UNCLE TOM'S CABIN
Life among the Lowly
By Harriet Beecher Stowe
In Which the Reader Is Introduced to a Man of Humanity
Late in the afternoon of a chilly day in February,
two gentlemen were sitting alone over their wine,
in a well-furnished dining parlor,
in the town of P -- --,
There were no servants present,
and the gentlemen,
with chairs closely approaching,
seemed to be discussing some subject with great earnestness.
For convenience sake,
we have said,
One of the parties,
when critically examined,
did not seem,
to come under the species.
He was a short,
and that swaggering air of pretension which marks a low man who is trying to elbow his way upward in the world.
He was much over-dressed,
in a gaudy vest of many colors,
a blue neckerchief,
bedropped gayly with yellow spots,
and arranged with a flaunting tie,
quite in keeping with the general air of the man.
large and coarse,
were plentifully bedecked with rings;
and he wore a heavy gold watch-chain,
with a bundle of seals of portentous size,
and a great variety of colors,
attached to it,
in the ardor of conversation,
he was in the habit of flourishing and jingling with evident satisfaction.
His conversation was in free and easy defiance of Murray's Grammar,* and was garnished at convenient intervals with various profane expressions,
which not even the desire to be graphic in our account shall induce us to transcribe.
* English Grammar (1795),
by Lindley Murray (1745-1826),
the most authoritative American grammarian of his day.
had the appearance of a gentleman;
and the arrangements of the house,
and the general air of the housekeeping,
and even opulent circumstances.
As we before stated,
the two were in the midst of an earnest conversation.
"That is the way I should arrange the matter,"
said Mr. Shelby.
"I can't make trade that way --I positively can't,
said the other,
holding up a glass of wine between his eye and the light.
the fact is,
Tom is an uncommon fellow;
he is certainly worth that sum anywhere,
manages my whole farm like a clock."
"You mean honest,
as niggers go,"
helping himself to a glass of brandy.
Tom is a good,
He got religion at a camp-meeting,
four years ago;
and I believe he really -did- get it.
I've trusted him,
with everything I have,
--and let him come and go round the country;
and I always found him true and square in everything."
"Some folks don't believe there is pious niggers Shelby,"
with a candid flourish of his hand,
"but -I do-.
I had a fellow,
in this yer last lot I took to Orleans --'t was as good as a meetin,
to hear that critter pray;
and he was quite gentle and quiet like.
He fetched me a good sum,
for I bought him cheap of a man that was
'bliged to sell out;
so I realized six hundred on him.
I consider religion a valeyable thing in a nigger,
when it's the genuine article,
and no mistake."
Tom's got the real article,
if ever a fellow had,"
rejoined the other.
I let him go to Cincinnati alone,
to do business for me,
and bring home five hundred dollars.
says I to him,
'I trust you,
because I think you're a Christian --I know you wouldn't cheat.'
Tom comes back,
I knew he would.
Some low fellows,
said to him --Tom,
why don't you make tracks for Canada?'
master trusted me,
and I couldn't,'
--they told me about it.
I am sorry to part with Tom,
I must say.
You ought to let him cover the whole balance of the debt;
and you would,
if you had any conscience."
I've got just as much conscience as any man in business can afford to keep,
--just a little,
to swear by,
said the trader,
I'm ready to do anything in reason to
but this yer,
is a leetle too hard on a fellow --a leetle too hard."
The trader sighed contemplatively,
and poured out some more brandy.
how will you trade?"
said Mr. Shelby,
after an uneasy interval of silence.
haven't you a boy or gal that you could throw in with Tom?"
--none that I could well spare;
to tell the truth,
it's only hard necessity makes me willing to sell at all.
I don't like parting with any of my hands,
that's a fact."
Here the door opened,
and a small quadroon boy,
between four and five years of age,
entered the room.
There was something in his appearance remarkably beautiful and engaging.
His black hair,
fine as floss silk,
hung in glossy curls about his round,
while a pair of large dark eyes,
full of fire and softness,
looked out from beneath the rich,
as he peered curiously into the apartment.
A gay robe of scarlet and yellow plaid,
carefully made and neatly fitted,
set off to advantage the dark and rich style of his beauty;
and a certain comic air of assurance,
blended with bashfulness,
showed that he had been not unused to being petted and noticed by his master.
said Mr. Shelby,
and snapping a bunch of raisins towards him,
"pick that up,
The child scampered,
with all his little strength,
after the prize,
while his master laughed.
The child came up,
and the master patted the curly head,
and chucked him under the chin.
show this gentleman how you can dance and sing."
The boy commenced one of those wild,
grotesque songs common among the negroes,
in a rich,
accompanying his singing with many comic evolutions of the hands,
and whole body,
all in perfect time to the music.
throwing him a quarter of an orange.
walk like old Uncle Cudjoe,
when he has the rheumatism,"
said his master.
Instantly the flexible limbs of the child assumed the appearance of deformity and distortion,
with his back humped up,
and his master's stick in his hand,
he hobbled about the room,
his childish face drawn into a doleful pucker,
and spitting from right to left,
in imitation of an old man.
Both gentlemen laughed uproariously.
said his master,
"show us how old Elder Robbins leads the psalm."
The boy drew his chubby face down to a formidable length,
and commenced toning a psalm tune through his nose,
with imperturbable gravity.
what a young
"that chap's a case,
Tell you what,"
suddenly clapping his hand on Mr. Shelby's shoulder,
"fling in that chap,
and I'll settle the business --I will.
if that ain't doing the thing up about the rightest!"
At this moment,
the door was pushed gently open,
and a young quadroon woman,
apparently about twenty-five,
entered the room.
There needed only a glance from the child to her,
to identify her as its mother.
There was the same rich,
with its long lashes;
the same ripples of silky black hair.
The brown of her complexion gave way on the cheek to a perceptible flush,
which deepened as she saw the gaze of the strange man fixed upon her in bold and undisguised admiration.
Her dress was of the neatest possible fit,
and set off to advantage her finely moulded shape;
--a delicately formed hand and a trim foot and ankle were items of appearance that did not escape the quick eye of the trader,
well used to run up at a glance the points of a fine female article.
said her master,
as she stopped and looked hesitatingly at him.
"I was looking for Harry,
and the boy bounded toward her,
showing his spoils,
which he had gathered in the skirt of his robe.
take him away then,"
said Mr. Shelby;
and hastily she withdrew,
carrying the child on her arm.
said the trader,
turning to him in admiration,
"there's an article,
You might make your fortune on that ar gal in Orleans,
I've seen over a thousand,
in my day,
paid down for gals not a bit handsomer."
"I don't want to make my fortune on her,"
said Mr. Shelby,
seeking to turn the conversation,
he uncorked a bottle of fresh wine,
and asked his companion's opinion of it.
said the trader;
and slapping his hand familiarly on Shelby's shoulder,
he added --
how will you trade about the gal?
--what shall I say for her --what'll you take?"
she is not to be sold,"
"My wife would not part with her for her weight in gold."
women always say such things,
cause they ha'nt no sort of calculation.
'em how many watches,
one's weight in gold would buy,
and that alters the case,
"I tell you,
this must not be spoken of;
I say no,
and I mean no,"
you'll let me have the boy,
said the trader;
"you must own I've come down pretty handsomely for him."
"What on earth can you want with the child?"
I've got a friend that's going into this yer branch of the business --wants to buy up handsome boys to raise for the market.
Fancy articles entirely --sell for waiters,
and so on,
that can pay for handsome
It sets off one of yer great places --a real handsome boy to open door,
They fetch a good sum;
and this little devil is such a comical,
he's just the article!'
"I would rather not sell him,"
said Mr. Shelby,
"the fact is,
I'm a humane man,
and I hate to take the boy from his mother,
yes --something of that ar natur.
It is mighty onpleasant getting on with women,
I al'ays hates these yer screechin,'
They are -mighty- onpleasant;
as I manages business,
I generally avoids
what if you get the girl off for a day,
or a week,
then the thing's done quietly,
--all over before she comes home.
Your wife might get her some ear-rings,
or a new gown,
or some such truck,
to make up with her."
"I'm afraid not."
"Lor bless ye,
These critters ain't like white folks,
they gets over things,
only manage right.
assuming a candid and confidential air,
"that this kind o' trade is hardening to the feelings;
but I never found it so.
I never could do things up the way some fellers manage the business.
'em as would pull a woman's child out of her arms,
and set him up to sell,
and she screechin' like mad all the time;
--very bad policy --damages the article --makes
'em quite unfit for service sometimes.
I knew a real handsome gal once,
as was entirely ruined by this sort o' handling.
The fellow that was trading for her didn't want her baby;
and she was one of your real high sort,
when her blood was up.
I tell you,
she squeezed up her child in her arms,
and went on real awful.
It kinder makes my blood run cold to think of
and when they carried off the child,
and locked her up,
she jest went ravin' mad,
and died in a week.
of a thousand dollars,
just for want of management,
It's always best to do the humane thing,
that's been -my- experience."
And the trader leaned back in his chair,
and folded his arm,
with an air of virtuous decision,
apparently considering himself a second Wilberforce.
The subject appeared to interest the gentleman deeply;
for while Mr. Shelby was thoughtfully peeling an orange,
Haley broke out afresh,
with becoming diffidence,
but as if actually driven by the force of truth to say a few words more.
"It don't look well,
for a feller to be praisin' himself;
but I say it jest because it's the truth.
I believe I'm reckoned to bring in about the finest droves of niggers that is brought in,
I've been told so;
if I have once,
I reckon I have a hundred times,
--all in good case,
--fat and likely,
and I lose as few as any man in the business.
And I lays it all to my management,
I may say,
is the great pillar of -my- management."
Mr. Shelby did not know what to say,
and so he said,
I've been laughed at for my notions,
and I've been talked to.
They an't pop'lar,
and they an't common;
but I stuck to
I've stuck to
and realized well on
they have paid their passage,
I may say,"
and the trader laughed at his joke.
There was something so piquant and original in these elucidations of humanity,
that Mr. Shelby could not help laughing in company.
Perhaps you laugh too,
but you know humanity comes out in a variety of strange forms now-a-days,
and there is no end to the odd things that humane people will say and do.
Mr. Shelby's laugh encouraged the trader to proceed.
but I never could beat this into people's heads.
there was Tom Loker,
my old partner,
down in Natchez;
he was a clever fellow,
only the very devil with niggers,
for a better hearted feller never broke bread;
't was his -system-,
I used to talk to Tom.
I used to say,
'when your gals takes on and cry,
what's the use o' crackin on' em over the head,
and knockin' on
'and don't do no sort o' good.
I don't see no harm in their cryin','
'and if natur can't blow off one way,
it will another.
'it jest spiles your gals;
they get sickly,
and down in the mouth;
and sometimes they gets ugly,
--particular yallow gals do,
--and it's the devil and all gettin' on
'em broke in.
'why can't you kinder coax
Depend on it,
a little humanity,
thrown in along,
goes a heap further than all your jawin' and crackin';
and it pays better,'
But Tom couldn't get the hang on
and he spiled so many for me,
that I had to break off with him,
though he was a good-hearted fellow,
and as fair a business hand as is goin'."
"And do you find your ways of managing do the business better than Tom's?"
said Mr. Shelby.
I may say so.
when I any ways can,
I takes a leetle care about the onpleasant parts,
like selling young uns and that,
--get the gals out of the way --out of sight,
out of mind,
--and when it's clean done,
and can't be helped,
they naturally gets used to it.
as if it was white folks,
that's brought up in the way of
'spectin' to keep their children and wives,
and all that.
that's fetched up properly,
ha'n't no kind of
'spectations of no kind;
so all these things comes easier."
"I'm afraid mine are not properly brought up,
said Mr. Shelby.
you Kentucky folks spile your niggers.
You mean well by
'tan't no real kindness,
what's got to be hacked and tumbled round the world,
and sold to Tom,
and the Lord knows who,
'tan't no kindness to be givin' on him notions and expectations,
and bringin' on him up too well,
for the rough and tumble comes all the harder on him arter.
I venture to say,
your niggers would be quite chop-fallen in a place where some of your plantation niggers would be singing and whooping like all possessed.
naturally thinks well of his own ways;
and I think I treat niggers just about as well as it's ever worth while to treat
"It's a happy thing to be satisfied,"
said Mr. Shelby,
with a slight shrug,
and some perceptible feelings of a disagreeable nature.
after they had both silently picked their nuts for a season,
"what do you say?"
"I'll think the matter over,
and talk with my wife,"
said Mr. Shelby.
if you want the matter carried on in the quiet way you speak of,
you'd best not let your business in this neighborhood be known.
It will get out among my boys,
and it will not be a particularly quiet business getting away any of my fellows,
if they know it,
I'll promise you."
by all means,
But I'll tell you.
I'm in a devil of a hurry,
and shall want to know,
as soon as possible,
what I may depend on,"
rising and putting on his overcoat.
call up this evening,
between six and seven,
and you shall have my answer,"
said Mr. Shelby,
and the trader bowed himself out of the apartment.
"I'd like to have been able to kick the fellow down the steps,"
said he to himself,
as he saw the door fairly closed,
"with his impudent assurance;
but he knows how much he has me at advantage.
If anybody had ever said to me that I should sell Tom down south to one of those rascally traders,
I should have said,
'Is thy servant a dog,
that he should do this thing?'
And now it must come,
for aught I see.
And Eliza's child,
I know that I shall have some fuss with wife about that;
for that matter,
So much for being in debt,
The fellow sees his advantage,
and means to push it."
Perhaps the mildest form of the system of slavery is to be seen in the State of Kentucky.
The general prevalence of agricultural pursuits of a quiet and gradual nature,
not requiring those periodic seasons of hurry and pressure that are called for in the business of more southern districts,
makes the task of the negro a more healthful and reasonable one;
while the master,
content with a more gradual style of acquisition,
has not those temptations to hardheartedness which always overcome frail human nature when the prospect of sudden and rapid gain is weighed in the balance,
with no heavier counterpoise than the interests of the helpless and unprotected.
Whoever visits some estates there,
and witnesses the good-humored indulgence of some masters and mistresses,
and the affectionate loyalty of some slaves,
might be tempted to dream the oft-fabled poetic legend of a patriarchal institution,
and all that;
but over and above the scene there broods a portentous shadow --the shadow of -law-.
So long as the law considers all these human beings,
with beating hearts and living affections,
only as so many -things- belonging to a master,
--so long as the failure,
or death of the kindest owner,
may cause them any day to exchange a life of kind protection and indulgence for one of hopeless misery and toil,
--so long it is impossible to make anything beautiful or desirable in the best regulated administration of slavery.
Mr. Shelby was a fair average kind of man,
good-natured and kindly,
and disposed to easy indulgence of those around him,
and there had never been a lack of anything which might contribute to the physical comfort of the negroes on his estate.
speculated largely and quite loosely;
had involved himself deeply,
and his notes to a large amount had come into the hands of Haley;
and this small piece of information is the key to the preceding conversation.
it had so happened that,
in approaching the door,
Eliza had caught enough of the conversation to know that a trader was making offers to her master for somebody.
She would gladly have stopped at the door to listen,
as she came out;
but her mistress just then calling,
she was obliged to hasten away.
Still she thought she heard the trader make an offer for her boy;
--could she be mistaken?
Her heart swelled and throbbed,
and she involuntarily strained him so tight that the little fellow looked up into her face in astonishment.
what ails you today?"
said her mistress,
when Eliza had upset the wash-pitcher,
knocked down the workstand,
and finally was abstractedly offering her mistress a long nightgown in place of the silk dress she had ordered her to bring from the wardrobe.
raising her eyes;
bursting into tears,
she sat down in a chair,
and began sobbing.
what ails you?"
said her mistress.
"there's been a trader talking with master in the parlor!
I heard him."
suppose there has."
-do- you suppose mas'r would sell my Harry?"
And the poor creature threw herself into a chair,
and sobbed convulsively.
you foolish girl!
You know your master never deals with those southern traders,
and never means to sell any of his servants,
as long as they behave well.
you silly child,
who do you think would want to buy your Harry?
Do you think all the world are set on him as you are,
and hook my dress.
put my back hair up in that pretty braid you learnt the other day,
and don't go listening at doors any more."
-you- never would give your consent --to --to --"
to be sure,
What do you talk so for?
I would as soon have one of my own children sold.
you are getting altogether too proud of that little fellow.
A man can't put his nose into the door,
but you think he must be coming to buy him."
Reassured by her mistress' confident tone,
Eliza proceeded nimbly and adroitly with her toilet,
laughing at her own fears,
as she proceeded.
Mrs. Shelby was a woman of high class,
both intellectually and morally.
To that natural magnanimity and generosity of mind which one often marks as characteristic of the women of Kentucky,
she added high moral and religious sensibility and principle,
carried out with great energy and ability into practical results.
who made no professions to any particular religious character,
nevertheless reverenced and respected the consistency of hers,
a little in awe of her opinion.
Certain it was that he gave her unlimited scope in all her benevolent efforts for the comfort,
and improvement of her servants,
though he never took any decided part in them himself.
if not exactly a believer in the doctrine of the efficiency of the extra good works of saints,
he really seemed somehow or other to fancy that his wife had piety and benevolence enough for two --to indulge a shadowy expectation of getting into heaven through her superabundance of qualities to which he made no particular pretension.
The heaviest load on his mind,
after his conversation with the trader,
lay in the foreseen necessity of breaking to his wife the arrangement contemplated,
--meeting the importunities and opposition which he knew he should have reason to encounter.
being entirely ignorant of her husband's embarrassments,
and knowing only the general kindliness of his temper,
had been quite sincere in the entire incredulity with which she had met Eliza's suspicions.
she dismissed the matter from her mind,
without a second thought;
and being occupied in preparations for an evening visit,
it passed out of her thoughts entirely.
Eliza had been brought up by her mistress,
as a petted and indulged favorite.
The traveller in the south must often have remarked that peculiar air of refinement,
that softness of voice and manner,
which seems in many cases to be a particular gift to the quadroon and mulatto women.
These natural graces in the quadroon are often united with beauty of the most dazzling kind,
and in almost every case with a personal appearance prepossessing and agreeable.
such as we have described her,
is not a fancy sketch,
but taken from remembrance,
as we saw her,
Safe under the protecting care of her mistress,
Eliza had reached maturity without those temptations which make beauty so fatal an inheritance to a slave.
She had been married to a bright and talented young mulatto man,
who was a slave on a neighboring estate,
and bore the name of George Harris.
This young man had been hired out by his master to work in a bagging factory,
where his adroitness and ingenuity caused him to be considered the first hand in the place.
He had invented a machine for the cleaning of the hemp,
considering the education and circumstances of the inventor,
displayed quite as much mechanical genius as Whitney's cotton-gin.*
* A machine of this description was really the invention of a young colored man in Kentucky.
[Mrs. Stowe's note.]
He was possessed of a handsome person and pleasing manners,
and was a general favorite in the factory.
as this young man was in the eye of the law not a man,
but a thing,
all these superior qualifications were subject to the control of a vulgar,
This same gentleman,
having heard of the fame of George's invention,
took a ride over to the factory,
to see what this intelligent chattel had been about.
He was received with great enthusiasm by the employer,
who congratulated him on possessing so valuable a slave.
He was waited upon over the factory,
shown the machinery by George,
in high spirits,
talked so fluently,
held himself so erect,
looked so handsome and manly,
that his master began to feel an uneasy consciousness of inferiority.
What business had his slave to be marching round the country,
and holding up his head among gentlemen?
He'd soon put a stop to it.
He'd take him back,
and put him to hoeing and digging,
and "see if he'd step about so smart."
the manufacturer and all hands concerned were astounded when he suddenly demanded George's wages,
and announced his intention of taking him home.
remonstrated the manufacturer,
"isn't this rather sudden?"
"What if it is?
--isn't the man -mine-?"
"We would be willing,
to increase the rate of compensation."
"No object at all,
I don't need to hire any of my hands out,
unless I've a mind to."
he seems peculiarly adapted to this business."
"Dare say he may be;
never was much adapted to anything that I set him about,
I'll be bound."
"But only think of his inventing this machine,"
interposed one of the workmen,
a machine for saving work,
He'd invent that,
I'll be bound;
let a nigger alone for that,
They are all labor-saving machines themselves,
every one of
he shall tramp!"
George had stood like one transfixed,
at hearing his doom thus suddenly pronounced by a power that he knew was irresistible.
He folded his arms,
tightly pressed in his lips,
but a whole volcano of bitter feelings burned in his bosom,
and sent streams of fire through his veins.
He breathed short,
and his large dark eyes flashed like live coals;
and he might have broken out into some dangerous ebullition,
had not the kindly manufacturer touched him on the arm,
in a low tone,
go with him for the present.
We'll try to help you,
The tyrant observed the whisper,
and conjectured its import,
though he could not hear what was said;
and he inwardly strengthened himself in his determination to keep the power he possessed over his victim.
George was taken home,
and put to the meanest drudgery of the farm.
He had been able to repress every disrespectful word;
but the flashing eye,
the gloomy and troubled brow,
were part of a natural language that could not be repressed,
which showed too plainly that the man could not become a thing.
It was during the happy period of his employment in the factory that George had seen and married his wife.
During that period,
--being much trusted and favored by his employer,
--he had free liberty to come and go at discretion.
The marriage was highly approved of by Mrs. Shelby,
with a little womanly complacency in match-making,
felt pleased to unite her handsome favorite with one of her own class who seemed in every way suited to her;
and so they were married in her mistress' great parlor,
and her mistress herself adorned the bride's beautiful hair with orange-blossoms,
and threw over it the bridal veil,
which certainly could scarce have rested on a fairer head;
and there was no lack of white gloves,
and cake and wine,
--of admiring guests to praise the bride's beauty,
and her mistress' indulgence and liberality.
For a year or two Eliza saw her husband frequently,
and there was nothing to interrupt their happiness,
except the loss of two infant children,
to whom she was passionately attached,
and whom she mourned with a grief so intense as to call for gentle remonstrance from her mistress,
with maternal anxiety,
to direct her naturally passionate feelings within the bounds of reason and religion.
After the birth of little Harry,
she had gradually become tranquillized and settled;
and every bleeding tie and throbbing nerve,
once more entwined with that little life,
seemed to become sound and healthful,
and Eliza was a happy woman up to the time that her husband was rudely torn from his kind employer,
and brought under the iron sway of his legal owner.
true to his word,
visited Mr. Harris a week or two after George had been taken away,
as he hoped,
the heat of the occasion had passed away,
and tried every possible inducement to lead him to restore him to his former employment.
"You needn't trouble yourself to talk any longer,"
"I know my own business,
"I did not presume to interfere with it,
I only thought that you might think it for your interest to let your man to us on the terms proposed."
I understand the matter well enough.
I saw your winking and whispering,
the day I took him out of the factory;
but you don't come it over me that way.
It's a free country,
the man's -mine-,
and I do what I please with him,
And so fell George's last hope;
--nothing before him but a life of toil and drudgery,
rendered more bitter by every little smarting vexation and indignity which tyrannical ingenuity could devise.
A very humane jurist once said,
The worst use you can put a man to is to hang him.
there is another use that a man can be put to that is WORSE!
The Husband and Father
Mrs. Shelby had gone on her visit,
and Eliza stood in the verandah,
rather dejectedly looking after the retreating carriage,
when a hand was laid on her shoulder.
and a bright smile lighted up her fine eyes.
is it you?
How you frightened me!
I am so glad you
Missis is gone to spend the afternoon;
so come into my little room,
and we'll have the time all to ourselves."
she drew him into a neat little apartment opening on the verandah,
where she generally sat at her sewing,
within call of her mistress.
"How glad I am!
--why don't you smile?
--and look at Harry --how he grows."
The boy stood shyly regarding his father through his curls,
holding close to the skirts of his mother's dress.
"Isn't he beautiful?"
lifting his long curls and kissing him.
"I wish he'd never been born!"
"I wish I'd never been born myself!"
Surprised and frightened,
Eliza sat down,
leaned her head on her husband's shoulder,
and burst into tears.
it's too bad for me to make you feel so,
"it's too bad: O,
how I wish you never had seen me --you might have been happy!"
how can you talk so?
What dreadful thing has happened,
or is going to happen?
I'm sure we've been very happy,
"So we have,
Then drawing his child on his knee,
he gazed intently on his glorious dark eyes,
and passed his hands through his long curls.
"Just like you,
and you are the handsomest woman I ever saw,
and the best one I ever wish to see;
I wish I'd never seen you,
nor you me!"
how can you!"
it's all misery,
My life is bitter as wormwood;
the very life is burning out of me.
I'm a poor,
I shall only drag you down with me,
What's the use of our trying to do anything,
trying to know anything,
trying to be anything?
What's the use of living?
I wish I was dead!"
that is really wicked!
I know how you feel about losing your place in the factory,
and you have a hard master;
but pray be patient,
and perhaps something --"
"haven't I been patient?
Did I say a word when he came and took me away,
for no earthly reason,
from the place where everybody was kind to me?
I'd paid him truly every cent of my earnings,
--and they all say I worked well."
it -is- dreadful,"
he is your master,
and who made him my master?
That's what I think of --what right has he to me?
I'm a man as much as he is.
I'm a better man than he is.
I know more about business than he does;
I am a better manager than he is;
I can read better than he can;
I can write a better hand,
--and I've learned it all myself,
and no thanks to him,
--I've learned it in spite of him;
and now what right has he to make a dray-horse of me?
--to take me from things I can do,
and do better than he can,
and put me to work that any horse can do?
He tries to do it;
he says he'll bring me down and humble me,
and he puts me to just the hardest,
meanest and dirtiest work,
you frighten me!
I never heard you talk so;
I'm afraid you'll do something dreadful.
I don't wonder at your feelings,
do be careful --do,
do --for my sake --for Harry's!"
"I have been careful,
and I have been patient,
but it's growing worse and worse;
flesh and blood can't bear it any longer;
--every chance he can get to insult and torment me,
I thought I could do my work well,
and keep on quiet,
and have some time to read and learn out of work hours;
but the more he sees I can do,
the more he loads on.
He says that though I don't say anything,
he sees I've got the devil in me,
and he means to bring it out;
and one of these days it will come out in a way that he won't like,
or I'm mistaken!"
what shall we do?"
"It was only yesterday,"
"as I was busy loading stones into a cart,
that young Mas'r Tom stood there,
slashing his whip so near the horse that the creature was frightened.
I asked him to stop,
as pleasant as I could,
--he just kept right on.
I begged him again,
and then he turned on me,
and began striking me.
I held his hand,
and then he screamed and kicked and ran to his father,
and told him that I was fighting him.
He came in a rage,
and said he'd teach me who was my master;
and he tied me to a tree,
and cut switches for young master,
and told him that he might whip me till he was tired;
--and he did do it!
If I don't make him remember it,
and the brow of the young man grew dark,
and his eyes burned with an expression that made his young wife tremble.
"Who made this man my master?
That's what I want to know!"
"I always thought that I must obey my master and mistress,
or I couldn't be a Christian."
"There is some sense in it,
in your case;
they have brought you up like a child,
and taught you,
so that you have a good education;
that is some reason why they should claim you.
But I have been kicked and cuffed and sworn at,
and at the best only let alone;
and what do I owe?
I've paid for all my keeping a hundred times over.
I -won't- bear it.
clenching his hand with a fierce frown.
and was silent.
She had never seen her husband in this mood before;
and her gentle system of ethics seemed to bend like a reed in the surges of such passions.
"You know poor little Carlo,
that you gave me,"
"the creature has been about all the comfort that I've had.
He has slept with me nights,
and followed me around days,
and kind o' looked at me as if he understood how I felt.
the other day I was just feeding him with a few old scraps I picked up by the kitchen door,
and Mas'r came along,
and said I was feeding him up at his expense,
and that he couldn't afford to have every nigger keeping his dog,
and ordered me to tie a stone to his neck and throw him in the pond."
you didn't do it!"
--but he did.
Mas'r and Tom pelted the poor drowning creature with stones.
he looked at me so mournful,
as if he wondered why I didn't save him.
I had to take a flogging because I wouldn't do it myself.
I don't care.
Mas'r will find out that I'm one that whipping won't tame.
My day will come yet,
if he don't look out."
"What are you going to do?
don't do anything wicked;
if you only trust in God,
and try to do right,
he'll deliver you."
"I an't a Christian like you,
my heart's full of bitterness;
I can't trust in God.
Why does he let things be so?"
we must have faith.
Mistress says that when all things go wrong to us,
we must believe that God is doing the very best."
"That's easy to say for people that are sitting on their sofas and riding in their carriages;
'em be where I am,
I guess it would come some harder.
I wish I could be good;
but my heart burns,
and can't be reconciled,
You couldn't in my place,
--you can't now,
if I tell you all I've got to say.
You don't know the whole yet."
"What can be coming now?"
lately Mas'r has been saying that he was a fool to let me marry off the place;
that he hates Mr. Shelby and all his tribe,
because they are proud,
and hold their heads up above him,
and that I've got proud notions from you;
and he says he won't let me come here any more,
and that I shall take a wife and settle down on his place.
At first he only scolded and grumbled these things;
but yesterday he told me that I should take Mina for a wife,
and settle down in a cabin with her,
or he would sell me down river."
"Why --but you were married to -me-,
by the minister,
as much as if you'd been a white man!"
"Don't you know a slave can't be married?
There is no law in this country for that;
I can't hold you for my wife,
if he chooses to part us.
That's why I wish I'd never seen you,
--why I wish I'd never been born;
it would have been better for us both,
--it would have been better for this poor child if he had never been born.
All this may happen to him yet!"
but master is so kind!"
but who knows?
--he may die --and then he may be sold to nobody knows who.
What pleasure is it that he is handsome,
I tell you,
that a sword will pierce through your soul for every good and pleasant thing your child is or has;
it will make him worth too much for you to keep."
The words smote heavily on Eliza's heart;
the vision of the trader came before her eyes,
as if some one had struck her a deadly blow,
she turned pale and gasped for breath.
She looked nervously out on the verandah,
where the boy,
tired of the grave conversation,
and where he was riding triumphantly up and down on Mr. Shelby's walking-stick.
She would have spoken to tell her husband her fears,
but checked herself.
--he has enough to bear,
I won't tell him;
it an't true;
Missis never deceives us."
said the husband,
for I'm going."
straightening himself up;
"and when I'm there,
I'll buy you;
that's all the hope that's left us.
You have a kind master,
that won't refuse to sell you.
I'll buy you and the boy;
--God helping me,
if you should be taken?"
"I won't be taken,
I'll -die- first!
I'll be free,
or I'll die!"
"You won't kill yourself!"
"No need of that.
They will kill me,
they never will get me down the river alive!"
for my sake,
do be careful!
Don't do anything wicked;
don't lay hands on yourself,
or anybody else!
You are tempted too much --too much;
but don't --go you must --but go carefully,
pray God to help you."
hear my plan.
Mas'r took it into his head to send me right by here,
with a note to Mr. Symmes,
that lives a mile past.
I believe he expected I should come here to tell you what I have.
It would please him,
if he thought it would aggravate
as he calls
I'm going home quite resigned,
as if all was over.
I've got some preparations made,
--and there are those that will help me;
in the course of a week or so,
I shall be among the missing,
Pray for me,
perhaps the good Lord will hear -you-."
and go trusting in him;
then you won't do anything wicked."
holding Eliza's hands,
and gazing into her eyes,
They stood silent;
then there were last words,
and bitter weeping,
--such parting as those may make whose hope to meet again is as the spider's web,
--and the husband and wife were parted.
An Evening in Uncle Tom's Cabin
The cabin of Uncle Tom was a small log building,
close adjoining to "the house,"
as the negro -par excellence- designates his master's dwelling.
In front it had a neat garden-patch,
and a variety of fruits and vegetables,
flourished under careful tending.
The whole front of it was covered by a large scarlet bignonia and a native multiflora rose,
entwisting and interlacing,
left scarce a vestige of the rough logs to be seen.
various brilliant annuals,
such as marigolds,
found an indulgent corner in which to unfold their splendors,
and were the delight and pride of Aunt Chloe's heart.
Let us enter the dwelling.
The evening meal at the house is over,
and Aunt Chloe,
who presided over its preparation as head cook,
has left to inferior officers in the kitchen the business of clearing away and washing dishes,
and come out into her own snug territories,
to "get her ole man's supper";
doubt not that it is her you see by the fire,
presiding with anxious interest over certain frizzling items in a stew-pan,
and anon with grave consideration lifting the cover of a bake-kettle,
from whence steam forth indubitable intimations of "something good."
shining face is hers,
so glossy as to suggest the idea that she might have been washed over with white of eggs,
like one of her own tea rusks.
Her whole plump countenance beams with satisfaction and contentment from under her well-starched checked turban,
bearing on it,
if we must confess it,
a little of that tinge of self-consciousness which becomes the first cook of the neighborhood,
as Aunt Chloe was universally held and acknowledged to be.
A cook she certainly was,
in the very bone and centre of her soul.
Not a chicken or turkey or duck in the barn-yard but looked grave when they saw her approaching,
and seemed evidently to be reflecting on their latter end;
and certain it was that she was always meditating on trussing,
stuffing and roasting,
to a degree that was calculated to inspire terror in any reflecting fowl living.
in all its varieties of hoe-cake,
and other species too numerous to mention,
was a sublime mystery to all less practised compounders;
and she would shake her fat sides with honest pride and merriment,
as she would narrate the fruitless efforts that one and another of her compeers had made to attain to her elevation.
The arrival of company at the house,
the arranging of dinners and suppers "in style,"
awoke all the energies of her soul;
and no sight was more welcome to her than a pile of travelling trunks launched on the verandah,
for then she foresaw fresh efforts and fresh triumphs.
Just at present,
Aunt Chloe is looking into the bake-pan;
in which congenial operation we shall leave her till we finish our picture of the cottage.
In one corner of it stood a bed,
covered neatly with a snowy spread;
and by the side of it was a piece of carpeting,
of some considerable size.
On this piece of carpeting Aunt Chloe took her stand,
as being decidedly in the upper walks of life;
and it and the bed by which it lay,
and the whole corner,
were treated with distinguished consideration,
so far as possible,
sacred from the marauding inroads and desecrations of little folks.
that corner was the -drawing-room- of the establishment.
In the other corner was a bed of much humbler pretensions,
and evidently designed for -use-.
The wall over the fireplace was adorned with some very brilliant scriptural prints,
and a portrait of General Washington,
drawn and colored in a manner which would certainly have astonished that hero,
if ever he happened to meet with its like.
On a rough bench in the corner,
a couple of woolly-headed boys,
with glistening black eyes and fat shining cheeks,
were busy in superintending the first walking operations of the baby,
as is usually the case,
consisted in getting up on its feet,
balancing a moment,
and then tumbling down,
--each successive failure being violently cheered,
as something decidedly clever.
somewhat rheumatic in its limbs,
was drawn out in front of the fire,
and covered with a cloth,
displaying cups and saucers of a decidedly brilliant pattern,
with other symptoms of an approaching meal.
At this table was seated Uncle Tom,
Mr. Shelby's best hand,
as he is to be the hero of our story,
we must daguerreotype for our readers.
He was a large,
of a full glossy black,
and a face whose truly African features were characterized by an expression of grave and steady good sense,
united with much kindliness and benevolence.
There was something about his whole air self-respecting and dignified,
yet united with a confiding and humble simplicity.
He was very busily intent at this moment on a slate lying before him,
on which he was carefully and slowly endeavoring to accomplish a copy of some letters,
in which operation he was overlooked by young Mas'r George,
bright boy of thirteen,
who appeared fully to realize the dignity of his position as instructor.
"Not that way,
--not that way,"
as Uncle Tom laboriously brought up the tail of his -g- the wrong side out;
"that makes a -q-,
said Uncle Tom,
looking with a respectful,
as his young teacher flourishingly scrawled -q-'s and -g-'s innumerable for his edification;
taking the pencil in his big,
he patiently recommenced.
"How easy white folks al'us does things!"
said Aunt Chloe,
pausing while she was greasing a griddle with a scrap of bacon on her fork,
and regarding young Master George with pride.
"The way he can write,
and then to come out here evenings and read his lessons to us,
--it's mighty interestin'!"
I'm getting mighty hungry,"
"Isn't that cake in the skillet almost done?"
said Aunt Chloe,
lifting the lid and peeping in,
--"browning beautiful --a real lovely brown.
let me alone for dat.
Missis let Sally try to make some cake,
t' other day,
jes to -larn- her,
'it really hurts my feelin's,
to see good vittles spilt dat ar way!
Cake ris all to one side --no shape at all;
no more than my shoe;
And with this final expression of contempt for Sally's greenness,
Aunt Chloe whipped the cover off the bake-kettle,
and disclosed to view a neatly-baked pound-cake,
of which no city confectioner need to have been ashamed.
This being evidently the central point of the entertainment,
Aunt Chloe began now to bustle about earnestly in the supper department.
Mose and Pete!
get out de way,
--mammy'll give her baby some fin,
by and by.
you jest take off dem books,
and set down now with my old man,
and I'll take up de sausages,
and have de first griddle full of cakes on your plates in less dan no time."
"They wanted me to come to supper in the house,"
"but I knew what was what too well for that,
"So you did --so you did,
said Aunt Chloe,
heaping the smoking batter-cakes on his plate;
"you know'd your old aunty'd keep the best for you.
let you alone for dat!
aunty gave George a nudge with her finger,
designed to be immensely facetious,
and turned again to her griddle with great briskness.
"Now for the cake,"
said Mas'r George,
when the activity of the griddle department had somewhat subsided;
the youngster flourished a large knife over the article in question.
"La bless you,
said Aunt Chloe,
catching his arm,
"you wouldn't be for cuttin' it wid dat ar great heavy knife!
Smash all down --spile all de pretty rise of it.
I've got a thin old knife,
I keeps sharp a purpose.
comes apart light as a feather!
Now eat away --you won't get anything to beat dat ar."
"Tom Lincon says,"
speaking with his mouth full,
"that their Jinny is a better cook than you."
"Dem Lincons an't much count,
said Aunt Chloe,
set along side -our- folks.
'spectable folks enough in a kinder plain way;
as to gettin' up anything in style,
they don't begin to have a notion on
Set Mas'r Lincon,
alongside Mas'r Shelby!
and Missis Lincon,
--can she kinder sweep it into a room like my missis,
--so kinder splendid,
don't tell me nothin' of dem Lincons!"
--and Aunt Chloe tossed her head as one who hoped she did know something of the world.
I've heard you say,"
"that Jinny was a pretty fair cook."
"So I did,"
said Aunt Chloe,
--"I may say dat.
--make a good pone o' bread,
--bile her taters -far-,
--her corn cakes isn't extra,
not extra now,
Jinny's corn cakes isn't,
but then they's far,
come to de higher branches,
and what -can- she do?
she makes pies --sartin she does;
but what kinder crust?
Can she make your real flecky paste,
as melts in your mouth,
and lies all up like a puff?
I went over thar when Miss Mary was gwine to be married,
and Jinny she jest showed me de weddin' pies.
Jinny and I is good friends,
I never said nothin';
I shouldn't sleep a wink for a week,
if I had a batch of pies like dem ar.
dey wan't no
"I suppose Jinny thought they were ever so nice,"
Thar she was,
as innocent --ye see,
it's jest here,
Jinny -don't know-.
the family an't nothing!
She can't be spected to know!
'Ta'nt no fault o' hem.
you doesn't know half
'your privileges in yer family and bringin' up!"
Here Aunt Chloe sighed,
and rolled up her eyes with emotion.
I understand my pie and pudding privileges,"
"Ask Tom Lincon if I don't crow over him,
every time I meet him."
Aunt Chloe sat back in her chair,
and indulged in a hearty guffaw of laughter,
at this witticism of young Mas'r's,
laughing till the tears rolled down her black,
and varying the exercise with playfully slapping and poking Mas'r Georgey,
and telling him to go way,
and that he was a case --that he was fit to kill her,
and that he sartin would kill her,
one of these days;
between each of these sanguinary predictions,
going off into a laugh,
each longer and stronger than the other,
till George really began to think that he was a very dangerously witty fellow,
and that it became him to be careful how he talked "as funny as he could."
"And so ye telled Tom,
what young uns will be up ter!
Ye crowed over Tom?
if ye wouldn't make a hornbug laugh!"
"I says to him,
you ought to see some of Aunt Chloe's pies;
they're the right sort,'
said Aunt Chloe,
on whose benevolent heart the idea of Tom's benighted condition seemed to make a strong impression.
"Ye oughter just ask him here to dinner,
some o' these times,
"it would look quite pretty of ye.
ye oughtenter feel
'count yer privileges,
'cause all our privileges is gi'n to us;
we ought al'ays to
said Aunt Chloe,
looking quite serious.
I mean to ask Tom here,
some day next week,"
"and you do your prettiest,
and we'll make him stare.
Won't we make him eat so he won't get over it for a fortnight?"
said Aunt Chloe,
to think of some of our dinners!
Yer mind dat ar great chicken pie I made when we guv de dinner to General Knox?
I and Missis,
we come pretty near quarrelling about dat ar crust.
What does get into ladies sometimes,
I don't know;
when a body has de heaviest kind o'
as ye may say,
and is all kinder -'seris'- and taken up,
dey takes dat ar time to be hangin' round and kinder interferin'!
she wanted me to do dis way,
and she wanted me to do dat way;
I got kinder sarcy,
do jist look at dem beautiful white hands o' yourn with long fingers,
and all a sparkling with rings,
like my white lilies when de dew
and look at my great black stumpin hands.
don't ye think dat de Lord must have meant -me- to make de pie-crust,
and you to stay in de parlor?
I was jist so sarcy,
"And what did mother say?"
she kinder larfed in her eyes --dem great handsome eyes o' hern;
I think you are about in the right on
and she went off in de parlor.
She oughter cracked me over de head for bein' so sarcy;
but dar's whar
't is --I can't do nothin' with ladies in de kitchen!"
you made out well with that dinner,
--I remember everybody said so,"
And wan't I behind de dinin'-room door dat bery day?
and didn't I see de General pass his plate three times for some more dat bery pie?
'You must have an uncommon cook,
I was fit to split myself.
"And de Gineral,
he knows what cookin' is,"
said Aunt Chloe,
drawing herself up with an air.
"Bery nice man,
He comes of one of de bery -fustest- families in Old Virginny!
He knows what's what,
as well as I do --de Gineral.
there's -pints- in all pies,
but tan't everybody knows what they is,
or as orter be.
But the Gineral,
I knew by his
'marks he made.
he knows what de pints is!"
By this time,
Master George had arrived at that pass to which even a boy can come (under uncommon circumstances,
when he really could not eat another morsel),
he was at leisure to notice the pile of woolly heads and glistening eyes which were regarding their operations hungrily from the opposite corner.
breaking off liberal bits,
and throwing it at them;
"you want some,
bake them some cakes."
And George and Tom moved to a comfortable seat in the chimney-corner,
while Aunte Chloe,
after baking a goodly pile of cakes,
took her baby on her lap,
and began alternately filling its mouth and her own,
and distributing to Mose and Pete,
who seemed rather to prefer eating theirs as they rolled about on the floor under the table,
tickling each other,
and occasionally pulling the baby's toes.
said the mother,
giving now and then a kick,
in a kind of general way,
under the table,
when the movement became too obstreperous.
"Can't ye be decent when white folks comes to see ye?
Stop dat ar,
Better mind yerselves,
or I'll take ye down a button-hole lower,
when Mas'r George is gone!"
What meaning was couched under this terrible threat,
it is difficult to say;
but certain it is that its awful indistinctness seemed to produce very little impression on the young sinners addressed.
said Uncle Tom,
"they are so full of tickle all the while,
they can't behave theirselves."
Here the boys emerged from under the table,
with hands and faces well plastered with molasses,
began a vigorous kissing of the baby.
"Get along wid ye!"
said the mother,
pushing away their woolly heads.
"Ye'll all stick together,
and never get clar,
if ye do dat fashion.
Go long to de spring and wash yerselves!"
seconding her exhortations by a slap,
which resounded very formidably,
but which seemed only to knock out so much more laugh from the young ones,
as they tumbled precipitately over each other out of doors,
where they fairly screamed with merriment.
"Did ye ever see such aggravating young uns?"
said Aunt Chloe,
producing an old towel,
kept for such emergencies,
she poured a little water out of the cracked tea-pot on it,
and began rubbing off the molasses from the baby's face and hands;
having polished her till she shone,
she set her down in Tom's lap,
while she busied herself in clearing away supper.
The baby employed the intervals in pulling Tom's nose,
scratching his face,
and burying her fat hands in his woolly hair,
which last operation seemed to afford her special content.
"Aint she a peart young un?"
holding her from him to take a full-length view;
he set her on his broad shoulder,
and began capering and dancing with her,
while Mas'r George snapped at her with his pocket-handkerchief,
and Mose and Pete,
now returned again,
roared after her like bears,
till Aunt Chloe declared that they "fairly took her head off" with their noise.
according to her own statement,
this surgical operation was a matter of daily occurrence in the cabin,
the declaration no whit abated the merriment,
till every one had roared and tumbled and danced themselves down to a state of composure.
I hopes you're done,"
said Aunt Chloe,
who had been busy in pulling out a rude box of a trundle-bed;
you Mose and you Pete,
get into thar;
for we's goin' to have the meetin'."
we don't wanter.
We wants to sit up to meetin',
--meetin's is so curis.
shove it under,
'em sit up,"
said Mas'r George,
giving a push to the rude machine.
having thus saved appearances,
seemed highly delighted to push the thing under,
as she did so,
't will do
'em some good."
The house now resolved itself into a committee of the whole,
to consider the accommodations and arrangements for the meeting.
"What we's to do for cheers,
-I- declar I don't know,"
said Aunt Chloe.
As the meeting had been held at Uncle Tom's weekly,
for an indefinite length of time,
without any more "cheers,"
there seemed some encouragement to hope that a way would be discovered at present.
"Old Uncle Peter sung both de legs out of dat oldest cheer,
"You go long!
I'll boun' you pulled
some o' your shines,"
said Aunt Chloe.
if it only keeps jam up agin de wall!"
"Den Uncle Peter mus'n't sit in it,
cause he al'ays hitches when he gets a singing.
He hitched pretty nigh across de room,
t' other night,"
get him in it,
"and den he'd begin,
'Come saints --and sinners,
hear me tell,'
and den down he'd go,"
--and Mose imitated precisely the nasal tones of the old man,
tumbling on the floor,
to illustrate the supposed catastrophe.
said Aunt Chloe;
"an't yer shamed?"
joined the offender in the laugh,
and declared decidedly that Mose was a "buster."
So the maternal admonition seemed rather to fail of effect.
said Aunt Chloe,
"you'll have to tote in them ar bar'ls."
"Mother's bar'ls is like dat ar widder's,
Mas'r George was reading
in de good book,
--dey never fails,"
aside to Peter.
"I'm sure one on
'em caved in last week,"
'em all down in de middle of de singin';
dat ar was failin',
During this aside between Mose and Pete,
two empty casks had been rolled into the cabin,
and being secured from rolling,
by stones on each side,
boards were laid across them,
together with the turning down of certain tubs and pails,
and the disposing of the rickety chairs,
at last completed the preparation.
"Mas'r George is such a beautiful reader,
I know he'll stay to read for us,"
said Aunt Chloe;
't will be so much more interestin'."
George very readily consented,
for your boy is always ready for anything that makes him of importance.
The room was soon filled with a motley assemblage,
from the old gray-headed patriarch of eighty,
to the young girl and lad of fifteen.
A little harmless gossip ensued on various themes,
such as where old Aunt Sally got her new red headkerchief,
and how "Missis was a going to give Lizzy that spotted muslin gown,
when she'd got her new berage made up;"
and how Mas'r Shelby was thinking of buying a new sorrel colt,
that was going to prove an addition to the glories of the place.
A few of the worshippers belonged to families hard by,
who had got permission to attend,
and who brought in various choice scraps of information,
about the sayings and doings at the house and on the place,
which circulated as freely as the same sort of small change does in higher circles.
After a while the singing commenced,
to the evident delight of all present.
Not even all the disadvantage of nasal intonation could prevent the effect of the naturally fine voices,
in airs at once wild and spirited.
The words were sometimes the well-known and common hymns sung in the churches about,
and sometimes of a wilder,
more indefinite character,
picked up at camp-meetings.
The chorus of one of them,
which ran as follows,
was sung with great energy and unction:
-"Die on the field of battle,
Die on the field of battle,
Glory in my soul."-
Another special favorite had oft repeated the words --
I'm going to glory,
--won't you come along with me?
Don't you see the angels beck'ning,
and a calling me away?
Don't you see the golden city and the everlasting day?"-
There were others,
which made incessant mention of "Jordan's banks,"
and "Canaan's fields,"
and the "New Jerusalem;"
for the negro mind,
impassioned and imaginative,
always attaches itself to hymns and expressions of a vivid and pictorial nature;
as they sung,
and some cried,
and some clapped hands,
or shook hands rejoicingly with each other,
as if they had fairly gained the other side of the river.
or relations of experience,
and intermingled with the singing.
One old gray-headed woman,
long past work,
but much revered as a sort of chronicle of the past,
and leaning on her staff,
I'm mighty glad to hear ye all and see ye all once more,
'cause I don't know when I'll be gone to glory;
but I've done got ready,
'pears like I'd got my little bundle all tied up,
and my bonnet on,
jest a waitin' for the stage to come along and take me home;
in the night,
I think I hear the wheels a rattlin',
and I'm lookin' out all the time;
you jest be ready too,
for I tell ye all,
she said striking her staff hard on the floor,
"dat ar -glory- is a mighty thing!
It's a mighty thing,
--you don'no nothing about it,
And the old creature sat down,
with streaming tears,
as wholly overcome,
while the whole circle struck up --
bright Canaan I'm bound for the land of Canaan."-
read the last chapters of Revelation,
often interrupted by such exclamations as "The -sakes- now!"
"Only hear that!"
"Jest think on
"Is all that a comin' sure enough?"
who was a bright boy,
and well trained in religious things by his mother,
finding himself an object of general admiration,
threw in expositions of his own,
from time to time,
with a commendable seriousness and gravity,
for which he was admired by the young and blessed by the old;
and it was agreed,
on all hands,
that "a minister couldn't lay it off better than he did;
't was reely
Uncle Tom was a sort of patriarch in religious matters,
in the neighborhood.
an organization in which the -morale- was strongly predominant,
together with a greater breadth and cultivation of mind than obtained among his companions,
he was looked up to with great respect,
as a sort of minister among them;
and the simple,
sincere style of his exhortations might have edified even better educated persons.
But it was in prayer that he especially excelled.
Nothing could exceed the touching simplicity,
the childlike earnestness,
of his prayer,
enriched with the language of Scripture,
which seemed so entirely to have wrought itself into his being,
as to have become a part of himself,
and to drop from his lips unconsciously;
in the language of a pious old negro,
he "prayed right up."
And so much did his prayer always work on the devotional feelings of his audiences,
that there seemed often a danger that it would be lost altogether in the abundance of the responses which broke out everywhere around him.
While this scene was passing in the cabin of the man,
one quite otherwise passed in the halls of the master.
The trader and Mr. Shelby were seated together in the dining room afore-named,
at a table covered with papers and writing utensils.
Mr. Shelby was busy in counting some bundles of bills,
as they were counted,
he pushed over to the trader,
who counted them likewise.
said the trader;
"and now for signing these yer."
Mr. Shelby hastily drew the bills of sale towards him,
and signed them,
like a man that hurries over some disagreeable business,
and then pushed them over with the money.
from a well-worn valise,
after looking over it a moment,
he handed to Mr. Shelby,
who took it with a gesture of suppressed eagerness.
the thing's -done-!"
said the trader,
said Mr. Shelby,
in a musing tone;
fetching a long breath,
"Yer don't seem to feel much pleased with it,
'pears to me,"
said the trader.
said Mr. Shelby,
"I hope you'll remember that you promised,
on your honor,
you wouldn't sell Tom,
without knowing what sort of hands he's going into."
you've just done it sir,"
said the trader.
you well know,
said the trader.
I'll do the very best I can in gettin' Tom a good berth;
as to my treatin' on him bad,
you needn't be a grain afeard.
If there's anything that I thank the Lord for,
it is that I'm never noways cruel."
After the expositions which the trader had previously given of his humane principles,
Mr. Shelby did not feel particularly reassured by these declarations;
as they were the best comfort the case admitted of,
he allowed the trader to depart in silence,
and betook himself to a solitary cigar.
Showing the Feelings of Living Property on Changing Owners
Mr. and Mrs. Shelby had retired to their apartment for the night.
He was lounging in a large easy-chair,
looking over some letters that had come in the afternoon mail,
and she was standing before her mirror,
brushing out the complicated braids and curls in which Eliza had arranged her hair;
noticing her pale cheeks and haggard eyes,
she had excused her attendance that night,
and ordered her to bed.
suggested her conversation with the girl in the morning;
and turning to her husband,
"By the by,
who was that low-bred fellow that you lugged in to our dinner-table today?"
"Haley is his name,"
turning himself rather uneasily in his chair,
and continuing with his eyes fixed on a letter.
Who is he,
and what may be his business here,
he's a man that I transacted some business with,
last time I was at Natchez,"
said Mr. Shelby.
"And he presumed on it to make himself quite at home,
and call and dine here,
I invited him;
I had some accounts with him,"
"Is he a negro-trader?"
said Mrs. Shelby,
noticing a certain embarrassment in her husband's manner.
what put that into your head?"
--only Eliza came in here,
in a great worry,
crying and taking on,
and said you were talking with a trader,
and that she heard him make an offer for her boy --the ridiculous little goose!"
said Mr. Shelby,
returning to his paper,
which he seemed for a few moments quite intent upon,
not perceiving that he was holding it bottom upwards.
"It will have to come out,"
"as well now as ever."
"I told Eliza,"
said Mrs. Shelby,
as she continued brushing her hair,
"that she was a little fool for her pains,
and that you never had anything to do with that sort of persons.
I knew you never meant to sell any of our people,
--least of all,
to such a fellow."
said her husband,
"so I have always felt and said;
but the fact is that my business lies so that I cannot get on without.
I shall have to sell some of my hands."
"To that creature?
you cannot be serious."
"I'm sorry to say that I am,"
said Mr. Shelby.
"I've agreed to sell Tom."
--been your faithful servant from a boy!
--and you have promised him his freedom,
--you and I have spoken to him a hundred times of it.
I can believe anything now,
--I can believe -now- that you could sell little Harry,
poor Eliza's only child!"
said Mrs. Shelby,
in a tone between grief and indignation.
since you must know all,
it is so.
I have agreed to sell Tom and Harry both;
and I don't know why I am to be rated,
as if I were a monster,
for doing what every one does every day."
of all others,
said Mrs. Shelby.
"Why sell them,
of all on the place,
if you must sell at all?"
"Because they will bring the highest sum of any,
I could choose another,
if you say so.
The fellow made me a high bid on Eliza,
if that would suit you any better,"
said Mr. Shelby.
said Mrs. Shelby,
I didn't listen to it,
--out of regard to your feelings,
--so give me some credit."
said Mrs. Shelby,
I have been hasty.
I was surprised,
and entirely unprepared for this;
--but surely you will allow me to intercede for these poor creatures.
Tom is a noble-hearted,
if he is black.
I do believe,
that if he were put to it,
he would lay down his life for you."
"I know it,
--I dare say;
--but what's the use of all this?
--I can't help myself."
"Why not make a pecuniary sacrifice?
I'm willing to bear my part of the inconvenience.
I have tried --tried most faithfully,
as a Christian woman should --to do my duty to these poor,
I have cared for them,
watched over them,
and know all their little cares and joys,
and how can I ever hold up my head again among them,
for the sake of a little paltry gain,
we sell such a faithful,
confiding creature as poor Tom,
and tear from him in a moment all we have taught him to love and value?
I have taught them the duties of the family,
of parent and child,
and husband and wife;
and how can I bear to have this open acknowledgment that we care for no tie,
compared with money?
I have talked with Eliza about her boy --her duty to him as a Christian mother,
to watch over him,
pray for him,
and bring him up in a Christian way;
and now what can I say,
if you tear him away,
and sell him,
soul and body,
to a profane,
just to save a little money?
I have told her that one soul is worth more than all the money in the world;
and how will she believe me when she sees us turn round and sell her child?
to certain ruin of body and soul!"
"I'm sorry you feel so about it,
--indeed I am,"
said Mr. Shelby;
"and I respect your feelings,
though I don't pretend to share them to their full extent;
but I tell you now,
it's of no use --I can't help myself.
I didn't mean to tell you this Emily;
in plain words,
there is no choice between selling these two and selling everything.
Either they must go,
or -all- must.
Haley has come into possession of a mortgage,
if I don't clear off with him directly,
will take everything before it.
and all but begged,
--and the price of these two was needed to make up the balance,
and I had to give them up.
Haley fancied the child;
he agreed to settle the matter that way,
and no other.
I was in his power,
and -had- to do it.
If you feel so to have them sold,
would it be any better to have -all- sold?"
Mrs. Shelby stood like one stricken.
turning to her toilet,
she rested her face in her hands,
and gave a sort of groan.
"This is God's curse on slavery!
most accursed thing!
--a curse to the master and a curse to the slave!
I was a fool to think I could make anything good out of such a deadly evil.
It is a sin to hold a slave under laws like ours,
--I always felt it was,
--I always thought so when I was a girl,
--I thought so still more after I joined the church;
but I thought I could gild it over,
I could make the condition of mine better than freedom --fool that I was!"
you are getting to be an abolitionist,
if they knew all I know about slavery,
they -might- talk!
We don't need them to tell us;
you know I never thought that slavery was right --never felt willing to own slaves."
therein you differ from many wise and pious men,"
said Mr. Shelby.
"You remember Mr. B.'s sermon,
the other Sunday?"
"I don't want to hear such sermons;
I never wish to hear Mr. B. in our church again.
Ministers can't help the evil,
--can't cure it,
any more than we can,
--but defend it!
--it always went against my common sense.
And I think you didn't think much of that sermon,
"I must say these ministers sometimes carry matters further than we poor sinners would exactly dare to do.
We men of the world must wink pretty hard at various things,
and get used to a deal that isn't the exact thing.
But we don't quite fancy,
when women and ministers come out broad and square,
and go beyond us in matters of either modesty or morals,
that's a fact.
I trust you see the necessity of the thing,
and you see that I have done the very best that circumstances would allow."
said Mrs. Shelby,
hurriedly and abstractedly fingering her gold watch,
--"I haven't any jewelry of any amount,"
"but would not this watch do something?
--it was an expensive one,
when it was bought.
If I could only at least save Eliza's child,
I would sacrifice anything I have."
said Mr. Shelby,
"I'm sorry this takes hold of you so;
but it will do no good.
The fact is,
the thing's done;
the bills of sale are already signed,
and in Haley's hands;
and you must be thankful it is no worse.
That man has had it in his power to ruin us all,
--and now he is fairly off.
If you knew the man as I do,
you'd think that we had had a narrow escape."
"Is he so hard,
not a cruel man,
but a man of leather,
--a man alive to nothing but trade and profit,
as death and the grave.
He'd sell his own mother at a good percentage --not wishing the old woman any harm,
"And this wretch owns that good,
and Eliza's child!"
the fact is that this goes rather hard with me;
it's a thing I hate to think of.
Haley wants to drive matters,
and take possession tomorrow.
I'm going to get out my horse bright and early,
and be off.
I can't see Tom,
that's a fact;
and you had better arrange a drive somewhere,
and carry Eliza off.
Let the thing be done when she is out of sight."
said Mrs. Shelby;
"I'll be in no sense accomplice or help in this cruel business.
I'll go and see poor old Tom,
God help him,
in his distress!
They shall see,
at any rate,
that their mistress can feel for and with them.
As to Eliza,
I dare not think about it.
The Lord forgive us!
What have we done,
that this cruel necessity should come on us?"
There was one listener to this conversation whom Mr. and Mrs. Shelby little suspected.
Communicating with their apartment was a large closet,
opening by a door into the outer passage.
When Mrs. Shelby had dismissed Eliza for the night,
her feverish and excited mind had suggested the idea of this closet;
and she had hidden herself there,
with her ear pressed close against the crack of the door,
had lost not a word of the conversation.
When the voices died into silence,
she rose and crept stealthily away.
with rigid features and compressed lips,
she looked an entirely altered being from the soft and timid creature she had been hitherto.
She moved cautiously along the entry,
paused one moment at her mistress' door,
and raised her hands in mute appeal to Heaven,
and then turned and glided into her own room.
It was a quiet,
on the same floor with her mistress.
There was a pleasant sunny window,
where she had often sat singing at her sewing;
there a little case of books,
and various little fancy articles,
ranged by them,
the gifts of Christmas holidays;
there was her simple wardrobe in the closet and in the drawers: --here was,
on the whole,
a happy one it had been to her.
on the bed,
lay her slumbering boy,
his long curls falling negligently around his unconscious face,
his rosy mouth half open,
his little fat hands thrown out over the bedclothes,
and a smile spread like a sunbeam over his whole face.
"they have sold you!
but your mother will save you yet!"
No tear dropped over that pillow;
in such straits as these,
the heart has no tears to give,
--it drops only blood,
bleeding itself away in silence.
She took a piece of paper and a pencil,
don't think me ungrateful,
--don't think hard of me,
--I heard all you and master said tonight.
I am going to try to save my boy --you will not blame me!
God bless and reward you for all your kindness!"
Hastily folding and directing this,
she went to a drawer and made up a little package of clothing for her boy,
which she tied with a handkerchief firmly round her waist;
so fond is a mother's remembrance,
even in the terrors of that hour,
she did not forget to put in the little package one or two of his favorite toys,
reserving a gayly painted parrot to amuse him,
when she should be called on to awaken him.
It was some trouble to arouse the little sleeper;
after some effort,
he sat up,
and was playing with his bird,
while his mother was putting on her bonnet and shawl.
"Where are you going,
as she drew near the bed,
with his little coat and cap.
His mother drew near,
and looked so earnestly into his eyes,
that he at once divined that something unusual was the matter.
"mustn't speak loud,
or they will hear us.
A wicked man was coming to take little Harry away from his mother,
and carry him
'way off in the dark;
but mother won't let him --she's going to put on her little boy's cap and coat,
and run off with him,
so the ugly man can't catch him."
Saying these words,
she had tied and buttoned on the child's simple outfit,
taking him in her arms,
she whispered to him to be very still;
opening a door in her room which led into the outer verandah,
she glided noiselessly out.
It was a sparkling,
and the mother wrapped the shawl close round her child,
perfectly quiet with vague terror,
he clung round her neck.
a great Newfoundland,
who slept at the end of the porch,
with a low growl,
as she came near.
She gently spoke his name,
and the animal,
an old pet and playmate of hers,
wagging his tail,
prepared to follow her,
though apparently revolving much,
in this simple dog's head,
what such an indiscreet midnight promenade might mean.
Some dim ideas of imprudence or impropriety in the measure seemed to embarrass him considerably;
for he often stopped,
as Eliza glided forward,
and looked wistfully,
first at her and then at the house,
as if reassured by reflection,
he pattered along after her again.
A few minutes brought them to the window of Uncle Tom's cottage,
and Eliza stopping,
tapped lightly on the window-pane.
The prayer-meeting at Uncle Tom's had,
in the order of hymn-singing,
been protracted to a very late hour;
as Uncle Tom had indulged himself in a few lengthy solos afterwards,
the consequence was,
although it was now between twelve and one o'clock,
he and his worthy helpmeet were not yet asleep.
said Aunt Chloe,
starting up and hastily drawing the curtain.
"My sakes alive,
if it an't Lizy!
Get on your clothes,
--there's old Bruno,
a pawin round;
what on airth!
I'm gwine to open the door."
And suiting the action to the word,
the door flew open,
and the light of the tallow candle,
which Tom had hastily lighted,
fell on the haggard face and dark,
wild eyes of the fugitive.
"Lord bless you!
--I'm skeered to look at ye,
Are ye tuck sick,
or what's come over ye?"
"I'm running away --Uncle Tom and Aunt Chloe --carrying off my child --Master sold him!"
lifting up their hands in dismay.
"I crept into the closet by Mistress' door tonight,
and I heard Master tell Missis that he had sold my Harry,
to a trader;
and that he was going off this morning on his horse,
and that the man was to take possession today."
Tom had stood,
during this speech,
with his hands raised,
and his eyes dilated,
like a man in a dream.
Slowly and gradually,
as its meaning came over him,
rather than seated himself,
on his old chair,
and sunk his head down upon his knees.
"The good Lord have pity on us!"
said Aunt Chloe.
it don't seem as if it was true!
What has he done,
that Mas'r should sell -him-?"
"He hasn't done anything,
--it isn't for that.
Master don't want to sell,
and Missis she's always good.
I heard her plead and beg for us;
but he told her
't was no use;
that he was in this man's debt,
and that this man had got the power over him;
and that if he didn't pay him off clear,
it would end in his having to sell the place and all the people,
and move off.
I heard him say there was no choice between selling these two and selling all,
the man was driving him so hard.
Master said he was sorry;
Missis --you ought to have heard her talk!
If she an't a Christian and an angel,
there never was one.
I'm a wicked girl to leave her so;
I can't help it.
one soul was worth more than the world;
and this boy has a soul,
and if I let him be carried off,
who knows what'll become of it?
It must be right: but,
if it an't right,
the Lord forgive me,
for I can't help doing it!"
said Aunt Chloe,
"why don't you go,
Will you wait to be toted down river,
where they kill niggers with hard work and starving?
I'd a heap rather die than go there,
There's time for ye,
--be off with Lizy,
--you've got a pass to come and go any time.
and I'll get your things together."
Tom slowly raised his head,
and looked sorrowfully but quietly around,
no --I an't going.
Let Eliza go --it's her right!
I wouldn't be the one to say no --'tan't in -natur- for her to stay;
but you heard what she said!
If I must be sold,
or all the people on the place,
and everything go to rack,
let me be sold.
I s'pose I can bar it as well as any on
while something like a sob and a sigh shook his broad,
rough chest convulsively.
"Mas'r always found me on the spot --he always will.
I never have broke trust,
nor used my pass no ways contrary to my word,
and I never will.
It's better for me alone to go,
than to break up the place and sell all.
Mas'r an't to blame,
and he'll take care of you and the poor --"
Here he turned to the rough trundle bed full of little woolly heads,
and broke fairly down.
He leaned over the back of the chair,
and covered his face with his large hands.
hoarse and loud,
shook the chair,
and great tears fell through his fingers on the floor;
just such tears,
as you dropped into the coffin where lay your first-born son;
as you shed when you heard the cries of your dying babe.
he was a man,
--and you are but another man.
though dressed in silk and jewels,
you are but a woman,
in life's great straits and mighty griefs,
ye feel but one sorrow!
as she stood in the door,
"I saw my husband only this afternoon,
and I little knew then what was to come.
They have pushed him to the very last standing place,
and he told me,
that he was going to run away.
if you can,
to get word to him.
Tell him how I went,
and why I went;
and tell him I'm going to try and find Canada.
You must give my love to him,
and tell him,
if I never see him again,"
she turned away,
and stood with her back to them for a moment,
and then added,
in a husky voice,
"tell him to be as good as he can,
and try and meet me in the kingdom of heaven."
"Call Bruno in there,"
"Shut the door on him,
He mustn't go with me!"
A few last words and tears,
a few simple adieus and blessings,
and clasping her wondering and affrighted child in her arms,
she glided noiselessly away.
Mr. and Mrs. Shelby,
after their protracted discussion of the night before,
did not readily sink to repose,
slept somewhat later than usual,
the ensuing morning.
"I wonder what keeps Eliza,"
said Mrs. Shelby,
after giving her bell repeated pulls,
to no purpose.
Mr. Shelby was standing before his dressing-glass,
sharpening his razor;
and just then the door opened,
and a colored boy entered,
with his shaving-water.
said his mistress,
"step to Eliza's door,
and tell her I have rung for her three times.
with a sigh.
Andy soon returned,
with eyes very wide in astonishment.
Lizy's drawers is all open,
and her things all lying every which way;
and I believe she's just done clared out!"
The truth flashed upon Mr. Shelby and his wife at the same moment.
"Then she suspected it,
and she's off!"
"The Lord be thanked!"
said Mrs. Shelby.
"I trust she is."
you talk like a fool!
it will be something pretty awkward for me,
if she is.
Haley saw that I hesitated about selling this child,
and he'll think I connived at it,
to get him out of the way.
It touches my honor!"
And Mr. Shelby left the room hastily.
There was great running and ejaculating,
and opening and shutting of doors,
and appearance of faces in all shades of color in different places,
for about a quarter of an hour.
One person only,
who might have shed some light on the matter,
was entirely silent,
and that was the head cook,
and with a heavy cloud settled down over her once joyous face,
she proceeded making out her breakfast biscuits,
as if she heard and saw nothing of the excitement around her.
about a dozen young imps were roosting,
like so many crows,
on the verandah railings,
each one determined to be the first one to apprize the strange Mas'r of his ill luck.
"He'll be rael mad,
I'll be bound,"
"-Won't- he swar!"
said little black Jake.
for he -does- swar,"
said woolly-headed Mandy.
"I hearn him yesterday,
I hearn all about it then,
'cause I got into the closet where Missis keeps the great jugs,
and I hearn every word."
who had never in her life thought of the meaning of a word she had heard,
more than a black cat,
now took airs of superior wisdom,
and strutted about,
forgetting to state that,
though actually coiled up among the jugs at the time specified,
she had been fast asleep all the time.
booted and spurred,
he was saluted with the bad tidings on every hand.
The young imps on the verandah were not disappointed in their hope of hearing him "swar,"
which he did with a fluency and fervency which delighted them all amazingly,
as they ducked and dodged hither and thither,
to be out of the reach of his riding-whip;
all whooping off together,
in a pile of immeasurable giggle,
on the withered turf under the verandah,
where they kicked up their heels and shouted to their full satisfaction.
"If I had the little devils!"
between his teeth.
"But you ha'nt got
with a triumphant flourish,
and making a string of indescribable mouths at the unfortunate trader's back,
when he was fairly beyond hearing.
"I say now,
's a most extro'rnary business!"
as he abruptly entered the parlor.
"It seems that gal
with her young un."
Mrs. Shelby is present,"
said Mr. Shelby.
"I beg pardon,
with a still lowering brow;
"but still I say,
as I said before,
this yer's a sing'lar report.
Is it true,
said Mr. Shelby,
"if you wish to communicate with me,
you must observe something of the decorum of a gentleman.
take Mr. Haley's hat and riding-whip.
Take a seat,
I regret to say that the young woman,
excited by overhearing,
or having reported to her,
something of this business,
has taken her child in the night,
and made off."
"I did expect fair dealing in this matter,
said Mr. Shelby,
turning sharply round upon him,
"what am I to understand by that remark?
If any man calls my honor in question,
I have but one answer for him."
The trader cowered at this,
and in a somewhat lower tone said that "it was plaguy hard on a fellow,
that had made a fair bargain,
to be gulled that way."
said Mr. Shelby,
"if I did not think you had some cause for disappointment,
I should not have borne from you the rude and unceremonious style of your entrance into my parlor this morning.
I say thus much,
since appearances call for it,
that I shall allow of no insinuations cast upon me,
as if I were at all partner to any unfairness in this matter.
I shall feel bound to give you every assistance,
in the use of horses,
in the recovery of your property.
suddenly dropping from the tone of dignified coolness to his ordinary one of easy frankness,
"the best way for you is to keep good-natured and eat some breakfast,
and we will then see what is to be done."
Mrs. Shelby now rose,
and said her engagements would prevent her being at the breakfast-table that morning;
deputing a very respectable mulatto woman to attend to the gentlemen's coffee at the side-board,
she left the room.
"Old lady don't like your humble servant,
over and above,"
with an uneasy effort to be very familiar.
"I am not accustomed to hear my wife spoken of with such freedom,"
said Mr. Shelby,
only a joke,
forcing a laugh.
"Some jokes are less agreeable than others,"
now I've signed those papers,
muttered Haley to himself;
Never did fall of any prime minister at court occasion wider surges of sensation than the report of Tom's fate among his compeers on the place.
It was the topic in every mouth,
and nothing was done in the house or in the field,
but to discuss its probable results.
Eliza's flight --an unprecedented event on the place --was also a great accessory in stimulating the general excitement.
as he was commonly called,
from his being about three shades blacker than any other son of ebony on the place,
was revolving the matter profoundly in all its phases and bearings,
with a comprehensiveness of vision and a strict lookout to his own personal well-being,
that would have done credit to any white patriot in Washington.
"It's an ill wind dat blow nowhar,
--dat ar a fact,"
giving an additional hoist to his pantaloons,
and adroitly substituting a long nail in place of a missing suspender-button,
with which effort of mechanical genius he seemed highly delighted.
it's an ill wind blows nowhar,"
Tom's down --wal,
course der's room for some nigger to be up --and why not dis nigger?
--dat's de idee.
a ridin' round de country --boots blacked --pass in his pocket --all grand as Cuffee --but who he?
why shouldn't Sam?
--dat's what I want to know."
Sam --O Sam!
Mas'r wants you to cotch Bill and Jerry,"
cutting short Sam's soliloquy.
what's afoot now,
you don't know,
that Lizy's cut stick,
and clared out,
with her young un?"
"You teach your granny!"
with infinite contempt;
"knowed it a heap sight sooner than you did;
this nigger an't so green,
Mas'r wants Bill and Jerry geared right up;
and you and I
's to go with Mas'r Haley,
to look arter her."
dat's de time o' day!"
"It's Sam dat's called for in dese yer times.
He's de nigger.
See if I don't cotch her,
Mas'r'll see what Sam can do!"
"you'd better think twice;
for Missis don't want her cotched,
and she'll be in yer wool."
opening his eyes.
"How you know dat?"
"Heard her say so,
my own self,
dis blessed mornin',
when I bring in Mas'r's shaving-water.
She sent me to see why Lizy didn't come to dress her;
and when I telled her she was off,
she jest ris up,
and ses she,
'The Lord be praised;'
he seemed rael mad,
and ses he,
you talk like a fool.'
she'll bring him to!
I knows well enough how that'll be,
--it's allers best to stand Missis' side the fence,
now I tell yer."
scratched his woolly pate,
if it did not contain very profound wisdom,
still contained a great deal of a particular species much in demand among politicians of all complexions and countries,
and vulgarly denominated "knowing which side the bread is buttered;"
stopping with grave consideration,
he again gave a hitch to his pantaloons,
which was his regularly organized method of assisting his mental perplexities.
"Der an't no saying' --never --'bout no kind o' thing in -dis- yer world,"
Sam spoke like a philosopher,
emphasizing -this ---as if he had had a large experience in different sorts of worlds,
and therefore had come to his conclusions advisedly.
sartin I'd a said that Missis would a scoured the varsal world after Lizy,"
"So she would,"
"but can't ye see through a ladder,
ye black nigger?
Missis don't want dis yer Mas'r Haley to get Lizy's boy;
dat's de go!"
with an indescribable intonation,
known only to those who have heard it among the negroes.
"And I'll tell yer more
"I specs you'd better be making tracks for dem hosses,
---for I hearn Missis
'quirin' arter yer,
--so you've stood foolin' long enough."
began to bestir himself in real earnest,
and after a while appeared,
bearing down gloriously towards the house,
with Bill and Jerry in a full canter,
and adroitly throwing himself off before they had any idea of stopping,
he brought them up alongside of the horse-post like a tornado.
which was a skittish young colt,
and pulled hard at his halter.
and his black visage lighted up with a curious,
"I'll fix ye now!"
There was a large beech-tree overshadowing the place,
and the small,
triangular beech-nuts lay scattered thickly on the ground.
With one of these in his fingers,
Sam approached the colt,
stroked and patted,
and seemed apparently busy in soothing his agitation.
On pretence of adjusting the saddle,
he adroitly slipped under it the sharp little nut,
in such a manner that the least weight brought upon the saddle would annoy the nervous sensibilities of the animal,
without leaving any perceptible graze or wound.
rolling his eyes with an approving grin;
At this moment Mrs. Shelby appeared on the balcony,
beckoning to him.
Sam approached with as good a determination to pay court as did ever suitor after a vacant place at St. James' or Washington.
"Why have you been loitering so,
I sent Andy to tell you to hurry."
"Lord bless you,
"horses won't be cotched all in a minit;
they'd done clared out way down to the south pasture,
and the Lord knows whar!"
how often must I tell you not to say
'Lord bless you,
and the Lord knows,'
and such things?
Lord bless my soul!
I done forgot,
I won't say nothing of de sort no more."
you just -have- said it again."
I mean --I didn't go fur to say it."
"You must be -careful-,
"Just let me get my breath,
and I'll start fair.
I'll be bery careful."
you are to go with Mr. Haley,
to show him the road,
and help him.
Be careful of the horses,
you know Jerry was a little lame last week;
-don't ride them too fast-."
Mrs. Shelby spoke the last words with a low voice,
and strong emphasis.
"Let dis child alone for dat!"
rolling up his eyes with a volume of meaning.
Didn't say dat!"
suddenly catching his breath,
with a ludicrous flourish of apprehension,
which made his mistress laugh,
spite of herself.
I'll look out for de hosses!"
returning to his stand under the beech-trees,
"you see I wouldn't be
't all surprised if dat ar gen'lman's crittur should gib a fling,
by and by,
when he comes to be a gettin' up.
critturs -will- do such things;"
and therewith Sam poked Andy in the side,
in a highly suggestive manner.
with an air of instant appreciation.
Missis wants to make time,
--dat ar's clar to der most or'nary
I jis make a little for her.
get all dese yer hosses loose,
caperin' permiscus round dis yer lot and down to de wood dar,
and I spec Mas'r won't be off in a hurry."
if any such thing should happen as that Mas'r Haley's horse -should- begin to act contrary,
and cut up,
you and I jist lets go of our'n to help him,
and -we'll help him ---oh yes!"
And Sam and Andy laid their heads back on their shoulders,
and broke into a low,
snapping their fingers and flourishing their heels with exquisite delight.
At this instant,
Haley appeared on the verandah.
Somewhat mollified by certain cups of very good coffee,
he came out smiling and talking,
in tolerably restored humor.
Sam and Andy,
clawing for certain fragmentary palm-leaves,
which they were in the habit of considering as hats,
flew to the horseposts,
to be ready to "help Mas'r."
Sam's palm-leaf had been ingeniously disentangled from all pretensions to braid,
as respects its brim;
and the slivers starting apart,
and standing upright,
gave it a blazing air of freedom and defiance,
quite equal to that of any Fejee chief;
while the whole brim of Andy's being departed bodily,
he rapped the crown on his head with a dexterous thump,
and looked about well pleased,
as if to say,
"Who says I haven't got a hat?"
"look alive now;
we must lose no time."
"Not a bit of him,
putting Haley's rein in his hand,
and holding his stirrup,
while Andy was untying the other two horses.
The instant Haley touched the saddle,
the mettlesome creature bounded from the earth with a sudden spring,
that threw his master sprawling,
some feet off,
on the soft,
with frantic ejaculations,
made a dive at the reins,
but only succeeded in brushing the blazing palm-leaf afore-named into the horse's eyes,
which by no means tended to allay the confusion of his nerves.
with great vehemence,
he overturned Sam,
giving two or three contemptuous snorts,
flourished his heels vigorously in the air,
and was soon prancing away towards the lower end of the lawn,
followed by Bill and Jerry,
whom Andy had not failed to let loose,
according to contract,
speeding them off with various direful ejaculations.
And now ensued a miscellaneous scene of confusion.
Sam and Andy ran and shouted,
--dogs barked here and there,
and all the smaller specimens on the place,
both male and female,
with outrageous officiousness and untiring zeal.
which was a white one,
and very fleet and spirited,
appeared to enter into the spirit of the scene with great gusto;
and having for his coursing ground a lawn of nearly half a mile in extent,
gently sloping down on every side into indefinite woodland,
he appeared to take infinite delight in seeing how near he could allow his pursuers to approach him,
when within a hand's breadth,
whisk off with a start and a snort,
like a mischievous beast as he was and career far down into some alley of the wood-lot.
Nothing was further from Sam's mind than to have any one of the troop taken until such season as should seem to him most befitting,
--and the exertions that he made were certainly most heroic.
Like the sword of Coeur De Lion,
which always blazed in the front and thickest of the battle,
Sam's palm-leaf was to be seen everywhere when there was the least danger that a horse could be caught;
there he would bear down full tilt,
"Now for it!
in a way that would set everything to indiscriminate rout in a moment.
Haley ran up and down,
and cursed and swore and stamped miscellaneously.
Mr. Shelby in vain tried to shout directions from the balcony,
and Mrs. Shelby from her chamber window alternately laughed and wondered,
--not without some inkling of what lay at the bottom of all this confusion.
about twelve o'clock,
Sam appeared triumphant,
mounted on Jerry,
with Haley's horse by his side,
reeking with sweat,
but with flashing eyes and dilated nostrils,
showing that the spirit of freedom had not yet entirely subsided.
't hadn't been for me,
they might a bust themselves,
but I cotched him!"
in no amiable mood.
"If it hadn't been for you,
this never would have happened."
"Lord bless us,
in a tone of the deepest concern,
"and me that has been racin' and chasin' till the sweat jest pours off me!"
"you've lost me near three hours,
with your cursed nonsense.
Now let's be off,
and have no more fooling."
in a deprecating tone,
"I believe you mean to kill us all clar,
horses and all.
Here we are all just ready to drop down,
and the critters all in a reek of sweat.
Mas'r won't think of startin' on now till arter dinner.
Mas'r's hoss wants rubben down;
see how he splashed hisself;
and Jerry limps too;
don't think Missis would be willin' to have us start dis yer way,
Lord bless you,
we can ketch up,
if we do stop.
Lizy never was no great of a walker."
greatly to her amusement,
had overheard this conversation from the verandah,
now resolved to do her part.
She came forward,
courteously expressing her concern for Haley's accident,
pressed him to stay to dinner,
saying that the cook should bring it on the table immediately.
all things considered,
with rather an equivocal grace,
proceeded to the parlor,
rolling his eyes after him with unutterable meaning,
proceeded gravely with the horses to the stable-yard.
"Did yer see him,
-did- yer see him?"
when he had got fairly beyond the shelter of the barn,
and fastened the horse to a post.
if it warn't as good as a meetin',
to see him a dancin' and kickin' and swarin' at us.
Didn't I hear him?
ole fellow (says I to myself );
will yer have yer hoss now,
or wait till you cotch him?
I think I can see him now."
And Sam and Andy leaned up against the barn and laughed to their hearts' content.
"Yer oughter seen how mad he looked,
when I brought the hoss up.
he'd a killed me,
if he durs' to;
and there I was a standin' as innercent and as humble."
I seed you,"
"an't you an old hoss,
"Rather specks I am,"
"did yer see Missis up stars at the winder?
I seed her laughin'."
I was racin' so,
I didn't see nothing,"
proceeding gravely to wash down Haley's pony,
'quired what yer may call a habit -o' bobservation-,
It's a very
'commend yer to be cultivatin' it,
now yer young.
Hist up that hind foot,
it's -bobservation- makes all de difference in niggers.
Didn't I see which way the wind blew dis yer mornin'?
Didn't I see what Missis wanted,
though she never let on?
Dat ar's bobservation,
'spects it's what you may call a faculty.
Faculties is different in different peoples,
but cultivation of
'em goes a great way."
"I guess if I hadn't helped your bobservation dis mornin',
yer wouldn't have seen your way so smart,"
"you's a promisin' child,
der an't no manner o' doubt.
I thinks lots of yer,
and I don't feel no ways ashamed to take idees from you.
We oughtenter overlook nobody,
cause the smartest on us gets tripped up sometimes.
let's go up to the house now.
I'll be boun' Missis'll give us an uncommon good bite,
dis yer time."
The Mother's Struggle
It is impossible to conceive of a human creature more wholly desolate and forlorn than Eliza,
when she turned her footsteps from Uncle Tom's cabin.
Her husband's suffering and dangers,
and the danger of her child,
all blended in her mind,
with a confused and stunning sense of the risk she was running,
in leaving the only home she had ever known,
and cutting loose from the protection of a friend whom she loved and revered.
Then there was the parting from every familiar object,
--the place where she had grown up,
the trees under which she had played,
the groves where she had walked many an evening in happier days,
by the side of her young husband,
as it lay in the clear,
seemed to speak reproachfully to her,
and ask her whither could she go from a home like that?
But stronger than all was maternal love,
wrought into a paroxysm of frenzy by the near approach of a fearful danger.
Her boy was old enough to have walked by her side,
in an indifferent case,
she would only have led him by the hand;
but now the bare thought of putting him out of her arms made her shudder,
and she strained him to her bosom with a convulsive grasp,
as she went rapidly forward.
The frosty ground creaked beneath her feet,
and she trembled at the sound;
every quaking leaf and fluttering shadow sent the blood backward to her heart,
and quickened her footsteps.
She wondered within herself at the strength that seemed to be come upon her;
for she felt the weight of her boy as if it had been a feather,
and every flutter of fear seemed to increase the supernatural power that bore her on,
while from her pale lips burst forth,
in frequent ejaculations,
the prayer to a Friend above --"Lord,
If it were -your- Harry,
or your Willie,
that were going to be torn from you by a brutal trader,
--if you had seen the man,
and heard that the papers were signed and delivered,
and you had only from twelve o'clock till morning to make good your escape,
--how fast could -you- walk?
How many miles could you make in those few brief hours,
with the darling at your bosom,
--the little sleepy head on your shoulder,
soft arms trustingly holding on to your neck?
For the child slept.
the novelty and alarm kept him waking;
but his mother so hurriedly repressed every breath or sound,
and so assured him that if he were only still she would certainly save him,
that he clung quietly round her neck,
as he found himself sinking to sleep,
I don't need to keep awake,
if you want to."
if I do get asleep,
you won't let him get me?"
so may God help me!"
said his mother,
with a paler cheek,
and a brighter light in her large dark eyes.
said the mother,
in a voice that startled herself;
for it seemed to her to come from a spirit within,
that was no part of her;
and the boy dropped his little weary head on her shoulder,
and was soon asleep.
How the touch of those warm arms,
the gentle breathings that came in her neck,
seemed to add fire and spirit to her movements!
It seemed to her as if strength poured into her in electric streams,
from every gentle touch and movement of the sleeping,
Sublime is the dominion of the mind over the body,
for a time,
can make flesh and nerve impregnable,
and string the sinews like steel,
so that the weak become so mighty.
The boundaries of the farm,
passed by her dizzily,
as she walked on;
and still she went,
leaving one familiar object after another,
till reddening daylight found her many a long mile from all traces of any familiar objects upon the open highway.
She had often been,
with her mistress,
to visit some connections,
in the little village of T -- --,
not far from the Ohio river,
and knew the road well.
To go thither,
to escape across the Ohio river,
were the first hurried outlines of her plan of escape;
she could only hope in God.
When horses and vehicles began to move along the highway,
with that alert perception peculiar to a state of excitement,
and which seems to be a sort of inspiration,
she became aware that her headlong pace and distracted air might bring on her remark and suspicion.
She therefore put the boy on the ground,
adjusting her dress and bonnet,
she walked on at as rapid a pace as she thought consistent with the preservation of appearances.
In her little bundle she had provided a store of cakes and apples,
which she used as expedients for quickening the speed of the child,
rolling the apple some yards before them,
when the boy would run with all his might after it;
and this ruse,
carried them over many a half-mile.
After a while,
they came to a thick patch of woodland,
through which murmured a clear brook.
As the child complained of hunger and thirst,
she climbed over the fence with him;
sitting down behind a large rock which concealed them from the road,
she gave him a breakfast out of her little package.
The boy wondered and grieved that she could not eat;
putting his arms round her neck,
he tried to wedge some of his cake into her mouth,
it seemed to her that the rising in her throat would choke her.
mother can't eat till you are safe!
We must go on --on --till we come to the river!"
And she hurried again into the road,
and again constrained herself to walk regularly and composedly forward.
She was many miles past any neighborhood where she was personally known.
If she should chance to meet any who knew her,
she reflected that the well-known kindness of the family would be of itself a blind to suspicion,
as making it an unlikely supposition that she could be a fugitive.
As she was also so white as not to be known as of colored lineage,
without a critical survey,
and her child was white also,
it was much easier for her to pass on unsuspected.
On this presumption,
she stopped at noon at a neat farmhouse,
to rest herself,
and buy some dinner for her child and self;
as the danger decreased with the distance,
the supernatural tension of the nervous system lessened,
and she found herself both weary and hungry.
The good woman,
kindly and gossipping,
seemed rather pleased than otherwise with having somebody come in to talk with;
that she "was going on a little piece,
to spend a week with her friends,"
--all which she hoped in her heart might prove strictly true.
An hour before sunset,
she entered the village of T -- --,
by the Ohio river,
weary and foot-sore,
but still strong in heart.
Her first glance was at the river,
between her and the Canaan of liberty on the other side.
It was now early spring,
and the river was swollen and turbulent;
great cakes of floating ice were swinging heavily to and fro in the turbid waters.
Owing to the peculiar form of the shore on the Kentucky side,
the land bending far out into the water,
the ice had been lodged and detained in great quantities,
and the narrow channel which swept round the bend was full of ice,
piled one cake over another,
thus forming a temporary barrier to the descending ice,
and formed a great,
filling up the whole river,
and extending almost to the Kentucky shore.
for a moment,
contemplating this unfavorable aspect of things,
which she saw at once must prevent the usual ferry-boat from running,
and then turned into a small public house on the bank,
to make a few inquiries.
who was busy in various fizzing and stewing operations over the fire,
preparatory to the evening meal,
with a fork in her hand,
as Eliza's sweet and plaintive voice arrested her.
"What is it?"
"Isn't there any ferry or boat,
that takes people over to B -- --,
said the woman;
"the boats has stopped running."
Eliza's look of dismay and disappointment struck the woman,
and she said,
"May be you're wanting to get over?
Ye seem mighty anxious?"
"I've got a child that's very dangerous,"
"I never heard of it till last night,
and I've walked quite a piece today,
in hopes to get to the ferry."
said the woman,
whose motherly sympathies were much aroused;
"I'm re'lly consarned for ye.
from the window,
towards a small back building.
in leather apron and very dirty hands,
appeared at the door.
said the woman,
"is that ar man going to tote them bar'ls over tonight?"
"He said he should try,
't was any way prudent,"
said the man.
"There's a man a piece down here,
that's going over with some truck this evening,
if he durs' to;
he'll be in here to supper tonight,
so you'd better set down and wait.
That's a sweet little fellow,"
added the woman,
offering him a cake.
But the child,
cried with weariness.
he isn't used to walking,
and I've hurried him on so,"
take him into this room,"
said the woman,
opening into a small bed-room,
where stood a comfortable bed.
Eliza laid the weary boy upon it,
and held his hands in hers till he was fast asleep.
For her there was no rest.
As a fire in her bones,
the thought of the pursuer urged her on;
and she gazed with longing eyes on the sullen,
surging waters that lay between her and liberty.
Here we must take our leave of her for the present,
to follow the course of her pursuers.
Though Mrs. Shelby had promised that the dinner should be hurried on table,
yet it was soon seen,
as the thing has often been seen before,
that it required more than one to make a bargain.
although the order was fairly given out in Haley's hearing,
and carried to Aunt Chloe by at least half a dozen juvenile messengers,
that dignitary only gave certain very gruff snorts,
and tosses of her head,
and went on with every operation in an unusually leisurely and circumstantial manner.
For some singular reason,
an impression seemed to reign among the servants generally that Missis would not be particularly disobliged by delay;
and it was wonderful what a number of counter accidents occurred constantly,
to retard the course of things.
One luckless wight contrived to upset the gravy;
and then gravy had to be got up -de novo-,
with due care and formality,
Aunt Chloe watching and stirring with dogged precision,
to all suggestions of haste,
that she "warn't a going to have raw gravy on the table,
to help nobody's catchings."
One tumbled down with the water,
and had to go to the spring for more;
and another precipitated the butter into the path of events;
and there was from time to time giggling news brought into the kitchen that "Mas'r Haley was mighty oneasy,
and that he couldn't sit in his cheer no ways,
but was a walkin' and stalkin' to the winders and through the porch."
"Sarves him right!"
said Aunt Chloe,
"He'll get wus nor oneasy,
one of these days,
if he don't mend his ways.
-His- master'll be sending for him,
and then see how he'll look!"
"He'll go to torment,
and no mistake,"
said little Jake.
"He desarves it!"
said Aunt Chloe,
"he's broke a many,
--I tell ye all!"
with a fork uplifted in her hands;
"it's like what Mas'r George reads in Ravelations,
--souls a callin' under the altar!
and a callin' on the Lord for vengeance on sich!
--and by and by the Lord he'll hear
'em --so he will!"
who was much revered in the kitchen,
was listened to with open mouth;
the dinner being now fairly sent in,
the whole kitchen was at leisure to gossip with her,
and to listen to her remarks.
"Sich'll be burnt up forever,
and no mistake;
"I'd be glad to see it,
I'll be boun',"
said little Jake.
said a voice,
that made them all start.
It was Uncle Tom,
who had come in,
and stood listening to the conversation at the door.
"I'm afeard you don't know what ye're sayin'.
Forever is a -dre'ful- word,
it's awful to think on
You oughtenter wish that ar to any human crittur."
"We wouldn't to anybody but the soul-drivers,"
"nobody can help wishing it to them,
's so awful wicked."
"Don't natur herself kinder cry out on
said Aunt Chloe.
"Don't dey tear der suckin' baby right off his mother's breast,
and sell him,
and der little children as is crying and holding on by her clothes,
--don't dey pull
'em off and sells
Don't dey tear wife and husband apart?"
said Aunt Chloe,
beginning to cry,
"when it's jest takin' the very life on
--and all the while does they feel one bit,
don't dey drink and smoke,
and take it oncommon easy?
if the devil don't get them,
what's he good for?"
And Aunt Chloe covered her face with her checked apron,
and began to sob in good earnest.
"Pray for them that
'spitefully use you,
the good book says,"
said Aunt Chloe;
it's too tough!
I can't pray for
"but the Lord's grace is stronger;
you oughter think what an awful state a poor crittur's soul
's in that'll do them ar things,
--you oughter thank God that you an't -like- him,
I'm sure I'd rather be sold,
ten thousand times over,
than to have all that ar poor crittur's got to answer for."
-shouldn't- we cotch it,
Andy shrugged his shoulders,
and gave an acquiescent whistle.
"I'm glad Mas'r didn't go off this morning,
as he looked to,"
"that ar hurt me more than sellin',
Mebbe it might have been natural for him,
't would have come desp't hard on me,
as has known him from a baby;
but I've seen Mas'r,
and I begin ter feel sort o' reconciled to the Lord's will now.
Mas'r couldn't help hisself;
he did right,
but I'm feared things will be kinder goin' to rack,
when I'm gone Mas'r can't be spected to be a pryin' round everywhar,
as I've done,
a keepin' up all the ends.
The boys all means well,
's powerful car'less.
That ar troubles me."
The bell here rang,
and Tom was summoned to the parlor.
said his master,
"I want you to notice that I give this gentleman bonds to forfeit a thousand dollars if you are not on the spot when he wants you;
he's going today to look after his other business,
and you can have the day to yourself.
Go anywhere you like,
"And mind yourself,"
said the trader,
"and don't come it over your master with any o' yer nigger tricks;
for I'll take every cent out of him,
if you an't thar.
If he'd hear to me,
he wouldn't trust any on ye --slippery as eels!"
--and he stood very straight,
--"I was jist eight years old when ole Missis put you into my arms,
and you wasn't a year old.
that's to be -your- young Mas'r;
take good care on him,'
And now I jist ask you,
have I ever broke word to you,
or gone contrary to you,
'specially since I was a Christian?"
Mr. Shelby was fairly overcome,
and the tears rose to his eyes.
"My good boy,"
"the Lord knows you say but the truth;
and if I was able to help it,
all the world shouldn't buy you."
"And sure as I am a Christian woman,"
said Mrs. Shelby,
"you shall be redeemed as soon as I can any way bring together means.
she said to Haley,
"take good account of who you sell him to,
and let me know."
for that matter,"
said the trader,
"I may bring him up in a year,
not much the wuss for wear,
and trade him back."
"I'll trade with you then,
and make it for your advantage,"
said Mrs. Shelby.
said the trader,
's equal with me;
'em up as down,
so I does a good business.
All I want is a livin',
that's all any on us wants,
Mr. and Mrs. Shelby both felt annoyed and degraded by the familiar impudence of the trader,
and yet both saw the absolute necessity of putting a constraint on their feelings.
The more hopelessly sordid and insensible he appeared,
the greater became Mrs. Shelby's dread of his succeeding in recapturing Eliza and her child,
and of course the greater her motive for detaining him by every female artifice.
She therefore graciously smiled,
and did all she could to make time pass imperceptibly.
At two o'clock Sam and Andy brought the horses up to the posts,
apparently greatly refreshed and invigorated by the scamper of the morning.
Sam was there new oiled from dinner,
with an abundance of zealous and ready officiousness.
As Haley approached,
he was boasting,
in flourishing style,
of the evident and eminent success of the operation,
now that he had "farly come to it."
don't keep no dogs,"
as he prepared to mount.
"thar's Bruno --he's a roarer!
'bout every nigger of us keeps a pup of some natur or uther."
--and he said something else,
with regard to the said dogs,
at which Sam muttered,
"I don't see no use cussin' on
"But your master don't keep no dogs (I pretty much know he don't) for trackin' out niggers."
Sam knew exactly what he meant,
but he kept on a look of earnest and desperate simplicity.
"Our dogs all smells round considable sharp.
I spect they's the kind,
though they han't never had no practice.
's -far- dogs,
at most anything,
if you'd get
whistling to the lumbering Newfoundland,
who came pitching tumultuously toward them.
"You go hang!"
tumble up now."
Sam tumbled up accordingly,
dexterously contriving to tickle Andy as he did so,
which occasioned Andy to split out into a laugh,
greatly to Haley's indignation,
who made a cut at him with his riding-whip.
'stonished at yer,
with awful gravity.
"This yer's a seris bisness,
Yer mustn't be a makin' game.
This yer an't no way to help Mas'r."
"I shall take the straight road to the river,"
after they had come to the boundaries of the estate.
"I know the way of all of
--they makes tracks for the underground."
"dat's de idee.
Mas'r Haley hits de thing right in de middle.
der's two roads to de river,
--de dirt road and der pike,
--which Mas'r mean to take?"
Andy looked up innocently at Sam,
surprised at hearing this new geographical fact,
but instantly confirmed what he said,
by a vehement reiteration.
"I'd rather be
'magine that Lizy
'd take de dirt road,
bein' it's the least travelled."
notwithstanding that he was a very old bird,
and naturally inclined to be suspicious of chaff,
was rather brought up by this view of the case.
"If yer warn't both on yer such cussed liars,
contemplatively as he pondered a moment.
reflective tone in which this was spoken appeared to amuse Andy prodigiously,
and he drew a little behind,
and shook so as apparently to run a great risk of failing off his horse,
while Sam's face was immovably composed into the most doleful gravity.
"Mas'r can do as he'd ruther,
go de straight road,
if Mas'r thinks best,
--it's all one to us.
when I study
I think de straight road de best,
"She would naturally go a lonesome way,"
and not minding Sam's remark.
"Dar an't no sayin',"
"gals is pecular;
they never does nothin' ye thinks they will;
mose gen'lly the contrary.
Gals is nat'lly made contrary;
if you thinks they've gone one road,
it is sartin you'd better go t' other,
and then you'll be sure to find
Lizy took der road;
so I think we'd better take de straight one."
This profound generic view of the female sex did not seem to dispose Haley particularly to the straight road,
and he announced decidedly that he should go the other,
and asked Sam when they should come to it.
"A little piece ahead,"
giving a wink to Andy with the eye which was on Andy's side of the head;
and he added,
"but I've studded on de matter,
and I'm quite clar we ought not to go dat ar way.
I nebber been over it no way.
It's despit lonesome,
and we might lose our way,
--whar we'd come to,
de Lord only knows."
"I shall go that way."
"Now I think on
I think I hearn
'em tell that dat ar road was all fenced up and down by der creek,
Andy wasn't certain;
he'd only "hearn tell" about that road,
but never been over it.
he was strictly noncommittal.
accustomed to strike the balance of probabilities between lies of greater or lesser magnitude,
thought that it lay in favor of the dirt road aforesaid.
The mention of the thing he thought he perceived was involuntary on Sam's part at first,
and his confused attempts to dissuade him he set down to a desperate lying on second thoughts,
as being unwilling to implicate Liza.
Sam indicated the road,
Haley plunged briskly into it,
followed by Sam and Andy.
was an old one,
that had formerly been a thoroughfare to the river,
but abandoned for many years after the laying of the new pike.
It was open for about an hour's ride,
and after that it was cut across by various farms and fences.
Sam knew this fact perfectly well,
the road had been so long closed up,
that Andy had never heard of it.
He therefore rode along with an air of dutiful submission,
only groaning and vociferating occasionally that
't was "desp't rough,
and bad for Jerry's foot."
I jest give yer warning,"
"I know yer;
yer won't get me to turn off this road,
with all yer fussin' --so you shet up!"
"Mas'r will go his own way!"
with rueful submission,
at the same time winking most portentously to Andy,
whose delight was now very near the explosive point.
Sam was in wonderful spirits,
--professed to keep a very brisk lookout,
--at one time exclaiming that he saw "a gal's bonnet" on the top of some distant eminence,
or calling to Andy "if that thar wasn't
'Lizy' down in the hollow;"
always making these exclamations in some rough or craggy part of the road,
where the sudden quickening of speed was a special inconvenience to all parties concerned,
and thus keeping Haley in a state of constant commotion.
After riding about an hour in this way,
the whole party made a precipitate and tumultuous descent into a barn-yard belonging to a large farming establishment.
Not a soul was in sight,
all the hands being employed in the fields;
as the barn stood conspicuously and plainly square across the road,
it was evident that their journey in that direction had reached a decided finale.
"Wan't dat ar what I telled Mas'r?"
with an air of injured innocence.
"How does strange gentleman spect to know more about a country dan de natives born and raised?"
"you knew all about this."
"Didn't I tell yer I -knowd-,
and yer wouldn't believe me?
I telled Mas'r
't was all shet up,
and fenced up,
and I didn't spect we could get through,
--Andy heard me."
It was all too true to be disputed,
and the unlucky man had to pocket his wrath with the best grace he was able,
and all three faced to the right about,
and took up their line of march for the highway.
In consequence of all the various delays,
it was about three-quarters of an hour after Eliza had laid her child to sleep in the village tavern that the party came riding into the same place.
Eliza was standing by the window,
looking out in another direction,
when Sam's quick eye caught a glimpse of her.
Haley and Andy were two yards behind.
At this crisis,
Sam contrived to have his hat blown off,
and uttered a loud and characteristic ejaculation,
which startled her at once;
she drew suddenly back;
the whole train swept by the window,
round to the front door.
A thousand lives seemed to be concentrated in that one moment to Eliza.
Her room opened by a side door to the river.
She caught her child,
and sprang down the steps towards it.
The trader caught a full glimpse of her just as she was disappearing down the bank;
and throwing himself from his horse,
and calling loudly on Sam and Andy,
he was after her like a hound after a deer.
In that dizzy moment her feet to her scarce seemed to touch the ground,
and a moment brought her to the water's edge.
Right on behind they came;
nerved with strength such as God gives only to the desperate,
with one wild cry and flying leap,
she vaulted sheer over the turbid current by the shore,
on to the raft of ice beyond.
It was a desperate leap --impossible to anything but madness and despair;
instinctively cried out,
and lifted up their hands,
as she did it.
The huge green fragment of ice on which she alighted pitched and creaked as her weight came on it,
but she staid there not a moment.
With wild cries and desperate energy she leaped to another and still another cake;
stumbling --leaping --slipping --springing upwards again!
Her shoes are gone --her stockings cut from her feet --while blood marked every step;
but she saw nothing,
as in a dream,
she saw the Ohio side,
and a man helping her up the bank.
"Yer a brave gal,
whoever ye ar!"
said the man,
with an oath.
Eliza recognized the voice and face for a man who owned a farm not far from her old home.
--save me --do save me --do hide me!"
said the man.
'tan't Shelby's gal!"
--he'd sold him!
There is his Mas'r,"
pointing to the Kentucky shore.
you've got a little boy!"
"So I have,"
said the man,
as he roughly,
drew her up the steep bank.
you're a right brave gal.
I like grit,
wherever I see it."
When they had gained the top of the bank,
the man paused.
"I'd be glad to do something for ye,"
"but then there's nowhar I could take ye.
The best I can do is to tell ye to go -thar-,"
pointing to a large white house which stood by itself,
off the main street of the village.
they're kind folks.
Thar's no kind o' danger but they'll help you,
--they're up to all that sort o' thing."
"The Lord bless you!"
'casion in the world,"
said the man.
"What I've done's of no
you won't tell any one!"
"Go to thunder,
What do you take a feller for?
In course not,"
said the man.
go along like a likely,
as you are.
You've arnt your liberty,
and you shall have it,
for all me."
The woman folded her child to her bosom,
and walked firmly and swiftly away.
The man stood and looked after her.
mebbe won't think this yer the most neighborly thing in the world;
but what's a feller to do?
If he catches one of my gals in the same fix,
he's welcome to pay back.
Somehow I never could see no kind o' critter a strivin' and pantin',
and trying to clar theirselves,
with the dogs arter
'em and go agin
I don't see no kind of
'casion for me to be hunter and catcher for other folks,
So spoke this poor,
who had not been instructed in his constitutional relations,
and consequently was betrayed into acting in a sort of Christianized manner,
if he had been better situated and more enlightened,
he would not have been left to do.
Haley had stood a perfectly amazed spectator of the scene,
till Eliza had disappeared up the bank,
when he turned a blank,
inquiring look on Sam and Andy.
"That ar was a tolable fair stroke of business,"
's got seven devils in her,
"How like a wildcat she jumped!"
scratching his head,
"I hope Mas'r'll
'scuse us trying dat ar road.
Don't think I feel spry enough for dat ar,
and Sam gave a hoarse chuckle.
said the trader,
with a growl.
"Lord bless you,
I couldn't help it now,"
giving way to the long pent-up delight of his soul.
"She looked so curi's,
a leapin' and springin' --ice a crackin' --and only to hear her,
how she goes it!"
and Sam and Andy laughed till the tears rolled down their cheeks.
"I'll make ye laugh t' other side yer mouths!"
said the trader,
laying about their heads with his riding-whip.
and ran shouting up the bank,
and were on their horses before he was up.
with much gravity.
"I berry much spect Missis be anxious
Mas'r Haley won't want us no longer.
Missis wouldn't hear of our ridin' the critters over Lizy's bridge tonight;"
with a facetious poke into Andy's ribs,
he started off,
followed by the latter,
at full speed,
--their shouts of laughter coming faintly on the wind.
Eliza made her desperate retreat across the river just in the dusk of twilight.
The gray mist of evening,
rising slowly from the river,
enveloped her as she disappeared up the bank,
and the swollen current and floundering masses of ice presented a hopeless barrier between her and her pursuer.
Haley therefore slowly and discontentedly returned to the little tavern,
to ponder further what was to be done.
The woman opened to him the door of a little parlor,
covered with a rag carpet,
where stood a table with a very shining black oil-cloth,
high-backed wood chairs,
with some plaster images in resplendent colors on the mantel-shelf,
above a very dimly-smoking grate;
a long hard-wood settle extended its uneasy length by the chimney,
and here Haley sat him down to meditate on the instability of human hopes and happiness in general.
"What did I want with the little cuss,
he said to himself,
"that I should have got myself treed like a coon,
as I am,
this yer way?"
and Haley relieved himself by repeating over a not very select litany of imprecations on himself,
though there was the best possible reason to consider them as true,
as a matter of taste,
He was startled by the loud and dissonant voice of a man who was apparently dismounting at the door.
He hurried to the window.
"By the land!
if this yer an't the nearest,
to what I've heard folks call Providence,"
"I do b'lieve that ar's Tom Loker."
Haley hastened out.
Standing by the bar,
in the corner of the room,
was a brawny,
full six feet in height,
and broad in proportion.
He was dressed in a coat of buffalo-skin,
made with the hair outward,
which gave him a shaggy and fierce appearance,
perfectly in keeping with the whole air of his physiognomy.
In the head and face every organ and lineament expressive of brutal and unhesitating violence was in a state of the highest possible development.
could our readers fancy a bull-dog come unto man's estate,
and walking about in a hat and coat,
they would have no unapt idea of the general style and effect of his physique.
He was accompanied by a travelling companion,
in many respects an exact contrast to himself.
He was short and slender,
lithe and catlike in his motions,
and had a peering,
mousing expression about his keen black eyes,
with which every feature of his face seemed sharpened into sympathy;
ran out as if it was eager to bore into the nature of things in general;
black hair was stuck eagerly forward,
and all his motions and evolutions expressed a dry,
The great man poured out a big tumbler half full of raw spirits,
and gulped it down without a word.
The little man stood tiptoe,
and putting his head first to one side and then the other,
and snuffing considerately in the directions of the various bottles,
ordered at last a mint julep,
in a thin and quivering voice,
and with an air of great circumspection.
When poured out,
he took it and looked at it with a sharp,
like a man who thinks he has done about the right thing,
and hit the nail on the head,
and proceeded to dispose of it in short and well-advised sips.
who'd a thought this yer luck
'ad come to me?
how are ye?"
and extending his hand to the big man.
was the civil reply.
"What brought you here,
The mousing man,
who bore the name of Marks,
instantly stopped his sipping,
poking his head forward,
looked shrewdly on the new acquaintance,
as a cat sometimes looks at a moving dry leaf,
or some other possible object of pursuit.
this yer's the luckiest thing in the world.
I'm in a devil of a hobble,
and you must help me out."
grunted his complacent acquaintance.
"A body may be pretty sure of that,
when -you're- glad to see
something to be made off of
What's the blow now?"
"You've got a friend here?"
looking doubtfully at Marks;
here's that ar feller that I was in with in Natchez."
"Shall be pleased with his acquaintance,"
thrusting out a long,
like a raven's claw.
seein' as we've met so happily,
I think I'll stand up to a small matter of a treat in this here parlor.
said he to the man at the bar,
"get us hot water,
and plenty of the -real stuff- and we'll have a blow-out."
the candles lighted,
the fire stimulated to the burning point in the grate,
and our three worthies seated round a table,
well spread with all the accessories to good fellowship enumerated before.
Haley began a pathetic recital of his peculiar troubles.
Loker shut up his mouth,
and listened to him with gruff and surly attention.
who was anxiously and with much fidgeting compounding a tumbler of punch to his own peculiar taste,
occasionally looked up from his employment,
poking his sharp nose and chin almost into Haley's face,
gave the most earnest heed to the whole narrative.
The conclusion of it appeared to amuse him extremely,
for he shook his shoulders and sides in silence,
and perked up his thin lips with an air of great internal enjoyment.
ye'r fairly sewed up,
It's neatly done,
"This yer young-un business makes lots of trouble in the trade,"
"If we could get a breed of gals that didn't care,
for their young uns,"
't would be
'bout the greatest mod'rn improvement I knows on,"
--and Marks patronized his joke by a quiet introductory sniggle.
"I never couldn't see into it;
young uns is heaps of trouble to
one would think,
they'd be glad to get clar on
but they arn't.
And the more trouble a young un is,
and the more good for nothing,
as a gen'l thing,
the tighter they sticks to
"'est pass the hot water.
'est what I feel and all'us have.
I bought a gal once,
when I was in the trade,
likely wench she was,
and quite considerable smart,
--and she had a young un that was mis'able sickly;
it had a crooked back,
or something or other;
and I jest gin
't away to a man that thought he'd take his chance raising on
being it didn't cost nothin';
of the gal's takin' on about it,
yer oughter seen how she went on.
she did seem to me to valley the child more
'cause -'t was- sickly and cross,
and plagued her;
and she warn't making b'lieve,
--cried about it,
and lopped round,
as if she'd lost every friend she had.
It re'lly was droll to think on
there ain't no end to women's notions."
jest so with me,"
down on Red River,
I got a gal traded off on me,
with a likely lookin' child enough,
and his eyes looked as bright as yourn;
come to look,
I found him stone blind.
Fact --he was stone blind.
I thought there warn't no harm in my jest passing him along,
and not sayin' nothin';
and I'd got him nicely swapped off for a keg o' whiskey;
but come to get him away from the gal,
she was jest like a tiger.
't was before we started,
and I hadn't got my gang chained up;
so what should she do but ups on a cotton-bale,
like a cat,
ketches a knife from one of the deck hands,
I tell ye,
she made all fly for a minit,
till she saw
't wan't no use;
and she jest turns round,
and pitches head first,
young un and all,
into the river,
--went down plump,
and never ris."
said Tom Loker,
who had listened to these stories with ill-repressed disgust,
both on ye!
-my- gals don't cut up no such shines,
I tell ye!"
how do you help it?"
I buys a gal,
and if she's got a young un to be sold,
I jest walks up and puts my fist to her face,
if you give me one word out of your head,
I'll smash yer face in.
I won't hear one word --not the beginning of a word.'
I says to
'This yer young un's mine,
and not yourn,
and you've no kind o' business with it.
I'm going to sell it,
you don't cut up none o' yer shines about it,
or I'll make ye wish ye'd never been born.'
I tell ye,
they sees it an't no play,
when I gets hold.
'em as whist as fishes;
and if one on
'em begins and gives a yelp,
--" and Mr. Loker brought down his fist with a thump that fully explained the hiatus.
"That ar's what ye may call -emphasis-,"
poking Haley in the side,
and going into another small giggle.
"An't Tom peculiar?
I s'pect you make
for all niggers' heads is woolly.
They don't never have no doubt o' your meaning,
If you an't the devil,
's his twin brother,
I'll say that for ye!"
Tom received the compliment with becoming modesty,
and began to look as affable as was consistent,
as John Bunyan says,
"with his doggish nature."
who had been imbibing very freely of the staple of the evening,
began to feel a sensible elevation and enlargement of his moral faculties,
--a phenomenon not unusual with gentlemen of a serious and reflective turn,
under similar circumstances.
"ye re'lly is too bad,
as I al'ays have told ye;
you and I used to talk over these yer matters down in Natchez,
and I used to prove to ye that we made full as much,
and was as well off for this yer world,
by treatin' on
besides keepin' a better chance for comin' in the kingdom at last,
when wust comes to wust,
and thar an't nothing else left to get,
"-don't- I know?
--don't make me too sick with any yer stuff,
--my stomach is a leetle riled now;"
and Tom drank half a glass of raw brandy.
and leaning back in his chair and gesturing impressively,
"I'll say this now,
I al'ays meant to drive my trade so as to make money on
't -fust and foremost-,
as much as any man;
trade an't everything,
and money an't everything,
's all got souls.
I don't care,
who hears me say it,
--and I think a cussed sight on it,
--so I may as well come out with it.
I b'lieve in religion,
and one of these days,
when I've got matters tight and snug,
I calculates to tend to my soul and them ar matters;
and so what's the use of doin' any more wickedness than
's re'lly necessary?
--it don't seem to me it's
't all prudent."
"Tend to yer soul!"
"take a bright lookout to find a soul in you,
--save yourself any care on that score.
If the devil sifts you through a hair sieve,
he won't find one."
"why can't ye take it pleasant,
when a feller's talking for your good?"
"Stop that ar jaw o' yourn,
"I can stand most any talk o' yourn but your pious talk,
--that kills me right up.
what's the odds between me and you?
'Tan't that you care one bit more,
or have a bit more feelin' --it's clean,
wanting to cheat the devil and save your own skin;
don't I see through it?
as you call it,
is too p'isin mean for any crittur;
--run up a bill with the devil all your life,
and then sneak out when pay time comes!
this isn't business,"
"There's different ways,
of looking at all subjects.
Mr. Haley is a very nice man,
and has his own conscience;
you have your ways,
and very good ones,
won't answer no kind of purpose.
Let's go to business.
what is it?
--you want us to undertake to catch this yer gal?"
"The gal's no matter of mine,
it's only the boy.
I was a fool for buying the monkey!"
"You're generally a fool!"
none of your huffs,"
licking his lips;
's a puttin' us in a way of a good job,
just hold still --these yer arrangements is my forte.
This yer gal,
how is she?
what is she?"
white and handsome --well brought up.
I'd a gin Shelby eight hundred or a thousand,
and then made well on her."
"White and handsome --well brought up!"
his sharp eyes,
nose and mouth,
all alive with enterprise.
a beautiful opening.
We'll do a business here on our own account;
--we does the catchin';
goes to Mr. Haley,
--we takes the gal to Orleans to speculate on.
An't it beautiful?"
whose great heavy mouth had stood ajar during this communication,
now suddenly snapped it together,
as a big dog closes on a piece of meat,
and seemed to be digesting the idea at his leisure.
said Marks to Haley,
stirring his punch as he did so,
we has justices convenient at all p'ints along shore,
that does up any little jobs in our line quite reasonable.
he does the knockin' down and that ar;
and I come in all dressed up --shining boots --everything first chop,
when the swearin'
's to be done.
You oughter see,
in a glow of professional pride,
"how I can tone it off.
I'm Mr. Twickem,
from New Orleans;
I'm just come from my plantation on Pearl River,
where I works seven hundred niggers;
I come out a distant relation of Henry Clay,
or some old cock in Kentuck.
Talents is different,
Tom's roarer when there's any thumping or fighting to be done;
but at lying he an't good,
--ye see it don't come natural to him;
if thar's a feller in the country that can swear to anything and everything,
and put in all the circumstances and flourishes with a long face,
't through better
'n I can,
I'd like to see him,
I b'lieve my heart,
I could get along and snake through,
even if justices were more particular than they is.
Sometimes I rather wish they was more particular;
't would be a heap more relishin' if they was,
as we have made it appear,
was a man of slow thoughts and movements,
here interrupted Marks by bringing his heavy fist down on the table,
so as to make all ring again,
-"It'll do!"- he said.
"Lord bless ye,
ye needn't break all the glasses!"
"save your fist for time o' need."
an't I to come in for a share of the profits?"
"An't it enough we catch the boy for ye?"
"What do ye want?"
"if I gives you the job,
it's worth something,
--say ten per cent.
on the profits,
with a tremendous oath,
and striking the table with his heavy fist,
"don't I know -you-,
Don't you think to come it over me!
Suppose Marks and I have taken up the catchin' trade,
'commodate gentlemen like you,
and get nothin' for ourselves?
--Not by a long chalk!
we'll have the gal out and out,
and you keep quiet,
we'll have both,
--what's to hinder?
Han't you show'd us the game?
It's as free to us as you,
If you or Shelby wants to chase us,
look where the partridges was last year;
if you find them or us,
you're quite welcome."
jest let it go at that,"
"you catch the boy for the job;
--you allers did trade -far- with me,
and was up to yer word."
"Ye know that,"
"I don't pretend none of your snivelling ways,
but I won't lie in my
'counts with the devil himself.
What I ses I'll do,
I will do,
--you know -that-,
--I said so,
"and if you'd only promise to have the boy for me in a week,
at any point you'll name,
that's all I want."
"But it an't all I want,
by a long jump,"
"Ye don't think I did business with you,
down in Natchez,
I've learned to hold an eel,
when I catch him.
You've got to fork over fifty dollars,
or this child don't start a peg.
I know yer."
when you have a job in hand that may bring a clean profit of somewhere about a thousand or sixteen hundred,
and hasn't we business booked for five weeks to come,
--all we can do?
And suppose we leaves all,
and goes to bush-whacking round arter yer young uns,
and finally doesn't catch the gal,
--and gals allers is the devil -to- catch,
would you pay us a cent --would you?
I think I see you a doin' it --ugh!
flap down your fifty.
If we get the job,
and it pays,
I'll hand it back;
if we don't,
it's for our trouble,
with a conciliatory tone;
"it's only a retaining fee,
we must all keep good-natured,
Tom'll have the boy for yer,
anywhere ye'll name;
"If I find the young un,
I'll bring him on to Cincinnati,
and leave him at Granny Belcher's,
on the landing,"
Marks had got from his pocket a greasy pocket-book,
and taking a long paper from thence,
he sat down,
and fixing his keen black eyes on it,
began mumbling over its contents:
"Barnes --Shelby County --boy Jim,
three hundred dollars for him,
dead or alive.
"Edwards --Dick and Lucy --man and wife,
six hundred dollars;
wench Polly and two children --six hundred for her or her head.
"I'm jest a runnin' over our business,
to see if we can take up this yer handily.
after a pause,
"we must set Adams and Springer on the track of these yer;
they've been booked some time."
"They'll charge too much,"
"I'll manage that ar;
's young in the business,
and must spect to work cheap,"
as he continued to read.
"Ther's three on
'em easy cases,
'cause all you've got to do is to shoot
or swear they is shot;
charge much for that.
Them other cases,"
folding the paper,
"will bear puttin' off a spell.
So now let's come to the particulars.
you saw this yer gal when she landed?"
"To be sure,
--plain as I see you."
"And a man helpin' on her up the bank?"
"To be sure,
"she's took in somewhere;
's a question.
what do you say?"
"We must cross the river tonight,
"But there's no boat about,"
"The ice is running awfully,
an't it dangerous?"
--only it's got to be done,"
"it'll be --I say,"
walking to the window,
"it's dark as a wolf's mouth,
"The long and short is,
but I can't help that,
--you've got to go.
Suppose you want to lie by a day or two,
till the gal
's been carried on the underground line up to Sandusky or so,
before you start."
I an't a grain afraid,"
about the boat.
Yer see there an't any boat."
"I heard the woman say there was one coming along this evening,
and that a man was going to cross over in it.
Neck or nothing,
we must go with him,"
"I s'pose you've got good dogs,"
"But what's the use?
you han't got nothin' o' hers to smell on."
"Here's her shawl she left on the bed in her hurry;
she left her bonnet,
"That ar's lucky,"
"Though the dogs might damage the gal,
if they come on her unawars,"
"That ar's a consideration,"
"Our dogs tore a feller half to pieces,
down in Mobile,
'fore we could get
for this sort that's to be sold for their looks,
that ar won't answer,
"I do see,"
if she's got took in,
'tan't no go,
Dogs is no
'count in these yer up states where these critters gets carried;
ye can't get on their track.
They only does down in plantations,
when they runs,
has to do their own running,
and don't get no help."
who had just stepped out to the bar to make some inquiries,
"they say the man's come with the boat;
That worthy cast a rueful look at the comfortable quarters he was leaving,
but slowly rose to obey.
After exchanging a few words of further arrangement,
with visible reluctance,
handed over the fifty dollars to Tom,
and the worthy trio separated for the night.
If any of our refined and Christian readers object to the society into which this scene introduces them,
let us beg them to begin and conquer their prejudices in time.
The catching business,
we beg to remind them,
is rising to the dignity of a lawful and patriotic profession.
If all the broad land between the Mississippi and the Pacific becomes one great market for bodies and souls,
and human property retains the locomotive tendencies of this nineteenth century,
the trader and catcher may yet be among our aristocracy.
While this scene was going on at the tavern,
Sam and Andy,
in a state of high felicitation,
pursued their way home.
Sam was in the highest possible feather,
and expressed his exultation by all sorts of supernatural howls and ejaculations,
by divers odd motions and contortions of his whole system.
Sometimes he would sit backward,
with his face to the horse's tail and sides,
with a whoop and a somerset,
come right side up in his place again,
drawing on a grave face,
begin to lecture Andy in high-sounding tones for laughing and playing the fool.
slapping his sides with his arms,
he would burst forth in peals of laughter,
that made the old woods ring as they passed.
With all these evolutions,
he contrived to keep the horses up to the top of their speed,
between ten and eleven,
their heels resounded on the gravel at the end of the balcony.
Mrs. Shelby flew to the railings.
"Is that you,
Where are they?"
's a-restin' at the tavern;
he's drefful fatigued,
As a body may say,
in the land o' Canaan."
what -do- you mean?"
said Mrs. Shelby,
and almost faint,
as the possible meaning of these words came over her.
de Lord he persarves his own.
Lizy's done gone over the river into
'markably as if de Lord took her over in a charrit of fire and two hosses."
Sam's vein of piety was always uncommonly fervent in his mistress' presence;
and he made great capital of scriptural figures and images.
"Come up here,
said Mr. Shelby,
who had followed on to the verandah,
"and tell your mistress what she wants.
passing his arm round her,
"you are cold and all in a shiver;
you allow yourself to feel too much."
"Feel too much!
Am not I a woman,
Are we not both responsible to God for this poor girl?
lay not this sin to our charge."
You see yourself that we have only done what we were obliged to."
"There's an awful feeling of guilt about it,
said Mrs. Shelby.
"I can't reason it away."
under the verandah;
"take these yer hosses to der barn;
don't ye hear Mas'r a callin'?"
and Sam soon appeared,
palm-leaf in hand,
at the parlor door.
tell us distinctly how the matter was,"
said Mr. Shelby.
"Where is Eliza,
if you know?"
I saw her,
with my own eyes,
a crossin' on the floatin' ice.
She crossed most
it wasn't no less nor a miracle;
and I saw a man help her up the
and then she was lost in the dusk."
I think this rather apocryphal,
Crossing on floating ice isn't so easily done,"
said Mr. Shelby.
couldn't nobody a done it,
without de Lord.
"'t was jist dis yer way.
we comes up to de little tavern by the river,
and I rides a leetle ahead,
--(I's so zealous to be a cotchin' Lizy,
that I couldn't hold in,
--and when I comes by the tavern winder,
sure enough there she was,
right in plain sight,
and dey diggin' on behind.
I loses off my hat,
and sings out nuff to raise the dead.
Course Lizy she hars,
and she dodges back,
when Mas'r Haley he goes past the door;
I tell ye,
she clared out de side door;
she went down de river bank;
--Mas'r Haley he seed her,
and yelled out,
we took arter.
Down she come to the river,
and thar was the current running ten feet wide by the shore,
and over t' other side ice a sawin' and a jiggling up and down,
't were a great island.
We come right behind her,
and I thought my soul he'd got her sure enough,
--when she gin sich a screech as I never hearn,
and thar she was,
clar over t' other side of the current,
on the ice,
and then on she went,
a screeching and a jumpin',
--the ice went crack!
and she a boundin' like a buck!
the spring that ar gal's got in her an't common,
Mrs. Shelby sat perfectly silent,
pale with excitement,
while Sam told his story.
"God be praised,
she isn't dead!"
"but where is the poor child now?"
"De Lord will pervide,"
rolling up his eyes piously.
"As I've been a sayin',
's a providence and no mistake,
as Missis has allers been a instructin' on us.
Thar's allers instruments ris up to do de Lord's will.
't hadn't been for me today,
she'd a been took a dozen times.
Warn't it I started off de hosses,
dis yer mornin' and kept
'em chasin' till nigh dinner time?
And didn't I car Mas'r Haley night five miles out of de road,
or else he'd a come up with Lizy as easy as a dog arter a coon.
's all providences."
"They are a kind of providences that you'll have to be pretty sparing of,
I allow no such practices with gentlemen on my place,"
said Mr. Shelby,
with as much sternness as he could command,
under the circumstances.
there is no more use in making believe be angry with a negro than with a child;
both instinctively see the true state of the case,
through all attempts to affect the contrary;
and Sam was in no wise disheartened by this rebuke,
though he assumed an air of doleful gravity,
and stood with the corners of his mouth lowered in most penitential style.
"Mas'r quite right,
it was ugly on me,
--there's no disputin' that ar;
and of course Mas'r and Missis wouldn't encourage no such works.
I'm sensible of dat ar;
but a poor nigger like me
'mazin' tempted to act ugly sometimes,
when fellers will cut up such shines as dat ar Mas'r Haley;
he an't no gen'l'man no way;
anybody's been raised as I've been can't help a seein' dat ar."
said Mrs. Shelby,
"as you appear to have a proper sense of your errors,
you may go now and tell Aunt Chloe she may get you some of that cold ham that was left of dinner today.
You and Andy must be hungry."
"Missis is a heap too good for us,"
making his bow with alacrity,
It will be perceived,
as has been before intimated,
that Master Sam had a native talent that might,
have raised him to eminence in political life,
--a talent of making capital out of everything that turned up,
to be invested for his own especial praise and glory;
and having done up his piety and humility,
as he trusted,
to the satisfaction of the parlor,
he clapped his palm-leaf on his head,
with a sort of rakish,
and proceeded to the dominions of Aunt Chloe,
with the intention of flourishing largely in the kitchen.
"I'll speechify these yer niggers,"
said Sam to himself,
"now I've got a chance.
I'll reel it off to make
It must be observed that one of Sam's especial delights had been to ride in attendance on his master to all kinds of political gatherings,
roosted on some rail fence,
or perched aloft in some tree,
he would sit watching the orators,
with the greatest apparent gusto,
descending among the various brethren of his own color,
assembled on the same errand,
he would edify and delight them with the most ludicrous burlesques and imitations,
all delivered with the most imperturbable earnestness and solemnity;
and though the auditors immediately about him were generally of his own color,
it not infrequently happened that they were fringed pretty deeply with those of a fairer complexion,
laughing and winking,
to Sam's great self-congratulation.
Sam considered oratory as his vocation,
and never let slip an opportunity of magnifying his office.
between Sam and Aunt Chloe there had existed,
from ancient times,
a sort of chronic feud,
or rather a decided coolness;
as Sam was meditating something in the provision department,
as the necessary and obvious foundation of his operations,
on the present occasion,
to be eminently conciliatory;
for he well knew that although "Missis' orders" would undoubtedly be followed to the letter,
yet he should gain a considerable deal by enlisting the spirit also.
He therefore appeared before Aunt Chloe with a touchingly subdued,
like one who has suffered immeasurable hardships in behalf of a persecuted fellow-creature,
--enlarged upon the fact that Missis had directed him to come to Aunt Chloe for whatever might be wanting to make up the balance in his solids and fluids,
--and thus unequivocally acknowledged her right and supremacy in the cooking department,
and all thereto pertaining.
The thing took accordingly.
virtuous body was ever cajoled by the attentions of an electioneering politician with more ease than Aunt Chloe was won over by Master Sam's suavities;
and if he had been the prodigal son himself,
he could not have been overwhelmed with more maternal bountifulness;
and he soon found himself seated,
happy and glorious,
over a large tin pan,
containing a sort of -olla podrida- of all that had appeared on the table for two or three days past.
Savory morsels of ham,
golden blocks of corn-cake,
fragments of pie of every conceivable mathematical figure,
all appeared in picturesque confusion;
as monarch of all he surveyed,
sat with his palm-leaf cocked rejoicingly to one side,
and patronizing Andy at his right hand.
The kitchen was full of all his compeers,
who had hurried and crowded in,
from the various cabins,
to hear the termination of the day's exploits.
Now was Sam's hour of glory.
The story of the day was rehearsed,
with all kinds of ornament and varnishing which might be necessary to heighten its effect;
like some of our fashionable dilettanti,
never allowed a story to lose any of its gilding by passing through his hands.
Roars of laughter attended the narration,
and were taken up and prolonged by all the smaller fry,
who were lying,
in any quantity,
about on the floor,
or perched in every corner.
In the height of the uproar and laughter,
preserved an immovable gravity,
only from time to time rolling his eyes up,
and giving his auditors divers inexpressibly droll glances,
without departing from the sententious elevation of his oratory.
elevating a turkey's leg,
now what dis yer chile
's up ter,
for fendin' yer all,
all on yer.
For him as tries to get one o' our people is as good as tryin' to get all;
yer see the principle
's de same,
--dat ar's clar.
And any one o' these yer drivers that comes smelling round arter any our people,
he's got -me- in his way;
-I'm- the feller he's got to set in with,
--I'm the feller for yer all to come to,
--I'll stand up for yer rights,
'em to the last breath!"
yer telled me,
only this mornin',
that you'd help this yer Mas'r to cotch Lizy;
seems to me yer talk don't hang together,"
"I tell you now,
with awful superiority,
"don't yer be a talkin'
'bout what yer don't know nothin' on;
boys like you,
but they can't be spected to collusitate the great principles of action."
Andy looked rebuked,
particularly by the hard word collusitate,
which most of the youngerly members of the company seemed to consider as a settler in the case,
while Sam proceeded.
"Dat ar was -conscience-,
when I thought of gwine arter Lizy,
I railly spected Mas'r was sot dat way.
When I found Missis was sot the contrar,
dat ar was conscience -more yet-,
--cause fellers allers gets more by stickin' to Missis' side,
--so yer see I
's persistent either way,
and sticks up to conscience,
and holds on to principles.
giving an enthusiastic toss to a chicken's neck,
--"what's principles good for,
if we isn't persistent,
I wanter know?
you may have dat ar bone,
--tan't picked quite clean."
Sam's audience hanging on his words with open mouth,
he could not but proceed.
"Dis yer matter
with the air of one entering into an abstruse subject,
's a thing what an't seed into very clar,
by most anybody.
when a feller stands up for a thing one day and night,
de contrar de next,
folks ses (and nat'rally enough dey ses),
why he an't persistent,
--hand me dat ar bit o' corn-cake,
But let's look inter it.
I hope the gen'lmen and der fair sex will scuse my usin' an or'nary sort o'
I'm a trying to get top o' der hay.
I puts up my larder dis yer side;
'tan't no go;
cause I don't try dere no more,
but puts my larder right de contrar side,
an't I persistent?
I'm persistent in wantin' to get up which ary side my larder is;
don't you see,
all on yer?"
"It's the only thing ye ever was persistent in,
muttered Aunt Chloe,
who was getting rather restive;
the merriment of the evening being to her somewhat after the Scripture comparison,
--like "vinegar upon nitre."
full of supper and glory,
for a closing effort.
my feller-citizens and ladies of de other sex in general,
I has principles,
--I'm proud to
's perquisite to dese yer times,
and ter -all- times.
I has principles,
and I sticks to
'em like forty,
--jest anything that I thinks is principle,
I goes in to
--I wouldn't mind if dey burnt me
--I'd walk right up to de stake,
here I comes to shed my last blood fur my principles,
fur my country,
fur de gen'l interests of society."
said Aunt Chloe,
"one o' yer principles will have to be to get to bed some time tonight,
and not be a keepin' everybody up till mornin';
every one of you young uns that don't want to be cracked,
had better be scase,
all on yer,"
waving his palm-leaf with benignity,
"I give yer my blessin';
go to bed now,
and be good boys."
with this pathetic benediction,
the assembly dispersed.