the floor to collecthisthoughts.  Baby seemed quite used to this mode of proceedingfor he puthis thumb in his mouth (as if it were quite a thing ofcourse)and seemed soon absorbed in his own reflectionswhilethe motherseated herselfand taking out a long stocking ofmixed blueand white yarnbegan to knit with briskness.

"Marythee'd better fill the kettlehadn't thee?" gentlysuggestedthe mother.

Mary tookthe kettle to the welland soon reappearingplaced itover the stovewhere it was soon purring and steaminga sort ofcenser of hospitality and good cheer.  The peachesmoreoverin obedience to a few gentle whispers from Rachelweresoondepositedby the same handin a stew-pan over the fire.

Rachel nowtook down a snowy moulding-boardandtying onan apronproceeded quietly to making up some biscuitsfirst sayingtoMary--"Maryhadn't thee better tell John to get a chickenready?"and Mary disappeared accordingly.

"Andhow is Abigail Peters?" said Rachelas she went onwith herbiscuits.

"Oshe's better" said Ruth; "I was inthis morning; madethe bedtidied up the house.  Leah Hills went inthis afternoonand bakedbread and pies enough to last some days; and I engagedto go backto get her upthis evening."

"Iwill go in tomorrowand do any cleaning there may beand lookover the mending" said Rachel.

"Ah!that is well" said Ruth.  "I've heard" sheadded"thatHannah Stanwood is sick.  John was up therelast night--Imust gothere tomorrow."

"Johncan come in here to his mealsif thee needs to stayall day"suggested Rachel.

"ThanktheeRachel; will seetomorrow; buthere comes Simeon."

SimeonHallidaya tallstraightmuscular manin drabcoat andpantaloonsand broad-brimmed hatnow entered.

"Howis theeRuth?" he saidwarmlyas he spread hisbroad openhand for her little fat palm; "and how is John?"

"O!John is welland all the rest of our folks" saidRuthcheerily.

"Anynewsfather?" said Rachelas she was putting herbiscuitsinto the oven.

"PeterStebbins told me that they should be along tonightwith_friends_" said Simeonsignificantlyas he was washing hishands at aneat sinkin a little back porch.

"Indeed!"said Rachellooking thoughtfullyand glancingat Eliza.

"Didthee say thy name was Harris?" said Simeon to Elizaas hereentered.

Rachelglanced quickly at her husbandas Eliza tremulouslyanswered"yes;" her fearsever uppermostsuggesting that possiblytheremight be advertisements out for her.

"Mother!"said Simeonstanding in the porchand callingRachelout.

"Whatdoes thee wantfather?" said Rachelrubbing herflouryhandsas she went into the porch.

"Thischild's husband is in the settlementand will beheretonight" said Simeon.

"Nowthee doesn't say thatfather?" said Rachelall herfaceradiant with joy.

"It'sreally true.  Peter was down yesterdaywith the wagonto theother standand there he found an old woman and two men;and onesaid his name was George Harris; and from what he toldof hishistoryI am certain who he is.  He is a brightlikelyfellowtoo."

"Shallwe tell her now?" said Simeon.

"Let'stell Ruth" said Rachel.  "HereRuth--come here."

Ruth laiddown her knitting-workand was in the back porchin amoment.

"Ruthwhat does thee think?" said Rachel.  "Father saysEliza'shusband isin the last companyand will be here tonight."

A burst ofjoy from the little Quakeress interrupted the speech.She gavesuch a bound from the flooras she clapped her littlehandsthat two stray curls fell from under her Quaker capand laybrightly on her white neckerchief.

"Hushtheedear!" said Rachelgently; "hushRuth!  Tellusshall wetell her now?"

"Now!to be sure--this very minute.  Whynowsuppose 'twas myJohnhow should I feel?  Do tell herright off."

"Theeuses thyself only to learn how to love thy neighborRuth"said Simeonlookingwith a beaming faceon Ruth.

"Tobe sure.  Isn't it what we are made for?  If I didn'tlove Johnand the babyI should not know how to feel for her.Comenowdo tell her--do!" and she laid her hands persuasivelyonRachel's arm.  "Take her into thy bed-roomthereand letmefry thechicken while thee does it."

Rachelcame out into the kitchenwhere Eliza was sewingandopening the door of a small bed-roomsaidgently"Come inhere withmemy daughter; I have news to tell thee."

The bloodflushed in Eliza's pale face; she rosetremblingwithnervous anxietyand looked towards her boy.

"Nono" said little Ruthdarting upand seizing her hands."Neverthee fear; it's good newsEliza--go ingo in!"And shegently pushed her to the door which closed after her; andthenturning roundshe caught little Harry in her armsand begankissinghim.

"Thee'llsee thy fatherlittle one.  Does thee know it?Thy fatheris coming" she saidover and over againas the boylookedwonderingly at her.

Meanwhilewithin the dooranother scene was going on.RachelHalliday drew Eliza toward herand said"The Lordhath hadmercy on theedaughter; thy husband hath escapedfrom thehouse of bondage."

The bloodflushed to Eliza's cheek in a sudden glowandwent backto her heart with as sudden a rush.  She sat downpaleand faint.

"Havecouragechild" said Rachellaying her hand on her head."Heis among friendswho will bring him here tonight."

"Tonight!"Eliza repeated"tonight!"  The words lost allmeaning toher; her head was dreamy and confused; all was mist fora moment.

 

When sheawokeshe found herself snugly tucked up on the bedwith ablanket over herand little Ruth rubbing her handswithcamphor.  She opened her eyes in a state of dreamydeliciouslanguorsuch as one who has long been bearing a heavy loadandnow feelsit goneand would rest.  The tension of the nerveswhich hadnever ceased a moment since the first hour of her flighthad givenwayand a strange feeling of security and rest came overher; andas she laywith her largedark eyes openshe followedas in aquiet dreamthe motions of those about her.  She saw thedoor openinto the other room; saw the supper-tablewith its snowycloth;heard the dreamy murmur of the singing tea-kettle; saw Ruthtrippingbackward and forwardwith plates of cake and saucers ofpreservesand ever and anon stopping to put a cake into Harry'shandorpat his heador twine his long curls round her snowyfingers. She saw the amplemotherly form of Rachelas she everand anoncame to the bedsideand smoothed and arranged somethingabout thebedclothesand gave a tuck here and thereby way ofexpressingher good-will; and was conscious of a kind of sunshinebeamingdown upon her from her largeclearbrown eyes.  She sawRuth'shusband come in--saw her fly up to himand commencewhisperingvery earnestlyever and anonwith impressive gesturepointingher little finger toward the room.  She saw herwith thebaby inher armssitting down to tea; she saw them all at tableand littleHarry in a high chairunder the shadow of Rachel's amplewing;there were low murmurs of talkgentle tinkling of tea-spoonsandmusical clatter of cups and saucersand all mingled in a delightfuldream ofrest; and Eliza sleptas she had not slept beforesincethefearful midnight hour when she had taken her child and fledthroughthe frosty starlight.

Shedreamed of a beautiful country--a landit seemed to herofrest--green shorespleasant islandsand beautifullyglitteringwater; and therein a house which kind voices toldher was ahomeshe saw her boy playingfree and happy child.She heardher husband's footsteps; she felt him coming nearer;his armswere around herhis tears falling on her faceandsheawoke!  It was no dream.  The daylight had long faded; herchild laycalmly sleeping by her side; a candle was burning dimlyon thestandand her husband was sobbing by her pillow.

 

The nextmorning was a cheerful one at the Quaker house."Mother"was up betimesand surrounded by busy girls and boyswhom wehad scarce time to introduce to our readers yesterdayandwho allmoved obediently to Rachel's gentle "Thee had better" ormoregentle "Hadn't thee better?" in the work of gettingbreakfast;for abreakfast in the luxurious valleys of Indiana is a thingcomplicatedand multiformandlike picking up the rose-leavesandtrimming the bushes in Paradiseasking other hands than thoseof theoriginal mother.  WhilethereforeJohn ran to the springfor freshwaterand Simeon the second sifted meal for corn-cakesand Maryground coffeeRachel moved gentlyand quietly aboutmakingbiscuitscutting up chickenand diffusing a sort of sunnyradianceover the whole proceeding generally.  If there was anydanger offriction or collision from the ill-regulated zeal of somany youngoperatorsher gentle "Come! come!" or "I wouldn'tnow"was quitesufficient to allay the difficulty.  Bards have writtenof thecestus of Venusthat turned the heads of all the world insuccessivegenerations.  We had ratherfor our parthave thecestus ofRachel Hallidaythat kept heads from being turnedandmadeeverything go on harmoniously.  We think it is more suited toour moderndaysdecidedly.

While allother preparations were going onSimeon the elderstood inhis shirt-sleeves before a little looking-glass inthecornerengaged in the anti-patriarchal operation of shaving.Everythingwent on so sociablyso quietlyso harmoniouslyinthe greatkitchen--it seemed so pleasant to every one to do justwhat theywere doingthere was such an atmosphere of mutualconfidenceand good fellowship everywhere--even the knives andforks hada social clatter as they went on to the table; and thechickenand ham had a cheerful and joyous fizzle in the panas iftheyrather enjoyed being cooked than otherwise;--and when Georgeand Elizaand little Harry came outthey met such a heartyrejoicingwelcomeno wonder it seemed to them like a dream.

At lastthey were all seated at breakfastwhile Mary stoodat thestovebaking griddle-cakeswhichas they gained thetrue exactgolden-brown tint of perfectionwere transferredquitehandily to the table.

Rachelnever looked so truly and benignly happy as at the headof hertable.  There was so much motherliness and full-heartednesseven inthe way she passed a plate of cakes or poured a cup ofcoffeethat it seemed to put a spirit into the food and drinksheoffered.

It was thefirst time that ever George had sat down on equal termsat anywhite man's table; and he sat downat firstwith someconstraintand awkwardness; but they all exhaled and went off likefoginthe genial morning rays of this simpleoverflowing kindness.

Thisindeedwas a home--_home_--a word that George hadnever yetknown a meaning for; and a belief in Godand trust inhisprovidencebegan to encircle his heartaswith a goldencloud ofprotection and confidencedarkmisanthropicpiningatheisticdoubtsand fierce despairmelted away before the lightof aliving Gospelbreathed in living facespreached by a thousandunconsciousacts of love and good willwhichlike the cup of coldwatergiven in the name of a discipleshall never lose their reward.

"Fatherwhat if thee should get found out again?" saidSimeonsecondas he buttered his cake.

"Ishould pay my fine" said Simeonquietly.

"Butwhat if they put thee in prison?"

"Couldn'tthee and mother manage the farm?" said Simeonsmiling.

"Mothercan do almost everything" said the boy.  "But isn'tit a shameto make such laws?"

"Theemustn't speak evil of thy rulersSimeon" said hisfathergravely.  "The Lord only gives us our worldly goods thatwe may dojustice and mercy; if our rulers require a price of usfor itwemust deliver it up.

"WellI hate those old slaveholders!" said the boywhofelt asunchristian as became any modern reformer.

"I amsurprised at theeson" said Simeon; "thy mother nevertaughtthee so.  I would do even the same for the slaveholderas for theslaveif the Lord brought him to my door in affliction."

Simeonsecond blushed scarlet; but his mother only smiledand said"Simeon is my good boy; he will grow olderby and byand thenhe will be like his father."

"Ihopemy good sirthat you are not exposed to anydifficultyon our account" said Georgeanxiously.

"FearnothingGeorgefor therefore are we sent into the world.If wewould not meet trouble for a good causewe were notworthy ofour name."

"Butfor _me_" said George"I could not bear it."

"Fearnotthenfriend George; it is not for theebut for Godand manwe do it" said Simeon.  "And now thou must lie byquietlythis dayand tonightat ten o'clockPhineas Fletcherwill carrythee onward to the next stand--thee and the rest oftheycompany.  The pursuers are hard after thee; we must not delay."

"Ifthat is the casewhy wait till evening?" said George.

"Thouart safe here by daylightfor every one in thesettlementis a Friendand all are watching.  It has been foundsafer totravel by night."

 

 

CHAPTERXIVEvangeline

 

         "A young star! which shone
          O'er life--too sweet an imagefor such glass!
          A lovely beingscarcely formed or moulded;
          A rose with all its sweetest leaves yet folded."

 

TheMississippi!  Howas by an enchanted wandhave itsscenesbeen changedsince Chateaubriand wrote hisprose-poeticdescriptionof itas a river of mightyunbroken solitudesrollingamid undreamed wonders of vegetable and animal existence.

But as inan hourthis river of dreams and wild romancehasemerged to a reality scarcely less visionary and splendid.What otherriver of the world bears on its bosom to the ocean thewealth andenterprise of such another country?--a country whoseproductsembrace all between the tropics and the poles!  Those turbidwatershurryingfoamingtearing alongan apt resemblance ofthatheadlong tide of business which is poured along its wave bya racemore vehement and energetic than any the old world ever saw.Ah! wouldthat they did not also bear along a more fearfulfreight--thetears of the oppressedthe sighs of the helplessthe bitterprayers of poorignorant hearts to an unknownGod--unknownunseen and silentbut who will yet "come out of hisplace tosave all the poor of the earth!"

Theslanting light of the setting sun quivers on the sea-likeexpanse ofthe river; the shivery canesand the talldark cypresshung withwreaths of darkfunereal mossglow in the golden rayas theheavily-laden steamboat marches onward.

Piled withcotton-balesfrom many a plantationup overdeck andsidestill she seems in the distance a squaremassiveblock ofgrayshe moves heavily onward to the nearing mart.We mustlook some time among its crowded decks before we shall findagain ourhumble friend Tom.  High on the upper deckin a littlenook amongthe everywhere predominant cotton-balesat last we mayfind him.

Partlyfrom confidence inspired by Mr. Shelby's representationsand partlyfrom the remarkably inoffensive and quiet character ofthe manTom had insensibly won his way far into the confidenceeven ofsuch a man as Haley.

At firsthe had watched him narrowly through the dayand neverallowedhim to sleep at night unfettered; but the uncomplainingpatienceand apparent contentment of Tom's manner led him graduallytodiscontinue these restraintsand for some time Tom had enjoyeda sort ofparole of honorbeing permitted to come and go freelywhere hepleased on the boat.

Ever quietand obligingand more than ready to lend a handin everyemergency which occurred among the workmen belowhe hadwon thegood opinion of all the handsand spent many hours inhelpingthem with as hearty a good will as ever he worked on aKentuckyfarm.

When thereseemed to be nothing for him to dohe wouldclimb to anook among the cotton-bales of the upper deckand busyhimself in studying over his Bible--and itis therewe see him now.

For ahundred or more miles above New Orleansthe riveris higherthan the surrounding countryand rolls its tremendousvolumebetween massive levees twenty feet in height.  The travellerfrom thedeck of the steameras from some floating castle topoverlooksthe whole country for miles and miles around.  Tomthereforehad spread out full before himin plantation afterplantationa map of the life to which he was approaching.

He saw thedistant slaves at their toil; he saw afar theirvillagesof huts gleaming out in long rows on many a plantationdistantfrom the stately mansions and pleasure-grounds of themaster;--andas the moving picture passed onhis poorfoolishheartwould be turning backward to the Kentucky farmwith its oldshadowybeeches--to the master's housewith its widecool hallsandnearbythe little cabin overgrown with the multiflora andbignonia. There he seemed to see familiar faces of comrades whohad grownup with him from infancy; he saw his busy wifebustlingin herpreparations for his evening meals; he heard the merry laughof hisboys at their playand the chirrup of the baby at his knee;and thenwith a startall fadedand he saw again the canebrakesandcypresses and gliding plantationsand heard again the creakingandgroaning of the machineryall telling him too plainly thatall thatphase of life had gone by forever.

In such acaseyou write to your wifeand send messagesto yourchildren; but Tom could not write--the mail for him hadnoexistenceand the gulf of separation was unbridged by even afriendlyword or signal.

Is itstrangethenthat some tears fall on the pages ofhis Bibleas he lays it on the cotton-baleandwith patientfingerthreading his slow way from word to wordtraces outitspromises?  Having learned late in lifeTom was but a slowreaderand passed on laboriously from verse to verse.Fortunatefor him was it that the book he was intent onwas onewhich slow reading cannot injure--nayone whose wordslikeingots of goldseem often to need to be weighed separatelythat themind may take in their priceless value.  Let us followhim amomentaspointing to each wordand pronouncing each halfaloudhereads

"Let--not--your--heart--be--troubled. In--my
--Father's--house--are--many--mansions.I--go--to--prepare--a--place--for--you."

Cicerowhen he buried his darling and only daughterhada heart asfull of honest grief as poor Tom's--perhaps no fullerfor bothwere only men;--but Cicero could pause over no such sublimewords ofhopeand look to no such future reunion; and if he _had_seen themten to one he would not have believed--he must fillhis headfirst with a thousand questions of authenticity ofmanuscriptand correctness of translation.  Butto poor Tomthere itlayjust what he neededso evidently true and divinethat thepossibility of a question never entered his simple head.It must betrue; forif not truehow could he live?

As forTom's Biblethough it had no annotations and helpsin marginfrom learned commentatorsstill it had been embellishedwithcertain way-marks and guide-boards of Tom's own inventionand whichhelped him more than the most learned expositions couldhavedone.  It had been his custom to get the Bible read to him byhismaster's childrenin particular by young Master George; andas theyreadhe would designateby boldstrong marks and dasheswith penand inkthe passages which more particularly gratifiedhis ear oraffected his heart.  His Bible was thus marked throughfrom oneend to the otherwith a variety of styles and designations;so hecould in a moment seize upon his favorite passageswithoutthe laborof spelling out what lay between them;--and while itlay therebefore himevery passage breathing of some old homesceneandrecalling some past enjoymenthis Bible seemed tohim all ofthis life that remainedas well as the promise of afutureone.

Among thepassengers on the boat was a young gentleman offortuneand familyresident in New Orleanswho bore the name ofSt.Clare.  He had with him a daughter between five and six yearsof agetogether with a lady who seemed to claim relationship tobothandto have the little one especially under her charge.

Tom hadoften caught glimpses of this little girl--forshe wasone of those busytripping creaturesthat can be no morecontainedin one place than a sunbeam or a summer breeze--nor wasshe onethatonce seencould be easily forgotten.

Her formwas the perfection of childish beautywithoutits usualchubbiness and squareness of outline.  There was aboutit anundulating and aerial gracesuch as one might dream of forsomemythic and allegorical being.  Her face was remarkable lessfor itsperfect beauty of feature than for a singular and dreamyearnestnessof expressionwhich made the ideal start when theylooked atherand by which the dullest and most literal wereimpressedwithout exactly knowing why.  The shape of her head andthe turnof her neck and bust was peculiarly nobleand the longgolden-brownhair that floated like a cloud around itthe deepspiritualgravity of her violet blue eyesshaded by heavy fringesof goldenbrown--all marked her out from other childrenand madeevery oneturn and look after heras she glided hither and thitheron theboat.  Neverthelessthe little one was not what you wouldhavecalled either a grave child or a sad one.  On the contraryan airyand innocent playfulness seemed to flicker like the shadowof summerleaves over her childish faceand around her buoyantfigure. She was always in motionalways with a half smile on herrosymouthflying hither and thitherwith an undulating andcloud-liketreadsinging to herself as she moved as in a happy dream.Her fatherand female guardian were incessantly busy in pursuit ofher--butwhen caughtshe melted from them again like a summercloud; andas no word of chiding or reproof ever fell on her earforwhatever she chose to doshe pursued her own way all over theboat. Always dressed in whiteshe seemed to move like a shadowthroughall sorts of placeswithout contracting spot or stain;and therewas not a corner or nookabove or belowwhere thosefairyfootsteps had not glidedand that visionary golden headwith itsdeep blue eyesfleeted along.

Thefiremanas he looked up from his sweaty toilsometimesfoundthose eyes looking wonderingly into the raging depths of thefurnaceand fearfully and pityingly at himas if she thought himin somedreadful danger.  Anon the steersman at the wheel pausedandsmiledas the picture-like head gleamed through the window ofthe roundhouseand in a moment was gone again.  A thousand timesa dayrough voices blessed herand smiles of unwonted softnessstole overhard facesas she passed; and when she tripped fearlesslyoverdangerous placesroughsooty hands were stretched involuntarilyout tosave herand smooth her path.

Tomwhohad the softimpressible nature of his kindly raceeveryearning toward the simple and childlikewatched thelittlecreature with daily increasing interest.  To him she seemedsomethingalmost divine; and whenever her golden head and deep blueeyespeered out upon him from behind some dusky cotton-baleorlookeddown upon him over some ridge of packageshe half believedthat hesaw one of the angels stepped out of his New Testament.

Often andoften she walked mournfully round the place whereHaley'sgang of men and women sat in their chains.  She would glidein amongthemand look at them with an air of perplexed andsorrowfulearnestness; and sometimes she would lift their chainswith herslender handsand then sigh wofullyas she glided away.Severaltimes she appeared suddenly among themwith her hands fullof candynutsand orangeswhich she would distribute joyfullyto themand then be gone again.

Tomwatched the little lady a great dealbefore he venturedon anyovertures towards acquaintanceship.  He knew an abundanceof simpleacts to propitiate and invite the approaches of the littlepeopleand he resolved to play his part right skilfully.  He couldcutcunning little baskets out of cherry-stonescould make grotesquefaces onhickory-nutsor odd-jumping figures out of elder-pithand he wasa very Pan in the manufacture of whistles of all sizesandsorts.  His pockets were full of miscellaneous articles ofattractionwhich he had hoarded in days of old for his master'schildrenand which he now producedwith commendable prudence andeconomyone by oneas overtures for acquaintance and friendship.

The littleone was shyfor all her busy interest in everythinggoing onand it was not easy to tame her.  For a whileshewouldperch like a canary-bird on some box or package near Tomwhile busyin the little arts afore-namedand take from himwith akind of grave bashfulnessthe little articles he offered.But atlast they got on quite confidential terms.

"What'slittle missy's name?" said Tomat lastwhen hethoughtmatters were ripe to push such an inquiry.

"EvangelineSt. Clare" said the little one"though papaandeverybody else call me Eva.  Nowwhat's your name?"

"Myname's Tom; the little chil'en used to call me UncleTomwayback thar in Kentuck."

"ThenI mean to call you Uncle Tombecauseyou seeI likeyou" said Eva.  "SoUncle Tomwhere are you going?"

"Idon't knowMiss Eva."

"Don'tknow?" said Eva.

"NoI am going to be sold to somebody.  I don't know who."

"Mypapa can buy you" said Evaquickly; "and if he buys youyou willhave good times.  I mean to ask himthis very day."

"Thankyoumy little lady" said Tom.

The boathere stopped at a small landing to take in woodand Evahearing her father's voicebounded nimbly away.  Tom roseupandwent forward to offer his service in woodingand soon wasbusy amongthe hands.

Eva andher father were standing together by the railingsto see theboat start from the landing-placethe wheel had madetwo orthree revolutions in the waterwhenby some sudden movementthe littleone suddenly lost her balance and fell sheer over theside ofthe boat into the water.  Her fatherscarce knowing whathe didwas plunging in after herbut was held back by some behindhimwhosaw that more efficient aid had followed his child.

Tom wasstanding just under her on the lower deckas she fell.He saw herstrike the waterand sinkand was after her ina moment. A broad-chestedstrong-armed fellowit was nothingfor him tokeep afloat in the watertillin a moment or two thechild roseto the surfaceand he caught her in his armsandswimmingwith her to the boat-sidehanded her upall drippingto thegrasp of hundreds of handswhichas if they had all belongedto onemanwere stretched eagerly out to receive her.  A fewmomentsmoreand her father bore herdripping and senselesstotheladies' cabinwhereas is usual in cases of the kindthereensued avery well-meaning and kind-hearted strife among the femaleoccupantsgenerallyas to who should do the most things to makeadisturbanceand to hinder her recovery in every way possible.

 

It was asultryclose daythe next dayas the steamerdrew nearto New Orleans.  A general bustle of expectation andpreparationwas spread through the boat; in the cabinone andanotherwere gathering their things togetherand arranging thempreparatoryto going ashore.  The steward and chambermaidand allwerebusily engaged in cleaningfurbishingand arranging thesplendidboatpreparatory to a grand entree.

On thelower deck sat our friend Tomwith his arms foldedandanxiouslyfrom time to timeturning his eyes towards a groupon theother side of the boat.

Therestood the fair Evangelinea little paler than thedaybeforebut otherwise exhibiting no traces of the accidentwhich hadbefallen her.  A gracefulelegantly-formed young manstood byhercarelessly leaning one elbow on a bale of cotton.while alarge pocket-book lay open before him.  It was quite evidentat aglancethat the gentleman was Eva's father.  There was thesame noblecast of headthe same large blue eyesthe samegolden-brownhair; yet the expression was wholly different.In thelargeclear blue eyesthough in form and color exactlysimilarthere was wanting that mistydreamy depth of expression;all wasclearboldand brightbut with a light wholly of thisworld: thebeautifully cut mouth had a proud and somewhat sarcasticexpressionwhile an air of free-and-easy superiority sat notungracefullyin every turn and movement of his fine form.  He waslisteningwith a good-humorednegligent airhalf comichalfcontemptuousto Haleywho was very volubly expatiating on thequality ofthe article for which they were bargaining.

"Allthe moral and Christian virtues bound in black Moroccocomplete!"he saidwhen Haley had finished.  "Wellnowmy goodfellowwhat's the damageas they say in Kentucky; inshortwhat's to be paid out for this business?  How much are yougoing tocheat menow?  Out with it!"

"Wal"said Haley"if I should say thirteen hundred dollarsfor thatar fellowI shouldn't but just save myself; I shouldn'tnowre'ly."

"Poorfellow!" said the young manfixing his keenmockingblue eyeon him; "but I suppose you'd let me have him for thatout of aparticular regard for me."

"Wellthe young lady here seems to be sot on himandnat'llyenough."

"O!certainlythere's a call on your benevolencemy friend.Nowas amatter of Christian charityhow cheap could youafford tolet him goto oblige a young lady that's particularsot onhim?"

"Walnowjust think on 't" said the trader; "just lookat themlimbs--broad-chestedstrong as a horse.  Look at hishead; themhigh forrads allays shows calculatin niggersthat'lldo anykind o' thing.  I'vemarked that ar.  Nowa nigger ofthatar heftand build is worth considerablejust as you may sayforhis bodysupposin he's stupid; but come to put in his calculatinfacultiesand them which I can show he has oncommonwhyofcourseitmakes him come higher.  Whythat ar fellow managed hismaster'swhole farm.  He has a strornary talent for business."

"Badbadvery bad; knows altogether too much!" said theyoung manwith the same mocking smile playing about his mouth."Neverwill doin the world.  Your smart fellows are always runningoffstealing horsesand raising the devil generally.  I thinkyou'llhave to take off a couple of hundred for his smartness."

"Walthere might be something in that arif it warnt forhischaracter; but I can show recommends from his master and othersto provehe is one of your real pious--the most humbleprayinpiouscrittur ye ever did see.  Whyhe's been called a preacherin themparts he came from."

"AndI might use him for a family chaplainpossibly" addedthe youngmandryly.  "That's quite an idea.  Religion isaremarkably scarce article at our house."

"You'rejokingnow."

"Howdo you know I am?  Didn't you just warrant him for a preacher?Has hebeen examined by any synod or council?  Comehandover yourpapers."

If thetrader had not been sureby a certain good-humoredtwinkle inthe large eyethat all this banter was surein thelong runto turn out a cash concernhe might have been somewhatout ofpatience; as it washe laid down a greasy pocket-book onthecotton-balesand began anxiously studying over certain papersin ittheyoung man standing bythe whilelooking down on himwith anair of carelesseasy drollery.

"Papado buy him! it's no matter what you pay" whispered Evasoftlygetting up on a packageand putting her arm aroundherfather's neck.  "You have money enoughI know.  Iwant him."

"Whatforpussy?  Are you going to use him for a rattle-boxor arocking-horseor what?

"Iwant to make him happy."

"Anoriginal reasoncertainly."

Here thetrader handed up a certificatesigned by Mr. Shelbywhich theyoung man took with the tips of his long fingersandglanced over carelessly.

"Agentlemanly hand" he said"and well spelttoo. Wellnowbut I'mnot sureafter allabout this religion" said hethe oldwicked expression returning to his eye; "the country isalmostruined with pious white people; such pious politicians aswe havejust before elections--such pious goings on in alldepartmentsof church and statethat a fellow does not know who'llcheat himnext.  I don't knoweitherabout religion's being upin themarketjust now.  I have not looked in the papers latelyto see howit sells.  How many hundred dollarsnowdo you put onfor thisreligion?"

"Youlike to be jokinnow" said the trader; "butthenthere's_sense_ under all that ar.  I know there's differencesinreligion.  Some kinds is mis'rable: there's your meetin pious;there'syour singinroarin pious; them ar an't no accountinblack orwhite;--but these rayly is; and I've seen it in niggersas oftenas anyyour rail softlyquietstiddyhonestpiousthat thehull world couldn't tempt 'em to do nothing that theythinks iswrong; and ye see in this letter what Tom's old mastersays abouthim."

"Now"said the young manstooping gravely over his bookof bills"if you can assure me that I really can buy _this_ kindof piousand that it will be set down to my account in the bookup aboveas something belonging to meI wouldn't care if I didgo alittle extra for it.  How d'ye say?"

"WalrailyI can't do that" said the trader.  "I'm athinkinthat every man'll have to hang on his own hookin themarquarters."

"Ratherhard on a fellow that pays extra on religionandcan'ttrade with it in the state where he wants it mostan't itnow?"said the young manwho had been making out a roll of billswhile hewas speaking.  "Therecount your moneyold boy!" headdedashe handed the roll to the trader.

"Allright" said Haleyhis face beaming with delight; andpullingout an old inkhornhe proceeded to fill out a bill ofsalewhichin a few momentshe handed to the young man.

"Iwondernowif I was divided up and inventoried" said thelatter ashe ran over the paper"how much I might bring.  Say somuch forthe shape of my headso much for a high foreheadsomuch forarmsand handsand legsand then so much for educationlearningtalenthonestyreligion!  Bless me! there would be smallcharge onthat lastI'm thinking.  But comeEva" he said; andtaking thehand of his daughterhe stepped across the boatandcarelesslyputting the tip of his finger under Tom's chinsaidgood-humoredly"Look-upTomand see how you like your new master."

Tom lookedup.  It was not in nature to look into that gayyounghandsomefacewithout a feeling of pleasure; and Tom felt thetearsstart in his eyes as he saidheartily"God bless youMas'r!"

"WellI hope he will.  What's your name?  Tom?  Quite aslikelyto do itfor your asking as minefrom all accounts.  Can youdrivehorsesTom?"

"I'vebeen allays used to horses" said Tom.  "Mas'r Shelbyraisedheaps of 'em."

"WellI think I shall put you in coachyon condition thatyou won'tbe drunk more than once a weekunless in cases ofemergencyTom."

Tom lookedsurprisedand rather hurtand said"I neverdrinkMas'r."

"I'veheard that story beforeTom; but then we'll see.It will bea special accommodation to all concernedif you don't.Nevermindmy boy" he addedgood-humoredlyseeing Tom stilllookedgrave; "I don't doubt you mean to do well."

"Isartin doMas'r" said Tom.

"Andyou shall have good times" said Eva.  "Papa is verygood toeverybodyonly he always will laugh at them."

"Papais much obliged to you for his recommendation" saidSt. Clarelaughingas he turned on his heel and walked away.

 

 

CHAPTER XVOf Tom'sNew Masterand Various Other Matters

 

Since thethread of our humble hero's life has now becomeinterwovenwith that of higher onesit is necessary to give somebriefintroduction to them.

AugustineSt. Clare was the son of a wealthy planter of Louisiana.The familyhad its origin in Canada.  Of two brothersverysimilar intemperament and characterone had settled on aflourishingfarm in Vermontand the other became an opulent planterinLouisiana.  The mother of Augustine was a Huguenot French ladywhosefamily had emigrated to Louisiana during the days of itsearlysettlement.  Augustine and another brother were the onlychildrenof their parents.  Having inherited from his mother anexceedingdelicacy of constitutionhe wasat the instance ofphysiciansduring many years of his boyhoodsent to the care ofhis unclein Vermontin order that his constitution mightbestrengthenedby the cold of a more bracing climate.

Inchildhoodhe was remarkable for an extreme and markedsensitivenessof charactermore akin to the softness of woman thantheordinary hardness of his own sex.  Timehoweverovergrew thissoftnesswith the rough bark of manhoodand but few knew how livingand freshit still lay at the core.  His talents were of the veryfirstorderalthough his mind showed a preference always for theideal andthe aestheticand there was about him that repugnanceto theactual business of life which is the common result of thisbalance ofthe faculties.  Soon after the completion of his collegecoursehis whole nature was kindled into one intense and passionateeffervescenceof romantic passion.  His hour came--the hour thatcomes onlyonce; his star rose in the horizon--that star that risesso oftenin vainto be remembered only as a thing of dreams; and itrose forhim in vain.  To drop the figure--he saw and won thelove of ahigh-minded and beautiful womanin one of the northernstatesand they were affianced.  He returned south to makearrangementsfor their marriagewhenmost unexpectedlyhisletterswere returned to him by mailwith a short note from herguardianstating to him that ere this reached him the lady wouldbe thewife of another.  Stung to madnesshe vainly hopedasmanyanother has doneto fling the whole thing from his heartby onedesperate effort.  Too proud to supplicate or seekexplanationhe threw himself at once into a whirl of fashionablesocietyand in a fortnight from the time of the fatal letter wastheaccepted lover of the reigning belle of the season; and assoon asarrangements could be madehe became the husband of afinefigurea pair of bright dark eyesand a hundred thousanddollars;andof courseeverybody thought him a happy fellow.

Themarried couple were enjoying their honeymoonandentertaininga brilliant circle of friends in their splendid villanear LakePontchartrainwhenone daya letter was brought tohim in_that_ well-remembered writing.  It was handed to him whilehe was infull tide of gay and successful conversationin a wholeroom-fullof company.  He turned deadly pale when he saw the writingbut stillpreserved his composureand finished the playful warfareofbadinage which he was at the moment carrying on with a ladyopposite;anda short time afterwas missed from the circle.In hisroomalonehe opened and read the letternow worsethan idleand useless to be read.  It was from hergivinga longaccount of a persecution to which she had been exposed byherguardian's familyto lead her to unite herself with their son:and sherelated howfor a long timehis letters had ceased toarrive;how she had written time and againtill she became wearyanddoubtful; how her health had failed under her anxietiesandhowatlastshe had discovered the whole fraud which had beenpractisedon them both.  The letter ended with expressions of hopeandthankfulnessand professions of undying affectionwhich weremorebitter than death to the unhappy young man.  He wrote to herimmediately:

"Ihave received yours--but too late.  I believed all I heard.I wasdesperate.  _I am married_and all is over.  Onlyforget--itis allthat remains for either of us."

And thusended the whole romance and ideal of life forAugustineSt. Clare.  But the _real_ remained--the _real_likethe flatbareoozy tide-mudwhen the blue sparkling wavewithall itscompany of gliding boats and white-winged shipsits musicof oarsand chiming watershas gone downand there it liesflatslimybare--exceedingly real.

Of coursein a novelpeople's hearts breakand they dieand thatis the end of it; and in a story this is very convenient.But inreal life we do not die when all that makes life bright diesto us. There is a most busy and important round of eatingdrinkingdressingwalkingvisitingbuyingsellingtalkingreadingand allthat makes up what is commonly called _living_yet to begonethrough; and this yet remained to Augustine.  Had his wifebeen awhole womanshe might yet have done something--as womancan--tomend the broken threads of lifeand weave again into atissue ofbrightness.  But Marie St. Clare could not even see thatthey hadbeen broken.  As before statedshe consisted of a finefigureapair of splendid eyesand a hundred thousand dollars;and noneof these items were precisely the ones to minister to aminddiseased.

WhenAugustinepale as deathwas found lying on the sofaandpleaded sudden sick-headache as the cause of his distresssherecommendedto him to smell of hartshorn; and when the palenessandheadache came on week after weekshe only said that she neverthoughtMr. St. Clare was sickly; but it seems he was very liabletosick-headachesand that it was a very unfortunate thing forherbecause he didn't enjoy going into company with herand itseemed oddto go so much alonewhen they were just married.Augustinewas glad in his heart that he had married so undiscerninga woman;but as the glosses and civilities of the honeymoon woreawayhediscovered that a beautiful young womanwho has livedall herlife to be caressed and waited onmight prove quite a hardmistressin domestic life.  Marie never had possessed much capabilityofaffectionor much sensibilityand the little that she hadhad beenmerged into a most intense and unconscious selfishness;aselfishness the more hopelessfrom its quiet obtusenessitsutterignorance of any claims but her own.  From her infancyshehad beensurrounded with servantswho lived only to study hercaprices;the idea that they had either feelings or rights hadneverdawned upon hereven in distant perspective.  Her fatherwhose onlychild she had beenhad never denied her anything thatlay withinthe compass of human possibility; and when she enteredlifebeautifulaccomplishedand an heiressshe hadof courseall theeligibles and non-eligibles of the other sex sighing ather feetand she had no doubt that Augustine was a most fortunateman inhaving obtained her.  It is a great mistake to suppose thata womanwith no heart will be an easy creditor in the exchange ofaffection. There is not on earth a more merciless exactor of lovefromothers than a thoroughly selfish woman; and the moreunlovelyshe growsthe more jealously and scrupulously she exactslovetothe uttermost farthing.  WhenthereforeSt. Clare beganto dropoff those gallantries and small attentions which flowed atfirstthrough the habitude of courtshiphe found his sultana noway readyto resign her slave; there were abundance of tearspoutingsand small tempeststhere were discontentspiningsupbraidings. St. Clare was good-natured and self-indulgentandsought tobuy off with presents and flatteries; and when Mariebecamemother to a beautiful daughterhe really felt awakenedfor atimeto something like tenderness.

St.Clare's mother had been a woman of uncommon elevationand purityof characterand he gave to his child his mother'snamefondly fancying that she would prove a reproduction of herimage. The thing had been remarked with petulant jealousy by hiswifeandshe regarded her husband's absorbing devotion to thechild withsuspicion and dislike; all that was given to her seemedso muchtaken from herself.  From the time of the birth of thischildherhealth gradually sunk.  A life of constant inactionbodily andmental--the friction of ceaseless ennui and discontentunited tothe ordinary weakness which attended the period ofmaternity--incourse of a few years changed the blooming youngbelle intoa yellow fadedsickly womanwhose time was dividedamong avariety of fanciful diseasesand who considered herselfin everysensethe most ill-used and suffering person in existence.

There wasno end of her various complaints; but her principalforteappeared to lie in sick-headachewhich sometimes wouldconfineher to her room three days out of six.  Asof courseallfamilyarrangements fell into the hands of servantsSt. Clarefound hismenage anything but comfortable.  His only daughter wasexceedinglydelicateand he feared thatwith no one to look afterher andattend to herher health and life might yet fall a sacrificeto hermother's inefficiency.  He had taken her with him on a tourtoVermontand had persuaded his cousinMiss Ophelia St. Clareto returnwith him to his southern residence; and they are nowreturningon this boatwhere we have introduced them to our readers.

And nowwhile the distant domes and spires of New Orleans rise toour viewthere is yet time for an introduction to Miss Ophelia.

Whoeverhas travelled in the New England States will rememberin somecool villagethe large farmhousewith its clean-sweptgrassyyardshaded by the dense and massive foliage of thesugarmaple; and remember the air of order and stillnessofperpetuityand unchanging reposethat seemed to breathe overthe wholeplace.  Nothing lostor out of order; not a picket loosein thefencenot a particle of litter in the turfy yardwith itsclumps oflilac bushes growing up under the windows.  Withinhewillremember wideclean roomswhere nothing ever seems to bedoing orgoing to be donewhere everything is once and foreverrigidly inplaceand where all household arrangements move withthepunctual exactness of the old clock in the corner.  In thefamily"keeping-room" as it is termedhe will remember thestaidrespectableold book-casewith its glass doorswhere Rollin'sHistoryMilton's Paradise LostBunyan's Pilgrim's ProgressandScott'sFamily Biblestand side by side in decorous orderwithmultitudesof other booksequally solemn and respectable.  Thereare noservants in the housebut the lady in the snowy capwiththespectacleswho sits sewing every afternoon among her daughtersas ifnothing ever had been doneor were to be done--she and hergirlsinsome long-forgotten fore part of the day"_did up the work_"and forthe rest of the timeprobablyat all hours when you wouldsee themit is "_done up_."  The old kitchen floor never seemsstained orspotted; the tablesthe chairsand the various cookingutensilsnever seem deranged or disordered; though three andsometimesfour meals a day are got therethough the family washingandironing is there performedand though pounds of butter andcheese arein some silent and mysterious manner there broughtintoexistence.

On such afarmin such a house and familyMiss Ophelia hadspent aquiet existence of some forty-five yearswhen hercousininvited her to visit his southern mansion.  The eldest ofa largefamilyshe was still considered by her father and motheras one of"the children" and the proposal that she should go to_Orleans_was a most momentous one to the family circle.  The oldgray-headedfather took down Morse's Atlas out of thebook-caseand lookedout the exact latitude and longitude; and read Flint'sTravelsin the South and Westto make up his own mind as to thenature ofthe country.

The goodmother inquiredanxiously"if Orleans wasn't anawfulwicked place" saying"that it seemed to her most equal togoing tothe Sandwich Islandsor anywhere among the heathen."

It wasknown at the minister's and at the doctor'sand atMissPeabody's milliner shopthat Ophelia St. Clare was "talkingabout"going away down to Orleans with her cousin; and of coursethe wholevillage could do no less than help this very importantprocess of_taking about_ the matter.  The ministerwho inclinedstronglyto abolitionist viewswas quite doubtful whether such astep mightnot tend somewhat to encourage the southerners inholding onto their slaves; while the doctorwho was a stanchcolonizationistinclined to the opinion that Miss Ophelia oughtto gotoshow the Orleans people that we don't think hardly ofthemafter all.  He was of opinionin factthat southern peopleneededencouraging.  When howeverthe fact that she had resolvedto go wasfully before the public mindshe was solemnly invitedout to teaby all her friends and neighbors for the space of afortnightand her prospects and plans duly canvassed and inquired into.MissMoseleywho came into the house to help to do the dress-makingacquireddaily accessions of importance from the developmentswithregard to Miss Ophelia's wardrobe which she had been enabledto make. It was credibly ascertained that Squire Sinclareas hisname wascommonly contracted in the neighborhoodhad countedout fiftydollarsand given them to Miss Opheliaand told herto buy anyclothes she thought best; and that two new silk dressesand abonnethad been sent for from Boston.  As to the proprietyof thisextraordinary outlaythe public mind was divided--someaffirmingthat it was well enoughall things consideredfor oncein one'slifeand others stoutly affirming that the money hadbetterhave been sent to the missionaries; but all parties agreedthat therehad been no such parasol seen in those parts as had beensent onfrom New Yorkand that she had one silk dress that mightfairly betrusted to stand alonewhatever might be said ofitsmistress.  There were credible rumorsalsoof a hemstitchedpocket-handkerchief;and report even went so far as to state thatMissOphelia had one pocket-handkerchief with lace all around it--itwas evenadded that it was worked in the corners; but this latterpoint wasnever satisfactorily ascertainedand remainsin factunsettledto this day.

MissOpheliaas you now behold herstands before youina veryshining brown linen travelling-dresstallsquare-formedandangular.  Her face was thinand rather sharp in its outlines;the lipscompressedlike those of a person who is in the habit ofmaking upher mind definitely on all subjects; while the keendarkeyes had apeculiarly searchingadvised movementand travelled overeverythingas if they were looking for something to take care of.

All hermovements were sharpdecidedand energetic; andthough shewas never much of a talkerher words were remarkablydirectand to the purposewhen she did speak.

In herhabitsshe was a living impersonation of ordermethodandexactness.  In punctualityshe was as inevitable as a clockand asinexorable as a railroad engine; and she held in mostdecidedcontempt and abomination anything of a contrary character.

The greatsin of sinsin her eyes--the sum of allevils--wasexpressed by one very common and important word in hervocabulary--"shiftlessness." Her finale and ultimatum of contemptconsistedin a very emphatic pronunciation of the word "shiftless;"and bythis she characterized all modes of procedure which had nota directand inevitable relation to accomplishment of some purposethendefinitely had in mind.  People who did nothingor who didnot knowexactly what they were going to door who did not takethe mostdirect way to accomplish what they set their hands towereobjects of her entire contempt--a contempt shown less frequentlybyanything she saidthan by a kind of stony grimnessas if shescorned tosay anything about the matter.

As tomental cultivation--she had a clearstrongactive mindwas welland thoroughly read in history and the older Englishclassicsand thought with great strength within certainnarrowlimits.  Her theological tenets were all made uplabelledin most positive and distinct formsand put bylikethebundles in her patch trunk; there were just so many of themand therewere never to be any more.  Soalsowere her ideaswithregard to most matters of practical life--such ashousekeepingin all its branchesand the various politicalrelationsof her native village.  Andunderlying alldeeperthananything elsehigher and broaderlay the strongestprincipleof her being--conscientiousness.  Nowhere is consciencesodominant and all-absorbing as with New England women.  It isthegranite formationwhich lies deepestand rises outeven tothe topsof the highest mountains.

MissOphelia was the absolute bond-slave of the "_ought_."Once makeher certain that the "path of duty" as she commonlyphraseditlay in any given directionand fire and water couldnot keepher from it.  She would walk straight down into a wellor up to aloaded cannon's mouthif she were only quite sure thatthere thepath lay.  Her standard of right was so highsoall-embracingso minuteand making so few concessions to humanfrailtythatthough she strove with heroic ardor to reach itshe neveractually did soand of course was burdened with a constantand oftenharassing sense of deficiency;--this gave a severe andsomewhatgloomy cast to her religious character.

Buthowin the world can Miss Ophelia get along with AugustineSt.Clare--gayeasyunpunctualunpracticalsceptical--inshort--walkingwith impudent and nonchalant freedom over everyone of hermost cherished habits and opinions?

To tellthe truththenMiss Ophelia loved him.  When a boyit hadbeen hers to teach him his catechismmend his clothescomb hishairand bring him up generally in the way he should go;and herheart having a warm side to itAugustine hadas he usuallydid withmost peoplemonopolized a large share of it for himselfandtherefore it was that he succeeded very easily in persuadingher thatthe "path of duty" lay in the direction of New Orleansand thatshe must go with him to take care of Evaand keepeverythingfrom going to wreck and ruin during the frequentillnessesof his wife.  The idea of a house without anybody to takecare of itwent to her heart; then she loved the lovely littlegirlasfew could help doing; and though she regarded Augustineas verymuch of a heathenyet she loved himlaughed at his jokesandforbore with his failingsto an extent which those who knewhimthought perfectly incredible.  But what more or other is to beknown ofMiss Ophelia our reader must discover by a personalacquaintance.

There sheissitting now in her state-roomsurrounded bya mixedmultitude of little and big carpet-bagsboxesbasketseachcontaining some separate responsibility which she is tyingbindinguppackingor fasteningwith a face of great earnestness.

"NowEvahave you kept count of your things?  Of courseyouhaven't--children never do: there's the spotted carpet-bagand thelittle blue band-box with your best bonnet--that's two;then theIndia rubber satchel is three; and my tape and needle boxis four;and my band-boxfive; and my collar-box; and that littlehairtrunkseven.  What have you done with your sunshade?  Giveitto meandlet me put a paper round itand tie it to my umbrellawith myshade;--therenow."

"Whyauntywe are only going up home;--what is the use?"

"Tokeep it nicechild; people must take care of their thingsif theyever mean to have anything; and nowEvais yourthimbleput up?"

"ReallyauntyI don't know."

"Wellnever mind; I'll look your box over--thimblewaxtwospoolsscissorsknifetape-needle; all right--put it in here.What didyou ever dochildwhen you were coming on withonly yourpapa.  I should have thought you'd a lost everythingyou had."   "WellauntyI did lose a great many; and thenwhen we stoppedanywherepapa would buy some more of whatever it was."

"Mercyon uschild--what a way!"

"Itwas a very easy wayaunty" said Eva.

"It'sa dreadful shiftless one" said aunty.

"Whyauntywhat'll you do now?" said Eva; "that trunk istoo fullto be shut down."

"It_must_ shut down" said auntywith the air of a generalas shesqueezed the things inand sprung upon the lid;--still alittle gapremained about the mouth of the trunk.

"Getup hereEva!" said Miss Opheliacourageously; "whathas beendone can be done again.  This trunk has _got to be_ shutandlocked--there are no two ways about it."

And thetrunkintimidateddoubtlessby this resolutestatementgave in.  The hasp snapped sharply in its holeand MissOpheliaturned the keyand pocketed it in triumph.

"Nowwe're ready.  Where's your papa?  I think it time thisbaggagewas setout.  Do look outEvaand see if you see your papa."

"Oyeshe's down the other end of the gentlemen's cabineating anorange."

"Hecan't know how near we are coming" said aunty; "hadn'tyou betterrun and speak to him?"

"Papanever is in a hurry about anything" said Eva"andwe haven'tcome to the landing.  Do step on the guardsaunty.Look!there's our houseup that street!"

The boatnow beganwith heavy groanslike some vasttiredmonsterto prepare to push up among the multiplied steamersat thelevee.  Eva joyously pointed out the various spiresdomesandway-marksby which she recognized her native city.

"Yesyesdear; very fine" said Miss Ophelia.  "But mercyon us! theboat has stopped! where is your father?"

And nowensued the usual turmoil of landing--waiters runningtwentyways at once--men tugging trunkscarpet-bagsboxes--womenanxiouslycalling to their childrenand everybody crowding in adense massto the plank towards the landing.

MissOphelia seated herself resolutely on the latelyvanquishedtrunkand marshalling all her goods and chattels infinemilitary orderseemed resolved to defend them to the last.

"ShallI take your trunkma'am?" "Shall I take your baggage?""Letme 'tend to your baggageMissis?" "Shan't I carry outthese yerMissis?" rained down upon her unheeded.  She satwith grimdeterminationupright as a darning-needle stuck in aboardholding on her bundle of umbrella and parasolsand replyingwith adetermination that was enough to strike dismay even into ahackmanwondering to Evain each interval"what upon earth herpapa couldbe thinking of; he couldn't have fallen overnow--butsomethingmust have happened;"--and just as she had begun to workherselfinto a real distresshe came upwith his usually carelessmotionand giving Eva a quarter of the orange he was eatingsaid

"WellCousin VermontI suppose you are all ready."

"I'vebeen readywaitingnearly an hour" said MissOphelia;"I began to be really concerned about you.

"That'sa clever fellownow" said he.  "Wellthe carriageiswaitingand the crowd are now offso that one can walk out ina decentand Christian mannerand not be pushed and shoved.Here"he added to a driver who stood behind him"take these things."

"I'llgo and see to his putting them in" said Miss Ophelia.

"Opshawcousinwhat's the use?" said St. Clare.

"Wellat any rateI'll carry thisand thisand this" said MissOpheliasingling out three boxes and a small carpet-bag.

"Mydear Miss Vermontpositively you mustn't come the GreenMountainsover us that way.  You must adopt at least a pieceof asouthern principleand not walk out under all that load.They'lltake you for a waiting-maid; give them to this fellow;he'll putthem down as if they were eggsnow."

MissOphelia looked despairingly as her cousin took all hertreasuresfrom herand rejoiced to find herself once more inthecarriage with themin a state of preservation.

"Where'sTom?" said Eva.

"Ohe's on the outsidePussy.  I'm going to take Tom up tomother fora peace-offeringto make up for that drunken fellowthat upsetthe carriage."

"OTom will make a splendid driverI know" said Eva;"he'llnever get drunk."

Thecarriage stopped in front of an ancient mansionbuiltin thatodd mixture of Spanish and French styleof which therearespecimens in some parts of New Orleans.  It was built in theMoorishfashion--a square building enclosing a court-yardintowhich thecarriage drove through an arched gateway.  The courtintheinsidehad evidently been arranged to gratify a picturesqueandvoluptuous ideality.  Wide galleries ran all around the foursideswhose Moorish archesslender pillarsand arabesque ornamentscarriedthe mind backas in a dreamto the reign of orientalromance inSpain.  In the middle of the courta fountain threwhigh itssilvery waterfalling in a never-ceasing spray into amarblebasinfringed with a deep border of fragrant violets.The waterin the fountainpellucid as crystalwas alive with myriadsof goldand silver fishestwinkling and darting through it likeso manyliving jewels.  Around the fountain ran a walkpaved witha mosaicof pebbleslaid in various fanciful patterns; and thisagainwassurrounded by turfsmooth as green velvetwhile acarriage-driveenclosed the whole.  Two large orange-treesnowfragrantwith blossomsthrew a delicious shade; andranged in acircleround upon the turfwere marble vases of arabesque sculpturecontainingthe choicest flowering plants of the tropics.Hugepomegranate treeswith their glossy leaves and flame-coloredflowersdark-leaved Arabian jessamineswith their silvery starsgeraniumsluxuriant roses bending beneath their heavy abundanceofflowersgolden jessamineslemon-scented verbenumall unitedtheirbloom and fragrancewhile here and there a mystic old aloewith itsstrangemassive leavessat looking like some old enchantersitting inweird grandeur among the more perishable bloom andfragrancearound it.

Thegalleries that surrounded the court were festooned with acurtain ofsome kind of Moorish stuffand could be drawn downatpleasureto exclude the beams of the sun.  On the wholetheappearanceof the place was luxurious and romantic.

As thecarriage drove inEva seemed like a bird ready toburst froma cagewith the wild eagerness of her delight.

"Oisn't it beautifullovely! my own deardarling home!"she saidto Miss Ophelia.  "Isn't it beautiful?"

"'Tis a pretty place" said Miss Opheliaas she alighted;"thoughit looks rather old and heathenish to me."

Tom gotdown from the carriageand looked about with an airof calmstill enjoyment.  The negroit must be rememberedis anexotic of the most gorgeous and superb countries of the worldand hehasdeep in his hearta passion for all that is splendidrichandfanciful; a passion whichrudely indulged by an untrainedtastedraws on them the ridicule of the colder and more correctwhiterace.

St. Clarewho was in heart a poetical voluptuarysmiled asMissOphelia made her remark on his premisesandturningto Tomwho was standing looking roundhis beaming black faceperfectlyradiant with admirationhe said

"Tommy boythis seems to suit you."

"YesMas'rit looks about the right thing" said Tom.

All thispassed in a momentwhile trunks were being hustledoffhackman paidand while a crowdof all ages and sizes--menwomenandchildren--came running through the galleriesbothabove andbelow to see Mas'r come in.  Foremost among them was ahighly-dressedyoung mulatto manevidently a very _distingue_personageattired in the ultra extreme of the modeand gracefullywaving ascented cambric handkerchief in his hand.

Thispersonage had been exerting himselfwith great alacrityin drivingall the flock of domestics to the other end oftheverandah.

"Back!all of you.  I am ashamed of you" he saidin a toneofauthority.  "Would you intrude on Master's domesticrelationsin thefirst hour of his return?"

All lookedabashed at this elegant speechdelivered with quite anairandstood huddled together at a respectful distanceexcepttwo stoutporterswho came up and began conveying away the baggage.

Owing toMr. Adolph's systematic arrangementswhen St. Clareturnedround from paying the hackmanthere was nobody inview butMr. Adolph himselfconspicuous in satin vestgoldguard-chainand white pantsand bowing with inexpressible graceandsuavity.

"AhAdolphis it you?" said his masteroffering his handto him;"how are youboy?" while Adolph poured forthwith greatfluencyan extemporary speechwhich he had been preparingwithgreatcarefor a fortnight before.

"Wellwell" said St. Clarepassing onwith his usual air ofnegligentdrollery"that's very well got upAdolph.  See thatthebaggage is well bestowed.  I'll come to the people in a minute;"andsosayinghe led Miss Ophelia to a large parlor that openedon theverandah.

While thishad been passingEva had flown like a birdthroughthe porchand parlorto a little boudoir opening likewiseon theverandah.

A talldark-eyedsallow womanhalf rose from a couch onwhich shewas reclining.

"Mamma!"said Evain a sort of a rapturethrowing herselfon herneckand embracing her over and over again.

"That'lldo--take carechild--don'tyou make my head ache"said themotherafter she had languidly kissed her.

St. Clarecame inembraced his wife in trueorthodoxhusbandlyfashionand then presented to her his cousin.  Marie liftedher largeeyes on her cousin with an air of some curiosityandreceived her with languid politeness.  A crowd of servants nowpressed tothe entry doorand among them a middle-aged mulattowomanofvery respectable appearancestood foremostin a tremorofexpectation and joyat the door.

"Othere's Mammy!" said Evaas she flew across the room;andthrowing herself into her armsshe kissed her repeatedly.

This womandid not tell her that she made her head achebuton thecontraryshe hugged herand laughedand criedtillher sanitywas a thing to be doubted of; and when released fromherEvaflew from one to anothershaking hands and kissingina way thatMiss Ophelia afterwards declared fairly turned her stomach.

"Well!"said Miss Ophelia"you southern children can dosomethingthat _I_ couldn't."

"Whatnowpray?" said St. Clare.

"WellI want to be kind to everybodyand I wouldn't haveanythinghurt; but as to kissing--"

"Niggers"said St. Clare"that you're not up to--hey?"

"Yesthat's it.  How can she?"

St. Clarelaughedas he went into the passage.  "Halloaherewhat's topay out here?  Hereyou all--MammyJimmyPollySukey--gladto see Mas'r?" he saidas he went shaking hands fromone toanother.  "Look out for the babies!" he addedas hestumbledover asooty little urchinwho was crawling upon all fours.  "IfIstep uponanybodylet 'em mention it."

There wasan abundance of laughing and blessing Mas'rasSt. Claredistributed small pieces of change among them.

"Comenowtake yourselves offlike good boys and girls"he said;and the whole assemblagedark and lightdisappearedthrough adoor into a large verandahfollowed by Evawho carrieda largesatchelwhich she had been filling with applesnutscandyribbonslacesand toys of every descriptionduring herwholehomeward journey.

As St.Clare turned to go back his eye fell upon Tomwho wasstandinguneasilyshifting from one foot to the otherwhileAdolphstood negligently leaning against the banistersexaminingTomthrough an opera-glasswith an air that would have done creditto anydandy living.

"Puh!you puppy" said his masterstriking down the opera glass;"isthat the way you treat your company?  Seems to meDolph"he addedlaying his finger on the elegant figured satin vest thatAdolph wassporting"seems to me that's _my_ vest."

"O!Masterthis vest all stained with wine; of courseagentlemanin Master's standing never wears a vest like this.Iunderstood I was to take it.  It does for a poor nigger-fellowlike me."

And Adolphtossed his headand passed his fingers throughhisscented hairwith a grace.

"Sothat's itis it?" said St. Clarecarelessly.  "WellhereI'm goingto show this Tom to his mistressand then you take himto thekitchen; and mind you don't put on any of your airs to him.He's worthtwo such puppies as you."

"Masteralways will have his joke" said Adolphlaughing."I'mdelighted to see Master in such spirits."

"HereTom" said St. Clarebeckoning.

Tomentered the room.  He looked wistfully on the velvet carpetsand thebefore unimagined splendors of mirrorspicturesstatuesandcurtainsandlike the Queen of Sheba before Solomontherewas nomore spirit in him.  He looked afraid even to set hisfeet down.

"SeehereMarie" said St. Clare to his wife"I've boughtyou acoachmanat lastto order.  I tell youhe's a regularhearse forblackness and sobrietyand will drive you like a funeralif youwant.  Open your eyesnowand look at him.  Nowdon'tsay Inever think about you when I'm gone."

Marieopened her eyesand fixed them on Tomwithout rising.

"Iknow he'll get drunk" she said.

"Nohe's warranted a pious and sober article."

"WellI hope he may turn out well" said the lady; "it'smore thanI expectthough."

"Dolph"said St. Clare"show Tom down stairs; andmindyourself"he added; "remember what I told you."

Adolphtripped gracefully forwardand Tomwith lumberingtreadwent after.

"He'sa perfect behemoth!" said Marie.

"ComenowMarie" said St. Clareseating himself on a stoolbeside hersofa"be graciousand say something pretty toa fellow."

"You'vebeen gone a fortnight beyond the time" said theladypouting.

"Wellyou know I wrote you the reason."

"Sucha shortcold letter!" said the lady.

"Dearme! the mail was just goingand it had to be thatornothing."

"That'sjust the wayalways" said the lady; "always somethingto makeyour journeys longand letters short."

"Seeherenow" he addeddrawing an elegant velvet case outof hispocketand opening it"here's a present I got for youin NewYork."

It was adaguerreotypeclear and soft as an engravingrepresentingEva and her father sitting hand in hand.

Marielooked at it with a dissatisfied air.

"Whatmade you sit in such an awkward position?" she said.

"Wellthe position may be a matter of opinion; but whatdo youthink of the likeness?"

"Ifyou don't think anything of my opinion in one caseIsupposeyou wouldn't in another" said the ladyshutting thedaguerreotype.

"Hangthe woman!" said St. Clarementally; but aloud he added"ComenowMariewhat do you think of the likeness?  Don't benonsensicalnow."

"It'svery inconsiderate of youSt. Clare" said the lady"toinsist on my talking and looking at things.  You know I've beenlying allday with the sick-headache; and there's been such a tumultmade eversince you cameI'm half dead."

"You'resubject to the sick-headachema'am!" said MissOpheliasuddenly rising from the depths of the large arm-chairwhere shehad sat quietlytaking an inventory of the furnitureandcalculating its expense.

"YesI'm a perfect martyr to it" said the lady.

"Juniper-berrytea is good for sick-headache" said MissOphelia;"at leastAugusteDeacon Abraham Perry's wifeused tosay so;and she was a great nurse."

"I'llhave the first juniper-berries that get ripe in ourgarden bythe lake brought in for that special purpose" said St.Claregravely pulling the bell as he did so; "meanwhilecousinyou mustbe wanting to retire to your apartmentand refresh yourselfa littleafter your journey.  Dolph" he added"tell Mammy tocomehere."  The decent mulatto woman whom Eva had caressed sorapturouslysoon entered; she was dressed neatlywith a high redand yellowturban on her headthe recent gift of Evaand whichthe childhad been arranging on her head.  "Mammy" said St.Clare"Iput this lady under your care; she is tiredand wants rest;take herto her chamberand be sure she is made comfortable" andMissOphelia disappeared in the rear of Mammy.

 

 

CHAPTERXVITom'sMistress and Her Opinions

 

"AndnowMarie" said St. Clare"your golden days are dawning.Here isour practicalbusiness-like New England cousinwho willtake thewhole budget of cares off your shouldersand give youtime torefresh yourselfand grow young and handsome.  The ceremonyofdelivering the keys had better come off forthwith."

Thisremark was made at the breakfast-tablea few morningsafter MissOphelia had arrived.

"I'msure she's welcome" said Marieleaning her headlanguidlyon her hand.  "I think she'll find one thingif shedoesandthat isthat it's we mistresses that are the slavesdownhere."

"Ocertainlyshe will discover thatand a world ofwholesometruths besidesno doubt" said St. Clare.

"Talkabout our keeping slavesas if we did it for our_convenience_"said Marie.  "I'm sureif we consulted _that_wemight letthem all go at once."

Evangelinefixed her largeserious eyes on her mother's facewith anearnest and perplexed expressionand saidsimply"Whatdo you keep them formamma?"

"Idon't knowI'm sureexcept for a plague; they are theplague ofmy life.  I believe that more of my ill health is causedby themthan by any one thing; and oursI knoware the veryworst thatever anybody was plagued with."

"OcomeMarieyou've got the bluesthis morning" saidSt.Clare.  "You know 't isn't so.  There's Mammythebest creatureliving--whatcould you do without her?"

"Mammyis the best I ever knew" said Marie; "and yet Mammynowisselfish--dreadfully selfish; it's the fault of the whole race."

"Selfishness_is_ a dreadful fault" said St. Claregravely.

"Wellnowthere's Mammy" said Marie"I think it's selfishof her tosleep so sound nights; she knows I need littleattentionsalmost every hourwhen my worst turns are onand yetshe's sohard to wake.  I absolutely am worsethis very morningfor theefforts I had to make to wake her last night."

"Hasn'tshe sat up with you a good many nightslatelymamma?"said Eva.

"Howshould you know that?" said Mariesharply; "she'sbeencomplainingI suppose."

"Shedidn't complain; she only told me what bad nightsyou'dhad--so many in succession."

"Whydon't you let Jane or Rosa take her placea night ortwo"said St. Clare"and let her rest?"

"Howcan you propose it?" said Marie.  "St. Clareyoureallyareinconsiderate.  So nervous as I amthe least breath disturbsme; and astrange hand about me would drive me absolutely frantic.If Mammyfelt the interest in me she ought toshe'd wakeeasier--ofcourseshe would.  I've heard of people who had suchdevotedservantsbut it never was _my_ luck;" and Marie sighed.

MissOphelia had listened to this conversation with an airof shrewdobservant gravity; and she still kept her lips tightlycompressedas if determined fully to ascertain her longitude andpositionbefore she committed herself.

"NowMammy has a _sort_ of goodness" said Marie; "she'ssmooth andrespectfulbut she's selfish at heart.  Nowshe neverwill bedone fidgeting and worrying about that husband of hers.You seewhen I was married and came to live hereof courseIhad tobring her with meand her husband my father couldn't spare.He was ablacksmithandof coursevery necessary; and I thoughtand saidat the timethat Mammy and he had better give each otherupas itwasn't likely to be convenient for them ever to livetogetheragain.  I wishnowI'd insisted on itand married Mammytosomebody else; but I was foolish and indulgentand didn't wanttoinsist.  I told Mammyat the timethat she mustn't ever expectto see himmore than once or twice in her life againfor the airoffather's place doesn't agree with my healthand I can't gothere; andI advised her to take up with somebody else; but no--shewouldn't.  Mammy has a kind of obstinacy about herin spotsthateverybody don't see as I do."

"Hasshe children?" said Miss Ophelia.

"Yes;she has two."

"Isuppose she feels the separation from them?"

"Wellof courseI couldn't bring them.  They were littledirtythings--I couldn't have them about; andbesidesthey tookup toomuch of her time; but I believe that Mammy has always keptup a sortof sulkiness about this.  She won't marry anybody else;and I dobelievenowthough she knows how necessary she is tomeandhow feeble my health isshe would go back to her husbandtomorrowif she only could.  I _do_indeed" said Marie; "theyare justso selfishnowthe best of them."

"It'sdistressing to reflect upon" said St. Claredryly.

MissOphelia looked keenly at himand saw the flush ofmortificationand repressed vexationand the sarcastic curl ofthe lipas he spoke.

"NowMammy has always been a pet with me" said Marie."Iwish some of your northern servants could look at herclosets ofdresses--silks and muslinsand one real linencambricshe has hanging there.  I've worked sometimes wholeafternoonstrimming her capsand getting her ready to go toa party. As to abuseshe don't know what it is.  She never waswhippedmore than once or twice in her whole life.  She has herstrongcoffee or her tea every daywith white sugar in it.It'sabominableto be sure; but St. Clare will have high lifebelow-stairsand they every one of them live just as they please.The factisour servants are over-indulged.  I suppose it ispartly ourfault that they are selfishand act like spoiledchildren;but I've talked to St. Clare till I am tired."

"AndItoo" said St. Claretaking up the morning paper.

Evathebeautiful Evahad stood listening to her motherwith thatexpression of deep and mystic earnestness which waspeculiarto her.  She walked softly round to her mother's chairand puther arms round her neck.

"WellEvawhat now?" said Marie.

"Mammacouldn't I take care of you one night--just one?I know Ishouldn't make you nervousand I shouldn't sleep.I oftenlie awake nightsthinking--"

"Ononsensechild--nonsense!" said Marie; "you are sucha strangechild!"

"Butmay Imamma?  I think" she saidtimidly"thatMammyisn'twell.  She told me her head ached all the timelately."

"Othat's just one of Mammy's fidgets!  Mammy is just like allthe restof them--makes such a fuss about every little headacheorfinger-ache; it'll never do to encourage it--never!  I'mprincipledabout thismatter" said sheturning to Miss Ophelia; "you'll findthenecessity of it.  If you encourage servants in giving way toeverylittle disagreeable feelingand complaining of every littleailmentyou'll have your hands full.  I never complain myself--nobodyknows whatI endure.  I feel it a duty to bear it quietlyand I do."

MissOphelia's round eyes expressed an undisguised amazement atthisperorationwhich struck St. Clare as so supremely ludicrousthat heburst into a loud laugh.

"St.Clare always laughs when I make the least allusion to myillhealth" said Mariewith the voice of a suffering martyr."Ionly hope the day won't come when he'll remember it!" and Marieput herhandkerchief to her eyes.

Of coursethere was rather a foolish silence.  FinallySt. Claregot uplooked at his watchand said he had an engagementdownstreet.  Eva tripped away after himand Miss Ophelia andMarieremained at the table alone.

"Nowthat's just like St. Clare!" said the latterwithdrawingherhandkerchief with somewhat of a spirited flourish when thecriminalto be affected by it was no longer in sight.  "He neverrealizesnever cannever willwhat I sufferand havefor years.If I wasone of the complaining sortor ever made any fuss aboutmyailmentsthere would be some reason for it.  Men do get tirednaturallyof a complaining wife.  But I've kept things to myselfand borneand bornetill St. Clare has got in the way of thinkingI can bearanything."

MissOphelia did not exactly know what she was expected toanswer tothis.

While shewas thinking what to sayMarie gradually wiped awayher tearsand smoothed her plumage in a general sort of wayas a dovemight be supposed to make toilet after a showerandbegan ahousewifely chat with Miss Opheliaconcerning cupboardsclosetslinen-pressesstore-roomsand other mattersof whichthe latterwasby common understandingto assume the direction--givingher so many cautious directions and chargesthat a headlesssystematic and business-like than Miss Ophelia's would havebeenutterly dizzied and confounded.

"Andnow" said Marie"I believe I've told you everything;so thatwhen my next sick turn comes onyou'll be able to goforwardentirelywithout consulting me;--only about Eva--sherequireswatching."

"Sheseems to be a good childvery" said Miss Ophelia;"Inever saw a better child."

"Eva'speculiar" said her mother"very.  There are thingsabout herso singular; she isn't like menowa particle;" andMariesighedas if this was a truly melancholy consideration.

MissOphelia in her own heart said"I hope she isn't"but hadprudence enough to keep it down.

"Evaalways was disposed to be with servants; and I thinkthat wellenough with some children.  NowI always played withfather'slittle negroes--it never did me any harm.  But Eva somehowalwaysseems to put herself on an equality with every creature thatcomes nearher.  It's a strange thing about the child.  I neverhave beenable to break her of it.  St. ClareI believeencouragesher init.  The fact isSt. Clare indulges every creature underthis roofbut his own wife."

Again MissOphelia sat in blank silence.

"Nowthere's no way with servants" said Marie"but to _putthemdown_and keep them down.  It was always natural to mefrom achild.  Eva is enough to spoil a whole house-full.What shewill do when she comes to keep house herselfI'm sureI don'tknow.  I hold to being _kind_ to servants--I always am;but youmust make 'em _know their place_.  Eva never does; there'sno gettinginto the child's head the first beginning of an idea whataservant's place is!  You heard her offering to take care of menightstolet Mammy sleep!  That's just a specimen of the way thechildwould be doing all the timeif she was left to herself."

"Why"said Miss Opheliabluntly"I suppose you think yourservantsare human creaturesand ought to have some restwhen theyare tired."

"Certainlyof course.  I'm very particular in letting themhaveeverything that comes convenient--anything that doesn't putone at allout of the wayyou know.  Mammy can make up her sleepsome timeor other; there's no difficulty about that.  She's thesleepiestconcern that ever I saw; sewingstandingor sittingthatcreature will go to sleepand sleep anywhere and everywhere.No dangerbut Mammy gets sleep enough.  But this treating servantsas if theywere exotic flowersor china vasesis really ridiculous"saidMarieas she plunged languidly into the depths of a voluminousandpillowy loungeand drew towards her an elegant cut-glassvinaigrette.

"Yousee" she continuedin a faint and lady-like voicelike thelast dying breath of an Arabian jessamineor somethingequallyethereal"you seeCousin OpheliaI don't often speakofmyself.  It isn't my _habit_; 't isn't agreeable to me.  InfactI haven'tstrength to do it.  But there are points where St. Clareand Idiffer.  St. Clare never understood menever appreciated me.I think itlies at the root of all my ill health.  St. ClaremeanswellI am bound to believe; but men are constitutionallyselfishand inconsiderate to woman.  Thatat leastis my impression."

MissOpheliawho had not a small share of the genuine NewEnglandcautionand a very particular horror of being drawn intofamilydifficultiesnow began to foresee something of this kindimpending;socomposing her face into a grim neutralityanddrawingout of her pocket about a yard and a quarter of stockingwhich shekept as a specific against what Dr. Watts asserts to bea personalhabit of Satan when people have idle handsshe proceededto knitmost energeticallyshutting her lips together in a way thatsaidasplain as words could"You needn't try to make me speak.I don'twant anything to do with your affairs"--in factshelookedabout as sympathizing as a stone lion.  But Marie didn'tcare forthat.  She had got somebody to talk toand she felt ither dutyto talkand that was enough; and reinforcing herself bysmellingagain at her vinaigretteshe went on.

"YouseeI brought my own property and servants into theconnectionwhen I married St. Clareand I am legally entitled tomanagethem my own way.  St. Clare had his fortune and his servantsand I'mwell enough content he should manage them his way; but St.Clare willbe interfering.  He has wildextravagant notions aboutthingsparticularly about the treatment of servants.  He reallydoes actas if he set his servants before meand before himselftoo; forhe lets them make him all sorts of troubleand neverlifts afinger.  Nowabout some thingsSt. Clare is reallyfrightful--hefrightens me--good-natured as he looksin general.Nowhehas set down his foot thatcome what willthere shallnot be ablow struck in this houseexcept what he or I strike;and hedoes it in a way that I really dare not cross him.Wellyoumay see what that leads to; for St. Clare wouldn'traise hishandif every one of them walked over himand I--yousee howcruel it would be to require me to make the exertion.Nowyouknow these servants are nothing but grown-up children."

"Idon't know anything about itand I thank the Lord thatI don't!"said Miss Opheliashortly.

"Wellbut you will have to know somethingand know it toyour costif you stay here.  You don't know what a provokingstupidcarelessunreasonablechildishungrateful set of wretchesthey are."

Marieseemed wonderfully supportedalwayswhen she got uponthistopic; and she now opened her eyesand seemed quite toforget herlanguor.

"Youdon't knowand you can'tthe dailyhourly trialsthat beseta housekeeper from themeverywhere and every way.But it'sno use to complain to St. Clare.  He talks thestrangeststuff.  He says we have made them what they areand oughtto bear with them.  He says their faults are allowing tousand that it would be cruel to make the fault andpunish ittoo.  He says we shouldn't do any betterin theirplace;just as if one could reason from them to usyou know."

"Don'tyou believe that the Lord made them of one bloodwith us?"said Miss Opheliashortly.

"Noindeed not I!  A pretty storytruly!  They are a degradedrace."

"Don'tyou think they've got immortal souls?" said MissOpheliawith increasing indignation.

"Owell" said Marieyawning"thatof course--nobodydoubtsthat.  But as to putting them on any sort of equality withusyouknowas if we could be comparedwhyit's impossible!NowSt.Clare really has talked to me as if keeping Mammy fromherhusband was like keeping me from mine.  There's no comparingin thisway.  Mammy couldn't have the feelings that I should.It's adifferent thing altogether-- of courseit is--and yet St.Clarepretends not to see it.  And just as if Mammy could love herlittledirty babies as I love Eva!  Yet St. Clare once really andsoberlytried to persuade me that it was my dutywith my weakhealthand all I sufferto let Mammy go backand take somebodyelse inher place.  That was a little too much even for _me_ to bear.I don'toften show my feelingsI make it a principle to endureeverythingin silence; it's a wife's hard lotand I bear it.But I didbreak outthat time; so that he has never alludedto thesubject since.  But I know by his looksand little thingsthat hesaysthat he thinks so as much as ever; and it's so tryingsoprovoking!"

MissOphelia looked very much as if she was afraid she shouldsaysomething; but she rattled away with her needles in a waythat hadvolumes of meaning in itif Marie could only haveunderstoodit.

"Soyou just see" she continued"what you've got to manage.Ahousehold without any rule; where servants have it all theirown waydo what they pleaseand have what they pleaseexceptso far asIwith my feeble healthhave kept up government.I keep mycowhide aboutand sometimes I do lay it on; but theexertionis always too much for me.  If St. Clare would only havethis thingdone as others do--"

"Andhow's that?"

"Whysend them to the calabooseor some of the other placesto beflogged.  That's the only way.  If I wasn't such a poorfeeblepieceI believe I should manage with twice the energythat St.Clare does."

"Andhow does St. Clare contrive to manage?" said Miss Ophelia."Yousay he never strikes a blow."

"Wellmen have a more commanding wayyou know; it is easierfor them;besidesif you ever looked full in his eyeit'speculiar--thateye--and if he speaks decidedlythere's a kindof flash. I'm afraid of itmyself; and the servants know theymustmind.  I couldn't do as much by a regular storm and scoldingas St.Clare can by one turn of his eyeif once he is in earnest.Othere'sno trouble about St. Clare; that's the reason he's nomorefeeling for me.  But you'll findwhen you come to managethatthere's no getting along without severity--they are so badsodeceitfulso lazy".

"Theold tune" said St. Claresauntering in.  "What anawfulaccountthese wicked creatures will have to settleat lastespeciallyfor being lazy!  You seecousin" said heas he stretchedhimself atfull length on a lounge opposite to Marie"it's whollyinexcusablein themin the light of the example that Marie and Isetthem--this laziness."

"ComenowSt. Clareyou are too bad!" said Marie.

"AmInow?  WhyI thought I was talking goodquiteremarkablyfor me.  I try to enforce your remarksMariealways."

"Youknow you meant no such thingSt. Clare" said Marie.

"OImust have been mistakenthen.  Thank youmy dearforsetting me right."

"Youdo really try to be provoking" said Marie.

"OcomeMariethe day is growing warmand I have justhad a longquarrel with Dolphwhich has fatigued me excessively;sopraybe agreeablenowand let a fellow repose in the lightof yoursmile."

"What'sthe matter about Dolph?" said Marie.  "That fellow'simpudencehas been growing to a point that is perfectly intolerableto me. I only wish I had the undisputed management of him a while.I'd bringhim down!"

"Whatyou saymy dearis marked with your usual acutenessand goodsense" said St. Clare.  "As to Dolphthe case isthis:that hehas so long been engaged in imitating my graces andperfectionsthat he hasat lastreally mistaken himself for hismaster;and I have been obliged to give him a little insight intohismistake."

"How?"said Marie.

"WhyI was obliged to let him understand explicitly that Ipreferredto keep _some_ of my clothes for my own personal wearing;alsoIput his magnificence upon an allowance of cologne-waterandactually was so cruel as to restrict him to one dozen of mycambrichandkerchiefs.  Dolph was particularly huffy about itandI had totalk to him like a fatherto bring him round."

"O!St. Clarewhen will you learn how to treat your servants?It'sabominablethe way you indulge them!" said Marie.

"Whyafter allwhat's the harm of the poor dog's wantingto be likehis master; and if I haven't brought him up any betterthan tofind his chief good in cologne and cambric handkerchiefswhyshouldn't I give them to him?"

"Andwhy haven't you brought him up better?" said MissOpheliawith blunt determination.

"Toomuch trouble--lazinesscousinlaziness--which ruinsmore soulsthan you can shake a stick at.  If it weren't forlazinessI should have been a perfect angelmyself.  I'm inclinedto thinkthat laziness is what your old Dr. Botheremup in Vermontused tocall the `essence of moral evil.'  It's an awfulconsiderationcertainly."

"Ithink you slaveholders have an awful responsibility uponyou"said Miss Ophelia.  "I wouldn't have itfor a thousandworlds. You ought to educate your slavesand treat them likereasonablecreatures--like immortal creaturesthat you've got tostandbefore the bar of God with.  That's my mind" said the goodladybreaking suddenly out with a tide of zeal that had beengainingstrength in her mind all the morning.

"O!comecome" said St. Claregetting up quickly; "whatdo youknow about us?"  And he sat down to the pianoand rattleda livelypiece of music.  St. Clare had a decided genius for music.His touchwas brilliant and firmand his fingers flew over thekeys witha rapid and bird-like motionairyand yet decided.He playedpiece after piecelike a man who is trying to play himselfinto agood humor.  After pushing the music asidehe rose upandsaidgayly"Wellnowcousinyou've given us a good talk anddone yourduty; on the wholeI think the better of you for it.I make nomanner of doubt that you threw a very diamond of truthat methough you see it hit me so directly in the face that itwasn'texactly appreciatedat first."

"Formy partI don't see any use in such sort of talk"saidMarie.  "I'm sureif anybody does more for servants thanwedoI'dlike to know who; and it don't do 'em a bit good--not aparticle--theyget worse and worse.  As to talking to themoranythinglike thatI'm sure I have talked till I was tired andhoarsetelling them their dutyand all that; and I'm sure theycan go tochurch when they likethough they don't understand aword ofthe sermonmore than so many pigs--so it isn't of anygreat usefor them to goas I see; but they do goand so theyhave everychance; butas I said beforethey are a degraded raceand alwayswill beand there isn't any help for them; you can'tmakeanything of themif you try.  You seeCousin OpheliaI'vetriedand you haven't; I was born and bred among themandI know."

MissOphelia thought she had said enoughand thereforesatsilent.  St. Clare whistled a tune.

"St.ClareI wish you wouldn't whistle" said Marie; "itmakes myhead worse."

"Iwon't" said St. Clare.  "Is there anything else youwouldn'twish me to do?"

"Iwish you _would_ have some kind of sympathy for mytrials;you never have any feeling for me."

"Mydear accusing angel!" said St. Clare.

"It'sprovoking to be talked to in that way."

"Thenhow will you be talked to?  I'll talk to order--anyway you'llmention--only to give satisfaction."

A gaylaugh from the court rang through the silken curtainsof theverandah.  St. Clare stepped outand lifting up the curtainlaughedtoo.

"Whatis it?" said Miss Opheliacoming to the railing.

There satTomon a little mossy seat in the courtevery oneof hisbutton-holes stuck full of cape jessaminesand Evagaylylaughingwas hanging a wreath of roses round his neck; andthen shesat down on his kneelike a chip-sparrowstill laughing.

"OTomyou look so funny!"

Tom had asoberbenevolent smileand seemedin his quiet wayto beenjoying the fun quite as much as his little mistress.He liftedhis eyeswhen he saw his masterwith a half-deprecatingapologeticair.

"Howcan you let her?" said Miss Ophelia.

"Whynot?" said St. Clare.

"WhyI don't knowit seems so dreadful!"

"Youwould think no harm in a child's caressing a large dogeven if hewas black; but a creature that can thinkandreasonand feeland is immortalyou shudder at; confess itcousin. I know the feeling among some of you northerners wellenough. Not that there is a particle of virtue in our not havingit; butcustom with us does what Christianity ought to do--obliteratesthefeeling of personal prejudice.  I have often noticedin mytravelsnorthhow much stronger this was with you than with us.You loathethem as you would a snake or a toadyet you are indignantat theirwrongs.  You would not have them abused; but you don'twant tohave anything to do with them yourselves.  You would sendthem toAfricaout of your sight and smelland then send amissionaryor two to do up all the self-denial of elevating themcompendiously. Isn't that it?"

"Wellcousin" said Miss Opheliathoughtfully"theremay besome truth in this."

"Whatwould the poor and lowly dowithout children?" saidSt. Clareleaning on the railingand watching Evaas she trippedoffleading Tom with her.  "Your little child is your only truedemocrat. Tomnow is a hero to Eva; his stories are wonders inher eyeshis songs and Methodist hymns are better than an operaand thetraps and little bits of trash in his pocket a mine ofjewelsand he the most wonderful Tom that ever wore a black skin.This isone of the roses of Eden that the Lord has dropped downexpresslyfor the poor and lowlywho get few enough of any other kind."

"It'sstrangecousin" said Miss Ophelia"one might almostthink youwere a _professor_to hear you talk."

"Aprofessor?" said St. Clare.

"Yes;a professor of religion."

"Notat all; not a professoras your town-folks have it;andwhatis worseI'm afraidnot a _practiser_either."

"Whatmakes you talk sothen?"

"Nothingis easier than talking" said St. Clare.  "I believeShakespearemakes somebody say`I could sooner show twenty
whatwere good to be donethan be one of the twenty to follow my
ownshowing.'  Nothing like divisionof labor.  My forte lies intalkingand yourscousinlies in doing."

In Tom'sexternal situationat this timethere wasas theworldsaysnothing to complain of Little Eva's fancy forhim--theinstinctive gratitude and loveliness of a noble nature--hadled her topetition her father that he might be her especialattendantwhenever she needed the escort of a servantin herwalks orrides; and Tom had general orders to let everything elsegoandattend to Miss Eva whenever she wanted him--orders whichourreaders may fancy were far from disagreeable to him.  He waskept welldressedfor St. Clare was fastidiously particular onthispoint.  His stable services were merely a sinecureandconsistedsimply in a daily care and inspectionand directing anunder-servantin his duties; for Marie St. Clare declared that shecould nothave any smell of the horses about him when he came nearherandthat he must positively not be put to any service thatwould makehim unpleasant to heras her nervous system was entirelyinadequateto any trial of that nature; one snuff of anythingdisagreeablebeingaccording to her accountquite sufficient toclose thesceneand put an end to all her earthly trials at once.Tomthereforein his well-brushed broadcloth suitsmooth beaverglossybootsfaultless wristbands and collarwith his gravegood-naturedblack facelooked respectable enough to be aBishop ofCarthageas men of his color werein other ages.

Thentoohe was in a beautiful placea consideration towhich hissensitive race was never indifferent; and he did enjoywith aquiet joy the birdsthe flowersthe fountainsthe perfumeand lightand beauty of the courtthe silken hangingsand picturesandlustresand statuettesand gildingthat made the parlorswithin akind of Aladdin's palace to him.

If everAfrica shall show an elevated and cultivated race--andcome itmustsome timeher turn to figure in the great dramaof humanimprovement.--life will awake there with a gorgeousnessandsplendor of which our cold western tribes faintly have conceived.In thatfar-off mystic land of goldand gemsand spicesandwavingpalmsand wondrous flowersand miraculous fertilitywillawake newforms of artnew styles of splendor; and the negro raceno longerdespised and trodden downwillperhapsshow forth someof thelatest and most magnificent revelations of human life.Certainlythey willin their gentlenesstheir lowly docility ofhearttheir aptitude to repose on a superior mind and rest on ahigherpowertheir childlike simplicity of affectionand facilityofforgiveness.  In all these they will exhibit the highest formof thepeculiarly _Christian life_andperhapsas God chastenethwhom helovethhe hath chosen poor Africa in the furnace ofafflictionto make her the highest and noblest in that kingdomwhich hewill set upwhen every other kingdom has been triedandfailed;for the first shall be lastand the last first.

Was thiswhat Marie St. Clare was thinking ofas she stoodgorgeouslydressedon the verandahon Sunday morningclaspinga diamondbracelet on her slender wrist?  Most likely it was.Orif itwasn't thatit was something else; for Marie patronizedgoodthingsand she was going nowin full force--diamondssilkand laceand jewelsand all--to a fashionable churchto beveryreligious.  Marie always made a point to be very piousonSundays.  There she stoodso slenderso elegantso airy andundulatingin all her motionsher lace scarf enveloping her likea mist. She looked a graceful creatureand she felt very goodand veryelegant indeed.  Miss Ophelia stood at her sidea perfectcontrast. It was not that she had not as handsome a silk dressand shawland as fine a pocket-handkerchief; but stiffness andsquarenessand bolt-uprightnessenveloped her with as indefiniteyetappreciable a presence as did grace her elegant neighbor; notthe graceof Godhowever--that is quite another thing!

"Where'sEva?" said Marie.

"Thechild stopped on the stairsto say something to Mammy."

And whatwas Eva saying to Mammy on the stairs?  Listenreaderand youwill hearthough Marie does not.

"DearMammyI know your head is aching dreadfully."

"Lordbless youMiss Eva! my head allers aches lately.You don'tneed to worry."

"WellI'm glad you're going out; and here"--and the littlegirl threwher arms around her--"Mammyyou shall take myvinaigrette."

"What!your beautiful gold thingtharwith them diamonds!LorMiss't wouldn't be properno ways."

"Whynot?  You need itand I don't.  Mamma always uses itforheadacheand it'll make you feel better.  Noyou shall takeittoplease menow."

"Dohear the darlin talk!" said Mammyas Eva thrust itinto herbosomand kissing herran down stairs to her mother.

"Whatwere you stopping for?"

"Iwas just stopping to give Mammy my vinaigretteto taketo churchwith her."

"Eva"said Mariestamping impatiently--"your gold vinaigretteto_Mammy!_  When will you learn what's _proper_?  Go rightandtake itback this moment!"

Eva lookeddowncast and aggrievedand turned slowly.

"IsayMarielet the child alone; she shall do as shepleases"said St. Clare.

"St.Clarehow will she ever get along in the world?" said Marie.

"TheLord knows" said St. Clare"but she'll get along inheavenbetter than you or I."

"Opapadon't" said Evasoftly touching his elbow; "ittroublesmother."

"Wellcousinare you ready to go to meeting?" said MissOpheliaturning square about on St. Clare.

"I'mnot goingthank you."

"I dowish St. Clare ever would go to church" said Marie;"buthe hasn't a particle of religion about him.  It really isn'trespectable."

"Iknow it" said St. Clare.  "You ladies go to church tolearnhow to getalong in the worldI supposeand your piety shedsrespectabilityon us.  If I did go at allI would go where Mammygoes;there's something to keep a fellow awake thereat least."

"What!those shouting Methodists?  Horrible!" said Marie.

"Anythingbut the dead sea of your respectable churchesMarie.Positivelyit's too much to ask of a man.  Evado youlike togo?  Comestay at home and play with me."

"Thankyoupapa; but I'd rather go to church."

"Isn'tit dreadful tiresome?" said St. Clare.

"Ithink it is tiresomesome" said Eva"and I am sleepytoobut Itry to keep awake."

"Whatdo you go forthen?"

"Whyyou knowpapa" she saidin a whisper"cousin told methat Godwants to have us; and he gives us everythingyou know;and itisn't much to do itif he wants us to.  It isn't so verytiresomeafter all."

"Yousweetlittle obliging soul!" said St. Clarekissing her;"goalongthat's a good girland pray for me."

"CertainlyI always do" said the childas she sprangafter hermother into the carriage.

St. Clarestood on the steps and kissed his hand to heras thecarriage drove away; large tears were in his eyes.

"OEvangeline! rightly named" he said; "hath not God madethee anevangel to me?"

So he felta moment; and then he smoked a cigarand readthePicayuneand forgot his little gospel.  Was he much unlikeotherfolks?

"YouseeEvangeline" said her mother"it's always rightand properto be kind to servantsbut it isn't proper to treatthem_just_ as we would our relationsor people in our own classof life. Nowif Mammy was sickyou wouldn't want to put her inyour ownbed."

"Ishould feel just like itmamma" said Eva"because thenit wouldbe handier to take care of herand becauseyouknowmybed is better than hers."

Marie wasin utter despair at the entire want of moralperceptionevinced in this reply.

"Whatcan I do to make this child understand me?" she said.

"Nothing"said Miss Opheliasignificantly.

Eva lookedsorry and disconcerted for a moment; but childrenluckilydo not keep to one impression longand in a few momentsshe wasmerrily laughing at various things which she saw from thecoach-windowsas it rattled along.

*   *    *    *    *   *

"Wellladies" said St. Clareas they were comfortably seatedat thedinner-table"and what was the bill of fare at church today?"

"ODr. G---- preached a splendid sermon" said Marie."Itwas just such a sermon as you ought to hear; it expressed allmy viewsexactly."

"Itmust have been very improving" said St. Clare.  "Thesubjectmust havebeen an extensive one."

"WellI mean all my views about societyand such things"saidMarie.  "The text was`He hath made everything beautifulinitsseason;' and he showed how all the orders and distinctions insocietycame from God; and that it was so appropriateyou knowandbeautifulthat some should be high and some lowand that somewere bornto rule and some to serveand all thatyou know; andhe appliedit so well to all this ridiculous fuss that is madeaboutslaveryand he proved distinctly that the Bible was on oursideandsupported all our institutions so convincingly.  I onlywish you'dheard him."

"OIdidn't need it" said St. Clare.  "I can learn whatdoesme as muchgood as that from the Picayuneany timeand smokea cigarbesides; which I can't doyou knowin a church."

"Why"said Miss Ophelia"don't you believe in these views?"

"Who--I? You know I'm such a graceless dog that thesereligiousaspects of such subjects don't edify me much.  If I wasto sayanything on this slavery matterI would say outfair andsquare`We're in for it; we've got 'emand mean to keep 'em--it'sfor ourconvenience and our interest;' for that's the long andshort ofit--that's just the whole of what all this sanctifiedstuffamounts toafter all; and I think that it will be intelligibletoeverybodyeverywhere."

"I dothinkAugustineyou are so irreverent!" said Marie."Ithink it's shocking to hear you talk."

"Shocking!it's the truth.  This religious talk on suchmatters--whydon't they carry it a little furtherand show thebeautyinits seasonof a fellow's taking a glass too muchandsitting a little too late over his cardsand variousprovidentialarrangements of that sortwhich are prettyfrequentamong us young men;--we'd like to hear that those areright andgodlytoo."

"Well"said Miss Ophelia"do you think slavery right or wrong?"

I'm notgoing to have any of your horrid New Englanddirectnesscousin" said St. Claregayly.  "If I answer thatquestionI know you'll be at me with half a dozen otherseachone harderthan the last; and I'm not a going to define my position.I am oneof the sort that lives by throwing stones at other people'sglasshousesbut I never mean to put up one for them to stone."

"That'sjust the way he's always talking" said Marie; "you can'tget anysatisfaction out of him.  I believe it's just becausehe don'tlike religionthat he's always running out in this wayhe's beendoing."

"Religion!"said St. Clarein a tone that made both ladieslook athim.  "Religion!  Is what you hear at churchreligion?Is thatwhich can bend and turnand descend and ascendto fit everycrookedphase of selfishworldly societyreligion?  Is that religionwhich isless scrupulousless generousless justless consideratefor manthan even my own ungodlyworldlyblinded nature?  No!When Ilook for a religionI must look for something above meand notsomething beneath."

"Thenyou don't believe that the Bible justifies slavery"said MissOphelia.

"TheBible was my _mother's_ book" said St. Clare.  "By itshelived anddiedand I would be very sorry to think it did.I'd assoon desire to have it proved that my mother could drinkbrandychew tobaccoand swearby way of satisfying me that Idid rightin doing the same.  It wouldn't make me at all moresatisfiedwith these things in myselfand it would take from methecomfort of respecting her; and it really is a comfortin thisworldtohave anything one can respect.  In shortyou see" saidhesuddenly resuming his gay tone"all I want is that differentthings bekept in different boxes.  The whole frame-work of societyboth inEurope and Americais made up of various things which willnot standthe scrutiny of any very ideal standard of morality.It'spretty generally understood that men don't aspire after theabsoluterightbut only to do about as well as the rest of theworld. Nowwhen any one speaks uplike a manand says slaveryisnecessary to uswe can't get along without itwe should bebeggaredif we give it upandof coursewe mean to hold on toit--thisis strongclearwell-defined language; it has therespectabilityof truth to it; andif we may judge by theirpracticethe majority of the world will bear us out in it.But whenhe begins to put on a long faceand snuffleand quoteScriptureI incline to think he isn't much better than he should be."

"Youare very uncharitable" said Marie.

"Well"said St. Clare"suppose that something should bringdown theprice of cotton once and foreverand make the wholeslaveproperty a drug in the marketdon't you think we should soonhaveanother version of the Scripture doctrine?  What a flood oflightwould pour into the churchall at onceand how immediatelyit wouldbe discovered that everything in the Bible and reason wentthe otherway!"

"Wellat any rate" said Marieas she reclined herselfon alounge"I'm thankful I'm born where slavery exists; and Ibelieveit's right--indeedI feel it must be; andat any rateI'm sure Icouldn't get along without it."

"Isaywhat do you thinkPussy?" said her father to Evawho camein at this momentwith a flower in her hand.

"Whataboutpapa?"

"Whywhich do you like the best--to live as they do at youruncle'sup in Vermontor to have a house-full of servantsas we do?"

"Oof courseour way is the pleasantest" said Eva.

"Whyso?" said St. Clarestroking her head.

"Whyit makes so many more round you to loveyou know"said Evalooking up earnestly.

"Nowthat's just like Eva" said Marie; "just one of heroddspeeches."

"Isit an odd speechpapa?" said Evawhisperinglyasshe gotupon his knee.

"Ratheras this world goesPussy" said St. Clare.  "Butwherehas mylittle Eva beenall dinner-time?"

"OI've been up in Tom's roomhearing him singand AuntDinah gaveme my dinner."

"HearingTom singhey?"

"Oyes! he sings such beautiful things about the NewJerusalemand bright angelsand the land of Canaan."

"Idare say; it's better than the operaisn't it?"

"Yesand he's going to teach them to me."

"Singinglessonshey?--you _are_ coming on."

"Yeshe sings for meand I read to him in my Bible; andheexplains what it meansyou know."

"Onmy word" said Marielaughing"that is the latestjoke ofthe season."

"Tomisn't a bad handnowat explaining ScriptureI'll dareswear"said St. Clare.  "Tom has a natural genius for religion.I wantedthe horses out earlythis morningand I stole up toTom'scubiculum thereover the stablesand there I heard himholding ameeting by himself; andin factI haven't heard anythingquite sosavory as Tom's prayerthis some time.  He put in for mewith azeal that was quite apostolic."

"Perhapshe guessed you were listening.  I've heard of thattrickbefore."

"Ifhe didhe wasn't very polite; for he gave the Lordhisopinion of mepretty freely.  Tom seemed to think therewasdecidedly room for improvement in meand seemed veryearnestthat I should be converted."

"Ihope you'll lay it to heart" said Miss Ophelia.

"Isuppose you are much of the same opinion" said St. Clare."Wellwe shall see--shan't weEva?"

 

 

CHAPTERXVIITheFreeman's Defence

 

There wasa gentle bustle at the Quaker houseas theafternoondrew to a close.  Rachel Halliday moved quietly to andfrocollecting from her household stores such needments as couldbearranged in the smallest compassfor the wanderers who were togo forththat night.  The afternoon shadows stretched eastwardand theround red sun stood thoughtfully on the horizonand hisbeamsshone yellow and calm into the little bed-room where Georgeand hiswife were sitting.  He was sitting with his child on hiskneeandhis wife's hand in his.  Both looked thoughtful andseriousand traces of tears were on their cheeks.

"YesEliza" said George"I know all you say is true.You are agood child--a great deal better than I am; and I willtry to doas you say.  I'll try to act worthy of a free man.I'll tryto feel like a Christian.  God Almighty knows that I'vemeant todo well--tried hard to do well--when everything has beenagainstme; and now I'll forget all the pastand put away every hardand bitterfeelingand read my Bibleand learn to be a good man."

"Andwhen we get to Canada" said Eliza"I can help you.I can dodress-making very well; and I understand fine washing andironing;and between us we can find something to live on."

"YesElizaso long as we have each other and our boy.  O! Elizaif thesepeople only knew what a blessing it is for a man to feelthat hiswife and child belong to _him_!  I've often wondered tosee menthat could call their wives and children _their own_frettingand worrying about anything else.  WhyI feel rich andstrongthough we have nothing but our bare hands.  I feelas if Icould scarcely ask God for any more.  Yesthough I'veworkedhard every daytill I am twenty-five years oldand havenot a centof moneynor a roof to cover menor a spot of land tocall myownyetif they will only let me alone nowI will besatisfied--thankful;I will workand send back the money for youand myboy.  As to my old masterhe has been paid five times overfor all heever spent for me.  I don't owe him anything."

"Butyet we are not quite out of danger" said Eliza; "weare notyet in Canada."

"True"said George"but it seems as if I smelt the freeairandit makes me strong."

At thismomentvoices were heard in the outer apartmentin earnestconversationand very soon a rap was heard on the door.Elizastarted and opened it.

SimeonHalliday was thereand with him a Quaker brotherwhomheintroduced as Phineas Fletcher.  Phineas was tall and lathyred-hairedwith an expression of great acuteness and shrewdnessin hisface.  He had not the placidquietunworldly air of SimeonHalliday;on the contrarya particularly wide-awake and _au fait_appearancelike a man who rather prides himself on knowing whathe isaboutand keeping a bright lookout ahead; peculiaritieswhichsorted rather oddly with his broad brim and formal phraseology.

"Ourfriend Phineas hath discovered something of importanceto theinterests of thee and thy partyGeorge" said Simeon; "itwere wellfor thee to hear it."

"ThatI have" said Phineas"and it shows the use of aman'salways sleeping with one ear openin certain placesas I'vealways said.  Last night I stopped at a little lonetavernback on the road.  Thee remembers the placeSimeonwherewe soldsome appleslast yearto that fat womanwith the greatear-rings. WellI was tired with hard driving; andafter mysupper Istretched myself down on a pile of bags in the cornerand pulleda buffalo over meto wait till my bed was ready; andwhat doesI dobut get fast asleep."

"Withone ear openPhineas?" said Simeonquietly.

"No;I sleptears and allfor an hour or twofor I was prettywelltired; but when I came to myself a littleI found thatthere weresome men in the roomsitting round a tabledrinkingandtalking; and I thoughtbefore I made much musterI'd justsee whatthey were up toespecially as I heard them say somethingabout theQuakers.  `So' says one`they are up in the Quakersettlementno doubt' says he.  Then I listened with both earsand Ifound that they were talking about this very party.  So Ilay andheard them lay off all their plans.  This young mantheysaidwasto be sent back to Kentuckyto his masterwho was goingto make anexample of himto keep all niggers from running away;and hiswife two of them were going to run down to New Orleans tosellontheir own accountand they calculated to get sixteen oreighteenhundred dollars for her; and the childthey saidwasgoing to atraderwho had bought him; and then there was the boyJimandhis motherthey were to go back to their masters inKentucky. They said that there were two constablesin a town alittlepiece aheadwho would go in with 'em to get 'em taken upand theyoung woman was to be taken before a judge; and one of thefellowswho is small and smooth-spokenwas to swear to her forhispropertyand get her delivered over to him to take south.They'vegot a right notion of the track we are going tonight; andthey'll bedown after ussix or eight strong.  So nowwhat's tobe done?"

The groupthat stood in various attitudesafter thiscommunicationwere worthy of a painter.  Rachel Hallidaywho hadtaken herhands out of a batch of biscuitto hear the newsstoodwith themupraised and flouryand with a face of the deepestconcern. Simeon looked profoundly thoughtful; Eliza had thrownher armsaround her husbandand was looking up to him.  Georgestood withclenched hands and glowing eyesand looking as anyother manmight lookwhose wife was to be sold at auctionand sonsent to atraderall under the shelter of a Christian nation's laws.

"What_shall_ we doGeorge?" said Eliza faintly.

"Iknow what _I_ shall do" said Georgeas he stepped intothe littleroomand began examining pistols.

"Ayay" said Phineasnodding his head to Simeon; thouseestSimeonhow it will work."

"Isee" said Simeonsighing; "I pray it come not to that."

"Idon't want to involve any one with or for me" said George."Ifyou will lend me your vehicle and direct meI will drivealone tothe next stand.  Jim is a giant in strengthandbrave asdeath and despairand so am I."

"Ahwellfriend" said Phineas"but thee'll need a driverfor allthat.  Thee's quite welcome to do all the fightingtheeknows; but I know a thing or two about the roadthat theedoesn't."

"ButI don't want to involve you" said George.

"Involve"said Phineaswith a curious and keen expressionof face"When thee does involve meplease to let me know."

"Phineasis a wise and skilful man" said Simeon.  "Thee doeswellGeorgeto abide by his judgment; and" he addedlayinghis handkindly on George's shoulderand pointing to the pistols"benot over hasty with these--young blood is hot."

"Iwill attack no man" said George.  "All I ask of thiscountryis to belet aloneand I will go out peaceably; but"--he pausedand hisbrow darkened and his face worked--"I've had a sistersold inthat New Orleans market.  I know what they are sold for;and am Igoing to stand by and see them take my wife and sell herwhen Godhas given me a pair of strong arms to defend her?  No; Godhelp me! I'll fight to the last breathbefore they shall take mywife andson.  Can you blame me?"

"Mortalman cannot blame theeGeorge.  Flesh and blood couldnot dootherwise" said Simeon.  "Woe unto the world becauseofoffencesbut woe unto them through whom the offence cometh."

"Wouldnot even yousirdo the samein my place?"

"Ipray that I be not tried" said Simeon; "the flesh isweak."

"Ithink my flesh would be pretty tolerable strongin sucha case"said Phineasstretching out a pair of arms like the sailsof awindmill.  "I an't surefriend Georgethat I shouldn'tholda fellowfor theeif thee had any accounts to settle with him."

"Ifman should _ever_ resist evil" said Simeon"then Georgeshouldfeel free to do it now: but the leaders of our peopletaught amore excellent way; for the wrath of man worketh not therighteousnessof God; but it goes sorely against the corrupt willof manand none can receive it save they to whom it is given.Let uspray the Lord that we be not tempted."

"Andso _I_ do" said Phineas; "but if we are tempted toomuch--whylet them look outthat's all."

"It'squite plain thee wasn't born a Friend" said Simeonsmiling."Theold nature hath its way in thee pretty strong as yet."

To tellthe truthPhineas had been a heartytwo-fistedbackwoodsmana vigorous hunterand a dead shot at a buck; buthavingwooed a pretty Quakeresshad been moved by the power ofher charmsto join the society in his neighborhood; and though hewas anhonestsoberand efficient memberand nothing particularcould bealleged against himyet the more spiritual among themcould notbut discern an exceeding lack of savor in his developments.

"FriendPhineas will ever have ways of his own" said RachelHallidaysmiling; "but we all think that his heart is in the rightplaceafter all."

"Well"said George"isn't it best that we hasten our flight?"

"Igot up at four o'clockand came on with all speedfulltwo orthree hours ahead of themif they start at the time theyplanned. It isn't safe to start till darkat any rate; for thereare someevil persons in the villages aheadthat might be disposedto meddlewith usif they saw our wagonand that would delay usmore thanthe waiting; but in two hours I think we may venture.I will goover to Michael Crossand engage him to come behind onhis swiftnagand keep a bright lookout on the roadand warn usif anycompany of men come on.  Michael keeps a horse that can soonget aheadof most other horses; and he could shoot ahead and letus knowif there were any danger.  I am going out now to warn Jimand theold woman to be in readinessand to see about the horse.We have apretty fair startand stand a good chance to get to thestandbefore they can come up with us.  Sohave good couragefriendGeorge; this isn't the first ugly scrape that I've been inwith thypeople" said Phineasas he closed the door.

"Phineasis pretty shrewd" said Simeon.  "He will do thebest thatcan be done for theeGeorge."

"AllI am sorry for" said George"is the risk to you."

"Thee'llmuch oblige usfriend Georgeto say no more about that.What we dowe are conscience bound to do; we can do no other way.And nowmother" said heturning to Rachel"hurry thypreparationsfor thesefriendsfor we must not send them away fasting."

And whileRachel and her children were busy making corn-cakeandcooking ham and chickenand hurrying on the _et ceteras_ oftheevening mealGeorge and his wife sat in their little roomwith theirarms folded about each otherin such talk as husbandand wifehave when they know that a few hours may part them forever.

"Eliza"said George"people that have friendsand housesand landsand moneyand all those things _can't_ love as we dowho havenothing but each other.  Till I knew youElizano creaturehad lovedmebut my poorheart-broken mother and sister.  I sawpoor Emilythat morning the trader carried her off.  She came tothe cornerwhere I was lying asleepand said`Poor Georgeyourlastfriend is going.  What will become of youpoor boy?'  AndIgot up andthrew my arms round herand cried and sobbedand shecried too;and those were the last kind words I got for ten longyears; andmy heart all withered upand felt as dry as ashestillI metyou.  And your loving me--whyit was almost like raisingone fromthe dead!  I've been a new man ever since!  And nowElizaI'll givemy last drop of bloodbut they _shall not_ take you from me.Whoevergets you must walk over my dead body."

"OLordhave mercy!" said Elizasobbing.  "If he willonlylet us getout of this country togetherthat is all we ask."

"IsGod on their side?" said Georgespeaking less to his wifethanpouring out his own bitter thoughts.  "Does he see allthey do? Why does he let such things happen?  And they tell us thatthe Bibleis on their side; certainly all the power is.  They arerichandhealthyand happy; they are members of churchesexpectingto go toheaven; and they get along so easy in the worldand haveit alltheir own way; and poorhonestfaithful Christians--Christiansas good orbetter than they--are lying in the very dust undertheirfeet.  They buy 'em and sell 'emand make trade of theirheart'sbloodand groans and tears--and God _lets_ them."

"FriendGeorge" said Simeonfrom the kitchen"listen tothisPsalm; it may do thee good."

Georgedrew his seat near the doorand Elizawiping hertearscame forward also to listenwhile Simeon read as follows:

"Butas for memy feet were almost gone; my steps had
well-nighslipped.  For I was envious of the foolishwhen I saw
theprosperity of the wicked.  They are not in trouble like other
menneither are they plagued like other men.  Thereforepride
compasseththem as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. Theireyes stand out with fatness; they have more than heart
couldwish.  They are corruptand speak wickedly concerning
oppression;they speak loftily.  Therefore his people return
and thewaters of a full cup are wrung out to themand they say
Howdoth God know? and is there knowledge in the Most High?"

"Isnot that the way thee feelsGeorge?"

"Itis so indeed" said George--"as well as I could havewritten itmyself."

"Thenhear" said Simeon:  "When I thought to know thisit was toopainful for me until I went unto the sanctuary of God.Thenunderstood I their end.  Surely thou didst set them in slipperyplacesthou castedst them down to destruction.  As a dream whenoneawakethsooh Lordwhen thou awakestthou shalt despisetheirimage.  Nevertheless I am continually with thee; thou hastholden meby my right hand.  Thou shalt guide me by thy counselandafterwards receive me to glory.  It is good for me to draw nearunto God. I have put my trust in the Lord God."

The wordsof holy trustbreathed by the friendly old manstole likesacred music over the harassed and chafed spiritof George;and after he ceasedhe sat with a gentle andsubduedexpression on his fine features.

"Ifthis world were allGeorge" said Simeon"thee mightindeedask where is the Lord?  But it is often those who have leastof all inthis life whom he chooseth for the kingdom.  Put thytrust inhim andno matter what befalls thee herehe will makeall righthereafter."

If thesewords had been spoken by some easyself-indulgentexhorterfrom whose mouth they might have come merely as piousandrhetorical flourishproper to be used to people in distressperhapsthey might not have had much effect; but coming from onewho dailyand calmly risked fine and imprisonment for the cause ofGod andmanthey had a weight that could not but be feltand boththe poordesolate fugitives found calmness and strength breathinginto themfrom it.

And nowRachel took Eliza's hand kindlyand led the way to thesupper-table. As they were sitting downa light tap soundedat thedoorand Ruth entered.

"Ijust ran in" she said"with these little stockings fortheboy--threepairnicewarm woollen ones.  It will be so coldtheeknowsin Canada.  Does thee keep up good courageEliza?"she addedtripping round to Eliza's side of the tableandshakingher warmly by the handand slipping a seed-cake intoHarry'shand.  "I brought a little parcel of these for him"shesaidtugging at her pocket to get out the package.  "Childrentheeknowswill always be eating."

"Othank you; you are too kind" said Eliza.

"ComeRuthsit down to supper" said Rachel.

"Icouldn'tany way.  I left John with the babyand somebiscuitsin the oven; and I can't stay a momentelse John willburn upall the biscuitsand give the baby all the sugar inthe bowl. That's the way he does" said the little Quakeresslaughing. "Sogood-byEliza; good-byGeorge; the Lord grantthee asafe journey;" andwith a few tripping stepsRuth wasout of theapartment.

A littlewhile after suppera large covered-wagon drew upbefore thedoor; the night was clear starlight; and Phineas jumpedbrisklydown from his seat to arrange his passengers.  George walkedout of thedoorwith his child on one arm and his wife on the other.His stepwas firmhis face settled and resolute.  Rachel andSimeoncame out after them.

"Youget outa moment" said Phineas to those inside"andlet me fixthe back of the wagontherefor the women-folks andthe boy."

"Hereare the two buffaloes" said Rachel.  "Make the seatsascomfortable as may be; it's hard riding all night."

Jim cameout firstand carefully assisted out his old motherwho clungto his armand looked anxiously aboutas if sheexpectedthe pursuer every moment.

"Jimare your pistols all in order?" said Georgein alowfirmvoice.

"Yesindeed" said Jim.

"Andyou've no doubt what you shall doif they come?"

"Irather think I haven't" said Jimthrowing open hisbroadchestand taking a deep breath.  "Do you think I'll letthem getmother again?"

Duringthis brief colloquyEliza had been taking her leaveof herkind friendRacheland was handed into the carriage bySimeonandcreeping into the back part with her boysat downamong thebuffalo-skins.  The old woman was next handed in andseated andGeorge and Jim placed on a rough board seat front ofthemandPhineas mounted in front.

"Farewellmy friends" said Simeonfrom without.

"Godbless you!" answered all from within.

And thewagon drove offrattling and jolting over thefrozenroad.

There wasno opportunity for conversationon account of theroughnessof the way and the noise of the wheels.  The vehiclethereforerumbled onthrough longdark stretches of woodland--overwidedreary plains--up hillsand down valleys--and ononontheyjoggedhour after hour.  The child soon fell asleepand layheavily inhis mother's lap.  The poorfrightened old woman atlastforgot her fears; andeven Elizaas the night wanedfoundall heranxieties insufficient to keep her eyes from closing.Phineasseemedon the wholethe briskest of the companyandbeguiledhis long drive with whistling certain very unquaker-likesongsashe went on.

But aboutthree o'clock George's ear caught the hasty anddecidedclick of a horse's hoof coming behind them at some distanceand joggedPhineas by the elbow.  Phineas pulled up his horsesandlistened.

"Thatmust be Michael" he said; "I think I know the soundof hisgallop;" and he rose up and stretched his head anxiouslyback overthe road.

A manriding in hot haste was now dimly descried at thetop of adistant hill.

"Therehe isI do believe!" said Phineas.  George and Jim bothsprang outof the wagon before they knew what they were doing.All stoodintensely silentwith their faces turned towards theexpectedmessenger.  On he came.  Now he went down into a valleywhere theycould not see him; but they heard the sharphasty tramprisingnearer and nearer; at last they saw him emerge on the topof aneminencewithin hail.

"Yesthat's Michael!" said Phineas; andraising his voice"HalloathereMichael!"

"Phineas!is that thee?"

"Yes;what news--they coming?"

"Righton behindeight or ten of themhot with brandyswearingand foaming like so many wolves."

Andjustas he spokea breeze brought the faint sound ofgallopinghorsemen towards them.

"Inwith you--quickboys_in!_" said Phineas.  "If youmustfightwait till I get you a piece ahead."  Andwith the wordbothjumped inand Phineas lashed the horses to a runthe horsemankeepingclose beside them.  The wagon rattledjumpedalmost flewover thefrozen ground; but plainerand still plainercame thenoise ofpursuing horsemen behind.  The women heard itandlookinganxiouslyoutsawfar in the rearon the brow of a distant hilla party ofmen looming up against the red-streaked sky of early dawn.Anotherhilland their pursuers had evidently caught sight oftheirwagonwhose white cloth-covered top made it conspicuousat somedistanceand a loud yell of brutal triumph came forwardon thewind.  Eliza sickenedand strained her child closer to herbosom; theold woman prayed and groanedand George and Jim clenchedtheirpistols with the grasp of despair.  The pursuers gained onthem fast;the carriage made a sudden turnand brought them neara ledge ofa steep overhanging rockthat rose in an isolated ridgeor clumpin a large lotwhich wasall around itquite clearandsmooth.  This isolated pileor range of rocksrose up blackand heavyagainst the brightening skyand seemed to promise shelterandconcealment.  It was a place well known to Phineaswho hadbeenfamiliar with the spot in his hunting days; and it was to gainthis pointhe had been racing his horses.

"Nowfor it!" said hesuddenly checking his horsesandspringingfrom his seat to the ground.  "Out with youin atwinklingevery oneand up into these rocks with me.  Michaelthee tie thyhorse tothe wagonand drive ahead to Amariah's and get him andhis boysto come back and talk to these fellows."

In atwinkling they were all out of the carriage.

"There"said Phineascatching up Harry"youeach of yousee to thewomen; and run_now_ if you ever _did_ run!"

Theyneeded no exhortation.  Quicker than we can say itthewholeparty were over the fencemaking with all speed for therockswhile Michaelthrowing himself from his horseand fasteningthe bridleto the wagonbegan driving it rapidly away.

"Comeahead" said Phineasas they reached the rocksandsaw in themingled starlight and dawnthe traces of a rude butplainlymarked foot-path leading up among them; "this is one ofour oldhunting-dens.  Come up!"

Phineaswent beforespringing up the rocks like a goatwith theboy in his arms.  Jim came secondbearing his tremblingold motherover his shoulderand George and Eliza brought up therear. The party of horsemen came up to the fenceandwith mingledshouts andoathswere dismountingto prepare to follow them.A fewmoments' scrambling brought them to the top of the ledge; thepath thenpassed between a narrow defilewhere only one could walkat a timetill suddenly they came to a rift or chasm more than ayard inbreadthand beyond which lay a pile of rocksseparatefrom therest of the ledgestanding full thirty feet highwithits sidessteep and perpendicular as those of a castle.  Phineaseasilyleaped the chasmand sat down the boy on a smoothflatplatformof crisp white mossthat covered the top of the rock.

"Overwith you!" he called; "springnowoncefor yourlives!"said heas one after another sprang across.  Severalfragmentsof loose stone formed a kind of breast-workwhichshelteredtheir position from the observation of those below.

"Wellhere we all are" said Phineaspeeping over the stonebreast-workto watch the assailantswho were coming tumultuouslyup underthe rocks.  "Let 'em get usif they can.  Whoevercomeshere hasto walk single file between those two rocksin fairrange ofyour pistolsboysd'ye see?"

"I dosee" said George! "and nowas this matter is ourslet ustake all the riskand do all the fighting."

"Thee'squite welcome to do the fightingGeorge" said Phineaschewingsome checkerberry-leaves as he spoke; "but I may havethe fun oflooking onI suppose.  But seethese fellows arekinderdebating down thereand looking uplike hens when theyare goingto fly up on to the roost.  Hadn't thee better give 'ema word ofadvicebefore they come upjust to tell 'em handsomelythey'll beshot if they do?"

The partybeneathnow more apparent in the light of the dawnconsistedof our old acquaintancesTom Loker and Markswithtwoconstablesand a posse consisting of such rowdies at the lasttavern ascould be engaged by a little brandy to go and help thefun oftrapping a set of niggers.

"WellTomyer coons are farly treed" said one.

"YesI see 'em go up right here" said Tom; "and here'sa path. I'm for going right up.  They can't jump down in a hurryand itwon't take long to ferret 'em out."

"ButTomthey might fire at us from behind the rocks"saidMarks.  "That would be uglyyou know."

"Ugh!"said Tomwith a sneer.  "Always for saving yourskinMarks!  No danger! niggers are too plaguy scared!"

"Idon't know why I _shouldn't_ save my skin" said Marks."It'sthe best I've got; and niggers _do_ fight like the devilsometimes."

At thismomentGeorge appeared on the top of a rock abovethemandspeaking in a calmclear voicesaid

"Gentlemenwho are youdown thereand what do you want?"

"Wewant a party of runaway niggers" said Tom Loker."OneGeorge Harrisand Eliza Harrisand their sonandJimSeldenand an old woman.  We've got the officershereand awarrant to take 'em; and we're going to have 'emtoo.D'yehear?  An't you George Harristhat belongs to Mr. Harrisof ShelbycountyKentucky?"

"I amGeorge Harris.  A Mr. Harrisof Kentuckydid callme hisproperty.  But now I'm a free manstanding on God's freesoil; andmy wife and my child I claim as mine.  Jim and his motherare here. We have arms to defend ourselvesand we mean to do it.You cancome upif you like; but the first one of you that comeswithin therange of our bullets is a dead manand the nextandthe next;and so on till the last."

"Ocome! come!" said a shortpuffy manstepping forwardandblowing his nose as he did so.  "Young manthis an't nokindof talk atall for you.  You seewe're officers of justice.We've gotthe law on our sideand the powerand so forth; soyou'dbetter give up peaceablyyou see; for you'll certainly haveto giveupat last."

"Iknow very well that you've got the law on your sideand thepower"said Georgebitterly.  "You mean to take my wifeto sell inNew Orleansand put my boy like a calf in a trader'spenandsend Jim's old mother to the brute that whipped and abusedherbeforebecause he couldn't abuse her son.  You want to sendJim and meback to be whipped and torturedand ground down underthe heelsof them that you call masters; and your laws _will_ bearyou out init--more shame for you and them!  But you haven't got us.We don'town your laws; we don't own your country; we standhere asfreeunder God's skyas you are; andby the great Godthat madeuswe'll fight for our liberty till we die."

Georgestood out in fair sighton the top of the rockashe madehis declaration of independence; the glow of dawn gavea flush tohis swarthy cheekand bitter indignation and despairgave fireto his dark eye; andas if appealing from man to thejustice ofGodhe raised his hand to heaven as he spoke.

If it hadbeen only a Hungarian youthnow bravely defendingin somemountain fastness the retreat of fugitives escaping fromAustriainto Americathis would have been sublime heroism; but asit was ayouth of African descentdefending the retreat of fugitivesthroughAmerica into Canadaof course we are too well instructedandpatriotic to see any heroism in it; and if any of our readersdotheymust do it on their own private responsibility.  WhendespairingHungarian fugitives make their wayagainst all thesearch-warrantsand authorities of their lawful governmenttoAmericapress and political cabinet ring with applause and welcome.Whendespairing African fugitives do the same thing--it is--what_is_ it?

Be it asit mayit is certain that the attitudeeyevoicemannerofthe speaker for a moment struck the party belowtosilence.  There is something in boldness and determination thatfor a timehushes even the rudest nature.  Marks was the only onewhoremained wholly untouched.  He was deliberately cocking hispistolandin the momentary silence that followed George's speechhe firedat him.

"Yesee ye get jist as much for him dead as alive in Kentucky"he saidcoollyas he wiped his pistol on his coat-sleeve.

Georgesprang backward--Eliza uttered a shriek--the ballhad passedclose to his hairhad nearly grazed the cheek of hiswifeandstruck in the tree above.

"It'snothingEliza" said Georgequickly.

"Thee'dbetter keep out of sightwith thy speechifying"saidPhineas; "they're mean scamps."

"NowJim" said George"look that your pistols are allrightandwatch that pass with me.  The first man that showshimself Ifire at; you take the secondand so on.  It won't doyou knowto waste two shots on one."

"Butwhat if you don't hit?"

"I_shall_ hit" said Georgecoolly.

"Good!nowthere's stuff in that fellow" muttered Phineasbetweenhis teeth.

The partybelowafter Marks had firedstoodfor a momentratherundecided.

"Ithink you must have hit some on 'em" said one of the men."Iheard a squeal!"

"I'mgoing right up for one" said Tom.  "I never wasafraidofniggersand I an't going to be now.  Who goes after?" hesaidspringingup the rocks.

Georgeheard the words distinctly.  He drew up his pistolexamineditpointed it towards that point in the defile where thefirst manwould appear.

One of themost courageous of the party followed Tomandthe waybeing thus madethe whole party began pushing up therock--thehindermost pushing the front ones faster than they wouldhave goneof themselves.  On they cameand in a moment the burlyform ofTom appeared in sightalmost at the verge of the chasm.

Georgefired--the shot entered his side--butthough woundedhe wouldnot retreatbutwith a yell like that of a mad bullhe wasleaping right across the chasm into the party.

"Friend"said Phineassuddenly stepping to the frontandmeetinghim with a push from his long arms"thee isn't wanted here."

Down hefell into the chasmcrackling down among treesbusheslogsloose stonestill he lay bruised and groaning thirtyfeetbelow.  The fall might have killed himhad it not been brokenandmoderated by his clothes catching in the branches of a largetree; buthe came down with some forcehowever--more than was atallagreeable or convenient.

"Lordhelp usthey are perfect devils!" said Marksheadingtheretreat down the rocks with much more of a will than he hadjoined theascentwhile all the party came tumbling precipitatelyafterhim--the fat constablein particularblowing and puffingin a veryenergetic manner.

"Isayfellers" said Marks"you jist go round and pickup Tomtherewhile I run and get on to my horse to go back forhelp--that'syou;" andwithout minding the hootings and jeers ofhiscompanyMarks was as good as his wordand was soon seengallopingaway.

"Wasever such a sneaking varmint?" said one of the men; "tocome onhis businessand he clear out and leave us this yer way!"

"Wellwe must pick up that feller" said another.  "Cuss meifI muchcare whether he is dead or alive."

The menled by the groans of Tomscrambled and crackledthroughstumpslogs and bushesto where that hero lay groaningandswearing with alternate vehemence.

"Yekeep it agoing pretty loudTom" said one.  "Ye muchhurt?"

"Don'tknow.  Get me upcan't ye?  Blast that infernal Quaker!If ithadn't been for himI'd a pitched some on 'em down hereto see howthey liked it."

With muchlabor and groaningthe fallen hero was assistedto rise;andwith one holding him up under each shouldertheygot him asfar as the horses.

"Ifyou could only get me a mile back to that ar tavern.Give me ahandkerchief or somethingto stuff into this placeand stopthis infernal bleeding."

Georgelooked over the rocksand saw them trying to lift theburly formof Tom into the saddle.  After two or three ineffectualattemptshe reeledand fell heavily to the ground.

"OIhope he isn't killed!" said Elizawhowith all thepartystood watching the proceeding.

"Whynot?" said Phineas; "serves him right."

"Becauseafter death comes the judgment" said Eliza.

"Yes"said the old womanwho had been groaning and prayingin herMethodist fashionduring all the encounter"it's an awfulcase forthe poor crittur's soul."

"Onmy wordthey're leaving himI do believe" said Phineas.

It wastrue; for after some appearance of irresolution andconsultationthe whole party got on their horses and rode away.When theywere quite out of sightPhineas began to bestir himself.

"Wellwe must go down and walk a piece" he said.  "I toldMichael togo forward and bring helpand be along back here withthe wagon;but we shall have to walk a piece along the roadIreckontomeet them.  The Lord grant he be along soon!  It's earlyin theday; there won't be much travel afoot yet a while; we an'tmuch morethan two miles from our stopping-place.  If the roadhadn'tbeen so rough last nightwe could have outrun 'em entirely."

As theparty neared the fencethey discovered in thedistancealong the roadtheir own wagon coming backaccompaniedby somemen on horseback.

"Wellnowthere's Michaeland Stephen and Amariah"exclaimedPhineasjoyfully.  "Now we _are_ made--as safe as ifwe'd gotthere."

"Welldo stopthen" said Eliza"and do something forthat poorman; he's groaning dreadfully."

"Itwould be no more than Christian" said George; "let'stake himup and carry him on."

"Anddoctor him up among the Quakers!" said Phineas; "prettywellthat!  WellI don't care if we do.  Herelet's have alookat him;"and Phineaswho in the course of his hunting and backwoodslife hadacquired some rude experience of surgerykneeled down bythewounded manand began a careful examination of his condition.

"Marks"said Tomfeebly"is that youMarks?"

"No;I reckon 'tan't friend" said Phineas.  "Much Markscares fortheeif his own skin's safe.  He's offlong ago."

"Ibelieve I'm done for" said Tom.  "The cussed sneakingdogto leaveme to die alone!  My poor old mother always told me't wouldbe so."

"Lasakes! jist hear the poor crittur.  He's got a mammynow"said the old negress.  "I can't help kinder pityin' onhim."

"Softlysoftly; don't thee snap and snarlfriend" saidPhineasas Tom winced and pushed his hand away.  "Thee has nochanceunless I stop the bleeding." And Phineas busied himselfwithmaking some off-hand surgical arrangements with his ownpocket-handkerchiefand such as could be mustered in the company.

"Youpushed me down there" said Tomfaintly.

"Wellif I hadn't thee would have pushed us downthee sees"saidPhineasas he stooped to apply his bandage.  "Therethere--letme fix this bandage.  We mean well to thee; we bearnomalice.  Thee shall be taken to a house where they'll nursethee firstratewell as thy own mother could."

Tomgroanedand shut his eyes.  In men of his classvigorandresolution are entirely a physical matterand ooze out withtheflowing of the blood; and the gigantic fellow really lookedpiteous inhis helplessness.

The otherparty now came up.  The seats were taken out ofthewagon.  The buffalo-skinsdoubled in fourswere spread allalong onesideand four menwith great difficultylifted theheavy formof Tom into it.  Before he was gotten inhe faintedentirely. The old negressin the abundance of her compassionsat downon the bottomand took his head in her lap.  ElizaGeorgeand Jimbestowed themselvesas well as they couldin the remainingspace andthe whole party set forward.

"Whatdo you think of him?" said Georgewho sat by Phineasin front.

"Wellit's only a pretty deep flesh-wound; butthentumblingandscratching down that place didn't help him much.  It hasbledpretty freely--pretty much dreaned him outcourage andall--buthe'll get over itand may be learn a thing or two by it."

"I'mglad to hear you say so" said George.  "It wouldalwaysbe a heavythought to meif I'd caused his deatheven ina justcause."

"Yes"said Phineas"killing is an ugly operationany waythey'llfix it--man or beast.  I've seen a buck that was shotdown and adyinglook that way on a feller with his eyethat itreely mostmade a feller feel wicked for killing on him; and humancreaturesis a more serious consideration yetbein'as thy wifesaysthatthe judgment comes to 'em after death.  So I don't knowas ourpeople's notions on these matters is too strict; andconsiderin'how I was raisedI fell in with them pretty considerably."

"Whatshall you do with this poor fellow?" said George.

"Ocarry him along to Amariah's.  There's old GrandmamStephensthere--Dorcasthey call her--she's most an amazin'nurse. She takes to nursing real naturaland an't never bettersuitedthan when she gets a sick body to tend.  We may reckon onturninghim over to her for a fortnight or so."

A ride ofabout an hour more brought the party to a neatfarmhousewhere the weary travellers were received to an abundantbreakfast. Tom Loker was soon carefully deposited in a much cleanerand softerbed than he hadever been in the habit of occupying.His woundwas carefully dressed and bandagedand he lay languidlyopeningand shutting his eyes on the white window-curtains andgently-glidingfigures of his sick roomlike a weary child.  And herefor thepresentwe shall take our leave of one party.

 

 

CHAPTERXVIIIMissOphelia's Experiences and Opinions

 

Our friendTomin his own simple musingsoften compared hismorefortunate lotin the bondage into which he was castwiththat ofJoseph in Egypt; andin factas time went onand hedevelopedmore and more under the eye of his masterthe strengthof theparallel increased.

St. Clarewas indolent and careless of money.  Hitherto theprovidingand marketing had been principally done by Adolphwho wasto the fullas careless and extravagant as his master;andbetween them boththey had carried on the dispersing processwith greatalacrity.  Accustomedfor many yearsto regard hismaster'sproperty as his own careTom sawwith an uneasiness hecouldscarcely repressthe wasteful expenditure of the establishment;andinthe quietindirect way which his class often acquirewouldsometimes make his own suggestions.

St. Clareat first employed him occasionally; butstruck withhissoundness of mind and good business capacityhe confidedin himmore and moretill gradually all the marketing and providingfor thefamily were intrusted to him.

"NonoAdolph" he saidone dayas Adolph was deprecatingthepassing of power out of his hands; "let Tom alone.  Youonlyunderstandwhat you want; Tom understands cost and come to; andthere maybe some end to moneybye and bye if we don't letsomebodydo that."

Trusted toan unlimited extent by a careless masterwhohanded hima bill without looking at itand pocketed the changewithoutcounting itTom had every facility and temptation todishonesty;and nothing but an impregnable simplicity of naturestrengthenedby Christian faithcould have kept him from it.Buttothat naturethe very unbounded trust reposed in him wasbond andseal for the most scrupulous accuracy.

WithAdolph the case had been different.  Thoughtless andself-indulgentand unrestrained by a master who found it easierto indulgethan to regulatehe had fallen into an absolute confusionas to_meum tuum_ with regard to himself and his masterwhichsometimestroubled even St. Clare.  His own good sense taught himthat sucha training of his servants was unjust and dangerous.A sort ofchronic remorse went with him everywherealthough notstrongenough to make any decided change in his course; and thisveryremorse reacted again into indulgence.  He passed lightly overthe mostserious faultsbecause he told himself thatif he haddone hisparthis dependents had not fallen into them.

Tomregarded his gayairyhandsome young master with an oddmixture offealtyreverenceand fatherly solicitude.  That henever readthe Bible; never went to church; that he jested andmade freewith any and every thing that came in the way of his wit;that hespent his Sunday evenings at the opera or theatre; that hewent towine partiesand clubsand suppersoftener than was atallexpedient--were all things that Tom could see as plainly asanybodyand on which he based a conviction that "Mas'r wasn't aChristian;"--aconvictionhoweverwhich he would have been veryslow toexpress to any one elsebut on which he founded manyprayersin his own simple fashionwhen he was by himself in hislittledormitory.  Not that Tom had not his own way of speakinghis mindoccasionallywith something of the tact often observablein hisclass; asfor examplethe very day after the Sabbath wehavedescribedSt. Clare was invited out to a convivial partyof choicespiritsand was helped homebetween one and two o'clockat nightin a condition when the physical had decidedly attainedthe upperhand of the intellectual.  Tom and Adolph assisted toget himcomposed for the nightthe latter in high spiritsevidentlyregarding the matter as a good jokeand laughing heartilyat therusticity of Tom's horrorwho really was simple enough tolie awakemost of the rest of the nightpraying for his young master.

"WellTomwhat are you waiting for?" said St. Clarethe nextdayas hesat in his libraryin dressing-gown and slippers.St. Clarehad just been entrusting Tom with some moneyandvariouscommissions.  "Isn't all right thereTom?" he addedas Tomstill stood waiting.

"I'm'fraid notMas'r" said Tomwith a grave face.

St. Clarelaid down his paperand set down his coffee-cupand lookedat Tom.

"WhyTomwhat's the case?  You look as solemn as a coffin."

"Ifeel very badMas'r.  I allays have thought that Mas'rwould begood to everybody."

"WellTomhaven't I been?  Comenowwhat do you want?There'ssomething you haven't gotI supposeand this isthepreface."

"Mas'rallays been good to me.  I haven't nothing to complainof on thathead.  But there is one that Mas'r isn't good to."

"WhyTomwhat's got into you?  Speak out; what do you mean?"

"Lastnightbetween one and twoI thought so.  I studiedupon thematter then.  Mas'r isn't good to _himself_."

Tom saidthis with his back to his masterand his hand on thedoor-knob. St. Clare felt his face flush crimsonbut he laughed.

"Othat's allis it?" he saidgayly.

"All!"said Tomturning suddenly round and falling on his knees."Omy dear young Mas'r; I'm 'fraid it will be _loss ofall--all_--bodyand soul.  The good Book says`it biteth like aserpentand stingeth like an adder!' my dear Mas'r!"

Tom'svoice chokedand the tears ran down his cheeks.

"Youpoorsilly fool!" said St. Clarewith tears in hisown eyes. "Get upTom.  I'm not worth crying over."

But Tomwouldn't riseand looked imploring.

"WellI won't go to any more of their cursed nonsenseTom"said St.Clare; "on my honorI won't.  I don't know why Ihaven'tstopped long ago.  I've always despised _it_and myselfforit--so nowTomwipe up your eyesand go about your errands.Comecome" he added"no blessings.  I'm not sowonderfully goodnow"he saidas he gently pushed Tom to the door.  "ThereI'llpledge myhonor to youTomyou don't see me so again" he said;and Tomwent offwiping his eyeswith great satisfaction.

"I'llkeep my faith with himtoo" said St. Clareas heclosed thedoor.

And St.Clare did so--for gross sensualismin any formwas notthe peculiar temptation of his nature.

Butallthis timewho shall detail the tribulationsmanifoldof our friend Miss Opheliawho had begun the labors ofa Southernhousekeeper?

There isall the difference in the world in the servants ofSouthernestablishmentsaccording to the character and capacityof themistresses who have brought them up.

South aswell as norththere are women who have anextraordinarytalent for commandand tact in educating.  Such areenabledwith apparent easeand without severityto subject totheirwilland bring into harmonious and systematic orderthevariousmembers of their small estate--to regulate their peculiaritiesand sobalance and compensate the deficiencies of one by the excessofanotheras to produce a harmonious and orderly system.

Such ahousekeeper was Mrs. Shelbywhom we have alreadydescribed;and such our readers may remember to have met with.If theyare not common at the Southit is because they are notcommon inthe world.  They are to be found there as often asanywhere;andwhen existingfind in that peculiar state ofsociety abrilliant opportunity to exhibit their domestic talent.

Such ahousekeeper Marie St. Clare was notnor her motherbeforeher.  Indolent and childishunsystematic and improvidentit was notto be expected that servants trained under her careshould notbe so likewise; and she had very justly described toMissOphelia the state of confusion she would find in the familythough shehad not ascribed it to the proper cause.

The firstmorning of her regencyMiss Ophelia was up atfouro'clock; and having attended to all the adjustments of herownchamberas she had done ever since she came thereto thegreatamazement of the chambermaidshe prepared for a vigorousonslaughton the cupboards and closets of the establishment ofwhich shehad the keys.

Thestore-roomthe linen-pressesthe china-closetthekitchenand cellarthat dayall went under an awful review.Hiddenthings of darkness were brought to light to an extent thatalarmedall the principalities and powers of kitchen and chamberand causedmany wonderings and murmurings about "dese yer northernladies"from the domestic cabinet.

Old Dinahthe head cookand principal of all rule andauthorityin the kitchen departmentwas filled with wrath atwhat sheconsidered an invasion of privilege.  No feudal baron in_MagnaCharta_ times could have more thoroughly resented someincursionof the crown.

Dinah wasa character in her own wayand it would be injusticeto hermemory not to give the reader a little idea of her.She was anative and essential cookas much as Aunt Chloe--cookingbeing an indigenous talent of the African race; butChloe wasa trained and methodical onewho moved in an orderlydomesticharnesswhile Dinah was a self-taught geniusandlikegeniusesin generalwas positiveopinionated and erraticto thelastdegree.

Like acertain class of modern philosophersDinah perfectlyscornedlogic and reason in every shapeand always took refuge inintuitivecertainty; and here she was perfectly impregnable.  Nopossibleamount of talentor authorityor explanationcould evermake herbelieve that any other way was better than her ownorthat thecourse she had pursued in the smallest matter could be inthe leastmodified.  This had been a conceded point with her oldmistressMarie's mother; and "Miss Marie" as Dinah always calledher youngmistresseven after her marriagefound it easier tosubmitthan contend; and so Dinah had ruled supreme.  This was theeasierinthat she was perfect mistress of that diplomatic artwhichunites the utmost subservience of manner with the utmostinflexibilityas to measure.

Dinah wasmistress of the whole art and mystery of excuse-makingin all itsbranches.  Indeedit was an axiom with her that thecook cando no wrong; and a cook in a Southern kitchen findsabundanceof heads and shoulders on which to lay off every sinandfrailtyso as to maintain her own immaculateness entire.If anypart of the dinner was a failurethere were fifty indisputablygoodreasons for it; and it was the fault undeniably of fifty otherpeoplewhom Dinah berated with unsparing zeal.

But it wasvery seldom that there was any failure in Dinah'slastresults.  Though her mode of doing everything was peculiarlymeanderingand circuitousand without any sort of calculation asto timeand place--though her kitchen generally looked as if ithad beenarranged by a hurricane blowing through itand she hadabout asmany places for each cooking utensil as there were daysin theyear--yetif one would have patience to wait her own goodtimeupwould come her dinner in perfect orderand in a style ofpreparationwith which an epicure could find no fault.

It was nowthe season of incipient preparation for dinner.Dinahwhorequired large intervals of reflection and reposeandwasstudious of ease in all her arrangementswas seated on thekitchenfloorsmoking a shortstumpy pipeto which she was muchaddictedand which she always kindled upas a sort of censerwhenevershe felt the need of an inspiration in her arrangements.It wasDinah's mode of invoking the domestic Muses.

Seatedaround her were various members of that rising racewith whicha Southern household aboundsengaged in shelling peaspeelingpotatoespicking pin-feathers out of fowlsand otherpreparatoryarrangements--Dinah every once in a while interruptinghermeditations to give a pokeor a rap on the headto some ofthe youngoperatorswith the pudding-stick that lay by her side.In factDinah ruled over the woolly heads of the younger memberswith a rodof ironand seemed to consider them born for no earthlypurposebut to "save her steps" as she phrased it.  It wasthespirit ofthe system under which she had grown upand she carriedit out toits full extent.

MissOpheliaafter passing on her reformatory tour through allthe otherparts of the establishmentnow entered the kitchen.Dinah hadheardfrom various sourceswhat was going onandresolvedto stand on defensive and conservative ground--mentallydeterminedto oppose and ignore every new measurewithout anyactualobservable contest.

Thekitchen was a large brick-floored apartmentwith a greatold-fashionedfireplace stretching along one side of it--anarrangementwhich St. Clare had vainly tried to persuade Dinah toexchangefor the convenience of a modern cook-stove.  Not she.  NoPuseyiteor conservative of any schoolwas ever more inflexiblyattachedto time-honored inconveniences than Dinah.

When St.Clare had first returned from the northimpressedwith thesystem and order of his uncle's kitchen arrangementshehadlargely provided his own with an array of cupboardsdrawersandvarious apparatusto induce systematic regulationunder thesanguineillusion that it would be of any possible assistance toDinah inher arrangements.  He might as well have provided themfor asquirrel or a magpie.  The more drawers and closets therewerethemore hiding-holes could Dinah make for the accommodationof oldragshair-combsold shoesribbonscast-off artificialflowersand other articles of _vertu_wherein her soul delighted.

When MissOphelia entered the kitchen Dinah did not risebut smokedon in sublime tranquillityregarding her movementsobliquelyout of the corner of her eyebut apparently intent onlyon theoperations around her.

MissOphelia commenced opening a set of drawers.

"Whatis this drawer forDinah?" she said.

"It'shandy for most anythingMissis" said Dinah.  So itappearedto be.  From the variety it containedMiss Opheliapulled outfirst a fine damask table-cloth stained with bloodhavingevidently been used to envelop some raw meat.

"What'sthisDinah?  You don't wrap up meat in your mistress'besttable-cloths?"

"OLorMissisno; the towels was all a missin'--so I jestdid it. I laid out to wash that a--that's why I put it thar."

"Shif'less!"said Miss Ophelia to herselfproceeding totumbleover the drawerwhere she found a nutmeg-grater and two orthreenutmegsa Methodist hymn-booka couple of soiled Madrashandkerchiefssome yarn and knitting-worka paper of tobacco anda pipeafew crackersone or two gilded china-saucers with somepomade inthemone or two thin old shoesa piece of flannelcarefullypinned up enclosing some small white onionsseveraldamasktable-napkinssome coarse crash towelssome twine anddarning-needlesand several broken papersfrom which sundry sweetherbs weresifting into the drawer.

"Wheredo you keep your nutmegsDinah?" said Miss Opheliawith theair of one who prayed for patience.

"MostanywharMissis; there's some in that cracked tea-cupup thereand there's some over in that ar cupboard."

"Hereare some in the grater" said Miss Opheliaholdingthem up.

"LawsyesI put 'em there this morning--I likes to keep mythingshandy" said Dinah.  "YouJake! what are you stoppingfor!You'llcotch it!  Be stillthar!" she addedwith a dive ofher stickat the criminal.

"What'sthis?" said Miss Opheliaholding up the saucer of pomade.

"Lawsit's my har _grease_;--I put it thar to have it handy."

"Doyou use your mistress' best saucers for that?"

"Law!it was cause I was drivand in sich a hurry;--I wasgwine tochange it this very day."

"Hereare two damask table-napkins."

"Themtable-napkins I put tharto get 'em washed outsome day."

"Don'tyou have some place here on purpose for things tobewashed?"

"WellMas'r St. Clare got dat ar chesthe saidfor dat;but Ilikes to mix up biscuit and hev my things on it some daysand thenit an't handy a liftin' up the lid."

"Whydon't you mix your biscuits on the pastry-tablethere?"

"LawMissisit gets sot so full of dishesand one thingandanotherder an't no roomnoway--"

"Butyou should _wash_ your dishesand clear them away."

"Washmy dishes!" said Dinahin a high keyas her wrathbegan torise over her habitual respect of manner; "what does ladiesknow 'boutworkI want to know?  When 'd Mas'r ever get his dinnerif I vasto spend all my time a washin' and a puttin' up dishes?Miss Marienever telled me sonohow."

"Wellhere are these onions."

"Lawsyes!" said Dinah; "thar _is_ whar I put 'emnow.I couldn't'member.  Them 's particular onions I was a savin' fordis yervery stew.  I'd forgot they was in dat ar old flannel."

MissOphelia lifted out the sifting papers of sweet herbs.

"Iwish Missis wouldn't touch dem ar.  I likes to keep my thingswhere Iknows whar to go to 'em" said Dinahrather decidedly.

"Butyou don't want these holes in the papers."

"Them's handy for siftin' on 't out" said Dinah.

"Butyou see it spills all over the drawer."

"Lawsyes! if Missis will go a tumblin' things all up soit will. Missis has spilt lots dat ar way" said Dinahcominguneasilyto the drawers.  "If Missis only will go up starstill myclarin' up time comesI'll have everything right;but Ican't do nothin' when ladies is rounda henderin'.YouSamdon't you gib the baby dat ar sugar-bowl!  I'll crackye overif ye don't mind!"

"I'mgoing through the kitchenand going to put everythingin order_once_Dinah; and then I'll expect you to _keep_ it so."

"Lornow!  Miss Phelia; dat ar an't no way for ladies to do.I neverdid see ladies doin' no sich; my old Missis nor MissMarienever didand I don't see no kinder need on 't;" and Dinahstalkedindignantly aboutwhile Miss Ophelia piled and sorteddishesemptied dozens of scattering bowls of sugar into onereceptaclesorted napkinstable-clothsand towelsfor washing;washingwipingand arranging with her own handsand with a speedandalacrity which perfectly amazed Dinah.

"Lornow! if dat ar de way dem northern ladies dodey an'tladiesnohow" she said to some of her satelliteswhen at a safehearingdistance.  "I has things as straight as anybodywhen myclarin' uptimes comes; but I don't want ladies rounda henderin'andgetting my things all where I can't find 'em."

To doDinah justiceshe hadat irregular periodsparoxymsofreformation and arrangementwhich she called "clarin' uptimes"when shewould begin with great zealand turn every drawer andclosetwrong side outwardon to the floor or tablesand make theordinaryconfusion seven-fold more confounded.  Then she wouldlight herpipeand leisurely go over her arrangementslookingthingsoverand discoursing upon them; making all the young fryscour mostvigorously on the tin thingsand keeping up for severalhours amost energetic state of confusionwhich she would explainto thesatisfaction of all inquirersby the remark that she wasa "clarin'up."  "She couldn't hev things a gwine on so as theyhadbeenandshe was gwine to make these yer young ones keep betterorder;"for Dinah herselfsomehowindulged the illusion that sheherselfwas the soul of orderand it was only the _young uns_and theeverybody else in the housethat were the cause of anythingthat fellshort of perfection in this respect.  When all the tinswerescouredand the tables scrubbed snowy whiteand everythingthat couldoffend tucked out of sight in holes and cornersDinahwoulddress herself up in a smart dressclean apronand highbrilliantMadras turbanand tell all marauding "young uns" to keepout of thekitchenfor she was gwine to have things kept nice.Indeedthese periodic seasons were often an inconvenience to thewholehousehold; for Dinah would contract such an immoderateattachmentto her scoured tinas to insist upon it that it shouldn'tbe usedagain for any possible purpose--at leasttill the ardorof the"clarin' up" period abated.

MissOpheliain a few daysthoroughly reformed everydepartmentof the house to a systematic pattern; but her labors inalldepartments that depended on the cooperation of servants werelike thoseof Sisyphus or the Danaides.  In despairshe one dayappealedto St. Clare.

"Thereis no such thing as getting anything like a systemin thisfamily!"

"Tobe surethere isn't" said St. Clare.

"Suchshiftless managementsuch wastesuch confusionIneversaw!"

"Idare say you didn't."

"Youwould not take it so coollyif you were housekeeper."

"Mydear cousinyou may as well understandonce for allthat wemasters are divided into two classesoppressors andoppressed. We who are good-natured and hate severity make up ourminds to agood deal of inconvenience.  If we _will keep_ a shamblinglooseuntaught set in the communityfor our conveniencewhywemust takethe consequence.  Some rare cases I have seenof personswhoby apeculiar tactcan produce order and system withoutseverity;but I'm not one of them--and so I made up my mindlongagotolet things go just as they do.  I will not have the poordevilsthrashed and cut to piecesand they know it--andofcoursethey know the staff is in their own hands."

"Butto have no timeno placeno order--all going on inthisshiftless way!"

"Mydear Vermontyou natives up by the North Pole set anextravagantvalue on time!  What on earth is the use of time to afellow whohas twice as much of it as he knows what to do with?As toorder and systemwhere there is nothing to be done but to loungeon thesofa and readan hour sooner or later in breakfast or dinnerisn't ofmuch account.  Nowthere's Dinah gets you a capitaldinner--soupragoutroast fowldessertice-creams and all--andshecreates it all out of chaos and old night down therein thatkitchen. I think it really sublimethe way she manages.  ButHeavenbless us! if we are to go down thereand view all thesmokingand squatting aboutand hurryscurryation of the preparatoryprocesswe should never eat more!  My good cousinabsolve yourselffromthat!  It's more than a Catholic penanceand does no more good.You'llonly lose your own temperand utterly confound Dinah.Let her goher own way."

ButAugustineyou don't know how I found things."

"Don'tI?  Don't I know that the rolling-pin is under her bedand thenutmeg-grater in her pocket with her tobacco--thatthere aresixty-five different sugar-bowlsone in every hole inthehouse--that she washes dishes with a dinner-napkin one dayand with afragment of an old petticoat the next?  But the upshotisshegets up glorious dinnersmakes superb coffee; and you mustjudge heras warriors and statesmen are judged_by her success_."

"Butthe waste--the expense!"

"Owell! Lock everything you canand keep the key.  Give outbydribletsand never inquire for odds and ends--it isn't best."

"Thattroubles meAugustine.  I can't help feeling as iftheseservants were not _strictly honest_.  Are you sure they canbe reliedon?"

Augustinelaughed immoderately at the grave and anxiousface withwhich Miss Ophelia propounded the question.

"Ocousinthat's too good--_honest!_--as if that's athing tobe expected!  Honest!--whyof coursethey arn't.Why shouldthey be?  What upon earth is to make them so?"

"Whydon't you instruct?"

"Instruct!O  fiddlestick!  What instructing do you thinkI shoulddo?  I look like it!  As to Marieshe has spiritenoughtobe sureto kill off a whole plantationif I'd let hermanage;but she wouldn't get the cheatery out of them."

"Arethere no honest ones?"

"Wellnow and then onewhom Nature makes so impracticablysimpletruthful and faithfulthat the worst possible influencecan'tdestroy it.  Butyou seefrom the mother's breast thecoloredchild feels and sees that there are none but underhand waysopen toit.  It can get along no other way with its parentsitsmistressits young master and missie play-fellows.  Cunning anddeceptionbecome necessaryinevitable habits.  It isn't fair toexpectanything else of him.  He ought not to be punished for it.As tohonestythe slave is kept in that dependentsemi-childishstatethat there is no making him realize the rights of propertyor feelthat his master's goods are not his ownif he can get them.For mypartI don't see how they _can_ be honest.  Such a fellowas Tomhereis--is a moral miracle!"

"Andwhat becomes of their souls?" said Miss Ophelia.

"Thatisn't my affairas I know of" said St. Clare; "I amonlydealing in facts of the present life.  The fact isthatthe wholerace are pretty generally understood to be turned overto thedevilfor our benefitin this worldhowever it may turnout inanother!"

"Thisis perfectly horrible!" said Miss Ophelia; you oughtto beashamed of yourselves!"

"Idon't know as I am.  We are in pretty good companyfor allthat"said St. Clare"as people in the broad road generally are.Look atthe high and the lowall the world overand it'sthe samestory--the lower class used upbodysoul and spiritfor thegood of the upper.  It is so in England; it is so everywhere;and yetall Christendom stands aghastwith virtuous indignationbecause wedo the thing in a little different shape from what theydo it."

"Itisn't so in Vermont."

"Ahwellin New Englandand in the free Statesyou havethe betterof usI grant.  But there's the bell; soCousinletus for awhile lay aside our sectional prejudicesand come out todinner."

As MissOphelia was in the kitchen in the latter part oftheafternoonsome of the sable children called out"Lasakes!thar'sPrue a cominggrunting along like she allers does."

A tallbony colored woman now entered the kitchenbearingon herhead a basket of rusks and hot rolls.

"HoPrue! you've come" said Dinah.

Prue had apeculiar scowling expression of countenanceand asullengrumbling voice.  She set down her basketsquattedherselfdownand resting her elbows on her knees said

"OLord! I wish't I 's dead!"

"Whydo you wish you were dead?" said Miss Ophelia.

"I'dbe out o' my misery" said the womangrufflywithouttaking hereyes from the floor.

"Whatneed you getting drunkthenand cutting upPrue?"said aspruce quadroon chambermaiddanglingas she spokea pairof coralear-drops.

The womanlooked at her with a sour surly glance.

"Maybeyou'll come to itone of these yer days.  I'd beglad tosee youI would; then you'll be glad of a droplike meto forgetyour misery."

"ComePrue" said Dinah"let's look at your rusks.  Here'sMissiswill pay for them."

MissOphelia took out a couple of dozen.

"Thar'ssome tickets in that ar old cracked jug on the topshelf"said Dinah.  "YouJakeclimb up and get it down."

"Tickets--whatare they for?" said Miss Ophelia.

"Webuy tickets of her Mas'rand she gives us bread for 'em."

"Andthey counts my money and ticketswhen I gets hometo seeif I 'sgot the change; and if I han'tthey half kills me."

"Andserves you right" said Janethe pert chambermaid"ifyou will take their money to get drunk on.  That's what shedoesMissis."

"Andthat's what I _will_ do--I can't live no otherways--drinkand forget my misery."

"Youare very wicked and very foolish" said Miss Ophelia"tosteal your master's money to make yourself a brute with."

"It'smighty likelyMissis; but I will do it--yesI will.O Lord! I wish I 's deadI do--I wish I 's deadand outof mymisery!" and slowly and stiffly the old creature roseandgot herbasket on her head again; but before she went outshelooked atthe quadroon girtwho still stood playing with herear-drops.

"Yethink ye're mighty fine with them ara frolickin' anda tossin'your headand a lookin' down on everybody.  Wellnevermind--youmay live to be a pooroldcut-up critturlike me.Hope tothe Lord ye willI do; then see if ye won'tdrink--drink--drink--yerselfinto torment; and sarve ye righttoo--ugh!"andwith a malignant howlthe woman left the room.

"Disgustingold beast!" said Adolphwho was getting hismaster'sshaving-water.  "If I was her masterI'd cut her up worsethan sheis."

"Yecouldn't do that arno ways" said Dinah.  "Herback'sa farsight now--she can't never get a dress together over it."

"Ithink such low creatures ought not to be allowed to goround togenteel families" said Miss Jane.  "What do youthinkMr. St.Clare?" she saidcoquettishly tossing her head at Adolph.

It must beobserved thatamong other appropriations fromhismaster's stockAdolph was in the habit of adopting his nameandaddress; and that the style under which he movedamong thecoloredcircles of New Orleanswas that of _Mr. St. Clare_.

"I'mcertainly of your opinionMiss Benoir" said Adolph.

Benoir wasthe name of Marie St. Clare's familyand Janewas one ofher servants.

"PrayMiss Benoirmay I be allowed to ask if those dropsare forthe balltomorrow night?  They are certainly bewitching!"

"IwondernowMr. St. Clarewhat the impudence of youmen willcome to!" said Janetossing her pretty head til theear-dropstwinkled again.  "I shan't dance with you for a wholeeveningif you go to asking me any more questions."

"Oyou couldn't be so cruelnow! I was just dying to knowwhetheryou would appear in your pink tarletane" said Adolph.

"Whatis it?" said Rosaa brightpiquant little quadroonwho cameskipping down stairs at this moment.

"WhyMr. St. Clare's so impudent!"

"Onmy honor" said Adolph"I'll leave it to Miss Rosa now."

"Iknow he's always a saucy creature" said Rosapoisingherself onone of her little feetand looking maliciously atAdolph. "He's always getting me so angry with him."

"O!ladiesladiesyou will certainly break my heartbetweenyou" said Adolph.  "I shall be found dead in my bedsomemorningand you'll have it to answer for."

"Dohear the horrid creature talk!" said both ladieslaughingimmoderately.

"Come--claroutyou! I can't have you cluttering up thekitchen"said Dinah; "in my wayfoolin' round here."

"AuntDinah's glumbecause she can't go to the ball" said Rosa.

"Don'twant none o' your light-colored balls" said Dinah;"cuttin'roundmakin' b'lieve you's white folks.  Arter allyou'sniggersmuch as I am."

"AuntDinah greases her wool stiffevery dayto make itliestraight" said Jane.

"Andit will be woolafter all" said Rosamaliciouslyshakingdown her longsilky curls.

"Wellin the Lord's sightan't wool as good as baranytime?"said Dinah.  "I'd like to have Missis say which is worththemost--a couple such as youor one like me.  Get out wid yeyetrumpery--I won't have ye round!"

Here theconversation was interrupted in a two-fold manner.St.Clare's voice was heard at the head of the stairsasking Adolphif hemeant to stay all night with his shaving-water; and MissOpheliacoming out of the dining-roomsaid

"Janeand Rosawhat are you wasting your time forhere?Go in andattend to your muslins."

Our friendTomwho had been in the kitchen during theconversationwith the old rusk-womanhad followed her out intothestreet.  He saw her go ongiving every once in a while asuppressedgroan.  At last she set her basket down on a doorstepand beganarranging the oldfaded shawl which covered her shoulders.

"I'llcarry your basket a piece" said Tomcompassionately.

"Whyshould ye?" said the woman.  "I don't want no help."

"Youseem to be sickor in troubleor somethin'" said Tom.

"Ian't sick" said the womanshortly.

"Iwish" said Tomlooking at her earnestly--"I wish Icouldpersuade you to leave off drinking.  Don't you know it willbe theruin of yebody and soul?"

"Iknows I'm gwine to torment" said the womansullenly."Yedon't need to tell me that ar.  I 's uglyI 's wicked--I 's gwinestraight to torment. OLord!  I wish I 's thar!"

Tomshuddered at these frightful wordsspoken with asullenimpassioned earnestness.

"OLord have mercy on ye! poor crittur.  Han't ye neverheard ofJesus Christ?"

"JesusChrist--who's he?"

"Whyhe's _the Lord_" said Tom.

"Ithink I've hearn tell o' the Lordand the judgment and torment.I've heardo' that."

"Butdidn't anybody ever tell you of the Lord Jesusthatloved uspoor sinnersand died for us?"

"Don'tknow nothin' 'bout that" said the woman; "nobodyhan'tnever loved mesince my old man died."

"Wherewas you raised?" said Tom.

"Upin Kentuck.  A man kept me to breed chil'en for marketand sold'em as fast as they got big enough; last of allhe soldme to aspeculatorand my Mas'r got me o' him."

"Whatset you into this bad way of drinkin'?"

"Toget shet o' my misery.  I had one child after I come here;and Ithought then I'd have one to raisecause Mas'r wasn'taspeculator.  It was de peartest little thing! and Missis sheseemed tothink a heap on 'tat first; it never cried--it waslikely andfat.  But Missis tuck sickand I tended her; and I tuckthe feverand my milk all left meand the child it pined to skinand boneand Missis wouldn't buy milk for it.  She wouldn't hearto mewhen I telled her I hadn't milk.  She said she knowed Icould feedit on what other folks eat; and the child kinder pinedand criedand criedand criedday and nightand got all goneto skinand bonesand Missis got sot agin it and she said 't wan'tnothin'but crossness.  She wished it was deadshe said; and shewouldn'tlet me have it o' nightscauseshe saidit kept meawakeandmade me good for nothing.  She made me sleep in herroom; andI had to put it away off in a little kind o' garretandthar itcried itself to deathone night.  It did; and I tuck todrinkin'to keep its crying out of my ears!  I did--and I willdrink! I willif I do go to torment for it!  Mas'r says I shall gototormentand I tell him I've got thar now!"

"Oye poor crittur!" said Tom"han't nobody never telled yehowthe LordJesus loved yeand died for ye?  Han't they telled yethat he'llhelp yeand ye can go to heavenand have restat last?"

"Ilooks like gwine to heaven" said the woman; "an't tharwherewhite folks is gwine?  S'pose they'd have me thar?  I'drathergo totormentand get away from Mas'r and Missis.  I had _so_"she saidas with her usual groanshe got her basket on her headand walkedsullenly away.

Tomturnedand walked sorrowfully back to the house.  In thecourt hemet little Eva--a crown of tuberoses on her headand hereyes radiant with delight.

"OTom! here you are.  I'm glad I've found you.  Papa saysyou mayget out the poniesand take me in my little newcarriage"she saidcatching his hand.  "But what'sthe matterTom?--you look sober."

"Ifeel badMiss Eva" said Tomsorrowfully.  "But I'llget thehorses for you."

"Butdo tell meTomwhat is the matter.  I saw  youtalking tocross old Prue."

Tominsimpleearnest phrasetold Eva the woman's history.She didnot exclaim or wonderor weepas other children do.Her cheeksgrew paleand a deepearnest shadow passed overher eyes. She laid both hands on her bosomand sighed heavily.

 

 

 

 VOLUME II.

 

 CHAPTERXIXMissOphelia's Experiences and Opinions Continued

 

"Tomyou needn't get me the horses.  I don't want to go"she said.

"WhynotMiss Eva?"

"Thesethings sink into my heartTom" said Eva--"theysink intomy heart" she repeatedearnestly.  "I don't want togo;"and she turned from Tomand went into the house.

A few daysafteranother woman camein old Prue's placeto bringthe rusks; Miss Ophelia was in the kitchen.

"Lor!"said Dinah"what's got Prue?"

"Prueisn't coming any more" said the womanmysteriously.

"Whynot?" said Dinah.  "she an't deadis she?"

"Wedoesn't exactly know.  She's down cellar" said thewomanglancing at Miss Ophelia.

After MissOphelia had taken the rusksDinah followed thewoman tothe door.

"What_has_ got Prueany how?" she said.

The womanseemed desirousyet reluctantto speakandansweredin lowmysterious tone.

"Wellyou mustn't tell nobodyPrueshe got drunk agin--andthey hadher down cellar--and thar they left her all day--and Ihearn 'emsaying that the _flies had got to her_--and _she's dead_!"

Dinah heldup her handsandturningsaw close by her sidethespirit-like form of Evangelineher largemystic eyesdilatedwith horrorand every drop of blood driven from her lipsandcheeks.

"Lorbless us!  Miss Eva's gwine to faint away!  What go usalltolet her har such talk?  Her pa'll be rail mad."

"Ishan't faintDinah" said the childfirmly; "and whyshouldn'tI hearit?  It an't so much for me to hear itas for poor Prueto sufferit."

"_Lorsakes_! it isn't for sweetdelicate young ladieslikeyou--these yer stories isn't; it's enough to kill 'em!"

Eva sighedagainand walked up stairs with a slow andmelancholystep.

MissOphelia anxiously inquired the woman's story.  Dinah gavea verygarrulous version of itto which Tom added theparticularswhich he had drawn from her that morning.

"Anabominable business--perfectly horrible!" she exclaimedas sheentered the room where St. Clare lay reading his paper.

"Praywhat iniquity has turned up now?" said he.

"Whatnow? whythose folks have whipped Prue to death!"said MissOpheliagoing onwith great strength of detailintothe storyand enlarging on its most shocking particulars.

"Ithought it would come to thatsome time" said St.Claregoing on with his paper.

"Thoughtso!--an't you going to _do_ anything about it?"said MissOphelia.  "Haven't you got any _selectmen_or anybodytointerfere and look after such matters?"

"It'scommonly supposed that the _property_ interest is asufficientguard in these cases.  If people choose to ruin theirownpossessionsI don't know what's to be done.  It seems the poorcreaturewas a thief and a drunkard; and so there won't be muchhope toget up sympathy for her."

"Itis perfectly outrageous--it is horridAugustine!It willcertainly bring down vengeance upon you."

"Mydear cousinI didn't do itand I can't help it; I wouldif Icould.  If low-mindedbrutal people will act likethemselveswhat am I to do? they have absolute control; they areirresponsibledespots.  There would be no use in interfering; thereis no lawthat amounts to anything practicallyfor such a case.The bestwe can do is to shut our eyes and earsand let it alone.It's theonly resource left us."

"Howcan you shut your eyes and ears?  How can you letsuchthings alone?"

"Mydear childwhat do you expect?  Here is a wholeclass--debaseduneducatedindolentprovoking--putwithoutany sortof terms or conditionsentirely into the hands of suchpeople asthe majority in our world are; people who have neitherconsiderationnor self-controlwho haven't even an enlightenedregard totheir own interest--for that's the case with the largesthalf ofmankind.  Of coursein a community so organizedwhat cana man ofhonorable and humane feelings dobut shut his eyes allhe canand harden his heart?  I can't buy every poor wretch I see.I can'tturn knight-errantand undertake to redress every individualcase ofwrong in such a city as this.  The most I can do is to tryand keepout of the way of it."

St.Clare's fine countenance was for a moment overcast; he said

"Comecousindon't stand there looking like one of the Fates;you'veonly seen a peep through the curtain--a specimen ofwhat isgoing onthe world overin some shape or other.  If weare to beprying and spying into all the dismals of lifewe shouldhave noheart to anything.  'T is like looking too close into thedetails ofDinah's kitchen;" and St. Clare lay back on the sofaand busiedhimself with his paper.

MissOphelia sat downand pulled out her knitting-workand satthere grim with indignation.  She knit and knitbut whileshe mused the fire burned; at last she brokeout--"Itell youAugustineI can't get over things soif youcan.  It's a perfect abomination for you to defendsuch asystem--that's _my_ mind!"

"Whatnow?" said St. Clarelooking up.  "At it againhey?"

"Isay it's perfectly abominable for you to defend such asystem!"said Miss Opheliawith increasing warmth.

"_I_defend itmy dear lady?  Who ever said I did defend it?"said St.Clare.

"Ofcourseyou defend it--you all do--all you Southerners.What doyou have slaves forif you don't?"

"Areyou such a sweet innocent as to suppose nobody in thisworld everdoes what they don't think is right?  Don't youordidn't youeverdo anything that you did not think quite right?"

"If IdoI repent of itI hope" said Miss Opheliarattlingher needles with energy.

"Sodo I" said St. Clarepeeling his orange; "I'm repentingof it allthe time."

"Whatdo you keep on doing it for?"

"Didn'tyou ever keep on doing wrongafter you'd repentedmy goodcousin?"

"Wellonly when I've been very much tempted" said Miss Ophelia.

"WellI'm very much tempted" said St. Clare; "that's justmydifficulty."

"ButI always resolve I won't and I try to break off."

"WellI have been resolving I won'toff and onthesetenyears" said St. Clare; "but I haven'tsome howgotclear.Have yougot clear of all your sinscousin?"

"CousinAugustine" said Miss Opheliaseriouslyand layingdown herknitting-work"I suppose I deserve that you shouldreprove myshort-comings.  I know all you say is true enough;nobodyelse feels them more than I do; but it does seem to meafter allthere is some difference between me and you.  It seemsto me Iwould cut off my right hand sooner than keep onfrom dayto daydoing what I thought was wrong.  Butthenmy conduct issoinconsistent with my professionI don't wonder you reprove me."

"Onowcousin" said Augustinesitting down on the floorand layinghis head back in her lap"don't take on so awfullyserious! You know what a good-for-nothingsaucy boy I always was.I love topoke you up--that's all--just to see you get earnest.I do thinkyou are desperatelydistressingly good; it tires me todeath tothink of it."

"Butthis is a serious subjectmy boyAuguste" said MissOphelialaying her hand on his forehead.

"Dismallyso" said he; "and I--wellI never want to talkseriouslyin hot weather.  What with mosquitos and alla fellowcan't gethimself up to any very sublime moral flights; and Ibelieve"said St. Claresuddenly rousing himself up"there's atheorynow!  I understand now why northern nations are always morevirtuousthan southern ones--I see into that whole subject."

"OAugustineyou are a sad rattle-brain!"

"AmI?  Wellso I amI suppose; but for once I will beseriousnow; but you must hand me that basket of oranges;--youseeyou'll have to `stay me with flagons and comfort me withapples'if I'm going to make this effort.  Now" said Augustinedrawingthe basket up"I'll begin:  Whenin the course of humaneventsitbecomes necessary for a fellow to hold two or threedozen ofhis fellow-worms in captivitya decent regard to theopinionsof society requires--"

"Idon't see that you are growing more serious" said Miss Ophelia.

"Wait--I'mcoming on--you'll hear.  The short of the matteriscousin" said hehis handsome face suddenly settling intoan earnestand serious expression"on this abstract questionof slaverythere canas I thinkbe but one opinion.  Planterswho havemoney to make by it--clergymenwho have planters toplease--politicianswho want to rule by it--may warp and bendlanguageand ethics to a degree that shall astonish the world attheiringenuity; they can press nature and the Bibleand nobodyknows whatelseinto the service; butafter allneither theynor theworld believe in it one particle the more.  It comes fromthe devilthat's the short of it;--andto my mindit's a prettyrespectablespecimen of what he can do in his own line."

MissOphelia stopped her knittingand looked surprisedand St.Clareapparently enjoying her astonishmentwent on.

"Youseem to wonder; but if you will get me fairly at itI'll makea clean breast of it.  This cursed businessaccursed ofGod andmanwhat is it?  Strip it of all its ornamentrun it downto theroot and nucleus of the wholeand what is it?  Whybecausemy brotherQuashy is ignorant and weakand I am intelligent andstrong--becauseI know howand _can_ do it--thereforeI maysteal allhe haskeep itand give him only such and so much assuits myfancy.  Whatever is too hardtoo dirtytoo disagreeablefor meImay set Quashy to doing.  Because I don't like workQuashyshall work.  Because the sun burns meQuashy shall stay inthe sun. Quashy shall earn the moneyand I will spend it.  Quashyshall liedown in every puddlethat I may walk over dry-shod.Quashyshall do my willand not hisall the days of his mortallifeandhave such chance of getting to heavenat lastas I findconvenient. This I take to be about what slavery _is_.  I defyanybody onearth to read our slave-codeas it stands in ourlaw-booksand make anything else of it.  Talk of the _abuses_ofslavery!  Humbug!  The _thing itself_ is the essence of allabuse!And theonly reason why the land don't sink under itlike SodomandGomorrahis because it is _used_ in a way infinitely betterthan itis.  For pity's sakefor shame's sakebecause we are menborn ofwomenand not savage beastsmany of us do notand darenot--wewould _scorn_ to use the full power which our savage lawsput intoour hands.  And he who goes the furthestand does theworstonly uses within limits the power that the law gives him."

St. Clarehad started upandas his manner was when excitedwaswalkingwith hurried stepsup and down the floor.  His finefaceclassic as that of a Greek statueseemed actually to burnwith thefervor of his feelings.  His large blue eyes flashedand hegestured with an unconscious eagerness.  Miss Ophelia hadnever seenhim in this mood beforeand she sat perfectly silent.

"Ideclare to you" said hesuddenly stopping before hiscousin"(It's no sort of use to talk or to feel on this subject)but Ideclare to youthere have been times when I have thoughtif thewhole country would sinkand hide all this injustice andmiseryfrom the lightI would willingly sink with it.  When I havebeentravelling up and down on our boatsor about on my collectingtoursandreflected that every brutaldisgustingmeanlow-livedfellow Imetwas allowed by our laws to become absolute despot ofas manymenwomen and childrenas he could cheatstealor gamblemoneyenough to buy--when I have seen such men in actual ownershipofhelpless childrenof young girls and women--I have been readyto cursemy countryto curse the human race!"

"Augustine!Augustine!" said Miss Ophelia"I'm sure you'vesaidenough.  I neverin my lifeheard anything like thisevenat theNorth."

"Atthe North!" said St. Clarewith a sudden change ofexpressionand resuming something of his habitual careless tone."Pooh!your northern folks are cold-blooded; you are coolineverything!  You can't begin to curse up hill and down aswe canwhen we get fairly at it."

"Wellbut the question is" said Miss Ophelia.

"Oyesto be surethe _question is_--and a deuce of aquestionit is!  How came _you_ in this state of sin and misery?WellIshall answer in the good old words you used to teach meSundays. I came so by ordinary generation.  My servants were myfather'sandwhat is moremy mother's; and now they are minethey andtheir increasewhich bids fair to be a pretty considerableitem. My fatheryou knowcame first from New England; and hewas justsuch another man as your father--a regular old Roman--uprightenergeticnoble-mindedwith an iron will.  Your father settleddown inNew Englandto rule over rocks and stonesand to forceanexistence out of Nature; and mine settled in Louisianato ruleover menand womenand force existence out of them.  My mother"said St.Claregetting up and walking to a picture at the end ofthe roomand gazing upward with a face fervent with veneration"_shewas divine!_  Don't look at me so!--you know what I mean!Sheprobably was of mortal birth; butas far as ever I couldobservethere was no trace of any human weakness or error abouther; andeverybody that lives to remember herwhether bond orfreeservantacquaintancerelationall say the same.  Whycousinthat mother has been all that has stood between me andutterunbelief for years.  She was a direct embodiment andpersonificationof the New Testament--a living factto be accountedforandto be accounted for in no other way than by its truth. Omother!mother!" said St. Clareclasping his handsin a sort oftransport;and then suddenly checking himselfhe came backandseatinghimself on an ottomanhe went on:

"Mybrother and I were twins; and they sayyou knowthat twinsought toresemble each other; but we were in all points a contrast.He hadblackfiery eyescoal-black haira strongfine Romanprofileand a rich brown complexion.  I had blue eyesgoldenhairaGreek outlineand fair complexion.  He was active andobservingI dreamy and inactive.  He was generous to his friendsandequalsbut prouddominantoverbearingto inferiorsandutterlyunmerciful to whatever set itself up against him.Truthfulwe both were; he from pride and courageI from asort ofabstract ideality.  We loved each other about as boysgenerallydo--off and onand in general;--he was my father's petand I mymother's.

"Therewas a morbid sensitiveness and acuteness of feelingin me onall possible subjectsof which he and my father had nokind ofunderstandingand with which they could have no possiblesympathy. But mother did; and sowhen I had quarreled with Alfredand fatherlooked sternly on meI used to go off to mother's roomand sit byher.  I remember just how she used to lookwith herpalecheeksher deepsoftserious eyesher white dress--shealwayswore white; and I used to think of her whenever I read inRevelationsabout the saints that were arrayed in fine linencleanandwhite.  She had a great deal of genius of one sort and anotherparticularlyin music; and she used to sit at her organplayingfine oldmajestic music of the Catholic churchand singing witha voicemore like an angel than a mortal woman; and I would lay myhead downon her lapand cryand dreamand feel--ohimmeasurably!--thingsthat I had no language to say!

"Inthose daysthis matter of slavery had never beencanvassedas it has now; nobody dreamed of any harm in it.

"Myfather was a born aristocrat.  I thinkin somepreexistentstatehe must have been in the higher circles ofspiritsand brought all his old court pride along with him; forit wasingrainbred in the bonethough he was originally ofpoor andnot in any way of noble family.  My brother was begottenin hisimage.

"Nowan aristocratyou knowthe world overhas no humansympathiesbeyond a certain line in society.  In England the lineis in oneplacein Burmah in anotherand in America in another;but thearistocrat of all these countries never goes over it.  Whatwould behardship and distress and injustice in his own classisa coolmatter of course in another one.  My father's dividing linewas thatof color.  _Among his equals_never was a man more justandgenerous; but he considered the negrothrough all possiblegradationsof coloras an intermediate link between man and animalsand gradedall his ideas of justice or generosity on this hypothesis.I supposeto be sureif anybody had asked himplump and fairwhetherthey had human immortal soulshe might have hemmed andhawedandsaid yes.  But my father was not a man much troubledwithspiritualism; religious sentiment he had nonebeyond avenerationfor Godas decidedly the head of the upper classes.

"Wellmy father worked some five hundred negroes; he wasaninflexibledrivingpunctilious business man; everything wasto move bysystem--to be sustained with unfailing accuracy andprecision. Nowif you take into account that all this was to beworked outby a set of lazytwaddlingshiftless laborerswhohad grownupall their livesin the absence of every possiblemotive tolearn how to do anything but `shirk' as you Vermonterssayandyou'll see that there might naturally beon his plantationa greatmany things that looked horrible and distressing to asensitivechildlike me.

"Besidesallhe had an overseer--greattallslab-sidedtwo-fistedrenegade son of Vermont--(begging your pardon)--whohad gonethrough a regular apprenticeship in hardness and brutalityand takenhis degree to be admitted to practice.  My mother nevercouldendure himnor I; but he obtained an entire ascendency overmy father;and this man was the absolute despot of the estate.

"Iwas a little fellow thenbut I had the same love thatI have nowfor all kinds of human things--a kind of passion forthe studyof humanitycome in what shape it would.  I was foundin thecabins and among the field-hands a great dealandofcoursewas a great favorite; and all sorts of complaints andgrievanceswere breathed in my ear; and I told them to motherandwebetween usformed a sort of committee for a redress ofgrievances. We hindered and repressed a great deal of crueltyandcongratulated ourselves on doing a vast deal of goodtillasoftenhappensmy zeal overacted.  Stubbs complained to my fatherthat hecouldn't manage the handsand must resign his position.Father wasa fondindulgent husbandbut a man that never flinchedfromanything that he thought necessary; and so he put down hisfootlikea rockbetween us and the field-hands.  He told mymotherinlanguage perfectly respectful and deferentialbut quiteexplicitthat over the house-servants she should be entire mistressbut thatwith the field-hands he could allow no interference.  Hereveredand respected her above all living beings; but he wouldhave saidit all the same to the virgin Mary herselfif she hadcome inthe way of his system.

"Iused sometimes to hear my mother reasoning cases withhim--endeavoringto excite his sympathies.  He would listen tothe mostpathetic appeals with the most discouraging politenessandequanimity.  `It all resolves itself into this' he would say;`must Ipart with Stubbsor keep him?  Stubbs is the soul ofpunctualityhonestyand efficiency--a thorough business handand ashumane as the general run.  We can't have perfection; andif I keephimI must sustain his administration as a _whole_evenif therearenow and thenthings that are exceptionable.  Allgovernmentincludes some necessary hardness.  General rules willbear hardon particular cases.'  This last maxim my father seemedtoconsider a settler in most alleged cases of cruelty.  After hehad said_that_he commonly drew up his feet on the sofalike aman thathas disposed of a businessand betook himself to a napor thenewspaperas the case might be.

"Thefact is my father showed the exact sort of talent forastatesman.  He could have divided Poland as easily as an orangeor trod onIreland as quietly and systematically as any man living.At last mymother gave upin despair.  It never will be knowntill thelast accountwhat noble and sensitive natures like hershave feltcastutterly helplessinto what seems to them an abyssofinjustice and crueltyand which seems so to nobody about them.It hasbeen an age of long sorrow of such naturesin such ahell-begottensort of world as ours.  What remained for herbutto trainher children in her own views and sentiments?  Wellafterall yousay about trainingchildren will grow up substantiallywhat they_are_ by natureand only that.  From the cradleAlfredwas anaristocrat; and as he grew upinstinctivelyall hissympathiesand all his reasonings were in that lineand all mother'sexhortationswent to the winds.  As to methey sunk deep into me.She nevercontradictedin formanything my father saidor seemeddirectlyto differ from him; but she impressedburnt into my verysoulwithall the force of her deepearnest naturean idea ofthedignity and worth of the meanest human soul.  I have looked inher facewith solemn awewhen she would point up to the stars intheeveningand say to me`See thereAuguste! the poorestmeanestsoul on our place will be livingwhen all these stars aregoneforever--will live as long as God lives!'

"Shehad some fine old paintings; onein particularof Jesushealing ablind man.  They were very fineand used to impressmestrongly.  `See thereAuguste' she would say; `the blind manwas abeggarpoor and loathsome; thereforehe would not heal him_afaroff!_  He called him to himand put _his hands on him!_Rememberthismy boy.'  If I had lived to grow up under her careshe mighthave stimulated me to I know not what of enthusiasm.I mighthave been a saintreformermartyr--butalas! alas!I wentfrom her when I was only thirteenand I never saw her again!"

St. Clarerested his head on his handsand did not speakfor someminutes.  After a whilehe looked upand went on:

"Whatpoormean trash this whole business of human virtue is!A merematterfor the most partof latitude and longitudeandgeographical positionacting with natural temperament.  Thegreaterpart is nothing but an accident!  Your fatherfor examplesettles inVermontin a town where all arein factfree andequal;becomes a regular church member and deaconand in due timejoins anAbolition societyand thinks us all little better thanheathens. Yet he isfor all the worldin constitution and habitaduplicate of my father.  I can see it leaking out in fiftydifferentways--just the same strongoverbearingdominant spirit.You knowvery well how impossible it is to persuade some of thefolks inyour village that Squire Sinclair does not feel abovethem. The fact isthough he has fallen on democratic timesandembraced ademocratic theoryhe is to the heart an aristocratasmuch as myfatherwho ruled over five or six hundred slaves."

MissOphelia felt rather disposed to cavil at this pictureandwas layingdown her knitting to beginbut St. Clare stopped her.

"NowI know every word you are going to say.  I do not saythey_were_ alikein fact.  One fell into a condition whereeverythingacted against the natural tendencyand the other whereeverythingacted for it; and so one turned out a pretty wilfulstoutoverbearing old democratand the other a wilfulstoutolddespot.  If both had owned plantations in Louisianatheywould havebeen as like as two old bullets cast in the same mould."

"Whatan undutiful boy you are!" said Miss Ophelia.

"Idon't mean them any disrespect" said St. Clare.  "Youknowreverenceis not my forte.  Butto go back to my history:

"Whenfather diedhe left the whole property to us twin boysto bedivided as we should agree.  There does not breathe onGod'searth a nobler-souledmore generous fellowthan Alfredinall thatconcerns his equals; and we got on admirably with thispropertyquestionwithout a single unbrotherly word or feeling.Weundertook to work the plantation together; and Alfredwhoseoutwardlife and capabilities had double the strength of minebecame anenthusiastic planterand a wonderfully successful one.

"Buttwo years' trial satisfied me that I could not be apartner inthat matter.  To have a great gang of seven hundredwhom Icould not know personallyor feel any individual interestinboughtand drivenhousedfedworked like so many hornedcattlestrained up to military precision--the question of howlittle oflife's commonest enjoyments would keep them in workingorderbeing a constantly recurring problem--the necessity ofdriversand overseers--the ever-necessary whipfirstlastandonlyargument--the whole thing was insufferably disgusting andloathsometo me; and when I thought of my mothcr's estimate of onepoor humansoulit became even frightful!

"It'sall nonsense to talk to me about slaves _enjoying_all this! To this dayI have no patience with the unutterabletrash thatsome of your patronizing Northerners have made upasin theirzeal to apologize for our sins.  We all know better.  Tellme thatany man living wants to  work all his daysfrom day-dawntill darkunder the constant eye of a masterwithout the powerof puttingforth one irresponsible volitionon the same drearymonotonousunchanging toiland all for two pairs of pantaloonsand a pairof shoes a yearwith enough food and shelter to keephim inworking order!  Any man who thinks that human beings canasa generalthingbe made about as comfortable that way as any otherI wish hemight try it.  I'd buy the dogand work himwith aclearconscience!"

"Ialways have supposed" said Miss Ophelia"that youall ofyouapprovedof these thingsand thought them _right_--accordingtoScripture."

"Humbug! We are not quite reduced to that yet.  Alfred whois asdetermined a despot as ever walkeddoes not pretend to thiskind ofdefence;--nohe standshigh and haughtyon that goodoldrespectable ground_the right of the strongest_; and he saysand Ithink quite sensiblythat the American planter is `onlydoinginanother formwhat the English aristocracy and capitalistsare doingby the lower classes;' that isI take it_appropriating_thembodyand bonesoul and spiritto their use and convenience.He defendsboth--and I thinkat least_consistently_.  He saysthat therecan be no high civilization without enslavement of themasseseither nominal or real.  There musthe saysbe a lowerclassgiven up to physical toil and confined to an animal nature;and ahigher one thereby acquires leisure and wealth for a moreexpandedintelligence and improvementand becomes the directingsoul ofthe lower.  So he reasonsbecauseas I saidhe is bornanaristocrat;--so I don't believebecause I was born a democrat."

"Howin the world can the two things be compared?" saidMissOphelia.  "The English laborer is not soldtradedpartedfrom hisfamilywhipped."

"Heis as much at the will of his employer as if he weresold tohim.  The slave-owner can whip his refractory slave todeath--thecapitalist can starve him to death.  As to familysecurityit is hard to say which is the worst--to have one'schildrensoldor see them starve to death at home."

"Butit's no kind of apology for slaveryto prove that itisn'tworse than some other bad thing."

"Ididn't give it for one--nayI'll saybesidesthatours isthe more bold and palpable infringement of human rights;actuallybuying a man uplike a horse--looking at his teethcrackinghis jointsand trying his paces and then paying down forhim--havingspeculatorsbreederstradersand brokers in humanbodies andsouls--sets the thing before the eyes of the civilizedworld in amore tangible formthough the thing done beafter allin itsnaturethe same; that isappropriating one set of humanbeings tothe use and improvement of another without any regard totheirown."

"Inever thought of the matter in this light" said Miss Ophelia.

"WellI've travelled in England someand I've looked overa goodmany documents as to the state of their lower classes; andI reallythink there is no denying Alfredwhen he says that hisslaves arebetter off than a large class of the population ofEngland. You seeyou must not inferfrom what I have told youthatAlfred is what is called a hard master; for he isn't.  He isdespoticand unmerciful to insubordination; he would shoot a fellowdown withas little remorse as he would shoot a buckif he opposedhim. Butin generalhe takes a sort of pride in having his slavescomfortablyfed and accommodated.

"WhenI was with himI insisted that he should do somethingfor theirinstruction; andto please mehe did get a chaplainand usedto have them catechized SundaythoughI believein hisheartthat he thought it would do about as much good to set achaplainover his dogs and horses.  And the fact isthat a mindstupefiedand animalized by every bad influence from the hour ofbirthspending the whole of every week-day in unreflecting toilcannot bedone much with by a few hours on Sunday.  The teachersofSunday-schools among the manufacturing population of Englandand amongplantation-hands in our countrycould perhaps testifyto thesame result_there and here_.  Yet some striking exceptionsthere areamong usfrom the fact that the negro is naturally moreimpressibleto religious sentiment than the white."

"Well"said Miss Ophelia"how came you to give up yourplantationlife?"

"Wellwe jogged on together some timetill Alfred sawplainlythat I was no planter.  He thought it absurdafter he hadreformedand alteredand improved everywhereto suit my notionsthat Istill remained unsatisfied.  The fact wasit wasafteralltheTHING that I hated--the using these men and womentheperpetuationof all this ignorancebrutality and vice--just tomake moneyfor me!

"BesidesI was always interfering in the details.  Beingmyself oneof the laziest of mortalsI had altogether too muchfellow-feelingfor the lazy; and when poorshiftless dogs putstones atthe bottom of their cotton-baskets to make them weighheavieror filled their sacks with dirtwith cotton at the topit seemedso exactly like what I should do if I were theyI couldn'tandwouldn't have them flogged for it.  Wellof coursethere wasan end ofplantation discipline; and Alf and I came to about thesame pointthat I and my respected father didyears before.  Sohe told methat I was a womanish sentimentalistand would neverdo forbusiness life; and advised me to take the bank-stock andthe NewOrleans family mansionand go to writing poetryand lethim managethe plantation.  So we partedand I came here."

"Butwhy didn't you free your slaves?"

"WellI wasn't up to that.  To hold them as tools for money-makingI couldnot;--have them to help spend moneyyou knowdidn'tlook quiteso ugly to me.  Some of them were old house-servantsto whom Iwas much attached; and the younger ones were childrento theold.  All were well satisfied to be as they were."  Hepausedand walkedreflectively up and down the room.

"Therewas" said St. Clare"a time in my life when I hadplans andhopes of doing something in this worldmore than tofloat anddrift.  I had vagueindistinct yearnings to be a sortofemancipator--to free my native land from this spot and stain.All youngmen have had such fever-fitsI supposesome time--butthen--"

"Whydidn't you?" said Miss Ophelia;--"you ought not toput yourhand to the ploughand look back."

"Owellthings didn't go with me as I expectedand I gotthedespair of living that Solomon did.  I suppose it was anecessaryincident to wisdom in us both; butsome how or otherinstead ofbeing actor and regenerator in societyI became a pieceofdriftwoodand have been floating and eddying aboutever since.Alfredscolds meevery time we meet; and he has the better of meIgrant--for he really does something; his life is a logical resultof hisopinions and mine is a contemptible _non sequitur_."

"Mydear cousincan you be satisfied with such a way ofspendingyour probation?"

"Satisfied! Was I not just telling you I despised it?  Butthento comeback to this point--we were on this liberation business.I don'tthink my feelings about slavery are peculiar.  I findmany menwhoin their heartsthink of it just as I do.  The landgroansunder it; andbad as it is for the slaveit is worseifanythingfor the master.  It takes no spectacles to seethat agreat class of viciousimprovidentdegraded peopleamongusare anevil to usas well as to themselves.  The capitalistandaristocrat of England cannot feel that as we dobecause theydo notmingle with the class they degrade as we do.  They are inour homes;they are the associates of our childrenand they formtheirminds faster than we can; for they are a race that childrenalwayswill cling to and assimilate with.  If Evanowwas notmore angelthan ordinaryshe would be ruined.  We might as wellallow thesmall-pox to run among themand think our childrenwould nottake itas to let them be uninstructed and viciousand thinkour children will not be affected by that.  Yet ourlawspositively and utterly forbid any efficient generaleducationalsystemand they do it wiselytoo; forjust beginandthoroughly educate one generationand the whole thing wouldbe blownsky high.  If we did not give them libertythey wouldtake it."

"Andwhat do you think will be the end of this?" said Miss Ophelia.

"Idon't know.  One thing is certain--that there is amusteringamong the massesthe world over; and there is a _diesirae_coming onsooner or later.  The same thing is working inEuropeinEnglandand in this country.  My mother used to tellme of amillennium that was comingwhen Christ should reignandall menshould be free and happy.  And she taught mewhen I wasa boytopray`thy kingdom come.'  Sometimes I think all thissighingand groaningand stirring among the dry bones foretellswhat sheused to tell me was coming.  But who may abide the day ofHisappearing?"

"Augustinesometimes I think you are not far from the kingdom"said MissOphelialaying down her knittingand lookinganxiouslyat her cousin.

"Thankyou for your good opinionbut it's up and down withme--up toheaven's gate in theorydown in earth's dust in practice.Butthere's the teabell--do let's go--and don't saynowIhaven'thad one downright serious talkfor once in my life."

At tableMarie alluded to the incident of Prue.  "I supposeyou'llthinkcousin" she said"that we are all barbarians."

"Ithink that's a barbarous thing" said Miss Ophelia"butI don'tthink you are all barbarians."

"Wellnow" said Marie"I know it's impossible to getalong withsome of these creatures.  They are so bad they oughtnot tolive.  I don't feel a particle of sympathy for such cases.If they'donly behave themselvesit would not happen."

"Butmamma" said Eva"the poor creature was unhappy;that'swhat made her drink."

"Ofiddlestick! as if that were any excuse!  I'm unhappyveryoften.  I presume" she saidpensively"that I'vehadgreatertrials than ever she had.  It's just because they areso bad. There's some of them that you cannot break in by anykind ofseverity.  I remember father had a man that was solazy hewould run away just to get rid of workand lie roundin theswampsstealing and doing all sorts of horrid things.That manwas caught and whippedtime and againand it never didhim anygood; and the last time he crawled offthough he couldn'tbut justgoand died in the swamp.  There was no sort of reasonfor itfor father's hands were always treated kindly."

"Ibroke a fellow inonce" said St. Clare"that all theoverseersand masters had tried their hands on in vain."

"You!"said Marie; "wellI'd be glad to know when _you_ever didanything of the sort."

"Wellhe was a powerfulgigantic fellow--a native-bornAfrican;and he appeared to have the rude instinct of freedom inhim to anuncommon degree.  He was a regular African lion.  Theycalled himScipio.  Nobody could do anything with him; and he wassold roundfrom overseer to overseertill at last Alfred boughthimbecause he thought he could manage him.  Wellone day heknockeddown the overseerand was fairly off into the swamps.I was on avisit to Alf's plantationfor it was after we haddissolvedpartnership.  Alfred was greatly exasperated; butI told himthat it was his own faultand laid him any wager thatI couldbreak the man; and finally it was agreed thatif I caughthimIshould have him to experiment on.  So they mustered out aparty ofsome six or sevenwith guns and dogsfor the hunt.Peopleyou knowcan get up as much enthusiasm in hunting a manas a deerif it is only customary; in factI got a little excitedmyselfthough I had only put in as a sort of mediatorin case hewascaught.

"Wellthe dogs bayed and howledand we rode and scamperedandfinally we started him.  He ran and bounded like a buckandkept uswell in the rear for some time; but at last he got caughtin animpenetrable thicket of cane; then he turned to bayand Itell youhe fought the dogs right gallantly.  He dashed them toright andleftand actually killed three of them with only hisnakedfistswhen a shot from a gun brought him downand he fellwoundedand bleedingalmost at my feet.  The poor fellow lookedup at mewith manhood and despair both in his eye.  I kept backthe dogsand the partyas they came pressing upand claimed himas myprisoner.  It was all I could do to keep them from shootinghiminthe flush of success; but I persisted in my bargainandAlfredsold him to me.  WellI took him in handand in onefortnightI had him tamed down as submissive and tractable as heartcoulddesire."

"Whatin the world did you do to him?" said Marie.

"Wellit was quite a simple process.  I took him to my ownroomhada good bed made for himdressed his woundsand tendedhimmyselfuntil he got fairly on his feet again.  Andinprocess oftimeI had free papers made out for himand told himhe mightgo where he liked."

"Anddid he go?" said Miss Ophelia.

"No. The foolish fellow tore the paper in twoand absolutelyrefused toleave me.  I never had a braverbetter fellow--trustyand trueas steel.  He embraced Christianity afterwardsand becameas gentleas a child.  He used to oversee my place on the lakeand did itcapitallytoo.  I lost him the first cholera season.In facthe laid down his life for me.  For I was sickalmost todeath; andwhenthrough the paniceverybody else fledScipioworked forme like a giantand actually brought me back into lifeagain. Butpoor fellow! he was takenright afterand there wasno savinghim.  I never felt anybody's loss more."

Eva hadcome gradually nearer and nearer to her fatheras hetold thestory--her small lips aparther eyes wide and earnestwithabsorbing interest.

As hefinishedshe suddenly threw her arms around hisneckburst into tearsand sobbed convulsively.

"Evadear child! what is the matter?" said St. Clareasthechild's small frame trembled and shook with the violence ofherfeelings.  "This child" he added"ought not tohear any ofthis kindof thing--she's nervous."

"NopapaI'm not nervous" said Evacontrolling herselfsuddenlywith a strength of resolution singular in such a child."I'mnot nervousbut these things _sink into my heart_."

"Whatdo you meanEva?"

"Ican't tell youpapaI think a great many thoughts.Perhapssome day I shall tell you."

"Wellthink awaydear--only don't cry and worry your papa"said St.Clare"Look here--see what a beautiful peach Ihave gotfor you."

Eva tookit and smiledthough there was still a nervoustwichingabout the corners of her mouth.

"Comelook at the gold-fish" said St. Claretaking herhand andstepping on to the verandah.  A few momentsand merrylaughswere heard through the silken curtainsas Eva and St.Clare werepelting each other with rosesand chasing each otheramong thealleys of the court.

 

There isdanger that our humble friend Tom be neglected  amidtheadventures of the higher born; butif our readers willaccompanyus up to a little loft over the stablethey mayperhapslearn alittle of his affairs.  It was a decent roomcontaininga bedachairand a smallrough standwhere lay Tom's Bibleandhymn-book; and where he sitsat presentwith his slate beforehimintent on something that seems to cost him a great deal ofanxiousthought.

The factwasthat Tom's home-yearnings had become so strongthat hehad begged a sheet of writing-paper of Evaandmusteringup all hissmall stock of literary attainment acquired by Mas'rGeorge'sinstructionshe conceived the bold idea of writing aletter;and he was busy nowon his slategetting out his firstdraft. Tom was in a good deal of troublefor the forms of someof theletters he had forgotten entirely; and of what he didrememberhe did not know exactly which to use.  And while he wasworkingand breathing very hardin his earnestnessEva alightedlike abirdon the round of his chair behind himand peeped overhisshoulder.

"OUncle Tom! what funny things you _are_ makingthere!"

"I'mtrying to write to my poor old womanMiss Evaandmy littlechil'en" said Tomdrawing the back of his hand overhis eyes;"butsome howI'm feard I shan't make it out."

"Iwish I could help youTom!  I've learnt to write some.Last yearI could make all the lettersbut I'm afraid I'veforgotten."

So Eva puther golden head close to hisand the two commenceda graveand anxious discussioneach one equally earnestand aboutequally ignorant; andwith a deal of consulting andadvisingover every wordthe composition beganas they bothfelt verysanguineto look quite like writing.

"YesUncle Tomit really begins to look beautiful" saidEvagazing delightedly on it.  "How pleased your wife'll beandthe poorlittle children!  Oit's a shame you ever had to go awayfromthem!  I mean to ask papa to let you go backsome time."

"Mississaid that she would send down money for meas soonas theycould get it together" said Tom.  "I'm 'spectinshewill.YoungMas'r Georgehe said he'd come for me; and he gave me thisyer dollaras a sign;" and Tom drew from under his clothes thepreciousdollar.

"Ohe'll certainly comethen!" said Eva.  "I'm so glad!"

"AndI wanted to send a letteryou knowto let 'em knowwhar Iwasand tell poor Chloe that I was well off--cause shefelt sodreffulpoor soul!"

"Isay Tom!" said St. Clare's voicecoming in the door atthismoment.

Tom andEva both started.

"What'shere?" said St. Clarecoming up and looking atthe slate.

"Oit's Tom's letter.  I'm helping him to write it" saidEva;"isn't it nice?"

"Iwouldn't discourage either of you" said St.  Clare"butI rather thinkTomyou'd better get me to write your letterfor you. I'll do itwhen I come home from my ride."

"It'svery important he should write" said Eva"because hismistressis going to send down money to redeem himyou knowpapa; hetold me they told him so."

St. Clarethoughtin his heartthat this was probably onlyone ofthose things which good-natured owners say to theirservantsto alleviate their horror of being soldwithout anyintentionof fulfilling the expectation thus excited.  But he didnot makeany audible comment upon it--only ordered Tom to get thehorses outfor a ride.

Tom'sletter was written in due form for him that eveningand safelylodged in the post-office.

MissOphelia still persevered in her labors in the housekeepingline. It was universally agreedamong all the householdfromDinah downto the youngest urchinthat Miss Ophelia was decidedly"curis"--aterm by which a southern servant implies that his orherbetters don't exactly suit them.

The highercircle in the family--to witAdolphJane andRosa--agreedthat she was no lady; ladies never keep working aboutas shedid--that she had no _air_ at all; and they were surprisedthat sheshould be any relation of the St. Clares.  Even Mariedeclaredthat it was absolutely fatiguing to see Cousin Opheliaalways sobusy.  Andin factMiss Ophelia's industry was soincessantas to lay some foundation for the complaint.  She sewedandstitched awayfrom daylight till darkwith the energy of onewho ispressed on by some immediate urgency; and thenwhen thelightfadedand the work was folded awaywith one turn out cametheever-ready knitting-workand there she was againgoing on asbriskly asever.  It really was a labor to see her.

 

 

CHAPTER XXTopsy

 

Onemorningwhile Miss Ophelia was busy in some of herdomesticcaresSt. Clare's voice was heardcallingher at thefoot of the stairs.

"Comedown hereCousinI've something to show you."

"Whatis it?" said Miss Opheliacoming downwith hersewing inher hand.

"I'vemade a purchase for your department--see here" saidSt. Clare;andwith the wordhe pulled along a little negro girlabouteight or nine years of age.

She wasone of the blackest of her race; and her roundshiningeyesglittering as glass beadsmoved with quick andrestlessglances over everything in the room.  Her mouthhalf openwithastonishment at the wonders of the new Mas'r's parlordisplayeda whiteand brilliant set of teeth.  Her woolly hair was braidedin sundrylittle tailswhich stuck out in every direction.  Theexpressionof her face was an odd mixture of shrewdness and cunningover whichwas oddly drawnlike a kind of veilan expression ofthe mostdoleful gravity and solemnity.  She was dressed in a singlefilthyragged garmentmade of bagging; and stood with her handsdemurelyfolded before her.  Altogetherthere was something oddandgoblin-like about her appearance--somethingas Miss Opheliaafterwardssaid"so heathenish" as to inspire that good lady withutterdismay; and turning to St. Clareshe said

"Augustinewhat in the world have you brought that thinghere for?"

"Foryou to educateto be sureand train in the way sheshouldgo.  I thought she was rather a funny specimen in the JimCrowline.  HereTopsy" he addedgiving a whistleas a manwould tocall the attention of a dog"give us a songnowandshow ussome of your dancing."

The blackglassy eyes glittered with a kind of wickeddrolleryand the thing struck upin a clear shrill voicean oddnegromelodyto which she kept time with her hands and feetspinningroundclapping her handsknocking her knees togetherin a wildfantastic sort of timeand producing in her throat allthose oddguttural sounds which distinguish the native music ofher race;and finallyturning a summerset or twoand giving aprolongedclosing noteas odd and unearthly as that of a steam-whistleshe camesuddenly down on the carpetand stood with her handsfoldedand a most sanctimonious expression of meekness and solemnityover herfaceonly broken by the cunning glances which she shotaskancefrom the corners of her eyes.

MissOphelia stood silentperfectly paralyzed with amazement.St. Clarelike a mischievous fellow as he wasappeared to enjoyherastonishment; andaddressing the child againsaid

"Topsythis is your new mistress.  I'm going to give youup to her;see now that you behave yourself."

"YesMas'r" said Topsywith sanctimonious gravityherwickedeyes twinkling as she spoke.

"You'regoing to be goodTopsyyou understand" said St. Clare.

"OyesMas'r" said Topsywith another twinkleher handsstilldevoutly folded.

"NowAugustinewhat upon earth is this for?" said Miss Ophelia."Yourhouse is so full of these little plaguesnowthata bodycan't set down their foot without treading on 'em.  I getup in themorningand find one asleep behind the doorand seeone blackhead poking out from under the tableone lying on thedoor-mat--andthey are mopping and mowing and grinning betweenall therailingsand tumbling over the kitchen floor!  What onearth didyou want to bring this one for?"

"Foryou to educate--didn't I tell you?  You're alwayspreachingabout educating.  I thought I would make you a presentof afresh-caught specimenand let you try your hand on herandbring herup in the way she should go."

"_I_don't want herI am sure;--I have more to do with'em nowthan I want to."

"That'syou Christiansall over!--you'll get up a societyand getsome poor missionary to spend all his days among just suchheathen. But let me see one of you that would take one into yourhouse withyouand take the labor of their conversion on yourselves!No; whenit comes to thatthey are dirty and disagreeableandit's toomuch careand so on."

"Augustineyou know I didn't think of it in that light"said MissOpheliaevidently softening.  "Wellit might be a realmissionarywork" said shelooking rather more favorably on thechild.

St. Clarehad touched the right string.  Miss Ophelia'sconscientiousnesswas ever on the alert.  "But" she added"Ireallydidn't see the need of buying this one;--there are enoughnowinyour houseto take all my time and skill."

"WellthenCousin" said St. Claredrawing her aside"Iought to beg your pardon for my good-for-nothing speeches.You are sogoodafter allthat there's no sense in them.Whythefact isthis concern belonged to a couple of drunkencreaturesthat keep a low restaurant that I have to pass by everydayand Iwas tired of hearing her screamingand them beatingandswearing at her.  She looked bright and funnytooas ifsomethingmight be made of her;--so I bought herand I'll giveher toyou.  Trynowand give her a good orthodox New Englandbringingupand see what it'll make of her.  You know I haven'tany giftthat way; but I'd like you to try."

"WellI'll do what I can" said Miss Ophelia; and sheapproachedher new subject very much as a person might be supposedtoapproach a black spidersupposing them to have benevolentdesignstoward it.

"She'sdreadfully dirtyand half naked" she said.

"Welltake her down stairsand make some of them cleanand clotheher up."

MissOphelia carried her to the kitchen regions.

"Don'tsee what Mas'r St. Clare wants of 'nother nigger!"saidDinahsurveying the new arrival with no friendly air."Won'thave her around under _my_ feet_I_ know!"

"Pah!"said Rosa and Janewith supreme disgust; "let herkeep outof our way!  What in the world Mas'r wanted another ofthese lowniggers forI can't see!"

"Yougo long!  No more nigger dan you beMiss Rosa" saidDinahwhofelt this last remark a reflection on herself."Youseem to tink yourself white folks.  You an't nerry oneblack_nor_ whiteI'd like to be one or turrer."

MissOphelia saw that there was nobody in the camp that wouldundertaketo oversee the cleansing and dressing of the newarrival;and so she was forced to do it herselfwith some veryungraciousand reluctant assistance from Jane.

It is notfor ears polite to hear the particulars of thefirsttoilet of a neglectedabused child.  In factin thisworldmultitudes must live and die in a state that it would betoo greata shock to the nerves of their fellow-mortals even toheardescribed.  Miss Ophelia had a goodstrongpractical dealofresolution; and she went through all the disgusting details withheroicthoroughnessthoughit must be confessedwith no verygraciousair--for endurance was the utmost to which her principlescouldbring her.  When she sawon the back and shoulders of thechildgreat welts and calloused spotsineffaceable marks of thesystemunder which she had grown up thus farher heart becamepitifulwithin her.

"Seethere!" said Janepointing to the marks"don't thatshow she'sa limb?  We'll have fine works with herI reckon.I hatethese nigger young uns! so disgusting!  I wonder that Mas'rwould buyher!"

The "youngun" alluded to heard all these comments with thesubduedand doleful air which seemed habitual to heronlyscanningwith a keen and furtive glance of her flickering eyestheornaments which Jane wore in her ears.  When arrayed at lastin a suitof decent and whole clothingher hair cropped short toher headMiss Opheliawith some satisfactionsaid she lookedmoreChristian-like than she didand in her own mind began tomaturesome plans for her instruction.

Sittingdown before hershe began to question her.

"Howold are youTopsy?"

"DunnoMissis" said the imagewith a grin that showedall herteeth.

"Don'tknow how old you are?  Didn't anybody ever tell you?Who wasyour mother?"

"Neverhad none!" said the childwith another grin.

"Neverhad any mother?  What do you mean?  Where were you born?"

"Neverwas born!" persisted Topsywith another grinthat lookedsogoblin-likethatif Miss Ophelia had been at all nervousshe mighthave fancied that she had got hold of some sooty gnomefrom theland of Diablerie; but Miss Ophelia was not nervousbut plainand business-likeand she saidwith some sternness

"Youmustn't answer me in that waychild; I'm not playingwith you. Tell me where you were bornand who your father andmotherwere."

"Neverwas born" reiterated the creaturemore emphatically;"neverhad no father nor mothernor nothin'.  I was raised by aspeculatorwith lots of others.  Old Aunt Sue used to take car on us."

The childwas evidently sincereand Janebreaking intoa shortlaughsaid

"LawsMissisthere's heaps of 'em.  Speculators buys 'emup cheapwhen they's littleand gets 'em raised for market."

"Howlong have you lived with your master and mistress?"

"DunnoMissis."

"Isit a yearor moreor less?"

"DunnoMissis."

"LawsMissisthose low negroes--they can't tell; theydon't knowanything about time" said Jane; "they don't know whata year is;they don't know their own ages.

"Haveyou ever heard anything about GodTopsy?"

The childlooked bewilderedbut grinned as usual.

"Doyou know who made you?"

"Nobodyas I knows on" said the childwith a short laugh.

The ideaappeared to amuse her considerably; for her eyestwinkledand she added

"Ispect I grow'd.  Don't think nobody never made me."

"Doyou know how to sew?" said Miss Opheliawho thoughtshe wouldturn her inquiries to something more tangible.

"NoMissis."

"Whatcan you do?--what did you do for your master and mistress?"

"Fetchwaterand wash dishesand rub knivesand wait on folks."

"Werethey good to you?"

"Spectthey was" said the childscanning Miss Ophelia cunningly.

MissOphelia rose from this encouraging colloquy; St. Clarewasleaning over the back of her chair.

"Youfind virgin soil thereCousin; put in your ownideas--youwon't find many to pull up."

MissOphelia's ideas of educationlike all her other ideaswere veryset and definite; and of the kind that prevailed in NewEngland acentury agoand which are still preserved in some veryretiredand unsophisticated partswhere there are no railroads.As nearlyas could be expressedthey could be comprised in veryfew words:to teach them to mind when they were spoken to; to teachthem thecatechismsewingand reading; and to whip them if theytoldlies.  And thoughof coursein the flood of light that isnow pouredon educationthese are left far away in the rearyetit is anundisputed fact that our grandmothers raised some tolerablyfair menand women under this regimeas many of us can rememberandtestify.  At all eventsMiss Ophelia knew of nothing else todo; andthereforeapplied her mind to her heathen with the bestdiligenceshe could command.

The childwas announced and considered in the family asMissOphelia's girl; andas she was looked upon with no graciouseye in thekitchenMiss Ophelia resolved to confine her sphere ofoperationand instruction chiefly to her own chamber.  With aself-sacrificewhich some of our readers will appreciatesheresolvedinstead of comfortably making her own bedsweeping anddustingher own chamber--which she had hitherto donein utter scornof alloffers of help from the chambermaid of the establishment--tocondemnherself to the martyrdom of instructing Topsy to performtheseoperations--ahwoe the day!  Did any of our readers ever dothe samethey will appreciate the amount of her self-sacrifice.

MissOphelia began with Topsy by taking her into her chamberthe firstmorningand solemnly commencing a course of instructionin the artand mystery of bed-making.

BeholdthenTopsywashed and shorn of all the littlebraidedtails wherein her heart had delightedarrayed in a cleangownwithwell-starched apronstanding reverently before MissOpheliawith an expression of solemnity well befitting a funeral.

"NowTopsyI'm going to show you just how my bed is tobe made. I am very particular about my bed.  You must learn exactlyhow to doit."

"Yesma'am" says Topsywith a deep sighand a face ofwofulearnestness.

"NowTopsylook here;--this is the hem of the sheet--thisis theright side of the sheetand this is the wrong;--will youremember?"

"Yesma'am" says Topsywith another sigh.

"Wellnowthe under sheet you must bring over thebolster--so--andtuck it clear down under the mattress nice andsmooth--so--doyou see?"

"Yesma'am" said Topsywith profound attention.

"Butthe upper sheet" said Miss Ophelia"must be broughtdown inthis wayand tucked under firm and smooth at thefoot--so--thenarrow hem at the foot."

"Yesma'am" said Topsyas before;--but we will addwhatMissOphelia did not seethatduring the time when the good lady'sback wasturned in the zeal of her manipulationsthe young disciplehadcontrived to snatch a pair of gloves and a ribbonwhich shehadadroitly slipped into her sleevesand stood with her handsdutifullyfoldedas before.

"NowTopsylet's see _you_ do this" said Miss Opheliapullingoff the clothesand seating herself.

Topsywith great gravity and adroitnesswent through theexercisecompletely to Miss Ophelia's satisfaction; smoothing thesheetspatting out every wrinkleand exhibitingthrough thewholeprocessa gravity and seriousness with which her instructresswasgreatly edified.  By an unlucky sliphowevera flutteringfragmentof the ribbon hung out of one of her sleevesjust as shewasfinishingand caught Miss Ophelia's attention.  Instantlyshepouncedupon it.  "What's this?  You naughtywickedchild--you'vebeenstealing this!"

The ribbonwas pulled out of Topsy's own sleeveyet was shenot in theleast disconcerted; she only looked at it with anair of themost surprised and unconscious innocence.

"Laws!whythat ar's Miss Feely's ribbonan't it?  How couldit a gotcaught in my sleeve?

"Topsyyou naughty girldon't you tell me a lie--youstole thatribbon!"

"MissisI declar for 'tI didn't;--never seed it tilldis yerblessed minnit."

"Topsy"said Miss Ophelia"don't you now it's wicked totelllies?"

"Inever tell no liesMiss Feely" said Topsywith virtuousgravity;"it's jist the truth I've been a tellin nowand an'tnothinelse."

"TopsyI shall have to whip youif you tell lies so."

"LawsMissisif you's to whip all daycouldn't say nootherway" said Topsybeginning to blubber.  "I never seeddatar--itmust a got caught in my sleeve.  Miss Feeley must have leftit on thebedand it got caught in the clothesand so got inmysleeve."

MissOphelia was so indignant at the barefaced liethatshe caughtthe child and shook her.

"Don'tyou tell me that again!"

The shakebrought the glove on to the floorfrom the other sleeve.

"Thereyou!" said Miss Ophelia"will you tell me nowyou didn'tsteal the ribbon?"

Topsy nowconfessed to the glovesbut still persisted indenyingthe ribbon.

"NowTopsy" said Miss Ophelia"if you'll confess all about itI won'twhip you this time."  Thus adjuredTopsy confessedto theribbon and gloveswith woful protestations of penitence.

"Wellnowtell me.  I know you must have taken other thingssince youhave been in the housefor I let you run about alldayyesterday.  Nowtell me if you took anythingand I shan'twhip you."

"LawsMissis!  I took Miss Eva's red thing she wars on her neck."

"Youdidyou naughty child!--Wellwhat else?"

"Itook Rosa's yer-rings--them red ones."

"Gobring them to me this minuteboth of 'em."

"LawsMissis!  I can't--they 's burnt up!"

"Burntup!--what a story!  Go get 'emor I'll whip you."

Topsywith loud protestationsand tearsand groansdeclaredthat she _could_ not.  "They 's burnt up--they was."

"Whatdid you burn 'em for?" said Miss Ophelia.

"CauseI 's wicked--I is.  I 's mighty wickedany how.I can'thelp it."

Just atthis momentEva came innocently into the roomwith theidentical coral necklace on her neck.

"WhyEvawhere did you get your necklace?" said Miss Ophelia.

"Getit?  WhyI've had it on all day" said Eva.

"Didyou have it on yesterday?"

"Yes;and what is funnyAuntyI had it on all night.  I forgotto take itoff when I went to bed."

MissOphelia looked perfectly bewildered; the more soas Rosaat thatinstantcame into the roomwith a basket of newly-ironedlinenpoised on her headand the coral ear-drops shaking in her ears!

"I'msure I can't tell anything what to do with such a child!"she saidin despair.  "What in the world did you tell meyou tookthose things forTopsy?"

"WhyMissis said I must 'fess; and I couldn't think ofnothin'else to 'fess" said Topsyrubbing her eyes.

"Butof courseI didn't want you to confess things youdidn'tdo" said Miss Ophelia; "that's telling a liejust as muchas theother."

"Lawsnowis it?" said Topsywith an air of innocent wonder.

"Lathere an't any such thing as truth in that limb" saidRosalooking indignantly at Topsy.  "If I was Mas'r St. ClareI'd whipher till the blood run.  I would--I'd let her catch it!"

"Nono Rosa" said Evawith an air of commandwhich thechildcould assume at times; "you mustn't talk soRosa.  I can'tbear tohear it."

"Lasakes!  Miss Evayou 's so goodyou don't know nothinghow to getalong with niggers.  There's no way but to cut 'em wellupI tellye."

"Rosa!"said Eva"hush!  Don't you say another word of thatsort!"and the eye of the child flashedand her cheek deepenedits color.

Rosa wascowed in a moment.

"MissEva has got the St. Clare blood in herthat's plain.She canspeakfor all the worldjust like her papa" she saidas shepassed out of the room.

Eva stoodlooking at Topsy.

Therestood the two children representatives of the two extremesofsociety.  The fairhigh-bred childwith her golden headher deepeyesher spiritualnoble browand prince-like movements;and herblackkeensubtlecringingyet acute neighbor.They stoodthe representatives of their races.  The Saxonbornof ages ofcultivationcommandeducationphysical and moraleminence;the Africborn of ages of oppressionsubmissionignorancetoil and vice!

Somethingperhapsof such thoughts struggled throughEva'smind.  But a child's thoughts are rather dimundefinedinstincts;and in Eva's noble nature many such were yearning andworkingfor which she had no power of utterance.  When Miss Opheliaexpatiatedon Topsy's naughtywicked conductthe child lookedperplexedand sorrowfulbut saidsweetly.

"PoorTopsywhy need you steal?  You're going to be takengood careof now.  I'm sure I'd rather give you anything of minethan haveyou steal it."

It was thefirst word of kindness the child had ever heardin herlife; and the sweet tone and manner struck strangely on thewildrudeheartand a sparkle of something like a tear shone inthe keenroundglittering eye; but it was followed by the shortlaugh andhabitual grin.  No! the ear that has never heard anythingbut abuseis strangely incredulous of anything so heavenly askindness;and Topsy only thought Eva's speech something funny andinexplicable--shedid not believe it.

But whatwas to be done with Topsy?  Miss Ophelia found thecase apuzzler; her rules for bringing up didn't seem to apply.Shethought she would take time to think of it; andby the way ofgainingtimeand in hopes of some indefinite moral virtues supposedto beinherent in dark closetsMiss Ophelia shut Topsy up in onetill shehad arranged her ideas further on the subject.

"Idon't see" said Miss Ophelia to St. Clare"how I'mgoing tomanage that childwithout whipping her."

"Wellwhip herthento your heart's content; I'll giveyou fullpower to do what you like."

"Childrenalways have to be whipped" said Miss Ophelia;"Inever heard of bringing them up without."

"Owellcertainly" said St. Clare; "do as you think best.Only I'llmake one suggestion:  I've seen this child whippedwith apokerknocked down with the shovel or tongswhichever camehandiest&c.; andseeing that she is used to that style ofoperationI think your whippings will have to be pretty energeticto makemuch impression."

"Whatis to be done with herthen?" said Miss Ophelia.

"Youhave started a serious question" said St. Clare; "Iwish you'danswer it.  What is to be done with a human being thatcan begoverned only by the lash--_that_ fails--it's a very commonstate ofthings down here!"

"I'msure I don't know; I never saw such a child as this."

"Suchchildren are very common among usand such men andwomentoo.  How are they to be governed?" said St. Clare.

"I'msure it's more than I can say" said Miss Ophelia.

"Or Ieither" said St. Clare.  "The horrid cruelties andoutragesthat onceand a while find their way into the papers--suchcases asPrue'sfor example--what do they come from?  In manycasesitis a gradual hardening process on both sides--the ownergrowingmore and more cruelas the servant more and more callous.Whippingand abuse are like laudanum; you have to double the doseas thesensibilities decline.  I saw this very early when I becamean owner;and I resolved never to beginbecause I did not knowwhen Ishould stop--and I resolvedat leastto protect my ownmoralnature.  The consequence isthat my servants act like spoiledchildren;but I think that better than for us both to be brutalizedtogether. You have talked a great deal about our responsibilitiesineducatingCousin.  I really wanted you to _try_ with one childwho is aspecimen of thousands among us."

"Itis your system makes such children" said Miss Ophelia.

"Iknow it; but they are _made_--they exist--and what_is_ to bedone with them?"

"WellI can't say I thank you for the experiment.  Butthenas itappears to be a dutyI shall persevere and tryanddo thebest I can" said Miss Ophelia; and Miss Opheliaafterthisdidlaborwith a commendable degree of zeal and energyonher newsubject.  She instituted regular hours and employments forherandundertook to teach her to read and sew.

In theformer artthe child was quick enough.  She learnedherletters as if by magicand was very soon able to read plainreading;but the sewing was a more difficult matter.  The creaturewas aslithe as a catand as active as a monkeyand the confinementof sewingwas her abomination; so she broke her needlesthrew themslyly outof the windowor down in chinks of the walls; she tangledbrokeanddirtied her threadorwith a sly movementwould throwa spoolaway altogether.  Her motions were almost as quick as thoseof apractised conjurerand her command of her face quite as great;and thoughMiss Ophelia could not help feeling that so many accidentscould notpossibly happen in successionyet she could notwithoutawatchfulness which would leave her no time for anything elsedetecther.

Topsy wassoon a noted character in the establishment.Her talentfor every species of drollerygrimaceand mimicry--fordancingtumblingclimbingsingingwhistlingimitating everysound thathit her fancy--seemed inexhaustible.  In her play-hourssheinvariably had every child in the establishment at her heelsopen-mouthedwith admiration and wonder--not excepting Miss Evawhoappeared to be fascinated by her wild diablerieas a dove issometimescharmed by a glittering serpent.  Miss Ophelia was uneasythat Evashould fancy Topsy's society so muchand implored St.Clare toforbid it.

"Poh!let the child alone" said St. Clare.  "Topsy willdo hergood."

"Butso depraved a child--are you not afraid she willteach hersome mischief?"

"Shecan't teach her mischief; she might teach it to somechildrenbut evil rolls off Eva's mind like dew off acabbage-leaf--nota drop sinks in."

"Don'tbe too sure" said Miss Ophelia.  "I know I'd neverlet achild of mine play with Topsy."

"Wellyour children needn't" said St. Clare"but mine may;if Evacould have been spoiledit would have been done years ago."

Topsy wasat first despised and contemned by the upper servants.They soonfound reason to alter their opinion.  It was very soondiscoveredthat whoever cast an indignity on Topsy was sure tomeet withsome inconvenient accident shortly after;--either apair ofear-rings or some cherished trinket would be missingoran articleof dress would be suddenly found utterly ruinedor thepersonwould stumble accidently into a pail of hot wateror alibationof dirty slop would unaccountably deluge them from abovewhen infull gala dress;-and on all these occasionswhen investigationwas madethere was nobody found to stand sponsor for the indignity.Topsy wascitedand had up before all the domestic judicatoriestime andagain; but always sustained her examinations with mostedifyinginnocence and gravity of appearance.  Nobody in the worldeverdoubted who did the things; but not a scrap of any directevidencecould be found to establish the suppositionsand MissOpheliawas too just to feel at liberty to proceed to any lengthwithoutit.

Themischiefs done were always so nicely timedalsoasfurther toshelter the aggressor.  Thusthe times for revenge onRosa andJanethe two chamber maidswere always chosen in thoseseasonswhen (as not unfrequently happened) they were in disgracewith theirmistresswhen any complaint from them would of coursemeet withno sympathy.  In shortTopsy soon made the householdunderstandthe propriety of letting her alone; and she was letaloneaccordingly.

Topsy wassmart and energetic in all manual operationslearningeverything that was taught her with surprising quickness.With a fewlessonsshe had learned to do the proprieties of MissOphelia'schamber in a way with which even that particular ladycould findno fault.  Mortal hands could not lay spread smootheradjustpillows more accuratelysweep and dust and arrange moreperfectlythan Topsywhen she chose--but she didn't very oftenchoose. If Miss Opheliaafter three or four days of carefulpatientsupervisionwas so sanguine as to suppose that Topsy hadat lastfallen into her waycould do without over-lookingand sogo off andbusy herself about something elseTopsy would hold aperfectcarnival of confusionfor some one or two hours.  Insteadof makingthe bedshe would amuse herself with pulling off thepillowcasesbutting her woolly head among the pillowstill itwouldsometimes be grotesquely ornamented with feathers stickingout invarious directions; she would climb the postsand hang headdownwardfrom the tops; flourish the sheets and spreads all overtheapartment; dress the bolster up in Miss Ophelia's night-clothesand enactvarious performances with that--singing and whistlingand makinggrimaces at herself in the looking-glass; in shortasMissOphelia phrased it"raising Cain" generally.

On oneoccasionMiss Ophelia found Topsy with her verybestscarlet India Canton crape shawl wound round her head for aturbangoing on with her rehearsals before the glass in greatstyle--MissOphelia havingwith carelessness most unheard-of inherleftthe key for once in her drawer.

"Topsy!"she would saywhen at the end of all patience"whatdoes make you act so?"

"DunnoMissis--I spects cause I 's so wicked!"

"Idon't know anything what I shall do with youTopsy."

"LawMissisyou must whip me; my old Missis allers whipped me.I an'tused to workin' unless I gets whipped."

"WhyTopsyI don't want to whip you.  You can do wellif you'vea mind to; what is the reason you won't?"

"LawsMissisI 's used to whippin'; I spects it's goodfor me."

MissOphelia tried the recipeand Topsy invariably madea terriblecommotionscreaminggroaning and imploringthoughhalf anhour afterwardswhen roosted on some projection of thebalconyand surrounded by a flock of admiring "young uns" shewouldexpress the utmost contempt of the whole affair.

"LawMiss Feely whip!--wouldn't kill a skeeterher whippins.Oughtersee how old Mas'r made the flesh fly; old Mas'rknow'dhow!"

Topsyalways made great capital of her own sins andenormitiesevidently considering them as something peculiarlydistinguishing.

"Lawyou niggers" she would say to some of her auditors"doesyou know you 's all sinners?  Wellyou is--everybody is.Whitefolks is sinners too--Miss Feely says so; but I spectsniggers isthe biggest ones; but lor! ye an't any on ye up to me.I 's soawful wicked there can't nobody do nothin' with me.  I usedto keepold Missis a swarin' at me half de time.  I spects I 'sthewickedest critter in the world;" and Topsy would cut asummersetand comeup brisk and shining on to a higher perchand evidentlyplumeherself on the distinction.

MissOphelia busied herself very earnestly on SundaysteachingTopsy the catechism.  Topsy had an uncommon verbalmemoryand committed with a fluency that greatly encouragedherinstructress.

"Whatgood do you expect it is going to do her?" said St. Clare.

"Whyit always has done children good.  It's what childrenalwayshave to learnyou know" said Miss Ophelia.

"Understandit or not" said St. Clare.

"Ochildren never understand it at the time; butafterthey aregrown upit'll come to them."

"Minehasn't come to me yet" said St. Clare"though I'llbeartestimony that you put it into me pretty thoroughly when Iwas aboy."'

"Ahyou were always good at learningAugustine.  I usedto havegreat hopes of you" said Miss Ophelia.

"Wellhaven't you now?" said St. Clare.

"Iwish you were as good as you were when you were a boyAugustine."

"Sodo Ithat's a factCousin" said St. Clare.  "Wellgoahead andcatechize Topsy; may be you'll make out something yet."

Topsywhohad stood like a black statue during this discussionwith handsdecently foldednowat a signal from Miss Opheliawent on:

"Ourfirst parentsbeing left to the freedom of their ownwillfellfrom the state wherein they were created."

Topsy'seyes twinkledand she looked inquiringly.

"Whatis itTopsy?" said Miss Ophelia.

"PleaseMissiswas dat ar state Kintuck?"

"WhatstateTopsy?"

"Datstate dey fell out of.  I used to hear Mas'r tell howwe camedown from Kintuck."

St. Clarelaughed.

"You'llhave to give her a meaningor she'll make one"said he. "There seems to be a theory of emigration suggestedthere."

"O!Augustinebe still" said Miss Ophelia; "how can I doanythingif you will be laughing?"

"WellI won't disturb the exercises againon my honor;"and St.Clare took his paper into the parlorand sat downtillTopsy hadfinished her recitations.  They were all very wellonlythat nowand then she would oddly transpose some important wordsandpersist in the mistakein spite of every effort to the contrary;and St.Clareafter all his promises of goodnesstook a wickedpleasurein these mistakescalling Topsy to him whenever he hada mind toamuse himselfand getting her to repeat the offendingpassagesin spite of Miss Ophelia's remonstrances.

"Howdo you think I can do anything with the childif youwill go onsoAugustine?" she would say.

"Wellit is too bad--I won't again; but I do like to hearthe drolllittle image stumble over those big words!"

"Butyou confirm her in the wrong way."

"What'sthe odds?  One word is as good as another to her."

"Youwanted me to bring her up right; and you ought toremembershe is a reasonable creatureand be careful of yourinfluenceover her."

"Odismal! so I ought; butas Topsy herself says`I 'ssowicked!'"

In verymuch this way Topsy's training proceededfor a yearortwo--Miss Ophelia worrying herselffrom day to daywithheras akind of chronic plagueto whose inflictions she becamein timeas accustomedas persons sometimes do to the neuralgiaor sickheadache.

St. Claretook the same kind of amusement in the child that a manmight inthe tricks of a parrot or a pointer.  Topsywheneverher sinsbrought her into disgrace in other quartersalways tookrefugebehind his chair; and St. Clarein one way or otherwouldmake peacefor her.  From him she got many a stray picayunewhichshe laidout in nuts and candiesand distributedwith carelessgenerosityto all the children in the family; for Topsyto doherjusticewas good-natured and liberaland only spiteful inself-defence. She is fairly introduced into our _corps be ballet_and willfigurefrom time to timein her turnwith other performers.

 

 

CHAPTERXXIKentuck

 

Ourreaders may not be unwilling to glance backfor abriefintervalat Uncle Tom's Cabinon the Kentucky farmandsee whathas been transpiring among those whom he had left behind.

It waslate in the summer afternoonand the doors andwindows ofthe large parlor all stood opento invite any straybreezethat might feel in a good humorto enter.  Mr. Shelby satin a largehall opening into the roomand running through thewholelength of the houseto a balcony on either end.  Leisurelytippedback on one chairwith his heels in anotherhe was enjoyinghisafter-dinner cigar.  Mrs. Shelby sat in the doorbusy aboutsome finesewing; she seemed like one who had something on hermindwhich she was seeking an opportunity to introduce.

"Doyou know" she said"that Chloe has had a letter fromTom?"

"Ah!has she?  Tom 's got some friend thereit seems.  How istheold boy?"

"Hehas been bought by a very fine familyI should think"said Mrs.Shelby--"is kindly treatedand has not much to do."

"Ah!wellI'm glad of it--very glad" said Mr. Shelbyheartily."TomI supposewill get reconciled to a Southern residence;--hardlywant tocome up here again."

"Onthe contrary he inquires very anxiously" said Mrs.Shelby"when the money for his redemption is to be raised."

"I'msure _I_ don't know" said Mr. Shelby.  "Once getbusinessrunningwrongthere does seem to be no end to it.  It's likejumpingfrom one bog to anotherall through a swamp; borrowof one topay anotherand then borrow of another to pay one--andtheseconfounded notes falling due before a man has time to smokea cigarand turn round--dunning letters and dunning messages--allscamperand hurry-scurry."

"Itdoes seem to memy dearthat something might be donetostraighten matters.  Suppose we sell off all the horsesandsell oneof your farmsand pay up square?"

"OridiculousEmily!  You are the finest woman in Kentucky;but stillyou haven't sense to know that you don't understandbusiness;--womennever doand never can.

"Butat least" said Mrs. Shelby"could not you give mesomelittle insight into yours; a list of all your debtsat leastand of allthat is owed to youand let me try and see if I can'thelp youto economize."

"Obother! don't plague meEmily!--I can't tell exactly.I knowsomewhere about what things are likely to be; but there'snotrimming and squaring my affairsas Chloe trims crust off herpies. You don't know anything about businessI tell you."

And Mr.Shelbynot knowing any other way of enforcing hisideasraised his voice--a mode of arguing very convenient andconvincingwhen a gentleman is discussing matters of business withhis wife.

Mrs.Shelby ceased talkingwith something of a sigh.  The factwasthatthough her husband had stated she was a womanshehad aclearenergeticpractical mindand a force of characterevery waysuperior to that of her husband; so that it would nothave beenso very absurd a suppositionto have allowed hercapable ofmanagingas Mr. Shelby supposed.  Her heart was set onperformingher promise to Tom and Aunt Chloeand she sighed asdiscouragementsthickened around her.

"Don'tyou think we might in some way contrive to raisethatmoney?  Poor Aunt Chloe! her heart is so set on it!"

"I'msorryif it is.  I think I was premature in promising.I'm notsurenowbut it's the best way to tell Chloeand lether makeup her mind to it.  Tom'll have another wifein a yearor two;and she had better take up with somebody else."

"Mr.ShelbyI have taught my people that their marriagesare assacred as ours.  I never could think of giving Chloesuchadvice."

"It'sa pitywifethat you have burdened them with a moralityabovetheir condition and prospects.  I always thought so."

"It'sonly the morality of the BibleMr. Shelby."

"WellwellEmilyI don't pretend to interfere with yourreligiousnotions; only they seem extremely unfitted for people inthatcondition."

"Theyareindeed" said Mrs. Shelby"and that is whyfrom mysoulI hate the whole thing.  I tell youmy dear_I_cannotabsolve myself from the promises I make to these helplesscreatures. If I can get the money no other way I will takemusic-scholars;--Icould get enoughI knowand earn the moneymyself."

"Youwouldn't degrade yourself that wayEmily?  I nevercouldconsent to it."

"Degrade!would it degrade me as much as to break my faithwith thehelpless?  Noindeed!"

"Wellyou are always heroic and transcendental" said Mr.Shelby"but I think you had better think before you undertake sucha piece ofQuixotism."

Here theconversation was interrupted by the appearance ofAuntChloeat the end of the verandah.

"Ifyou pleaseMissis" said she.

"WellChloewhat is it?" said her mistressrisingandgoing tothe end of the balcony.

"IfMissis would come and look at dis yer lot o' poetry."

Chloe hada particular fancy for calling poultry poetry--anapplicationof language in which she always persistednotwithstandingfrequentcorrections and advisings from the young members of thefamily.

"Lasakes!" she would say"I can't see; one jis good asturry--poetrysuthin goodany how;" and so poetry Chloe continuedto callit.

Mrs.Shelby smiled as she saw a prostrate lot of chickensand ducksover which Chloe stoodwith a very grave face ofconsideration.

"I'ma thinkin whether Missis would be a havin a chickenpie o'dese yer."

"ReallyAunt ChloeI don't much care;--serve them anyway youlike."

Chloestood handling them over abstractedly; it was quiteevidentthat the chickens were not what she was thinking of.At lastwith the short laugh with which her tribe often introducea doubtfulproposalshe said

"LawsmeMissis! what should Mas'r and Missis be a troublintheirselves'bout de moneyand not a usin what's right in derhands?"and Chloe laughed again.

"Idon't understand youChloe" said Mrs. Shelbynothingdoubtingfrom her knowledge of Chloe's mannerthat she had heardevery wordof the conversation that had passed between her and herhusband.

"Whylaws meMissis!" said Chloelaughing again"other folkshires outder niggers and makes money on 'em!  Don't keep sicha tribeeatin 'em out of house and home."

"WellChloewho do you propose that we should hire out?"

"Laws!I an't a proposin nothin; only Sam he said der was oneof deseyer _perfectioners_dey calls 'emin Louisvillesaidhe wanteda good hand at cake and pastry; and said he'd give fourdollars aweek to onehe did."

"WellChloe."

"WelllawsI 's a thinkinMissisit's time Sally was putalong tobe doin' something.  Sally 's been under my carenowdis sometimeand she does most as well as meconsiderin; and ifMissiswould only let me goI would help fetch up de money.I an'tafraid to put my cakenor pies nother'long side no_perfectioner's_.

"Confectioner'sChloe."

"LawsakesMissis! 'tan't no odds;--words is so curiscan'tnever get 'em right!"

"ButChloedo you want to leave your children?"

"LawsMissis! de boys is big enough to do day's works; dey doeswellenough; and Sallyshe'll take de baby--she's sucha peartyoung unshe won't take no lookin arter."

"Louisvilleis a good way off."

"Lawsakes! who's afeard?--it's down riversomer near myold manperhaps?" said Chloespeaking the last in the tone of aquestionand looking at Mrs. Shelby.

"NoChloe; it's many a hundred miles off" said Mrs. Shelby.

Chloe'scountenance fell.

"Nevermind; your going there shall bring you nearerChloe.Yesyoumay go; and your wages shall every cent of them be laidaside foryour husband's redemption."

As when abright sunbeam turns a dark cloud to silversoChloe'sdark face brightened immediately--it really shone.

"Laws!if Missis isn't too good!  I was thinking of dat arverything; cause I shouldn't need no clothesnor shoesnornothin--Icould save every cent.  How many weeks is der in ayearMissis?"

"Fifty-two"said Mrs. Shelby.

"Laws!nowdere is? and four dollars for each on em. Whyhowmuch 'ddat ar be?"

"Twohundred and eight dollars" said Mrs. Shelby.

"Why-e!"said Chloewith an accent of surprise and delight;"andhow long would it take me to work it outMissis?"

"Somefour or five yearsChloe; butthenyou needn't doit all--Ishall add something to it."

"Iwouldn't hear to Missis' givin lessons nor nothin.Mas'r'squite right in dat ar;--'t wouldn't dono ways.  I hopenone ourfamily ever be brought to dat arwhile I 's got hands."

"Don'tfearChloe; I'll take care of the honor of the family"said Mrs.Shelbysmiling.  "But when do you expect to go?"

"WellI want spectin nothin; only Samhe's a gwine to deriver withsome coltsand he said I could go long with him; so Ijes put mythings together.  If Missis was willinI'd go with Samtomorrowmorningif Missis would write my passand write me acommendation."

"WellChloeI'll attend to itif Mr. Shelby has noobjections. I must speak to him."

Mrs.Shelby went up stairsand Aunt Chloedelightedwentout to hercabinto make her preparation.

"LawsakesMas'r George! ye didn't know I 's a gwine toLouisvilletomorrow!" she said to Georgeas entering her cabinhe foundher busy in sorting over her baby's clothes.  "I thoughtI'd jislook over sis's thingsand get 'em straightened up.  ButI'm gwineMas'r George--gwine to have four dollars a week; andMissis isgwine to lay it all upto buy back my old man agin!"

"Whew!"said George"here's a stroke of businessto be sure!How areyou going?"

"Tomorrowwid Sam.  And nowMas'r GeorgeI knows you'lljis sitdown and write to my old manand tell him all aboutit--won'tye?"

"Tobe sure" said George; "Uncle Tom'll be right glad to hearfrom us. I'll go right in the housefor paper and ink; andthenyouknowAunt ChloeI can tell about the new colts and all."

"SartinsartinMas'r George; you go 'longand I'll getye up abit o' chickenor some sich; ye won't have many moresupperswid yer poor old aunty."

 

 

CHAPTERXXII"TheGrass Withereth--the Flower Fadeth"

 

Lifepasseswith us alla day at a time; so it passed withour friendTomtill two years were gone.  Though parted fromall hissoul held dearand though often yearning for what laybeyondstill was he never positively and consciously miserable;forsowell is the harp of human feeling strungthat nothing buta crashthat breaks every string can wholly mar its harmony; andon lookingback to seasons which in review appear to us as thoseofdeprivation and trialwe can remember that each houras itglidedbrought its diversions and alleviationsso thatthoughnot happywhollywe were noteitherwholly miserable.

Tom readin his only literary cabinetof one who had "learnedinwhatsoever state he wastherewith to be content."  Itseemedto himgood and reasonable doctrineand accorded well with thesettledand thoughtful habit which he had acquired from thereading ofthat same book.

His letterhomewardas we related in the last chapterwas in duetime answered by Master Georgein a goodroundschool-boyhandthat Tom said might be read "most acrost the room."Itcontained various refreshing items of home intelligencewithwhich ourreader is fully acquainted: stated how Aunt Chloe hadbeen hiredout to a confectioner in Louisvillewhere her skillin thepastry line was gaining wonderful sums of moneyall ofwhichTomwas informedwas to be laid up to go to make up thesum of hisredemption money; Mose and Pete were thrivingandthe babywas trotting all about the houseunder the care of Sallyand thefamily generally.

Tom'scabin was shut up for the present; but George expatiatedbrilliantlyon ornaments and additions to be made to it when Tomcame back.

The restof this letter gave a list of George's schoolstudieseach one headed by a flourishing capital; and also toldthe namesof four new colts that appeared on the premises sinceTom left;and statedin the same connectionthat father and motherwerewell.  The style of the letter was decidedly concise and terse;but Tomthought it the most wonderful specimen of composition thathadappeared in modern times.  He was never tired of looking atitandeven held a council with Eva on the expediency of gettingit framedto hang up in his room.  Nothing but the difficulty ofarrangingit so that both sides of the page would show at oncestood inthe way of this undertaking.

Thefriendship between Tom and Eva had grown with thechild'sgrowth.  It would be hard to say what place she held inthe softimpressible heart of her faithful attendant.  He lovedher assomething frail and earthlyyet almost worshipped her assomethingheavenly and divine.  He gazed on her as the Italiansailorgazes on his image of the child Jesus--with a mixture ofreverenceand tenderness; and to humor her graceful fanciesandmeet thosethousand simple wants which invest childhood like amany-coloredrainbowwas Tom's chief delight.  In the marketatmorninghis eyes were always on the flower-stalls for rare bouquetsfor herand the choicest peach or orange was slipped into hispocket togive to her when he came back; and the sight that pleasedhim mostwas her sunny head looking out the gate for his distantapproachand her childish questions--"WellUncle Tomwhat haveyou gotfor me today?"

Nor wasEva less zealous in kind officesin return.  Though achildshewas a beautiful reader;--a fine musical eara quickpoeticfancyand an instinctive sympathy with what's grand andnoblemade her such a reader of the Bible as Tom had never beforeheard. At firstshe read to please her humble friend; but soonher ownearnest nature threw out its tendrilsand wound itselfaround themajestic book; and Eva loved itbecause it woke in herstrangeyearningsand strongdim emotionssuch as impassionedimaginativechildren love to feel.

The partsthat pleased her most were the Revelations and theProphecies--partswhose dim and wondrous imageryand ferventlanguageimpressed her the morethat she questioned vainly oftheirmeaning;--and she and her simple friendthe old child andthe youngonefelt just alike about it.  All that they knew wasthat theyspoke of a glory to be revealed--a wondrous somethingyet tocomewherein their soul rejoicedyet knew not why; andthough itbe not so in the physicalyet in moral science thatwhichcannot be understood is not always profitless.  For the soulawakesatrembling strangerbetween two dim eternities--theeternalpastthe eternal future.  The light shines only on a smallspacearound her; thereforeshe needs must yearn towards theunknown;and the voices and shadowy movings which come to her fromout thecloudy pillar of inspiration have each one echoes andanswers inher own expecting nature.  Its mystic imagery are somanytalismans and gems inscribed with unknown hieroglyphics; shefolds themin her bosomand expects to read them when she passesbeyond theveil.

At thistime in our storythe whole St. Clare establishment isfor thetime beingremoved to their villa on Lake Pontchartrain.The heatsof summer had driven all who were able to leave thesultry andunhealthy cityto seek the shores of the lakeandits coolsea-breezes.

St.Clare's villa was an East Indian cottagesurrounded bylightverandahs of bamboo-workand opening on all sides intogardensand pleasure-grounds.  The common sitting-room opened onto a largegardenfragrant with every picturesque plant and flowerof thetropicswhere winding paths ran down to the very shores ofthe lakewhose silvery sheet of water lay thererising and fallingin thesunbeams--a picture never for an hour the sameyet everyhour morebeautiful.

It is nowone of those intensely golden sunsets which kindlesthe wholehorizon into one blaze of gloryand makes the wateranothersky.  The lake lay in rosy or golden streakssave wherewhite-wingedvessels glided hither and thitherlike so manyspiritsand little golden stars twinkled through the glowandlookeddown at themselves as they trembled in the water.

Tom andEva were seated on a little mossy seatin an arboratthe footof the garden.  It was Sunday eveningand Eva's Biblelay openon her knee.  She read--"And I saw a sea of glassmingledwithfire."

"Tom"said Evasuddenly stoppingand pointing to the lake"there't is."

"WhatMiss Eva?"

"Don'tyou see--there?" said the childpointing to theglassywaterwhichas it rose and fellreflected the golden glowof thesky.  "There's a `sea of glassmingled with fire.'"

"TrueenoughMiss Eva" said Tom; and Tom sang--

          "Ohad I the wings of the morning
           I'd fly away to Canaan's shore;
           Bright angels should convey me home
           To the new Jerusalem."

 

"Wheredo you suppose new Jerusalem isUncle Tom?" said Eva.

"Oup in the cloudsMiss Eva."

"ThenI think I see it" said Eva.  "Look in thoseclouds!--theylook likegreat gates of pearl; and you can see beyond them--farfaroff--it's all gold.  Tomsing about `spirits bright.'"

Tom sungthe words of a well-known Methodist hymn

 

         "I see a band of spirits bright
          That taste the glories there;
          They all are robed in spotless white
          And conquering palms they bear."

 

"UncleTomI've seen _them_" said Eva.

Tom had nodoubt of it at all; it did not surprise him intheleast.  If Eva had told him she had been to heavenhe wouldhavethought it entirely probable.

"Theycome to me sometimes in my sleepthose spirits;"and Eva'seyes grew dreamyand she hummedin a low voice

 

         "They are all robed in spotless white
          And conquering palms they bear."

 

"UncleTom" said Eva"I'm going there."

"WhereMiss Eva?"

The childroseand pointed her little hand to the sky;the glowof evening lit her golden hair and flushed cheek with akind ofunearthly radianceand her eyes were bent earnestly onthe skies.

"I'mgoing _there_" she said"to the spirits brightTom;_I'mgoingbefore long_."

Thefaithful old heart felt a sudden thrust; and Tom thoughthow oftenhe had noticedwithin six monthsthat Eva's littlehands hadgrown thinnerand her skin more transparentand herbreathshorter; and howwhen she ran or played in the gardenas sheonce could for hoursshe became soon so tired and languid.He hadheard Miss Ophelia speak often of a coughthat all hermedicamentscould not cure; and even now that fervent cheek andlittlehand were burning with hectic fever; and yet the thoughtthat Eva'swords suggested had never come to him till now.

Has thereever been a child like Eva?  Yesthere have been;but theirnames are always on grave-stonesand their sweet smilestheirheavenly eyestheir singular words and waysare among theburiedtreasures of yearning hearts.  In how many families do youhear thelegend that all the goodness and graces of the living arenothing tothe peculiar charms of one who _is not_.  It is as ifheaven hadan especial band of angelswhose office it was tosojournfor a season hereand endear to them the wayward humanheartthat they might bear it upward with them in their homewardflight. When you see that deepspiritual light in the eye--whenthe littlesoul reveals itself in words sweeter and wiser than theordinarywords of children--hope not to retain that child; forthe sealof heaven is on itand the light of immortality looksout fromits eyes.

Even sobeloved Eva! fair star of thy dwelling!  Thou arepassingaway; but they that love thee dearest know it not.

Thecolloquy between Tom and Eva was interrupted by a hastycall fromMiss Ophelia.

"Eva--Eva!--whychildthe dew is falling; you mustn't beoutthere!"

Eva andTom hastened in.

MissOphelia was oldand skilled in the tactics of nursing.She wasfrom New Englandand knew well the first guileful footstepsof thatsoftinsidious diseasewhich sweeps away so many of thefairestand loveliestandbefore one fibre of life seems brokenseals themirrevocably for death.

She hadnoted the slightdry coughthe daily brightening cheek;nor couldthe lustre of the eyeand the airy buoyancy born offeverdeceive her.

She triedto communicate her fears to St. Clare; but he threwback hersuggestions with a restless petulanceunlike hisusualcareless good-humor.

"Don'tbe croakingCousin--I hate it!" he would say;"don'tyou see that the child is only growing.  Children alwayslosestrength when they grow fast."

"Butshe has that cough!"

"O!nonsense of that cough!--it is not anything.  She hastaken alittle coldperhaps."

"Wellthat was just the way Eliza Jane was takenandEllen andMaria Sanders."

"O!stop these hobgoblin' nurse legends.  You old hands gotso wisethat a child cannot coughor sneezebut you seedesperationand ruin at hand.  Only take care of the childkeepher fromthe night airand don't let her play too hardand she'lldo wellenough."

So St.Clare said; but he grew nervous and restless.  He watchedEvafeverishly day by dayas might be told by the frequencywith whichhe repeated over that "the child was quite well"--thattherewasn't anything in that cough--it was only some littlestomachaffectionsuch as children often had.  But he kept by hermore thanbeforetook her oftener to ride with himbrought homeevery fewdays some receipt or strengthening mixture--"not" hesaid"that the child _needed_ itbut then it would not do herany harm."

If it mustbe toldthe thing that struck a deeper pang to hisheart thananything else was the daily increasing maturity ofthechild's mind and feelings.  While still retaining all a child'sfancifulgracesyet she often droppedunconsciouslywords ofsuch areach of thoughtand strange unworldly wisdomthat theyseemed tobe an inspiration.  At such timesSt. Clare would feela suddenthrilland clasp her in his armsas if that fond claspcould saveher; and his heart rose up with wild determination tokeep hernever to let her go.

Thechild's whole heart and soul seemed absorbed in worksof loveand kindness.  Impulsively generous she had always been;but therewas a touching and womanly thoughtfulness about her nowthat everyone noticed.  She still loved to play with Topsyandthevarious colored children; but she now seemed rather a spectatorthan anactor of their playsand she would sit for half an hourat a timelaughing at the odd tricks of Topsy--and then a shadowwould seemto pass across her faceher eyes grew mistyand herthoughtswere afar.

"Mamma"she saidsuddenlyto her motherone day"whydon't weteach our servants to read?"

"Whata question child!  People never do."

"Whydon't they?" said Eva.

"Becauseit is no use for them to read.  It don't help themto workany betterand they are not made for anything else."

"Butthey ought to read the Biblemammato learn God's will."

"O!they can get that read to them all _they_ need."

"Itseems to memammathe Bible is for every one to readthemselves. They need it a great many times when there is nobodyto readit."

"Evayou are an odd child" said her mother.

"MissOphelia has taught Topsy to read" continued Eva.

"Yesand you see how much good it does.  Topsy is theworstcreature I ever saw!"

"Here'spoor Mammy!" said Eva.  "She does love the Bibleso muchand wishes so she could read!  And what will she do whenI can'tread to her?"

Marie wasbusyturning over the contents of a drawerassheanswered

"Wellof courseby and byEvayou will have other things tothink ofbesides reading the Bible round to servants.  Not butthat isvery proper; I've done it myselfwhen I had health.But whenyou come to be dressing and going into companyyou won'thavetime.  See here!" she added"these jewels I'm goingto giveyou whenyou come out.  I wore them to my first ball.  I can tellyouEvaI made a sensation."

Eva tookthe jewel-caseand lifted from it a diamond necklace.Her largethoughtful eyes rested on thembut it was plain herthoughtswere elsewhere.

"Howsober you look child!" said Marie.

"Arethese worth a great deal of moneymamma?"

"Tobe surethey are.  Father sent to France for them.They areworth a small fortune."

"Iwish I had them" said Eva"to do what I pleased with!"

"Whatwould you do with them?"

"I'dsell themand buy a place in the free statesand takeall ourpeople thereand hire teachersto teach them to readandwrite."

Eva wascut short by her mother's laughing.

"Setup a boarding-school!  Wouldn't you teach them to playon thepianoand paint on velvet?"

"I'dteach them to read their own Bibleand write their ownlettersand read letters that are written to them" said Evasteadily. "I knowmammait does come very hard on them that theycan't dothese things.  Tom feels it--Mammy does--a great many ofthem do. I think it's wrong."

"ComecomeEva; you are only a child!  You don't know anythingaboutthese things" said Marie; "besidesyour talking makes myheadache."

Mariealways had a headache on hand for any conversationthat didnot exactly suit her.

Eva stoleaway; but after thatshe assiduously gave Mammyreadinglessons.

 

 

CHAPTERXXIIIHenrique

 

About thistimeSt. Clare's brother Alfredwith his eldest sona boy oftwelvespent a day or two with the family at the lake.

No sightcould be more singular and beautiful than that of thesetwinbrothers.  Natureinstead of instituting resemblances betweenthemhadmade them opposites on every point; yet a mysterious tieseemed tounite them in a closer friendship than ordinary.

They usedto saunterarm in armup and down the alleysand walksof the garden.  Augustinewith his blue eyes and goldenhairhisethereally flexible form and vivacious features; andAlfreddark-eyedwith haughty Roman profilefirmly-knit limbsanddecided bearing.  They were always abusing each other's opinionsandpracticesand yet never a whit the less absorbed in eachother'ssociety; in factthe very contrariety seemed to unitethemlikethe attraction between opposite poles of the magnet.

Henriquethe eldest son of Alfredwas a nobledark-eyedprincelyboyfull of vivacity and spirit; andfrom the firstmoment ofintroductionseemed to be perfectly fascinated by thespirituellegraces of his cousin Evangeline.

Eva had alittle pet ponyof a snowy whiteness.  It waseasy as acradleand as gentle as its little mistress; and thispony wasnow brought up to the back verandah by Tomwhile a littlemulattoboy of about thirteen led along a small black Arabianwhich hadjust been importedat a great expensefor Henrique.

Henriquehad a boy's pride in his new possession; andas headvancedand took the reins out of the hands of his little groomhe lookedcarefully over himand his brow darkened.

"What'sthisDodoyou little lazy dog! you haven't rubbedmy horsedownthis morning."

"YesMas'r" said Dodosubmissively; "he got that duston his ownself."

"Yourascalshut your mouth!" said Henriqueviolentlyraisinghis riding-whip.  "How dare you speak?"

The boywas a handsomebright-eyed mulattoof justHenrique'ssizeand his curling hair hung round a highboldforehead. He had white blood in his veinsas could be seen bythe quickflush in his cheekand the sparkle of his eyeas heeagerlytried to speak.

"Mas'rHenrique!--" he began.

Henriquestruck him across the face with his riding-whipandseizingone of his armsforced him on to his kneesand beathim tillhe was out of breath.

"Thereyou impudent dog!  Now will you learn not to answerback whenI speak to you?  Take the horse backand cleanhimproperly.  I'll teach you your place!"

"YoungMas'r" said Tom"I specs what he was gwine to say wasthat thehorse would roll when he was bringing him up fromthestable; he's so full of spirits--that's the way he got thatdirt onhim; I looked to his cleaning."

"Youhold your tongue till you're asked to speak!" saidHenriqueturning on his heeland walking up the steps to speakto Evawho stood in her riding-dress.

"DearCousinI'm sorry this stupid fellow has kept youwaiting"he said.  "Let's sit down hereon this seat tilltheycome.  What's the matterCousin?--you look sober."

"Howcould you be so cruel and wicked to poor Dodo?" asked Eva.

"Cruel--wicked!"said the boywith unaffected surprise."Whatdo you meandear Eva?"

"Idon't want you to call me dear Evawhen you do so"said Eva.

"DearCousinyou don't know Dodo; it's the only way to managehimhe'sso full of lies and excuses.  The only way is to puthim downat once--not let him open his mouth; that's the waypapamanages."

"ButUncle Tom said it was an accidentand he never tellswhat isn'ttrue."

"He'san uncommon old niggerthen!" said Henrique.  "Dodowilllie asfast as he can speak."

"Youfrighten him into deceivingif you treat him so."

"WhyEvayou've really taken such a fancy to DodothatI shall bejealous."

"Butyou beat him--and he didn't deserve it."

"Owellit may go for some time when he doesand don'tget it. A few cuts never come amiss with Dodo--he's a regularspiritIcan tell you; but I won't beat him again before youifittroubles you."

Eva wasnot satisfiedbut found it in vain to try to makeherhandsome cousin understand her feelings.

Dodo soonappearedwith the horses.

"WellDodoyou've done pretty wellthis time" said hisyoungmasterwith a more gracious air.  "Comenowand holdMissEva'shorse while I put her on to the saddle."

Dodo cameand stood by Eva's pony.  His face was troubled;his eyeslooked as if he had been crying.

Henriquewho valued himself on his gentlemanly adroitness inallmatters of gallantrysoon had his fair cousin in the saddleandgathering the reinsplaced them in her hands.

But Evabent to the other side of the horsewhere Dodowasstandingand saidas he relinquished the reins--"That'sa goodboyDodo;--thank you!"

Dodolooked up in amazement into the sweet young face; thebloodrushed to his cheeksand the tears to his eyes.

"HereDodo" said his masterimperiously.

Dodosprang and held the horsewhile his master mounted.

"There'sa picayune for you to buy candy withDodo" saidHenrique;"go get some."

AndHenrique cantered down the walk after Eva.  Dodo stoodlookingafter the two children.  One had given him money; and onehad givenhim what he wanted far more--a kind wordkindly spoken.Dodo hadbeen only a few months away from his mother.  His masterhad boughthim at a slave warehousefor his handsome faceto bea match tothe handsome pony; and he was now getting his breakinginat thehands of his young master.

The sceneof the beating had been witnessed by the twobrothersSt. Clarefrom another part of the garden.

Augustine'scheek flushed; but he only observedwith hisusualsarcastic carelessness.

"Isuppose that's what we may call republican educationAlfred?"

"Henriqueis a devil of a fellowwhen his blood's up"saidAlfredcarelessly.

"Isuppose you consider this an instructive practice forhim"said Augustinedrily.

"Icouldn't help itif I didn't.  Henrique is a regularlittletempest;--his mother and I have given him uplong ago.Butthenthat Dodo is a perfect sprite--no amount of whippingcan hurthim."

"Andthis by way of teaching Henrique the first verse ofarepublican's catechism`All men are born free and equal!'"

"Poh!"said Alfred; "one of Tom Jefferson's pieces of Frenchsentimentand humbug.  It's perfectly ridiculous to have that goingthe roundsamong usto this day."

"Ithink it is" said St. Claresignificantly.

"Because"said Alfred"we can see plainly enough that all menare _not_born freenor born equal; they are born anything else.For mypartI think half this republican talk sheer humbug.It is theeducatedthe intelligentthe wealthythe refinedwhoought tohave equal rights and not the canaille."

"Ifyou can keep the canaille of that opinion" said Augustine."Theytook _their_ turn oncein France."

"Ofcoursethey must be _kept down_consistentlysteadilyas I_should_" said Alfredsetting his foot hard down as if hewerestanding on somebody.

"Itmakes a terrible slip when they get up" saidAugustine--"inSt. Domingofor instance."

"Poh!"said Alfred"we'll take care of thatin this country.We mustset our face against all this educatingelevating talkthat isgetting about now; the lower class must not be educated."

"Thatis past praying for" said Augustine; "educated they willbeand wehave only to say how.  Our system is educating theminbarbarism and brutality.  We are breaking all humanizing tiesand makingthem brute beasts; andif they get the upper handsuchwe shallfind them."

"Theyshall never get the upper hand!" said Alfred.

"That'sright" said St. Clare; "put on the steamfastendown theescape-valveand sit on itand see where you'll land."

"Well"said Alfred"we _will_ see.  I'm not afraid to siton theescape-valveas long as the boilers are strongandthemachinery works well."

"Thenobles in Louis XVI.'s time thought just so; and Austriaand PiusIX. think so now; andsome pleasant morningyoumay all becaught up to meet each other in the air_when theboilersburst_."

"_Diesdeclarabit_" said Alfredlaughing.

"Itell you" said Augustine"if there is anything that isrevealedwith the strength of a divine law in our timesit is thatthe massesare to riseand the under class become the upper one."

"That'sone of your red republican humbugsAugustine!  Why didn'tyou evertake to the stump;--you'd make a famous stump orator!WellIhope I shall be dead before this millennium of your greasymassescomes on."

"Greasyor not greasythey will govern _you_when theirtimecomes" said Augustine; "and they will be just such rulersasyou makethem.  The French noblesse chose to have the people `_sansculottes_'and they had `_sans culotte_' governors to their hearts'content. The people of Hayti--"

"OcomeAugustine! as if we hadn't had enough of that abominablecontemptibleHayti! The Haytiens were not Anglo Saxons; ifthey hadbeen there would have been another story.  The AngloSaxon isthe dominant race of the worldand _is to be so_."

"Wellthere is a pretty fair infusion of Anglo Saxon bloodamong ourslavesnow" said Augustine.  "There are plenty amongthem whohave only enough of the African to give a sort of tropicalwarmth andfervor to our calculating firmness and foresight.If everthe San Domingo hour comesAnglo Saxon blood will lead onthe day. Sons of white fatherswith all our haughty feelingsburning intheir veinswill not always be bought and sold andtraded. They will riseand raise with them their mother's race."

"Stuff!--nonsense!"

"Well"said Augustine"there goes an old saying to thiseffect`As it was in the days of Noah so shall it be;--they atetheydrankthey plantedthey buildedand knew not till the floodcame andtook them.'"

"Onthe wholeAugustineI think your talents might do fora circuitrider" said Alfredlaughing.  "Never you fear forus;possession is our nine points.  We've got the power.  Thissubjectrace" said hestamping firmly"is down and shall _stay_down! We have energy enough to manage our own powder."

"Sonstrained like your Henrique will be grand guardians of yourpowder-magazines"said Augustine--"so cool and self-possessed!Theproverb says"`They that cannot govern themselves cannotgovernothers.'"

"Thereis a trouble there" said Alfredthoughtfully;"there'sno doubt that our system is a difficult one to trainchildrenunder.  It gives too free scope to the passionsaltogetherwhichinour climateare hot enough.  I find trouble with Henrique.The boy isgenerous and warm-heartedbut a perfect fire-crackerwhenexcited.  I believe I shall send him North for his educationwhereobedience is more fashionableand where he will associatemore withequalsand less with dependents."

"Sincetraining children is the staple work of the human race"saidAugustine"I should think it something of a considerationthat oursystem does not work well there."

"Itdoes not for some things" said Alfred; "for othersagainit does. It makes boys manly and courageous; and the veryvices ofan abject race tend to strengthen in them the oppositevirtues. I think Henriquenowhas a keener sense of the beautyof truthfrom seeing lying and deception the universal badge ofslavery."

"AChristian-like view of the subjectcertainly!" said Augustine.

"It'strueChristian-like or not; and is about asChristian-likeas most other things in the world" said Alfred.

"Thatmay be" said St. Clare.

"Wellthere's no use in talkingAugustine.  I believe we'vebeen roundand round this old track five hundred timesmoreor less. What do you say to a game of backgammon?"

The twobrothers ran up the verandah stepsand were soon seatedat a lightbamboo standwith the backgammon-board between them.As theywere setting their menAlfred said

"Itell youAugustineif I thought as you doI shoulddosomething."

"Idare say you would--you are one of the doing sort--but what?"

"Whyelevate your own servantsfor a specimen" said Alfredwith ahalf-scornful smile.

"Youmight as well set Mount AEtna on them flatand tellthem tostand up under itas tell me to elevate my servants underall thesuperincumbent mass of society upon them.  One man can donothingagainst the whole action of a community.  Educationtodoanythingmust be a state education; or there must be enoughagreed init to make a current."

"Youtake the first throw" said Alfred; and the brotherswere soonlost in the gameand heard no more till the scraping ofhorses'feet was heard under the verandah.

"Therecome the children" said Augustinerising.  "LookhereAlf! Did you ever see anything so beautiful?"  Andin truthit _was_ abeautiful sight.  Henriquewith his bold browanddarkglossy curlsand glowing cheekwas laughing gayly as hebenttowards his fair cousinas they came on.  She was dressed ina blueriding dresswith a cap of the same color.  Exercise hadgiven abrilliant hue to her cheeksand heightened the effect ofhersingularly transparent skinand golden hair.

"Goodheavens! what perfectly dazzling beauty!" said Alfred."Itell youAugustewon't she make some hearts acheone ofthesedays?"

"Shewilltoo truly--God knows I'm afraid so!" said St.Clareina tone of sudden bitternessas he hurried down to takeher offher horse.

"Evadarling! you're not much tired?" he saidas he claspedher in hisarms.

"Nopapa" said the child; but her shorthard breathingalarmedher father.

"Howcould you ride so fastdear?--you know it's bad for you."

"Ifelt so wellpapaand liked it so muchI forgot."

St. Clarecarried her in his arms into the parlorand laidher on thesofa.

"Henriqueyou must be careful of Eva" said he; "youmustn'tride fast with her."

"I'lltake her under my care" said Henriqueseatinghimself bythe sofaand taking Eva's hand.

Eva soonfound herself much better.  Her father and uncleresumedtheir gameand the children were left together.

"Doyou knowEvaI'm sorry papa is only going to stay twodays hereand then I shan't see you again for ever so long!If I staywith youI'd try to be goodand not be cross to Dodoand soon.  I don't mean to treat Dodo ill; butyou knowI'vegot such aquick temper.  I'm not really bad to himthough.I give hima picayunenow and then; and you see he dresses well.I thinkon the wholeDodo 's pretty well off."

"Wouldyou think you were well offif there were not one creaturein theworld near you to love you?"

"I?--Wellof course not."

"Andyou have taken Dodo away from all the friends he ever hadand now hehas not a creature to love him;--nobody can be goodthat way."

"WellI can't help itas I know of.  I can't get his motherand Ican't love him myselfnor anybody elseas I know of."

"Whycan't you?" said Eva.

"_Love_Dodo!  WhyEvayou wouldn't have me!  I may _like_him wellenough; but you don't _love_ your servants."

"Idoindeed."

"Howodd!"

"Don'tthe Bible say we must love everybody?"

"Othe Bible!  To be sureit says a great many such things; butthennobody ever thinks of doing them--you knowEvanobody does."

Eva didnot speak; her eyes were fixed and thoughtful fora fewmoments.

"Atany rate" she said"dear Cousindo love poor Dodoand bekind to himfor my sake!"

"Icould love anythingfor your sakedear Cousin; for Ireallythink you are the loveliest creature that I ever saw!"AndHenrique spoke with an earnestness that flushed his handsome face.Evareceived it with perfect simplicitywithout even a change offeature;merely saying"I'm glad you feel sodear Henrique!I hope youwill remember."

Thedinner-bell put an end to the interview.

 

 

CHAPTERXXIVForeshadowings

 

Two daysafter thisAlfred St. Clare and Augustine parted;and Evawho had been stimulatedby the society of her youngcousintoexertions beyond her strengthbegan to fail rapidly.St. Clarewas at last willing to call in medical advice--a thingfrom whichhe had always shrunkbecause it was the admission ofanunwelcome truth.

Butfor aday or twoEva was so unwell as to be confinedto thehouse; and the doctor was called.

Marie St.Clare had taken no notice of the child's graduallydecayinghealth and strengthbecause she was completely absorbedinstudying out two or three new forms of disease to which shebelievedshe herself was a victim.  It was the first principle ofMarie'sbelief that nobody ever was or could be so great a suffereras_herself_; andthereforeshe always repelled quite indignantlyanysuggestion that any one around her could be sick.  She wasalwayssurein such a casethat it was nothing but lazinessorwant ofenergy; and thatif they had had the suffering _she_ hadthey wouldsoon know the difference.

MissOphelia had several times tried to awaken her maternalfearsabout Eva; but to no avail.

"Idon't see as anything ails the child" she would say;"sheruns aboutand plays."

"Butshe has a cough."

"Cough!you don't need to tell _me_ about a cough.  I've alwaysbeensubject to a coughall my days.  When I was of Eva's agetheythought I was in a consumption.  Night after nightMammyused tosit up with me. O! Eva's cough is not anything."

"Butshe gets weakand is short-breathed."

"Law!I've had thatyears and years; it's only a nervous affection."

"Butshe sweats sonights!"

"WellI havethese ten years.  Very oftennight after nightmy clotheswill be wringing wet.  There won't be a dry threadin mynight-clothes and the sheets will be so that Mammy has tohang themup to dry!  Eva doesn't sweat anything like that!"

MissOphelia shut her mouth for a season.  Butnow that Evawas fairlyand visibly prostratedand a doctor calledMarieall on asuddentook a new turn.

"Sheknew it" she said; "she always felt itthat she wasdestinedto be the most miserable of mothers.  Here she waswithherwretched healthand her only darling child going down to thegravebefore her eyes;"--and Marie routed up Mammy nightsandrumpussedand scoldedwith more energy than everall dayon thestrengthof this new misery.

"Mydear Mariedon't talk so!" said St. Clare.  You oughtnot togive up the case soat once."

"Youhave not a mother's feelingsSt. Clare!  You nevercouldunderstand me!--you don't now."

"Butdon't talk soas if it were a gone case!"

 "Ican't take it as indifferently as you canSt. Clare.If _you_don't feel when your only child is in this alarming stateI do. It's a blow too much for mewith all I was bearing before."

"It'strue" said St. Clare"that Eva is very delicate_that_ Ialways knew; and that she has grown so rapidly as toexhausther strength; and that her situation is critical.  But justnow she isonly prostrated by the heat of the weatherand by theexcitementof her cousin's visitand the exertions she made.Thephysician says there is room for hope."

"Wellof courseif you can look on the bright sidepray do;it's amercy if people haven't sensitive feelingsin this world.I am sureI wish I didn't feel as I do; it only makes me completelywretched! I wish I _could_ be as easy as the rest of you!"

And the"rest of them" had good reason to breathe the sameprayerfor Marie paraded her new misery as the reason and apologyfor allsorts of inflictions on every one about her.  Every wordthat wasspoken by anybodyeverything that was done or was notdoneeverywherewas only a new proof that she was surrounded byhard-heartedinsensible beingswho were unmindful of her peculiarsorrows. Poor Eva heard some of these speeches; and nearly criedher littleeyes outin pity for her mammaand in sorrow that sheshouldmake her so much distress.

In a weekor twothere was a great improvement ofsymptoms--oneof those deceitful lullsby which her inexorabledisease sooften beguiles the anxious hearteven on the verge ofthegrave.  Eva's step was again in the garden--in the balconies;she playedand laughed again--and her fatherin a transportdeclaredthat they should soon have her as hearty as anybody.  MissOpheliaand the physician alone felt no encouragement from thisillusivetruce.  There was one other hearttoothat felt the samecertaintyand that was the little heart of Eva.  What is it thatsometimesspeaks in the soul so calmlyso clearlythat its earthlytime isshort?  Is it the secret instinct of decaying natureorthe soul'simpulsive throbas immortality draws on?  Be it what itmayitrested in the heart of Evaa calmsweetpropheticcertaintythat Heaven was near; calm as the light of sunsetsweetas thebright stillness of autumnthere her little heart reposedonlytroubled by sorrow for those who loved her so dearly.

For thechildthough nursed so tenderlyand though life wasunfoldingbefore her with every brightness that love and wealthcouldgivehad no regret for herself in dying.

In thatbook which she and her simple old friend had readso muchtogethershe had seen and taken to her young heart theimage ofone who loved the little child; andas she gazed andmusedHehad ceased to be an image and a picture of the distantpastandcome to be a livingall-surrounding reality.  His loveenfoldedher childish heart with more than mortal tenderness; andit was toHimshe saidshe was goingand to his home.

But herheart yearned with sad tenderness for all that shewas toleave behind.  Her father most--for Evathough she neverdistinctlythought sohad an instinctive perception that she wasmore inhis heart than any other.  She loved her mother becauseshe was soloving a creatureand all the selfishness that she hadseen inher only saddened and perplexed her; for she had a child'simplicittrust that her mother could not do wrong.  There wassomethingabout her that Eva never could make out; and she alwayssmoothedit over with thinking thatafter allit was mammaandshe lovedher very dearly indeed.

She felttoofor those fondfaithful servantsto whom she wasasdaylight and sunshine.  Children do not usually generalize;but Evawas an uncommonly mature childand the things that shehadwitnessed of the evils of the system under which they wereliving hadfallenone by oneinto the depths of her thoughtfulponderingheart.  She had vague longings to do something forthem--tobless and save not only thembut all in theircondition--longingsthat contrasted sadly with the feebleness ofher littleframe.

"UncleTom" she saidone daywhen she was reading toherfriend"I can understand why Jesus _wanted_ to die for us."

"WhyMiss Eva?"

"BecauseI've felt sotoo."

"Whatis it Miss Eva?--I don't understand."

"Ican't tell you; butwhen I saw those poor creatures onthe boatyou knowwhen you came up and I--some had lost theirmothersand some their husbandsand some mothers cried for theirlittlechildren--and when I heard about poor Prue--ohwasn't thatdreadful!--anda great many other timesI've felt that I would beglad todieif my dying could stop all this misery.  _I would_die forthemTomif I could" said the childearnestlylayingher littlethin hand on his.

Tom lookedat the child with awe; and when shehearing herfather'svoiceglided awayhe wiped his eyes many timesashe lookedafter her.

"It'sjest no use tryin' to keep Miss Eva here" he said toMammywhom he met a moment after.  "She's got the Lord's markin herforehead."

"Ahyesyes" said Mammyraising her hands; "I've allerssaid so. She wasn't never like a child that's to live--there wasallerssomething deep in her eyes.  I've told Missis somany thetime; it'sa comin' true--we all sees it--dearlittleblessed lamb!"

Eva cametripping up the verandah steps to her father.  It waslate inthe afternoonand the rays of the sun formed a kindof glorybehind heras she came forward in her white dresswithher goldenhair and glowing cheeksher eyes unnaturally brightwith theslow fever that burned in her veins.

St. Clarehad called her to show a statuette that he had beenbuying forher; but her appearanceas she came onimpressedhimsuddenly and painfully.  There is a kind of beauty so intenseyet sofragilethat we cannot bear to look at it.  Her fatherfolded hersuddenly in his armsand almost forgot what he wasgoing totell her.

"Evadearyou are better now-a-days--are you not?"

"Papa"said Evawith sudden firmness "I've had things Iwanted tosay to youa great while.  I want to say themnowbefore I get weaker."

St. Claretrembled as Eva seated herself in his lap.  She laidher headon his bosomand said

"It'sall no usepapato keep it to myself any longer.The timeis coming that I am going to leave you.  I am goingandnever tocome back!" and Eva sobbed.

"Onowmy dear little Eva!" said St. Claretrembling ashe spokebut speaking cheerfully"you've got nervous andlow-spirited;you mustn't indulge such gloomy thoughts.  See hereI'vebought a statuette for you!"

"Nopapa" said Evaputting it gently away"don't deceiveyourself!--Iam _not_ any betterI know it perfectly well--andI amgoingbefore long.  I am not nervous--I am not low-spirited.If it werenot for youpapaand my friendsI should be perfectlyhappy. I want to go--I long to go!"

"Whydear childwhat has made your poor little heart so sad?You havehad everythingto make you happythat could begivenyou."

"Ihad rather be in heaven; thoughonly for my friends'sakeIwould be willing to live.  There are a great many thingshere thatmake me sadthat seem dreadful to me; I had rather bethere; butI don't want to leave you--it almost breaks my heart!"

"Whatmakes you sadand seems dreadfulEva?"

"Othings that are doneand done all the time.  I feel sadfor ourpoor people; they love me dearlyand they are all goodand kindto me.  I wishpapathey were all _free_."

"WhyEvachilddon't you think they are well enough off now?"

"Obutpapaif anything should happen to youwhat wouldbecome ofthem?  There are very few men like youpapa.  Uncle Alfredisn't likeyouand mamma isn't; and thenthink of poor old Prue'sowners! What horrid things people doand can do!" and Eva shuddered.

"Mydear childyou are too sensitive.  I'm sorry I everlet youhear such stories."

"Othat's what troubles mepapa.  You want me to live sohappyandnever to have any pain--never suffer anything--noteven heara sad storywhen other poor creatures have nothing butpain andsorrowan their lives;--it seems selfish.  I ought toknow suchthingsI ought to feel about them!  Such things alwayssunk intomy heart; they went down deep; I've thought and thoughtaboutthem.  Papaisn't there any way to have all slaves made free?"

"That'sa difficult questiondearest.  There's no doubt thatthis wayis a very bad one; a great many people think so; Ido myselfI heartily wish that there were not a slave in the land;butthenI don't know what is to be done about it!"

"Papayou are such a good manand so nobleand kindand youalways have a way of saying things that is so pleasantcouldn'tyou go all round and try to persuade people to do rightaboutthis?  When I am deadpapathen you will think of meanddo it formy sake.  I would do itif I could."

"Whenyou are deadEva" said St. Clarepassionately."Ochilddon't talk to me so!  You are all I have on earth."

"Poorold Prue's child was all that she had--and yet shehad tohear it cryingand she couldn't help it!  Papathese poorcreatureslove their children as much as you do me.  O! do somethingfor them! There's poor Mammy loves her children; I've seen her crywhen shetalked about them.  And Tom loves his children; and it'sdreadfulpapathat such things are happeningall the time!"

"Theretheredarling" said St. Claresoothingly; "only don'tdistressyourselfdon't talk of dyingand I will do anythingyou wish."

"Andpromise medear fatherthat Tom shall have his freedomas soonas"--she stoppedand saidin a hesitating tone--"Iam gone!"

"YesdearI will do anything in the world--anything youcould askme to."

"Dearpapa" said the childlaying her burning cheekagainsthis"how I wish we could go together!"

"Wheredearest?" said St. Clare.

"Toour Saviour's home; it's so sweet and peaceful there--itis all soloving there!"  The child spoke unconsciouslyas of aplacewhere she had often been.  "Don't you want to gopapa?"she said.

St. Claredrew her closer to himbut was silent.

"Youwill come to me" said the childspeaking in a voiceof calmcertainty which she often used unconsciously.

"Ishall come after you.  I shall not forget you."

Theshadows of the solemn evening closed round them deeper anddeeperasSt. Clare sat silently holding the little frail formto hisbosom.  He saw no more the deep eyesbut the voice cameover himas a spirit voiceandas in a sort of judgment visionhis wholepast life rose in a moment before his eyes: his mother'sprayersand hymns; his own early yearnings and aspirings for good;andbetween them and this houryears of worldliness and scepticismand whatman calls respectable living.  We can think _much_verymuchin amoment.  St. Clare saw and felt many thingsbut spokenothing;andas it grew darkerhe took his child to her bed-room;andwhenshe was prepared for rest; he sent away the attendantsand rockedher in his armsand sung to her till she was asleep.

 

 

CHAPTERXXVThe LittleEvangelist

It wasSunday afternoon.  St. Clare was stretched on a bamboo loungein theverandahsolacing himself with a cigar.  Marie lay reclinedon a sofaopposite the window opening on the verandahcloselysecludedunder an awning of transparent gauzefrom the outragesof themosquitosand languidly holding in her hand an elegantlyboundprayer-book.  She was holding it because it was Sundayandsheimagined she had been reading it--thoughin factshe hadbeen onlytaking a succession of short napswith it open in her hand.

MissOpheliawhoafter some rummaginghad hunted up a smallMethodistmeeting within riding distancehad gone outwithTom asdriverto attend it; and Eva had accompanied them.

"IsayAugustine" said Marie after dozing a while"I mustsend tothe city after my old Doctor Posey; I'm sure I've gotthecomplaint of the heart."

"Well;why need you send for him?  This doctor that attendsEva seemsskilful."

"Iwould not trust him in a critical case" said Marie;"andI think I may say mine is becoming so!  I've been thinking ofitthesetwo or three nights past; I have such distressing painsand suchstrange feelings."

"OMarieyou are blue; I don't believe it's heart complaint."

"Idare say _you_ don't" said Marie; "I was prepared toexpect_that_.  You can be alarmed enoughif Eva coughsor hasthe leastthing the matter with her; but you never think of me."

"Ifit's particularly agreeable to you to have heart diseasewhyI'lltry and maintain you have it" said St. Clare; "I didn'tknow itwas."

"WellI only hope you won't be sorry for thiswhen it'stoo late!"said Marie; "butbelieve it or notmy distress aboutEvaandthe exertions I have made with that dear childhavedevelopedwhat I have long suspected."

What the_exertions_ were which Marie referred toit wouldhave beendifficult to state.  St. Clare quietly made this commentarytohimselfand went on smokinglike a hard-hearted wretch of aman as hewastill a carriage drove up before the verandahandEva andMiss Ophelia alighted.

MissOphelia marched straight to her own chamberto putaway herbonnet and shawlas was always her mannerbefore shespoke aword on any subject; while Eva cameat St: Clare's calland wassitting on his kneegiving him an account of the servicesthey hadheard.

They soonheard loud exclamations from Miss Ophelia's roomwhichlike the one in which they were sittingopened on to theverandahand violent reproof addressed to somebody.

"Whatnew witchcraft has Tops been brewing?" asked St. Clare."Thatcommotion is of her raisingI'll be bound!"

Andin amoment afterMiss Opheliain high indignationcamedragging the culprit along.

"Comeout herenow!" she said.  "I _will_ tell yourmaster!"

"What'sthe case now?" asked Augustine.

"Thecase isthat I cannot be plagued with this childanylonger!  It's past all bearing; flesh and blood cannotendureit!  HereI locked her upand gave her a hymn tostudy; andwhat does she dobut spy out where I put my keyandhas goneto my bureauand got a bonnet-trimmingand cut it allto piecesto make dolls'jackets!  I never saw anything like itin mylife!"

"Itold youCousin" said Marie"that you'd find out thatthesecreatures can't be brought up without severity.  If I had_my_ waynow" she saidlooking reproachfully at St. Clare"I'dsend thatchild outand have her thoroughly whipped; I'd have herwhippedtill she couldn't stand!"

"Idon't doubt it" said St. Clare.  "Tell me of thelovelyrule ofwoman!  I never saw above a dozen women that wouldn't halfkill ahorseor a servanteitherif they had their own way withthem!--letalone a man."

"Thereis no use in this shilly-shally way of yoursSt. Clare!"saidMarie.  "Cousin is a woman of senseand she sees it nowas plainas I do."

MissOphelia had just the capability of indignation that belongsto thethorough-paced housekeeperand this had been prettyactivelyroused by the artifice and wastefulness of the child; infactmanyof my lady readers must own that they should have feltjust so inher circumstances; but Marie's words went beyond herand shefelt less heat.

"Iwouldn't have the child treated sofor the world" shesaid;"butI am sureAugustineI don't know what to do.  I'vetaught andtaught; I've talked till I'm tired; I've whipped her;I'vepunished her in every way I can think ofand she's just whatshe was atfirst."

"ComehereTopsyou monkey!" said St. Clarecalling thechild upto him.

Topsy cameup; her roundhard eyes glittering and blinkingwith amixture of apprehensiveness and their usual odd drollery.

"Whatmakes you behave so?" said St. Clarewho could not helpbeingamused with the child's expression.

"Spectsit's my wicked heart" said Topsydemurely; "MissFeely saysso."

"Don'tyou see how much Miss Ophelia has done for you?  She saysshe hasdone everything she can think of."

"LoryesMas'r! old Missis used to say sotoo.  She whippedme a heapharderand used to pull my harand knock my headagin thedoor; but it didn't do me no good!  I spectsif they's to pullevery spire o' har out o' my headit wouldn't do nogoodneither--I 's so wicked!  Laws! I 's nothin but a niggerno ways!"

"WellI shall have to give her up" said Miss Ophelia; "I can'thave thattrouble any longer."

"WellI'd just like to ask one question" said St. Clare.

"Whatis it?"

"Whyif your Gospel is not strong enough to save oneheathenchildthat you can have at home hereall to yourselfwhat's theuse of sending one or two poor missionaries off with itamongthousands of just such?  I suppose this child is about a fairsample ofwhat thousands of your heathen are."

MissOphelia did not make an immediate answer; and Evawho hadstood a silent spectator of the scene thus farmade asilentsign to Topsy to follow her.  There was a little glass-roomat thecorner of the verandahwhich St. Clare used as a sort ofreading-room;and Eva and Topsy disappeared into this place.

"What'sEva going aboutnow?" said St. Clare; "I mean to see."

Andadvancing on tiptoehe lifted up a curtain thatcoveredthe glass-doorand looked in.  In a momentlaying hisfinger onhis lipshe made a silent gesture to Miss Ophelia tocome andlook.  There sat the two children on the floorwith theirside facestowards them.  Topsywith her usual air of carelessdrolleryand unconcern; butopposite to herEvaher whole faceferventwith feelingand tears in her large eyes.

"Whatdoes make you so badTopsy?  Why won't you try andbe good? Don't you love _anybody_Topsy?"

"Donnonothing 'bout love; I loves candy and sichthat's all"saidTopsy.

"Butyou love your father and mother?"

"Neverhad noneye know.  I telled ye thatMiss Eva."

"OIknow" said Evasadly; "but hadn't you any brotheror sisteror auntor--"

"Nonone on 'em--never had nothing nor nobody."

"ButTopsyif you'd only try to be goodyou might--"

"Couldn'tnever be nothin' but a niggerif I was ever sogood"said Topsy.  "If I could be skinnedand come whiteI'dtry then."

"Butpeople can love youif you are blackTopsy.  Miss Opheliawould loveyouif you were good."

Topsy gavethe shortblunt laugh that was her common modeofexpressing incredulity.

"Don'tyou think so?" said Eva.

"No;she can't bar me'cause I'm a nigger!--she'd 's soonhave atoad touch her!  There can't nobody love niggersand niggerscan't donothin'! _I_ don't care" said Topsybeginning to whistle.

"OTopsypoor child_I_ love you!" said Evawith a suddenburst offeelingand laying her little thinwhite hand onTopsy'sshoulder; "I love youbecause you haven't had any fatheror motheror friends;--because you've been a poorabused child!I loveyouand I want you to be good.  I am very unwellTopsyand Ithink I shan't live a great while; and it really grieves meto haveyou be so naughty.  I wish you would try to be goodformysake;--it's only a little while I shall be with you."

The roundkeen eyes of the black child were overcast withtears;--largebright drops rolled heavily downone by oneand fellon the little white hand.  Yesin that momentaray ofreal beliefa ray of heavenly lovehad penetrated thedarknessof her heathen soul!  She laid her head down between herkneesandwept and sobbed--while the beautiful childbendingover herlooked like the picture of some bright angel stooping toreclaim asinner.

"PoorTopsy!" said Eva"don't you know that Jesus lovesallalike?  He is just as willing to love youas me.  He lovesyoujust as Ido--only morebecause he is better.  He will help youto begood; and you can go to Heaven at lastand be an angelforeverjust as much as if you were white.  Only think of itTopsy!--_you_can be one of those spirits brightUncle Tomsingsabout."

"Odear Miss Evadear Miss Eva!" said the child; "I will tryI willtry; I never did care nothin' about it before."

St. Clareat this instantdropped the curtain.  "It puts mein mind ofmother" he said to Miss Ophelia.  "It is true whatshe toldme; if we want to give sight to the blindwe must bewilling todo as Christ did--call them to usand _put our handson them_."

"I'vealways had a prejudice against negroes" said MissOphelia"and it's a factI never could bear to have that childtouch me;butI don't think she knew it."

"Trustany child to find that out" said St. Clare; "there'sno keepingit from them.  But I believe that all the trying in theworld tobenefit a childand all the substantial favors you cando themwill never excite one emotion of gratitudewhile thatfeeling ofrepugnance remains in the heart;--it's a queer kind ofafact--but so it is."

"Idon't know how I can help it" said Miss Ophelia; "they_are_disagreeable to me--this child in particular--how can Ihelpfeeling so?"

"Evadoesit seems."

"Wellshe's so loving!  After allthoughshe's no morethanChrist-like" said Miss Ophelia; "I wish I were like her.She mightteach me a lesson."

"Itwouldn't be the first time a little child had been usedtoinstruct an old discipleif it _were_ so" said St. Clare.

 

 

CHAPTERXXVIDeath

 

         Weep not for those whom the veil of the tomb
         In life's early morninghath hid from our eyes.

 

Eva'sbed-room was a spacious apartmentwhichlike all theotherrobins in the houseopened on to the broad verandah.The roomcommunicatedon one sidewith her father and mother'sapartment;on the otherwith that appropriated to Miss Ophelia.St. Clarehad gratified his own eye and tastein furnishing thisroom in astyle that had a peculiar keeping with the character ofher forwhom it was intended.  The windows were hung with curtainsofrose-colored and white muslinthe floor was spread with amattingwhich had been ordered in Paristo a pattern of his owndevicehaving round it a border of rose-buds and leavesand acentre-piecewith full-flown roses.  The bedsteadchairsandloungeswere of bamboowrought in peculiarly graceful and fancifulpatterns. Over the head of the bed was an alabaster bracketonwhich abeautiful sculptured angel stoodwith drooping wingsholdingout a crown of myrtle-leaves.  From this dependedoverthe bedlight curtains of rose-colored gauzestriped with silversupplyingthat protection from mosquitos which is an indispensableadditionto all sleeping accommodation in that climate.  The gracefulbamboolounges were amply supplied with cushions of rose-coloreddamaskwhile over themdepending from the hands of sculpturedfigureswere gauze curtains similar to those of the bed.  A lightfancifulbamboo table stood in the middle of the roomwhere aParianvasewrought in the shape of a white lilywith its budsstoodever filled with flowers.  On this table lay Eva's books andlittletrinketswith an elegantly wrought alabaster writing-standwhich herfather had supplied to her when he saw her trying toimproveherself in writing.  There was a fireplace in the roomand on themarble mantle above stood a beautifully wroughtstatuetteof Jesus receiving little childrenand on either sidemarblevasesfor which it was Tom's pride and delight to offerbouquetsevery morning.  Two or three exquisite paintings ofchildrenin various attitudesembellished the wall.  In shortthe eyecould turn nowhere without meeting images of childhoodof beautyand of peace.  Those little eyes never openedin themorninglightwithout falling on something which suggested to theheartsoothing and beautiful thoughts.

Thedeceitful strength which had buoyed Eva up for a littlewhile wasfast passing away; seldom and more seldom her lightfootstepwas heard in the verandahand oftener and oftener shewas foundreclined on a little lounge by the open windowher largedeep eyesfixed on the rising and falling waters of the lake.

It wastowards the middle of the afternoonas she was soreclining--herBible half openher little transparent fingerslyinglistlessly between the leaves--suddenly she heard her mother'svoiceinsharp tonesin the verandah.

"Whatnowyou baggage!--what new piece of mischief!  You've beenpickingthe flowershey?" and Eva heard the sound of a smart slap.

"LawMissis! they 's for Miss Eva" she heard a voice saywhich sheknew belonged to Topsy.

"MissEva!  A pretty excuse!--you suppose she wants _your_flowersyou good-for-nothing nigger!  Get along off with you!"

In amomentEva was off from her loungeand in the verandah.

"Odon'tmother!  I should like the flowers; do give themto me; Iwant them!"

"WhyEvayour room is full now."

"Ican't have too many" said Eva.  "Topsydo bring themhere."

Topsywhohad stood sullenlyholding down her headnow cameup andoffered her flowers.  She did it with a look of hesitationandbashfulnessquite unlike the eldrich boldness and brightnesswhich wasusual with her.

"It'sa beautiful bouquet!" said Evalooking at it.

It wasrather a singular one--a brilliant scarlet geraniumand onesingle white japonicawith its glossy leaves.  It was tiedup with anevident eye to the contrast of colorand the arrangementof everyleaf had carefully been studied.

Topsylooked pleasedas Eva said--"Topsyyou arrangeflowersvery prettily.  Here" she said"is this vase Ihaven'tanyflowers for.  I wish you'd arrange something every day for it."

"Wellthat's odd!" said Marie.  "What in the world do youwant thatfor?"

"Nevermindmamma; you'd as lief as not Topsy should doit--hadyou not?"

"Ofcourseanything you pleasedear!  Topsyyou hear youryoungmistress;--see that you mind."

Topsy madea short courtesyand looked down; andas sheturnedawayEva saw a tear roll down her dark cheek.

"YouseemammaI knew poor Topsy wanted to do somethingfor me"said Eva to her mother.

"Ononsense! it's only because she likes to do mischief.She knowsshe mustn't pick flowers--so she does it; that's allthere isto it.  Butif you fancy to have her pluck themso be it."

"MammaI think Topsy is different from what she used to be;she'strying to be a good girl."

"She'llhave to try a good while before _she_ gets to be good"saidMariewith a careless laugh.

"Wellyou knowmammapoor Topsy! everything has alwaysbeenagainst her."

"Notsince she's been hereI'm sure.  If she hasn't beentalked toand preached toand every earthly thing done thatanybodycould do;--and she's just so uglyand always will be; youcan't makeanything of the creature!"

"Butmammait's so different to be brought up as I've beenwith somany friendsso many things to make me good andhappy; andto be brought up as she's beenall the timetill shecamehere!"

"Mostlikely" said Marieyawning--"dear mehow hot it is!"

"Mammayou believedon't youthat Topsy could become anangelaswell as any of usif she were a Christian?"

"Topsy!what a ridiculous idea!  Nobody but you would everthink ofit.  I suppose she couldthough."

"Butmammaisn't God her fatheras much as ours?  Isn'tJesus herSaviour?"

"Wellthat may be.  I suppose God made everybody" said Marie."Whereis my smelling-bottle?"

"It'ssuch a pity--oh! _such_ a pity!" said Evalookingout on thedistant lakeand speaking half to herself.

"What'sa pity?" said Marie.

"Whythat any onewho could be a bright angeland live withangelsshould go all downdown downand nobody help them!--oh dear!"

"Wellwe can't help it; it's no use worryingEva!  I don'tknowwhat's to be done; we ought to be thankful for our ownadvantages."

"Ihardly can be" said Eva"I'm so sorry to think of poorfolks thathaven't any."

That's oddenough" said Marie;-- "I'm sure my religionmakes methankful for my advantages."

"Mamma"said Eva"I want to have some of my hair cutoff--agood deal of it."

"Whatfor?" said Marie.

"MammaI want to give some away to my friendswhile I amable togive it to them myself.  Won't you ask aunty to come andcut it forme?"

Marieraised her voiceand called Miss Opheliafrom theotherroom.

The childhalf rose from her pillow as she came inandshakingdown her long golden-brown curlssaidrather playfully"Comeauntyshear the sheep!"

"What'sthat?" said St. Clarewho just then entered withsome fruithe had been out to get for her.

"PapaI just want aunty to cut off some of my hair;--there'stoo muchof itand it makes my head hot.  BesidesI want to givesome of itaway."

MissOphelia camewith her scissors.

"Takecare--don't spoil the looks of it!" said her father;"cutunderneathwhere it won't show.  Eva's curls are my pride."

"Opapa!" said Evasadly.

"Yesand I want them kept handsome against the time I takeyou up toyour uncle's plantationto see Cousin Henrique" saidSt. Clarein a gay tone.

"Ishall never go therepapa;--I am going to a better country.Odobelieve me!  Don't you seepapathat I get weakereveryday?"

"Whydo you insist that I shall believe such a cruel thingEva?"said her father.

"Onlybecause it is _true_papa: andif you will believeit nowperhaps you will get to feel about it as I do."

St. Clareclosed his lipsand stood gloomily eying the longbeautifulcurlswhichas they were separated from the child'sheadwerelaidone by onein her lap.  She raised them uplookedearnestly at themtwined them around her thin fingersand lookedfrom time to timeanxiously at her father.

"It'sjust what I've been foreboding!" said Marie; "it's justwhat hasbeen preying on my healthfrom day to daybringingmedownward to the gravethough nobody regards it.  I have seenthislong.  St. Clareyou will seeafter a whilethat I wasright."

"Whichwill afford you great consolationno doubt!" saidSt. Clarein a drybitter tone.

Marie layback on a loungeand covered her face with hercambrichandkerchief.

Eva'sclear blue eye looked earnestly from one to the other.It was thecalmcomprehending gaze of a soul half loosed from itsearthlybonds; it was evident she sawfeltand appreciatedthedifferencebetween the two.

Shebeckoned with her hand to her father.  He came and satdown byher.

"Papamy strength fades away every dayand I know I must go.There aresome things I want to say and do--that I ought to do;and youare so unwilling to have me speak a word on this subject.But itmust come; there's no putting it off.  Do be willing I shouldspeaknow!"

"MychildI _am_ willing!" said St. Clarecovering hiseyes withone handand holding up Eva's hand with the other.

"ThenI want to see all our people together.  I have somethings I_must_ say to them" said Eva.

"_Well_"said St. Clarein a tone of dry endurance.

MissOphelia despatched a messengerand soon the whole oftheservants were convened in the room.

Eva layback on her pillows; her hair hanging loosely abouther faceher crimson cheeks contrasting painfully with theintensewhiteness of her complexion and the thin contour of herlimbs andfeaturesand her largesoul-like eyes fixed earnestlyon everyone.

Theservants were struck with a sudden emotion.  The spiritualfacethelong locks of hair cut off and lying by herherfather'saverted faceand Marie's sobsstruck at once uponthefeelings of a sensitive and impressible race; andas they cameintheylooked one on anothersighedand shook their heads.There wasa deep silencelike that of a funeral.

Eva raisedherselfand looked long and earnestly round ateveryone.  All looked sad and apprehensive.  Many of the womenhid theirfaces in their aprons.

"Isent for you allmy dear friends" said Eva"because Ilove you. I love you all; and I have something to say to youwhich Iwant you always to remember. . . .  I am going to leave you.In a fewmore weeks you will see me no more--"

Here thechild was interrupted by bursts of groanssobsandlamentationswhich broke from all presentand in which herslendervoice was lost entirely.  She waited a momentand thenspeakingin a tone that checked the sobs of allshe said

"Ifyou love meyou must not interrupt me so.  Listen to whatI say. I want to speak to you about your souls. . . .  Many ofyouI amafraidare very careless.  You are thinking only aboutthisworld.  I want you to remember that there is a beautiful worldwhereJesus is.  I am going thereand you can go there.  It isforyouasmuch as me.  Butif you want to go thereyou must notlive idlecarelessthoughtless lives.  You must be Christians.You mustremember that each one of you can become angelsand beangelsforever. . . .  If you want to be ChristiansJesus willhelp you. You must pray to him; you must read--"

The childchecked herselflooked piteously at themandsaidsorrowfully

"Odear! you _can't_ read--poor souls!" and she hid her face inthe pillowand sobbedwhile many a smothered sob from those shewasaddressingwho were kneeling on the flooraroused her.

"Nevermind" she saidraising her face and smiling brightlythroughher tears"I have prayed for you; and I know Jesus willhelp youeven if you can't read.  Try all to do the best you can;pray everyday; ask Him to help youand get the Bible read to youwheneveryou can; and I think I shall see you all in heaven."

"Amen"was the murmured response from the lips of Tom andMammyandsome of the elder oneswho belonged to the Methodistchurch. The younger and more thoughtless onesfor the timecompletelyovercomewere sobbingwith their heads bowed upontheirknees.

"Iknow" said Eva"you all love me."

"Yes;ohyes! indeed we do!  Lord bless her!" was theinvoluntaryanswer of all.

"YesI know you do!  There isn't one of you that hasn't alwaysbeen verykind to me; and I want to give you something thatwhen youlook atyou shall always remember meI'm going to giveall of youa curl of my hair; andwhen you look at itthink thatI lovedyou and am gone to heavenand that I want to see you all there."

It isimpossible to describe the sceneaswith tears and sobstheygathered round the little creatureand took from her handswhatseemed to them a last mark of her love.  They fell ontheirknees; they sobbedand prayedand kissed the hem of hergarment;and the elder ones poured forth words of endearmentmingled inprayers and blessingsafter the manner of theirsusceptiblerace.

As eachone took their giftMiss Opheliawho was apprehensivefor theeffect of all this excitement on her little patientsigned toeach one to pass out of the apartment.

At lastall were gone but Tom and Mammy.

"HereUncle Tom" said Eva"is a beautiful one for you.  OI amso happyUncle Tomto think I shall see you in heaven--forI'm sure Ishall; and Mammy--deargoodkind Mammy!" she saidfondlythrowing her arms round her old nurse--"I know you'll betheretoo."

"OMiss Evadon't see how I can live without yeno how!"said thefaithful creature.  "'Pears like it's just takingeverythingoff theplace to oncet!" and Mammy gave way to a passion of grief.

MissOphelia pushed her and Tom gently from the apartmentandthought they were all gone; butas she turnedTopsy wasstandingthere.

"Wheredid you start up from?" she saidsuddenly.

"Iwas here" said Topsywiping the tears from her eyes."OMiss EvaI've been a bad girl; but won't you give _me_onetoo?"

"Yespoor Topsy! to be sureI will.  There--every timeyou lookat thatthink that I love youand wanted you to be agoodgirl!"

"OMiss EvaI _is_ tryin!" said Topsyearnestly; "butLorit'sso hard to be good! 'Pears like I an't used to itno ways!"

"Jesusknows itTopsy; he is sorry for you; he will help you."

Topsywith her eyes hid in her apronwas silently passedfrom theapartment by Miss Ophelia; butas she wentshe hid thepreciouscurl in her bosom.

All beinggoneMiss Ophelia shut the door.  That worthylady hadwiped away many tears of her ownduring the scene; butconcernfor the consequence of such an excitement to her youngcharge wasuppermost in her mind.

St. Clarehad been sittingduring the whole timewithhis handshading his eyesin the same attitude.

When theywere all gonehe sat so still.

"Papa!"said Evagentlylaying her hand on his.

He gave asudden start and shiver; but made no answer.

"Dearpapa!" said Eva.

"_Icannot_" said St. Clarerising"I _cannot_ have it so!TheAlmighty hath dealt _very bitterly_ with me!" and St. Clarepronouncedthese words with a bitter emphasisindeed.

"Augustine!has not God a right to do what he will withhis own?"said Miss Ophelia.

"Perhapsso; but that doesn't make it any easier to bear"said hewith a dryhardtearless manneras he turned away.

"Papayou break my heart!" said Evarising and throwingherselfinto his arms; "you must not feel so!" and the child sobbedand weptwith a violence which alarmed them alland turned herfather'sthoughts at once to another channel.

"ThereEva--theredearest!  Hush! hush! I was wrong; Iwaswicked.  I will feel any waydo any way--only don't distressyourself;don't sob so.  I will be resigned; I was wicked to speakas I did."

Eva soonlay like a wearied dove in her father's arms; andhebending over hersoothed her by every tender word he couldthink of.

Marie roseand threw herself out of the apartment into herownwhenshe fell into violent hysterics.

"Youdidn't give me a curlEva" said her fathersmiling sadly.

"Theyare all yourspapa" said shesmiling--"yours andmamma's;and you must give dear aunty as many as she wants.  I onlygave themto our poor people myselfbecause you knowpapatheymight beforgotten when I am goneand because I hoped it mighthelp themremember. . . .  You are a Christianare you notpapa?"said Evadoubtfully.

"Whydo you ask me?"

"Idon't know.  You are so goodI don't see how you canhelp it."

"Whatis being a ChristianEva?"

"LovingChrist most of all" said Eva.

"DoyouEva?"

"CertainlyI do."

"Younever saw him" said St. Clare.

"Thatmakes no difference" said Eva.  "I believe himandin a fewdays I shall _see_ him;" and the young face grew ferventradiantwith joy.

St. Claresaid no more.  It was a feeling which he had seenbefore inhis mother; but no chord within vibrated to it.

Evaafterthisdeclined rapidly; there was no more anydoubt ofthe event; the fondest hope could not be blinded.Herbeautiful room was avowedly a sick room; and Miss Ophelia dayand nightperformed the duties of a nurse--and never did her friendsappreciateher value more than in that capacity.  With so well-traineda hand andeyesuch perfect adroitness and practice in every artwhichcould promote neatness and comfortand keep out of sighteverydisagreeable incident of sickness--with such a perfect senseof timesuch a clearuntroubled headsuch exact accuracy inrememberingevery prescription and direction of the doctors-- shewaseverything to him.  They who had shrugged their shoulders ather littlepeculiarities and setnessesso unlike the carelessfreedom ofsouthern mannersacknowledged that now she was theexactperson that was wanted.

Uncle Tomwas much in Eva's room.  The child suffered much fromnervousrestlessnessand it was a relief to her to be carried;and it wasTom's greatest delight to carry her little frail formin hisarmsresting on a pillownow up and down her roomnowout intothe verandah; and when the fresh sea-breezes blew fromthelake--and the child felt freshest in the morning--he wouldsometimeswalk with her under the orange-trees in the gardenorsitting down in some of their old seatssing to her theirfavoriteold hymns.

Her fatheroften did the same thing; but his frame wasslighterand when he was wearyEva would say to him

"Opapalet Tom take me.  Poor fellow! it pleases him; andyou knowit's all he can do nowand he wants to do something!"

"Sodo IEva!" said her father.

"Wellpapayou can do everythingand are everything to me.You readto me--you sit up nights--and Tom has only thisone thingand his singing; and I knowtoohe does it easier thanyou can. He carries me so strong!"

The desireto do something was not confined to Tom.  Every servantin theestablishment showed the same feelingand in their waydid whatthey could.

PoorMammy's heart yearned towards her darling; but shefound noopportunitynight or dayas Marie declared that thestate ofher mind was suchit was impossible for her to rest; andof courseit was against her principles to let any one else rest.Twentytimes in a nightMammy would be roused to rub her feettobathe herheadto find her pocket-handkerchiefto see what thenoise wasin Eva's roomto let down a curtain because it was toolightorto put it up because it was too dark; andin the daytimewhen shelonged to have some share in the nursing of her petMarieseemedunusually ingenious in keeping her busy anywhere and everywhereall overthe houseor about her own person; so that stolen interviewsandmomentary glimpses were all she could obtain.

"Ifeel it my duty to be particularly careful of myselfnow"she wouldsay"feeble as I amand with the whole care andnursing ofthat dear child upon me."

"Indeedmy dear" said St. Clare"I thought our cousinrelievedyou of that."

"Youtalk like a manSt. Clare--just as if a mother _could_berelieved of the care of a child in that state; butthenit's allalike--no one ever knows what I feel!  I can't throwthingsoffas you do."

St. Claresmiled.  You must excuse himhe couldn't helpit--forSt. Clare could smile yet.  For so bright and placid wasthefarewell voyage of the little spirit--by such sweet and fragrantbreezeswas the small bark borne towards the heavenly shores--thatit wasimpossible to realize that it was death that was approaching.The childfelt no pain--only a tranquilsoft weaknessdaily andalmostinsensibly increasing; and she was so beautifulso lovingsotrustfulso happythat one could not resist the soothinginfluenceof that air of innocence and peace which seemed to breathearoundher.  St. Clare found a strange calm coming over him.  Itwasnothope--that was impossible; it was not resignation; it wasonly acalm resting in the presentwhich seemed so beautiful thathe wishedto think of no future.  It was like that hush of spiritwhich wefeel amid the brightmild woods of autumnwhen the brighthecticflush is on the treesand the last lingering flowers bythe brook;and we joy in it all the morebecause we know that soonit willall pass away.

The friendwho knew most of Eva's own imaginings andforeshadowingswas her faithful bearerTom.  To him she said whatshe wouldnot disturb her father by saying.  To him she impartedthosemysterious intimations which the soul feelsas the cordsbegin tounbindere it leaves its clay forever.

Tomatlastwould not sleep in his roombut lay allnight inthe outer verandahready to rouse at every call.

"UncleTomwhat alive have you taken to sleeping anywhereandeverywherelike a dogfor?" said Miss Ophelia.  "Ithoughtyou wasone of the orderly sortthat liked to lie in bed in aChristianway."

"IdoMiss Feely" said Tommysteriously.  "I dobutnow--"

"Wellwhat now?"

"Wemustn't speak loud; Mas'r St. Clare won't hear on 't;but MissFeelyyou know there must be somebody watchin' forthebridegroom."

"Whatdo you meanTom?"

"Youknow it says in Scripture`At midnight there was agreat crymade.  Beholdthe bridegroom cometh.'  That's what I'mspectinnowevery nightMiss Feely--and I couldn't sleep out o'hearinnoways."

"WhyUncle Tomwhat makes you think so?"

"MissEvashe talks to me.  The Lordhe sends his messengerin thesoul.  I must be tharMiss Feely; for when that ar blessedchild goesinto the kingdomthey'll open the door so widewe'llall get alook in at the gloryMiss Feely."

"UncleTomdid Miss Eva say she felt more unwell thanusualtonight?"

"No;but she telled methis morningshe was comingnearer--thar'sthem that tells it to the childMiss Feely.It's theangels--`it's the trumpet sound afore the break o' day'"said Tomquoting from a favorite hymn.

Thisdialogue passed between Miss Ophelia and Tombetweenten andelevenone eveningafter her arrangements had all beenmade forthe nightwhenon going to bolt her outer doorshefound Tomstretched along by itin the outer verandah.

She wasnot nervous or impressible; but the solemnheart-feltmannerstruck her.  Eva had been unusually bright and cheerfulthatafternoonand had sat raised in her bedand looked over allher littletrinkets and precious thingsand designated the friendsto whomshe would have them given; and her manner was more animatedand hervoice more naturalthan they had known it for weeks.  Herfather hadbeen inin the eveningand had said that Eva appearedmore likeher former self than ever she had done since her sickness;and whenhe kissed her for the nighthe said to Miss Ophelia--"Cousinwe maykeep her with usafter all; she is certainly better;" andhe hadretired with a lighter heart in his bosom than he had had therefor weeks.

But atmidnight--strangemystic hour!--when the veil betweenthe frailpresent and the eternal future grows thin--thencame themessenger!

There wasa sound in that chamberfirst of one who steppedquickly. It was Miss Opheliawho had resolved to sit up all nightwith herlittle chargeand whoat the turn of the nighthaddiscernedwhat experienced nurses significantly call "a change."The outerdoor was quickly openedand Tomwho was watching outsidewas on thealertin a moment.

"Gofor the doctorTom! lose not a moment" said Miss Ophelia;andstepping across the roomshe rapped at St. Clare's door.

"Cousin"she said"I wish you would come."

Thosewords fell on his heart like clods upon a coffin.Why didthey?  He was up and in the room in an instantand bendingover Evawho still slept.

What wasit he saw that made his heart stand still?  Why wasno wordspoken between the two?  Thou canst saywho hast seenthat sameexpression on the face dearest to thee;--that lookindescribablehopelessunmistakablethat says to thee that thybeloved isno longer thine.

On theface of the childhoweverthere was no ghastlyimprint--onlya high and almost sublime expression--the overshadowingpresenceof spiritual naturesthe dawning of immortal life in thatchildishsoul.

They stoodthere so stillgazing upon herthat even theticking ofthe watch seemed too loud.  In a few momentsTomreturnedwith the doctor.  He enteredgave one lookand stoodsilent asthe rest.

"Whendid this change take place?" said hein a low whisperto MissOphelia.

"Aboutthe turn of the night" was the reply.

Marieroused by the entrance of the doctorappearedhurriedlyfrom the next room.

"Augustine! Cousin!--O!--what!" she hurriedly began.

"Hush!"said St. Clarehoarsely; _"she is dying!"_

Mammyheard the wordsand flew to awaken the servants.The housewas soon roused--lights were seenfootsteps heardanxiousfaces thronged the verandahand looked tearfully throughthe glassdoors; but St. Clare heard and said nothing--he sawonly _thatlook_ on the face of the little sleeper.

"Oif she would only wakeand speak once more!" he said;andstooping over herhe spoke in her ear--"Evadarling!"

The largeblue eyes unclosed--a smile passed over herface;--shetried to raise her headand to speak.

"Doyou know meEva?"

"Dearpapa" said the childwith a last effortthrowing herarms abouthis neck.  In a moment they dropped again; andasSt. Clareraised his headhe saw a spasm of mortal agony pass overtheface--she struggled for breathand threw up her little hands.

"OGodthis is dreadful!" he saidturning away in agonyandwringing Tom's handscarce conscious what he was doing."OTommy boyit is killing me!"

Tom hadhis master's hands between his own; andwith tearsstreamingdown his dark cheekslooked up for help where he hadalwaysbeen used to look.

"Praythat this may be cut short!" said St. Clare--"thiswrings myheart."

"Obless the Lord! it's over--it's overdear Master!"said Tom;"look at her."

The childlay panting on her pillowsas one exhausted--thelargeclear eyes rolled up and fixed.  Ahwhat said those eyesthat spokeso much of heaven!  Earth was past--and earthly pain;but sosolemnso mysteriouswas the triumphant brightness ofthat facethat it checked even the sobs of sorrow.  They pressedaroundherin breathless stillness.

"Eva"said St. Claregently.

She didnot hear.

"OEvatell us what you see!  What is it?" said her father.

A brighta glorious smile passed over her faceand shesaidbrokenly--"O! love--joy--peace!" gave one sigh andpassedfrom deathunto life!

"Farewellbeloved child! the brighteternal doors have closedafterthee; we shall see thy sweet face no more.  Owoe for themwhowatched thy entrance into heavenwhen they shall wake andfind onlythe cold gray sky of daily lifeand thou gone forever!"

 

 

CHAPTERXXVII"ThisIs the Last of Earth"

 

Thestatuettes and pictures in Eva's room were shrouded inwhitenapkinsand only hushed breathings and muffled footfallswere heardthereand the light stole in solemnly through windowspartiallydarkened by closed blinds.

The bedwas draped in white; and therebeneath the droopingangel-figurelay a little sleeping form--sleeping never to waken!

There shelayrobed in one of the simple white dresses she hadbeen wontto wear when living; the rose-colored light throughthecurtains cast over the icy coldness of death a warm glow.The heavyeyelashes drooped softly on the pure cheek; the headwas turneda little to one sideas if in natural steepbutthere wasdiffused over every lineament of the face that highcelestialexpressionthat mingling of rapture and reposewhichshowed itwas no earthly or temporary sleepbut the longsacredrest which"He giveth to his beloved."

There isno death to such as thoudear Eva! neither darknessnor shadowof death; only such a bright fading as when the morningstar fadesin the golden dawn.  Thine is the victory without thebattle--thecrown without the conflict.

So did St.Clare thinkaswith folded armshe stoodtheregazing.  Ah! who shall say what he did think? forfrom thehour thatvoices had saidin the dying chamber"she is gone" ithad beenall a dreary mista heavy "dimness of anguish."  Hehadheardvoices around him; he had had questions askedand answeredthem; theyhad asked him when he would have the funeraland wheretheyshould lay her; and he had answeredimpatientlythat hecared not.

Adolph andRosa had arranged the chamber; volatilefickleandchildishas they generally werethey were soft-hearted andfull offeeling; andwhile Miss Ophelia presided over the generaldetails oforder and neatnessit was their hands that added thosesoftpoetic touches to the arrangementsthat took from thedeath-roomthe grim and ghastly air which too often marks a NewEnglandfuneral.

There werestill flowers on the shelves--all whitedelicateandfragrantwith gracefuldrooping leaves.  Eva's little tablecoveredwith whitebore on it her favorite vasewith a singlewhite mossrose-bud in it.  The folds of the draperythe fall ofthecurtainshad been arranged and rearrangedby Adolph and Rosawith thatnicety of eye which characterizes their race.  Even nowwhile St.Clare stood there thinkinglittle Rosa tripped softlyinto thechamber with a basket of white flowers.  She stepped backwhen shesaw St. Clareand stopped respectfully; butseeing thathe did notobserve hershe came forward to place them aroundthe dead. St. Clare saw her as in a dreamwhile she placed inthe smallhands a fair cape jessamineandwith admirable tastedisposedother flowers around the couch.

The dooropened againand Topsyher eyes swelled withcryingappearedholding something under her apron.  Rosa made aquickforbidding gesture; but she took a step into the room.

"Youmust go out" said Rosain a sharppositive whisper;"_you_haven't any business here!"

"Odo let me!  I brought a flower--such a pretty one!"saidTopsyholding up a half-blown tea rose-bud.  "Do let meputjust onethere."

"Getalong!" said Rosamore decidedly.

"Lether stay!" said St. Claresuddenly stamping his foot."Sheshall come."

Rosasuddenly retreatedand Topsy came forward and laid herofferingat the feet of the corpse; then suddenlywith a wildand bittercryshe threw herself on the floor alongside the bedand weptand moaned aloud.

MissOphelia hastened into the roomand tried to raiseandsilence her; but in vain.

"OMiss Eva! ohMiss Eva!  I wish I 's deadtoo--I do!"

There wasa piercing wildness in the cry; the blood flushedinto St.Clare's whitemarble-like faceand the first tears hehad shedsince Eva died stood in his eyes.

"Getupchild" said Miss Opheliain a softened voice;"don'tcry so.  Miss Eva is gone to heaven; she is an angel."

"ButI can't see her!" said Topsy.  "I never shall seeher!"and she sobbed again.

They allstood a moment in silence.

"_She_said she _loved_ me" said Topsy-- "she did!  Odear!ohdear!there an't _nobody_ left now--there an't!"

"That'strue enough" said St. Clare; "but do" he said toMissOphelia"see if you can't comfort the poor creature."

"Ijist wish I hadn't never been born" said Topsy.  "Ididn'twant to bebornno ways; and I don't see no use on 't."

MissOphelia raised her gentlybut firmlyand took her fromthe room;butas she did sosome tears fell from her eyes.

"Topsyyou poor child" she saidas she led her into herroom"don't give up! _I_ can love youthough I am not like thatdearlittle child.  I hope I've learnt something of the love ofChristfrom her.  I can love you; I doand I'll try to help youto grow upa good Christian girl."

MissOphelia's voice was more than her wordsand more thanthat werethe honest tears that fell down her face.  From thathoursheacquired an influence over the mind of the destitutechild thatshe never lost.

"Omy Evawhose little hour on earth did so much of good"thoughtSt. Clare"what account have I to give for my long years?"

Therewerefor a whilesoft whisperings and footfalls in thechamberas one after another stole into look at the dead;and thencame the little coffin; and then there was a funeralandcarriagesdrove to the doorand strangers came and were seated;and therewere white scarfs and ribbonsand crape bandsandmournersdressed in black crape; and there were words read fromthe Bibleand prayers offered; and St. Clare livedand walkedand movedas one who has shed every tear;--to the last he saw onlyone thingthat golden head in the coffin; but then he saw theclothspread over itthe lid of the coffin closed; and he walkedwhen hewas put beside the othersdown to a little place at thebottom ofthe gardenand thereby the mossy seat where she andTom hadtalkedand sungand read so oftenwas the little grave.St. Clarestood beside it--looked vacantly down; he saw them lowerthe littlecoffin; he hearddimlythe solemn words"I am theresurrectionand the Life; he that believeth in methough he weredeadyetshall he live;" andas the earth was cast in and filledup thelittle gravehe could not realize that it was his Eva thatthey werehiding from his sight.

Nor wasit!--not Evabut only the frail seed of that brightimmortalform with which she shall yet come forthin theday of theLord Jesus!

And thenall were goneand the mourners went back to the placewhichshould know her no more; and Marie's room was darkenedand shelay on the bedsobbing and moaning in uncontrollable griefandcalling every moment for the attentions of all her servants.Of coursethey had no time to cry--why should they? the griefwas _her_griefand she was fully convinced that nobody on earthdidcouldor would feel it as she did.

"St.Clare did not shed a tear" she said; "he didn'tsympathizewith her; it was perfectly wonderful to think howhard-heartedand unfeeling he waswhen he must know how shesuffered."

So muchare people the slave of their eye and earthat manyof theservants really thought that Missis was the principalsuffererin the caseespecially as Marie began to have hystericalspasmsand sent for the doctorand at last declared herself dying;andinthe running and scamperingand bringing up hot bottlesandheating of flannelsand chafingand fussingthat ensuedthere wasquite a diversion.

Tomhoweverhad a feeling at his own heartthat drew himto hismaster.  He followed him wherever he walkedwistfullyand sadly;and when he saw him sittingso pale and quietin Eva'sroomholding before his eyes her little open Biblethough seeingno letteror word of what was in itthere was more sorrow to Tomin thatstillfixedtearless eyethan in all Marie's moans andlamentations.

In a fewdays the St. Clare family were back again in the city;Augustinewith the restlessness of grieflonging for anotherscenetochange the current of his thoughts.  So they left thehouse andgardenwith its little graveand came back to NewOrleans;and St. Clare walked the streets busilyand strove tofill upthe chasm in his heart with hurry and bustleand changeof place;and people who saw him in the streetor met him at thecafeknewof his loss only by the weed on his hat; for there hewassmiling and talkingand reading the newspaperand speculatingonpoliticsand attending to business matters; and who could seethat allthis smiling outside was but a hollowed shell over a heartthat was adark and silent sepulchre?

"Mr.St. Clare is a singular man" said Marie to Miss Opheliain acomplaining tone.  "I used to thinkif there was anythingin theworld he did loveit was our dear little Eva; but heseems tobe forgetting her very easily.  I cannot ever get himto talkabout her.  I really did think he would show more feeling!"

"Stillwaters run deepestthey used to tell me" said MissOpheliaoracularly.

"OIdon't believe in such things; it's all talk.  If peoplehavefeelingthey will show it--they can't help it; butthenit'sa great misfortune to have feeling.  I'd rather havebeen madelike St. Clare.  My feelings prey upon me so!"

"SureMissisMas'r St. Clare is gettin' thin as a shader.They sayhe don't never eat nothin'" said Mammy.  "I know hedon'tforget Miss Eva; I know there couldn't nobody--dearlittleblessedcretur!" she addedwiping her eyes.

"Wellat all eventshe has no consideration for me" saidMarie; "hehasn't spoken one word of sympathyand he must knowhow muchmore a mother feels than any man can."

"Theheart knoweth its own bitterness" said Miss Opheliagravely.

"That'sjust what I think.  I know just what I feel--nobodyelse seemsto.  Eva used tobut she is gone!" and Marie lay backon herloungeand began to sob disconsolately.

Marie wasone of those unfortunately constituted mortalsin whoseeyes whatever is lost and gone assumes a value which itnever hadin possession.  Whatever she hadshe seemed to surveyonly topick flaws in it; butonce fairly awaythere was noend to hervaluation of it.

While thisconversation was taking place in the parloranotherwas going on in St. Clare's library.

Tomwhowas always uneasily following his master abouthad seenhim go tohis librarysome hours before; andafter vainly waitingfor him tocome outdeterminedat lastto make an errand in.He enteredsoftly.  St. Clare lay on his loungeat the furtherend of theroom.  He was lying on his facewith Eva's Bible openbeforehimat a little distance.  Tom walked upand stood bythe sofa. He hesitated; andwhile he was hesitatingSt. Claresuddenlyraised himself up.  The honest faceso full of griefandwith suchan imploring expression of affection and sympathystruckhismaster.  He laid his hand on Tom'sand bowed down his foreheadon it.

"OTommy boythe whole world is as empty as an egg-shell."

"Iknow itMas'r--I know it" said Tom; "butohif Mas'rcould onlylook up--up where our dear Miss Eva is--up tothe dearLord Jesus!"

"AhTom! I do look up; but the trouble isI don't seeanythingwhen I doI wish I could."

Tom sighedheavily.

"Itseems to be given to childrenand poorhonest fellowslike youto see what we can't" said St. Clare.  "How comesit?"

"Thouhas `hid from the wise and prudentand revealed untobabes'"murmured Tom; "`even soFatherfor so it seemed good inthysight.'"

"TomI don't believe--I can't believe--I've got thehabit ofdoubting" said St. Clare.  "I want to believe thisBible--andI can't."

"DearMas'rpray to the good Lord--`LordI believe; helpthou myunbelief.'"

"Whoknows anything about anything?" said St. Clarehis eyeswanderingdreamilyand speaking to himself.  "Was all thatbeautifullove and faith only one of the ever-shifting phasesof humanfeelinghaving nothing real to rest onpassing awaywith thelittle breath? And is there no more Eva--no heaven--noChrist--nothing?"

"Odear Mas'rthere is! I know it; I'm sure of it" saidTomfalling on his knees.  "Dododear Mas'rbelieve it!"

"Howdo you know there's any ChristTom!  You never sawthe Lord."

"FeltHim in my soulMas'r--feel Him now!  OMas'rwhenI was soldaway from my old woman and the childrenI was jesta'mostbroke up.  I felt as if there warn't nothin' left; and thenthe goodLordhe stood by meand he says`Fear notTom;' andhe bringslight and joy in a poor feller's soul--makes all peace;and I 'sso happyand loves everybodyand feels willin' jest tobe theLord'sand have the Lord's will doneand be put jest wherethe Lordwants to put me.  I know it couldn't come from mecauseI 's apoorcomplainin'cretur; it comes from the Lord; and I knowHe'swillin' to do for Mas'r."

Tom spokewith fast-running tears and choking voice.  St. Clareleaned hishead on his shoulderand wrung the hardfaithfulblackhand.

"Tomyou love me" he said.

"I 'swillin' to lay down my lifethis blessed daytosee Mas'ra Christian."

"Poorfoolish boy!" said St. Clarehalf-raising himself."I'mnot worth the love of one goodhonest heartlike yours."

"OMas'rdere's more than me loves you--the blessed LordJesusloves you."

"Howdo you know that Tom?" said St. Clare.

"Feelsit in my soul.  OMas'r! `the love of Christthatpassethknowledge.'"

"Singular!"said St. Clareturning away"that the story of aman thatlived and died eighteen hundred years ago can affectpeople soyet.  But he was no man" he addedsuddenly.  "Nomanever hadsuch long and living power!  Othat I could believewhat mymother taught meand pray as I did when I was a boy!"

"IfMas'r pleases" said Tom"Miss Eva used to read thissobeautifully.  I wish Mas'r'd be so good as read it.  Don'tgetnoreadin'hardlynow Miss Eva's gone."

Thechapter was the eleventh of John--the touching accountof theraising of LazarusSt. Clare read it aloudoften pausingto wrestledown feelings which were roused by the pathos ofthestory.  Tom knelt before himwith clasped handsand with anabsorbedexpression of lovetrustadorationon his quiet face.

"Tom"said his Master"this is all _real_ to you!"

"Ican jest fairly _see_ it Mas'r" said Tom.

"Iwish I had your eyesTom."

"Iwishto the dear LordMas'r had!"

"ButTomyou know that I have a great deal more knowledge thanyou; whatif I should tell you that I don't believe this Bible?"

"OMas'r!" said Tomholding up his handswith a deprecatinggesture.

"Wouldn'tit shake your faith someTom?"

"Nota grain" said Tom.

"WhyTomyou must know I know the most."

"OMas'rhaven't you jest read how he hides from the wiseandprudentand reveals unto babes?  But Mas'r wasn't in earnestforsartinnow?" said Tomanxiously.

"NoTomI was not.  I don't disbelieveand I think thereis reasonto believe; and still I don't.  It's a troublesome badhabit I'vegotTom."

"IfMas'r would only pray!"

"Howdo you know I don'tTom?"

"DoesMas'r?"

"IwouldTomif there was anybody there when I pray; but it'sallspeaking unto nothingwhen I do.  But comeTomyou pray nowand showme how."

Tom'sheart was full; he poured it out In prayerlike watersthat havebeen long suppressed.  One thing was plain enough;Tomthought there was somebody to hearwhether there were or not.In factSt. Clare felt himself borneon the tide of his faithandfeelingalmost to the gates of that heaven he seemed so vividlytoconceive.  It seemed to bring him nearer to Eva.

"Thankyoumy boy" said St. Clarewhen Tom rose.  "I liketo hearyouTom; but gonowand leave me alone; some othertimeI'lltalk more."

Tomsilently left the room.

 

 

CHAPTERXXVIIIReunion

 

Week afterweek glided away in the St. Clare mansionandthe wavesof life settled back to their usual flowwhere thatlittlebark had gone down.  For how imperiouslyhow coollyindisregardof all one's feelingdoes the hardcolduninterestingcourse ofdaily realities move on!  Still must we eatand drinkand sleepand wake again--still bargainbuysellask and answerquestions--pursuein shorta thousand shadowsthough all interestin them beover; the cold mechanical habit of living remainingafter allvital interest in it has fled.

All theinterests and hopes of St. Clare's life hadunconsciouslywound themselves around this child.  It was for Evathat hehad managed his property; it was for Eva that he had plannedthedisposal of his time; andto do this and that for Eva--tobuyimprovealterand arrangeor dispose something for her--hadbeen solong his habitthat now she was gonethere seemed nothingto bethought ofand nothing to be done.

Truethere was another life--a life whichonce believedinstandsas a solemnsignificant figure before the otherwiseunmeaningciphers of timechanging them to orders of mysteriousuntoldvalue.  St. Clare knew this well; and oftenin many a wearyhourheheard that slenderchildish voice calling him to theskiesandsaw that little hand pointing to him the way of life;but aheavy lethargy of sorrow lay on him--he could not arise.He had oneof those natures which could better and more clearlyconceiveof religious things from its own perceptions andinstinctsthan many a matter-of-fact and practical Christian.The giftto appreciate and the sense to feel the finer shades andrelationsof moral thingsoften seems an attribute of those whosewhole lifeshows a careless disregard of them.  Hence MooreByronGoetheoften speak words more wisely descriptive of the truereligioussentimentthan another manwhose whole life is governedby it. In such mindsdisregard of religion is a more fearfultreason--amore deadly sin.

St. Clarehad never pretended to govern himself by anyreligiousobligation; and a certain fineness of nature gave himsuch aninstinctive view of the extent of the requirements ofChristianitythat he shrankby anticipationfrom what he feltwould bethe exactions of his own conscienceif he once did resolveto assumethem.  Forso inconsistent is human natureespeciallyin theidealthat not to undertake a thing at all seems betterthan toundertake and come short.

Still St.Clare wasin many respectsanother man.  He readhis littleEva's Bible seriously and honestly; he thought moresoberlyand practically of his relations to his servants--enoughto makehim extremely dissatisfied with both his past and presentcourse;and one thing he didsoon after his return to New Orleansand thatwas to commence the legal steps necessary to Tom'semancipationwhich was to be perfected as soon as he could getthroughthe necessary formalities.  Meantimehe attached himselfto Tommore and moreevery day.  In all the wide worldthere wasnothingthat seemed to remind him so much of Eva; and he wouldinsist onkeeping him constantly about himandfastidious andunapproachableas he was with regard to his deeper feelingshealmostthought aloud to Tom.  Nor would any one have wondered atitwhohad seen the expression of affection and devotion withwhich Tomcontinually followed his young master.

"WellTom" said St. Clarethe day after he had commencedthe legalformalities for his enfranchisement"I'm going to makea free manof you;--so have your trunk packedand get ready toset outfor Kentuck."

The suddenlight of joy that shone in Tom's face as he raisedhis handsto heavenhis emphatic "Bless the Lord!" ratherdiscomposedSt. Clare; he did not like it that Tom should be soready toleave him.

"Youhaven't had such very bad times herethat you needbe in sucha raptureTom" he said drily.

"NonoMas'r! 'tan't that--it's bein' a _freeman!_ that'swhat I'mjoyin' for."

"WhyTomdon't you thinkfor your own partyou've beenbetter offthan to be free?"

"_Noindeed_Mas'r St. Clare" said Tomwith a flash of energy."Noindeed!"

"WhyTomyou couldn't possibly have earnedby your worksuchclothes and such living as I have given you."

"Knowsall thatMas'r St. Clare; Mas'r's been too good; butMas'rI'drather have poor clothespoor housepoor everythingand have'em _mine_than have the bestand have 'em any man'selse--Ihad _so_Mas'r; I think it's naturMas'r."

"Isuppose soTomand you'll be going off and leaving mein a monthor so" he addedrather discontentedly.  "Though whyyoushouldn'tno mortal knows" he saidin a gayer tone; andgettinguphe began to walk the floor.

"Notwhile Mas'r is in trouble" said Tom.  "I'll stay withMas'r aslong as he wants me--so as I can be any use."

"Notwhile I'm in troubleTom?"  said St. Clarelooking sadlyout of thewindow. . . .  "And when will _my_ trouble be over?"

"WhenMas'r St. Clare's a Christian" said Tom.

"Andyou really mean to stay by till that day comes?" saidSt. Clarehalf smilingas he turned from the windowand laidhis handon Tom's shoulder.  "AhTomyou softsilly boy!I won'tkeep you till that day.  Go home to your wife and childrenand givemy love to all."

"I 'sfaith to believe that day will come" said Tomearnestlyand withtears in his eyes; "the Lord has a work for Mas'r."

"Aworkhey?" said St. Clare"wellnowTomgive meyour viewson what sort of a work it is;--let's hear."

"Whyeven a poor fellow like me has a work from the Lord; andMas'r St.Clarethat has larninand richesand friends--howmuch hemight do for the Lord!"

"Tomyou seem to think the Lord needs a great deal donefor him"said St. Claresmiling.

"Wedoes for the Lord when we does for his critturs" said Tom.

"GoodtheologyTom; better than Dr. B. preachesI dareswear"said St. Clare.

Theconversation was here interrupted by the announcementof somevisitors.

Marie St.Clare felt the loss of Eva as deeply as she couldfeelanything; andas she was a woman that had a great faculty ofmakingeverybody unhappy when she washer immediate attendantshad stillstronger reason to regret the loss of their young mistresswhosewinning ways and gentle intercessions had so often been ashield tothem from the tyrannical and selfish exactions of hermother. Poor old Mammyin particularwhose heartsevered fromallnatural domestic tieshad consoled itself with this onebeautifulbeingwas almost heart-broken.  She cried day and nightand wasfrom excess of sorrowless skilful and alert in herministrationsof her mistress than usualwhich drew down aconstantstorm of invectives on her defenceless head.

MissOphelia felt the loss; butin her good and honest heartit borefruit unto everlasting life.  She was more softenedmoregentle; andthough equally assiduous in every dutyit waswith achastened and quiet airas one who communed with her ownheart notin vain.  She was more diligent in teaching Topsy--taughther mainlyfrom the Bible--did not any longer shrink from hertouchormanifest an ill-repressed disgustbecause she felt none.She viewedher now through the softened medium that Eva's hand hadfirst heldbefore her eyesand saw in her only an immortal creaturewhom Godhad sent to be led by her to glory and virtue.  Topsy didnot becomeat once a saint; but the life and death of Eva did worka markedchange in her.  The callous indifference was gone; therewas nowsensibilityhopedesireand the striving for good--astrifeirregularinterruptedsuspended oftbut yet renewed again.

One daywhen Topsy had been sent for by Miss Opheliashecamehastily thrusting something into her bosom.

"Whatare you doing thereyou limb?  You've been stealingsomethingI'll be bound" said the imperious little Rosawho hadbeen sentto call herseizing herat the same timeroughly bythe arm.

"Yougo 'longMiss Rosa!" said Topsypulling from her;"'tan'tnone o' your business!"

"Noneo' your sa'ce!" said Rosa"I saw you hiding something--Iknow yertricks" and Rosa seized her armand tried to force herhand intoher bosomwhile Topsyenragedkicked and foughtvaliantlyfor what she considered her rights.  The clamor andconfusionof the battle drew Miss Ophelia and St. Clare bothto thespot.

"She'sbeen stealing!" said Rosa.

"Ihan'tneither!" vociferated Topsysobbing with passion.

"Giveme thatwhatever it is!" said Miss Opheliafirmly.

Topsyhesitated; buton a second orderpulled out of herbosom alittle parcel done up in the foot of one of her ownoldstockings.

MissOphelia turned it out.  There was a small bookwhichhad beengiven to Topsy by Evacontaining a single verse ofScripturearranged for every day in the yearand in a paper thecurl ofhair that she had given her on that memorable day when shehad takenher last farewell.

St. Clarewas a good deal affected at the sight of it; thelittlebook had been rolled in a long strip of black crapetornfrom thefuneral weeds.

"Whatdid you wrap _this_ round the book for?" said St.Clareholding up the crape.

"Cause--cause--cause't was Miss Eva.  Odon't take 'emawayplease!" she said; andsitting flat down on the floorandputtingher apron over her headshe began to sob vehemently.

It was acurious mixture of the pathetic and the ludicrous--thelittle oldstockings--black crape--text-book--fairsoft curl--andTopsy'sutter distress.

St. Claresmiled; but there were tears in his eyesas he said

"Comecome--don't cry; you shall have them!" andputtingthemtogetherhe threw them into her lapand drew Miss Opheliawith himinto the parlor.

"Ireally think you can make something of that concern"he saidpointing with his thumb backward over his shoulder."Anymind that is capable of a _real sorrow_ is capable of good.You musttry and do something with her."

"Thechild has improved greatly" said Miss Ophelia.  "Ihavegreathopes of her; butAugustine" she saidlaying her handon hisarm"one thing I want to ask; whose is this child tobe?--yoursor mine?"

"WhyI gave her to you" said Augustine.

"Butnot legally;--I want her to be mine legally" saidMissOphelia.

"Whew!cousin" said Augustine.  "What will the AbolitionSocietythink?  They'll have a day of fasting appointed for thisbackslidingif you become a slaveholder!"

"Ononsense!  I want her minethat I may have a right totake herto the free Statesand give her her libertythat all Iam tryingto do be not undone."

"Ocousinwhat an awful `doing evil that good may come'!I can'tencourage it."

"Idon't want you to jokebut to reason" said Miss Ophelia."Thereis no use in my trying to make this child a Christian childunless Isave her from all the chances and reverses of slavery;andifyou really are willing I should have herI want you togive me adeed of giftor some legal paper."

"Wellwell" said St. Clare"I will;" and he sat downandunfolded a newspaper to read.

"ButI want it done now" said Miss Ophelia.

"What'syour hurry?"

"Becausenow is the only time there ever is to do a thingin"said Miss Ophelia.  "Comenowhere's paperpenand ink;just writea paper."

St. Clarelike most men of his class of mindcordiallyhated thepresent tense of actiongenerally; andthereforehewasconsiderably annoyed by Miss Ophelia's downrightness.

"Whywhat's the matter?" said he.  "Can't you take my word?One wouldthink you had taken lessons of the Jewscoming ata fellowso!"

"Iwant to make sure of it" said Miss Ophelia.  "You maydieor failand then Topsy be hustled off to auctionspite ofall I cando."

"Reallyyou are quite provident.  Wellseeing I'm in thehands of aYankeethere is nothing for it but to concede;" andSt. Clarerapidly wrote off a deed of giftwhichas he was wellversed inthe forms of lawhe could easily doand signed his nameto it insprawling capitalsconcluding by a tremendous flourish.

"Thereisn't that black and whitenowMiss Vermont?" hesaidashe handed it to her.

"Goodboy" said Miss Opheliasmiling.  "But must it notbewitnessed?"

"Obother!--yes.  Here" he saidopening the door intoMarie'sapartment"MarieCousin wants your autograph; just putyour namedown here."

"What'sthis?" said Marieas she ran over the paper."Ridiculous!I thought Cousin was too pious for such horrid things"she addedas she carelessly wrote her name; "butif she has afancy forthat articleI am sure she's welcome."

"Therenowshe's yoursbody and soul" said St. Clarehandingthe paper.

"Nomore mine now than she was before" Miss Ophelia."Nobodybut God has a right to give her to me; but I can protecther now."

"Wellshe's yours by a fiction of lawthen" said St. Clareas heturned back into the parlorand sat down to his paper.

MissOpheliawho seldom sat much in Marie's companyfollowedhim intothe parlorhaving first carefully laid away the paper.

"Augustine"she saidsuddenlyas she sat knitting"have youever madeany provision for your servantsin case of your death?"

"No"said St. Clareas he read on.

"Thenall your indulgence to them may prove a great crueltyby andby."

St. Clarehad often thought the same thing himself; but heanswerednegligently.

"WellI mean to make a provisionby and by."

"When?"said Miss Ophelia.

"Oone of these days."

"Whatif you should die first?"

"Cousinwhat's the matter?" said St. Clarelaying down hispaper andlooking at her.  "Do you think I show symptomsof yellowfever or cholerathat you are making post mortemarrangementswith such zeal?"

"`Inthe midst of life we are in death'" said Miss Ophelia.

St. Clarerose upand laying the paper downcarelesslywalked tothe door that stood open on the verandahto put an endto aconversation that was not agreeable to him.  Mechanicallyherepeatedthe last word again--_"Death!"_--andas he leaned againsttherailingsand watched the sparkling water as it rose and fellin thefountain; andas in a dim and dizzy hazesaw flowers andtrees andvases of the courtshe repeatedagain the mystic wordso commonin every mouthyet of such fearful power--"DEATH!""Strangethat there should be such a word" he said"and such athingandwe ever forget it; that one should be livingwarm andbeautifulfull of hopesdesires and wantsone dayand the nextbe goneutterly goneand forever!"

It was awarmgolden evening; andas he walked to the otherend of theverandahhe saw Tom busily intent on his Biblepointingas he did sowith his finger to each successive wordandwhispering them to himself with an earnest air.

"Wantme to read to youTom?" said St. Clareseatinghimselfcarelessly by him.

"IfMas'r pleases" said Tomgratefully"Mas'r makes itso muchplainer."

St. Claretook the book and glanced at the placeand beganreadingone of the passages which Tom had designated by the heavymarksaround it.  It ran as follows:

"Whenthe Son of man shall come in his gloryand all hisholyangels with himthen shall he sit upon the throne of hisglory: andbefore him shall be gathered all nations; and he shallseparatethem one from anotheras a shepherd divideth his sheepfrom thegoats."  St. Clare read on in an animated voicetill hecame tothe last of the verses.

"Thenshall the king say unto him on his left handDepartfrom meye cursedinto everlasting fire: for I was an hungeredand yegave me no meat: I was thirstyand ye gave me no drink: Iwas astrangeran ye took me not in: nakedand ye clothed me not:I wassickand in prisonand ye visited me not.  Then shall theyanswerunto HimLord when saw we thee an hungeredor athirstorastrangeror nakedor sickor in prisonand did not ministeruntothee?  Then shall he say unto themInasmuch as ye did it notto one ofthe least of these my brethrenye did it not to me."

St. Clareseemed struck with this last passagefor he read ittwice--thesecond time slowlyand as if he were revolving thewords inhis mind.

"Tom"he said"these folks that get such hard measure seemto havebeen doing just what I have--living goodeasyrespectablelives; and not troubling themselves to inquire how manyof theirbrethren were hungry or athirstor sickor in prison."

Tom didnot answer.

St. Clarerose up and walked thoughtfully up and down theverandahseeming to forget everything in his own thoughts; soabsorbedwas hethat Tom had to remind him twice that the teabellhad rungbefore he could get his attention.

St. Clarewas absent and thoughtfulall tea-time.  After teahe andMarie and Miss Ophelia took possession of the parloralmost insilence.

Mariedisposed herself on a loungeunder a silken mosquitocurtainand was soon sound asleep.  Miss Ophelia silently busiedherselfwith her knitting.  St. Clare sat down to the pianoandbeganplaying a soft and melancholy movement with the AEolianaccompaniment. He seemed in a deep reverieand to be soliloquizingto himselfby music.  After a littlehe opened one of the drawerstook outan old music-book whose leaves were yellow with ageandbeganturning it over.

"There"he said to Miss Ophelia"this was one of my mother'sbooks--andhere is her handwriting--come and look at it.She copiedand arranged this from Mozart's Requiem." MissOpheliacame accordingly.

"Itwas something she used to sing often" said St. Clare."Ithink I can hear her now."

He strucka few majestic chordsand began singing thatgrand oldLatin piecethe "Dies Irae."

Tomwhowas listening in the outer verandahwas drawn by thesound tothe very doorwhere he stood earnestly.  He did notunderstandthe wordsof course; but the music and manner of singingappearedto affect him stronglyespecially when St. Clare sangthe morepathetic parts.  Tom would have sympathized more heartilyif he hadknown the meaning of the beautiful words:

 

         Recordare Jesu pie
         Quod sum causa tuar viae
         Ne me perdasilla die
         Querens me sedisti lassus
         Redemisti crucem passus
         Tantus laor non sit cassus.

 

St. Clarethrew a deep and pathetic expression into the words;for theshadowy veil of years seemed drawn awayand he seemedto hearhis mother's voice leading his.  Voice and instrumentseemedboth livingand threw out with vivid sympathy those strainswhich theethereal Mozart first conceived as his own dying requiem.

When St.Clare had done singinghe sat leaning his head upon hishand a fewmomentsand then began walking up and down the floor.

"Whata sublime conception is that of a last judgment!"saidhe--"a righting of all the wrongs of ages!--a solving ofall moralproblemsby an unanswerable wisdom!  It isindeedawonderful image."

"Itis a fearful one to us" said Miss Ophelia.

"Itought to be to meI suppose" said St. Clare stoppingthoughtfully. "I was reading to Tomthis afternoonthat chapterin Matthewthat gives an account of itand I have been quite struckwith it. One should have expected some terrible enormities chargedto thosewho are excluded from Heavenas the reason; but no--theyarecondemned for _not_ doing positive goodas if that includedeverypossible harm."

"Perhaps"said Miss Ophelia"it is impossible for a personwho doesno good not to do harm."

"Andwhat" said St. Clarespeaking abstractedlybut withdeepfeeling"what shall be said of one whose own heartwhoseeducationand the wants of societyhave called in vain to somenoblepurpose; who has floated ona dreamyneutral spectator ofthestrugglesagoniesand wrongs of manwhen he should have beena worker?"

"Ishould say" said Miss Ophelia"that he ought to repentand beginnow."

"Alwayspractical and to the point!" said St. Clarehis facebreakingout into a smile.  "You never leave me any time forgeneralreflectionsCousin; you always bring me short up againstthe actualpresent; you have a kind of eternal _now_always inyourmind."

"_Now_is all the time I have anything to do with" saidMissOphelia.

"Dearlittle Eva--poor child!" said St. Clare"she hadset herlittle simple soul on a good work for me."

It was thefirst time since Eva's death that he had eversaid asmany words as these to herand he spoke now evidentlyrepressingvery strong feeling.

"Myview of Christianity is such" he added"that I think noman canconsistently profess it without throwing the whole weightof hisbeing against this monstrous system of injustice that liesat thefoundation of all our society; andif need besacrificinghimself inthe battle.  That isI mean that _I_ could not be aChristianotherwisethough I have certainly had intercourse witha greatmany enlightened and Christian people who did no such thing;and Iconfess that the apathy of religious people on this subjecttheir wantof perception of wrongs that filled me with horrorhaveengenderedin me more scepticism than any other thing."

"Ifyou knew all this" said Miss Ophelia"why didn't youdo it?"

"Obecause I have had only that kind of benevolence whichconsistsin lying on a sofaand cursing the church and clergy fornot beingmartyrs and confessors.  One can seeyou knowveryeasilyhow others ought to be martyrs."

"Wellare you going to do differently now?" said Miss Ophelia.

"Godonly knows the future" said St. Clare.  "I am braverthanI wasbecause I have lost all; and he who has nothing to losecan affordall risks."

"Andwhat are you going to do?"

"MydutyI hopeto the poor and lowlyas fast as I findit out"said St. Clare"beginning with my own servantsfor whomI have yetdone nothing; andperhapsat some future dayit mayappearthat I can do something for a whole class; something to savemy countryfrom the disgrace of that false position in which shenow standsbefore all civilized nations."

"Doyou suppose it possible that a nation ever willvoluntarilyemancipate?" said Miss Ophelia.

"Idon't know" said St. Clare.  "This is a day of greatdeeds.Heroismand disinterestedness are rising uphere and therein theearth.  The Hungarian nobles set free millions of serfsat animmense pecuniary loss; andperhapsamong us may befoundgenerous spiritswho do not estimate honor and justiceby dollarsand cents."

"Ihardly think so" said Miss Ophelia.

"Butsuppose we should rise up tomorrow and emancipatewho wouldeducatethese millionsand teach them how to use their freedom?They neverwould rise to do much among us.  The fact iswe aretoo lazyand unpracticalourselvesever to give them much ofan idea ofthat industry and energy which is necessary to formthem intomen.  They will have to go northwhere labor is thefashion--theuniversal custom; and tell menowis there enoughChristianphilanthropyamong your northern statesto bear withtheprocess of their education and elevation?  You send thousandsof dollarsto foreign missions; but could you endure to have theheathensent into your towns and villagesand give your timeandthoughtsand moneyto raise them to the Christian standard?That'swhat I want to know.  If we emancipateare you willingtoeducate?  How many familiesin your townwould take a negroman andwomanteach thembear with themand seek to makethemChristians?  How many merchants would take Adolphif I wantedto makehim a clerk; or mechanicsif I wanted him taught a trade?If Iwanted to put Jane and Rosa to a schoolhow many schools arethere inthe northern states that would take them in? how many familiesthat wouldboard them? and yet they are as white as many a womannorth orsouth.  You seeCousinI want justice done us.  We arein a badposition.  We are the more _obvious_ oppressors of thenegro; butthe unchristian prejudice of the north is an oppressoralmostequally severe."

"WellCousinI know it is so" said Miss Ophelia--"I know itwas sowith metill I saw that it was my duty to overcome it;butItrust I have overcome it; and I know there are many goodpeople atthe northwho in this matter need only to be _taught_what theirduty isto do it.  It would certainly be a greaterself-denialto receive heathen among usthan to send missionariesto them;but I think we would do it."

"_You_would I know" said St. Clare.  "I'd like to seeanythingyou wouldn't doif you thought it your duty!"

"WellI'm not uncommonly good" said Miss Ophelia.  "Otherswouldifthey saw things as I do.  I intend to take Topsy homewhen Igo.  I suppose our folks will wonderat first; but I thinkthey willbe brought to see as I do.  BesidesI know there aremanypeople at the north who do exactly what you said."

"Yesbut they are a minority; andif we should begin toemancipateto any extentwe should soon hear from you."

MissOphelia did not reply.  There was a pause of some moments;and St.Clare's countenance was overcast by a saddreamy expression.

"Idon't know what makes me think of my mother so muchtonight"he said." I have a strange kind of feelingas if she werenear me. I keep thinking of things she used to say.  Strangewhatbringsthese past things so vividly back to ussometimes!"

St. Clarewalked up and down the room for some minutesmoreandthen said

"Ibelieve I'll go down streeta few momentsand hearthe newstonight."

He tookhis hatand passed out.

Tomfollowed him to the passageout of the courtandasked ifhe should attend him.

"Nomy boy" said St. Clare.  "I shall be back in anhour."

Tom satdown in the verandah.  It was a beautiful moonlighteveningand he sat watching the rising and falling spray of thefountainand listening to its murmur.  Tom thought of his homeand thathe should soon be a free manand able to return to itat will. He thought how he should work to buy his wife and boys.He feltthe muscles of his brawny arms with a sort of joyas hethoughtthey would soon belong to himselfand how much they coulddo to workout the freedom of his family.  Then he thought of hisnobleyoung masterandever second to thatcame the habitualprayerthat he had always offered for him; and then his thoughtspassed onto the beautiful Evawhom he now thought of among theangels;and he thought till he almost fancied that that bright faceand goldenhair were looking upon himout of the spray of the fountain.Andsomusinghe fell asleepand dreamed he saw her coming boundingtowardshimjust as she used to comewith a wreath of jessaminein herhairher cheeks brightand her eyes radiant with delight;butas helookedshe seemed to rise from the ground; her cheekswore apaler hue--her eyes had a deepdivine radiancea goldenhaloseemed around her head--and she vanished from his sight; andTom wasawakened by a loud knockingand a sound of many voices atthe gate.

Hehastened to undo it; andwith smothered voices and heavytreadcame several menbringing a bodywrapped in a cloakand lyingon a shutter.  The light of the lamp fell full on theface; andTom gave a wild cry of amazement and despairthat rungthroughall the galleriesas the men advancedwith their burdento theopen parlor doorwhere Miss Ophelia still sat knitting.

St. Clarehad turned into a cafeto look over an evening paper.As he wasreadingan affray arose between two gentlemen in theroomwhowere both partially intoxicated.  St. Clare and oneor twoothers made an effort to separate themand St. Clarereceived afatal stab in the side with a bowie-knifewhich he wasattemptingto wrest from one of them.

The housewas full of cries and lamentationsshrieks andscreamsservants frantically tearing their hairthrowingthemselveson the groundor running distractedly aboutlamenting.Tom andMiss Ophelia alone seemed to have any presence of mind;for Mariewas in strong hysteric convulsions.  At Miss Ophelia'sdirectionone of the lounges in the parlor was hastily preparedand thebleeding form laid upon it.  St. Clare had faintedthroughpain and loss of blood; butas Miss Ophelia appliedrestorativeshe revivedopened his eyeslooked fixedly on themlookedearnestly around the roomhis eyes travelling wistfullyover everyobjectand finally they rested on his mother's picture.

Thephysician now arrivedand made his examination.  It wasevidentfrom the expression of his facethat there was no hope;but heapplied himself to dressing the woundand he and MissOpheliaand Tom proceeded composedly with this workamid thelamentationsand sobs and cries of the affrighted servantswhohadclustered about the doors and windows of the verandah.

"Now"said the physician"we must turn all these creaturesout; alldepends on his being kept quiet."

St. Clareopened his eyesand looked fixedly on the distressedbeingswhom Miss Ophelia and the doctor were trying to urgefrom theapartment.  "Poor creatures!" he saidand anexpressionof bitterself-reproach passed over his face.  Adolph absolutelyrefused togo.  Terror had deprived him of all presence of mind;he threwhimself along the floorand nothing could persuade himto rise. The rest yielded to Miss Ophelia's urgent representationsthat theirmaster's safety depended on their stillness and obedience.

St. Clarecould say but little; he lay with his eyes shutbutit wasevident that he wrestled with bitter thoughts.  After awhilehelaid his hand on Tom'swho was kneeling beside himand said"Tom! poor fellow!"

"WhatMas'r?" said Tomearnestly.

"I amdying!" said St. Clarepressing his hand; "pray!"

"Ifyou would like a clergyman--" said the physician.

St. Clarehastily shook his headand said again to Tommoreearnestly"Pray!"

And Tomdid praywith all his mind and strengthfor the soulthat waspassing--the soul that seemed looking so steadilyandmournfully from those largemelancholy blue eyes.  It wasliterallyprayer offered with strong crying and tears.

When Tomceased to speakSt. Clare reached out and took his handlookingearnestly at himbut saying nothing.  He closed his eyesbut stillretained his hold; forin the gates of eternitythe blackhand and the white hold each other with an equal clasp.Hemurmured softly to himselfat broken intervals

 

         "Recordare Jesu pie--
               *  *  *  *
          Ne me perdas--illa die
          Querens me--sedisti lassus."

 

It wasevident that the words he had been singing that eveningwerepassing through his mind--words of entreaty addressedtoInfinite Pity.  His lips moved at intervalsas parts of thehymn fellbrokenly from them.

"Hismind is wandering" said the doctor.

"No!it is coming HOMEat last!" said St. Clareenergetically;"atlast! at last!"

The effortof speaking exhausted him.  The sinking palenessof deathfell on him; but with it there fellas if shed from thewings ofsome pitying spirita beautiful expression of peacelikethat of awearied child who sleeps.

So he layfor a few moments.  They saw that the mighty handwas onhim.  Just before the spirit partedhe opened his eyeswitha suddenlightas of joy and recognitionand said _"Mother!"_and thenhe was gone!

 

 

CHAPTERXXIXTheUnprotected

 

We hearoften of the distress of the negro servantsonthe lossof a kind master; and with good reasonfor no creatureon God'searth is left more utterly unprotected and desolate thanthe slavein these circumstances.

The childwho has lost a father has still the protection offriendsand of the law; he is somethingand can do something--hasacknowledgedrights and position; the slave has none.  The lawregardshimin every respectas devoid of rights as a bale ofmerchandise. The only possible ackowledgment of any of the longingsand wantsof a human and immortal creaturewhich are given to himcomes tohim through the sovereign and irresponsible will of hismaster;and when that master is stricken downnothing remains.

The numberof those men who know how to use wholly irresponsiblepowerhumanely and generously is small.  Everybody knows thisand theslave knows it best of all; so that he feels that thereare tenchances of his finding an abusive and tyrannical masterto one ofhis finding a considerate and kind one.  Therefore isit thatthe wail over a kind master is loud and longas wellit may be.

When St.Clare breathed his lastterror and consternationtook holdof all his household.  He had been stricken down so ina momentin the flower and strength of his youth!  Every roomandgallery of the house resounded with sobs and shrieks of despair.

Mariewhose nervous system had been enervated by a constantcourse ofself-indulgencehad nothing to support the terror ofthe shockandat the time her husband breathed his lastwaspassingfrom one fainting fit to another; and he to whom she hadbeenjoined in the mysterious tie of marriage passed from herforeverwithout the possibility of even a parting word.

MissOpheliawith characteristic strength and self-controlhadremained with her kinsman to the last--all eyeall earallattention;doing everything of the little that could be doneandjoiningwith her whole soul in the tender and impassioned prayerswhich thepoor slave had poured forth for the soul of his dying master.

When theywere arranging him for his last restthey found uponhis bosoma smallplain miniature caseopening with a spring.It was theminiature of a noble and beautiful female face; and onthereverseunder a crystala lock of dark hair.  They laid themback onthe lifeless breast--dust to dust--poor mournful relicsof earlydreamswhich once made that cold heart beat so warmly!

Tom'swhole soul was filled with thoughts of eternity; and whileheministered around the lifeless clayhe did not once thinkthat thesudden stroke had left him in hopeless slavery.  He feltat peaceabout his master; for in that hourwhen he had pouredforth hisprayer into the bosom of his Fatherhe had found ananswer ofquietness and assurance springing up within himself.In thedepths of his own affectionate naturehe felt able toperceivesomething of the fulness of Divine love; for an old oraclehath thuswritten--"He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in GodandGod inhim."  Tom hoped and trustedand was at peace.

But thefuneral passedwith all its pageant of black crapeandprayersand solemn faces; and back rolled the coolmuddywaves of every-day life; and up came the everlastinghardinquiry of "What is to be done next?"

It rose tothe mind of Marieasdressed in loose morning-robesandsurrounded by anxious servantsshe sat up in a greateasy-chairand inspected samples of crape and bombazine.It rose toMiss Opheliawho began to turn her thoughts towardshernorthern home.  It rosein silent terrorsto the minds oftheservantswho well knew the unfeelingtyrannical character ofthemistress in whose hands they were left.  All knewvery wellthat theindulgences which had been accorded to them were not fromtheirmistressbut from their master; and thatnow he was gonetherewould be no screen between them and every tyrannous inflictionwhich atemper soured by affliction might devise.

It wasabout a fortnight after the funeralthat Miss Opheliabusied oneday in her apartmentheard a gentle tap at the door.She openeditand there stood Rosathe pretty young quadroonwhom wehave before often noticedher hair in disorderand hereyes swelled with crying.

"OMiss Feeley" she saidfalling on her kneesand catchingthe skirtof her dress"_dodo go_ to Miss Marie for me! doplead forme!  She's goin' to send me out to be whipped--look there!"And shehanded to Miss Ophelia a paper.

It was anorderwritten in Marie's delicate Italian handto themaster ofa whipping-establishment to give the bearer fifteen lashes.

"Whathave you been doing?" said Miss Ophelia.

"YouknowMiss FeelyI've got such a bad temper; it's verybad ofme.  I was trying on Miss Marie's dressand she slappedmy face;and I spoke out before I thoughtand was saucy; and shesaid thatshe'd bring me downand have me knowonce for allthatI wasn'tgoing to be so topping as I had been; and she wrote thisand says Ishall carry it.  I'd rather she'd kill meright out."

MissOphelia stood consideringwith the paper in her hand.

"YouseeMiss Feely" said Rosa"I don't mind the whippingso muchif Miss Marie or you was to do it; butto be sent to a_man!_ andsuch a horrid man--the shame of itMiss Feely!"

MissOphelia well knew that it was the universal custom to sendwomen andyoung girls to whipping-housesto the hands of thelowest ofmen--men vile enough to make this their profession--thereto besubjected to brutal exposure and shameful correction.  She had_known_ itbefore; but hitherto she had never realized ittillshe sawthe slender form of Rosa almost convulsed with distress.All thehonest blood of womanhoodthe strong New England blood oflibertyflushed to her cheeksand throbbed bitterly in herindignantheart; butwith habitual prudence and self-controlshemasteredherselfandcrushing the paper firmly in her handshemerelysaid to Rosa

"Sitdownchildwhile I go to your mistress."

"Shameful!monstrous! outrageous!" she said to herselfasshe wascrossing the parlor.

She foundMarie sitting up in her easy-chairwith Mammystandingby hercombing her hair; Jane sat on the ground beforeherbusyin chafing her feet.

"Howdo you find yourselftoday?" said Miss Ophelia.

A deepsighand a closing of the eyeswas the only replyfora moment;and then Marie answered"OI don't knowCousin;I supposeI'm as well as I ever shall be!" and Marie wiped her eyeswith acambric handkerchiefbordered with an inch deep of black.

"Icame" said Miss Opheliawith a shortdry coughsuch ascommonlyintroduces a difficult subject--"I came to speak withyou aboutpoor Rosa."

Marie'seyes were open wide enough nowand a flush roseto hersallow cheeksas she answeredsharply

"Wellwhat about her?"

"Sheis very sorry for her fault."

"Sheisis she?  She'll be sorrierbefore I've done with her!I'veendured that child's impudence long enough; and now I'llbring herdown--I'll make her lie in the dust!"

"Butcould not you punish her some other way--some waythat wouldbe less shameful?"

"Imean to shame her; that's just what I want.  She has allher lifepresumed on her delicacyand her good looksand herlady-likeairstill she forgets who she is;--and I'll give herone lessonthat will bring her downI fancy!"

"ButCousinconsider thatif you destroy delicacy anda sense ofshame in a young girlyou deprave her very fast."

"Delicacy!"said Mariewith a scornful laugh--"a fine wordfor suchas she!  I'll teach herwith all her airsthat she'sno betterthan the raggedest black wench that walks the streets!She'lltake no more airs with me!"

"Youwill answer to God for such cruelty!" said Miss Opheliawithenergy.

"Cruelty--I'dlike to know what the cruelty is!  I wrote ordersfor onlyfifteen lashesand told him to put them on lightly.I'm surethere's no cruelty there!"

"Nocruelty!" said Miss Ophelia.  "I'm sure any girl mightrather bekilled outright!"

"Itmight seem so to anybody with your feeling; but all thesecreaturesget used to it; it's the only way they can be keptin order. Once let them feel that they are to take any airs aboutdelicacyand all thatand they'll run all over youjust as myservantsalways have.  I've begun now to bring them under; and I'llhave themall to know that I'll send one out to be whippedas soonasanotherif they don't mind themselves!" said Marielookingaround herdecidedly.

Jane hungher head and cowered at thisfor she felt as if itwasparticularly directed to her.  Miss Ophelia sat for a momentas if shehad swallowed some explosive mixtureand were readyto burst. Thenrecollecting the utter uselessness of contentionwith sucha natureshe shut her lips resolutelygathered herselfupandwalked out of the room.

It washard to go back and tell Rosa that she could do nothingfor her;andshortly afterone of the man-servants came to saythat hermistress had ordered him to take Rosa with him to thewhipping-housewhither she was hurriedin spite of her tearsandentreaties.

A few daysafterTom was standing musing by the balconieswhen hewas joined by Adolphwhosince the death of his masterhad beenentirely crest-fallen and disconsolate.  Adolph knew thathe hadalways been an object of dislike to Marie; but while hismasterlived he had paid but little attention to it.  Now that hewas gonehe had moved about in daily dread and tremblingnotknowingwhat might befall him next.  Marie had held severalconsultationswith her lawyer; after communicating with St. Clare'sbrotherit was determined to sell the placeand all the servantsexcept herown personal propertyand these she intended to takewith herand go back to her father's plantation.

"Doye knowTomthat we've all got to be sold?" saidAdolphand go back to her father's plantation.

"Howdid you hear that?" said Tom.

"Ihid myself behind the curtains when Missis was talking withthelawyer.  In a few days we shall be sent off to auctionTom."

"TheLord's will be done!" said Tomfolding his arms andsighingheavily.

"We'llnever get another such a mastersaid Adolphapprehensively;"but I'd rather be sold than take my chanceunderMissis."

Tom turnedaway; his heart was full.  The hope of libertythethought ofdistant wife and childrenrose up before his patientsoulasto the mariner shipwrecked almost in port rises the visionof thechurch-spire and loving roofs of his native villageseenover thetop of some black wave only for one last farewell.  He drewhis armstightly over his bosomand choked back the bitter tearsand triedto pray.  The poor old soul had such a singularunaccountableprejudice in favor of libertythat it was a hardwrench forhim; and the more he said"Thy will be done" the worsehe felt.

He soughtMiss Opheliawhoever since Eva's deathhadtreatedhim with marked and respectful kindness.

"MissFeely" he said"Mas'r St. Clare promised me my freedom.He told methat he had begun to take it out for me; and nowperhapsif Miss Feely would be good enough to speak bout itto Mississhe would feel like goin' on with itwas it as Mas'rSt.Clare's wish."

"I'llspeak for youTomand do my best" said Miss Ophelia;"butif it depends on Mrs. St. ClareI can't hope much foryou;--neverthelessI will try."

Thisincident occurred a few days after that of RosawhileMissOphelia was busied in preparations to return north.

Seriouslyreflecting within herselfshe considered that perhapsshe hadshown too hasty a warmth of language in her formerinterviewwith Marie; and she resolved that she would now endeavortomoderate her zealand to be as conciliatory as possible.  Sothe goodsoul gathered herself upandtaking her knittingresolvedto go intoMarie's roombe as agreeable as possibleand negotiateTom's casewith all the diplomatic skill of which she was mistress.

She foundMarie reclining at length upon a loungesupportingherself onone elbow by pillowswhile Janewho had been outshoppingwas displaying before her certain samples of thin blackstuffs.

"Thatwill do" said Marieselecting one; "only I'm notsure aboutits being properly mourning."

"LawsMissis" said Janevolubly"Mrs. General Derbennonwore justthis very thingafter the General diedlast summer; itmakes uplovely!"

"Whatdo you think?" said Marie to Miss Ophelia.

"It'sa matter of customI suppose" said Miss Ophelia."Youcan judge about it better than I."

"Thefact is" said Marie"that I haven't a dress in the worldthat I canwear; andas I am going to break up the establishmentand gooffnext weekI must decide upon something."

"Areyou going so soon?"

"Yes. St. Clare's brother has writtenand he and the lawyerthink thatthe servants and furniture had better be put upatauctionand the place left with our lawyer."

"There'sone thing I wanted to speak with you about" saidMissOphelia.  "Augustine promised Tom his libertyand beganthelegalforms necessary to it.  I hope you will use your influenceto have itperfected."

"IndeedI shall do no such thing!" said Mariesharply.  "Tomisone of themost valuable servants on the place--it couldn't beaffordedany way.  Besideswhat does he want of liberty?  He's agreat dealbetter off as he is."

"Buthe does desire itvery earnestlyand his masterpromisedit" said Miss Ophelia.

"Idare say he does want it" said Marie; "they all want itjustbecause they are a discontented set--always wanting whattheyhaven't got.  NowI'm principled against emancipatinginany case. Keep a negro under the care of a masterand he doeswellenoughand is respectable; but set them freeand they getlazyandwon't workand take to drinkingand go all down tobe meanworthless fellowsI've seen it triedhundreds of times.It's nofavor to set them free."

"ButTom is so steadyindustriousand pious."

"Oyou needn't tell me!  I've see a hundred like him.He'll dovery wellas long as he's taken care of--that's all."

"Butthenconsider" said Miss Ophelia"when you sethim up forsalethe chances of his getting a bad master."

"Othat's all humbug!" said Marie; "it isn't one time ina hundredthat a good fellow gets a bad master; most masters aregoodforall the talk that is made.  I've lived and grown up herein theSouthand I never yet was acquainted with a master thatdidn'ttreat his servants well--quite as well as is worth while.I don'tfeel any fears on that head."

"Well"said Miss Opheliaenergetically"I know it wasone of thelast wishes of your husband that Tom should have hisliberty;it was one of the promises that he made to dear littleEva on herdeath-bedand I should not think you would feel atliberty todisregard it."

Marie hadher face covered with her handkerchief at this appealand begansobbing and using her smelting-bottlewith greatvehemence.

"Everybodygoes against me!" she said.  "Everybody is soinconsiderate! I shouldn't have expected that _you_ would bring upall theseremembrances of my troubles to me--it's so inconsiderate!But nobodyever does consider--my trials are so peculiar!  It's sohardthatwhen I had only one daughtershe should have beentaken!--andwhen I had a husband that just exactly suited me--andI'm sohard to be suited!--he should be taken!  And you seem to haveso littlefeeling for meand keep bringing it up to me socarelessly--whenyou know how it overcomes me!  I suppose you meanwell; butit is very inconsiderate--very!"  And Marie sobbedand gaspedfor breathand called Mammy to open the windowand tobring herthe camphor-bottleand to bathe her headand unhookherdress.  Andin the general confusion that ensuedMiss Opheliamade herescape to her apartment.

She sawat oncethat it would do no good to say anything more;for Mariehad an indefinite capacity for hysteric fits; andafterthiswhenever her husband's or Eva's wishes with regard totheservants were alluded toshe always found it convenient toset one inoperation.  Miss Opheliathereforedid the next bestthing shecould for Tom--she wrote a letter to Mrs. Shelby forhimstating his troublesand urging them to send to his relief.

The nextdayTom and Adolphand some half a dozen other servantsweremarched down to a slave-warehouseto await the convenienceof thetraderwho was going to make up a lot for auction.

 

 

CHAPTERXXXThe SlaveWarehouse

A slavewarehouse!  Perhaps some of my readers conjure up horriblevisions ofsuch a place.  They fancy some foulobscure densomehorrible_Tartarus "informisingenscui lumen ademptum."_ But noinnocent friend; in these days men have learned the art ofsinningexpertly and genteellyso as not to shock the eyes andsenses ofrespectable society.  Human property is high in themarket;and isthereforewell fedwell cleanedtendedandlookedafterthat it may come to sale sleekand strongandshining. A slave-warehouse in New Orleans is a house externallynot muchunlike many otherskept with neatness; and where everyday youmay see arrangedunder a sort of shed along the outsiderows ofmen and womenwho stand there as a sign of the propertysoldwithin.

Then youshall be courteously entreated to call and examineand shallfind an abundance of husbandswivesbrotherssistersfathersmothersand young childrento be "sold separatelyorin lots tosuit the convenience of the purchaser;" and that soulimmortalonce bought with blood and anguish by the Son of Godwhen theearth shookand the rocks rentand the graves wereopenedcan be soldleasedmortgagedexchanged for groceries ordry goodsto suit the phases of tradeor the fancy of the purchaser.

It was aday or two after the conversation between Marie and MissOpheliathat TomAdolphand about half a dozen others of theSt. Clareestatewere turned over to the loving kindness of Mr.Skeggsthe keeper of a depot on ---- streetto await the auctionnext day.

Tom hadwith him quite a sizable trunk full of clothingashad mostothers of them.  They were usheredfor the nightintoa longroomwhere many other menof all agessizesand shadesofcomplexionwere assembledand from which roars of laughterandunthinking merriment were proceeding.

"Ahha! that's right.  Go itboys--go it!" said Mr. Skeggsthekeeper.  "My people are always so merry!  SamboIsee!"he saidspeaking approvingly to a burly negro who was performingtricks oflow buffoonerywhich occasioned the shouts which Tomhad heard.

As mightbe imaginedTom was in no humor to join theseproceedings;andthereforesetting his trunk as far as possiblefrom thenoisy grouphe sat down on itand leaned his faceagainstthe wall.

Thedealers in the human article make scrupulous and systematicefforts topromote noisy mirth among themas a means ofdrowningreflectionand rendering them insensible to theircondition. The whole object of the training to which the negro isputfromthe time he is sold in the northern market till he arrivessouthissystematically directed towards making him callousunthinkingand brutal.  The slave-dealer collects his gang inVirginiaor Kentuckyand drives them to some convenienthealthyplace--oftena watering place--to be fattened.  Here they arefed fulldaily; andbecause some incline to pinea fiddle is keptcommonlygoing among themand they are made to dance daily; andhe whorefuses to be merry--in whose soul thoughts of wifeorchildorhomeare too strong for him to be gay--is marked assullen anddangerousand subjected to all the evils which the illwill of anutterly irresponsible and hardened man can inflictupon him. Brisknessalertnessand cheerfulness of appearanceespeciallybefore observersare constantly enforced upon themboth bythe hope of thereby getting a good masterand the fear ofall thatthe driver may bring upon them if they prove unsalable.

"Whatdat ar nigger doin here?" said Sambocoming up to Tomafter Mr.Skeggs had left the room.  Sambo was a full blackof greatsizevery livelyvolubleand full of trick and grimace.

"Whatyou doin here?" said Sambocoming up to Tomandpoking himfacetiously in the side.  "Meditatin'eh?"

"I amto be sold at the auctiontomorrow!" said Tomquietly.

"Soldat auction--haw! haw! boysan't this yer fun?  I wish'tI wasgwine that ar way!--tell yewouldn't I make em laugh?But how isit--dis yer whole lot gwine tomorrow?" said Sambolaying hishand freely on Adolph's shoulder.

"Pleaseto let me alone!" said Adolphfiercelystraighteninghimselfupwith extreme disgust.

"Lawnowboys! dis yer's one o' yer white niggers--kindo' creamcolorye knowscented!" said hecoming up to Adolphandsnuffing.  "O Lor! he'd do for a tobaccer-shop; they couldkeephim toscent snuff!  Lorhe'd keep a whole shope agwine--he would!"

"Isaykeep offcan't you?" said Adolphenraged.

"Lornowhow touchy we is--we white niggers!  Look atus now!"and Sambo gave a ludicrous imitation of Adolph's manner;"here'sde airs and graces.  We's been in a good familyI specs."

"Yes"said Adolph; "I had a master that could have boughtyou allfor old truck!"

"Lawsnowonly think" said Sambo"the gentlemens thatwe is!"

"Ibelonged to the St. Clare family" said Adolphproudly.

"Loryou did!  Be hanged if they ar'n't lucky to get shet of ye.Spectsthey's gwine to trade ye off with a lot o' crackedtea-potsand sich like!" said Sambowith a provoking grin.

Adolphenraged at this tauntflew furiously at his adversaryswearingand striking on every side of him.  The rest laughedandshoutedand the uproar brought the keeper to the door.

"Whatnowboys?  Order--order!" he saidcoming in andflourishinga large whip.

All fledin different directionsexcept Sambowhopresumingon the favor which the keeper had to him as a licensedwagstoodhis groundducking his head with a facetious grinwheneverthe master made a dive at him.

"LorMas'r'tan't us--we 's reglar stiddy--it's theseyer newhands; they 's real aggravatin'--kinder pickin' at usall time!"

Thekeeperat thisturned upon Tom and Adolphanddistributinga few kicks and cuffs without much inquiryandleavinggeneral orders for all to be good boys and go to sleepleft theapartment.

While thisscene was going on in the men's sleeping-roomthe readermay be curious to take a peep at the correspondingapartmentallotted to the women.  Stretched out in various attitudesover thefloorhe may see numberless sleeping forms of every shadeofcomplexionfrom the purest ebony to whiteand of all yearsfromchildhood to old agelying now asleep.  Here is a fine brightgirloften yearswhose mother was sold out yesterdayand whotonightcried herself to sleep when nobody was looking at her.Hereaworn old negresswhose thin arms and callous fingers tellof hardtoilwaiting to be sold tomorrowas a cast-off articlefor whatcan be got for her; and some forty or fifty otherswithheadsvariously enveloped in blankets or articles of clothingliestretchedaround them.  Butin a cornersitting apart from therestaretwo females of a more interesting appearance than common.One ofthese is a respectably-dressed mulatto woman between fortyand fiftywith soft eyes and a gentle and pleasing physiognomy.She has onher head a high-raised turbanmade of a gay red Madrashandkerchiefof the first qualityher dress is neatly fittedand ofgood materialshowing that she has been provided for witha carefulhand.  By her sideand nestling closely to heris ayoung girlof fifteen--her daughter.  She is a quadroonas maybe seenfrom her fairer complexionthough her likeness to hermother isquite discernible.  She has the same softdark eyewithlongerlashesand her curling hair is of a luxuriant brown.  Shealso isdressed with great neatnessand her whitedelicate handsbetrayvery little acquaintance with servile toil.  These two areto be soldtomorrowin the same lot with the St. Clare servants;and thegentleman to whom they belongand to whom the money fortheir saleis to be transmittedis a member of a Christian churchin NewYorkwho will receive the moneyand go thereafter to thesacramentof his Lord and theirsand think no more of it.

These twowhom we shall call Susan and Emmelinehad been thepersonalattendants of an amiable and pious lady of New Orleansby whomthey had been carefully and piously instructed and trained.They hadbeen taught to read and writediligently instructed inthe truthsof religionand their lot had been as happy an one asin theircondition it was possible to be.  But the only son oftheirprotectress had the management of her property; andbycarelessnessand extravagance involved it to a large amountandat lastfailed.  One of the largest creditors was the respectablefirm of B.& Co.in New York.  B. & Co. wrote to their lawyer inNewOrleanswho attached the real estate (these two articles anda lot ofplantation hands formed the most valuable part of it)and wroteword to that effect to New York.  Brother B.beingaswe havesaida Christian manand a resident in a free Statefeltsomeuneasiness on the subject.  He didn't like trading in slavesand soulsof men--of coursehe didn't; butthenthere were thirtythousanddollars in the caseand that was rather too much moneyto be lostfor a principle; and soafter much consideringandaskingadvice from those that he knew would advise to suit himBrother B.wrote to his lawyer to dispose of the business in theway thatseemed to him the most suitableand remit the proceeds.

The dayafter the letter arrived in New OrleansSusan andEmmelinewere attachedand sent to the depot to await a generalauction onthe following morning; and as they glimmer faintly uponus in themoonlight which steals through the grated windowwe maylisten totheir conversation.  Both are weepingbut each quietlythat theother may not hear.

"Motherjust lay your head on my lapand see if you can'tsleep alittle" says the girltrying to appear calm.

"Ihaven't any heart to sleepEm; I can't; it's the lastnight wemay be together!"

"Omotherdon't say so! perhaps we shall get soldtogether--whoknows?"

"If't was anybody's else caseI should say sotooEm"said thewoman; "but I'm so feard of losin' you that I don't seeanythingbut the danger."

"Whymotherthe man said we were both likelyand wouldsellwell."

Susanremembered the man's looks and words.  With a deadlysicknessat her heartshe remembered how he had looked at Emmeline'shandsandlifted up her curly hairand pronounced her a first-ratearticle. Susan had been trained as a Christianbrought up in thedailyreading of the Bibleand had the same horror of her child'sbeing soldto a life of shame that any other Christian mother mighthave; butshe had no hope--no protection.

"MotherI think we might do first rateif you could get a placeas cookand I as chambermaid or seamstressin some family.I dare saywe shall.  Let's both look as bright and livelyas we canand tell all we can doand perhaps we shall" saidEmmeline.

"Iwant you to brush your hair all back straighttomorrow"saidSusan.

"Whatformother? I don't look near so wellthat way."

"Yesbut you'll sell better so."

"Idon't see why!" said the child.

"Respectablefamilies would be more apt to buy youif theysaw youlooked plain and decentas if you wasn't trying tolookhandsome.  I know their ways better 'n you do" said Susan.

"Wellmotherthen I will."

"AndEmmelineif we shouldn't ever see each other againaftertomorrow--if I'm sold way up on a plantation somewhereandyousomewhere else--always remember how you've been brought upand allMissis has told you; take your Bible with youand yourhymn-book;and if you're faithful to the Lordhe'll be faithfulto you."

So speaksthe poor soulin sore discouragement; for sheknows thattomorrow any manhowever vile and brutalhowevergodlessand mercilessif he only has money to pay for hermaybecomeowner of her daughterbody and soul; and thenhow is thechild tobe faithful?  She thinks of all thisas she holds herdaughterin her armsand wishes that she were not handsome andattractive. It seems almost an aggravation to her to remember howpurely andpiouslyhow much above the ordinary lotshe has beenbroughtup.  But she has no resort but to _pray_; and many suchprayers toGod have gone up from those same trimneatly-arrangedrespectableslave-prisons--prayers which God has not forgottenas acoming day shall show; for it is written"Who causeth one oftheselittle ones to offendit were better for him that a millstonewerehanged about his neckand that he were drowned in the depthsof thesea."

The softearnestquiet moonbeam looks in fixedlymarkingthe barsof the grated windows on the prostratesleeping forms.The motherand daughter are singing together a wild and melancholydirgecommon as a funeral hymn among the slaves:

 

    "Owhere is weeping Mary?
     Owhere is weeping Mary?
        'Rived in the goodly land.
     She is dead and gone to Heaven;
     She is dead and gone to Heaven;
        'Rived in the goodly land."

 

Thesewordssung by voices of a peculiar and melancholysweetnessin an air which seemed like the sighing of earthy despairafterheavenly hopefloated through the dark prison rooms with apatheticcadenceas verse after verse was breathed out:

 

    "Owhere are Paul and Silas?
     Owhere are Paul and Silas?
        Gone to the goodly land.
     They are dead and gone to Heaven;
     They are dead and gone to Heaven;
        'Rived in the goodly land."

 

Sing onpoor souls!  The night is shortand the morningwill partyou forever!

But now itis morningand everybody is astir; and the worthyMr. Skeggsis busy and brightfor a lot of goods is to befitted outfor auction.  There is a brisk lookout on the toilet;injunctionspassed around to every one to put on their best faceand bespry; and now all are arranged in a circle for a last reviewbeforethey are marched up to the Bourse.

Mr.Skeggswith his palmetto on and his cigar in his mouthwalksaround to put farewell touches on his wares.

"How'sthis?" he saidstepping in front of Susan and Emmeline."Where'syour curlsgal?"

The girllooked timidly at her motherwhowith the smoothadroitnesscommon among her classanswers

"Iwas telling herlast nightto put up her hair smoothand neatand not havin' it flying about in curls; looks morerespectableso."

"Bother!"said the manperemptorilyturning to the girl;"yougo right alongand curl yourself real smart!"  He addedgiving acrack to a rattan he held in his hand"And be back inquicktimetoo!"

"Yougo and help her" he addedto the mother.  "Themcurlsmay make ahundred dollars difference in the sale of her."

 

Beneath asplendid dome were men of all nationsmoving to andfrooverthe marble pave.  On every side of the circular areawerelittle tribunesor stationsfor the use of speakers andauctioneers. Two of theseon opposite sides of the areawerenowoccupied by brilliant and talented gentlemenenthusiasticallyforcingupin English and French commingledthe bids of connoisseursin theirvarious wares.  A third oneon the other sidestillunoccupiedwas surrounded by a groupwaiting the moment of saleto begin. And here we may recognize the St. Clare servants--TomAdolphand others; and theretooSusan and Emmelineawaitingtheir turnwith anxious and dejected faces.  Various spectatorsintendingto purchaseor not intendingexaminingand commentingon theirvarious points and faces with the same freedom that a setof jockeysdiscuss the merits of a horse.

"HulloaAlf! what brings you here?" said a young exquisiteslappingthe shoulder of a sprucely-dressed young manwho wasexaminingAdolph through an eye-glass.

"Well!I was wanting a valetand I heard that St. Clare'slot wasgoing.  I thought I'd just look at his--"

"Catchme ever buying any of St. Clare's people!  Spoilt niggerseveryone.  Impudent as the devil!" said the other.

"Neverfear that!" said the first.  "If I get 'emI'll soonhave theirairs out of them; they'll soon find that they'veanotherkind of master to deal with than Monsieur St. Clare.'Pon mywordI'll buy that fellow.  I like the shape of him."

"You'llfind it'll take all you've got to keep him.  He'sdeucedlyextravagant!"

"Yesbut my lord will find that he _can't_ be extravagantwith_me_.  Just let him be sent to the calaboose a few timesandthoroughlydressed down!  I'll tell you if it don't bring him to asense ofhis ways!  OI'll reform himup hill and down--you'llsee. I buy himthat's flat!"

Tom hadbeen standing wistfully examining the multitude offacesthronging around himfor one whom he would wish to callmaster. And if you should ever be under the necessitysirofselectingout of two hundred menone who was to become yourabsoluteowner and disposeryou wouldperhapsrealizejust asTom didhow few there were that you would feel at all comfortablein beingmade over to.  Tom saw abundance of men--greatburlygruff men;littlechirpingdried men; long-favoredlankhardmen; andevery variety of stubbed-lookingcommonplace menwhopick uptheir fellow-men as one picks up chipsputting them intothe fireor a basket with equal unconcernaccording to theirconvenience;but he saw no St. Clare.

A littlebefore the sale commenceda shortbroadmuscular manin achecked shirt considerably open at the bosomand pantaloonsmuch theworse for dirt and wearelbowed his way through the crowdlike onewho is going actively into a business; andcoming up tothe groupbegan to examine them systematically.  From the momentthat Tomsaw him approachinghe felt an immediate and revoltinghorror athimthat increased as he came near.  He was evidentlythoughshortof gigantic strength.  His roundbullet headlargelight-grayeyeswith their shaggysandy eyebrowsand stiffwirysun-burned hairwere rather unprepossessing itemsit is tobeconfessed; his largecoarse mouth was distended with tobaccothe juiceof whichfrom time to timehe ejected from him withgreatdecision and explosive force; his hands were immensely largehairysun-burnedfreckledand very dirtyand garnished withlongnailsin a very foul condition.  This man proceeded to a veryfreepersonal examination of the lot.  He seized Tom by the jawand pulledopen his mouth to inspect his teeth; made him strip uphissleeveto show his muscle; turned him roundmade him jumpandspringto show his paces.

"Wherewas you raised?" he addedbrieflyto these investigations.

"InKintuckMas'r" said Tomlooking aboutas if for deliverance.

"Whathave you done?"

"Hadcare of Mas'r's farm" said Tom.

"Likelystory!" said the othershortlyas he passed on.He pauseda moment before Dolph; then spitting a discharge oftobacco-juiceon his well-blacked bootsand giving a contemptuousumphhewalked on.  Again he stopped before Susan and Emmeline.He put outhis heavydirty handand drew the girl towards him;passed itover her neck and bustfelt her armslooked at herteethandthen pushed her back against her motherwhose patientfaceshowed the suffering she had been going through at every motionof thehideous stranger.

The girlwas frightenedand began to cry.

"Stopthatyou minx!" said the salesman; "no whimperinghere--thesale is going to begin." And accordingly the sale begun.

Adolph wasknocked offat a good sumto the young gentlemenwho hadpreviously stated his intention of buying him; and theotherservants of the St. Clare lot went to various bidders.

"Nowup with youboy! d'ye hear?" said the auctioneer to Tom.

Tomstepped upon the blockgave a few anxious looks round;all seemedmingled in a commonindistinct noise--the clatter ofthesalesman crying off his qualifications in French and Englishthe quickfire of French and English bids; and almost in a momentcame thefinal thump of the hammerand the clear ring on the lastsyllableof the word _"dollars"_ as the auctioneer announced hispriceandTom was made over.--He had a master!

He waspushed from the block;--the shortbullet-headed manseizinghim roughly by the shoulderpushed him to one sidesayingina harsh voice"Stand there_you!_"

Tom hardlyrealized anything; but still the bidding wenton--rattingclatteringnow Frenchnow English.  Down goes thehammeragain--Susan is sold!  She goes down from the blockstopslookswistfully back--her daughter stretches her hands towards her.She lookswith agony in the face of the man who has boughther--arespectable middle-aged manof benevolent countenance.

"OMas'rplease do buy my daughter!"

"I'dlike tobut I'm afraid I can't afford it!" said thegentlemanlookingwith painful interestas the young girl mountedthe blockand looked around her with a frightened and timid glance.

The bloodflushes painfully in her otherwise colorless cheekher eyehas a feverish fireand her mother groans to seethat shelooks more beautiful than she ever saw her before.Theauctioneer sees his advantageand expatiates volubly inmingledFrench and Englishand bids rise in rapid succession.

"I'lldo anything in reason" said the benevolent-lookinggentlemanpressing in and joining with the bids.  In a few momentsthey haverun beyond his purse.  He is silent; the auctioneer growswarmer;but bids gradually drop off.  It lies now between anaristocraticold citizen and our bullet-headed acquaintance.Thecitizen bids for a few turnscontemptuously measuring hisopponent;but the bullet-head has the advantage over himboth inobstinacyand concealed length of purseand the controversy lastsbut amoment; the hammer falls--he has got the girlbody and soulunless Godhelp her!

Her masteris Mr. Legreewho owns a cotton plantation on theRedriver.  She is pushed along into the same lot with Tom andtwo othermenand goes offweeping as she goes.

Thebenevolent gentleman is sorry; butthenthe thing happensevery day!One sees girls and mothers cryingat these sales_always!_it can't be helped&c.; and he walks offwith hisacquisitionin another direction.

Two daysafterthe lawyer of the Christian firm of B. & Co.New Yorksend on their money to them.  On the reverse of thatdraftsoobtainedlet them write these words of the great Paymasterto whomthey shall make up their account in a future day:  _"Whenhe makethinquisition for bloodhe forgetteth not the cry of thehumble!"_

 

 

CHAPTERXXXIThe MiddlePassage

 

"Thouart of purer eyes than to behold eviland canst not look
uponiniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously
andholdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is
morerighteous than he?"                        --HAB. 1: 13.

 

On thelower part of a smallmean boaton the Red riverTomsat--chains on his wristschains on his feetand a weightheavierthan chains lay on his heart.  All had faded from hissky--moonand star; all had passed by himas the trees and bankswere nowpassingto return no more.  Kentucky homewith wife andchildrenand indulgent owners; St. Clare homewith all itsrefinementsand splendors; the golden head of Evawith its saint-likeeyes; theproudgayhandsomeseemingly carelessyet ever-kindSt. Clare;hours of ease and indulgent leisure--all gone! and inplacethereof_what_ remains?

It is oneof the bitterest apportionments of a lot of slaverythat thenegrosympathetic and assimilativeafter acquiringin arefined familythe tastes and feelings which form theatmosphereof such a placeis not the less liable to becomethebond-slave of the coarsest and most brutal--just as a chairor tablewhich once decorated the superb salooncomesat lastbatteredand defacedto the barroom of some filthy tavernor somelow hauntof vulgar debauchery.  The great difference isthat thetable andchair cannot feeland the _man_ can; for even a legalenactmentthat he shall be "takenreputedadjudged in lawto bea chattelpersonal" cannot blot out his soulwith its own privatelittleworld of memorieshopeslovesfearsand desires.

Mr. SimonLegreeTom's masterhad purchased slaves at oneplace andanotherin New Orleansto the number of eightanddriventhemhandcuffedin couples of two and twodown to thegoodsteamer Piratewhich lay at the leveeready for a trip upthe Redriver.

Having gotthem fairly on boardand the boat being offhe cameroundwith that air of efficiency which ever characterized himto take areview of them.  Stopping opposite to Tomwho had beenattiredfor sale in his best broadcloth suitwith well-starchedlinen andshining bootshe briefly expressed himself as follows:

"Standup."

Tom stoodup.

"Takeoff that stock!" andas Tomencumbered by his fettersproceededto do ithe assisted himby pulling itwith nogentlehandfrom his neckand putting it in his pocket.

Legree nowturned to Tom's trunkwhichprevious to thishehad beenransackingandtaking from it a pair of old pantaloonsanddilapidated coatwhich Tom had been wont to put on about hisstable-workhe saidliberating Tom's hands from the handcuffsandpointing to a recess in among the boxes

"Yougo thereand put these on."

Tomobeyedand in a few moments returned.

"Takeoff your boots" said Mr. Legree.

Tom didso.

"There"said the formerthrowing him a pair of coarsestoutshoessuch as were common among the slaves"put these on."

In Tom'shurried exchangehe had not forgotten to transferhischerished Bible to his pocket.  It was well he did so; for Mr.Legreehaving refitted Tom's handcuffsproceeded deliberately toinvestigatethe contents of his pockets.  He drew out a silkhandkerchiefand put it into his own pocket.  Several littletrifleswhich Tom had treasuredchiefly because they had amusedEvahelooked upon with a contemptuous gruntand tossed them overhisshoulder into the river.

Tom'sMethodist hymn-bookwhichin his hurryhe hadforgottenhe now held up and turned over.

Humph!piousto be sure.  Sowhat's yer name--you belongto thechurcheh?"

"YesMas'r" said Tomfirmly.

"WellI'll soon have _that_ out of you.  I have none o' yerbawlingprayingsinging niggers on my place; so remember.Nowmindyourself" he saidwith a stamp and a fierce glanceof hisgray eyedirected at Tom"_I'm_ your church now!Youunderstand--you've got to be as _I_ say."

Somethingwithin the silent black man answered _No!_ andas ifrepeatedby an invisible voicecame the words of an old propheticscrollasEva had often read them to him--"Fear not! for I haveredeemedthee.  I have called thee by name.  Thou art MINE!"

But SimonLegree heard no voice.  That voice is one he nevershallhear.  He only glared for a moment on the downcast faceof Tomand walked off.  He took Tom's trunkwhich contained avery neatand abundant wardrobeto the forecastlewhere it wassoonsurrounded by various hands of the boat.  With much laughingat theexpense of niggers who tried to be gentlementhe articlesveryreadily were sold to one and anotherand the empty trunkfinallyput up at auction.  It was a good jokethey all thoughtespeciallyto see how Tom looked after his thingsas they weregoing thisway and that; and then the auction of the trunkthatwasfunnier than alland occasioned abundant witticisms.

Thislittle affair being overSimon sauntered up again tohisproperty.

"NowTomI've relieved you of any extra baggageyou see.Takemighty good care of them clothes.  It'll be long enough 'foreyou getmore.  I go in for making niggers careful; one suit has todo for oneyearon my place."

Simon nextwalked up to the place where Emmeline was sittingchained toanother woman.

"Wellmy dear" he saidchucking her under the chin"keepup your spirits."

Theinvoluntary look of horrorfright and aversionwith whichthe girlregarded himdid not escape his eye.  He frowned fiercely.

"Noneo' your shinesgal! you's got to keep a pleasant facewhen Ispeak to ye--d'ye hear?  And youyou old yellow pocomoonshine!"he saidgiving a shove to the mulatto woman to whomEmmelinewas chained"don't you carry that sort of face!  You'sgot tolook chipperI tell ye!"

"Isayall on ye" he said retreating a pace or two back"lookat me--look at me--look me right in the eye--_straight_now!"said hestamping his foot at every pause.

As by afascinationevery eye was now directed to theglaringgreenish-gray eye of Simon.

"Now"said hedoubling his greatheavy fist into somethingresemblinga blacksmith's hammer"d'ye see this fist?  Heft it!"he saidbringing it down on Tom's hand.  "Look at these yer bones!WellItell ye this yer fist has got as hard as iron _knockingdownniggers_.  I never see the niggeryetI couldn't bring downwith onecrack" said hebringing his fist down so near to theface ofTom that he winked and drew back.  "I don't keep none o'yer cussedoverseers; I does my own overseeing; and I tell youthings_is_ seen to.  You's every one on ye got to toe the markI tell ye;quick--straight--the moment I speak.  That's the wayto keep inwith me.  Ye won't find no soft spot in menowhere.Sonowmind yerselves; for I don't show no mercy!"

The womeninvoluntarily drew in their breathand the wholegang satwith downcastdejected faces.  MeanwhileSimon turnedon hisheeland marched up to the bar of the boat for a dram.

"That'sthe way I begin with my niggers" he saidto agentlemanlymanwho had stood by him during his speech."It'smy system to begin strong--just let 'em know whattoexpect."

"Indeed!"said the strangerlooking upon him with thecuriosityof a naturalist studying some out-of-the-way specimen.

"Yesindeed.  I'm none o' yer gentlemen planterswith lilyfingersto slop round and be cheated by some old cuss of anoverseer! Just feel of my knucklesnow; look at my fist.Tell yesirthe flesh on 't has come jest like a stonepractisingon nigger--feel on it."

Thestranger applied his fingers to the implement inquestionand simply said

"'Tis hard enough; andI suppose" he added"practicehas madeyour heart just like it."

"WhyyesI may say so" said Simonwith a hearty laugh."Ireckon there's as little soft in me as in any one going.Tell younobody comes it over me!  Niggers never gets round meneitherwith squalling nor soft soap--that's a fact."

"Youhave a fine lot there."

"Real"said Simon.  "There's that Tomthey telled me he wassuthin'uncommon.  I paid a little high for himtendin' himfor adriver and a managing chap; only get the notions out thathe's larntby bein' treated as niggers never ought to behe'lldo prime! The yellow woman I got took in on.  I rayther think she'ssicklybut I shall put her through for what she's worth; shemay last ayear or two.  I don't go for savin' niggers.  Use upand buymore's my way;-makes you less troubleand I'm quitesure itcomes cheaper in the end;" and Simon sipped his glass.

"Andhow long do they generally last?" said the stranger.

"Welldonno; 'cordin' as their constitution is.  Stout fellerslast sixor seven years; trashy ones gets worked up in twoor three. I used towhen I fust begunhave considerable troublefussin'with 'em and trying to make 'em hold out--doctorin' on'em upwhen they's sickand givin' on 'em clothes and blanketsand whatnottryin' to keep 'em all sort o' decent and comfortable.Law'twasn't no sort o' use; I lost money on 'emand 't washeaps o'trouble.  Nowyou seeI just put 'em straight throughsick orwell.  When one nigger's deadI buy another; and I findit comescheaper and easierevery way."

Thestranger turned awayand seated himself beside a gentlemanwho hadbeen listening to the conversation with represseduneasiness.

"Youmust not take that fellow to be any specimen of Southernplanters"said he.

"Ishould hope not" said the young gentlemanwith emphasis.

"Heis a meanlowbrutal fellow!" said the other.

"Andyet your laws allow him to hold any number of humanbeingssubject to his absolute willwithout even a shadow ofprotection;andlow as he isyou cannot say that there are notmanysuch."

"Well"said the other"there are also many considerateand humanemen among planters."

"Granted"said the young man; "butin my opinionit is youconsideratehumane menthat are responsible for all thebrutalityand outrage wrought by these wretches; becauseif itwere notfor your sanction and influencethe whole system couldnot keepfoothold for an hour.  If there were no planters exceptsuch asthat one" said hepointing with his finger to Legreewho stoodwith his back to them"the whole thing would go down likeamillstone.  It is your respectability and humanity that licensesandprotects his brutality."

"Youcertainly have a high opinion of my good nature" said theplantersmiling"but I advise you not to talk quite so loudas thereare people on board the boat who might not be quite sotolerantto opinion as I am.  You had better wait till I get up tomyplantationand there you may abuse us allquite at your leisure."

The younggentleman colored and smiledand the two were soonbusy in agame of backgammon.  Meanwhileanother conversationwas goingon in the lower part of the boatbetween Emmeline andthemulatto woman with whom she was confined.  As was naturaltheywereexchanging with each other some particulars of their history.

"Whodid you belong to?" said Emmeline.

"Wellmy Mas'r was Mr. Ellis--lived on Levee-street.P'rapsyou've seen the house."

"Washe good to you?" said Emmeline.

"Mostlytill he tuk sick.  He's lain sickoff and onmorethan sixmonthsand been orful oneasy.  'Pears like he warntwillin' tohave nobody restday or night; and got so curoustherecouldn'tnobody suit him.  'Pears like he just grew crossereveryday; kepme up nights till I got farly beat outand couldn't keepawake nolonger; and cause I got to sleepone nightLorshe talkso orfulto meand he tell me he'd sell me to just the hardestmaster hecould find; and he'd promised me my freedomtoowhenhe died."

"Hadyou any friends?" said Emmeline.

"Yesmy husband--he's a blacksmith.  Mas'r gen'ly hiredhim out. They took me off so quickI didn't even have time tosee him;and I's got four children.  Odear me!" said the womancoveringher face with her hands.

It is anatural impulsein every onewhen they hear a taleofdistressto think of something to say by way of consolation.Emmelinewanted to say somethingbut she could not think of anythingto say. What was there to be said?  As by a common consenttheybothavoidedwith fear and dreadall mention of the horrible manwho wasnow their master.

Truethere is religious trust for even the darkest hour.Themulatto woman was a member of the Methodist churchand had anunenlightenedbut very sincere spirit of piety.  Emmeline had beeneducatedmuch more intelligently--taught to read and writeanddiligentlyinstructed in the Bibleby the care of a faithful andpiousmistress; yetwould it not try the faith of the firmestChristianto find themselves abandonedapparentlyof Godinthe graspof ruthless violence?  How much more must it shake thefaith ofChrist's poor little onesweak in knowledge and tenderin years!

The boatmoved on--freighted with its weight of sorrow--up theredmuddyturbid currentthrough the abrupt tortuous windingsof the Redriver; and sad eyes gazed wearily on the steep red-claybanksasthey glided by in dreary sameness.  At last the boatstopped ata small townand Legreewith his partydisembarked.

 

 

CHAPTERXXXIIDarkPlaces

 

"Thedark places of the earth are full of the habitations
Ofcruelty."

Trailingwearily behind a rude wagonand over a ruder roadTom andhis associates faced onward.

In thewagon was seated Simon Legree and the two womenstillfetteredtogetherwere stowed away with some baggage in theback partof itand the whole company were seeking Legree'splantationwhich lay a good distance off.

It was awildforsaken roadnow winding through dreary pinebarrenswhere the wind whispered mournfullyand now over logcausewaysthrough long cypress swampsthe doleful trees risingout of theslimyspongy groundhung with long wreaths of funeralblackmosswhile ever and anon the loathsome form of the mocassinsnakemight be seen sliding among broken stumps and shatteredbranchesthat lay here and thererotting in the water.

It isdisconsolate enoughthis ridingto the strangerwhowithwell-filled pocket and well-appointed horsethreads thelonely wayon some errand of business; but wilderdrearierto the manenthralledwhom every weary step bears further fromall thatman loves and prays for.

So oneshould have thoughtthat witnessed the sunken anddejectedexpression on those dark faces; the wistfulpatientwearinesswith which those sad eyes rested on object after objectthatpassed them in their sad journey.

Simon rodeonhoweverapparently well pleasedoccasionallypullingaway at a flask of spiritwhich he kept in his pocket.

"Isay_you!_" he saidas he turned back and caught aglance atthe dispirited faces behind him.  "Strike up a songboys--come!"

The menlooked at each otherand the "_come_" was repeatedwith asmart crack of the whip which the driver carried inhishands.  Tom began a Methodist hymn.

 

         "Jerusalemmy happy home
          Name ever dear to me!
          When shall my sorrows have an end
          Thy joys whenshall--"

 

"Shutupyou black cuss!" roared Legree; "did ye think Iwanted anyo' yer infernal old Methodism?  I saytune upnowsomething real rowdy--quick!"

One of theother men struck up one of those unmeaning songscommonamong the slaves.

 

         "Mas'r see'd me cotch a coon
          High boyshigh!
          He laughed to split--d'ye see the moon
          Ho! ho! ho! boysho!
          Ho! yo! hi--e! oh!"

 

The singerappeared to make up the song to his own pleasuregenerallyhitting on rhymewithout much attempt at reason; andthe partytook up the chorusat intervals

 
         "Ho! ho! ho! boysho!
          High--e--oh! high--e--oh!"

 

It wassung very boisteroulyand with a forced attempt atmerriment;but no wail of despairno words of impassioned prayercould havehad such a depth of woe in them as the wild notes ofthechorus.  As if the poordumb heartthreatened--prisoned--tookrefuge inthat inarticulate sanctuary of musicand found there alanguagein which to breathe its prayer to God!  There was a prayerin itwhich Simon could not hear.  He only heard the boys singingnoisilyand was well pleased; he was making them "keep up theirspirits."

"Wellmy little dear" said heturning to Emmelineandlaying hishand on her shoulder"we're almost home!"

WhenLegree scolded and stormedEmmeline was terrified; butwhen helaid his hand on herand spoke as he now didshe feltas if shehad rather he would strike her.  The expression of hiseyes madeher soul sickand her flesh creep.  Involuntarily sheclungcloser to the mulatto woman by her sideas if she werehermother.

"Youdidn't ever wear ear-rings" he saidtaking hold ofher smallear with his coarse fingers.

"NoMas'r!" said Emmelinetrembling and looking down.

"WellI'll give you a pairwhen we get homeif you'rea goodgirl.  You needn't be so frightened; I don't mean to makeyou workvery hard.  You'll have fine times with meand live likealady--only be a good girl."

Legree hadbeen drinking to that degree that he was inclining tobe verygracious; and it was about this time that the enclosuresof theplantation rose to view.  The estate had formerly belongedto agentleman of opulence and tastewho had bestowed someconsiderableattention to the adornment of his grounds.  Having diedinsolventit had been purchasedat a bargainby Legreewho useditas hedid everything elsemerely as an implement formoney-making. The place had that raggedforlorn appearancewhichis alwaysproduced by the evidence that the care of the formerowner hasbeen left to go to utter decay.

What wasonce a smooth-shaven lawn before the housedottedhere andthere with ornamental shrubswas now covered with frowsytangledgrasswith horseposts set uphere and therein itwherethe turfwas stamped awayand the ground littered with brokenpailscobs of cornand other slovenly remains.  Here and therea mildewedjessamine or honeysuckle hung raggedly from some ornamentalsupportwhich had been pushed to one side by being used as ahorse-post. What once was a large garden was now all grown overwithweedsthrough whichhere and theresome solitary exoticreared itsforsaken head.  What had been a conservatory had now nowindow-shadesand on the mouldering shelves stood some dryforsakenflower-potswith sticks in themwhose dried leaves showed theyhad oncebeen plants.

The wagonrolled up a weedy gravel walkunder a noble avenueof Chinatreeswhose graceful forms and ever-springing foliageseemed tobe the only things there that neglect could not dauntoralter--like noble spiritsso deeply rooted in goodnessas toflourish and grow stronger amid discouragement and decay.

The househad been large and handsome.  It was built in a mannercommon atthe South; a wide verandah of two stories running roundevery partof the houseinto which every outer door openedthelower tierbeing supported by brick pillars.

But theplace looked desolate and uncomfortable; some windowsstopped upwith boardssome with shattered panesand shuttershanging bya single hinge--all telling of coarse neglectanddiscomfort.

Bits ofboardstrawold decayed barrels and boxesgarnishedthe groundin all directions; and three or four ferocious-lookingdogsroused by the sound of the wagon-wheelscame tearing outand werewith difficulty restrained from laying hold of Tom andhiscompanionsby the effort of the ragged servants who cameafterthem.

"Yesee what ye'd get!" said Legreecaressing the dogswith grimsatisfactionand turning to Tom and his companions."Yesee what ye'd getif ye try to run off.  These yer dogs hasbeenraised to track niggers; and they'd jest as soon chaw one onye up aseat their supper.  Somind yerself!  How nowSambo!"he saidto a ragged fellowwithout any brim to his hatwho wasofficiousin his attentions.  "How have things been going?"

Fust rateMas'r."

"Quimbo"said Legree to anotherwho was making zealousdemonstrationsto attract his attention"ye minded what Itelledye?"

"GuessI diddidn't I?"

These twocolored men were the two principal hands on theplantation. Legree had trained them in savageness and brutalityassystematically as he had his bull-dogs; andby long practiceinhardness and crueltybrought their whole nature to about thesame rangeof capacities.  It is a common remarkand one that isthought tomilitate strongly against the character of the racethat thenegro overseer is always more tyrannical and cruel thanthe whiteone.  This is simply saying that the negro mind has beenmorecrushed and debased than the white.  It is no more true ofthis racethan of every oppressed racethe world over.  The slaveis alwaysa tyrantif he can get a chance to be one.

Legreelike some potentates we read of in historygovernedhisplantation by a sort of resolution of forces.  Sambo and Quimbocordiallyhated each other; the plantation handsone and allcordiallyhated them; andby playing off one against anotherhewas prettysurethrough one or the other of the three partiestogetinformed of whatever was on foot in the place.

Nobody canlive entirely without social intercourse; andLegreeencouraged his two black satellites to a kind of coarsefamiliaritywith him--a familiarityhoweverat any moment liableto get oneor the other of them into trouble; foron the slightestprovocationone of them always stood readyat a nodto be aministerof his vengeance on the other.

As theystood there now by Legreethey seemed an apt illustrationof thefact that brutal men are lower even than animals.Theircoarsedarkheavy features; their great eyesrollingenviouslyon each other; their barbarousgutturalhalf-bruteintonation;their dilapidated garments fluttering in the wind--wereall inadmirable keeping with the vile and unwholesome characterofeverything about the place.

"Hereyou Sambo" said Legree"take these yer boys down tothequarters; and here's a gal I've got for _you_" said heasheseparated the mulatto woman from Emmelineand pushed her towardshim;--"Ipromised to bring you oneyou know."

The womangave a startand drawing backsaidsuddenly

"OMas'r!  I left my old man in New Orleans."

"Whatof thatyou--; won't you want one here?  None o' yourwords--golong!" said Legreeraising his whip.

"Comemistress" he said to Emmeline"you go in here with me."

A darkwild face was seenfor a momentto glance at thewindow ofthe house; andas Legree opened the doora female voicesaidsomethingin a quickimperative tone.  Tomwho was lookingwithanxious interestafter Emmelineas she went innoticedthisandheard Legree answerangrily"You may hold your tongue!I'll do asI pleasefor all you!"

Tom heardno more; for he was soon following Sambo to the quarters.Thequarters was a little sort of street of rude shantiesin a rowin a part of the plantationfar off from the house.They had aforlornbrutalforsaken air.  Tom's heart sunk whenhe sawthem.  He had been comforting himself with the thought ofa cottagerudeindeedbut one which he might make neat and quietand wherehe might have a shelf for his Bibleand a place to bealone outof his laboring hours.  He looked into several; they weremere rudeshellsdestitute of any species of furnitureexcept aheap ofstrawfoul with dirtspread confusedly over the floorwhich wasmerely the bare groundtrodden hard by the tramping ofinnumerablefeet.

"Whichof these will be mine?" said heto Sambosubmissively.

"Dunno;ken turn in hereI spose" said Sambo; "spects thar'sroom foranother thar; thar's a pretty smart heap o' niggersto each on'emnow; sureI dunno what I 's to do with more."

 

It waslate in the evening when the weary occupants of theshantiescame flocking home--men and womenin soiled and tatteredgarmentssurly  and uncomfortableand in no mood to look pleasantlyonnew-comers.  The small village was alive with no invitingsounds;hoarseguttural voices contending at the hand-mills where theirmorsel ofhard corn was yet to be ground into mealto fit it forthe cakethat was to constitute their only supper.  From the earliestdawn ofthe daythey had been in the fieldspressed to workunder thedriving lash of the overseers; for it was now in the veryheat andhurry of the seasonand no means was left untried topressevery one up to the top of their capabilities.  "True"saysthenegligent lounger; "picking cotton isn't hard work." Isn't it?And itisn't much inconvenienceeitherto have one drop of waterfall onyour head; yet the worst torture of the inquisition isproducedby drop after dropdrop after dropfalling moment aftermomentwith monotonous successionon the same spot; and workinitself nothardbecomes soby being pressedhour after hourwithunvaryingunrelenting samenesswith not even the consciousnessoffree-will to take from its tediousness.  Tom looked in vainamong thegangas they poured alongfor companionable faces.He sawonly sullenscowlingimbruted menand feeblediscouragedwomenorwomen that were not women--the strong pushing away theweak--thegrossunrestricted animal selfishness of human beingsof whomnothing good was expected and desired; and whotreated inevery waylike bruteshad sunk as nearly to their level as it waspossiblefor human beings to do.  To a late hour in the night thesound ofthe grinding was protracted; for the mills were few innumbercompared with the grindersand the weary and feeble onesweredriven back by the strongand came on last in their turn.

"Hoyo!" said Sambocoming to the mulatto womanandthrowingdown a bag of corn before her; "what a cuss yo name?"

"Lucy"said the woman.

"WalLucyyo my woman now.  Yo grind dis yer cornandget _my_supper bakedye har?"

"Ian't your womanand I won't be!" said the womanwiththe sharpsudden courage of despair; "you go long!"

"I'llkick yothen!" said Samboraising his footthreateningly.

"Yemay kill meif ye choose--the sooner the better!Wish't Iwas dead!" said she.

"IsaySamboyou go to spilin' the handsI'll tell Mas'ro' you"said Quimbowho was busy at the millfrom which he hadviciouslydriven two or three tired womenwho were waiting togrindtheir corn.

"AndI'll tell him ye won't let the women come to the millsyo oldnigger!" said Sambo.  "Yo jes keep to yo own row."

Tom washungry with his day's journeyand almost faintfor wantof food.

"Tharyo!" said Quimbothrowing down a coarse bagwhichcontaineda peck of corn; "tharniggergrabtake car on 't--yowon't getno more_dis_ yer week."

Tom waitedtill a late hourto get a place at the mills; andthenmoved by the utter weariness of two womenwhom he sawtrying togrind their corn therehe ground for themput togetherthedecaying brands of the firewhere many had baked cakes beforethemandthen went about getting his own supper.  It was a newkind ofwork there--a deed of charitysmall as it was; but itwoke ananswering touch in their hearts--an expression of womanlykindnesscame over their hard faces; they mixed his cake for himand tendedits baking; and Tom sat down by the light of the fireand drewout his Bible--for he had need for comfort.

"What'sthat?" said one of the woman.

"ABible" said Tom.

"GoodLord! han't seen un since I was in Kentuck."

"Wasyou raised in Kentuck?" said Tomwith interest.

"Yesand well raisedtoo; never 'spected to come to disyer!"said the womansighing.

"What'sdat ar bookany way?" said the other woman.

"Whythe Bible."

"Lawsa me! what's dat?" said the woman.

"Dotell! you never hearn on 't?" said the other woman."Iused to har Missis a readin' on 'tsometimesin Kentuck; butlaws o'me! we don't har nothin' here but crackin' and swarin'."

"Reada pieceanyways!" said the first womancuriouslyseeing Tomattentively poring over it.

Tomread-- "Come unto Meall ye that labor and are heavyladenandI will give you rest."

"Them'sgood wordsenough" said the woman; "who says 'em?"

"TheLord" said Tom.

"Ijest wish I know'd whar to find Him" said the woman."Iwould go; 'pears like I never should get rested again.  My fleshis fairlysoreand I tremble all overevery dayand Sambo'sallers ajawin' at me'cause I doesn't pick faster; and nightsit's mostmidnight 'fore I can get my supper; and den 'pears likeI don'tturn over and shut my eyes'fore I hear de horn blow toget upand at it agin in de mornin'.  If I knew whar de Lor wasI'd tellhim."

"He'sherehe's everywhere" said Tom.

"Loryou an't gwine to make me believe dat ar!  I know deLord an'there" said the woman; "'tan't no use talkingthough.I's jestgwine to camp downand sleep while I ken."

The womenwent off to their cabinsand Tom sat alonebythesmouldering firethat flickered up redly in his face.

Thesilverfair-browed moon rose in the purple skyandlookeddowncalm and silentas God looks on the scene of miseryandoppression--looked calmly on the lone black manas he satwith hisarms foldedand his Bible on his knee.

"IsGod HERE?"  Ahhow is it possible for the untaught heartto keepits faithunswervingin the face of dire misruleandpalpableunrebuked injustice?  In that simple heart wageda fierceconflict; the crushing sense of wrongthe foreshadowingof a wholelife of future miserythe wreck of all past hopesmournfullytossing in the soul's sightlike dead corpses ofwifeandchildand friendrising from the dark waveandsurging inthe face of the half-drowned mariner!  Ahwas it easy_here_ tobelieve and hold fast the great password of Christianfaiththat "God ISand is the REWARDER of them that diligentlyseek Him"?

Tom rosedisconsolateand stumbled into the cabin that hadbeenallotted to him.  The floor was already strewn with wearysleepersand the foul air of the place almost repelled him; butthe heavynight-dews were chilland his limbs wearyandwrappingabout hima tattered blanketwhich formed his only bed-clothinghestretched himself in the straw and fell asleep.

In dreamsa gentle voice came over his ear; he was sittingon themossy seat in the garden by Lake Pontchartrainand Evawith herserious eyes bent downwardwas reading to him from theBible; andhe heard her read.

"Whenthou passest through the watersI will be with theeand therivers they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkestthroughthe firethou shalt not be burnedneither shall the flamekindleupon thee; for I am the Lord thy Godthe Holy One of IsraelthySaviour."

Graduallythe words seemed to melt and fadeas in a divinemusic; thechild raised her deep eyesand fixed them lovingly onhimandrays of warmth and comfort seemed to go from them to hisheart;andas if wafted on the musicshe seemed to rise on shiningwingsfrom which flakes and spangles of gold fell off like starsand shewas gone.

Tom woke. Was it a dream?  Let it pass for one.  But whoshall saythat that sweet young spiritwhich in life soyearned tocomfort and console the distressedwas forbiddenof God toassume this ministry after death?

 

         It is a beautiful belief
              That ever round our head
         Are hoveringon angel wings
              The spirits of the dead.

 

 

CHAPTERXXXIIICassy

 

"Andbeholdthe tears of such as were oppressedand they
had nocomforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was
powerbut they had no comforter."                                    --ECCL. 4:1

It tookbut a short time to familiarize Tom with all that was tobe hopedor feared in his new way of life.  He was an expert andefficientworkman in whatever he undertook; and wasboth fromhabit andprincipleprompt and faithful.  Quiet and peaceable inhisdispositionhe hopedby unremitting diligenceto avert fromhimself atleast a portion of the evils of his condition.  He sawenough ofabuse and misery to make him sick and weary; but hedeterminedto toil onwith religious patiencecommitting himselfto Himthat judgeth righteouslynot without hope that some way ofescapemight yet be opened to him.

Legreetook a silent note of Tom's availability.  He ratedhim as afirst-class hand; and yet he felt a secret dislike tohim--thenative antipathy of bad to good.  He sawplainlythatwhenaswas often the casehis violence and brutality fell onthehelplessTom took notice of it; forso subtle is the atmosphereofopinionthat it will make itself feltwithout words; and theopinioneven of a slave may annoy a master.  Tom in various waysmanifesteda tenderness of feelinga commiseration for hisfellow-sufferersstrange and new to themwhich was watched witha jealouseye by Legree.  He had purchased Tom with a view ofeventuallymaking him a sort of overseerwith whom he mightat timesintrust his affairsin short absences; andin his viewthe firstsecondand third requisite for that placewas _hardness_.Legreemade up his mindthatas Tom was not hard to his handhe wouldharden him forthwith; and some few weeks after Tom hadbeen onthe placehe determined to commence the process.

Onemorningwhen the hands were mustered for the fieldTomnoticedwith surprisea new comer among themwhose appearanceexcitedhis attention.  It was a womantall and slenderly formedwithremarkably delicate hands and feetand dressed in neat andrespectablegarments.  By the appearance of her faceshe mighthave beenbetween thirty-five and forty; and it was a face thatonce seencould never be forgotten--one of those thatat a glanceseem toconvey to us an idea of a wildpainfuland romantic history.Herforehead was highand her eyebrows marked with beautiful clearness.Herstraightwell-formed noseher finely-cut mouthand thegracefulcontour of her head and neckshowed that she must oncehave beenbeautiful; but her face was deeply wrinkled with linesof painand of proud and bitter endurance.  Her complexion wassallow andunhealthyher cheeks thinher features sharpandher wholeform emaciated.  But her eye was the most remarkablefeature--solargeso heavily blackovershadowed by long lashesof equaldarknessand so wildlymournfully despairing.  There wasa fiercepride and defiance in every line of her facein everycurve ofthe flexible lipin every motion of her body; but in hereye was adeepsettled night of anguish--an expression so hopelessandunchanging as to contrast fearfully with the scorn and prideexpressedby her whole demeanor.

Where shecame fromor who she wasTom did not know.  The firsthe didknowshe was walking by his sideerect and proudin thedim grayof the dawn.  To the ganghowevershe was known; forthere wasmuch looking and turning of headsand a smothered yetapparentexultation among the miserableraggedhalf-starvedcreaturesby whom she was surrounded.

"Gotto come to itat last--grad of it!" said one.

"He!he! he!" said another; "you'll know how good it isMisse!"

"We'llsee her work!"

"Wonderif she'll get a cutting upat nightlike the restof us!"

"I'dbe glad to see her down for a floggingI'll bound!"saidanother.

The womantook no notice of these tauntsbut walked onwiththe sameexpression of angry scornas if she heard nothing.Tom hadalways lived among refinedand cultivated peopleand hefeltintuitivelyfrom her air and bearingthat she belonged tothatclass; but how or why she could be fallen to those degradingcircumstanceshe could not tell.  The women neither looked at himnor spoketo himthoughall the way to the fieldshe kept closeat hisside.

Tom wassoon busy at his work; butas the woman was at no greatdistancefrom himhe often glanced an eye to herat her work.He sawata glancethat a native adroitness and handiness madethe taskto her an easier one than it proved to many.  She pickedvery fastand very cleanand with an air of scornas if shedespisedboth the work and the disgrace and humiliation of thecircumstancesin which she was placed.

In thecourse of the dayTom was working near the mulattowoman whohad been bought in the same lot with himself.  She wasevidentlyin a condition of great sufferingand Tom often heard herprayingas she wavered and trembledand seemed about to fall down.Tomsilently as he came near to hertransferred several handfulsof cottonfrom his own sack to hers.

"Odon'tdon't!" said the womanlooking surprised; "it'llget youinto trouble."

Just thenSambo came up.  He seemed to have a special spiteagainstthis woman; andflourishing his whipsaidin brutalgutturaltones"What dis yerLuce--foolin' a'" andwith thewordkicking the woman with his heavy cowhide shoehe struck Tomacross theface with his whip.

Tomsilently resumed his task; but the womanbefore atthe lastpoint of exhaustionfainted.

"I'llbring her to!" said the driverwith a brutal grin."I'llgive her something better than camphire!" andtaking a pinfrom hiscoat-sleevehe buried it to the head in her flesh.The womangroanedand half rose.  "Get upyou beastand workwill yeror I'll show yer a trick more!"

The womanseemed stimulatedfor a few momentsto anunnaturalstrengthand worked with desperate eagerness.

"Seethat you keep to dat ar" said the man"or yer'llwish yer'sdead tonightI reckin!"

"ThatI do now!"  Tom heard her say; and again he heard hersay"OLordhow long!  OLordwhy don't you help us?"

At therisk of all that he might sufferTom came forwardagainandput all the cotton in his sack into the woman's.

"Oyou mustn't! you donno what they'll do to ye!" saidthe woman.

"Ican bar it!" said Tom"better 'n you;" and he was athis placeagain.  It passed in a moment.

Suddenlythe stranger woman whom we have describedand whohadinthe course of her workcome near enough to hear Tom'slastwordsraised her heavy black eyesand fixed themfor asecondonhim; thentaking a quantity of cotton from her basketshe placedit in his.

"Youknow nothing about this place" she said"or you wouldn'thave donethat.  When you've been here a monthyou'll be donehelpinganybody; you'll find it hard enough to take care of yourown skin!"

"TheLord forbidMissis!" said Tomusing instinctively to hisfieldcompanion the respectful form proper to the high bredwith whomhe had lived.

"TheLord never visits these parts" said the womanbitterlyas shewent nimbly forward with her work; and again thescornfulsmile curled her lips.

But theaction of the woman had been seen by the driveracross thefield; andflourishing his whiphe came up to her.

"What!what!" he said to the womanwith an air of triumph"Youa foolin'?  Go along! yer under me now--mind yourselforyer'llcotch it!"

A glancelike sheet-lightning suddenly flashed from thoseblackeyes; andfacing aboutwith quivering lip and dilatednostrilsshe drew herself upand fixed a glanceblazing withrage andscornon the driver.

"Dog!"she said"touch _me_if you dare!  I've power enoughyettohave you torn by the dogsburnt alivecut to inches!I've onlyto say the word!"

"Whatde devil you here forden?" said the manevidentlycowedandsullenly retreating a step or two.  "Didn't mean noharmMisse Cassy!"

"Keepyour distancethen!" said the woman.  Andin truththeman seemedgreatly inclined to attend to something at the otherend of thefieldand started off in quick time.

The womansuddenly turned to her workand labored with adespatchthat was perfectly astonishing to Tom.  She seemed towork bymagic.  Before the day was throughher basket was filledcrowdeddownand piledand she had several times put largelyintoTom's.  Long after duskthe whole weary trainwith theirbaskets ontheir headsdefiled up to the building appropriated to thestoringand weighing the cotton.  Legree was therebusily conversingwith thetwo drivers.

"Datar Tom's gwine to make a powerful deal o' trouble; kepta puttin'into Lucy's basket.--One o' these yer dat will getall derniggers to feelin' busedif Masir don't watch him!"saidSambo.

"Hey-dey! The black cuss!" said Legree.  "He'll have toget abreakin' inwon't heboys?"

Bothnegroes grinned a horrid grinat this intimation.

"Ayay!  Let Mas'r Legree alonefor breakin' in!  De debilheselfcouldn't beat Mas'r at dat!" said Quimbo.

"Walboysthe best way is to give him the flogging to dotill hegets over his notions.  Break him in!"

"LordMas'r'll have hard work to get dat out o' him!"

"It'llhave to come out of himthough!" said Legreeashe rolledhis tobacco in his mouth.

"Nowdar's Lucy--de aggravatinestugliest wench on deplace!"pursued Sambo.

"TakecareSam; I shall begin to think what's the reasonfor yourspite agin Lucy."

"WellMas'r knows she sot herself up agin Mas'randwouldn'thave mewhen he telled her to."

"I'da flogged her into 't" said Legreespittingonlythere'ssuch a press o' workit don't seem wuth a while to upsether jistnow.  She's slender; but these yer slender gals will bearhalfkillin' to get their own way!"

"WalLucy was real aggravatin' and lazysulkin' round;wouldn'tdo nothin--and Tom he tuck up for her."

"Hedideh!  WalthenTom shall have the pleasure offloggingher.  It'll be a good practice for himand he won't putit on tothe gal like you devilsneither."

"Hoho! haw! haw! haw!" laughed both the sooty wretches;and thediabolical sounds seemedin trutha not unaptexpressionof the fiendish character which Legree gave them.

"WalbutMas'rTom and Misse Cassyand dey among 'emfilledLucy's basket.  I ruther guess der weight 's in itMas'r!"

"_Ido the weighing!_" said Legreeemphatically.

Both thedrivers again laughed their diabolical laugh.

"So!"he added"Misse Cassy did her day's work."

"Shepicks like de debil and all his angels!"

"She'sgot 'em all in herI believe!" said Legree; andgrowling abrutal oathhe proceeded to the weighing-room.

 

Slowly thewearydispirited creatureswound their wayinto theroomandwith crouching reluctancepresented theirbaskets tobe weighed.

Legreenoted on a slateon the side of which was pasteda list ofnamesthe amount.

Tom'sbasket was weighed and approved; and he lookedwith ananxiousglancefor the success of the woman he had befriended.

Totteringwith weaknessshe came forwardand deliveredherbasket.  It was of full weightas Legree well perceived; butaffectingangerhe said

"Whatyou lazy beast! short again! stand asideyou'llcatch itpretty soon!"

The womangave a groan of utter despairand sat down ona board.

The personwho had been called Misse Cassy now came forwardandwith ahaughtynegligent airdelivered her basket.  As she delivereditLegreelooked in her eyes with a sneering yet inquiring glance.

She fixedher black eyes steadily on himher lips moved slightlyand shesaid something in French.  What it wasno one knew; butLegree'sface became perfectly demoniacal in its expressionasshe spoke;he half raised his handas if to strike--a gesturewhich sheregarded with fierce disdainas she turned and walked away.

"Andnow" said Legree"come hereyou Tom.  You seeItelled yeI didn't buy ye jest for the common work; I mean topromoteyeand make a driver of ye; and tonight ye may jest aswell beginto get yer hand in.  Nowye jest take this yer gal andflog her;ye've seen enough on't to know how."

I begMas'r's pardon" said Tom; "hopes Mas'r won't set meat that. It's what I an't used to--never did--and can't dono waypossible."

"Ye'lllarn a pretty smart chance of things ye never did knowbeforeI've done with ye!" said Legreetaking up a cowhideandstriking Tom a heavy blow cross the cheekand following uptheinfliction by a shower of blows.

"There!"he saidas he stopped to rest; "nowwill ye tellme yecan't do it?"

"YesMas'r" said Tomputting up his handto wipe the bloodthattrickled down his face.  "I'm willin' to worknightand dayand work while there's life and breath in me; but thisyer thingI can't feel it right to do;--andMas'rI _never_ shalldoit--_never_!"

Tom had aremarkably smoothsoft voiceand a habituallyrespectfulmannerthat had given Legree an idea that he would becowardlyand easily subdued.  When he spoke these last wordsathrill ofamazement went through every one; the poor woman claspedher handsand said"O Lord!" and every one involuntarily lookedat eachother and drew in their breathas if to prepare for thestorm thatwas about to burst.

Legreelooked stupefied and confounded; but at last burstforth--"What!ye blasted black beast! tell _me_ ye don'tthink it_right_ to do what I tell ye!  What have any of you cussedcattle todo with thinking what's right?  I'll put a stop to it!Whywhatdo ye think ye are?  May be ye think ye'r a gentlemanmasterTomto be a telling your master what's rightand what ain't!So youpretend it's wrong to flog the gal!"

"Ithink soMas'r" said Tom; "the poor crittur's sick andfeeble;'t wouldbe downright crueland it's what I never will donorbegin to. Mas'rif you mean to kill mekill me; butas to myraising myhand agin any one hereI never shall--I'll die first!"

Tom spokein a mild voicebut with a decision that could notbemistaken.  Legree shook with anger; his greenish eyes glaredfiercelyand his very whiskers seemed to curl with passion; butlike someferocious beastthat plays with its victim before hedevoursithe kept back his strong impulse to proceed to immediateviolenceand broke out into bitter raillery.

"Wellhere's a pious dogat lastlet down among ussinners!--asainta gentlemanand no lessto talk to us sinnersabout oursins!  Powerful holy critterhe must be!  Hereyourascalyou makebelieve to be so pious--didn't you never hearout of yerBible`Servantsobey yer masters'?  An't I yer master?  Didn't Ipay downtwelve hundred dollarscashfor all there is insideyer oldcussed black shell?  An't yer minenowbody and soul?" hesaidgiving Tom a violent kick with his heavy boot; "tell me!"

In thevery depth of physical sufferingbowed by brutaloppressionthis question shot a gleam of joy and triumph throughTom'ssoul.  He suddenly stretched himself upandlooking earnestlyto heavenwhile the tears and blood that flowed down his facemingledhe exclaimed

"No!no! no! my soul an't yoursMas'r!  You haven't boughtit--yecan't buy it!  It's been bought and paid forby one thatis able tokeep it;--no matterno matteryou can't harm me!"

"Ican't!" said Legreewith a sneer; "we'll see--we'll see!HereSamboQuimbogive this dog such a breakin' in as hewon't getoverthis month!"

The twogigantic negroes that now laid hold of Tomwithfiendishexultation in their facesmight have formed no unaptpersonificationof powers of darkness.  The poor woman screamedwithapprehensionand all roseas by a general impulsewhiletheydragged him unresisting from the place.

 

 

CHAPTERXXXIVTheQuadroon's Story

 

Andbehold the tears of such as are oppressed; and on the side
oftheir oppressors there was power.  Wherefore I praised the
deadthat are already dead more than the living that are yet alive.                                       --ECCL. 4:1.

It waslate at nightand Tom lay groaning and bleeding aloneinan oldforsaken room of the gin-houseamong pieces of brokenmachinerypiles of damaged cottonand other rubbish which hadthereaccumulated.

The nightwas damp and closeand the thick air swarmed withmyriads ofmosquitoswhich increased the restless torture of hiswounds;whilst a burning thirst--a torture beyond all others--filledup theuttermost measure of physical anguish.

"Ogood Lord! _Do_ look down--give me the victory!--giveme thevictory over all!" prayed poor Tomin his anguish.

A footstepentered the roombehind himand the light ofa lanternflashed on his eyes.

"Who'sthere?  Ofor the Lord's massyplease give me some water!"

The womanCassy--for it was she--set down her lanternandpouringwater from a bottleraised his headand gave him drink.Anotherand another cup were drainedwith feverish eagerness.

"Drinkall ye want" she said; "I knew how it would be. It isn'tthe firsttime I've been out in the nightcarrying water tosuch asyou."

"ThankyouMissis" said Tomwhen he had done drinking.

"Don'tcall me Missis!  I'm a miserable slavelike yourself--alower onethan you can ever be!" said shebitterly; "but now"said shegoing to the doorand dragging in a small pallaiseoverwhich shehad spread linen cloths wet with cold water"trymypoorfellowto roll yourself on to this."

Stiff withwounds and bruisesTom was a long time inaccomplishingthis movement; butwhen donehe felt a sensiblerelieffrom the cooling application to his wounds.

The womanwhom long practice with the victims of brutality hadmadefamiliar with many healing artswent on to make manyapplicationsto Tom's woundsby means of which he was soonsomewhatrelieved.

"Now"said the womanwhen she had raised his head on a rollof damagedcottonwhich served for a pillow"there's thebest I cando for you."

Tomthanked her; and the womansitting down on the floordrewup herkneesand embracing them with her armslooked fixedlybeforeherwith a bitter and painful expression of countenance.Her bonnetfell backand long wavy streams of black hair fellaround hersingular and melancholy-face.

"It'sno usemy poor fellow!" she broke outat last"it's ofno usethis you've been trying to do.  You were a bravefellow--youhad the right on your side; but it's all in vainandout of thequestionfor you to struggle.  You are in the devil'shands;--heis the strongestand you must give up!"

Give up!andhad not human weakness and physical agony whisperedthatbefore?  Tom started; for the bitter womanwith her wildeyes andmelancholy voiceseemed to him an embodiment of thetemptationwith which he had been wrestling.

"OLord! O Lord!" he groaned"how can I give up?"

"There'sno use calling on the Lord--he never hears" saidthe womansteadily; "there isn't any GodI believe; orif thereishe'staken sides against us.  All goes against usheavenandearth.  Everything is pushing us into hell.  Why shouldn'twe go?"

Tom closedhis eyesand shuddered at the darkatheistic words.

"Yousee" said the woman"_you_ don't know anything aboutit--I do. I've been on this place five yearsbody and soulunder thisman's foot; and I hate him as I do the devil!  Here youareon alone plantationten miles from any otherin the swamps;not awhite person herewho could testifyif you were burnedalive--ifyou were scaldedcut into inch-piecesset up for thedogs totearor hung up and whipped to death.  There's no lawhereofGod or manthat can do youor any one of usthe leastgood; andthis man! there's no earthly thing that he's too goodto do. I could make any one's hair riseand their teeth chatterif Ishould only tell what I've seen and been knowing tohere--andit's nouse resisting!  Did I _want_ to live with him?  Wasn't I awomandelicately bred; and he--God in heaven! what was heandis he? And yetI've lived with himthese five yearsand cursedeverymoment of my life--night and day!  And nowhe's got a newone--ayoung thingonly fifteenand she brought upshe sayspiously.Her goodmistress taught her to read the Bible; and she's broughther Biblehere--to hell with her!"--and the woman laughed a wildanddoleful laughthat rungwith a strangesupernatural soundthroughthe old ruined shed.

Tom foldedhis hands; all was darkness and horror.

"OJesus!  Lord Jesus! have you quite forgot us poor critturs?"burstforthat last;-- "helpLordI perish!"

The womansternly continued:

"Andwhat are these miserable low dogs you work withthat youshouldsuffer on their account?  Every one of them would turnagainstyouthe first time they got a chance.  They are all of'em as lowand cruel to each other as they can be; there's no usein yoursuffering to keep from hurting them."

"Poorcritturs!" said Tom-- "what made 'em cruel?--andifI giveoutI shall get used to 'tand growlittle by littlejust like'em!  NonoMissis!  I've lost everything--wifeandchildrenand homeand a kind Mas'r--and he would have set mefreeifhe'd only lived a week longer; I've lost everything in_this_worldand it's clean goneforever--and now I _can't_ loseHeaventoo; noI can't get to be wickedbesides all!"

"Butit can't be that the Lord will lay sin to our account"said thewoman; "he won't charge it to uswhen we're forced toit; he'llcharge it to them that drove us to it."

"Yes"said Tom; "but that won't keep us from growing wicked.If I getto be as hard-hearted as that ar' Samboand as wickedit won'tmake much odds to me how I come so; it's the bein'so--thatar's what I'm a dreadin'."

The womanfixed a wild and startled look on Tomas if a newthoughthad struck her; and thenheavily groaningsaid

"OGod a' mercy! you speak the truth!  O--O--O!"--andwithgroansshe fell on the floorlike one crushed and writhing undertheextremity of mental anguish.

There wasa silencea whilein which the breathing of bothpartiescould be heardwhen Tom faintly said"OpleaseMissis!"

The womansuddenly rose upwith her face composed to itsusualsternmelancholy expression.

"PleaseMissisI saw 'em throw my coat in that ar' cornerand in mycoat-pocket is my Bible;--if Missis would please get itfor me."

Cassy wentand got it.  Tom openedat onceto a heavilymarkedpassagemuch wornof the last scenes in the life of Himby whosestripes we are healed.

"IfMissis would only be so good as read that ar'--it'sbetterthan water."

Cassy tookthe bookwith a dryproud airand looked overthepassage.  She then read aloudin a soft voiceand with abeauty ofintonation that was peculiarthat touching account ofanguishand of glory.  Oftenas she readher voice falteredandsometimesfailed her altogetherwhen she would stopwith an airof frigidcomposuretill she had mastered herself.  When she cameto thetouching words"Father forgive themfor they know not whatthey do"she threw down the bookandburying her face in the heavymasses ofher hairshe sobbed aloudwith a convulsive violence.

Tom wasweepingalsoand occasionally uttering a smotheredejaculation.

"Ifwe only could keep up to that ar'!" said Tom;--"it seemedto come sonatural to himand we have to fight so hard for 't!O Lordhelp us!  O blessed Lord Jesusdo help us!"

"Missis"said Tomafter a while"I can see thatsome howyou'requite 'bove me in everything; but there's one thing Missismightlearn even from poor Tom.  Ye said the Lord took sidesagainstusbecause he lets us be 'bused and knocked round; but yesee whatcome on his own Son--the blessed Lord of Glory--wan'the allayspoor? and have weany on usyet come so low as he come?The Lordhan't forgot us--I'm sartin' o' that ar'.  If we sufferwith himwe shall also reignScripture says; butif we deny Himhe alsowill deny us.  Didn't they all suffer?--the Lord andall his? It tells how they was stoned and sawn asunderand wanderedabout insheep-skins and goat-skinsand was destituteafflictedtormented. Sufferin' an't no reason to make us think the Lord'sturnedagin us; but jest the contraryif only we hold on to himanddoesn't give up to sin."

"Butwhy does he put us where we can't help but sin?" saidthe woman.

"Ithink we _can_ help it" said Tom.

"You'llsee" said Cassy; "what'll you do?  Tomorrow they'llbe at youagain.  I know 'em; I've seen all their doings; I can'tbear tothink of all they'll bring you to;--and they'll make yougive outat last!"

"LordJesus!" said Tom"you _will_ take care of my soul?O Lorddo!--don't let me give out!"

"Odear!" said Cassy; "I've heard all this crying and prayingbefore;and yetthey've been broken downand brought under.There'sEmmelineshe's trying to hold onand you'retrying--butwhat use?  You must give upor be killed by inches."

"WellthenI _will_ die!" said Tom.  "Spin it out as longasthey canthey can't help my dyingsome time!--andafter thatthey can'tdo no more.  I'm clarI'm set!  I _know_ the Lord'llhelp meand bring me through."

The womandid not answer; she sat with her black eyesintentlyfixed on the floor.

"Maybe it's the way" she murmured to herself; "but those that_have_given upthere's no hope for them!--none!  We live infilthandgrow loathsometill we loathe ourselves!  And we longto dieand we don't dare to kill ourselves!--No hope! no hope! nohope?--thisgirl now--just as old as I was!

"Yousee me now" she saidspeaking to Tom very rapidly;"seewhat I am!  WellI was brought up in luxury; the first Irememberisplaying aboutwhen I was a childin splendidparlors--whenI was kept dressed up like a dolland company andvisitorsused to praise me.  There was a garden opening from thesaloonwindows; and there I used to play hide-and-go-seekundertheorange-treeswith my brothers and sisters.  I went to aconventand there I learned musicFrench and embroideryandwhat not;and when I was fourteenI came out to my father's funeral.He diedvery suddenlyand when the property came to be settledthey foundthat there was scarcely enough to cover the debts; andwhen thecreditors took an inventory of the propertyI was set downin it. My mother was a slave womanand my father had always meantto set mefree; but he had not done itand so I was set down inthe list. I'd always known who I wasbut never thought much about it.Nobodyever expects that a stronghealthy man is going to die.My fatherwas a well man only four hours before he died;--it wasone of thefirst cholera cases in New Orleans.  The day after thefuneralmy father's wife took her childrenand went up to herfather'splantation.  I thought they treated me strangelybutdidn'tknow.  There was a young lawyer who they left to settle thebusiness;and he came every dayand was about the houseand spokeverypolitely to me.  He brought with himone daya young manwhom Ithought the handsomest I had ever seen.  I shall never forgetthatevening.  I walked with him in the garden.  I was lonesomeandfull ofsorrowand he was so kind and gentle to me; and he told methat hehad seen me before I went to the conventand that he hadloved me agreat whileand that he would be my friend andprotector;--inshortthough he didn't tell mehe had paid twothousanddollars for meand I was his property--I became hiswillinglyfor I loved him.  Loved!" said the womanstopping."Ohow I _did_ love that man!  How I love him now--and alwaysshallwhile I breathe!  He was so beautifulso highso noble!He put meinto a beautiful housewith servantshorsesandcarriagesand furnitureand dresses.  Everything that moneycould buyhe gave me; but I didn't set any value on all that--Ionly caredfor him.  I loved him better than my God and my own soulandif ItriedI couldn't do any other way from what he wanted me to.

"Iwanted only one thing--I did want him to _marry_ me. I thoughtif heloved me as he said he didand if I was what he seemedto think Iwashe would be willing to marry me and set me free.But heconvinced me that it would be impossible; and he toldme thatif we were only faithful to each otherit was marriagebeforeGod.  If that is truewasn't I that man's wife?  Wasn't Ifaithful? For seven yearsdidn't I study every look and motionand onlylive and breathe to please him?  He had the yellow feverand fortwenty days and nights I watched with him.  I alone--andgave himall his medicineand did everything for him; and then hecalled mehis good angeland said I'd saved his life.  We had twobeautifulchildren.  The first was a boyand we called him Henry.He was theimage of his father--he had such beautiful eyessuchaforeheadand his hair hung all in curls around it; and he hadall hisfather's spiritand his talenttoo.  Little Elisehesaidlooked like me.  He used to tell me that I was the mostbeautifulwoman in Louisianahe was so proud of me and the children.He used tolove to have me dress them upand take them and meabout inan open carriageand hear the remarks that people wouldmake onus; and he used to fill my ears constantly with the finethingsthat were said in praise of me and the children. Othosewere happydays!  I thought I was as happy as any one could be; butthen therecame evil times.  He had a cousin come to New Orleanswho washis particular friend--he thought all the world of him;--butfrom thefirst time I saw himI couldn't tell whyI dreaded him;for I feltsure he was going to bring misery on us.  He got Henryto goingout with himand often he would not come home nights tilltwo orthree o'clock.  I did not dare say a word; for Henry was sohighspiritedI was afraid to.  He got him to the gaming-houses; andhe was oneof the sort thatwhen he once got a going theretherewas noholding back.  And then he introduced him to another ladyand I sawsoon that his heart was gone from me.  He never told mebut I sawit--I knew itday after day--I felt my heart breakingbut Icould not say a word!  At thisthe wretch offered to buy meand thechildren of Henryto clear off his gamblng debtswhichstood inthe way of his marrying as he wished;--and _he sold us_.He toldmeone daythat he had business in the countryand shouldbe gonetwo or three weeks.  He spoke kinder than usualand saidhe shouldcome back; but it didn't deceive me.  I knew that thetime hadcome; I was just like one turned into stone; I couldn'tspeaknorshed a tear.  He kissed me and kissed the childrenagood manytimesand went out.  I saw him get on his horseand Iwatchedhim till he was quite out of sight; and then I fell downandfainted.

"Then_he_ camethe cursed wretch! he came to take possession.He told methat he had bought me and my children; and showed methepapers.  I cursed him before Godand told him I'd die soonerthan livewith him."

"`Justas you please' said he; `butif you don't behavereasonablyI'll sell both the childrenwhere you shall never seethemagain.'  He told me that he always had meant to have mefromthe firsttime he saw me; and that he had drawn Henry onand gothim indebton purpose to make him willing to sell me.  That hegot him inlove with another woman; and that I might knowafterall thatthat he should not give up for a few airs and tearsandthings ofthat sort.

"Igave upfor my hands were tied.  He had my children;--wheneverI resistedhis will anywherehe would talk about selling themand hemade me as submissive as he desired.  Owhat a life it was!to livewith my heart breakingevery day--to keep onononlovingwhen it was only misery; and to be boundbody and soulto one Ihated.  I used to love to read to Henryto play to himto waltzwith himand sing to him; but everything I did for thisone was aperfect drag--yet I was afraid to refuse anything.He wasvery imperiousand harsh to the children.  Elise was a timidlittlething; but Henry was bold and high-spiritedlike his fatherand he hadnever been brought underin the leastby any one.  He wasalwaysfinding faultand quarrelling with him; and I used to livein dailyfear and dread.  I tried to make the child respectful;--Itried tokeep them apartfor I held on to those children likedeath; butit did no good.  _He sold both those children_.  He tookme torideone dayand when I came homethey were nowhere tobe found! He told me he had sold them; he showed me the moneythe priceof their blood.  Then it seemed as if all good forsook me.I ravedand cursed--cursed God and man; andfor a whileI believehe reallywas afraid of me.  But he didn't give up so.  He told methat mychildren were soldbut whether I ever saw their facesagaindepended on him; and thatif I wasn't quietthey shouldsmart forit.  Wellyou can do anything with a womanwhen you'vegot herchildren.  He made me submit; he made me be peaceable; heflatteredme with hopes thatperhapshe would buy them back; andso thingswent ona week or two.  One dayI was out walkingandpassed bythe calaboose; I saw a crowd about the gateand hearda child'svoice--and suddenly my Henry broke away from two orthree menwho were holding the poor boy screamed and looked intomy faceand held on to meuntilin tearing him offthey torethe skirtof my dress half away; and they carried him inscreaming`Mother!mother! mother!'  There was one man stood there seemed topity me. I offered him all the money I hadif he'd only interfere.He shookhis headand said that the boy had been impudent anddisobedientever since he bought him; that he was going to breakhim inonce for all.  I turned and ran; and every step of the wayI thoughtthat I heard him scream.  I got into the house; ranallout ofbreathto the parlorwhere I found Butler.  I told himand beggedhim to go and interfere.  He only laughedand told methe boyhad got his deserts.  He'd got to be broken in--the soonerthebetter; `what did I expect?' he asked.

"Itseemed to me something in my head snappedat that moment.I feltdizzy and furious.  I remember seeing a great sharpbowie-knifeon the table; I remember something about catching itand flyingupon him; and then all grew darkand I didn't know anymore--notfor days and days.

"WhenI came to myselfI was in a nice room--but not mine.An oldblack woman tended me; and a doctor came to see meandthere wasa great deal of care taken of me.  After a whileIfound thathe had gone awayand left me at this house to be sold;and that'swhy they took such pains with me.

"Ididn't mean to get welland hoped I shouldn't; butin spiteof me thefever went off and I grew healthyand finally got up.Thentheymade me dress upevery day; and gentlemen used tocome inand stand and smoke their cigarsand look at meand askquestionsand debate my price.  I was so gloomy and silentthatnone ofthem wanted me.  They threatened to whip meif I wasn'tgayeranddidn't take some pains to make myself agreeable.  At lengthone daycame a gentleman named Stuart.  He seemed to have somefeelingfor me; he saw that something dreadful was on my heartand hecame to see me alonea great many timesand finallypersuadedme to tell him.  He bought meat lastand promisedto do allhe could to find and buy back my children.  He wentto thehotel where my Henry was; they told him he had been soldto aplanter up on Pearl river; that was the last that I ever heard.Then hefound where my daughter was; an old woman was keeping her.He offeredan immense sum for herbut they would not sell her.Butlerfound out that it was for me he wanted her; and he sent meword thatI should never have her.  Captain Stuart was very kindto me; hehad a splendid plantationand took me to it.  In thecourse ofa yearI had a son born.  Othat child!--how I loved it!How justlike my poor Henry the little thing looked!  But I hadmade up mymind--yesI had.  I would never again let a childlive togrow up!  I took the little fellow in my armswhenhe was twoweeks oldand kissed himand cried over him; and thenI gave himlaudanumand held him close to my bosomwhile he sleptto death. How I mourned and cried over it! and who ever dreamedthat itwas anything but a mistakethat had made me give it thelaudanum?but it's one of the few things that I'm glad ofnow.I am notsorryto this day; heat leastis out of pain.  Whatbetterthan death could I give himpoor child!  After a whilethecholeracameand Captain Stuart died; everybody died that wantedtolive--and I--Ithough I went down to death's door--_I lived!_Then I wassoldand passed from hand to handtill I grew fadedandwrinkledand I had a fever; and then this wretch bought meandbrought me here--and here I am!"

The womanstopped.  She had hurried on through her storywitha wildpassionate utterance; sometimes seeming to address itto Tomand sometimes speaking as in a soliloquy.  So vehement andoverpoweringwas the force with which she spokethatfor a seasonTom wasbeguiled even from the pain of his woundsandraising himselfon oneelbowwatched her as she paced restlessly up and downherlong blackhair swaying heavily about heras she moved.

"Youtell me" she saidafter a pause"that there is a God--aGod thatlooks down and sees all these things.  May be it's so.Thesisters in the convent used to tell me of a day of judgmentwheneverything is coming to light;--won't there be vengeancethen!

"Theythink it's nothingwhat we suffer--nothingwhat ourchildrensuffer!  It's all a small matter; yet I've walked thestreetswhen it seemed as if I had misery enough in my one heartto sinkthe city.  I've wished the houses would fall on meor thestonessink under me.  Yes! andin the judgment dayI will standup beforeGoda witness against those that have ruined me and mychildrenbody and soul!

"WhenI was a girlI thought I was religious; I used to loveGod andprayer.  NowI'm a lost soulpursued by devils thattorment meday and night; they keep pushing me on and on--and I'lldo ittoosome of these days!" she saidclenching her handwhile aninsane light glanced in her heavy black eyes.  "I'll sendhim wherehe belongs--a short waytoo--one of these nightsifthey burnme alive for it!"  A wildlong laugh rang through thedesertedroomand ended in a hysteric sob; she threw herself onthe floorin convulsive sobbing and struggles.

In a fewmomentsthe frenzy fit seemed to pass off; sheroseslowlyand seemed to collect herself.

"CanI do anything more for youmy poor fellow?" she saidapproachingwhere Tom lay; "shall I give you some more water?"

There wasa graceful and compassionate sweetness in her voiceandmanneras she said thisthat formed a strange contrastwith theformer wildness.

Tom drankthe waterand looked earnestly and pitifullyinto herface.

"OMissisI wish you'd go to him that can give you living waters!"

"Goto him!  Where is he?  Who is he?" said Cassy.

"Himthat you read of to me--the Lord."

"Iused to see the picture of himover the altarwhen Iwas agirl" said Cassyher dark eyes fixing themselves in anexpressionof mournful reverie; "but_he isn't here!_ there'snothingherebut sin and longlonglong despair!  O!"  Shelaidher landon her breast and drew in her breathas if to lift aheavyweight.

Tom lookedas if he would speak again; but she cut him shortwith adecided gesture.

"Don'ttalkmy poor fellow.  Try to sleepif you can."Andplacing water in his reachand making whatever littlearrangementsfor his comforts she couldCassy left the shed.

 

 

CHAPTERXXXVThe Tokens

 
         "And slightwithalmay be the things that bring
          Back on the heart the weight which it would fling
          Aside forever; it may be a sound
          A flowerthe windthe oceanwhich shall wound--
          Striking the electric chain wherewith we're darkly bound."                        CHILDE HAROLD'S PILGRIMAGECAN. 4.

 

Thesitting-room of Legree's establishment was a largelongroomwitha wideample fireplace.  It had once been hung witha showyand expensive paperwhich now hung moulderingtornanddiscoloredfrom the damp walls.  The place had that peculiarsickeningunwholesome smellcompounded of mingled dampdirt anddecaywhich one often notices in close old houses.  The wall-paperwasdefacedin spotsby slops of beer and wine; or garnished withchalkmemorandumsand long sums footed upas if somebody had beenpractisingarithmetic there.  In the fireplace stood a brazier fullof burningcharcoal; forthough the weather was not coldtheeveningsalways seemed damp and chilly in that great room; andLegreemoreoverwanted a place to light his cigarsand heat hiswater forpunch.  The ruddy glare of the charcoal displayed theconfusedand unpromising aspect of the room--saddlesbridlesseveralsorts of harnessriding-whipsovercoatsand variousarticlesof clothingscattered up and down the room in confusedvariety;and the dogsof whom we have before spokenhad encampedthemselvesamong themto suit their own taste and convenience.

Legree wasjust mixing himself a tumbler of punchpouring hishot waterfrom a cracked and broken-nosed pitchergrumblingas he didso

"Plagueon that Samboto kick up this yer row between me andthe newhands!  The fellow won't be fit to work for a weeknow--rightin the press of the season!"

"Yesjust like you" said a voicebehind his chair.  It wasthe womanCassywho had stolen upon his soliloquy.

"Hah!you she-devil! you've come backhave you?"

"YesI have" she saidcoolly; "come to have my own waytoo!"

"Youlieyou jade!  I'll be up to my word.  Either behaveyourselfor stay down to the quartersand fare and work withthe rest."

"I'dratherten thousand times" said the woman"live inthedirtiest hole at the quartersthan be under your hoof!"

"Butyou _are_ under my hooffor all that" said heturningupon herwith a savage grin; "that's one comfort.  Sositdown hereon my kneemy dearand hear to reason" said helayinghold on her wrist.

"SimonLegreetake care!" said the womanwith a sharp flashof hereyea glance so wild and insane in its light as tobe almostappalling.  "You're afraid of meSimon" she saiddeliberately;"and you've reason to be!  But be carefulfor I'vegot thedevil in me!"

The lastwords she whispered in a hissing toneclose tohis ear.

"Getout!  I believeto my soulyou have!" said Legreepushingher from himand looking uncomfortably at her."AfterallCassy" he said"why can't you be friends with meas youused to?"

"Usedto!" said shebitterly.  She stopped short--a wordof chokingfeelingsrising in her heartkept her silent.

Cassy hadalways kept over Legree the kind of influence thata strongimpassioned woman can ever keep over the most brutalman; butof lateshe had grown more and more irritable andrestlessunder the hideous yoke of her servitudeand herirritabilityat timesbroke out into raving insanity; and thisliabilitymade her a sort of object of dread to Legreewho hadthatsuperstitious horror of insane persons which is common tocoarse anduninstructed minds.  When Legree brought Emmeline tothe houseall the smouldering embers of womanly feeling flashedup in theworn heart of Cassyand she took part with the girl;and afierce quarrel ensued between her and Legree.  Legreein afuryswore she should be put to field serviceif she would notbepeaceable.  Cassywith proud scorndeclared she _would_ go tothefield.  And she worked there one dayas we have describedtoshow howperfectly she scorned the threat.

Legree wassecretly uneasyall day; for Cassy had an influenceover himfrom which he could not free himself.  When she presentedher basketat the scaleshe had hoped for some concessionandaddressed her in a sort of half conciliatoryhalf scornfultone; andshe had answered with the bitterest contempt.

Theoutrageous treatment of poor Tom had roused her stillmore; andshe had followed Legree to the housewith no particularintentionbut to upbraid him for his brutality.

"IwishCassy" said Legree"you'd behave yourselfdecently."

"_You_talk about behaving decently!  And what have you beendoing?--youwho haven't even sense enough to keep from spoilingone ofyour best handsright in the most pressing seasonjustfor yourdevilish temper!"

"Iwas a foolit's a factto let any such brangle come up"saidLegree; "butwhen the boy set up his willhe had to bebroke in."

"Ireckon you won't break _him_ in!"

"Won'tI?" said Legreerisingpassionately.  "I'd like toknow if Iwon't?  He'll be the first nigger that ever came itround me! I'll break every bone in his bodybut he _shall_give up!"

Just thenthe door openedand Sambo entered.  He cameforwardbowingand holding out something in a paper.

"What'sthatyou dog?" said Legree.

"It'sa witch thingMas'r!"

"Awhat?"

"Somethingthat niggers gets from witches.  Keeps 'em fromfeelin'when they 's flogged.  He had it tied round his neckwitha blackstring."

Legreelike most godless and cruel menwas superstitious.He tookthe paperand opened it uneasily.

Theredropped out of it a silver dollarand a longshiningcurl offair hair--hair whichlike a living thingtwined itselfroundLegree's fingers.

"Damnation!"he screamedin sudden passionstamping on thefloorandpulling furiously at the hairas if it burned him."Wheredid this come from?  Take it off!--burn it up!--burn it up!"hescreamedtearing it offand throwing it into the charcoal."Whatdid you bring it to me for?"

Sambostoodwith his heavy mouth wide openand aghast withwonder;and Cassywho was preparing to leave the apartmentstoppedand looked at him in perfect amazement.

"Don'tyou bring me any more of your devilish things!" said heshakinghis fist at Sambowho retreated hastily towards the door;andpicking up the silver dollarhe sent it smashing throughthewindow-paneout into the darkness.

Sambo wasglad to make his escape.  When he was goneLegreeseemed alittle ashamed of his fit of alarm.  He sat doggedlydown inhis chairand began sullenly sipping his tumblerof punch.

Cassyprepared herself for going outunobserved by him; andslippedaway to minister to poor Tomas we have already related.

And whatwas the matter with Legree? and what was there in asimplecurl of fair hair to appall that brutal manfamiliar withevery formof cruelty?  To answer thiswe must carry the readerbackwardin his history.  Hard and reprobate as the godless manseemednowthere had been a time when he had been rocked on thebosom of amother--cradled with prayers and pious hymns--his nowsearedbrow bedewed with the waters of holy baptism.  In earlychildhooda fair-haired woman had led himat the sound of Sabbathbelltoworship and to pray.  Far in New England that mother hadtrainedher only sonwith longunwearied loveand patient prayers.Born of ahard-tempered sireon whom that gentle woman had wasteda world ofunvalued loveLegree had followed in the steps ofhisfather.  Boisterousunrulyand tyrannicalhe despised all hercounseland would none of her reproof; andat an early agebrokefrom herto seek his fortunes at sea.  He never came home butonceafter; and thenhis motherwith the yearning of a heartthat mustlove somethingand has nothing else to loveclung tohimandsoughtwith passionate prayers and entreatiesto winhim from alife of sinto his soul's eternal good.

That wasLegree's day of grace; then good angels called him;then hewas almost persuadedand mercy held him by the hand.His heartinly relented--there was a conflict--but sin got thevictoryand he set all the force of his rough nature against theconvictionof his conscience.  He drank and swore--was wilder andmorebrutal than ever.  Andone nightwhen his motherin thelast agonyof her despairknelt at his feethe spurned her fromhim--threwher senseless on the floorandwith brutal cursesfled tohis ship.  The next Legree heard of his mother waswhenone nightas he was carousing among drunken companionsa letterwas putinto his hand.  He opened itand a lock of longcurlinghair fellfrom itand twined about his fingers.  The letter toldhim hismother was deadand thatdyingshe blest and forgave him.

There is adreadunhallowed necromancy of evilthat turnsthingssweetest and holiest to phantoms of horror and affright.That paleloving mother--her dying prayersher forgivinglove--wroughtin that demoniac heart of sin only as a damningsentencebringing with it a fearful looking for of judgment andfieryindignation.  Legree burned the hairand burned the letter;and whenhe saw them hissing and crackling in the flameinlyshudderedas he thought of everlasting fires.  He tried to drinkand reveland swear away the memory; but oftenin the deep nightwhosesolemn stillness arraigns the bad soul in forced communionwithherselfhe had seen that pale mother rising by his bedsideand feltthe soft twining of that hair around his fingerstillthe coldsweat would roll down his faceand he would spring fromhis bed inhorror.  Ye who have wondered to hearin the sameevangelthat God is loveand that God is a consuming fireseeye nothowto the soul resolved in evilperfect love is the mostfearfultorturethe seal and sentence of the direst despair?

"Blastit!" said Legree to himselfas he sipped his liquor;"wheredid he get that?  If it didn't look just like--whoo! I thoughtI'd forgotthat.  Curse meif I think there's any such thing asforgettinganythingany how--hang it!  I'm lonesome!  I mean tocall Em. She hates me--the monkey!  I don't care--I'll _make_her come!"

Legreestepped out into a large entrywhich went up stairsby whathad formerly been a superb winding staircase; but thepassage-waywas dirty and drearyencumbered with boxes andunsightlylitter.  The stairsuncarpetedseemed winding upin thegloomto nobody knew where!  The pale moonlightstreamedthrough a shattered fanlight over the door; theair wasunwholesome and chillylike that of a vault.

Legreestopped at the foot of the stairsand heard a voicesinging. It seemed strange and ghostlike in that dreary old houseperhapsbecause of the already tremulous state of his nerves.Hark! whatis it?

A wildpathetic voicechants a hymn common among theslaves:

 

         "O there'll be mourningmourningmourning
          O there'll be mourningat the judgment-seat of Christ!"

 

"Blastthe girl!" said Legree.  "I'll choke her.--Em! Em!" hecalledharshly; but only a mocking echo from the walls answered him.The sweetvoice still sung on:

 

         "Parents and children there shall part!
          Parents and children there shall part!
          Shall part to meet no more!"

And clearand loud swelled through the empty halls the refrain

 

         "O there'll be mourningmourningmourning
          O there'll be mourningat the judgment-seat of Christ!"

 

Legreestopped.  He would have been ashamed to tell of itbut largedrops of sweat stood on his foreheadhis heart beatheavy andthick with fear; he even thought he saw something whiterising andglimmering in the gloom before himand shuddered tothink whatif the form of his dead mother should suddenly appearto him.

"Iknow one thing" he said to himselfas he stumbled backin thesitting-roomand sat down; "I'll let that fellow aloneafterthis!  What did I want of his cussed paper?  I b'lieveI ambewitchedsure enough!  I've been shivering and sweatingeversince!  Where did he get that hair?  It couldn't havebeen_that!_ I burnt _that_ upI know I did!  It would be a jokeif haircould rise from the dead!"

AhLegree! that golden tress _was_ charmed; each hair hadin it aspell of terror and remorse for theeand was used by amightierpower to bind thy cruel hands from inflicting uttermostevil onthe helpless!

"Isay" said Legreestamping and whistling to the dogs"wakeupsome of youand keep me company!" but the dogs onlyopened oneeye at himsleepilyand closed it again.

"I'llhave Sambo and Quimbo up hereto sing and dance oneof theirhell dancesand keep off these horrid notions" saidLegree;andputting on his hathe went on to the verandahandblew ahornwith which he commonly summoned his two sable drivers.

Legree wasoften wontwhen in a gracious humorto get thesetwoworthies into his sitting-roomandafter warming them upwithwhiskeyamuse himself by setting them to singingdancingorfightingas the humor took him.

It wasbetween one and two o'clock at nightas Cassy wasreturningfrom her ministrations to poor Tomthat she heard thesound ofwild shriekingwhoopinghalloingand singingfrom thesitting-roommingled with the barking of dogsand other symptomsof generaluproar.

She cameup on the verandah stepsand looked in.  Legree andboth thedriversin a state of furious intoxicationweresingingwhoopingupsetting chairsand making all manner ofludicrousand horrid grimaces at each other.

She restedher smallslender hand on the window-blindandlookedfixedly at them;--there was a world of anguishscornand fiercebitternessin her black eyesas she did so."Wouldit be a sin to rid the world of such a wretch?"she saidto herself.

She turnedhurriedly awayandpassing round to a backdoorglided up stairsand tapped at Emmeline's door.

 

 

CHAPTERXXXVIEmmelineand Cassy

 

Cassyentered the roomand found Emmeline sittingpale withfearinthe furthest corner of it.  As she came inthe girlstarted upnervously; buton seeing who it wasrushed forwardandcatching her armsaid"O Cassyis it you?  I'm so gladyou'vecome! I was afraid it was--.  Oyou don't know what a horrid noisethere hasbeendown stairsall this evening!"

"Iought to know" said Cassydryly.  "I've heard itoften enough."

"OCassy! do tell me--couldn't we get away from this place?I don'tcare where--into the swamp among the snakes--anywhere!_Couldn't_we get _somewhere_ away from here?"

"Nowherebut into our graves" said Cassy.

"Didyou ever try?"

"I'veseen enough of trying and what comes of it" said Cassy.

"I'dbe willing to live in the swampsand gnaw the barkfromtrees.  I an't afraid of snakes!  I'd rather have one nearmethan him"said Emmelineeagerly.

"Therehave been a good many here of your opinion" said Cassy;"butyou couldn't stay in the swamps--you'd be tracked bythe dogsand brought backand then--then--"

"Whatwould he do?" said the girllookingwith breathlessinterestinto her face.

"What_wouldn't_ he doyou'd better ask" said Cassy."He'slearned his trade wellamong the pirates in the West Indies.Youwouldn't sleep muchif I should tell you things I've seen--thingsthat hetells ofsometimesfor good jokes.  I've heard screamshere thatI haven't been able to get out of my head for weeksandweeks.  There's a place way out down by the quarterswhere youcan see ablackblasted treeand the ground all covered withblackashes.  Ask anyone what was done thereand see if they willdare totell you."

"O!what do you mean?"

"Iwon't tell you.  I hate to think of it.  And I tell youtheLord onlyknows what we may see tomorrowif that poor fellowholds outas he's begun."

"Horrid!"said Emmelineevery drop of blood receding fromhercheeks.  "OCassydo tell me what I shall do!"

"WhatI've done.  Do the best you can--do what you must--andmake it upin hating and cursing."

"Hewanted to make me drink some of his hateful brandy"saidEmmeline; "and I hate it so--"

"You'dbetter drink" said Cassy.  "I hated ittoo; andnow Ican't live without it.  One must have something;--thingsdon't lookso dreadfulwhen you take that."

"Motherused to tell me never to touch any such thing"saidEmmeline.

"_Mother_told you!" said Cassywith a thrilling and bitteremphasison the word mother.  "What use is it for mothers to sayanything? You are all to be bought and paid forand your soulsbelong towhoever gets you.  That's the way it goes.  I say_drink_brandy;drink all you canand it'll make things come easier."

"OCassy! do pity me!"

"Pityyou!--don't I?  Haven't I a daughter--Lord knowswhere sheisand whose she isnow--going the way her motherwentbefore herI supposeand that her children must goafterher!  There's no end to the curse--forever!"

"Iwish I'd never been born!" said Emmelinewringing her hands.

"That'san old wish with me" said Cassy.  "I've got used towishingthat.  I'd dieif I dared to" she saidlooking outinto thedarknesswith that stillfixed despair which was thehabitualexpression of her face when at rest.

"Itwould be wicked to kill one's self" said Emmeline.

"Idon't know why--no wickeder than things we live and doday afterday.  But the sisters told me thingswhen I was intheconventthat make me afraid to die.  If it would only be theend of uswhythen--"

Emmelineturned awayand hid her face in her hands.

While thisconversation was passing in the chamberLegreeovercomewith his carousehad sunk to sleep in the room below.Legree wasnot an habitual drunkard.  His coarsestrong naturecravedand could endurea continual stimulationthat would haveutterlywrecked and crazed a finer one.  But a deepunderlyingspirit ofcautiousness prevented his often yielding to appetite insuchmeasure as to lose control of himself

Thisnighthoweverin his feverish efforts to banish from hismind thosefearful elements of woe and remorse which woke withinhimhehad indulged more than common; so thatwhen he had dischargedhis sableattendantshe fell heavily on a settle in the roomandwas soundasleep.

O! howdares the bad soul to enter the shadowy world ofsleep?--thatland whose dim outlines lie so fearfully near to themysticscene of retribution!  Legree dreamed.  In his heavy andfeverishsleepa veiled form stood beside himand laid a coldsoft handupon him.  He thought he knew who it was; and shudderedwithcreeping horrorthough the face was veiled.  Then hethought hefelt _that hair_ twining round his fingers; and thenthat itslid smoothly round his neckand tightened and tightenedand hecould not draw his breath; and then he thought voices_whispered_to him--whispers that chilled him with horror.  Thenit seemedto him he was on the edge of a frightful abyssholdingon andstruggling in mortal fearwhile dark hands stretched upand werepulling him over; and Cassy came behind him laughingandpushedhim.  And then rose up that solemn veiled figureand drewaside theveil.  It was his mother; and she turned away from himand hefell downdowndownamid a confused noise of shrieksandgroansand shouts of demon laughter--and Legree awoke.

Calmly therosy hue of dawn was stealing into the room.Themorning star stoodwith its solemnholy eye of lightlookingdown onthe man of sinfrom out the brightening sky.  Owith whatfreshnesswhat solemnity and beautyis each new day born; as ifto say toinsensate man"Behold! thou hast one more chance!_Strive_for immortal glory!"  There is no speech nor language wherethis voiceis not heard; but the boldbad man heard it not.  He wokewith anoath and a curse.  What to him was the gold and purplethe dailymiracle of morning!  What to him the sanctity of the starwhich theSon of God has hallowed as his own emblem?  Brute-likehe sawwithout perceiving; andstumbling forwardpoured out atumbler ofbrandyand drank half of it.

"I'vehad a h--l of a night!" he said to Cassywho justthenentered from an opposite door.

"You'llget plenty of the same sortby and by" said shedryly.

"Whatdo you meanyou minx?"

"You'llfind outone of these days" returned Cassyin thesametone.  "Now SimonI've one piece of advice to give you."

"Thedevilyou have!"

"Myadvice is" said Cassysteadilyas she began adjustingsomethings about the room"that you let Tom alone."

"Whatbusiness is 't of yours?"

"What? To be sureI don't know what it should be.  If youwant topay twelve hundred for a fellowand use him right up inthe pressof the seasonjust to serve your own spiteit's nobusinessof mineI've done what I could for him."

"Youhave?  What business have you meddling in my matters?"

"Noneto be sure.  I've saved you some thousands of dollarsatdifferent timesby taking care of your hands--that's all thethanks Iget.  If your crop comes shorter into market than any oftheirsyou won't lose your betI suppose?  Tompkins won't lord itover youI suppose--and you'll pay down your money like a ladywon'tyou?  I think I see you doing it!"

Legreelike many other plantershad but one form ofambition--tohave in the heaviest crop of the season--and he hadseveralbets on this very present season pending in the next town.Cassythereforewith woman's tacttouched the only string thatcould bemade to vibrate.

"WellI'll let him off at what he's got" said Legree;"buthe shall beg my pardonand promise better fashions."

"Thathe won't do" said Cassy.

"Won't--eh?"

"Nohe won't" said Cassy.

"I'dlike to know _why_Mistress" said Legreein theextreme ofscorn.

"Becausehe's done rightand he knows itand won't sayhe's donewrong."

"Whoa cuss cares what he knows?  The nigger shall say whatI pleaseor--"

"Oryou'll lose your bet on the cotton cropby keepinghim out ofthe fieldjust at this very press."

"Buthe _will_ give up--coursehe will; don't I know whatniggersis?  He'll beg like a dogthis morning."

He won'tSimon; you don't know this kind.  You may kill himbyinches--you won't get the first word of confession out of him."

"We'llsee--where is he?" said Legreegoing out.

"Inthe waste-room of the gin-house" said Cassy.

Legreethough he talked so stoutly to Cassystill sallied forthfrom thehouse with a degree of misgiving which was not commonwith him. His dreams of the past nightmingled with Cassy'sprudentialsuggestionsconsiderably affected his mind.  He resolvedthatnobody should be witness of his encounter with Tom; anddeterminedif he could not subdue him by bullyingto defer hisvengeanceto be wreaked in a more convenient season.

The solemnlight of dawn--the angelic glory of themorning-star--hadlooked in through the rude window of the shedwhere Tomwas lying; andas if descending on that star-beamcamethe solemnwords"I am the root and offspring of Davidand thebright andmorning star."  The mysterious warnings and intimationsof Cassyso far from discouraging his soulin the end had rousedit as witha heavenly call.  He did not know but that the day ofhis deathwas dawning in the sky; and his heart throbbed with solemnthroes ofjoy and desireas he thought that the wondrous _all_of whichhe had often pondered--the great white thronewith itseverradiant rainbow; the white-robed multitudewith voices asmanywaters; the crownsthe palmsthe harps--might all breakupon hisvision before that sun should set again.  Andthereforewithoutshuddering or tremblinghe heard the voice of his persecutoras he drewnear.

"Wellmy boy" said Legreewith a contemptuous kick"how doyou findyourself?  Didn't I tell yer I could larn yer a thingor two? How do yer like it--eh?

How didyer whaling agree with yerTom?  An't quite so crank as yewas lastnight.  Ye couldn't treat a poor sinnernowto a bit ofsermoncould ye--eh?"

Tomanswered nothing.

"Getupyou beast!" said Legreekicking him again.

This was adifficult matter for one so bruised and faint;andasTom made efforts to do soLegree laughed brutally.

"Whatmakes ye so sprythis morningTom?  Cotched coldmay belast night."

Tom bythis time had gained his feetand was confrontinghis masterwith a steadyunmoved front.

"Thedevilyou can!" said Legreelooking him over.  "Ibelieveyouhaven't got enough yet.  NowTomget right down on yerknees andbeg my pardonfor yer shines last night."

Tom didnot move.

"Downyou dog!" said Legreestriking him with hisriding-whip.

"Mas'rLegree" said Tom"I can't do it.  I did only whatI thoughtwas right.  I shall do just so againif ever thetimecomes.  I never will do a cruel thingcome what may."

"Yesbut ye don't know what may comeMaster Tom.  Ye thinkwhatyou've got is something.  I tell you 'tan't anything--nothing't all. How would ye like to be tied to a treeand have a slowfire litup around ye;--wouldn't that be pleasant--ehTom?"

"Mas'r"said Tom"I know ye can do dreadful things;but"--hestretched himself upward and clasped his hands--"butafterye've killed the bodythere an't no more ye can do.  And Othere'sall ETERNITY to comeafter that!"

ETERNITY--theword thrilled through the black man's soul withlight andpoweras he spoke; it thrilled through the sinner'ssoultoolike the bite of a scorpion.  Legree gnashed on himwith histeethbut rage kept him silent; and Tomlike a mandisenthralledspokein a clear and cheerful voice

"Mas'rLegreeas ye bought meI'll be a true and faithfulservant toye.  I'll give ye all the work of my handsall my timeall mystrength; but my soul I won't give up to mortal man.  I willhold on tothe Lordand put his commands before all--die or live;you may besure on 't.  Mas'r LegreeI ain't a grain afeard to die.I'd assoon die as not.  Ye may whip mestarve meburn me--it'llonly sendme sooner where I want to go."

"I'llmake ye give outthough'fore I've done!" saidLegreeina rage.

"Ishall have _help_" said Tom; "you'll never do it."

"Whothe devil's going to help you?" said Legreescornfully.

"TheLord Almighty" said Tom.

"D--nyou!" said Legreeas with one blow of his fist hefelled Tomto the earth.

A coldsoft hand fell on Legree's at this moment.  He turned--itwasCassy's; but the cold soft touch recalled his dream of thenightbeforeandflashing through the chambers of his braincame allthe fearful images of the night-watcheswith aportion ofthe horror that accompanied them.

"Willyou be a fool?" said Cassyin French.  "Let him go!Let mealone to get him fit to be in the field again.  Isn't itjust as Itold you?"

They saythe alligatorthe rhinocerosthough enclosed inbullet-proofmailhave each a spot where they are vulnerable; andfiercerecklessunbelieving reprobateshave commonly this pointinsuperstitious dread.

Legreeturned awaydetermined to let the point go for the time.

"Wellhave it your own way" he saiddoggedlyto Cassy.

"Harkye!" he said to Tom; "I won't deal with ye nowbecausethe business is pressingand I want all my hands;but I_never_ forget.  I'll score it against yeand sometimeI'll havemy pay out o' yer old black hide--mind ye!"

Legreeturnedand went out.

"Thereyou go" said Cassylooking darkly after him; "yourreckoning'sto comeyet!--My poor fellowhow are you?"

"TheLord God hath sent his angeland shut the lion'smouthforthis time" said Tom.

"Forthis timeto be sure" said Cassy; "but now you've gothis illwill upon youto follow you day inday outhanginglike a dogon your throat--sucking your bloodbleeding away yourlifedropby drop.  I know the man."

 

 

CHAPTERXXXVIILiberty

 

"Nomatter with what solemnities he may have been devoted
uponthe altar of slaverythe moment he touches the sacred soil
ofBritainthe altar and the God sink together in the dustand
hestands redeemedregeneratedand disenthralledby the irresistible
geniusof universal emancipation."                                     CURRAN.

 

A while wemust leave Tom in the hands of his persecutorswhile weturn to pursue the fortunes of George and his wifewhomwe left infriendly handsin a farmhouse on the road-side.

Tom Lokerwe left groaning and touzling in a most immaculatelycleanQuaker bedunder the motherly supervision of Aunt Dorcaswho foundhim to the full as tractable a patient as a sick bison.

Imagine atalldignifiedspiritual womanwhose clear muslincap shadeswaves of silvery hairparted on a broadclear foreheadwhichoverarches thoughtful gray eyes.  A snowy handkerchief oflissecrape is folded neatly across her bosom; her glossy brownsilk dressrustles peacefullyas she glides up and down the chamber.

"Thedevil!" says Tom Lokergiving a great throw to the bedclothes.

"Imust request theeThomasnot to use such language"says AuntDorcasas she quietly rearranged the bed.

"WellI won'tgrannyif I can help it" says Tom; "butit isenough to make a fellow swear--so cursedly hot!"

Dorcasremoved a comforter from the bedstraightened theclothesagainand tucked them in till Tom looked something likeachrysalis; remarkingas she did so

"Iwishfriendthee would leave off cursing and swearingand thinkupon thy ways."

"Whatthe devil" said Tom"should I think of _them_ for?Last thingever _I_ want to think of--hang it all!"  And Tomflouncedoveruntucking and disarranging everythingin amannerfrightful to behold.

"Thatfellow and gal are hereI 'spose" said hesullenlyafter apause.

"Theyare so" said Dorcas.

"They'dbetter be off up to the lake" said Tom; "thequickerthe better."

"Probablythey will do so" said Aunt Dorcasknitting peacefully.

"Andhark ye" said Tom; "we've got correspondents in Sanduskythat watchthe boats for us.  I don't care if I tellnow.I hopethey _will_ get awayjust to spite Marks--the cursedpuppy!--d--nhim!"

"Thomas!"said Dorcas.

"Itell yougrannyif you bottle a fellow up too tightI shallsplit"said Tom.  "But about the gal--tell 'em to dress her upsome wayso's to alter her.  Her description's out in Sandusky."

"Wewill attend to that matter" said Dorcaswithcharacteristiccomposure.

As we atthis place take leave of Tom Lokerwe may as wellsaythathaving lain three weeks at the Quaker dwellingsick witha rheumatic feverwhich set inin company withhis otherafflictionsTom arose from his bed a somewhatsadder andwiser man; andin place of slave-catchingbetookhimself tolife in one of the new settlementswhere his talentsdevelopedthemselves more happily in trapping bearswolvesandotherinhabitants of the forestin which he made himself quite aname inthe land.  Tom always spoke reverently of the Quakers."Nicepeople" he would say; "wanted to convert mebut couldn'tcome itexactly.  Buttell ye whatstrangerthey do fix up asickfellow first rate--no mistake.  Make jist the tallest kindo' brothand knicknacks."

As Tom hadinformed them that their party would be looked forinSanduskyit was thought prudent to divide them.  Jimwithhis oldmotherwas forwarded separately; and a night or two afterGeorge andElizawith their childwere driven privately intoSanduskyand lodged beneath a hospital roofpreparatory to takingtheir lastpassage on the lake.

Theirnight was now far spentand the morning star of libertyrose fairbefore them!--electric word!  What is it?  Is thereanythingmore in it than a name--a rhetorical flourish?  Whymenand womenof Americadoes your heart's blood thrill at that wordfor whichyour fathers bledand your braver mothers were willingthat theirnoblest and best should die?

Is thereanything in it glorious and dear for a nationthatis notalso glorious and dear for a man?  What is freedom toa nationbut freedom to the individuals in it?  What is freedom tothat youngmanwho sits therewith his arms folded over his broadchestthetint of African blood in his cheekits dark fires inhiseyes--what is freedom to George Harris?  To your fathersfreedomwas the right of a nation to be a nation.  To himit isthe rightof a man to be a manand not a brute; the right to callthe wifeof his bosom is wifeand to protect her from lawlessviolence;the right to protect and educate his child; the right tohave ahome of his owna religion of his owna character of hisownunsubject to the will of another.  All these thoughts wererollingand seething in George's breastas he was pensively leaninghis headon his handwatching his wifeas she was adapting to herslenderand pretty form the articles of man's attirein which itwas deemedsafest she should make her escape.

"Nowfor it" said sheas she stood before the glassand shookdown hersilky abundance of black curly hair.  "I sayGeorgeit'salmost a pityisn't it" she saidas she held up some ofitplayfully--"pity it's all got to come off?"

Georgesmiled sadlyand made no answer.

Elizaturned to the glassand the scissors glittered asone longlock after another was detached from her head.

"Therenowthat'll do" she saidtaking up a hair-brush;"nowfor a few fancy touches."

"Therean't I a pretty young fellow?" she saidturningaround toher husbandlaughing and blushing at the same time.

"Youalways will be prettydo what you will" said George.

"Whatdoes make you so sober?" said Elizakneeling on one kneeand layingher hand on his.  "We are only within twenty-fourhours ofCanadathey say.  Only a day and a night on the lakeandthen--ohthen!--"

"OEliza!" said Georgedrawing her towards him; "that is it!Now myfate is all narrowing down to a point.  To come so nearto bealmost in sightand then lose all.  I should never liveunder itEliza."

"Don'tfear" said his wifehopefully.  "The good Lord wouldnot havebrought us so farif he didn't mean to carry us through.I seem tofeel him with usGeorge."

"Youare a blessed womanEliza!" said Georgeclasping her withaconvulsive grasp.  "But--ohtell me! can this great mercybefor us? Will these years and years of misery come to an end?--shallwe befree?

"I amsure of itGeorge" said Elizalooking upwardwhiletears ofhope and enthusiasm shone on her longdark lashes."Ifeel it in methat God is going to bring us out of bondagethis veryday."

"Iwill believe youEliza" said Georgerising suddenly up"Iwill believe--come let's be off.  Wellindeed" said heholdingher off at arm's lengthand looking admiringly at her"you_are_ a pretty little fellow.  That crop of littleshortcurlsisquite becoming.  Put on your cap.  So--a little toone side. I never saw you look quite so pretty.  Butit's almosttime forthe carriage;--I wonder if Mrs. Smyth has got Harry rigged?"

The dooropenedand a respectablemiddle-aged womanenteredleading little Harrydressed in girl's clothes.

"Whata pretty girl he makes" said Elizaturning him round."Wecall him Harrietyou see;--don't the name come nicely?"

The childstood gravely regarding his mother in her new andstrangeattireobserving a profound silenceand occasionallydrawingdeep sighsand peeping at her from under his dark curls.

"DoesHarry know mamma?" said Elizastretching her handstowardhim.

The childclung shyly to the woman.

"ComeElizawhy do you try to coax himwhen you know thathe has gotto be kept away from you?"

"Iknow it's foolish" said Eliza; "yetI can't bear to havehim turnaway from me.  But come--where's my cloak?  Here--howis it menput on cloaksGeorge?"

"Youmust wear it so" said her husbandthrowing it overhisshoulders.

"Sothen" said Elizaimitating the motion--"and I muststampand takelong stepsand try to look saucy."

"Don'texert yourself" said George.  "There isnow andthena modestyoung man; and I think it would be easier for youto actthat character."

"Andthese gloves! mercy upon us!" said Eliza; "whymyhands arelost in them."

"Iadvise you to keep them on pretty strictly" said George."Yourslender paw might bring us all out.  NowMrs. Smythyouare to gounder our chargeand be our aunty--you mind."

"I'veheard" said Mrs. Smyth"that there have been men downwarningall the packet captains against a man and womanwitha littleboy."

"Theyhave!" said George.  "Wellif we see any such peoplewe cantell them."

A hack nowdrove to the doorand the friendly family who hadreceivedthe fugitives crowded around them with farewell greetings.

Thedisguises the party had assumed were in accordance withthe hintsof Tom Loker.  Mrs. Smytha respectable woman from thesettlementin Canadawhither they were fleeingbeing fortunatelyaboutcrossing the lake to return thitherhad consented to appearas theaunt of little Harry; andin order to attach him to herhe hadbeen allowed to remainthe two last daysunder her solecharge;and an extra amount of pettingjointed to an indefiniteamount ofseed-cakes and candyhad cemented a very close attachmenton thepart of the young gentleman.

The hackdrove to the wharf.  The two young menas they appearedwalked upthe plank into the boatEliza gallantly giving her armto Mrs.Smythand George attending to their baggage.

George wasstanding at the captain's officesettling forhis partywhen he overheard two men talking by his side.

"I'vewatched every one that came on board" said one"andI knowthey're not on this boat."

The voicewas that of the clerk of the boat.  The speakerwhom headdressed was our sometime friend Markswhowith thatvaluableperservance which characterized himhad come on toSanduskyseeking whom he might devour.

"Youwould scarcely know the woman from a white one" said Marks."Theman is a very light mulatto; he has a brand in one ofhishands."

The handwith which George was taking the tickets and changetrembled alittle; but he turned coolly aroundfixed an unconcernedglance onthe face of the speakerand walked leisurely towardanotherpart of the boatwhere Eliza stood waiting for him.

Mrs.Smythwith little Harrysought the seclusion of theladies'cabinwhere the dark beauty of the supposed little girldrew manyflattering comments from the passengers.

George hadthe satisfactionas the bell rang out its farewellpealtosee Marks walk down the plank to the shore; and drewa longsigh of reliefwhen the boat had put a returnlessdistancebetween them.

It was asuperb day.  The blue waves of Lake Erie dancedripplingand sparklingin the sun-light.  A fresh breeze blew fromthe shoreand the lordly boat ploughed her way right gallantlyonward.

Owhat anuntold world there is in one human heart!  Who thoughtas Georgewalked calmly up and down the deck of the steamerwith hisshy companion at his sideof all that was burning inhisbosom?  The mighty good that seemed approaching seemed too goodtoo faireven to be a reality; and he felt a jealous dreadeverymoment ofthe daythat something would rise to snatch it from him.

But theboat swept on.  Hours fleetedandat lastclear andfull rosethe blessed English shores; shores charmed by a mightyspell--withone touch to dissolve every incantation of slaveryno matterin what language pronouncedor by what nationalpowerconfirmed.

George andhis wife stood arm in armas the boat nearedthe smalltown of Amherstbergin Canada.  His breath grew thickand short;a mist gathered before his eyes; he silently pressedthe littlehand that lay trembling on his arm.  The bell rang; theboatstopped.  Scarcely seeing what he didhe looked out hisbaggageand gathered his little party.  The little company werelanded onthe shore.  They stood still till the boat had cleared;and thenwith tears and embracingsthe husband and wifewiththeirwondering child in their armsknelt down and lifted up theirhearts toGod!

 
         "'T was something like the burst from death to life;
              From the grave's cerements to the robes of heaven;
          From sin's dominionand from passion's strife
              To the pure freedom of a soul forgiven;
              Where all the bonds of death and hell are riven
          And mortal puts on immortality
          When Mercy's hand hath turned the golden key
          And Mercy's voice hath said- Rejoicethy soul is free."

 

The littleparty were soon guidedby Mrs. Smythto thehospitableabode of a good missionarywhom Christian charity hasplacedhere as a shepherd to the outcast and wanderingwho areconstantlyfinding an asylum on this shore.

Who canspeak the blessedness of that first day of freedom?Is not the_sense_ of liberty a higher and a finer one than any ofthe five? To movespeak and breathe--go out and come in unwatchedand freefrom danger!  Who can speak the blessings of that restwhichcomes down on the free man's pillowunder laws which insureto him therights that God has given to man?  How fair and preciousto thatmother was that sleeping child's faceendeared by the memoryof athousand dangers!  How impossible was it to sleepin theexuberantposession of such blessedness!  And yetthese two hadnot oneacre of ground--not a roof that they could call theirown--theyhad spent their allto the last dollar.  They hadnothingmore than the birds of the airor the flowers of thefield--yetthey could not sleep for joy.  "Oye who take freedomfrom manwith what words shall ye answer it to God?"

 

 

CHAPTERXXXVIIITheVictory

 

"Thanksbe unto Godwho giveth us the victory."

Have notmany of usin the weary way of lifefeltinsomehourshow far easier it were to die than to live?

Themartyrwhen faced even by a death of bodily anguish andhorrorfinds in the very terror of his doom a strong stimulantandtonic.  There is a vivid excitementa thrill and fervorwhichmay carrythrough any crisis of suffering that is the birth-hourof eternalglory and rest.

But tolive--to wear onday after dayof meanbitterlowharassingservitudeevery nerve dampened and depressedeverypower offeeling gradually smothered--this long and wastingheart-martyrdomthis slowdaily bleeding away of the inward lifedrop bydrophour after hour--this is the true searching test ofwhat theremay be in man or woman.

When Tomstood face to face with his persecutorand heard histhreatsand thought in his very soul that his hour was comehis heartswelled bravely in himand he thought he could beartortureand firebear anythingwith the vision of Jesus and heavenbut just astep beyond; butwhen he was goneand the presentexcitementpassed offcame back the pain of his bruised and wearylimbs--cameback the sense of his utterly degradedhopelessforlornestate; and the day passed wearily enough.

Longbefore his wounds were healedLegree insisted that heshould beput to the regular field-work; and then came day afterday ofpain and wearinessaggravated by every kind of injusticeandindignity that the ill-will of a mean and malicious mind coulddevise. Whoeverin _our_ circumstanceshas made trial of paineven withall the alleviations whichfor ususually attend itmust knowthe irritation that comes with it.  Tom no longer wonderedat thehabitual surliness of his associates; nayhe found theplacidsunny temperwhich had been the habitude of his lifebroken inonand sorely strainedby the inroads of the same thing.He hadflattered himself on leisure to read his Bible; but therewas nosuch thing as leisure there.  In the height of the seasonLegree didnot hesitate to press all his hands throughSundaysandweek-days alike.  Why shouldn't he?--he made more cotton byitandgained his wager; and if it wore out a few more handshecould buybetter ones.  At firstTom used to read a verse or twoof hisBibleby the flicker of the fireafter he had returnedfrom hisdaily toil; butafter the cruel treatment he receivedhe used tocome home so exhaustedthat his head swam and his eyesfailedwhen he tried to read; and he was fain to stretch himselfdownwiththe othersin utter exhaustion.

Is itstrange that the religious peace and trustwhich hadupbornehim hithertoshould give way to tossings of soul anddespondentdarkness?  The gloomiest problem of this mysterious lifewasconstantly before his eyes--souls crushed and ruinedeviltriumphantand God silent.  It was weeks and months that Tomwrestledin his own soulin darkness and sorrow.  He thought ofMissOphelia's letter to his Kentucky friendsand would prayearnestlythat God would send him deliverance.  And then he wouldwatchdayafter dayin the vague hope of seeing somebody sent toredeemhim; andwhen nobody camehe would crush back to his soulbitterthoughts--that it was vain to serve Godthat God hadforgottenhim.  He sometimes saw Cassy; and sometimeswhen summonedto thehousecaught a glimpse of the dejected form of Emmelinebut heldvery little communion with either; in factthere was notime forhim to commune with anybody.

Oneeveninghe was sittingin utter dejection and prostrationby a fewdecaying brandswhere his coarse supper was baking.He put afew bits of brushwood on the fireand strove toraise thelightand then drew his worn Bible from his pocket.There wereall the marked passageswhich had thrilled his soul sooften--wordsof patriarchs and seerspoets and sageswho fromearly timehad spoken courage to man--voices from the great cloudofwitnesses who ever surround us in the race of life.  Had theword lostits poweror could the failing eye and weary sense nolongeranswer to the touch of that mighty inspiration?  Heavilysighinghe put it in his pocket.  A coarse laugh roused him; helookedup--Legree was standing opposite to him.

"Wellold boy" he said"you find your religion don't workit seems! I thought I should get that through your woolat last!"

The crueltaunt was more than hunger and cold and nakedness.Tom wassilent.

"Youwere a fool" said Legree; "for I meant to do well by youwhen Ibought you.  You might have been better off than Samboor Quimboeitherand had easy times; andinstead of getting cutup andthrashedevery day or twoye might have had liberty tolord itroundand cut up the other niggers; and ye might have hadnow andthena good warming of whiskey punch.  ComeTomdon'tyou thinkyou'd better be reasonable?--heave that ar old pack oftrash inthe fireand join my church!"

"TheLord forbid!" said Tomfervently.

"Yousee the Lord an't going to help you; if he had beenhewouldn'thave let _me_ get you!  This yer religion is all a messof lyingtrumperyTom.  I know all about it.  Ye'd better hold tome; I'msomebodyand can do something!"

"NoMas'r" said Tom; "I'll hold on.  The Lord may helpmeor nothelp; but I'll hold to himand believe him to the last!"

"Themore fool you!" said Legreespitting scornfully at himandspurning him with his foot.  "Never mind; I'll chase youdownyetandbring you under--you'll see!" and Legree turned away.

When aheavy weight presses the soul to the lowest level atwhichendurance is possiblethere is an instant and desperateeffort ofevery physical and moral nerve to throw off the weight;and hencethe heaviest anguish often precedes a return tide of joyandcourage.  So was it now with Tom.  The atheistic taunts ofhiscruelmaster sunk his before dejected soul to the lowest ebb; andthough thehand of faith still held to the eternal rockit was anumbdespairing grasp.  Tom satlike one stunnedat the fire.Suddenlyeverything around him seemed to fadeand a vision rosebefore himof one crowned with thornsbuffeted and bleeding.Tom gazedin awe and wonderat the majestic patience of the face;the deeppathetic eyes thrilled him to his inmost heart; his soulwokeaswith floods of emotionhe stretched out his hands andfell uponhis knees--whengraduallythe vision changed: thesharpthorns became rays of glory; andin splendor inconceivablehe sawthat same face bending compassionately towards himand avoicesaid"He that overcometh shall sit down with me on my throneeven as Ialso overcomeand am set down with my Father on his throne."

How longTom lay therehe knew not.  When he came to himselfthe firewas gone outhis clothes were wet with the chill anddrenchingdews; but the dread soul-crisis was pastandin thejoy thatfilled himhe no longer felt hungercolddegradationdisappointmentwretchedness.  From his deepest soulhe thathourloosed and parted from every hope in life that now isandofferedhis own will an unquestioning sacrifice to the Infinite.Tom lookedup to the silentever-living stars--types of theangelichosts who ever look down on man; and the solitude of thenight rungwith the triumphant words of a hymnwhich he had sungoften inhappier daysbut never with such feeling as now:

 

         "The earth shall be dissolved like snow
               The sun shall cease to shine;
          But Godwho called me here below
               Shall be forever mine.
 
         "And when this mortal life shall fail
               And flesh and sense shall cease
          I shall possess within the veil
               A life of joy and peace.
 
         "When we've been there ten thousand years
               Bright shining like the sun
          We've no less days to sing God's praise
               Than when we first begun."

 

Those whohave been familiar with the religious histories ofthe slavepopulation know that relations like what we havenarratedare very common among them.  We have heard some from theirown lipsof a very touching and affecting character.  The psychologisttells usof a statein which the affections and images of the mindbecome sodominant and overpoweringthat they press into theirservicethe outward imagining.  Who shall measure what an all-pervadingSpirit maydo with these capabilities of our mortalityor the waysin whichHe may encourage the desponding souls of the desolate?If thepoor forgotten slave believes that Jesus hath appeared andspoken tohimwho shall contradict him?  Did He not say that hismissionin all ageswas to bind up the broken-heartedand setat libertythem that are bruised?

When thedim gray of dawn woke the slumberers to go forth to thefieldthere was among those tattered and shivering wretches onewho walkedwith an exultant tread; for firmer than the ground hetrod onwas his strong faith in Almightyeternal love.  AhLegreetry allyour forces now!  Utmost agonywoedegradationwantand lossof all thingsshall only hasten on the process by whichhe shallbe made a king and a priest unto God!

From thistimean inviolable sphere of peace encompassed thelowlyheart of the oppressed one--an ever-present Saviourhallowedit as a temple.  Past now the bleeding of earthly regrets;past itsfluctuations of hopeand fearand desire; the humanwillbentand bleedingand struggling longwas now entirelymerged inthe Divine.  So short now seemed the remaining voyage oflife--sonearso vividseemed eternal blessedness--that life'suttermostwoes fell from him unharming.

Allnoticed the change in his appearance.  Cheerfulness andalertnessseemed to return to himand a quietness which noinsult orinjury could ruffle seemed to possess him.

"Whatthe devil's got into Tom?" Legree said to Sambo.  "Awhileago he wasall down in the mouthand now he's peart as a cricket."

"DunnoMas'r; gwine to run offmebbe."

"Liketo see him try that" said Legreewith a savage grin"wouldn'tweSambo?"

"Guesswe would!  Haw! haw! ho!" said the sooty gnomelaughingobsequiously.  "Lordde fun!  To see him stickin' indemud--chasin'and tarin' through de bushesdogs a holdin' on tohim! LordI laughed fit to splitdat ar time we cotched Molly.I thoughtthey'd a had her all stripped up afore I could get 'em off.She car'sde marks o' dat ar spree yet."

"Ireckon she willto her grave" said Legree.  "ButnowSamboyoulook sharp.  If the nigger's got anything of this sortgoingtrip him up."

"Mas'rlet me lone for dat" said Sambo"I'll tree de coon.Hohoho!"

This wasspoken as Legree was getting on his horseto go totheneighboring town.  That nightas he was returninghethought hewould turn his horse and ride round the quartersandsee if allwas safe.

It was asuperb moonlight nightand the shadows of the gracefulChinatrees lay minutely pencilled on the turf belowandthere wasthat transparent stillness in the air which it seemsalmostunholy to disturb.  Legree was a little distance from thequarterswhen he heard the voice of some one singing.  It was nota usualsound thereand he paused to listen.  A musical tenorvoicesang

     "When I can read my title clear
         To mansions in the skies
     I'll bid farewell to every fear
         And wipe my weeping eyes
 
     "Should earth against my soul engage
         And hellish darts be hurled
     Then I can smile at Satan's rage
         And face a frowning world.
 
     "Let cares like a wild deluge come
         And storms of sorrow fall
     May I but safely reach my home
         My godmy Heavenmy All."

 

"Soho!" said Legree to himself"he thinks sodoes he? How I hatethesecursed Methodist hymns!  Hereyou nigger" said hecomingsuddenlyout upon Tomand raising his riding-whip"how dare yoube gettin'up this yer rowwhen you ought to be in bed?  Shut yerold blackgashand get along in with you!"

"YesMas'r" said Tomwith ready cheerfulnessas he roseto to in.

Legree wasprovoked beyond measure by Tom's evident happiness;and ridingup to himbelabored him over his head and shoulders.

"Thereyou dog" he said"see if you'll feel so comfortableafterthat!"

But theblows fell now only on the outer manand notasbeforeonthe heart.  Tom stood perfectly submissive; and yetLegreecould not hide from himself that his power over his bondthrall wassomehow gone.  Andas Tom disappeared in his cabinand hewheeled his horse suddenly roundthere passed through hismind oneof those vivid flashes that often send the lightning ofconscienceacross the dark and wicked soul.  He understood fullwell thatit was GOD who was standing between him and his victimand heblasphemed him.  That submissive and silent manwhom tauntsnorthreatsnor stripesnor crueltiescould disturbroused avoicewithin himsuch as of old his Master roused in the demoniacsoulsaying"What have we to do with theethou Jesus ofNazareth?--artthou come to torment us before the time?"

Tom'swhole soul overflowed with compassion and sympathy forthe poorwretches by whom he was surrounded.  To him it seemedas if hislife-sorrows were now overand as ifout of that strangetreasuryof peace and joywith which he had been endowed fromabovehelonged to pour out something for the relief of theirwoes. It is trueopportunities were scanty; buton the way tothefieldsand back againand during the hours of laborchancesfell inhis way of extending a helping-hand to the wearythedisheartenedand discouraged.  The poorworn-downbrutalizedcreaturesat firstcould scarce comprehend this; butwhen itwascontinued week after weekand month after monthit began toawakenlong-silent chords in their benumbed hearts.  Gradually andimperceptiblythe strangesilentpatient manwho was ready tobear everyone's burdenand sought help from none--who stoodaside foralland came lastand took leastyet was foremost toshare hislittle all with any who needed--the man whoin coldnightswould give up his tattered blanket to add to the comfortof somewoman who shivered with sicknessand who filled the basketsof theweaker ones in the fieldat the terrible risk of comingshort inhis own measure--and whothough pursued with unrelentingcruelty bytheir common tyrantnever joined in uttering a word ofrevilingor cursing--this manat lastbegan to have a strangepower overthem; andwhen the more pressing season was pastandthey wereallowed again their Sundays for their own usemany wouldgathertogether to hear from him of Jesus.  They would gladly havemet tohearand prayand singin some placetogether; but Legreewould notpermit itand more than once broke up such attemptswith oathsand brutal execrations--so that the blessed news hadtocirculate from individual to individual.  Yet who can speak thesimple joywith which some of those poor outcaststo whom lifewas ajoyless journey to a dark unknownheard of a compassionateRedeemerand a heavenly home?  It is the statement of missionariesthatofall races of the earthnone have received the Gospel withsuch eagerdocility as the African.  The principle of reliance andunquestioningfaithwhich is its foundationis more a nativeelement inthis race than any other; and it has often been foundamongthemthat a stray seed of truthborne on some breeze ofaccidentinto hearts the most ignoranthas sprung up into fruitwhoseabundance has shamed that of higher and more skilful culture.

The poormulatto womanwhose simple faith had been well-nighcrushedand overwhelmedby the avalanche of cruelty and wrongwhich hadfallen upon herfelt her soul raised up by the hymnsandpassages of Holy Writwhich this lowly missionary breathedinto herear in intervalsas they were going to and returning fromwork; andeven the half-crazed and wandering mind of Cassy wassoothedand calmed by his simple and unobtrusive influences.

Stung tomadness and despair by the crushing agonies of a lifeCassy hadoften resolved in her soul an hour of retributionwhen herhand should avenge on her oppressor all the injustice andcruelty towhich she had been witnessor which _she_ had in herown personsuffered.

One nightafter all in Tom's cabin were sunk in sleephe wassuddenlyaroused by seeing her face at the hole between the logsthatserved for a window.  She made a silent gesture for himto comeout.

Tom cameout the door.  It was between one and two o'clock atnight--broadcalmstill moonlight.  Tom remarkedas the lightof themoon fell upon Cassy's largeblack eyesthat there wasa wild andpeculiar glare in themunlike their wonted fixed despair.

"ComehereFather Tom" she saidlaying her small hand onhis wristand drawing him forward with a force as if the handwere ofsteel; "come here--I've news for you."

"WhatMisse Cassy?" said Tomanxiously.

"Tomwouldn't you like your liberty?"

"Ishall have itMissein God's time" said Tom.  "Aybutyou mayhave it tonight" said Cassywith a flash of suddenenergy."Come on."

Tomhesitated.

"Come!"said shein a whisperfixing her black eyes on him."Comealong!  He's asleep--sound.  I put enough into his brandyto keephim so.  I wish I'd had more--I shouldn't have wanted you.But comethe back door is unlocked; there's an axe thereI putitthere--his room door is open; I'll show you the way.

I'd a doneit myselfonly my arms are so weak.  Come along!"

"Notfor ten thousand worldsMisse!" said Tomfirmlystoppingand holding her backas she was pressing forward.

"Butthink of all these poor creatures" said Cassy.  "Wemightset themall freeand go somewhere in the swampsand find anislandand live by ourselves; I've heard of its being done.Any lifeis better than this."

"No!"said Tomfirmly.  "No! good never comes of wickedness.I'd soonerchop my right hand off!"

"Then_I_ shall do it" said Cassyturning.

"OMisse Cassy!" said Tomthrowing himself before her"forthedearLord's sake that died for yedon't sell your precious soulto thedevilthat way!  Nothing but evil will come of it.  TheLordhasn'tcalled us to wrath.  We must sufferand wait his time."

"Wait!"said Cassy.  "Haven't I waited?--waited till my headis dizzyand my heart sick? What has he made me suffer?  What hashe madehundreds of poor creatures suffer?  Isn't he wringing thelife-bloodout of you?  I'm called on; they call me!  His time'scomeandI'll have his heart's blood!"

"Nonono!" said Tomholding her small handswhich wereclenchedwith spasmodic violence.  "Noye poorlost soulthatye mustn'tdo.  The dearblessed Lord never shed no blood but hisownandthat he poured out for us when we was enemies.  Lordhelpus tofollow his stepsand love our enemies."

"Love!"said Cassywith a fierce glare; "love _such_ enemies!It isn'tin flesh and blood."

"NoMisseit isn't" said Tomlooking up; "but _He_ gives itto usandthat's the victory.  When we can love and pray overall andthrough allthe battle's pastand the victory'scome--glorybe to God!" Andwith streaming eyes and choking voicethe blackman looked up to heaven.

And thisoh Africa! latest called of nations--called to thecrown ofthornsthe scourgethe bloody sweatthe cross ofagony--thisis to be _thy_ victory; by this shalt thou reign withChristwhen his kingdom shall come on earth.

The deepfervor of Tom's feelingsthe softness of his voicehis tearsfell like dew on the wildunsettled spirit of thepoorwoman.  A softness gathered over the lurid fires of her eye;she lookeddownand Tom could feel the relaxing muscles of herhandsasshe said

"Didn'tI tell you that evil spirits followed me?  O! FatherTomIcan't pray--I wish I could.  I never have prayed since mychildrenwere sold!  What you say must be rightI know it must;but when Itry to prayI can only hate and curse.  I can't pray!"

"Poorsoul!" said Tomcompassionately.  "Satan desires tohave yeand sift ye as wheat.  I pray the Lord for ye.  O! MisseCassyturn to the dear Lord Jesus.  He came to bind up thebroken-heartedand comfort all that mourn."

Cassystood silentwhile largeheavy tears dropped fromherdowncast eyes.

"MisseCassy" said Tomin a hesitating toneafter surveyingher insilence"if ye only could get away from here--if thething waspossible--I'd 'vise ye and Emmeline to do it; thatisif yecould go without blood-guiltiness--not otherwise."

"Wouldyou try it with usFather Tom?"

"No"said Tom; "time was when I would; but the Lord's givenme a workamong these yer poor soulsand I'll stay with 'emand bearmy cross with 'em till the end.  It's different with you;it's asnare to you--it's more'n you can stand--and you'd bettergoif youcan."

"Iknow no way but through the grave" said Cassy.  "There'snobeast orbird but can find a home some where; even the snakesand thealligators have their places to lie down and be quiet; butthere's noplace for us. Down in the darkest swampstheir dogswill huntus outand find us.  Everybody and everything is againstus; eventhe very beasts side against us--and where shall we go?"

Tom stoodsilent; at length he said

"Himthat saved Daniel in the den of lions--that saves thechildrenin the fiery furnace--Him that walked on the seaand badethe winds be still--He's alive yet; and I've faith tobelieve hecan deliver you.  Try itand I'll praywith all mymightforyou."

By whatstrange law of mind is it that an idea longoverlookedand trodden under foot as a useless stonesuddenlysparklesout in new lightas a discovered diamond?

Cassy hadoften revolvedfor hoursall possible or probableschemes ofescapeand dismissed them allas hopeless andimpracticable;but at this moment there flashed through her minda plansosimple and feasible in all its detailsas to awaken aninstanthope.

"FatherTomI'll try it!" she saidsuddenly.

"Amen!"said Tom; "the Lord help ye!"

 

 

CHAPTERXXXIXTheStratagem

 

"Theway of the wicked is as darkness; he knoweth not at what he
stumbleth."

The garretof the house that Legree occupiedlike most othergarretswas a greatdesolate spacedustyhung with cobwebsandlittered with cast-off lumber.  The opulent family that hadinhabitedthe house in the days of its splendor had imported agreat dealof splendid furnituresome of which they had taken awaywith themwhile some remained standing desolate in moulderingunoccupiedroomsor stored away in this place.  One or two immensepacking-boxesin which this furniture was broughtstood againstthe sidesof the garret.  There was a small window therewhichlet inthrough its dingydusty panesa scantyuncertain lighton thetallhigh-backed chairs and dusty tablesthat had onceseenbetter days.  Altogetherit was a weird and ghostly place;butghostly as it wasit wanted not in legends among thesuperstitiousnegroesto increase it terrors.  Some few yearsbeforeanegro womanwho had incurred Legree's displeasurewasconfinedthere for several weeks.  What passed therewe do notsay; thenegroes used to whisper darkly to each other; but it wasknown thatthe body of the unfortunate creature was one day takendown fromthereand buried; andafter thatit was said thatoaths andcursingsand the sound of violent blowsused to ringthroughthat old garretand mingled with wailings and groans ofdespair. Oncewhen Legree chanced to overhear something of thiskindheflew into a violent passionand swore that the next onethat toldstories about that garret should have an opportunity ofknowingwhat was therefor he would chain them up there for a week.This hintwas enough to repress talkingthoughof courseit didnotdisturb the credit of the story in the least.

Graduallythe staircase that led to the garretand even thepassage-wayto the staircasewere avoided by every one in thehousefrom every one fearing to speak of itand the legend wasgraduallyfalling into desuetude.  It had suddenly occurred toCassy tomake use of the superstitious excitabilitywhich was sogreat inLegreefor the purpose of her liberationand that ofherfellow-sufferer.

Thesleeping-room of Cassy was directly under the garret.One daywithout consulting Legreeshe suddenly took it upon herwith someconsiderable ostentationto change all the furnitureandappurtenances of the room to one at some considerable distance.Theunder-servantswho were called on to effect this movementwererunning and bustling about with great zeal and confusionwhenLegreereturned from a ride.

"Hallo!you Cass!" said Legree"what's in the wind now?"

"Nothing;only I choose to have another room" said Cassydoggedly.

"Andwhat forpray?" said Legree.

"Ichoose to" said Cassy.

"Thedevil you do! and what for?"

"I'dlike to get some sleepnow and then."

"Sleep!wellwhat hinders your sleeping?"

"Icould tellI supposeif you want to hear" said Cassydryly.

"Speakoutyou minx!" said Legree.

"O!nothing.  I suppose it wouldn't disturb _you!_  Onlygroansand peoplescuffingand rolling round on the garrefloorhalfthe nightfrom twelve to morning!"

"Peopleup garret!" said Legreeuneasilybut forcing alaugh;"who are theyCassy?"

Cassyraised her sharpblack eyesand looked in the face ofLegreewith an expression that went through his bonesas shesaid"Tobe sureSimonwho are they?  I'd like to have _you_tell me. You don't knowI suppose!"

With anoathLegree struck at her with his riding-whip; butshe glidedto one sideand passed through the doorand lookingbacksaid"If you'll sleep in that roomyou'll know all about it.Perhapsyou'd better try it!" and then immediately she shut andlocked thedoor.

Legreeblustered and sworeand threatened to break down thedoor; butapparently thought better of itand walked uneasilyinto thesitting-room.  Cassy perceived that her shaft had struckhome; andfrom that hourwith the most exquisite addresssheneverceased to continue the train of influences she had begun.

In aknot-hole of the garretthat had openedshe hadinsertedthe neck of an old bottlein such a manner that whenthere wasthe least windmost doleful and lugubrious wailing soundsproceededfrom itwhichin a high windincreased to a perfectshrieksuch as to credulous and superstitious ears might easilyseem to bethat of horror and despair.

Thesesounds werefrom time to timeheard by the servantsandrevived in full force the memory of the old ghost legend.Asuperstitious creeping horror seemed to fill the house; andthough noone dared to breathe it to Legreehe found himselfencompassedby itas by an atmosphere.

No one isso thoroughly superstitious as the godless man.TheChristian is composed by the belief of a wiseall-rulingFatherwhose presence fills the void unknown with light and order;but to theman who has dethroned Godthe spirit-land isindeedin thewords of the Hebrew poet"a land of darkness and the shadowof death"without any orderwhere the light is as darkness.Life anddeath to him are haunted groundsfilled with goblin formsof vagueand shadowy dread.

Legree hadhad the slumbering moral elements in him rousedby hisencounters with Tom--rousedonly to be resisted by thedeterminateforce of evil; but still there was a thrill and commotionof thedarkinner worldproduced by every wordor prayerorhymnthatreacted in superstitious dread.

Theinfluence of Cassy over him was of a strange and singular kind.He was herownerher tyrant and tormentor.  She wasas he knewwhollyand without any possibility of help or redressin hishands; andyet so it isthat the most brutal man cannot liveinconstant association with a strong female influenceand not begreatlycontrolled by it.  When he first bought hershe wasasshe saida woman delicately bred; and then he crushed herwithoutscruplebeneath the foot of his brutality.  Butas timeanddebasinginfluencesand despairhardened womanhood within herand wakedthe fires of fiercer passionsshe had become in a measurehismistressand he alternately tyrannized over and dreaded her.

Thisinfluence had become more harassing and decidedsincepartialinsanity had given a strangeweirdunsettled cast to allher wordsand language.

A night ortwo after thisLegree was sitting in the oldsitting-roomby the side of a flickering wood firethatthrewuncertain glances round the room.  It was a stormywindynightsuch as raises whole squadrons of nondescript noisesin ricketyold houses.  Windows were rattlingshutters flappingand windcarousingrumblingand tumbling down the chimneyandevery oncein a whilepuffing out smoke and ashesas if a legionof spiritswere coming after them.  Legree had been casting upaccountsand reading newspapers for some hourswhile Cassy sat inthecorner; sullenly looking into the fire.  Legree laid down hispaperandseeing an old book lying on the tablewhich he hadnoticedCassy readingthe first part of the eveningtook it upand beganto turn it over.  It was one of those collections ofstories ofbloody murdersghostly legendsand supernaturalvisitationswhichcoarsely got up and illustratedhave a strangefascinationfor one who once begins to read them.

Legreepoohed and pishedbut readturning page after pagetillfinallyafter reading some wayhe threw down the bookwith anoath.

"Youdon't believe in ghostsdo youCass?" said hetakingthe tongsand settling the fire.  "I thought you'd more sense thanto letnoises scare _you_."

"Nomatter what I believe" said Cassysullenly.

"Fellowsused to try to frighten me with their yarns at sea"saidLegree.  "Never come it round me that way.  I'm tootoughfor anysuch trashtell ye."

Cassy satlooking intensely at him in the shadow of the corner.There wasthat strange light in her eyes that always impressedLegreewith uneasiness.

"Themnoises was nothing but rats and the wind" said Legree."Ratswill make a devil of a noise.  I used to hear 'emsometimesdown in the hold of the ship; and wind--Lord's sake! yecan makeanything out o' wind."

Cassy knewLegree was uneasy under her eyesandthereforeshe madeno answerbut sat fixing them on himwith that strangeunearthlyexpressionas before.

"Comespeak outwoman--don't you think so?" said Legree.

"Canrats walk down stairsand come walking through the entryand open adoor when you've locked it and set a chair againstit?"said Cassy; "and come walkwalkwalking right up to yourbedandput out their handso?"

Cassy kepther glittering eyes fixed on Legreeas she spokeand hestared at her like a man in the nightmaretillwhenshefinished by laying her handicy coldon hishe sprung backwith anoath.

"Woman!what do you mean?  Nobody did?"

"Ono--of course not--did I say they did?" said Cassywith asmile of chilling derision.

"But--did--haveyou really seen?--ComeCasswhat is itnow--speakout!"

"Youmay sleep thereyourself" said Cassy"if you wantto know."

"Didit come from the garretCassy?"

"_It_--what?"said Cassy.

"Whywhat you told of--"

"Ididn't tell you anything" said Cassywith dogged sullenness.

Legreewalked up and down the roomuneasily.

"I'llhave this yer thing examined.  I'll look into itthis verynight.  I'll take my pistols--"

"Do"said Cassy; "sleep in that room.  I'd like to seeyou doingit.  Fire your pistols--do!"

Legreestamped his footand swore violently.

"Don'tswear" said Cassy; "nobody knows who may be hearing you.Hark! What was that?"

"What?"said Legreestarting.

A heavyold Dutch clockthat stood in the corner of theroombeganand slowly struck twelve.

For somereason or otherLegree neither spoke nor moved;a vaguehorror fell on him; while Cassywith a keensneeringglitter inher eyesstood looking at himcounting the strokes.

"Twelveo'clock; well _now_ we'll see" said sheturningandopening the door into the passage-wayand standing as iflistening.

"Hark! What's that?" said sheraising her finger.

"It'sonly the wind" said Legree.  "Don't you hear howcursedlyit blows?"

"Simoncome here" said Cassyin a whisperlaying her handon hisand leading him to the foot of the stairs: "do youknow what_that_ is?  Hark!"

A wildshriek came pealing down the stairway.  It came fromthegarret.  Legree's knees knocked together; his face grew whitewith fear.

"Hadn'tyou better get your pistols?" said Cassywith a sneerthat frozeLegree's blood.  "It's time this thing was lookedintoyouknow.  I'd like to have you go up now; _they're at it_."

"Iwon't go!" said Legreewith an oath.

"Whynot?  There an't any such thing as ghostsyou know!Come!"and Cassy flitted up the winding stairwaylaughingandlookingback after him.  "Come on."

"Ibelieve you _are_ the devil!" said Legree.  "Come backyouhag--come backCass!  You shan't go!"

But Cassylaughed wildlyand fled on.  He heard her open theentrydoors that led to the garret.  A wild gust of wind sweptdownextinguishing the candle he held in his handand with itthefearfulunearthly screams; they seemed to be shrieked in hisvery ear.

Legreefled frantically into the parlorwhitherin a fewmomentshe was followed by Cassypalecalmcold as an avengingspiritand with that same fearful light in her eye.

"Ihope you are satisfied" said she.

"BlastyouCass!" said Legree.

"Whatfor?" said Cassy.  "I only went up and shut the doors._What'sthe matter with that garret_Simondo you suppose?"said she.

"Noneof your business!" said Legree.

"Oit an't?  Well" said Cassy"at any rateI'm glad_I_ don'tsleepunder it."

Anticipatingthe rising of the windthat very eveningCassyhad beenup and opened the garret window.  Of coursethemoment thedoors were openedthe wind had drafted downandextinguishedthe light.

This mayserve as a specimen of the game that Cassy playedwithLegreeuntil he would sooner have put his head into a lion'smouth thanto have explored that garret.  Meanwhilein the nightwheneverybody else was asleepCassy slowly and carefully accumulatedthere astock of provisions sufficient to afford subsistence forsome time;she transferredarticle by articlea greater part ofher ownand Emmeline's wardrobe.  All things being arrangedtheyonlywaited a fitting opportunity to put their plan in execution.

Bycajoling Legreeand taking advantage of a good-naturedintervalCassy had got him to take her with him to the neighboringtownwhich was situated directly on the Red river.  With a memorysharpenedto almost preternatural clearnessshe remarked everyturn inthe roadand formed a mental estimate of the time to beoccupiedin traversing it.

At thetime when all was matured for actionour readers mayperhapslike to look behind the scenesand see the final_coupd'etat_.

It was nownear eveningLegree had been absenton a rideto aneighboring farm.  For many days Cassy had been unusuallygraciousand accommodating in her humors; and Legree and she hadbeenapparentlyon the best of terms.  At presentwe may beholdher andEmmeline in the room of the latterbusy in sorting andarrangingtwo small bundles.

"Therethese will be large enough" said Cassy.  Now put onyourbonnetand let's start; it's just about the right time."

"Whythey can see us yet" said Emmeline.

"Imean they shall" said Cassycoolly.  "Don't you knowthatthey musthave their chase after usat any rate?  The way ofthe thingis to be just this:--We will steal out of the back doorand rundown by the quarters.  Sambo or Quimbo will be sureto seeus.  They will give chaseand we will get into the swamp;thentheycan't follow us any further till they go up and givethe alarmand turn out the dogsand so on; andwhile they areblunderingroundand tumbling over each otheras they always doyou and Iwill slip along to the creekthat runs back of the houseand wadealong in ittill we get opposite the back door.  That willput thedogs all at fault; for scent won't lie in the water.Every onewill run out of the house to look after usand thenwe'll whipin at the back doorand up into the garretwhere I'vegot a nicebed made up in one of the great boxes.  We must stay inthatgarret a good whileforI tell youhe will raise heavenand earthafter us.  He'll muster some of those old overseers onthe otherplantationsand have a great hunt; and they'll go overevery inchof ground in that swamp.  He makes it his boast thatnobodyever got away from him.  So let him hunt at his leisure."

"Cassyhow well you have planned it!" said Emmeline.  "Whoeverwould havethought of itbut you?"

There wasneither pleasure nor exultation in Cassy'seyes--onlya despairing firmness.

"Come"she saidreaching her hand to Emmeline.

The twofugitives glided noiselessly from the houseandflittedthrough the gathering shadows of eveningalong bythequarters.  The crescent moonset like a silver signet in thewesternskydelayed a little the approach of night.  As Cassyexpectedwhen quite near the verge of the swamps that encircledtheplantationthey heard a voice calling to them to stop.  It wasnot Sambohoweverbut Legreewho was pursuing them withviolentexecrations.  At the soundthe feebler spirit of Emmelinegave way;andlaying hold of Cassy's armshe said"OCassyI'm goingto faint!"

"Ifyou doI'll kill you!" said Cassydrawing a smallglitteringstilettoand flashing it before the eyes of the girl.

Thediversion accomplished the purpose.  Emmeline did notfaintandsucceeded in plungingwith Cassyinto a part of thelabyrinthof swampso deep and dark that it was perfectly hopelessfor Legreeto think of following themwithout assistance.

"Well"said hechuckling brutally; "at any ratethey've gotthemselvesinto a trap now--the baggage!  They're safe enough.They shallsweat for it!"

"Hulloathere! Sambo! Quimbo!  All hands!" called Legreecoming tothe quarterswhen the men and women were just returningfromwork.  "There's two runaways in the swamps.  I'll givefivedollars toany nigger as catches 'em.  Turn out the dogs!  Turn outTigerandFuryand the rest!"

Thesensation produced by this news was immediate.  Many of themen sprangforwardofficiouslyto offer their serviceseitherfrom thehope of the rewardor from that cringing subserviencywhich isone of the most baleful effects of slavery.  Some ran onewayandsome another.  Some were for getting flambeaux of pine-knots.Some wereuncoupling the dogswhose hoarsesavage bay added nota littleto the animation of the scene.

"Mas'rshall we shoot 'emif can't cotch 'em?" said Samboto whomhis master brought out a rifle.

"Youmay fire on Cassif you like; it's time she was gone tothe devilwhere she belongs; but the galnot" said Legree."Andnowboysbe spry and smart.  Five dollars for him that gets'em; and aglass of spirits to every one of youanyhow."

The wholebandwith the glare of blazing torchesand whoopand shoutand savage yellof man and beastproceeded downto theswampfollowedat some distanceby every servant inthe house.  The establishment wasof a consequencewhollydesertedwhen Cassyand Emmeline glided into it the back way.  The whooping andshouts oftheir pursuers were still filling the air; andlookingfrom thesitting-room windowsCassy and Emmeline could see thetroopwith their flambeauxjust dispersing themselves along theedge ofthe swamp.

"Seethere!" said Emmelinepointing to Cassy; "the hunt isbegun!Look howthose lights dance about!  Hark! the dogs!  Don't you hear?If we wereonly _there_our chances wouldn't be worth a picayune.Oforpity's sakedo let's hide ourselves.  Quick!"

"There'sno occasion for hurry" said Cassycoolly; "they areall outafter the hunt--that's the amusement of the evening!We'll goup stairsby and by.  Meanwhile" said shedeliberatelytaking akey from the pocket of a coat that Legree had thrown downin hishurry"meanwhile I shall take something to pay our passage.

Sheunlocked the desktook from it a roll of billswhichshecounted over rapidly.

"Odon't let's do that!" said Emmeline.

"Don't!"said Cassy; "why not?  Would you have us starve intheswampsor have that that will pay our way to the free states.Money willdo anythinggirl." Andas she spokeshe put the moneyin herbosom.

"Itwould be stealing" said Emmelinein a distressed whisper.

"Stealing!"said Cassywith a scornful laugh.  "They whosteal bodyand soul needn't talk to us.  Every one of these billsisstolen--stolen from poorstarvingsweating creatureswhomust go tothe devil at lastfor his profit.  Let _him_ talkaboutstealing!  But comewe may as well go up garret; I've got astock ofcandles thereand some books to pass away the time.You may bepretty sure they won't come _there_ to inquire after us.If theydoI'll play ghost for them."

WhenEmmeline reached the garretshe found an immense boxin whichsome heavy pieces of furniture had once been broughtturned onits sideso that the opening faced the wallorrather theeaves.  Cassy lit a small lampand creeping roundunder theeavesthey established themselves in it.  It wasspreadwith a couple of small mattresses and some pillows; abox nearby was plentifully stored with candlesprovisionsandall theclothing necessary to their journeywhich Cassy had arrangedintobundles of an astonishingly small compass.

"There"said Cassyas she fixed the lamp into a small hookwhich shehad driven into the side of the box for that purpose;"thisis to be our home for the present.  How do you like it?"

"Areyou sure they won't come and search the garret?"

"I'dlike to see Simon Legree doing that" said Cassy."Noindeed; he will be too glad to keep away.  As to the servantsthey wouldany of them stand and be shotsooner than show theirfaceshere."

SomewhatreassuredEmmeline settled herself back on her pillow.

"Whatdid you meanCassyby saying you would kill me?"she saidsimply.

"Imeant to stop your fainting" said Cassy"and I did do it.And now Itell youEmmelineyou must make up your mind _not_to faintlet what will come; there's no sort of need of it.If I hadnot stopped youthat wretch might have had his handson younow."

Emmelineshuddered.

The tworemained some time in silence.  Cassy busied herselfwith aFrench book; Emmelineovercome with the exhaustionfellinto adozeand slept some time.  She was awakened by loud shoutsandoutcriesthe tramp of horses' feetand the baying of dogs.Shestarted upwith a faint shriek.

"Onlythe hunt coming back" said Cassycoolly; "never fear.Look outof this knot-hole.  Don't you see 'em all down there?Simon hasto give upfor this night.  Lookhow muddy his horseisflouncing about in the swamp; the dogstoolook rathercrestfallen. Ahmy good siryou'll have to try the race againandagain--the game isn't there."

"Odon't speak a word!" said Emmeline; "what if they shouldhear you?"

"Ifthey do hear anythingit will make them very particularto keepaway" said Cassy.  "No danger; we may make any noisewepleaseand it will only add to the effect."

At lengththe stillness of midnight settled down over the house.Legreecursing his ill luckand vowing dire vengeance onthemorrowwent to bed.

 

 

CHAPTER XLThe Martyr

 
          "Deem not the just by Heaven forgot!
              Though life its common gifts deny--
          Thoughwith a crushed and bleeding heart
              And spurned of manhe goes to die!
          For God hath marked each sorrowing day
              And numbered every bitter tear
          And heaven's long years of bliss shall pay
              For all his children suffer here."                                         BRYANT.

 

Thelongest way must have its close--the gloomiest night willwear on toa morning.  An eternalinexorable lapse of momentsis everhurrying the day of the evil to an eternal nightand thenight ofthe just to an eternal day.  We have walked with our humblefriendthus far in the valley of slavery; first through floweryfields ofease and indulgencethen through heart-breaking separationsfrom allthat man holds dear.  Againwe have waited with him ina sunnyislandwhere generous hands concealed his chains withflowers;andlastlywe have followed him when the last ray ofearthlyhope went out in nightand seen howin the blackness ofearthlydarknessthe firmament of the unseen has blazed with starsof new andsignificant lustre.

Themorning-star now stands over the tops of the mountainsand galesand breezesnot of earthshow that the gates of dayareunclosing.

The escapeof Cassy and Emmeline irritated the before surlytemper ofLegree to the last degree; and his furyas was to beexpectedfell upon the defenceless head of Tom.  When he hurriedlyannouncedthe tidings among his handsthere was a sudden light inTom's eyea sudden upraising of his handsthat did not escape him.He sawthat he did not join the muster of the pursuers.  He thoughtof forcinghim to do it; buthaving hadof oldexperience ofhisinflexibility when commanded to take part in any deed ofinhumanityhe would notin his hurrystop to enter into anyconflictwith him.

Tomthereforeremained behindwith a few who had learnedof him toprayand offered up prayers for the escape ofthefugitives.

WhenLegree returnedbaffled and disappointedall thelong-workinghatred of his soul towards his slave began to gatherin adeadly and desperate form.  Had not this man bravedhim--steadilypowerfullyresistlessly--ever since he bought him?  Was there nota spiritin him whichsilent as it wasburned on him like thefires ofperdition?

"I_hate_ him!" said Legreethat nightas he sat up in his bed;"I_hate_ him!  And isn't he MINE?  Can't I do what I likewith him? Who's to hinderI wonder?"  And Legree clenched his fistand shookitas if he had something in his hands that he couldrend inpieces.

ButthenTom was a faithfulvaluable servant; andalthoughLegree hated him the more for thatyet the considerationwas stillsomewhat of a restraint to him.

The nextmorninghe determined to say nothingas yet; toassemble apartyfrom some neighboring plantationswithdogs andguns; to surround the swampand go about thehuntsystematically.  If it succeededwell and good; if nothe wouldsummon Tom before himand--his teeth clenched and hisbloodboiled--_then_ he would break the fellow downor--therewas a direinward whisperto which his soul assented.

Ye saythat the _interest_ of the master is a sufficientsafeguardfor the slave.  In the fury of man's mad willhe willwittinglyand with open eyesell his own soul to the devil togain hisends; and will he be more careful of his neighbor's body?

"Well"said Cassythe next dayfrom the garretas shereconnoitredthrough the knot-hole"the hunt's going to beginagaintoday!"

Three orfour mounted horsemen were curvetting abouton thespace infront of the house; and one or two leashes of strangedogs werestruggling with the negroes who held thembaying andbarking ateach other.

The menaretwo of themoverseers of plantations in thevicinity;and others were some of Legree's associates at thetavern-barof a neighboring citywho had come for the interest ofthesport.  A more hard-favored setperhapscould not be imagined.Legree wasserving brandyprofuselyround among themas alsoamong thenegroeswho had been detailed from the various plantationsfor thisservice; for it was an object to make every service ofthis kindamong the negroesas much of a holiday as possible.

Cassyplaced her ear at the knot-hole; andas the morning airblewdirectly towards the houseshe could overhear a good dealof theconversation.  A grave sneer overcast the darkseveregravity ofher faceas she listenedand heard them divide outthegrounddiscuss the rival merits of the dogsgive orders aboutfiringand the treatment of eachin case of capture.

Cassy drewback; andclasping her handslooked upwardand said"Ogreat Almighty God! we are _all_ sinners; butwhat have_we_ donemore than all the rest of the worldthatwe shouldbe treated so?"

There wasa terrible earnestness in her face and voiceasshe spoke.

"Ifit wasn't for _you_child" she saidlooking at Emmeline"I'd_go_ out to them; and I'd thank any one of them that _would_shoot medown; for what use will freedom be to me?  Can itgive meback my childrenor make me what I used to be?"

Emmelinein her child-like simplicitywas half afraid of thedark moodsof Cassy.  She looked perplexedbut made no answer.She onlytook her handwith a gentlecaressing movement.

"Don't!"said Cassytrying to draw it away; "you'll getme toloving you; and I never mean to love anythingagain!"

"PoorCassy!" said Emmeline"don't feel so!  If the Lordgives uslibertyperhaps he'll give you back your daughter; atany rateI'll be like a daughter to you.  I know I'll never seemy poorold mother again!  I shall love youCassywhether you loveme ornot!"

Thegentlechild-like spirit conquered.  Cassy sat down by herput herarm round her neckstroked her softbrown hair; andEmmelinethen wondered at the beauty of her magnificent eyesnowsoft withtears.

"OEm!" said Cassy"I've hungered for my childrenandthirstedfor themand my eyes fail with longing for them!Here!here!" she saidstriking her breast"it's all desolateallempty!  If God would give me back my childrenthen I couldpray."

"Youmust trust himCassy" said Emmeline; "he is our Father!"

"Hiswrath is upon us" said Cassy; "he has turned away inanger."

"NoCassy!  He will be good to us!  Let us hope in Him"saidEmmeline--"I always have had hope."

 

The huntwas longanimatedand thoroughbut unsuccessful;andwithgraveironic exultationCassy looked down on Legreeaswearyand dispiritedhe alighted from his horse.

"NowQuimbo" said Legreeas he stretched himself down in thesitting-room"you jest go and walk that Tom up hereright away!The oldcuss is at the bottom of this yer whole matter; and I'llhave itout of his old black hideor I'll know the reason why!"

Sambo andQuimboboththough hating each otherwere joinedin onemind by a no less cordial hatred of Tom.  Legree hadtold themat firstthat he had bought him for a general overseerin hisabsence; and this had begun an ill willon their partwhich hadincreasedin their debased and servile naturesasthey sawhim becoming obnoxious to their master's displeasure.Quimbothereforedepartedwith a willto execute his orders.

Tom heardthe message with a forewarning heart; for he knewall theplan of the fugitives' escapeand the place of theirpresentconcealment;--he knew the deadly character of the man hehad todeal withand his despotic power.  But he felt strong inGod tomeet deathrather than betray the helpless.

He sat hisbasket down by the rowandlooking upsaid"Intothy hands I commend my spirit!  Thou hast redeemed meoh LordGod oftruth!" and then quietly yielded himself to the roughbrutalgrasp withwhich Quimbo seized him.

"Ayay!" said the giantas he dragged him along; ye'll cotchitnow! I'll boun' Mas'r's back 's up _high!_  No sneakingoutnow! Tell yeye'll get itand no mistake!  See how ye'lllooknowhelpin' Mas'r's niggers to run away!  See what ye'll get!"

The savagewords none of them reached that ear!--a highervoicethere was saying"Fear not them that kill the bodyandafterthathave no more that they can do."  Nerve and bone ofthatpoor man'sbody vibrated to those wordsas if touched by the fingerof God;and he felt the strength of a thousand souls in one.  As hepassedalongthe trees. and bushesthe huts of his servitudethe wholescene of his degradationseemed to whirl by him as thelandscapeby the rushing ear.  His soul throbbed--his home wasinsight--and the hour of release seemed at hand.

"WellTom!" said Legreewalking upand seizing him grimlyby thecollar of his coatand speaking through his teethin aparoxysmof determined rage"do you know I've made up my mind toKILL YOU?"

"It'svery likelyMas'r" said Tomcalmly.

"I_have_" said Legreewith a grimterrible calmness"_done--just--that--thing_Tomunless you'll tell me what youknow aboutthese yer gals!"

Tom stoodsilent.

"D'yehear?" said Legreestampingwith a roar like thatof anincensed lion.  "Speak!"

"_Ihan't got nothing to tellMas'r_" said Tomwith aslowfirmdeliberate utterance.

"Doyou dare to tell meye old black Christianye don't_know_?"said Legree.

Tom wassilent.

"Speak!"thundered Legreestriking him furiously.  Do youknowanything?"

"IknowMas'r; but I can't tell anything.  _I can die!_"

Legreedrew in a long breath; andsuppressing his ragetookTom by thearmandapproaching his face almost to hissaidin aterrible voice"Hark 'eTom!--ye think'cause I've let youoffbeforeI don't mean what I say; butthis time_I've made upmy mind_and counted the cost.  You've always stood it out again'me: now_I'll conquer yeor kill ye!_--one or t' other.  I'll countevery dropof blood there is in youand take 'emone by onetill yegive up!"

Tom lookedup to his masterand answered"Mas'rif you wassickorin troubleor dyingand I could save yeI'd _give_ye myheart's blood; andif taking every drop of blood in thispoor oldbody would save your precious soulI'd give 'em freelyas theLord gave his for me.  OMas'r! don't bring this great sinon yoursoul!  It will hurt you more than 't will me!  Do the worstyou canmy troubles'll be over soon; butif ye don't repentyourswon't _never_ end!"

Like astrange snatch of heavenly musicheard in the lullof atempestthis burst of feeling made a moment's blank pause.Legreestood aghastand looked at Tom; and there was such a silencethat thetick of the old clock could be heardmeasuringwithsilenttouchthe last moments of mercy and probation to thathardenedheart.

It was buta moment.  There was one hesitating pause--oneirresoluterelenting thrill--and the spirit of evil came backwithseven-fold vehemence; and Legreefoaming with ragesmotehis victimto the ground.

 

Scenes ofblood and cruelty are shocking to our ear and heart.What manhas nerve to doman has not nerve to hear.  Whatbrother-manand brother-Christian must suffercannot be told useven inour secret chamberit so harrows the soul!  And yetoh mycountry!these things are done under the shadow of thy laws!OChrist!thy church sees themalmost in silence!

Butofoldthere was One whose suffering changed aninstrumentof torturedegradation and shameinto a symbol ofgloryhonorand immortal life; andwhere His spirit isneitherdegradingstripesnor bloodnor insultscan make the Christian'slaststruggle less than glorious.

Was healonethat long nightwhose braveloving spirit wasbearingupin that old shedagainst buffeting and brutal stripes?

Nay! There stood by him ONE--seen by him alone--"likeunto theSon of God."

Thetempter stood by himtoo--blinded by furiousdespoticwill--everymoment pressing him to shun that agony by the betrayalof theinnocent.  But the bravetrue heart was firm on the EternalRock. Like his Masterhe knew thatif he saved othershimselfhe couldnot save; nor could utmost extremity wring from him wordssave ofprayers and holy trust.

"He'smost goneMas'r" said Sambotouchedin spite ofhimselfby the patience of his victim.

"Payawaytill he gives up!  Give it to him!--give it tohim!"shouted Legree.  I'll take every drop of blood he hasunlessheconfesses!"

Tom openedhis eyesand looked upon his master.  "Ye poormiserablecritter!" he said"there ain't no more ye can do!I forgiveyewith all my soul!" and he fainted entirely away.

"Ib'lievemy soulhe's done forfinally" said Legreesteppingforwardto look at him.  "Yeshe is!  Wellhismouth'sshut upat last--that's one comfort!"

YesLegree; but who shall shut up that voice in thy soul?that soulpast repentancepast prayerpast hopein whom thefire thatnever shall be quenched is already burning!

Yet Tomwas not quite gone.  His wondrous words and piousprayershad struck upon the hearts of the imbruted blackswho hadbeen theinstruments of cruelty upon him; andthe instant Legreewithdrewthey took him downandin their ignorancesought tocall himback to life--as if _that_ were any favor to him.

"Sartinwe 's been doin' a drefful wicked thing!" saidSambo;"hopes Mas'r'll have to 'count for itand not we."

Theywashed his wounds--they provided a rude bedof somerefusecottonfor him to lie down on; and one of themstealingup to thehousebegged a drink of brandy of Legreepretendingthat hewas tiredand wanted it for himself.  He brought it backand pouredit down Tom's throat.

"OTom!" said Quimbo"we's been awful wicked to ye!"

"Iforgive yewith all my heart!" said Tomfaintly.

"OTom! do tell us who is _Jesus_anyhow?" said Sambo;--"Jesusthat'sbeen a standin' by you soall this night!--Who is he?"

The wordroused the failingfainting spirit.  He pouredforth afew energetic sentences of that wondrous One--his lifehis deathhis everlasting presenceand power to save.

Theywept--both the two savage men.

"Whydidn't I never hear this before?" said Sambo; "but Idobelieve!--I can't help it!  Lord Jesushave mercy on us!"

"Poorcritters!" said Tom"I'd be willing to bar' all Ihaveifit'll only bring ye to Christ!  OLord! give me these twomoresoulsI pray!"

Thatprayer was answered!

 

 

CHAPTERXLIThe YoungMaster

 

Two daysaftera young man drove a light wagon up throughthe avenueof China treesandthrowing the reins hastily on thehorse'snecksprang out and inquired for the owner of the place.

It wasGeorge Shelby; andto show how he came to be therewe must goback in our story.

The letterof Miss Ophelia to Mrs. Shelby hadby someunfortunateaccidentbeen detainedfor a month or twoat someremotepost-officebefore it reached its destination; andofcoursebefore it was receivedTom was already lost to view amongthedistant swamps of the Red river.

Mrs.Shelby read the intelligence with the deepest concern;but anyimmediate action upon it was an impossibility.  She wasthen inattendance on the sick-bed of her husbandwho lay deliriousin thecrisis of a fever.  Master George Shelbywhoin theintervalhad changed from a boy to a tall young manwas herconstantand faithful assistantand her only reliance in superintendinghisfather's affairs.  Miss Ophelia had taken the precaution tosend themthe name of the lawyer who did business for the St.Clares;and the most thatin the emergencycould be donewas toaddress aletter of inquiry to him.  The sudden death of Mr.Shelbyafew days afterbroughtof coursean absorbing pressureof otherinterestsfor a season.

Mr. Shelbyshowed his confidence in his wife's abilitybyappointingher sole executrix upon his estates; and thus immediatelya largeand complicated amount of business was brought upon her hands.

Mrs.Shelbywith characteristic energyapplied herself tothe workof straightening the entangled web of affairs; and sheand Georgewere for some time occupied with collecting and examiningaccountsselling property and settling debts; for Mrs. Shelby wasdeterminedthat everything should be brought into tangible andrecognizableshapelet the consequences to her prove what theymight. In the mean timethey received a letter from the lawyerto whomMiss Ophelia had referred themsaying that he knew nothingof thematter; that the man was sold at a public auctionand thatbeyondreceiving the moneyhe knew nothing of the affair.

NeitherGeorge nor Mrs. Shelby could be easy at this result;andaccordinglysome six months afterthe latterhaving businessfor hismotherdown the riverresolved to visit New Orleansinpersonand push his inquiriesin hopes of discovering Tom'swhereaboutsand restoring him.

After somemonths of unsuccessful searchby the merestaccidentGeorge fell in with a manin New Orleanswho happenedto bepossessed of the desired information; and with his money inhispocketour hero took steamboat for Red riverresolving tofind outand re-purchase his old friend.

He wassoon introduced into the housewhere he found Legreein thesitting-room.

Legreereceived the stranger with a kind of surly hospitality

"Iunderstand" said the young man"that you boughtinNewOrleansa boynamed Tom.  He used to be on my father's placeand I cameto see if I couldn't buy him back."

Legree'sbrow grew darkand he broke outpassionately:"YesI did buy such a fellow--and a h--l of a bargain Ihad of ittoo!  The most rebellioussaucyimpudent dog!  Set upmy niggersto run away; got off two galsworth eight hundred ora thousandapiece.  He owned to thatandwhen I bid him tell mewhere theywashe up and said he knewbut he wouldn't tell; andstood toitthough I gave him the cussedest flogging I ever gaveniggeryet.  I b'lieve he's trying to die; but I don't know ashe'll makeit out."

"Whereis he?" said Georgeimpetuously.  "Let me see him."The cheeksof the young man were crimsonand his eyes flashedfire; buthe prudently said nothingas yet.

"He'sin dat ar shed" said a little fellowwho stoodholdingGeorge's horse.

Legreekicked the boyand swore at him; but Georgewithoutsayinganother wordturned and strode to the spot.

Tom hadbeen lying two days since the fatal nightnot sufferingfor everynerve of suffering was blunted and destroyed.  He layfor themost partin a quiet stupor; for the laws of a powerfulandwell-knit frame would not at once release the imprisoned spirit.Bystealththere had been therein the darkness of the nightpoordesolated creatureswho stole from their scanty hours'restthatthey might repay to him some of those ministrations oflove inwhich he had always been so abundant.  Trulythose poordiscipleshad little to give--only the cup of cold water; but itwas givenwith full hearts.

Tears hadfallen on that honestinsensible face--tearsof laterepentance in the poorignorant heathenwhom his dyinglove andpatience had awakened to repentanceand bitter prayersbreathedover him to a late-found Saviourof whom they scarce knewmore thanthe namebut whom the yearning ignorant heart of manneverimplores in vain.

Cassywhohad glided out of her place of concealmentandbyoverhearinglearned the sacrifice that had been made forher andEmmelinehad been therethe night beforedefyingthe dangerof detection; andmoved by the last few words whichtheaffectionate soul had yet strength to breathethe long winterofdespairthe ice of yearshad given wayand the darkdespairingwoman hadwept and prayed.

WhenGeorge entered the shedhe felt his head giddy andhis heartsick.

"Isit possible--is it possible?" said hekneeling downby him. "Uncle Tommy poorpoor old friend!"

Somethingin the voice penetrated to the ear of the dying.He movedhis head gentlysmiledand said

 

         "Jesus can make a dying-bed
          Feel soft as down pillows are."

 

Tearswhich did honor to his manly heart fell from theyoungman's eyesas he bent over his poor friend.

"Odear Uncle Tom! do wake--do speak once more!  Look up!Here'sMas'r George--your own little Mas'r George.  Don't youknow me?"

"Mas'rGeorge!" said Tomopening his eyesand speakingin afeeble voice; "Mas'r George!"  He looked bewildered.

Slowly theidea seemed to fill his soul; and the vacanteye becamefixed and brightenedthe whole face lighted upthehard handsclaspedand tears ran down the cheeks.

"Blessthe Lord! it is--it is--it's all I wanted!  They haven'tforgotme.  It warms my soul; it does my heart good!  Now I shalldiecontent!  Bless the Lordon my soul!"

"Youshan't die! you _mustn't_ dienor think of it!  I've cometo buyyouand take you home" said Georgewith impetuous vehemence.

"OMas'r Georgeye're too late.  The Lord's bought meand isgoing totake me home--and I long to go.  Heaven is betterthanKintuck."

"Odon't die!  It'll kill me!--it'll break my heart tothink whatyou've suffered--and lying in this old shedhere!Poorpoorfellow!"

"Don'tcall me poor fellow!" said Tomsolemnly"I _have_ beenpoorfellow; but that's all past and gonenow.  I'm right inthe doorgoing into glory!  OMas'r George!  _Heaven has come!_I've gotthe victory!--the Lord Jesus has given it to me!  Glory beto Hisname!"

George wasawe-struck at the forcethe vehemencethe powerwith whichthese broken sentences were uttered.  He satgazing insilence.

Tomgrasped his handand continued--"Ye mustn'tnowtellChloepoor soul! how ye found me;--'t would be so drefful to her.Only tellher ye found me going into glory; and that I couldn'tstay forno one.  And tell her the Lord's stood by me everywhereandal'aysand made everything light and easy.  And ohthe poorchil'enand the baby;--my old heart's been most broke for 'emtime andagin!  Tell 'em all to follow me--follow me!  Give my loveto Mas'rand dear good Missisand everybody in the place!  Ye don'tknow! 'Pears like I loves 'em all!  I loves every creatureeverywhar!--it'snothing _but_ love!  OMas'r George! what a thing't is tobe a Christian!"

At thismomentLegree sauntered up to the door of the shedlooked inwith a dogged air of affected carelessnessandturnedaway.

"Theold satan!" said Georgein his indignation.  "It's acomfortto thinkthe devil will pay _him_ for thissome of these days!"

"Odon't!--ohye mustn't!" said Tomgrasping his hand;"he'sa poor mis'able critter! it's awful to think on 't!  Ohifhe onlycould repentthe Lord would forgive him now; but I'm'feared henever will!"

"Ihope he won't!" said George; "I never want to see _him_inheaven!"

"HushMas'r George!--it worries me!  Don't feel so!  He an'tdone me noreal harm--only opened the gate of the kingdom for me;that'sall!"

At thismomentthe sudden flush of strength which the joy ofmeetinghis young master had infused into the dying man gave way.A suddensinking fell upon him; he closed his eyes; and thatmysteriousand sublime change passed over his facethat told theapproachof other worlds.

He beganto draw his breath with longdeep inspirations;and hisbroad chest rose and fellheavily.  The expression of hisface wasthat of a conqueror.

"Who--who--whoshall separate us from the love of Christ?"he saidin a voice that contended with mortal weakness; andwitha smilehe fell asleep.

George satfixed with solemn awe.  It seemed to him that theplace washoly; andas he closed the lifeless eyesand roseup fromthe deadonly one thought possessed him--that expressedby hissimple old friend--"What a thing it is to be a Christian!"

Heturned:  Legree was standingsullenlybehind him.

Somethingin that dying scene had checked the naturalfiercenessof youthful passion.  The presence of the man was simplyloathsometo George; and he felt only an impulse to get away fromhimwithas few words as possible.

Fixing hiskeen dark eyes on Legreehe simply saidpointingto thedead"You have got all you ever can of him.  What shall Ipay youfor the body?  I will take it awayand bury it decently."

"Idon't sell dead niggers" said Legreedoggedly.  "Youarewelcome tobury him where and when you like."

"Boys"said Georgein an authoritative toneto two or threenegroeswho were looking at the body"help me lift him upand carryhim to my wagon; and get me a spade."

One ofthem ran for a spade; the other two assisted Georgeto carrythe body to the wagon.

Georgeneither spoke to nor looked at Legreewho did notcountermandhis ordersbut stoodwhistlingwith an air offorcedunconcern.  He sulkily followed them to where the wagonstood atthe door.

Georgespread his cloak in the wagonand had the bodycarefullydisposed of in it--moving the seatso as to giveit room. Then he turnedfixed his eyes on Legreeand saidwithforced composure

"Ihave notas yetsaid to you what I think of this mostatrociousaffair;--this is not the time and place.  Butsirthisinnocentblood shall have justice.  I will proclaim this murder.I will goto the very first magistrateand expose you."

"Do!"said Legreesnapping his fingersscornfully.  "I'd liketo see youdoing it.  Where you going to get witnesses?--howyou goingto prove it?--Comenow!"

Georgesawat oncethe force of this defiance.  There wasnot awhite person on the place; andin all southern courtsthetestimony of colored blood is nothing.  He feltat that momentas if hecould have rent the heavens with his heart's indignantcry forjustice; but in vain.

"Afterallwhat a fussfor a dead nigger!" said Legree.

The wordwas as a spark to a powder magazine.  Prudence wasnever acardinal virtue of the Kentucky boy.  George turnedandwithone indignant blowknocked Legree flat upon his face;andas hestood over himblazing with wrath and defiancehewould haveformed no bad personification of his great namesaketriumphingover the dragon.

Some menhoweverare decidedly bettered by being knocked down.If a manlays them fairly flat in the dustthey seemimmediatelyto conceive a respect for him; and Legree was one ofthissort.  As he rosethereforeand brushed the dust from hisclotheshe eyed the slowly-retreating wagon with some evidentconsideration;nor did he open his mouth till it was out of sight.

Beyond theboundaries of the plantationGeorge had noticed a drysandyknollshaded by a few trees; there they made the grave.

"Shallwe take off the cloakMas'r?" said the negroeswhen thegrave was ready.

"Nono--bury it with him!  It's all I can give younowpoor Tomand you shall have it."

They laidhim in; and the men shovelled awaysilently.Theybanked it upand laid green turf over it.

"Youmay goboys" said Georgeslipping a quarter intothe handof each.  They lingered abouthowever.

"Ifyoung Mas'r would please buy us--" said one.

"We'dserve him so faithful!" said the other.

"Hardtimes hereMas'r!" said the first.  "DoMas'rbuyusplease!"

"Ican't!--I can't!" said Georgewith difficultymotioningthem off;"it's impossible!"

The poorfellows looked dejectedand walked off in silence.

"Witnesseternal God!" said Georgekneeling on the graveof hispoor friend; "ohwitnessthatfrom this hourI will do_what oneman can_ to drive out this curse of slavery from my land!"

There isno monument to mark the last resting-place of our friend.He needsnone!  His Lord knows where he liesand will raise him upimmortalto appear with him when he shall appear in his glory.

Pity himnot!  Such a life and death is not for pity!  Not in theriches ofomnipotence is the chief glory of God; but in self-denyingsufferinglove! And blessed are the men whom he calls to fellowshipwith himbearing their cross after him with patience.  Of such itiswritten"Blessed are they that mournfor they shall becomforted."

 

 

CHAPTERXLIIAnAuthentic Ghost Story

 

For someremarkable reasonghostly legends were uncommonlyrifeabout this timeamong the servants on Legree's place.

It waswhisperingly asserted that footstepsin the dead of nighthad beenheard descending the garret stairsand patrollingthehouse.  In vain the doors of the upper entry had been locked;the ghosteither carried a duplicate key in its pocketor availeditself ofa ghost's immemorial privilege of coming through thekeyholeand promenaded as beforewith a freedom that was alarming.

Authoritieswere somewhat dividedas to the outward form ofthespiritowing to a custom quite prevalent among negroes--andfor aughtwe knowamong whitestoo--of invariably shutting theeyesandcovering up heads under blanketspetticoatsor whateverelse mightcome in use for a shelteron these occasions.  Of courseaseverybody knowswhen the bodily eyes are thus out of theliststhespiritual eyes are uncommonly vivacious and perspicuous;andthereforethere were abundance of full-length portraits ofthe ghostabundantly sworn and testified towhichas if oftenthe casewith portraitsagreed with each other in no particularexcept thecommon family peculiarity of the ghost tribe--thewearing ofa _white sheet_.  The poor souls were not versed inancienthistoryand did not know that Shakspeare hadauthenticatedthis costumeby telling how

 
         "The sheeted dead
          Did squeak and gibber in the streets of Rome."

 

Andthereforetheir all hitting upon this is a striking fact inpneumatologywhich we recommend to the attention of spiritualmediagenerally.

Be it asit maywe have private reasons for knowing thata tallfigure in a white sheet did walkat the most approvedghostlyhoursaround the Legree premises--pass out the doorsglideabout the house--disappear at intervalsandreappearingpass upthe silent stairwayinto that fatal garret; and thatinthemorningthe entry doors were all found shut and locked as firmas ever.

Legreecould not help overhearing this whispering; and it wasall themore exciting to himfrom the pains that were takento concealit from him.  He drank more brandy than usual; held uphis headbrisklyand swore louder than ever in the daytime; buthe had baddreamsand the visions of his head on his bed wereanythingbut agreeable.  The night after Tom's body had been carriedawayherode to the next town for a carouseand had a high one.Got homelate and tired; locked his doortook out the keyandwent tobed.

After alllet a man take what pains he may to hush it downa humansoul is an awful ghostlyunquiet possessionfor abad man tohave.  Who knows the metes and bounds of it?  Who knowsall itsawful perhapses--those  shudderings and tremblingswhichit can nomore live down than it can outlive its own eternity!What afool is he who locks his door to keep out spiritswho hasin his ownbosom a spirit he dares not meet alone--whose voicesmotheredfar downand piled over with mountains of earthlinessis yetlike the forewarning trumpet of doom!

But Legreelocked his door and set a chair against it; he setanight-lamp at the head of his bed; and put his pistols there.Heexamined the catches and fastenings of the windowsand thenswore he"didn't care for the devil and all his angels" and wentto sleep.

Wellhesleptfor he was tired--slept soundly.  Butfinallythere cameover his sleep a shadowa horroran apprehensionofsomething dreadful hanging over him.  It was his mother'sshroudhethought; but Cassy had itholding it upand showing it to him.He heard aconfused noise of screams and groanings; andwith itallheknew he was asleepand he struggled to wake himself.He washalf awake.  He was sure something was coming into his room.He knewthe door was openingbut he could not stir hand or foot.At last heturnedwith a start; the door _was_ openand he sawa handputting out his light.

It was acloudymisty moonlightand there he saw it!--somethingwhitegliding in!  He heard the still rustle of its ghostly garments.It stoodstill by his bed;--a cold hand touched his; a voice saidthreetimesin a lowfearful whisper"Come! come! come!"Andwhilehe lay sweating with terrorhe knew not when or howthe thingwas gone.  He sprang out of bedand pulled at the door.It wasshut and lockedand the man fell down in a swoon.

AfterthisLegree became a harder drinker than ever before.He nolonger drank cautiouslyprudentlybut imprudently andrecklessly.

There werereports around the countrysoon after that he wassick anddying.  Excess had brought on that frightful diseasethat seemsto throw the lurid shadows of a coming retribution backinto thepresent life.  None could bear the horrors of that sickroomwhenhe raved and screamedand spoke of sights which almoststoppedthe blood of those who heard him; andat his dying bedstood asternwhiteinexorable figuresaying"Come! come! come!"

By asingular coincidenceon the very night that this visionappearedto Legreethe house-door was found open in the morningand someof the negroes had seen two white figures gliding downthe avenuetowards the high-road.

It wasnear sunrise when Cassy and Emmeline pausedfor amomentina little knot of trees near the town.

Cassy wasdressed after the manner of the Creole Spanishladies--whollyin black.  A small black bonnet on her headcoveredby a veilthick with embroideryconcealed her face.  It had beenagreedthatin their escapeshe was to personate the characterof aCreole ladyand Emmeline that of her servant.

Broughtupfrom early lifein connection with the highestsocietythe languagemovements and air of Cassywere all inagreementwith this idea; and she had still enough remaining withherof aonce splendid wardrobeand sets of jewelsto enableher topersonate the thing to advantage.

Shestopped in the outskirts of the townwhere she had noticedtrunks forsaleand purchased a handsome one.  This sherequestedthe man to send along with her.  Andaccordinglythusescortedby a boy wheeling her trunkand Emmeline behind hercarryingher carpet-bag and sundry bundlesshe made her appearanceat thesmall tavernlike a lady of consideration.

The firstperson that struck herafter her arrivalwasGeorgeShelbywho was staying thereawaiting the next boat.

Cassy hadremarked the young man from her loophole in thegarretand seen him bear away the body of Tomand observed withsecretexultationhis rencontre with Legree.  Subsequently shehadgatheredfrom the conversations she had overheard among thenegroesas she glided about in her ghostly disguiseafternightfallwho he wasand in what relation he stood to Tom.Shethereforefelt an immediate accession of confidencewhenshe foundthat he waslike herselfawaiting the next boat.

Cassy'sair and manneraddressand evident command of moneypreventedany rising disposition to suspicion in the hotel.Peoplenever inquire too closely into those who are fair onthe mainpointof paying well--a thing which Cassy hadforeseenwhen she provided herself with money.

In theedge of the eveninga boat was heard coming alongand GeorgeShelby handed Cassy aboardwith the politeness whichcomesnaturally to every Kentuckianand exerted himself to provideher with agood state-room.

Cassy kepther room and bedon pretext of illnessduringthe wholetime they were on Red river; and was waited onwithobsequiousdevotionby her attendant.

When theyarrived at the Mississippi riverGeorgehavinglearnedthat the course of the strange lady was upwardlike hisownproposed to take a state-room for her on the same boat withhimself--good-naturedlycompassionating her feeble healthanddesirousto do what he could to assist her.

Beholdthereforethe whole party safely transferred tothe goodsteamer Cincinnatiand sweeping up the river under apowerfulhead of steam.

Cassy'shealth was much better.  She sat upon the guardscameto thetableand was remarked upon in the boat as a lady thatmust havebeen very handsome.

From themoment that George got the first glimpse of her facehe wastroubled with one of those fleeting and indefinitelikenesseswhich almost every body can rememberand has beenattimesperplexed with.  He could not keep himself from looking atherandwatchin her perpetually.  At tableor sitting at herstate-roomdoorstill she would encounter the young man's eyesfixed onherand politely withdrawnwhen she showedby hercountenancethat she was sensible to the observation.

Cassybecame uneasy.  She began to think that he suspectedsomething;and finally resolved to throw herself entirely on hisgenerosityand intrusted him with her whole history.

George washeartily disposed to sympathize with any one whohadescaped from Legree's plantation--a place that he couldnotremember or speak of with patience--andwith the courageousdisregardof consequences which is characteristic of his age andstateheassured her that he would do all in his power to protectand bringthem through.

The nextstate-room to Cassy's was occupied by a French ladynamed DeThouxwho was accompanied by a fine little daughtera child ofsome twelve summers.

This ladyhaving gatheredfrom George's conversationthathe wasfrom Kentuckyseemed evidently disposed to cultivatehisacquaintance; in which design she was seconded by the gracesof herlittle girlwho was about as pretty a plaything as everdivertedthe weariness of a fortnight's trip on a steamboat.

George'schair was often placed at her state-room door; andCassyasshe sat upon the guardscould hear their conversation.

Madame deThoux was very minute in her inquiries as to Kentuckywhere shesaid she had resided in a former period of her life.Georgediscoveredto his surprisethat her former residencemust havebeen in his own vicinity; and her inquiries showed aknowledgeof people and things in his vicinitythat was perfectlysurprisingto him.

"Doyou know" said Madame de Thoux to himone day"ofany manin your neighborhoodof the name of Harris?"

"Thereis an old fellowof that namelives not far from myfather'splace" said George.  "We never have had muchintercoursewith himthough."

"Heis a large slave-ownerI believe" said Madame de Thouxwith amanner which seemed to betray more interest than shewasexactly willing to show.

"Heis" said Georgelooking rather surprised at her manner.

"Didyou ever know of his having--perhapsyou may haveheard ofhis having a mulatto boynamed George?"

"Ocertainly--George Harris--I know him well; he marrieda servantof my mother'sbut has escapednowto Canada."

"Hehas?" said Madame de Thouxquickly.  "Thank God!"

Georgelooked a surprised inquirybut said nothing.

Madame deThoux leaned her head on her handand burst into tears.

"Heis my brother" she said.

"Madame!"said Georgewith a strong accent of surprise.

"Yes"said Madame de Thouxlifting her headproudlyand wipingher tears"Mr. ShelbyGeorge Harris is my brother!"

"I amperfectly astonished" said Georgepushing back hischair apace or twoand looking at Madame de Thoux.

"Iwas sold to the South when he was a boy" said she.  "Iwasbought bya good and generous man.  He took me with him to theWestIndiesset me freeand married me.  It is but lately thathe died;and I was going up to Kentuckyto see if I could findand redeemmy brother."

"Iheard him speak of a sister Emilythat was sold South"saidGeorge.

"Yesindeed!  I am the one" said Madame de Thoux;--"tellme whatsort of a--"

"Avery fine young man" said George"notwithstanding thecurse ofslavery that lay on him.  He sustained a first ratecharacterboth for intelligence and principle.  I knowyou see"he said;"because he married in our family."

"Whatsort of a girl?" said Madame de Thouxeagerly.

"Atreasure" said George; "a beautifulintelligentamiablegirl.  Very pious.  My mother had brought her upandtrainedher as carefullyalmostas a daughter.  She could readand writeembroider and sewbeautifully; and was a beautiful singer."

"Wasshe born in your house?" said Madame de Thoux.

"No. Father bought her oncein one of his trips to New Orleansandbrought her up as a present to mother.  She was about eightor nineyears oldthen.  Father would never tell mother whathe gavefor her; butthe other dayin looking over his old paperswe cameacross the bill of sale.  He paid an extravagant sum for herto besure.  I supposeon account of her extraordinary beauty."

George satwith his back to Cassyand did not see the absorbedexpressionof her countenanceas he was giving these details.

At thispoint in the storyshe touched his armandwitha faceperfectly white with interestsaid"Do you know the namesof thepeople he bought her of?"

"Aman of the name of SimmonsI thinkwas the principalin thetransaction.  At leastI think that was the name on thebill ofsale."

"Omy God!" said Cassyand fell insensible on the floorof thecabin.

George waswide awake nowand so was Madame de Thoux.Thoughneither of them could conjecture what was the cause ofCassy'sfaintingstill they made all the tumult which is properin suchcases;--George upsetting a wash-pitcherand breaking twotumblersin the warmth of his humanity; and various ladies inthe cabinhearing that somebody had faintedcrowded the state-roomdoorandkept out all the air they possibly couldso thaton thewholeeverything was done that could be expected.

PoorCassy! when she recoveredturned her face to the walland weptand sobbed like a child--perhapsmotheryou cantell whatshe was thinking of!  Perhaps you cannot--but she feltas surein that hourthat God had had mercy on herand that sheshould seeher daughter--as she didmonths afterwards--when--butweanticipate.

 

 

CHAPTERXLIIIResults

 

The restof our story is soon told.  George Shelbyinterestedas anyother young man might beby the romance of the incidentno lessthan by feelings of humanitywas at the pains to sendto Cassythe bill of sale of Eliza; whose date and name allcorrespondedwith her own knowledge of factsand felt no doubtupon hermind as to the identity of her child.  It remained nowonly forher to trace out the path of the fugitives.

Madame deThoux and shethus drawn together by the singularcoincidenceof their fortunesproceeded immediately to Canadaand begana tour of inquiry among the stationswhere the numerousfugitivesfrom slavery are located.  At Amherstberg they found themissionarywith whom George and Eliza had taken shelteron theirfirstarrival in Canada; and through him were enabled to trace thefamily toMontreal.

George andEliza had now been five years free.  George hadfoundconstant occupation in the shop of a worthy machinistwherehe hadbeen earning a competent support for his familywhichinthe meantimehad been increased by the addition of another daughter.

LittleHarry--a fine bright boy--had been put to a good schooland wasmaking rapid proficiency in knowledge.

The worthypastor of the stationin Amherstbergwhere Georgehad firstlandedwas so much interested in the statements ofMadame deThoux and Cassythat he yielded to the solicitationsof theformerto accompany them to Montrealin their search--shebearingall the expense of the expedition.

The scenenow changes to a smallneat tenementin theoutskirtsof Montreal; the timeevening.  A cheerful fire blazeson thehearth; a tea-tablecovered with a snowy clothstandspreparedfor the evening meal.  In one corner of the room was atablecovered with a green clothwhere was an open writing-deskpenspaperand over it a shelf of well-selected books.

This wasGeorge's study.  The same zeal for self-improvementwhich ledhim to steal the much coveted arts of reading and writingamid allthe toil and discouragements of his early lifestill ledhim todevote all his leisure time to self-cultivation.

At thispresent timehe is seated at the tablemaking notesfrom avolume of the family library he has been reading.

"ComeGeorge" says Eliza"you've been gone all day.  Doputdown thatbookand let's talkwhile I'm getting tea--do."

And littleEliza seconds the effortby toddling up to herfatherand trying to pull the book out of his handand installherself onhis knee as a substitute.

"Oyou little witch!" says Georgeyieldingasin suchcircumstancesman always must.

"That'sright" says Elizaas she begins to cut a loaf of bread.A littleolder she looks; her form a little fuller; her air morematronlythan of yore; but evidently contented and happy as womanneed be.

"Harrymy boyhow did you come on in that sumtoday?"saysGeorgeas he laid his land on his son's head.

Harry haslost his long curls; but he can never lose thoseeyes andeyelashesand that finebold browthat flusheswithtriumphas he answers"I did itevery bit of it_myself_father;and _nobody_ helped me!"

"That'sright" says his father; "depend on yourselfmy son.You have abetter chance than ever your poor father had."

At thismomentthere is a rap at the door; and Eliza goes andopens it. The delighted--"Why! this you?"--calls up her husband;and thegood pastor of Amherstberg is welcomed.  There are two morewomen withhimand Eliza asks them to sit down.

Nowifthe truth must be toldthe honest pastor had arrangeda littleprogrammeaccording to which this affair was todevelopitself; andon the way upall had very cautiously andprudentlyexhorted each other not to let things outexcept accordingtoprevious arrangement.

What wasthe good man's consternationthereforejust ashe hadmotioned to the ladies to be seatedand was taking out hispocket-handkerchiefto wipe his mouthso as to proceed to hisintroductoryspeech in good orderwhen Madame de Thoux upset thewholeplanby throwing her arms around George's neckand lettingall out atonceby saying"OGeorge! don't you know me?  I'm yoursisterEmily."

Cassy hadseated herself more composedlyand would have carriedon herpart very wellhad not little Eliza suddenly appearedbefore herin exact shape and formevery outline and curljustas herdaughter was when she saw her last.  The little thing peeredup in herface; and Cassy caught her up in her armspressed herto herbosomsayingwhatat the moment she really believed"DarlingI'm your mother!"

In factit was a troublesome matter to do up exactly in properorder; butthe good pastorat lastsucceeded in gettingeverybodyquietand delivering the speech with which he had intendedto openthe exercises; and in whichat lasthe succeeded so wellthat hiswhole audience were sobbing about him in a manner that oughtto satisfyany oratorancient or modern.

They knelttogetherand the good man prayed--for there aresomefeelings so agitated and tumultuousthat they can findrest onlyby being poured into the bosom of Almighty love--andthenrising upthe new-found family embraced each otherwith aholy trustin Himwho from such peril and dangersand by suchunknownwayshad brought them together.

Thenote-book of a missionaryamong the Canadian fugitivescontainstruth stranger than fiction.  How can it be otherwisewhen asystem prevails which whirls families and scatters theirmembersas the wind whirls and scatters the leaves of autumn?Theseshores of refugelike the eternal shoreoften unite againin gladcommunionhearts that for long years have mourned eachother aslost.  And affecting beyond expression is the earnestnesswith whichevery new arrival among them is metifperchanceitmay bringtidings of mothersisterchild or wifestill lost toview inthe shadows of slavery.

Deeds ofheroism are wrought here more than those of romancewhendefying tortureand braving death itselfthe fugitivevoluntarilythreads his way back to the terrors and perils of thatdark landthat he may bring out his sisteror motheror wife.

One youngmanof whom a missionary has told ustwicere-capturedand suffering shameful stripes for his heroismhadescapedagain; andin a letter which we heard readtells hisfriendsthat he is going back a third timethat he mayat lastbring awayhis sister.  My good siris this man a heroor acriminal? Would not you do as much for your sister?  And can youblame him?

Buttoreturn to our friendswhom we left wiping their eyesandrecovering themselves from too great and sudden a joy.They arenow seated around the social boardand are gettingdecidedlycompanionable; only that Cassywho keeps littleEliza onher lapoccasionally squeezes the little thingina mannerthat rather astonishes herand obstinately refuses tohave hermouth stuffed with cake to the extent the little onedesires--allegingwhat the child rather wonders atthat she hasgotsomething better than cakeand doesn't want it.

Andindeedin two or three dayssuch a change has passed overCassythat our readers would scarcely know her.  The despairinghaggardexpression of her face had given way to one of gentle trust.She seemedto sinkat onceinto the bosom of the familyand takethe littleones into her heartas something for which it longhadwaited.  Indeedher love seemed to flow more naturally to thelittleEliza than to her own daughter; for she was the exact imageand bodyof the child whom she had lost.  The little one was aflowerybond between mother and daughterthrough whom grew upacquaintanceshipand affection.  Eliza's steadyconsistent pietyregulatedby the constant reading of the sacred wordmade her aproperguide for the shattered and wearied mind of her mother.Cassyyielded at onceand with her whole soulto every goodinfluenceand became a devout and tender Christian.

After aday or twoMadame de Thoux told her brother moreparticularlyof her affairs.  The death of her husband had lefther anample fortunewhich she generously offered to share withthefamily.  When she asked George what way she could best applyit forhimhe answered"Give me an educationEmily; that hasalwaysbeen my heart's desire.  ThenI can do all the rest."

On maturedeliberationit was decided that the whole familyshould gofor some yearsto France; whither they sailedcarryingEmmelinewith them.

The goodlooks of the latter won the affection of the first mateof thevessel; andshortly after entering  the portshe becamehis wife.

Georgeremained four years at a French universityandapplyinghimselfwith an unintermitted zealobtained a very thorougheducation.

Politicaltroubles in Franceat lastled the family againto seek anasylum in this country.

George'sfeelings and viewsas an educated manmay bebestexpressed in a letter to one of his friends.

"Ifeel somewhat at a lossas to my future course.  Trueasyou havesaid to meI might mingle in the circles of the whitesin thiscountrymy shade of color is so slightand that of mywife andfamily scarce perceptible.  Wellperhapson sufferanceI might. Butto tell you the truthI have no wish to.

"Mysympathies are not for my father's racebut for my mother's.To him Iwas no more than a fine dog or horse: to my poorheart-brokenmother I was a _child_; andthough I never sawherafterthe cruel sale that separated ustill she diedyet I_know_ shealways loved me dearly.  I know it by my own heart.When Ithink of all she sufferedof my own early sufferingsofthedistresses and struggles of my heroic wifeof my sistersoldin the NewOrleans slave-market--though I hope to have no unchristiansentimentsyet I may be excused for sayingI have no wish to passfor anAmericanor to identify myself with them.

"Itis with the oppressedenslaved African race that I castin my lot;andif I wished anythingI would wish myself twoshadesdarkerrather than one lighter.

"Thedesire and yearning of my soul is for an African _nationality_.I want apeople that shall have a tangibleseparate existenceof itsown; and where am I to look for it?  Not in Hayti; for inHayti theyhad nothing to start with.  A stream cannot rise aboveitsfountain.  The race that formed the character of the Haytienswas aworn-outeffeminate one; andof coursethe subject racewill becenturies in rising to anything.

"Wherethenshall I look?  On the shores of Africa I seearepublic--a republic formed of picked menwhoby energy andself-educatingforcehavein many casesindividuallyraisedthemselvesabove a condition of slavery.  Having gone through apreparatorystage of feeblenessthis republic hasat lastbecomeanacknowledged nation on the face of the earth--acknowledged bybothFrance and England.  There it is my wish to goand find myselfa people.

"I amawarenowthat I shall have you all against me; butbefore youstrikehear me.  During my stay in FranceI havefollowedupwith intense interestthe history of my peopleinAmerica.  I have noted the struggle between abolitionist andcolonizationistand have received some impressionsas a distantspectatorwhich could never have occurred to me as a participator.

"Igrant that this Liberia may have subserved all sorts ofpurposesby being played offin the hands of our oppressorsagainstus.  Doubtless the scheme may have been usedin unjustifiablewaysas ameans of retarding our emancipation.  But the questionto me isIs there not a God above all man's schemes?  May He nothaveover-ruled their designsand founded for us a nation by them?

"Inthese daysa nation is born in a day.  A nation startsnowwith allthe great problems of republican life and civilizationwroughtout to its hand;--it has not to discoverbut only to apply.Let usthenall take hold togetherwith all our mightand seewhat wecan do with this new enterpriseand the whole splendidcontinentof Africa opens before us and our children.  _Our nation_shall rollthe tide of civilization and Christianity along itsshoresand plant there mighty republicsthatgrowing with therapidityof tropical vegetationshall be for all coming ages.

"Doyou say that I am deserting my enslaved brethren?  I think not.If Iforget them one hourone moment of my lifeso may Godforgetme!  Butwhat can I do for themhere?  Can I breaktheirchains?  Nonot as an individual; butlet me go and formpart of anationwhich shall have a voice in the councils ofnationsand then we can speak.  A nation has a right to argueremonstrateimploreand present the cause of its race--which anindividualhas not.

"IfEurope ever becomes a grand council of free nations--asI trust inGod it will--ifthereserfdomand all unjust andoppressivesocial inequalitiesare done away; and if theyasFrance andEngland have doneacknowledge our position--theninthe greatcongress of nationswe will make our appealand presentthe causeof our enslaved and suffering race; and it cannot be thatfreeenlightened America will not then desire to wipe from herescutcheonthat bar sinister which disgraces her among nationsand is astruly a curse to her as to the enslaved.

"Butyou will tell meour race have equal rights to minglein theAmerican republic as the Irishmanthe Germanthe Swede.Grantedthey have.  We _ought_ to be free to meet and mingle--torise byour individual worthwithout any consideration of casteor color;and they who deny us this right are false to their ownprofessedprinciples of human equality.  We oughtin particularto beallowed _here_.  We have _more_ than the rights of commonmen;--wehave the claim of an injured race for reparation.  Butthen_I do notwant it_; I want a countrya nationof my own.  I thinkthat theAfrican race has peculiaritiesyet to be unfolded in thelight ofcivilization and Christianitywhichif not the same withthose ofthe Anglo-Saxonmay prove to bemorallyof even ahighertype.

"Tothe Anglo-Saxon race has been intrusted the destinies ofthe worldduring its pioneer period of struggle and conflict.To thatmission its sterninflexibleenergetic elementswerewelladapted; butas a ChristianI look for another era to arise.On itsborders I trust we stand; and the throes that now convulsethenations areto my hopebut the birth-pangs of an hour ofuniversalpeace and brotherhood.

"Itrust that the development of Africa is to be essentially aChristianone.  If not a dominant and commanding racethey areat leastan affectionatemagnanimousand forgiving one.  Havingbeencalled in the furnace of injustice and oppressionthey haveneed tobind closer to their hearts that sublime doctrine of loveandforgivenessthrough which alone they are to conquerwhich itis to betheir mission to spread over the continent of Africa.

"InmyselfI confessI am feeble for this--full half theblood inmy veins is the hot and hasty Saxon; but I have aneloquentpreacher of the Gospel ever by my sidein the person ofmybeautiful wife.  When I wanderher gentler spirit ever restoresmeandkeeps before my eyes the Christian calling and mission ofour race. As a Christian patriotas a teacher of ChristianityI go to_my country_--my chosenmy glorious Africa!--and to herin myheartI sometimes apply those splendid words of prophecy:`Whereasthou hast been forsaken and hatedso that no man wentthroughthee; _I_ will make thee an eternal excellencea joy ofmanygenerations!'

"Youwill call me an enthusiast: you will tell me that I havenot wellconsidered what I am undertaking.  But I haveconsideredand counted the cost.  I go to _Liberia_not as anElysium ofromancebut as to _a field of work_.  I expect to workwith bothhands--to work _hard_; to work against all sorts ofdifficultiesand discouragements; and to work till I die.  This iswhat I gofor; and in this I am quite sure I shall not be disappointed.

"Whateveryou may think of my determinationdo not divorce
me fromyour confidence; and think thatin whatever I do
I actwith a heart wholly given to my people.                                "GEORGE HARRIS."

 

Georgewith his wifechildrensister and motherembarkedforAfricasome few weeks after.  If we are not mistakentheworld willyet hear from him there.

Of ourother characters we have nothing very particular towriteexcept a word relating to Miss Ophelia and Topsyand afarewellchapterwhich we shall dedicate to George Shelby.

MissOphelia took Topsy home to Vermont with hermuch to thesurpriseof the grave deliberative body whom a New Englanderrecognizesunder the term "_Our folks_."  "Our folks"at firstthought itan odd and unnecessary addition to their well-traineddomesticestablishment; butso thoroughly efficient was MissOphelia inher conscientious endeavor to do her duty by her elevethat thechild rapidly grew in grace and in favor with the familyandneighborhood.  At the age of womanhoodshe wasby her ownrequestbaptizedand became a member of the Christian church inthe place;and showed so much intelligenceactivity and zealanddesire todo good in the worldthat she was at last recommendedandapproved as a missionary to one of the stations in Africa; andwe haveheard that the same activity and ingenuity whichwhen achildmade her so multiform and restless in her developmentsisnowemployedin a safer and wholesomer mannerin teaching thechildrenof her own country.

P.S.--Itwill be a satisfaction to some motheralsoto statethat someinquirieswhich were set on foot by Madame de Thouxhaveresulted recently in the discovery of Cassy's son.  Being ayoung manof energyhe had escapedsome years before his motherand beenreceived and educated by friends of the oppressed inthenorth.  He will soon follow his family to Africa.

 

 

CHAPTERXLIVTheLiberator

 

GeorgeShelby had written to his mother merely a linestatingthe daythat she might expect him home.  Of the death sceneof his oldfriend he had not the heart to write.  He had triedseveraltimesand only succeeded in half choking himself; andinvariablyfinished by tearing up the paperwiping his eyesandrushingsomewhere to get quiet.

There wasa pleased bustle all though the Shelby mansionthat dayin expectation of the arrival of young Mas'r George.

Mrs.Shelby was seated in her comfortable parlorwhere acheerfulhickory fire was dispelling the chill of the late autumnevening. A supper-tableglittering with plate and cut glasswasset outon whose arrangements our former friendold Chloewaspresiding.

Arrayed ina new calico dresswith cleanwhite apronand highwell-starched turbanher black polished face glowingwithsatisfactionshe lingeredwith needless punctiliousnessaround thearrangements of the tablemerely as an excuse fortalking alittle to her mistress.

"Lawsnow! won't it look natural to him?" she said."Thar--Iset his plate just whar he likes itround by the fire.Mas'rGeorge allers wants de warm seat.  Ogo way!--why didn'tSally getout de _best_ tea-pot--de little new oneMas'r Georgegot forMissisChristmas?  I'll have it out!  And Missis has heardfrom Mas'rGeorge?" she saidinquiringly.

"YesChloe; but only a linejust to say he would be hometonightif he could--that's all."

"Didn'tsay nothin' 'bout my old mans'pose?" said Chloestillfidgeting with the tea-cups.

"Nohe didn't.  He did not speak of anythingChloe.  He saidhe wouldtell allwhen he got home."

"Jeslike Mas'r George--he's allers so ferce for tellin'everythinghisself.  I allers minded dat ar in Mas'r George.Don't seefor my parthow white people gen'lly can bar to hevto writethings much as they dowritin' 's such slowoneasy kindo' work."

Mrs.Shelby smiled.

"I'ma thinkin' my old man won't know de boys and de baby.Lor'!she's de biggest galnow--good she istooand peartPolly is. She's out to the housenowwatchin' de hoe-cake.I 's gotjist de very pattern my old man liked so mucha bakin'.Jist sichas I gin him the mornin' he was took off.  Lord blessus! how Ifeltdat ar morning!"

Mrs.Shelby sighedand felt a heavy weight on her heartatthisallusion.  She had felt uneasyever since she receivedher son'sletterlest something should prove to be hidden behindthe veilof silence which he had drawn.

"Missishas got dem bills?" said Chloeanxiously.

"YesChloe."

"'CauseI wants to show my old man dem very bills de_perfectioner_gave me.  `And' say he`ChloeI wish you'd staylonger.' `Thank youMas'r' says I`I wouldonly my old man'scominghomeand Missis--she can't do without me no longer.'There'sjist what I telled him.  Berry nice mandat Mas'r Jones was."

Chloe hadpertinaciously insisted that the very bills inwhich herwages had been paid should be preservedto show herhusbandin memorial of her capability.  And Mrs. Shelby hadreadilyconsented to humor her in the request.

"Hewon't know Polly--my old man won't.  Lawsit's fiveyear sincethey tuck him!  She was a baby den--couldn't butjiststand.  Remember how tickled he used to because she wouldkeep afallin' overwhen she sot out to walk.  Laws a me!"

Therattling of wheels now was heard.

"Mas'rGeorge!" said Aunt Chloestarting to the window.

Mrs.Shelby ran to the entry doorand was folded in the armsof herson.  Aunt Chloe stood anxiously straining her eyesout intothe darkness.

"O_poor_ Aunt Chloe!" said Georgestopping compassionatelyand takingher hardblack hand between both his; "I'd have givenall myfortune to have brought him with mebut he's gone to abettercountry."

There wasa passionate exclamation from Mrs. ShelbybutAunt Chloesaid nothing.

The partyentered the supper-room.  The moneyof whichChloe wasso proudwas still lying on the table.

"Thar"said shegathering it upand holding itwith atremblinghandto her mistress"don't never want to see nor hearon 'tagain.  Jist as I knew 't would be--soldand murdered ondem ar'old plantations!"

Chloeturnedand was walking proudly out of the room.Mrs.Shelby followed her softlyand took one of her handsdrewher downinto a chairand sat down by her.

"Mypoorgood Chloe!" said she.

Chloeleaned her head on her mistress' shoulderand sobbedout"OMissis! 'scuse memy heart's broke--dat's all!"

"Iknow it is" said Mrs. Shelbyas her tears fell fast;"and_I_ cannot heal itbut Jesus can.  He healeth the brokenheartedand bindeth up their wounds."

There wasa silence for some timeand all wept together.At lastGeorgesitting down beside the mournertook her handandwithsimple pathosrepeated the triumphant scene of herhusband'sdeathand his last messages of love.

About amonth after thisone morningall the servants of theShelbyestate were convened together in the great hall thatranthrough the houseto hear a few words from their young master.

To thesurprise of allhe appeared among them with a bundle ofpapers inhis handcontaining a certificate of freedom to everyone on theplacewhich he read successivelyand presentedamidthe sobsand tears and shouts of all present.

Manyhoweverpressed around himearnestly begging him notto sendthem away; andwith anxious facestendering backtheir freepapers.

"Wedon't want to be no freer than we are.  We's allers had allwewanted.  We don't want to leave de ole placeand Mas'randMissisand de rest!"

"Mygood friends" said Georgeas soon as he could get a silence"there'llbe no need for you to leave me.  The place wants as manyhands towork it as it did before.  We need the same about thehouse thatwe did before.  Butyou are now free men andfreewomen.  I shall pay you wages for your worksuch as we shallagree on. The advantage isthat in case of my getting in debtordying--thingsthat might happen--you cannot now be taken up andsold. I expect to carry on the estateand to teach you whatperhapsit will take you some time to learn--how to use the rightsI give youas free men and women.  I expect you to be goodandwilling tolearn; and I trust in God that I shall be faithfulandwilling toteach.  And nowmy friendslook upand thank God fortheblessing of freedom."

An agedpartriarchal negrowho had grown gray and blind on theestatenow roseandlifting his trembling hand said"Let usgivethanks unto the Lord!"  As all kneeled by one consentamoretouchingand hearty Te Deum never ascended to heaventhough borneon thepeal of organbell and cannonthan came from that honestold heart.

On risinganother struck up a Methodist hymnof whichthe burdenwas

 

         "The year of Jubilee is come--
          Returnye ransomed sinnershome."

 

"Onething more" said Georgeas he stopped the congratulationsof thethrong; "you all remember our good old Uncle Tom?"

Georgehere gave a short narration of the scene of his deathand of hisloving farewell to all on the placeand added

"Itwas on his gravemy friendsthat I resolvedbefore Godthat Iwould never own another slavewhile it was possibleto freehim; that nobodythrough meshould ever run the risk ofbeingparted from home and friendsand dying on a lonely plantationas hedied.  Sowhen you rejoice in your freedomthink that youowe it tothat good old souland pay it back in kindness to hiswife andchildren.  Think of your freedomevery time you see UNCLETOM'SCABIN; and let it be a memorial to put you all in mind tofollow inhis stepsand be honest and faithful and Christian ashe was."

 

 

CHAPTERXLVConcludingRemarks

 

The writerhas often been inquired ofby correspondents fromdifferentparts of the countrywhether this narrative is atrue one;and to these inquiries she will give one general answer.

Theseparate incidents that compose the narrative aretoa verygreat extentauthenticoccurringmany of themeitherunder herown observationor that of her personal friends.She or herfriends have observed characters the counterpart ofalmost allthat are here introduced; and many of the sayings areword forword as heard herselfor reported to her.

Thepersonal appearance of Elizathe character ascribed to heraresketches drawn from life.  The incorruptible fidelitypiety andhonestyof Uncle Tomhad more than one developmenttoherpersonal knowledge.  Some of the most deeply tragic andromanticsome ofthe most terrible incidentshave also their paralleinreality.  The incident of the mother's crossing the Ohio riveron the iceis a well-known fact.  The story of "old Prue" in thesecondvolumewas an incident that fell under the personalobservationof a brother of the writerthen collecting-clerk toa largemercantile housein New Orleans.  From the same sourcewasderived the character of the planter Legree.  Of him her brotherthuswrotespeaking of visiting his plantationon a collectingtour; "Heactually made me feel of his fistwhich was like ablacksmith'shammeror a nodule of irontelling me that it was`callousedwith knocking down niggers.'  When I left the plantationI drew along breathand felt as if I had escaped from an ogre's den."

That thetragical fate of Tomalsohas too many times haditsparallelthere are living witnessesall over our landtotestify.  Let it be remembered that in all southern states itis aprinciple of jurisprudence that no person of colored lineagecantestify in a suit against a whiteand it will be easy to seethat sucha case may occurwherever there is a man whose passionsoutweighhis interestsand a slave who has manhood or principleenough toresist his will.  There isactuallynothing to protecttheslave's lifebut the _character_ of the master.  Facts tooshockingto be contemplated occasionally force their way to thepublicearand the comment that one often hears made on them ismoreshocking than the thing itself.  It is said"Very likelysuchcases maynow and then occurbut they are no sample of generalpractice." If the laws of New England were so arranged that a mastercould _nowand then_ torture an apprentice to deathwould it bereceivedwith equal composure?  Would it be said"These cases arerareandno samples of general practice"?  This injustice is an_inherent_one in the slave system--it cannot exist without it.

The publicand shameless sale of beautiful mulatto and quadroongirls hasacquired a notorietyfrom the incidents following thecapture ofthe Pearl.  We extract the following from the speechof Hon.Horace Mannone of the legal counsel for the defendantsin thatcase.  He says:  "In that company of seventy-sixpersonswhoattemptedin 1848to escape from the District of Columbia intheschooner Pearland whose officers I assisted in defendingthere wereseveral young and healthy girlswho had those peculiarattractionsof form and feature which connoisseurs prize so highly.ElizabethRussel was one of them.  She immediately fell into theslave-trader'sfangsand was doomed for the New Orleans market.The heartsof those that saw her were touched with pity forher fate. They offered eighteen hundred dollars to redeem her;and somethere were who offered to givethat would not have muchleft afterthe gift; but the fiend of a slave-trader was inexorable.She wasdespatched to New Orleans; butwhen about half way thereGod hadmercy on herand smote her with death.  There were twogirlsnamed Edmundson in the same company.  When about to be sentto thesame marketan older sister went to the shamblesto pleadwith thewretch who owned themfor the love of Godto spare hisvictims. He bantered hertelling what fine dresses and finefurniturethey would have.  `Yes' she said`that may do very wellin thislifebut what will become of them in the next?'  They toowere sentto New Orleans; but were afterwards redeemedat anenormousransomand brought back."  Is it not plainfrom thisthat thehistories of Emmeline and Cassy may have many counterparts?

Justicetooobliges the author to state that the fairnessof mindand generosity attributed to St. Clare are not without aparallelas the following anecdote will show.  A few years sincea youngsouthern gentleman was in Cincinnatiwith a favoriteservantwho had been his personal attendant from a boy.  The youngman tookadvantage of this opportunity to secure his own freedomand fledto the protection of a Quakerwho was quite noted inaffairs ofthis kind.  The owner was exceedingly indignant.  He hadalwaystreated the slave with such indulgenceand his confidencein hisaffection was suchthat he believed he must have beenpractisedupon to induce him to revolt from him.  He visited theQuakerinhigh anger; butbeing possessed of uncommon candor andfairnesswas soon quieted by his arguments and representations.It was aside of the subject which he never had heard--never hadthoughton; and he immediately told the Quaker thatif his slavewouldtohis own facesay that it was his desire to be freehe wouldliberate him.  An interview was forthwith procuredandNathan wasasked by his young master whether he had ever had anyreason tocomplain of his treatmentin any respect.

"NoMas'r" said Nathan; "you've always been good to me."

"Wellthenwhy do you want to leave me?"

"Mas'rmay dieand then who get me?--I'd rather be a free man."

After somedeliberationthe young master replied"Nathanin yourplaceIthink I should feel very much somyself.  You are free."

Heimmediately made him out free papers; deposited a sum ofmoney inthe hands of the Quakerto be judiciously used inassistinghim to start in lifeand left a very sensible and kindletter ofadvice to the young man.  That letter was for some timein thewriter's hands.

The authorhopes she has done justice to that nobilitygenerosityandhumanitywhich in many cases characterize individuals at theSouth. Such instances save us from utter despair of our kind.Butsheasks any personwho knows the worldare such characters_common_anywhere?

For manyyears of her lifethe author avoided all readingupon orallusion to the subject of slaveryconsidering it as toopainful tobe inquired intoand one which advancing light andcivlizationwould certainly live down.  Butsince the legislativeact of1850when she heardwith perfect surprise and consternationChristianand humane people actually recommending the remandingescapedfugitives into slaveryas a duty binding on goodcitizens--whenshe heardon all handsfrom kindcompassionateandestimable peoplein the free states of the Northdeliberationsanddiscussions as to what Christian duty could be on this head--shecould onlythinkThese men and Christians cannot know what slaveryis; ifthey didsuch a question could never be open for discussion.And fromthis arose a desire to exhibit it in a _living dramaticreality_. She has endeavored to show it fairlyin its best andits worstphases.  In its _best_ aspectshe hasperhapsbeensuccessful;butoh! who shall say what yet remains untold in thatvalley andshadow of deaththat lies the other side?

To yougenerousnoble-minded men and womenof theSouth--youwhose virtueand magnanimity and purity of characterare thegreater for the severer trial it has encountered--to youis herappeal.  Have you notin your own secret soulsin yourownprivate conversingsfelt that there are woes and evilsinthisaccursed systemfar beyond what are here shadowedor canbeshadowed?  Can it be otherwise?  Is _man_ ever a creatureto betrustedwith wholly irresponsible power?  And does not the slavesystembydenying the slave all legal right of testimonymakeeveryindividual owner an irresponsible despot?  Can anybody fallto makethe inference what the practical result will be?  If thereisas weadmita public sentiment among youmen of honorjusticeandhumanityis there not also another kind of public sentimentamong theruffianthe brutal and debased?  And cannot the ruffianthebrutalthe debasedby slave lawown just as many slaves asthe bestand purest?  Are the honorablethe justthe high-mindedandcompassionatethe majority anywhere in this world?

Theslave-trade is nowby American lawconsidered as piracy.But aslave-tradeas systematic as ever was carried on on thecoast ofAfricais an inevitable attendant and result ofAmericanslavery.  And its heart-break and its horrorscan theybe told?

The writerhas given only a faint shadowa dim pictureoftheanguish and despair that areat this very momentrivingthousandsof heartsshattering thousands of familiesand drivinga helplessand sensitive race to frenzy and despair.  There arethoseliving who know the mothers whom this accursed traffic hasdriven tothe murder of their children; and themselves seeking indeath ashelter from woes more dreaded than death.  Nothing oftragedycan be writtencan be spokencan be conceivedthat equalsthefrightful reality of scenes daily and hourly acting on ourshoresbeneath the shadow of American lawand the shadow of thecross ofChrist.

And nowmen and women of Americais this a thing to betrifledwithapologized forand passed over in silence?Farmers ofMassachusettsof New Hampshireof VermontofConnecticutwho read this book by the blaze of your winter-eveningfire--strong-heartedgenerous sailors and ship-owners of Maine--isthis athing for you to countenance and encourage?  Brave and generousmen of NewYorkfarmers of rich and joyous Ohioand ye of thewideprairie states--answeris this a thing for you to protectandcountenance?  And youmothers of America--you who havelearnedby thecradles of your own childrento love and feel for allmankind--bythe sacred love you bear your child; by your joy inhisbeautifulspotless infancy; by the motherly pity and tendernesswith whichyou guide his growing years; by the anxieties of hiseducation;by the prayers you breathe for his soul's eternal good;--Ibeseechyoupity the mother who has all your affectionsand not onelegalright to protectguideor educatethe child of her bosom!By thesick hour of your child; by those dying eyeswhich youcan neverforget; by those last criesthat wrung your heart whenyou couldneither help nor save; by the desolation of that emptycradlethat silent nursery--I beseech youpity those mothersthat areconstantly made childless by the American slave-trade!And saymothers of Americais this a thing to be defendedsympathizedwithpassed over in silence?

Do you saythat the people of the free state have nothingto do withitand can do nothing?  Would to God this were true!But it isnot true.  The people of the free states have defendedencouragedand participated; and are more guilty for itbeforeGodthanthe Southin that they have not the apology of educationor custom.

If themothers of the free states had all felt as they shouldin timespastthe sons of the free states would not have beentheholdersandproverbiallythe hardest masters of slaves;the sonsof the free states would not have connived at the extensionofslaveryin our national body; the sons of the free states wouldnotasthey dotrade the souls and bodies of men as an equivalentto moneyin their mercantile dealings.  There are multitudes ofslavestemporarily ownedand sold againby merchants in northerncities;and shall the whole guilt or obloquy of slavery fall onlyon theSouth?

Northernmennorthern mothersnorthern Christianshavesomethingmore to do than denounce their brethren at the South;they haveto look to the evil among themselves.

Butwhatcan any individual do? Of thatevery individualcanjudge.  There is one thing that every individual can do--theycan see toit that _they feel right_.  An atmosphere of sympatheticinfluenceencircles every human being; and the man or woman who_feels_stronglyhealthily and justlyon the great interests ofhumanityis a constant benefactor to the human race.  Seethento yoursympathies in this matter!  Are they in harmony with thesympathiesof Christ? or are they swayed and perverted by thesophistriesof worldly policy?

Christianmen and women of the North! still further--you haveanotherpower; you can _pray!_  Do you believe in prayer? or hasit becomean indistinct apostolic tradition?  You pray for theheathenabroad; pray also for the heathen at home.  And pray forthosedistressed Christians whose whole chance of religiousimprovementis an accident of trade and sale; from whom anyadherenceto the morals of Christianity isin many casesanimpossibilityunless they have given themfrom abovethe courageand graceof martyrdom.

Butstillmore.  On the shores of our free states are emergingthe poorshatteredbroken remnants of families--men and womenescapedby miraculous providences from the surges ofslavery--feeblein knowledgeandin many casesinfirm in moralconstitutionfrom a system which confounds and confuses everyprincipleof Christianity and morality.  They come to seek a refugeamong you;they come to seek educationknowledgeChristianity.

What doyou owe to these poor unfortunatesoh Christians?Does notevery American Christian owe to the African race someeffort atreparation for the wrongs that the American nation hasbroughtupon them?  Shall the doors of churches and school-housesbe shutupon them?  Shall states arise and shake them out?Shall thechurch of Christ hear in silence the taunt that is thrownat themand shrink away from the helpless hand that they stretch out;andbyher silenceencourage the cruelty that would chase themfrom ourborders?  If it must be soit will be a mournful spectacle.If it mustbe sothe country will have reason to tremblewhen itremembersthat the fate of nations is in the hands of One who isverypitifuland of tender compassion.

Do yousay"We don't want them here; let them go to Africa"?

That theprovidence of God has provided a refuge in Africaisindeedagreat and noticeable fact; but that is no reason whythe churchof Christ should throw off that responsibility to thisoutcastrace which her profession demands of her.

To fill upLiberia with an ignorantinexperiencedhalf-barbarizedracejust escaped from the chains of slaverywould beonly to prolongfor agesthe period of struggle andconflictwhich attends the inception of new enterprises.  Let thechurch ofthe north receive these poor sufferers in the spirit ofChrist;receive them to the educating advantages of Christianrepublicansociety and schoolsuntil they have attained to somewhatof a moraland intellectual maturityand then assist them in theirpassage tothose shoreswhere they may put in practice the lessonsthey havelearned in America.

There is abody of men at the northcomparatively smallwho havebeen doing this; andas the resultthis country hasalreadyseen examples of menformerly slaveswho have rapidlyacquiredpropertyreputationand education.  Talent has beendevelopedwhichconsidering the circumstancesis certainlyremarkable;andfor moral traits of honestykindnesstendernessoffeeling--for heroic efforts and self-denialsendured for theransom ofbrethren and friends yet in slavery--they have beenremarkableto a degree thatconsidering the influence under whichthey werebornis surprising.

The writerhas livedfor many yearson the frontier-lineof slavestatesand has had great opportunities of observationamongthose who formerly were slaves.  They have been in her familyasservants; andin default of any other school to receive themshe hasin many caseshad them instructed in a family schoolwith herown children.  She has also the testimony of missionariesamong thefugitives in Canadain coincidence with her own experience;and herdeductionswith regard to the capabilities of the raceareencouraging in the highest degree.

The firstdesire of the emancipated slavegenerallyisfor_education_.  There is nothing that they are not willing togive or doto have their children instructedandso far as thewriter hasobserved herselfor taken the testimony of teachersamongthemthey are remarkably intelligent and quick to learn.Theresults of schoolsfounded for them by benevolent individualsinCincinnatifully establish this.

The authorgives the following statement of factson theauthorityof Professor C. E. Stowethen of Lane SeminaryOhiowithregard to emancipated slavesnow resident in Cincinnati;given toshow the capability of the raceeven without any veryparticularassistance or encouragement.

Theinitial letters alone are given.  They are all residentsofCincinnati.

"B----. Furniture maker; twenty years in the city; worthtenthousand dollarsall his own earnings; a Baptist.

"C----. Full black; stolen from Africa; sold in New Orleans;been freefifteen years; paid for himself six hundred dollars; afarmer;owns several farms in Indiana; Presbyterian; probably worthfifteen ortwenty thousand dollarsall earned by himself.

"K----. Full black; dealer in real estate; worth thirtythousanddollars; about forty years old; free six years; paideighteenhundred dollars for his family; member of the Baptistchurch;received a legacy from his masterwhich he has taken goodcare ofand increased.

"G----. Full black; coal dealer; about thirty years old; wortheighteenthousand dollars; paid for himself twicebeing oncedefraudedto the amount of sixteen hundred dollars; made all hismoney byhis own efforts--much of it while a slavehiring his timeof hismasterand doing business for himself; a finegentlemanlyfellow.

"W----. Three-fourths black; barber and waiter; from Kentucky;nineteenyears free; paid for self and family over threethousanddollars; deacon in the Baptist church.

"G.D----.  Three-fourths black; white-washer; from Kentucky;nine yearsfree; paid fifteen hundred dollars for self and family;recentlydiedaged sixty; worth six thousand dollars."

ProfessorStowe says"With all theseexcept G----I have beenfor someyearspersonally acquaintedand make my statementsfrom myown knowledge."

The writerwell remembers an aged colored womanwho was employedas awasherwoman in her father's family.  The daughter of thiswomanmarried a slave.  She was a remarkably active and capableyoungwomanandby her industry and thriftand the most perseveringself-denialraised nine hundred dollars for her husband's freedomwhich shepaidas she raised itinto the hands of his master.She yetwanted a hundred dollars of the pricewhen he died.She neverrecovered any of the money.

These arebut few factsamong multitudes which might beadducedto show the self-denialenergypatienceand honestywhich theslave has exhibited in a state of freedom.

And let itbe remembered that these individuals have thusbravelysucceeded in conquering for themselves comparative wealthand socialpositionin the face of every disadvantage anddiscouragement. The colored manby the law of Ohiocannot be avoterandtill within a few yearswas even denied the right oftestimonyin legal suits with the white.  Nor are these instancesconfinedto the State of Ohio.  In all states of the Union we seemenbutyesterday burst from the shackles of slaverywhoby aself-educatingforcewhich cannot be too much admiredhave risento highlyrespectable stations in society.  PenningtonamongclergymenDouglas and Wardamong editorsare well known instances.

If thispersecuted racewith every discouragement anddisadvantagehave done thus muchhow much more they might do iftheChristian church would act towards them in the spirit of her Lord!

This is anage of the world when nations are trembling and convulsed.A mightyinfluence is abroadsurging and heaving the worldas with anearthquake.  And is America safe?  Every nationthatcarries in its bosom great and unredressed injustice has init theelements of this last convulsion.

For whatis this mighty influence thus rousing in all nationsandlanguages those groanings that cannot be utteredforman'sfreedom and equality?

OChurchof Christread the signs of the times!  Is notthis powerthe spirit of Him whose kingdom is yet to comeandwhose willto be done on earth as it is in heaven?

But whomay abide the day of his appearing? "for that dayshall burnas an oven: and he shall appear as a swift witnessagainstthose that oppress the hireling in his wagesthe widowand thefatherlessand that _turn aside the stranger in his right_:and heshall break in pieces the oppressor."

Are notthese dread words for a nation bearing in her bosomso mightyan injustice?  Christians! every time that you pray thatthekingdom of Christ may comecan you forget that prophecyassociatesin dread fellowshipthe _day of vengeance_ with theyear ofhis redeemed?

A day ofgrace is yet held out to us.  Both North and South havebeenguilty before God; and the _Christian church_ has a heavyaccount toanswer.  Not by combining togetherto protect injusticeandcrueltyand making a common capital of sinis this Union tobesaved--but by repentancejustice and mercy; fornot surer istheeternal law by which the millstone sinks in the oceanthanthatstronger lawby which injustice and cruelty shall bring onnationsthe wrath of Almighty God!

 

 

 

NOTES

*EnglishGrammar (1795)by Lindley Murray (1745-1826)the mostauthoritative American grammarian of his day.

*Amachine of this description was really the inventionof a youngcolored man in Kentucky. [Mrs. Stowe's note.]

*Aslightly inaccurate quotation from HamletAct IIIscene Ilines 369-370.

*Gen.16.  The angel bade the pregnant Hagar return tohermistress Saraieven though Sarai had dealt harshly with her.

*Phil.1:10.  Onesimus went back to his master to becomeno longera servant but a "brother beloved."

*Jer.31:15.

*Gen.9:25.  This is what Noah says when he wakes out ofdrunkennessand realizes that his youngest sonHamfather ofCanaanhas seen him naked.

*Dr.Joel Parker of Philadelphia. [Mrs. Stowe's note.]Presbyterianclergyman (1799-1873)a friend of the Beecher family.Mrs. Stoweattempted unsuccessfully to have this identifying noteremovedfrom the stereotype-plate of the first edition.

*ThomasClarkson (1760-1846) and William Wilberforce(1759-1833)English philanthropists and anti-slavery agitatorswho helpedto secure passage of the Emancipation Bill by Parliamentin 1833.

*InAtala; or the Love and Constantcy of Two Savages in
theDesert (1801) by Francois Auguste ReneVicomte de Chateaubriand(1768-1848).

*TheAncient Historyten volumes (1730-1738)by theFrenchhistorian Charles Rollin (1661-1741).

*Scott'sFamily Bible (1788-1792)edited with notes bytheEnglish Biblical commentatorThomas Scott (1747-1821).

*TheCerographic Atlas of the United States (1842-1845)by SidneyEdwards Morse (1794-1871)son of the geographerJedidiahMorseandbrother of the painter-inventorSamuel F. B. Morse.

*Recollectionsof the Last Ten Years (1826) by Timothy Flint(1780-1840)missionary of Presbyterianism to the trans-Allegheny West.

*TheMerchant of VeniceAct 1scene 2lines 17-18.

*Ps.73"The End of the Wicked contrasted with that oftheRighteous."

*EdwardBouverie Pusey (1800-1882)champion of the orthodoxyofrevealed