Part 6 - Uncle Tom's Cabin Audiobook by Harriet Beecher Stowe (Chs 24-29)

Uploaded by CCProse on 01.11.2011

CHAPTER XXIV Foreshadowings
Two days after this, Alfred St. Clare and Augustine parted; and Eva, who had been
stimulated, by the society of her young cousin, to exertions beyond her strength,
began to fail rapidly.
St. Clare was at last willing to call in medical advice,--a thing from which he had
always shrunk, because it was the admission of an unwelcome truth.
But, for a day or two, Eva was so unwell as to be confined to the house; and the doctor
was called.
Marie St. Clare had taken no notice of the child's gradually decaying health and
strength, because she was completely absorbed in studying out two or three new
forms of disease to which she believed she herself was a victim.
It was the first principle of Marie's belief that nobody ever was or could be so
great a sufferer as herself; and, therefore, she always repelled quite
indignantly any suggestion that any one around her could be sick.
She was always sure, in such a case, that it was nothing but laziness, or want of
energy; and that, if they had had the suffering she had, they would soon know the
Miss Ophelia had several times tried to awaken her maternal fears about Eva; but to
no avail. "I don't see as anything ails the child,"
she would say; "she runs about, and plays."
"But she has a cough." "Cough! you don't need to tell me about a
cough. I've always been subject to a cough, all my
When I was of Eva's age, they thought I was in a consumption.
Night after night, Mammy used to sit up with me.
O! Eva's cough is not anything."
"But she gets weak, and is short-breathed." "Law!
I've had that, years and years; it's only a nervous affection."
"But she sweats so, nights!"
"Well, I have, these ten years. Very often, night after night, my clothes
will be wringing wet.
There won't be a dry thread in my night- clothes and the sheets will be so that
Mammy has to hang them up to dry! Eva doesn't sweat anything like that!"
Miss Ophelia shut her mouth for a season.
But, now that Eva was fairly and visibly prostrated, and a doctor called, Marie, all
on a sudden, took a new turn.
"She knew it," she said; "she always felt it, that she was destined to be the most
miserable of mothers.
Here she was, with her wretched health, and her only darling child going down to the
grave before her eyes;"--and Marie routed up Mammy nights, and rumpussed and scolded,
with more energy than ever, all day, on the strength of this new misery.
"My dear Marie, don't talk so!" said St. Clare.
"You ought not to give up the case so, at once."
"You have not a mother's feelings, St. Clare!
You never could understand me!--you don't now."
"But don't talk so, as if it were a gone case!"
"I can't take it as indifferently as you can, St. Clare.
If you don't feel when your only child is in this alarming state, I do.
It's a blow too much for me, with all I was bearing before."
"It's true," said St. Clare, "that Eva is very delicate, that I always knew; and that
she has grown so rapidly as to exhaust her strength; and that her situation is
But just now she is only prostrated by the heat of the weather, and by the excitement
of her cousin's visit, and the exertions she made.
The physician says there is room for hope."
"Well, of course, if you can look on the bright side, pray do; it's a mercy if
people haven't sensitive feelings, in this world.
I am sure I wish I didn't feel as I do; it only makes me completely wretched!
I wish I could be as easy as the rest of you!"
And the "rest of them" had good reason to breathe the same prayer, for Marie paraded
her new misery as the reason and apology for all sorts of inflictions on every one
about her.
Every word that was spoken by anybody, everything that was done or was not done
everywhere, was only a new proof that she was surrounded by hard-hearted, insensible
beings, who were unmindful of her peculiar sorrows.
Poor Eva heard some of these speeches; and nearly cried her little eyes out, in pity
for her mamma, and in sorrow that she should make her so much distress.
In a week or two, there was a great improvement of symptoms,--one of those
deceitful lulls, by which her inexorable disease so often beguiles the anxious
heart, even on the verge of the grave.
Eva's step was again in the garden,--in the balconies; she played and laughed again,--
and her father, in a transport, declared that they should soon have her as hearty as
Miss Ophelia and the physician alone felt no encouragement from this illusive truce.
There was one other heart, too, that felt the same certainty, and that was the little
heart of Eva.
What is it that sometimes speaks in the soul so calmly, so clearly, that its
earthly time is short?
Is it the secret instinct of decaying nature, or the soul's impulsive throb, as
immortality draws on?
Be it what it may, it rested in the heart of Eva, a calm, sweet, prophetic certainty
that Heaven was near; calm as the light of sunset, sweet as the bright stillness of
autumn, there her little heart reposed,
only troubled by sorrow for those who loved her so dearly.
For the child, though nursed so tenderly, and though life was unfolding before her
with every brightness that love and wealth could give, had no regret for herself in
In that book which she and her simple old friend had read so much together, she had
seen and taken to her young heart the image of one who loved the little child; and, as
she gazed and mused, He had ceased to be an
image and a picture of the distant past, and come to be a living, all-surrounding
His love enfolded her childish heart with more than mortal tenderness; and it was to
Him, she said, she was going, and to his home.
But her heart yearned with sad tenderness for all that she was to leave behind.
Her father most,--for Eva, though she never distinctly thought so, had an instinctive
perception that she was more in his heart than any other.
She loved her mother because she was so loving a creature, and all the selfishness
that she had seen in her only saddened and perplexed her; for she had a child's
implicit trust that her mother could not do wrong.
There was something about her that Eva never could make out; and she always
smoothed it over with thinking that, after all, it was mamma, and she loved her very
dearly indeed.
She felt, too, for those fond, faithful servants, to whom she was as daylight and
Children do not usually generalize; but Eva was an uncommonly mature child, and the
things that she had witnessed of the evils of the system under which they were living
had fallen, one by one, into the depths of her thoughtful, pondering heart.
She had vague longings to do something for them,--to bless and save not only them, but
all in their condition,--longings that contrasted sadly with the feebleness of her
little frame.
"Uncle Tom," she said, one day, when she was reading to her friend, "I can
understand why Jesus wanted to die for us." "Why, Miss Eva?"
"Because I've felt so, too."
"What is it Miss Eva?--I don't understand."
"I can't tell you; but, when I saw those poor creatures on the boat, you know, when
you came up and I,--some had lost their mothers, and some their husbands, and some
mothers cried for their little children--
and when I heard about poor Prue,--oh, wasn't that dreadful!--and a great many
other times, I've felt that I would be glad to die, if my dying could stop all this
I would die for them, Tom, if I could," said the child, earnestly, laying her
little thin hand on his.
Tom looked at the child with awe; and when she, hearing her father's voice, glided
away, he wiped his eyes many times, as he looked after her.
"It's jest no use tryin' to keep Miss Eva here," he said to Mammy, whom he met a
moment after. "She's got the Lord's mark in her
"Ah, yes, yes," said Mammy, raising her hands; "I've allers said so.
She wasn't never like a child that's to live--there was allers something deep in
her eyes.
I've told Missis so, many the time; it's a comin' true,--we all sees it,--dear,
little, blessed lamb!" Eva came tripping up the verandah steps to
her father.
It was late in the afternoon, and the rays of the sun formed a kind of glory behind
her, as she came forward in her white dress, with her golden hair and glowing
cheeks, her eyes unnaturally bright with the slow fever that burned in her veins.
St. Clare had called her to show a statuette that he had been buying for her;
but her appearance, as she came on, impressed him suddenly and painfully.
There is a kind of beauty so intense, yet so fragile, that we cannot bear to look at
Her father folded her suddenly in his arms, and almost forgot what he was going to tell
her. "Eva, dear, you are better now-a-days,--are
you not?"
"Papa," said Eva, with sudden firmness "I've had things I wanted to say to you, a
great while. I want to say them now, before I get
St. Clare trembled as Eva seated herself in his lap.
She laid her head on his bosom, and said, "It's all no use, papa, to keep it to
myself any longer.
The time is coming that I am going to leave you.
I am going, and never to come back!" and Eva sobbed.
"O, now, my dear little Eva!" said St. Clare, trembling as he spoke, but speaking
cheerfully, "you've got nervous and low- spirited; you mustn't indulge such gloomy
See here, I've bought a statuette for you!" "No, papa," said Eva, putting it gently
away, "don't deceive yourself!--I am not any better, I know it perfectly well,--and
I am going, before long.
I am not nervous,--I am not low-spirited. If it were not for you, papa, and my
friends, I should be perfectly happy. I want to go,--I long to go!"
"Why, dear child, what has made your poor little heart so sad?
You have had everything, to make you happy, that could be given you."
"I had rather be in heaven; though, only for my friends' sake, I would be willing to
There are a great many things here that make me sad, that seem dreadful to me; I
had rather be there; but I don't want to leave you,--it almost breaks my heart!"
"What makes you sad, and seems dreadful, Eva?"
"O, things that are done, and done all the time.
I feel sad for our poor people; they love me dearly, and they are all good and kind
to me. I wish, papa, they were all free."
"Why, Eva, child, don't you think they are well enough off now?"
"O, but, papa, if anything should happen to you, what would become of them?
There are very few men like you, papa.
Uncle Alfred isn't like you, and mamma isn't; and then, think of poor old Prue's
owners! What horrid things people do, and can do!"
and Eva shuddered.
"My dear child, you are too sensitive. I'm sorry I ever let you hear such
stories." "O, that's what troubles me, papa.
You want me to live so happy, and never to have any pain,--never suffer anything,--not
even hear a sad story, when other poor creatures have nothing but pain and sorrow,
an their lives;--it seems selfish.
I ought to know such things, I ought to feel about them!
Such things always sunk into my heart; they went down deep; I've thought and thought
about them.
Papa, isn't there any way to have all slaves made free?"
"That's a difficult question, dearest.
There's no doubt that this way is a very bad one; a great many people think so; I do
myself I heartily wish that there were not a slave in the land; but, then, I don't
know what is to be done about it!"
"Papa, you are such a good man, and so noble, and kind, and you always have a way
of saying things that is so pleasant, couldn't you go all round and try to
persuade people to do right about this?
When I am dead, papa, then you will think of me, and do it for my sake.
I would do it, if I could." "When you are dead, Eva," said St. Clare,
"O, child, don't talk to me so! You are all I have on earth."
"Poor old Prue's child was all that she had,--and yet she had to hear it crying,
and she couldn't help it!
Papa, these poor creatures love their children as much as you do me.
O! do something for them! There's poor Mammy loves her children; I've
seen her cry when she talked about them.
And Tom loves his children; and it's dreadful, papa, that such things are
happening, all the time!"
"There, there, darling," said St. Clare, soothingly; "only don't distress yourself,
don't talk of dying, and I will do anything you wish."
"And promise me, dear father, that Tom shall have his freedom as soon as"--she
stopped, and said, in a hesitating tone--"I am gone!"
"Yes, dear, I will do anything in the world,--anything you could ask me to."
"Dear papa," said the child, laying her burning cheek against his, "how I wish we
could go together!"
"Where, dearest?" said St. Clare. "To our Saviour's home; it's so sweet and
peaceful there--it is all so loving there!" The child spoke unconsciously, as of a
place where she had often been.
"Don't you want to go, papa?" she said. St. Clare drew her closer to him, but was
"You will come to me," said the child, speaking in a voice of calm certainty which
she often used unconsciously. "I shall come after you.
I shall not forget you."
The shadows of the solemn evening closed round them deeper and deeper, as St. Clare
sat silently holding the little frail form to his bosom.
He saw no more the deep eyes, but the voice came over him as a spirit voice, and, as in
a sort of judgment vision, his whole past life rose in a moment before his eyes: his
mother's prayers and hymns; his own early
yearnings and aspirings for good; and, between them and this hour, years of
worldliness and scepticism, and what man calls respectable living.
We can think much, very much, in a moment.
St. Clare saw and felt many things, but spoke nothing; and, as it grew darker, he
took his child to her bed-room; and, when she was prepared for rest; he sent away the
attendants, and rocked her in his arms, and sung to her till she was asleep.
CHAPTER XXV The Little Evangelist
It was Sunday afternoon. St. Clare was stretched on a bamboo lounge
in the verandah, solacing himself with a cigar.
Marie lay reclined on a sofa, opposite the window opening on the verandah, closely
secluded, under an awning of transparent gauze, from the outrages of the mosquitos,
and languidly holding in her hand an elegantly bound prayer-book.
She was holding it because it was Sunday, and she imagined she had been reading it,--
though, in fact, she had been only taking a succession of short naps, with it open in
her hand.
Miss Ophelia, who, after some rummaging, had hunted up a small Methodist meeting
within riding distance, had gone out, with Tom as driver, to attend it; and Eva had
accompanied them.
"I say, Augustine," said Marie after dozing a while, "I must send to the city after my
old Doctor Posey; I'm sure I've got the complaint of the heart."
"Well; why need you send for him?
This doctor that attends Eva seems skilful."
"I would not trust him in a critical case," said Marie; "and I think I may say mine is
becoming so!
I've been thinking of it, these two or three nights past; I have such distressing
pains, and such strange feelings." "O, Marie, you are blue; I don't believe
it's heart complaint."
"I dare say you don't," said Marie; "I was prepared to expect that.
You can be alarmed enough, if Eva coughs, or has the least thing the matter with her;
but you never think of me."
"If it's particularly agreeable to you to have heart disease, why, I'll try and
maintain you have it," said St. Clare; "I didn't know it was."
"Well, I only hope you won't be sorry for this, when it's too late!" said Marie;
"but, believe it or not, my distress about Eva, and the exertions I have made with
that dear child, have developed what I have long suspected."
What the exertions were which Marie referred to, it would have been difficult
to state.
St. Clare quietly made this commentary to himself, and went on smoking, like a hard-
hearted wretch of a man as he was, till a carriage drove up before the verandah, and
Eva and Miss Ophelia alighted.
Miss Ophelia marched straight to her own chamber, to put away her bonnet and shawl,
as was always her manner, before she spoke a word on any subject; while Eva came, at
St: Clare's call, and was sitting on his
knee, giving him an account of the services they had heard.
They soon heard loud exclamations from Miss Ophelia's room, which, like the one in
which they were sitting, opened on to the verandah and violent reproof addressed to
"What new witchcraft has Tops been brewing?" asked St. Clare.
"That commotion is of her raising, I'll be bound!"
And, in a moment after, Miss Ophelia, in high indignation, came dragging the culprit
along. "Come out here, now!" she said.
"I will tell your master!"
"What's the case now?" asked Augustine. "The case is, that I cannot be plagued with
this child, any longer! It's past all bearing; flesh and blood
cannot endure it!
Here, I locked her up, and gave her a hymn to study; and what does she do, but spy out
where I put my key, and has gone to my bureau, and got a bonnet-trimming, and cut
it all to pieces to make dolls' jackets!
I never saw anything like it, in my life!" "I told you, Cousin," said Marie, "that
you'd find out that these creatures can't be brought up without severity.
If I had my way, now," she said, looking reproachfully at St. Clare, "I'd send that
child out, and have her thoroughly whipped; I'd have her whipped till she couldn't
"I don't doubt it," said St. Clare. "Tell me of the lovely rule of woman!
I never saw above a dozen women that wouldn't half kill a horse, or a servant,
either, if they had their own way with them!--let alone a man."
"There is no use in this shilly-shally way of yours, St. Clare!" said Marie.
"Cousin is a woman of sense, and she sees it now, as plain as I do."
Miss Ophelia had just the capability of indignation that belongs to the thorough-
paced housekeeper, and this had been pretty actively roused by the artifice and
wastefulness of the child; in fact, many of
my lady readers must own that they should have felt just so in her circumstances; but
Marie's words went beyond her, and she felt less heat.
"I wouldn't have the child treated so, for the world," she said; "but, I am sure,
Augustine, I don't know what to do.
I've taught and taught; I've talked till I'm tired; I've whipped her; I've punished
her in every way I can think of, and she's just what she was at first."
"Come here, Tops, you monkey!" said St. Clare, calling the child up to him.
Topsy came up; her round, hard eyes glittering and blinking with a mixture of
apprehensiveness and their usual odd drollery.
"What makes you behave so?" said St. Clare, who could not help being amused with the
child's expression. "Spects it's my wicked heart," said Topsy,
demurely; "Miss Feely says so."
"Don't you see how much Miss Ophelia has done for you?
She says she has done everything she can think of."
"Lor, yes, Mas'r! old Missis used to say so, too.
She whipped me a heap harder, and used to pull my har, and knock my head agin the
door; but it didn't do me no good!
I spects, if they 's to pull every spire o' har out o' my head, it wouldn't do no good,
neither,--I 's so wicked! Laws!
I 's nothin but a nigger, no ways!"
"Well, I shall have to give her up," said Miss Ophelia; "I can't have that trouble
any longer." "Well, I'd just like to ask one question,"
said St. Clare.
"What is it?"
"Why, if your Gospel is not strong enough to save one heathen child, that you can
have at home here, all to yourself, what's the use of sending one or two poor
missionaries off with it among thousands of just such?
I suppose this child is about a fair sample of what thousands of your heathen are."
Miss Ophelia did not make an immediate answer; and Eva, who had stood a silent
spectator of the scene thus far, made a silent sign to Topsy to follow her.
There was a little glass-room at the corner of the verandah, which St. Clare used as a
sort of reading-room; and Eva and Topsy disappeared into this place.
"What's Eva going about, now?" said St. Clare; "I mean to see."
And, advancing on tiptoe, he lifted up a curtain that covered the glass-door, and
looked in.
In a moment, laying his finger on his lips, he made a silent gesture to Miss Ophelia to
come and look. There sat the two children on the floor,
with their side faces towards them.
Topsy, with her usual air of careless drollery and unconcern; but, opposite to
her, Eva, her whole face fervent with feeling, and tears in her large eyes.
"What does make you so bad, Topsy?
Why won't you try and be good? Don't you love anybody, Topsy?"
"Donno nothing 'bout love; I loves candy and sich, that's all," said Topsy.
"But you love your father and mother?"
"Never had none, ye know. I telled ye that, Miss Eva."
"O, I know," said Eva, sadly; "but hadn't you any brother, or sister, or aunt, or--"
"No, none on 'em,--never had nothing nor nobody."
"But, Topsy, if you'd only try to be good, you might--"
"Couldn't never be nothin' but a nigger, if I was ever so good," said Topsy.
"If I could be skinned, and come white, I'd try then."
"But people can love you, if you are black, Topsy.
Miss Ophelia would love you, if you were good."
Topsy gave the short, blunt laugh that was her common mode of expressing incredulity.
"Don't you think so?" said Eva.
"No; she can't bar me, 'cause I'm a nigger!--she'd 's soon have a toad touch
her! There can't nobody love niggers, and
niggers can't do nothin'!
I don't care," said Topsy, beginning to whistle.
"O, Topsy, poor child, I love you!" said Eva, with a sudden burst of feeling, and
laying her little thin, white hand on Topsy's shoulder; "I love you, because you
haven't had any father, or mother, or
friends;--because you've been a poor, abused child!
I love you, and I want you to be good.
I am very unwell, Topsy, and I think I shan't live a great while; and it really
grieves me, to have you be so naughty.
I wish you would try to be good, for my sake;--it's only a little while I shall be
with you."
The round, keen eyes of the black child were overcast with tears;--large, bright
drops rolled heavily down, one by one, and fell on the little white hand.
Yes, in that moment, a ray of real belief, a ray of heavenly love, had penetrated the
darkness of her heathen soul!
She laid her head down between her knees, and wept and sobbed,--while the beautiful
child, bending over her, looked like the picture of some bright angel stooping to
reclaim a sinner.
"Poor Topsy!" said Eva, "don't you know that Jesus loves all alike?
He is just as willing to love you, as me. He loves you just as I do,--only more,
because he is better.
He will help you to be good; and you can go to Heaven at last, and be an angel forever,
just as much as if you were white.
Only think of it, Topsy!--you can be one of those spirits bright, Uncle Tom sings
"O, dear Miss Eva, dear Miss Eva!" said the child; "I will try, I will try; I never did
care nothin' about it before." St. Clare, at this instant, dropped the
"It puts me in mind of mother," he said to Miss Ophelia.
"It is true what she told me; if we want to give sight to the blind, we must be willing
to do as Christ did,--call them to us, and put our hands on them."
"I've always had a prejudice against negroes," said Miss Ophelia, "and it's a
fact, I never could bear to have that child touch me; but, I don't think she knew it."
"Trust any child to find that out," said St. Clare; "there's no keeping it from
But I believe that all the trying in the world to benefit a child, and all the
substantial favors you can do them, will never excite one emotion of gratitude,
while that feeling of repugnance remains in
the heart;--it's a queer kind of a fact,-- but so it is."
"I don't know how I can help it," said Miss Ophelia; "they are disagreeable to me,--
this child in particular,--how can I help feeling so?"
"Eva does, it seems."
"Well, she's so loving! After all, though, she's no more than
Christ-like," said Miss Ophelia; "I wish I were like her.
She might teach me a lesson."
"It wouldn't be the first time a little child had been used to instruct an old
disciple, if it were so," said St. Clare.
Weep not for those whom the veil of the tomb, In life's early morning, hath hid
from our eyes. (NOTE: "Weep Not for Those," a poem by
Thomas Moore (1779-1852).)
Eva's bed-room was a spacious apartment, which, like all the other rooms in the
house, opened on to the broad verandah.
The room communicated, on one side, with her father and mother's apartment; on the
other, with that appropriated to Miss Ophelia.
St. Clare had gratified his own eye and taste, in furnishing this room in a style
that had a peculiar keeping with the character of her for whom it was intended.
The windows were hung with curtains of rose-colored and white muslin, the floor
was spread with a matting which had been ordered in Paris, to a pattern of his own
device, having round it a border of rose-
buds and leaves, and a centre-piece with full-flown roses.
The bedstead, chairs, and lounges, were of bamboo, wrought in peculiarly graceful and
fanciful patterns.
Over the head of the bed was an alabaster bracket, on which a beautiful sculptured
angel stood, with drooping wings, holding out a crown of myrtle-leaves.
From this depended, over the bed, light curtains of rose-colored gauze, striped
with silver, supplying that protection from mosquitos which is an indispensable
addition to all sleeping accommodation in that climate.
The graceful bamboo lounges were amply supplied with cushions of rose-colored
damask, while over them, depending from the hands of sculptured figures, were gauze
curtains similar to those of the bed.
A light, fanciful bamboo table stood in the middle of the room, where a Parian vase,
wrought in the shape of a white lily, with its buds, stood, ever filled with flowers.
On this table lay Eva's books and little trinkets, with an elegantly wrought
alabaster writing-stand, which her father had supplied to her when he saw her trying
to improve herself in writing.
There was a fireplace in the room, and on the marble mantle above stood a beautifully
wrought statuette of Jesus receiving little children, and on either side marble vases,
for which it was Tom's pride and delight to offer bouquets every morning.
Two or three exquisite paintings of children, in various attitudes, embellished
the wall.
In short, the eye could turn nowhere without meeting images of childhood, of
beauty, and of peace.
Those little eyes never opened, in the morning light, without falling on something
which suggested to the heart soothing and beautiful thoughts.
The deceitful strength which had buoyed Eva up for a little while was fast passing
away; seldom and more seldom her light footstep was heard in the verandah, and
oftener and oftener she was found reclined
on a little lounge by the open window, her large, deep eyes fixed on the rising and
falling waters of the lake.
It was towards the middle of the afternoon, as she was so reclining,--her Bible half
open, her little transparent fingers lying listlessly between the leaves,--suddenly
she heard her mother's voice, in sharp tones, in the verandah.
"What now, you baggage!--what new piece of mischief!
You've been picking the flowers, hey?" and Eva heard the sound of a smart slap.
"Law, Missis! they 's for Miss Eva," she heard a voice say, which she knew belonged
to Topsy.
"Miss Eva! A pretty excuse!--you suppose she wants
your flowers, you good-for-nothing nigger! Get along off with you!"
In a moment, Eva was off from her lounge, and in the verandah.
"O, don't, mother! I should like the flowers; do give them to
me; I want them!"
"Why, Eva, your room is full now." "I can't have too many," said Eva.
"Topsy, do bring them here."
Topsy, who had stood sullenly, holding down her head, now came up and offered her
She did it with a look of hesitation and bashfulness, quite unlike the eldrich
boldness and brightness which was usual with her.
"It's a beautiful bouquet!" said Eva, looking at it.
It was rather a singular one,--a brilliant scarlet geranium, and one single white
japonica, with its glossy leaves.
It was tied up with an evident eye to the contrast of color, and the arrangement of
every leaf had carefully been studied. Topsy looked pleased, as Eva said,--"Topsy,
you arrange flowers very prettily.
Here," she said, "is this vase I haven't any flowers for.
I wish you'd arrange something every day for it."
"Well, that's odd!" said Marie.
"What in the world do you want that for?" "Never mind, mamma; you'd as lief as not
Topsy should do it,--had you not?" "Of course, anything you please, dear!
Topsy, you hear your young mistress;--see that you mind."
Topsy made a short courtesy, and looked down; and, as she turned away, Eva saw a
tear roll down her dark cheek.
"You see, mamma, I knew poor Topsy wanted to do something for me," said Eva to her
mother. "O, nonsense! it's only because she likes
to do mischief.
She knows she mustn't pick flowers,--so she does it; that's all there is to it.
But, if you fancy to have her pluck them, so be it."
"Mamma, I think Topsy is different from what she used to be; she's trying to be a
good girl."
"She'll have to try a good while before she gets to be good," said Marie, with a
careless laugh. "Well, you know, mamma, poor Topsy!
everything has always been against her."
"Not since she's been here, I'm sure.
If she hasn't been talked to, and preached to, and every earthly thing done that
anybody could do;--and she's just so ugly, and always will be; you can't make anything
of the creature!"
"But, mamma, it's so different to be brought up as I've been, with so many
friends, so many things to make me good and happy; and to be brought up as she's been,
all the time, till she came here!"
"Most likely," said Marie, yawning,--"dear me, how hot it is!"
"Mamma, you believe, don't you, that Topsy could become an angel, as well as any of
us, if she were a Christian?"
"Topsy! what a ridiculous idea! Nobody but you would ever think of it.
I suppose she could, though." "But, mamma, isn't God her father, as much
as ours?
Isn't Jesus her Saviour?" "Well, that may be.
I suppose God made everybody," said Marie. "Where is my smelling-bottle?"
"It's such a pity,--oh! such a pity!" said Eva, looking out on the distant lake, and
speaking half to herself. "What's a pity?" said Marie.
"Why, that any one, who could be a bright angel, and live with angels, should go all
down, down down, and nobody help them!--oh dear!"
"Well, we can't help it; it's no use worrying, Eva!
I don't know what's to be done; we ought to be thankful for our own advantages."
"I hardly can be," said Eva, "I'm so sorry to think of poor folks that haven't any."
"That's odd enough," said Marie;--"I'm sure my religion makes me thankful for my
"Mamma," said Eva, "I want to have some of my hair cut off,--a good deal of it."
"What for?" said Marie.
"Mamma, I want to give some away to my friends, while I am able to give it to them
myself. Won't you ask aunty to come and cut it for
Marie raised her voice, and called Miss Ophelia, from the other room.
The child half rose from her pillow as she came in, and, shaking down her long golden-
brown curls, said, rather playfully, "Come aunty, shear the sheep!"
"What's that?" said St. Clare, who just then entered with some fruit he had been
out to get for her.
"Papa, I just want aunty to cut off some of my hair;--there's too much of it, and it
makes my head hot. Besides, I want to give some of it away."
Miss Ophelia came, with her scissors.
"Take care,--don't spoil the looks of it!" said her father; "cut underneath, where it
won't show. Eva's curls are my pride."
"O, papa!" said Eva, sadly.
"Yes, and I want them kept handsome against the time I take you up to your uncle's
plantation, to see Cousin Henrique," said St. Clare, in a gay tone.
"I shall never go there, papa;--I am going to a better country.
O, do believe me! Don't you see, papa, that I get weaker,
every day?"
"Why do you insist that I shall believe such a cruel thing, Eva?" said her father.
"Only because it is true, papa: and, if you will believe it now, perhaps you will get
to feel about it as I do."
St. Clare closed his lips, and stood gloomily eying the long, beautiful curls,
which, as they were separated from the child's head, were laid, one by one, in her
She raised them up, looked earnestly at them, twined them around her thin fingers,
and looked from time to time, anxiously at her father.
"It's just what I've been foreboding!" said Marie; "it's just what has been preying on
my health, from day to day, bringing me downward to the grave, though nobody
regards it.
I have seen this, long. St. Clare, you will see, after a while,
that I was right."
"Which will afford you great consolation, no doubt!" said St. Clare, in a dry, bitter
tone. Marie lay back on a lounge, and covered her
face with her cambric handkerchief.
Eva's clear blue eye looked earnestly from one to the other.
It was the calm, comprehending gaze of a soul half loosed from its earthly bonds; it
was evident she saw, felt, and appreciated, the difference between the two.
She beckoned with her hand to her father.
He came and sat down by her. "Papa, my strength fades away every day,
and I know I must go.
There are some things I want to say and do,--that I ought to do; and you are so
unwilling to have me speak a word on this subject.
But it must come; there's no putting it off.
Do be willing I should speak now!"
"My child, I am willing!" said St. Clare, covering his eyes with one hand, and
holding up Eva's hand with the other. "Then, I want to see all our people
I have some things I must say to them," said Eva.
"Well," said St. Clare, in a tone of dry endurance.
Miss Ophelia despatched a messenger, and soon the whole of the servants were
convened in the room.
Eva lay back on her pillows; her hair hanging loosely about her face, her crimson
cheeks contrasting painfully with the intense whiteness of her complexion and the
thin contour of her limbs and features, and
her large, soul-like eyes fixed earnestly on every one.
The servants were struck with a sudden emotion.
The spiritual face, the long locks of hair cut off and lying by her, her father's
averted face, and Marie's sobs, struck at once upon the feelings of a sensitive and
impressible race; and, as they came in,
they looked one on another, sighed, and shook their heads.
There was a deep silence, like that of a funeral.
Eva raised herself, and looked long and earnestly round at every one.
All looked sad and apprehensive. Many of the women hid their faces in their
"I sent for you all, my dear friends," said Eva, "because I love you.
I love you all; and I have something to say to you, which I want you always to
remember....I am going to leave you.
In a few more weeks you will see me no more--"
Here the child was interrupted by bursts of groans, sobs, and lamentations, which broke
from all present, and in which her slender voice was lost entirely.
She waited a moment, and then, speaking in a tone that checked the sobs of all, she
said, "If you love me, you must not interrupt me
Listen to what I say. I want to speak to you about your
souls....Many of you, I am afraid, are very careless.
You are thinking only about this world.
I want you to remember that there is a beautiful world, where Jesus is.
I am going there, and you can go there. It is for you, as much as me.
But, if you want to go there, you must not live idle, careless, thoughtless lives.
You must be Christians.
You must remember that each one of you can become angels, and be angels forever....If
you want to be Christians, Jesus will help you.
You must pray to him; you must read--"
The child checked herself, looked piteously at them, and said, sorrowfully,
"O dear! you can't read--poor souls!" and she hid her face in the pillow and sobbed,
while many a smothered sob from those she was addressing, who were kneeling on the
floor, aroused her.
"Never mind," she said, raising her face and smiling brightly through her tears, "I
have prayed for you; and I know Jesus will help you, even if you can't read.
Try all to do the best you can; pray every day; ask Him to help you, and get the Bible
read to you whenever you can; and I think I shall see you all in heaven."
"Amen," was the murmured response from the lips of Tom and Mammy, and some of the
elder ones, who belonged to the Methodist church.
The younger and more thoughtless ones, for the time completely overcome, were sobbing,
with their heads bowed upon their knees. "I know," said Eva, "you all love me."
"Yes; oh, yes! indeed we do!
Lord bless her!" was the involuntary answer of all.
"Yes, I know you do!
There isn't one of you that hasn't always been very kind to me; and I want to give
you something that, when you look at, you shall always remember me, I'm going to give
all of you a curl of my hair; and, when you
look at it, think that I loved you and am gone to heaven, and that I want to see you
all there."
It is impossible to describe the scene, as, with tears and sobs, they gathered round
the little creature, and took from her hands what seemed to them a last mark of
her love.
They fell on their knees; they sobbed, and prayed, and kissed the hem of her garment;
and the elder ones poured forth words of endearment, mingled in prayers and
blessings, after the manner of their susceptible race.
As each one took their gift, Miss Ophelia, who was apprehensive for the effect of all
this excitement on her little patient, signed to each one to pass out of the
At last, all were gone but Tom and Mammy. "Here, Uncle Tom," said Eva, "is a
beautiful one for you.
O, I am so happy, Uncle Tom, to think I shall see you in heaven,--for I'm sure I
shall; and Mammy,--dear, good, kind Mammy!" she said, fondly throwing her arms round
her old nurse,--"I know you'll be there, too."
"O, Miss Eva, don't see how I can live without ye, no how!" said the faithful
"'Pears like it's just taking everything off the place to oncet!" and Mammy gave way
to a passion of grief.
Miss Ophelia pushed her and Tom gently from the apartment, and thought they were all
gone; but, as she turned, Topsy was standing there.
"Where did you start up from?" she said, suddenly.
"I was here," said Topsy, wiping the tears from her eyes.
"O, Miss Eva, I've been a bad girl; but won't you give me one, too?"
"Yes, poor Topsy! to be sure, I will.
There--every time you look at that, think that I love you, and wanted you to be a
good girl!"
"O, Miss Eva, I is tryin!" said Topsy, earnestly; "but, Lor, it's so hard to be
good! 'Pears like I an't used to it, no ways!"
"Jesus knows it, Topsy; he is sorry for you; he will help you."
Topsy, with her eyes hid in her apron, was silently passed from the apartment by Miss
Ophelia; but, as she went, she hid the precious curl in her bosom.
All being gone, Miss Ophelia shut the door.
That worthy lady had wiped away many tears of her own, during the scene; but concern
for the consequence of such an excitement to her young charge was uppermost in her
St. Clare had been sitting, during the whole time, with his hand shading his eyes,
in the same attitude. When they were all gone, he sat so still.
"Papa!" said Eva, gently, laying her hand on his.
He gave a sudden start and shiver; but made no answer.
"Dear papa!" said Eva.
"I cannot," said St. Clare, rising, "I cannot have it so!
The Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me!" and St. Clare pronounced these words
with a bitter emphasis, indeed.
"Augustine! has not God a right to do what he will with his own?" said Miss Ophelia.
"Perhaps so; but that doesn't make it any easier to bear," said he, with a dry, hard,
tearless manner, as he turned away.
"Papa, you break my heart!" said Eva, rising and throwing herself into his arms;
"you must not feel so!" and the child sobbed and wept with a violence which
alarmed them all, and turned her father's thoughts at once to another channel.
"There, Eva,--there, dearest! Hush! hush!
I was wrong; I was wicked.
I will feel any way, do any way,--only don't distress yourself; don't sob so.
I will be resigned; I was wicked to speak as I did."
Eva soon lay like a wearied dove in her father's arms; and he, bending over her,
soothed her by every tender word he could think of.
Marie rose and threw herself out of the apartment into her own, when she fell into
violent hysterics. "You didn't give me a curl, Eva," said her
father, smiling sadly.
"They are all yours, papa," said she, smiling--"yours and mamma's; and you must
give dear aunty as many as she wants.
I only gave them to our poor people myself, because you know, papa, they might be
forgotten when I am gone, and because I hoped it might help them remember....You
are a Christian, are you not, papa?" said Eva, doubtfully.
"Why do you ask me?" "I don't know.
You are so good, I don't see how you can help it."
"What is being a Christian, Eva?" "Loving Christ most of all," said Eva.
"Do you, Eva?"
"Certainly I do." "You never saw him," said St. Clare.
"That makes no difference," said Eva.
"I believe him, and in a few days I shall see him;" and the young face grew fervent,
radiant with joy. St. Clare said no more.
It was a feeling which he had seen before in his mother; but no chord within vibrated
to it.
Eva, after this, declined rapidly; there was no more any doubt of the event; the
fondest hope could not be blinded.
Her beautiful room was avowedly a sick room; and Miss Ophelia day and night
performed the duties of a nurse,--and never did her friends appreciate her value more
than in that capacity.
With so well-trained a hand and eye, such perfect adroitness and practice in every
art which could promote neatness and comfort, and keep out of sight every
disagreeable incident of sickness,--with
such a perfect sense of time, such a clear, untroubled head, such exact accuracy in
remembering every prescription and direction of the doctors,--she was
everything to him.
They who had shrugged their shoulders at her little peculiarities and setnesses, so
unlike the careless freedom of southern manners, acknowledged that now she was the
exact person that was wanted.
Uncle Tom was much in Eva's room.
The child suffered much from nervous restlessness, and it was a relief to her to
be carried; and it was Tom's greatest delight to carry her little frail form in
his arms, resting on a pillow, now up and
down her room, now out into the verandah; and when the fresh sea-breezes blew from
the lake,--and the child felt freshest in the morning,--he would sometimes walk with
her under the orange-trees in the garden,
or, sitting down in some of their old seats, sing to her their favorite old
Her father often did the same thing; but his frame was slighter, and when he was
weary, Eva would say to him, "O, papa, let Tom take me.
Poor fellow! it pleases him; and you know it's all he can do now, and he wants to do
something!" "So do I, Eva!" said her father.
"Well, papa, you can do everything, and are everything to me.
You read to me,--you sit up nights,--and Tom has only this one thing, and his
singing; and I know, too, he does it easier than you can.
He carries me so strong!"
The desire to do something was not confined to Tom.
Every servant in the establishment showed the same feeling, and in their way did what
they could.
Poor Mammy's heart yearned towards her darling; but she found no opportunity,
night or day, as Marie declared that the state of her mind was such, it was
impossible for her to rest; and, of course,
it was against her principles to let any one else rest.
Twenty times in a night, Mammy would be roused to rub her feet, to bathe her head,
to find her pocket-handkerchief, to see what the noise was in Eva's room, to let
down a curtain because it was too light, or
to put it up because it was too dark; and, in the daytime, when she longed to have
some share in the nursing of her pet, Marie seemed unusually ingenious in keeping her
busy anywhere and everywhere all over the
house, or about her own person; so that stolen interviews and momentary glimpses
were all she could obtain.
"I feel it my duty to be particularly careful of myself, now," she would say,
"feeble as I am, and with the whole care and nursing of that dear child upon me."
"Indeed, my dear," said St. Clare, "I thought our cousin relieved you of that."
"You talk like a man, St. Clare,--just as if a mother could be relieved of the care
of a child in that state; but, then, it's all alike,--no one ever knows what I feel!
I can't throw things off, as you do."
St. Clare smiled. You must excuse him, he couldn't help it,--
for St. Clare could smile yet.
For so bright and placid was the farewell voyage of the little spirit,--by such sweet
and fragrant breezes was the small bark borne towards the heavenly shores,--that it
was impossible to realize that it was death that was approaching.
The child felt no pain,--only a tranquil, soft weakness, daily and almost insensibly
increasing; and she was so beautiful, so loving, so trustful, so happy, that one
could not resist the soothing influence of
that air of innocence and peace which seemed to breathe around her.
St. Clare found a strange calm coming over him.
It was not hope,--that was impossible; it was not resignation; it was only a calm
resting in the present, which seemed so beautiful that he wished to think of no
It was like that hush of spirit which we feel amid the bright, mild woods of autumn,
when the bright hectic flush is on the trees, and the last lingering flowers by
the brook; and we joy in it all the more,
because we know that soon it will all pass away.
The friend who knew most of Eva's own imaginings and foreshadowings was her
faithful bearer, Tom. To him she said what she would not disturb
her father by saying.
To him she imparted those mysterious intimations which the soul feels, as the
cords begin to unbind, ere it leaves its clay forever.
Tom, at last, would not sleep in his room, but lay all night in the outer verandah,
ready to rouse at every call.
"Uncle Tom, what alive have you taken to sleeping anywhere and everywhere, like a
dog, for?" said Miss Ophelia.
"I thought you was one of the orderly sort, that liked to lie in bed in a Christian
way." "I do, Miss Feely," said Tom, mysteriously.
"I do, but now--"
"Well, what now?" "We mustn't speak loud; Mas'r St. Clare
won't hear on 't; but Miss Feely, you know there must be somebody watchin' for the
"What do you mean, Tom?" "You know it says in Scripture, 'At
midnight there was a great cry made. Behold, the bridegroom cometh.'
That's what I'm spectin now, every night, Miss Feely,--and I couldn't sleep out o'
hearin, no ways." "Why, Uncle Tom, what makes you think so?"
"Miss Eva, she talks to me.
The Lord, he sends his messenger in the soul.
I must be thar, Miss Feely; for when that ar blessed child goes into the kingdom,
they'll open the door so wide, we'll all get a look in at the glory, Miss Feely."
"Uncle Tom, did Miss Eva say she felt more unwell than usual tonight?"
"No; but she telled me, this morning, she was coming nearer,--thar's them that tells
it to the child, Miss Feely.
It's the angels,--'it's the trumpet sound afore the break o' day,'" said Tom, quoting
from a favorite hymn.
This dialogue passed between Miss Ophelia and Tom, between ten and eleven, one
evening, after her arrangements had all been made for the night, when, on going to
bolt her outer door, she found Tom
stretched along by it, in the outer verandah.
She was not nervous or impressible; but the solemn, heart-felt manner struck her.
Eva had been unusually bright and cheerful, that afternoon, and had sat raised in her
bed, and looked over all her little trinkets and precious things, and
designated the friends to whom she would
have them given; and her manner was more animated, and her voice more natural, than
they had known it for weeks.
Her father had been in, in the evening, and had said that Eva appeared more like her
former self than ever she had done since her sickness; and when he kissed her for
the night, he said to Miss Ophelia,--
"Cousin, we may keep her with us, after all; she is certainly better;" and he had
retired with a lighter heart in his bosom than he had had there for weeks.
But at midnight,--strange, mystic hour!-- when the veil between the frail present and
the eternal future grows thin,--then came the messenger!
There was a sound in that chamber, first of one who stepped quickly.
It was Miss Ophelia, who had resolved to sit up all night with her little charge,
and who, at the turn of the night, had discerned what experienced nurses
significantly call "a change."
The outer door was quickly opened, and Tom, who was watching outside, was on the alert,
in a moment.
"Go for the doctor, Tom! lose not a moment," said Miss Ophelia; and, stepping
across the room, she rapped at St. Clare's door.
"Cousin," she said, "I wish you would come."
Those words fell on his heart like clods upon a coffin.
Why did they?
He was up and in the room in an instant, and bending over Eva, who still slept.
What was it he saw that made his heart stand still?
Why was no word spoken between the two?
Thou canst say, who hast seen that same expression on the face dearest to thee;--
that look indescribable, hopeless, unmistakable, that says to thee that thy
beloved is no longer thine.
On the face of the child, however, there was no ghastly imprint,--only a high and
almost sublime expression,--the overshadowing presence of spiritual
natures, the dawning of immortal life in that childish soul.
They stood there so still, gazing upon her, that even the ticking of the watch seemed
too loud.
In a few moments, Tom returned, with the doctor.
He entered, gave one look, and stood silent as the rest.
"When did this change take place?" said he, in a low whisper, to Miss Ophelia.
"About the turn of the night," was the reply.
Marie, roused by the entrance of the doctor, appeared, hurriedly, from the next
room. "Augustine!
Cousin!--O!--what!" she hurriedly began.
"Hush!" said St. Clare, hoarsely; "she is dying!"
Mammy heard the words, and flew to awaken the servants.
The house was soon roused,--lights were seen, footsteps heard, anxious faces
thronged the verandah, and looked tearfully through the glass doors; but St. Clare
heard and said nothing,--he saw only that look on the face of the little sleeper.
"O, if she would only wake, and speak once more!" he said; and, stooping over her, he
spoke in her ear,--"Eva, darling!"
The large blue eyes unclosed--a smile passed over her face;--she tried to raise
her head, and to speak. "Do you know me, Eva?"
"Dear papa," said the child, with a last effort, throwing her arms about his neck.
In a moment they dropped again; and, as St. Clare raised his head, he saw a spasm of
mortal agony pass over the face,--she struggled for breath, and threw up her
little hands.
"O, God, this is dreadful!" he said, turning away in agony, and wringing Tom's
hand, scarce conscious what he was doing. "O, Tom, my boy, it is killing me!"
Tom had his master's hands between his own; and, with tears streaming down his dark
cheeks, looked up for help where he had always been used to look.
"Pray that this may be cut short!" said St. Clare,--"this wrings my heart."
"O, bless the Lord! it's over,--it's over, dear Master!" said Tom; "look at her."
The child lay panting on her pillows, as one exhausted,--the large clear eyes rolled
up and fixed. Ah, what said those eyes, that spoke so
much of heaven!
Earth was past,--and earthly pain; but so solemn, so mysterious, was the triumphant
brightness of that face, that it checked even the sobs of sorrow.
They pressed around her, in breathless stillness.
"Eva," said St. Clare, gently. She did not hear.
"O, Eva, tell us what you see!
What is it?" said her father. A bright, a glorious smile passed over her
face, and she said, brokenly,--"O! love,-- joy,--peace!" gave one sigh and passed from
death unto life!
"Farewell, beloved child! the bright, eternal doors have closed after thee; we
shall see thy sweet face no more.
O, woe for them who watched thy entrance into heaven, when they shall wake and find
only the cold gray sky of daily life, and thou gone forever!"
CHAPTER XXVII "This Is the Last of Earth"
(NOTE: "This is the last of Earth! I am content," last words of John Quincy
Adams, uttered February 21, 1848.)
The statuettes and pictures in Eva's room were shrouded in white napkins, and only
hushed breathings and muffled footfalls were heard there, and the light stole in
solemnly through windows partially darkened by closed blinds.
The bed was draped in white; and there, beneath the drooping angel-figure, lay a
little sleeping form,--sleeping never to waken!
There she lay, robed in one of the simple white dresses she had been wont to wear
when living; the rose-colored light through the curtains cast over the icy coldness of
death a warm glow.
The heavy eyelashes drooped softly on the pure cheek; the head was turned a little to
one side, as if in natural steep, but there was diffused over every lineament of the
face that high celestial expression, that
mingling of rapture and repose, which showed it was no earthly or temporary
sleep, but the long, sacred rest which "He giveth to his beloved."
There is no death to such as thou, dear Eva! neither darkness nor shadow of death;
only such a bright fading as when the morning star fades in the golden dawn.
Thine is the victory without the battle,-- the crown without the conflict.
So did St. Clare think, as, with folded arms, he stood there gazing.
Ah! who shall say what he did think? for, from the hour that voices had said, in the
dying chamber, "she is gone," it had been all a dreary mist, a heavy "dimness of
He had heard voices around him; he had had questions asked, and answered them; they
had asked him when he would have the funeral, and where they should lay her; and
he had answered, impatiently, that he cared not.
Adolph and Rosa had arranged the chamber; volatile, fickle and childish, as they
generally were, they were soft-hearted and full of feeling; and, while Miss Ophelia
presided over the general details of order
and neatness, it was their hands that added those soft, poetic touches to the
arrangements, that took from the death-room the grim and ghastly air which too often
marks a New England funeral.
There were still flowers on the shelves,-- all white, delicate and fragrant, with
graceful, drooping leaves.
Eva's little table, covered with white, bore on it her favorite vase, with a single
white moss rose-bud in it.
The folds of the drapery, the fall of the curtains, had been arranged and rearranged,
by Adolph and Rosa, with that nicety of eye which characterizes their race.
Even now, while St. Clare stood there thinking, little Rosa tripped softly into
the chamber with a basket of white flowers.
She stepped back when she saw St. Clare, and stopped respectfully; but, seeing that
he did not observe her, she came forward to place them around the dead.
St. Clare saw her as in a dream, while she placed in the small hands a fair cape
jessamine, and, with admirable taste, disposed other flowers around the couch.
The door opened again, and Topsy, her eyes swelled with crying, appeared, holding
something under her apron. Rosa made a quick forbidding gesture; but
she took a step into the room.
"You must go out," said Rosa, in a sharp, positive whisper; "you haven't any business
here!" "O, do let me!
I brought a flower,--such a pretty one!" said Topsy, holding up a half-blown tea
rose-bud. "Do let me put just one there."
"Get along!" said Rosa, more decidedly.
"Let her stay!" said St. Clare, suddenly stamping his foot.
"She shall come."
Rosa suddenly retreated, and Topsy came forward and laid her offering at the feet
of the corpse; then suddenly, with a wild and bitter cry, she threw herself on the
floor alongside the bed, and wept, and moaned aloud.
Miss Ophelia hastened into the room, and tried to raise and silence her; but in
"O, Miss Eva! oh, Miss Eva! I wish I 's dead, too,--I do!"
There was a piercing wildness in the cry; the blood flushed into St. Clare's white,
marble-like face, and the first tears he had shed since Eva died stood in his eyes.
"Get up, child," said Miss Ophelia, in a softened voice; "don't cry so.
Miss Eva is gone to heaven; she is an angel."
"But I can't see her!" said Topsy.
"I never shall see her!" and she sobbed again.
They all stood a moment in silence. "She said she loved me," said Topsy,--"she
O, dear! oh, dear! there an't nobody left now,--there an't!"
"That's true enough" said St. Clare; "but do," he said to Miss Ophelia, "see if you
can't comfort the poor creature."
"I jist wish I hadn't never been born," said Topsy.
"I didn't want to be born, no ways; and I don't see no use on 't."
Miss Ophelia raised her gently, but firmly, and took her from the room; but, as she did
so, some tears fell from her eyes. "Topsy, you poor child," she said, as she
led her into her room, "don't give up!
I can love you, though I am not like that dear little child.
I hope I've learnt something of the love of Christ from her.
I can love you; I do, and I'll try to help you to grow up a good Christian girl."
Miss Ophelia's voice was more than her words, and more than that were the honest
tears that fell down her face.
From that hour, she acquired an influence over the mind of the destitute child that
she never lost.
"O, my Eva, whose little hour on earth did so much of good," thought St. Clare, "what
account have I to give for my long years?"
There were, for a while, soft whisperings and footfalls in the chamber, as one after
another stole in, to look at the dead; and then came the little coffin; and then there
was a funeral, and carriages drove to the
door, and strangers came and were seated; and there were white scarfs and ribbons,
and crape bands, and mourners dressed in black crape; and there were words read from
the Bible, and prayers offered; and St.
Clare lived, and walked, and moved, as one who has shed every tear;--to the last he
saw only one thing, that golden head in the coffin; but then he saw the cloth spread
over it, the lid of the coffin closed; and
he walked, when he was put beside the others, down to a little place at the
bottom of the garden, and there, by the mossy seat where she and Tom had talked,
and sung, and read so often, was the little grave.
St. Clare stood beside it,--looked vacantly down; he saw them lower the little coffin;
he heard, dimly, the solemn words, "I am the resurrection and the Life; he that
believeth in me, though he were dead, yet
shall he live;" and, as the earth was cast in and filled up the little grave, he could
not realize that it was his Eva that they were hiding from his sight.
Nor was it!--not Eva, but only the frail seed of that bright, immortal form with
which she shall yet come forth, in the day of the Lord Jesus!
And then all were gone, and the mourners went back to the place which should know
her no more; and Marie's room was darkened, and she lay on the bed, sobbing and moaning
in uncontrollable grief, and calling every
moment for the attentions of all her servants.
Of course, they had no time to cry,--why should they? the grief was her grief, and
she was fully convinced that nobody on earth did, could, or would feel it as she
"St. Clare did not shed a tear," she said; "he didn't sympathize with her; it was
perfectly wonderful to think how hard- hearted and unfeeling he was, when he must
know how she suffered."
So much are people the slave of their eye and ear, that many of the servants really
thought that Missis was the principal sufferer in the case, especially as Marie
began to have hysterical spasms, and sent
for the doctor, and at last declared herself dying; and, in the running and
scampering, and bringing up hot bottles, and heating of flannels, and chafing, and
fussing, that ensued, there was quite a diversion.
Tom, however, had a feeling at his own heart, that drew him to his master.
He followed him wherever he walked, wistfully and sadly; and when he saw him
sitting, so pale and quiet, in Eva's room, holding before his eyes her little open
Bible, though seeing no letter or word of
what was in it, there was more sorrow to Tom in that still, fixed, tearless eye,
than in all Marie's moans and lamentations.
In a few days the St. Clare family were back again in the city; Augustine, with the
restlessness of grief, longing for another scene, to change the current of his
So they left the house and garden, with its little grave, and came back to New Orleans;
and St. Clare walked the streets busily, and strove to fill up the chasm in his
heart with hurry and bustle, and change of
place; and people who saw him in the street, or met him at the cafe, knew of his
loss only by the weed on his hat; for there he was, smiling and talking, and reading
the newspaper, and speculating on politics,
and attending to business matters; and who could see that all this smiling outside was
but a hollowed shell over a heart that was a dark and silent sepulchre?
"Mr. St. Clare is a singular man," said Marie to Miss Ophelia, in a complaining
"I used to think, if there was anything in the world he did love, it was our dear
little Eva; but he seems to be forgetting her very easily.
I cannot ever get him to talk about her.
I really did think he would show more feeling!"
"Still waters run deepest, they used to tell me," said Miss Ophelia, oracularly.
"O, I don't believe in such things; it's all talk.
If people have feeling, they will show it,- -they can't help it; but, then, it's a
great misfortune to have feeling.
I'd rather have been made like St. Clare. My feelings prey upon me so!"
"Sure, Missis, Mas'r St. Clare is gettin' thin as a shader.
They say, he don't never eat nothin'," said Mammy.
"I know he don't forget Miss Eva; I know there couldn't nobody,--dear, little,
blessed cretur!" she added, wiping her eyes.
"Well, at all events, he has no consideration for me," said Marie; "he
hasn't spoken one word of sympathy, and he must know how much more a mother feels than
any man can."
"The heart knoweth its own bitterness," said Miss Ophelia, gravely.
"That's just what I think. I know just what I feel,--nobody else seems
Eva used to, but she is gone!" and Marie lay back on her lounge, and began to sob
Marie was one of those unfortunately constituted mortals, in whose eyes whatever
is lost and gone assumes a value which it never had in possession.
Whatever she had, she seemed to survey only to pick flaws in it; but, once fairly away,
there was no end to her valuation of it.
While this conversation was taking place in the parlor another was going on in St.
Clare's library.
Tom, who was always uneasily following his master about, had seen him go to his
library, some hours before; and, after vainly waiting for him to come out,
determined, at last, to make an errand in.
He entered softly. St. Clare lay on his lounge, at the further
end of the room. He was lying on his face, with Eva's Bible
open before him, at a little distance.
Tom walked up, and stood by the sofa. He hesitated; and, while he was hesitating,
St. Clare suddenly raised himself up.
The honest face, so full of grief, and with such an imploring expression of affection
and sympathy, struck his master. He laid his hand on Tom's, and bowed down
his forehead on it.
"O, Tom, my boy, the whole world is as empty as an egg-shell."
"I know it, Mas'r,--I know it," said Tom; "but, oh, if Mas'r could only look up,--up
where our dear Miss Eva is,--up to the dear Lord Jesus!"
"Ah, Tom!
I do look up; but the trouble is, I don't see anything, when I do, I wish I could."
Tom sighed heavily.
"It seems to be given to children, and poor, honest fellows, like you, to see what
we can't," said St. Clare. "How comes it?"
"Thou has 'hid from the wise and prudent, and revealed unto babes,'" murmured Tom;
"'even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.'"
"Tom, I don't believe,--I can't believe,-- I've got the habit of doubting," said St.
Clare. "I want to believe this Bible,--and I
"Dear Mas'r, pray to the good Lord,--'Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief.'"
"Who knows anything about anything?" said St. Clare, his eyes wandering dreamily, and
speaking to himself.
"Was all that beautiful love and faith only one of the ever-shifting phases of human
feeling, having nothing real to rest on, passing away with the little breath?
And is there no more Eva,--no heaven,--no Christ,--nothing?"
"O, dear Mas'r, there is! I know it; I'm sure of it," said Tom,
falling on his knees.
"Do, do, dear Mas'r, believe it!" "How do you know there's any Christ, Tom!
You never saw the Lord." "Felt Him in my soul, Mas'r,--feel Him now!
O, Mas'r, when I was sold away from my old woman and the children, I was jest a'most
broke up.
I felt as if there warn't nothin' left; and then the good Lord, he stood by me, and he
says, 'Fear not, Tom;' and he brings light and joy in a poor feller's soul,--makes all
peace; and I 's so happy, and loves
everybody, and feels willin' jest to be the Lord's, and have the Lord's will done, and
be put jest where the Lord wants to put me.
I know it couldn't come from me, cause I 's a poor, complainin' cretur; it comes from
the Lord; and I know He's willin' to do for Mas'r."
Tom spoke with fast-running tears and choking voice.
St. Clare leaned his head on his shoulder, and wrung the hard, faithful, black hand.
"Tom, you love me," he said.
"I 's willin' to lay down my life, this blessed day, to see Mas'r a Christian."
"Poor, foolish boy!" said St. Clare, half- raising himself.
"I'm not worth the love of one good, honest heart, like yours."
"O, Mas'r, dere's more than me loves you,-- the blessed Lord Jesus loves you."
"How do you know that Tom?" said St. Clare.
"Feels it in my soul. O, Mas'r!
'the love of Christ, that passeth knowledge.'"
"Singular!" said St. Clare, turning away, "that the story of a man that lived and
died eighteen hundred years ago can affect people so yet.
But he was no man," he added, suddenly.
"No man ever had such long and living power!
O, that I could believe what my mother taught me, and pray as I did when I was a
"If Mas'r pleases," said Tom, "Miss Eva used to read this so beautifully.
I wish Mas'r'd be so good as read it. Don't get no readin', hardly, now Miss
Eva's gone."
The chapter was the eleventh of John,--the touching account of the raising of Lazarus,
St. Clare read it aloud, often pausing to wrestle down feelings which were roused by
the pathos of the story.
Tom knelt before him, with clasped hands, and with an absorbed expression of love,
trust, adoration, on his quiet face. "Tom," said his Master, "this is all real
to you!"
"I can jest fairly see it Mas'r," said Tom. "I wish I had your eyes, Tom."
"I wish, to the dear Lord, Mas'r had!"
"But, Tom, you know that I have a great deal more knowledge than you; what if I
should tell you that I don't believe this Bible?"
"O, Mas'r!" said Tom, holding up his hands, with a deprecating gesture.
"Wouldn't it shake your faith some, Tom?" "Not a grain," said Tom.
"Why, Tom, you must know I know the most."
"O, Mas'r, haven't you jest read how he hides from the wise and prudent, and
reveals unto babes? But Mas'r wasn't in earnest, for sartin,
now?" said Tom, anxiously.
"No, Tom, I was not. I don't disbelieve, and I think there is
reason to believe; and still I don't. It's a troublesome bad habit I've got,
"If Mas'r would only pray!" "How do you know I don't, Tom?"
"Does Mas'r?"
"I would, Tom, if there was anybody there when I pray; but it's all speaking unto
nothing, when I do. But come, Tom, you pray now, and show me
Tom's heart was full; he poured it out In prayer, like waters that have been long
One thing was plain enough; Tom thought there was somebody to hear, whether there
were or not.
In fact, St. Clare felt himself borne, on the tide of his faith and feeling, almost
to the gates of that heaven he seemed so vividly to conceive.
It seemed to bring him nearer to Eva.
"Thank you, my boy," said St. Clare, when Tom rose.
"I like to hear you, Tom; but go, now, and leave me alone; some other time, I'll talk
Tom silently left the room.
Week after week glided away in the St. Clare mansion, and the waves of life
settled back to their usual flow, where that little bark had gone down.
For how imperiously, how coolly, in disregard of all one's feeling, does the
hard, cold, uninteresting course of daily realities move on!
Still must we eat, and drink, and sleep, and wake again,--still bargain, buy, sell,
ask and answer questions,--pursue, in short, a thousand shadows, though all
interest in them be over; the cold
mechanical habit of living remaining, after all vital interest in it has fled.
All the interests and hopes of St. Clare's life had unconsciously wound themselves
around this child.
It was for Eva that he had managed his property; it was for Eva that he had
planned the disposal of his time; and, to do this and that for Eva,--to buy, improve,
alter, and arrange, or dispose something
for her,--had been so long his habit, that now she was gone, there seemed nothing to
be thought of, and nothing to be done.
True, there was another life,--a life which, once believed in, stands as a
solemn, significant figure before the otherwise unmeaning ciphers of time,
changing them to orders of mysterious, untold value.
St. Clare knew this well; and often, in many a weary hour, he heard that slender,
childish voice calling him to the skies, and saw that little hand pointing to him
the way of life; but a heavy lethargy of sorrow lay on him,--he could not arise.
He had one of those natures which could better and more clearly conceive of
religious things from its own perceptions and instincts, than many a matter-of-fact
and practical Christian.
The gift to appreciate and the sense to feel the finer shades and relations of
moral things, often seems an attribute of those whose whole life shows a careless
disregard of them.
Hence Moore, Byron, Goethe, often speak words more wisely descriptive of the true
religious sentiment, than another man, whose whole life is governed by it.
In such minds, disregard of religion is a more fearful treason,--a more deadly sin.
St. Clare had never pretended to govern himself by any religious obligation; and a
certain fineness of nature gave him such an instinctive view of the extent of the
requirements of Christianity, that he
shrank, by anticipation, from what he felt would be the exactions of his own
conscience, if he once did resolve to assume them.
For, so inconsistent is human nature, especially in the ideal, that not to
undertake a thing at all seems better than to undertake and come short.
Still St. Clare was, in many respects, another man.
He read his little Eva's Bible seriously and honestly; he thought more soberly and
practically of his relations to his servants,--enough to make him extremely
dissatisfied with both his past and present
course; and one thing he did, soon after his return to New Orleans, and that was to
commence the legal steps necessary to Tom's emancipation, which was to be perfected as
soon as he could get through the necessary formalities.
Meantime, he attached himself to Tom more and more, every day.
In all the wide world, there was nothing that seemed to remind him so much of Eva;
and he would insist on keeping him constantly about him, and, fastidious and
unapproachable as he was with regard to his
deeper feelings, he almost thought aloud to Tom.
Nor would any one have wondered at it, who had seen the expression of affection and
devotion with which Tom continually followed his young master.
"Well, Tom," said St. Clare, the day after he had commenced the legal formalities for
his enfranchisement, "I'm going to make a free man of you;--so have your trunk
packed, and get ready to set out for Kentuck."
The sudden light of joy that shone in Tom's face as he raised his hands to heaven, his
emphatic "Bless the Lord!" rather discomposed St. Clare; he did not like it
that Tom should be so ready to leave him.
"You haven't had such very bad times here, that you need be in such a rapture, Tom,"
he said drily. "No, no, Mas'r!
'tan't that,--it's bein' a freeman! that's what I'm joyin' for."
"Why, Tom, don't you think, for your own part, you've been better off than to be
"No, indeed, Mas'r St. Clare," said Tom, with a flash of energy.
"No, indeed!"
"Why, Tom, you couldn't possibly have earned, by your work, such clothes and such
living as I have given you."
"Knows all that, Mas'r St. Clare; Mas'r's been too good; but, Mas'r, I'd rather have
poor clothes, poor house, poor everything, and have 'em mine, than have the best, and
have 'em any man's else,--I had so, Mas'r; I think it's natur, Mas'r."
"I suppose so, Tom, and you'll be going off and leaving me, in a month or so," he
added, rather discontentedly.
"Though why you shouldn't, no mortal knows," he said, in a gayer tone; and,
getting up, he began to walk the floor. "Not while Mas'r is in trouble," said Tom.
"I'll stay with Mas'r as long as he wants me,--so as I can be any use."
"Not while I'm in trouble, Tom?" said St. Clare, looking sadly out of the
window...."And when will my trouble be over?"
"When Mas'r St. Clare's a Christian," said Tom.
"And you really mean to stay by till that day comes?" said St. Clare, half smiling,
as he turned from the window, and laid his hand on Tom's shoulder.
"Ah, Tom, you soft, silly boy!
I won't keep you till that day. Go home to your wife and children, and give
my love to all."
"I 's faith to believe that day will come," said Tom, earnestly, and with tears in his
eyes; "the Lord has a work for Mas'r."
"A work, hey?" said St. Clare, "well, now, Tom, give me your views on what sort of a
work it is;--let's hear."
"Why, even a poor fellow like me has a work from the Lord; and Mas'r St. Clare, that
has larnin, and riches, and friends,--how much he might do for the Lord!"
"Tom, you seem to think the Lord needs a great deal done for him," said St. Clare,
smiling. "We does for the Lord when we does for his
critturs," said Tom.
"Good theology, Tom; better than Dr. B. preaches, I dare swear," said St. Clare.
The conversation was here interrupted by the announcement of some visitors.
Marie St. Clare felt the loss of Eva as deeply as she could feel anything; and, as
she was a woman that had a great faculty of making everybody unhappy when she was, her
immediate attendants had still stronger
reason to regret the loss of their young mistress, whose winning ways and gentle
intercessions had so often been a shield to them from the tyrannical and selfish
exactions of her mother.
Poor old Mammy, in particular, whose heart, severed from all natural domestic ties, had
consoled itself with this one beautiful being, was almost heart-broken.
She cried day and night, and was, from excess of sorrow, less skilful and alert in
her ministrations of her mistress than usual, which drew down a constant storm of
invectives on her defenceless head.
Miss Ophelia felt the loss; but, in her good and honest heart, it bore fruit unto
everlasting life.
She was more softened, more gentle; and, though equally assiduous in every duty, it
was with a chastened and quiet air, as one who communed with her own heart not in
She was more diligent in teaching Topsy,-- taught her mainly from the Bible,--did not
any longer shrink from her touch, or manifest an ill-repressed disgust, because
she felt none.
She viewed her now through the softened medium that Eva's hand had first held
before her eyes, and saw in her only an immortal creature, whom God had sent to be
led by her to glory and virtue.
Topsy did not become at once a saint; but the life and death of Eva did work a marked
change in her.
The callous indifference was gone; there was now sensibility, hope, desire, and the
striving for good,--a strife irregular, interrupted, suspended oft, but yet renewed
One day, when Topsy had been sent for by Miss Ophelia, she came, hastily thrusting
something into her bosom. "What are you doing there, you limb?
You've been stealing something, I'll be bound," said the imperious little Rosa, who
had been sent to call her, seizing her, at the same time, roughly by the arm.
"You go 'long, Miss Rosa!" said Topsy, pulling from her; "'tan't none o' your
"None o' your sa'ce!" said Rosa, "I saw you hiding something,--I know yer tricks," and
Rosa seized her arm, and tried to force her hand into her bosom, while Topsy, enraged,
kicked and fought valiantly for what she considered her rights.
The clamor and confusion of the battle drew Miss Ophelia and St. Clare both to the
"She's been stealing!" said Rosa. "I han't, neither!" vociferated Topsy,
sobbing with passion. "Give me that, whatever it is!" said Miss
Ophelia, firmly.
Topsy hesitated; but, on a second order, pulled out of her bosom a little parcel
done up in the foot of one of her own old stockings.
Miss Ophelia turned it out.
There was a small book, which had been given to Topsy by Eva, containing a single
verse of Scripture, arranged for every day in the year, and in a paper the curl of
hair that she had given her on that
memorable day when she had taken her last farewell.
St. Clare was a good deal affected at the sight of it; the little book had been
rolled in a long strip of black crape, torn from the funeral weeds.
"What did you wrap this round the book for?" said St. Clare, holding up the crape.
"Cause,--cause,--cause 't was Miss Eva.
O, don't take 'em away, please!" she said; and, sitting flat down on the floor, and
putting her apron over her head, she began to sob vehemently.
It was a curious mixture of the pathetic and the ludicrous,--the little old
stockings,--black crape,--text-book,--fair, soft curl,--and Topsy's utter distress.
St. Clare smiled; but there were tears in his eyes, as he said,
"Come, come,--don't cry; you shall have them!" and, putting them together, he threw
them into her lap, and drew Miss Ophelia with him into the parlor.
"I really think you can make something of that concern," he said, pointing with his
thumb backward over his shoulder. "Any mind that is capable of a real sorrow
is capable of good.
You must try and do something with her." "The child has improved greatly," said Miss
"I have great hopes of her; but, Augustine," she said, laying her hand on
his arm, "one thing I want to ask; whose is this child to be?--yours or mine?"
"Why, I gave her to you," said Augustine.
"But not legally;--I want her to be mine legally," said Miss Ophelia.
"Whew! cousin," said Augustine. "What will the Abolition Society think?
They'll have a day of fasting appointed for this backsliding, if you become a
slaveholder!" "O, nonsense!
I want her mine, that I may have a right to take her to the free States, and give her
her liberty, that all I am trying to do be not undone."
"O, cousin, what an awful 'doing evil that good may come'!
I can't encourage it." "I don't want you to joke, but to reason,"
said Miss Ophelia.
"There is no use in my trying to make this child a Christian child, unless I save her
from all the chances and reverses of slavery; and, if you really are willing I
should have her, I want you to give me a deed of gift, or some legal paper."
"Well, well," said St. Clare, "I will;" and he sat down, and unfolded a newspaper to
"But I want it done now," said Miss Ophelia.
"What's your hurry?" "Because now is the only time there ever is
to do a thing in," said Miss Ophelia.
"Come, now, here's paper, pen, and ink; just write a paper."
St. Clare, like most men of his class of mind, cordially hated the present tense of
action, generally; and, therefore, he was considerably annoyed by Miss Ophelia's
"Why, what's the matter?" said he. "Can't you take my word?
One would think you had taken lessons of the Jews, coming at a fellow so!"
"I want to make sure of it," said Miss Ophelia.
"You may die, or fail, and then Topsy be hustled off to auction, spite of all I can
"Really, you are quite provident.
Well, seeing I'm in the hands of a Yankee, there is nothing for it but to concede;"
and St. Clare rapidly wrote off a deed of gift, which, as he was well versed in the
forms of law, he could easily do, and
signed his name to it in sprawling capitals, concluding by a tremendous
"There, isn't that black and white, now, Miss Vermont?" he said, as he handed it to
her. "Good boy," said Miss Ophelia, smiling.
"But must it not be witnessed?"
"O, bother!--yes. Here," he said, opening the door into
Marie's apartment, "Marie, Cousin wants your autograph; just put your name down
"What's this?" said Marie, as she ran over the paper.
I thought Cousin was too pious for such horrid things," she added, as she
carelessly wrote her name; "but, if she has a fancy for that article, I am sure she's
"There, now, she's yours, body and soul," said St. Clare, handing the paper.
"No more mine now than she was before," Miss Ophelia.
"Nobody but God has a right to give her to me; but I can protect her now."
"Well, she's yours by a fiction of law, then," said St. Clare, as he turned back
into the parlor, and sat down to his paper.
Miss Ophelia, who seldom sat much in Marie's company, followed him into the
parlor, having first carefully laid away the paper.
"Augustine," she said, suddenly, as she sat knitting, "have you ever made any provision
for your servants, in case of your death?" "No," said St. Clare, as he read on.
"Then all your indulgence to them may prove a great cruelty, by and by."
St. Clare had often thought the same thing himself; but he answered, negligently.
"Well, I mean to make a provision, by and by."
"When?" said Miss Ophelia. "O, one of these days."
"What if you should die first?"
"Cousin, what's the matter?" said St. Clare, laying down his paper and looking at
"Do you think I show symptoms of yellow fever or cholera, that you are making post
mortem arrangements with such zeal?" "'In the midst of life we are in death,'"
said Miss Ophelia.
St. Clare rose up, and laying the paper down, carelessly, walked to the door that
stood open on the verandah, to put an end to a conversation that was not agreeable to
Mechanically, he repeated the last word again,--"Death!"--and, as he leaned against
the railings, and watched the sparkling water as it rose and fell in the fountain;
and, as in a dim and dizzy haze, saw
flowers and trees and vases of the courts, he repeated, again the mystic word so
common in every mouth, yet of such fearful power,--"DEATH!"
"Strange that there should be such a word," he said, "and such a thing, and we ever
forget it; that one should be living, warm and beautiful, full of hopes, desires and
wants, one day, and the next be gone, utterly gone, and forever!"
It was a warm, golden evening; and, as he walked to the other end of the verandah, he
saw Tom busily intent on his Bible, pointing, as he did so, with his finger to
each successive word, and whispering them to himself with an earnest air.
"Want me to read to you, Tom?" said St. Clare, seating himself carelessly by him.
"If Mas'r pleases," said Tom, gratefully, "Mas'r makes it so much plainer."
St. Clare took the book and glanced at the place, and began reading one of the
passages which Tom had designated by the heavy marks around it.
It ran as follows:
"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all his holy angels with him,
then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all
nations; and he shall separate them one
from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats."
St. Clare read on in an animated voice, till he came to the last of the verses.
"Then shall the king say unto him on his left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into
everlasting fire: for I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and
ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, an
ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: I was sick, and in prison, and ye
visited me not.
Then shall they answer unto Him, Lord when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a
stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Then shall he say unto them, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these my
brethren, ye did it not to me."
St. Clare seemed struck with this last passage, for he read it twice,--the second
time slowly, and as if he were revolving the words in his mind.
"Tom," he said, "these folks that get such hard measure seem to have been doing just
what I have,--living good, easy, respectable lives; and not troubling
themselves to inquire how many of their
brethren were hungry or athirst, or sick, or in prison."
Tom did not answer.
St. Clare rose up and walked thoughtfully up and down the verandah, seeming to forget
everything in his own thoughts; so absorbed was he, that Tom had to remind him twice
that the teabell had rung, before he could get his attention.
St. Clare was absent and thoughtful, all tea-time.
After tea, he and Marie and Miss Ophelia took possession of the parlor almost in
Marie disposed herself on a lounge, under a silken mosquito curtain, and was soon sound
asleep. Miss Ophelia silently busied herself with
her knitting.
St. Clare sat down to the piano, and began playing a soft and melancholy movement with
the AEolian accompaniment. He seemed in a deep reverie, and to be
soliloquizing to himself by music.
After a little, he opened one of the drawers, took out an old music-book whose
leaves were yellow with age, and began turning it over.
"There," he said to Miss Ophelia, "this was one of my mother's books,--and here is her
handwriting,--come and look at it. She copied and arranged this from Mozart's
Miss Ophelia came accordingly. "It was something she used to sing often,"
said St. Clare. "I think I can hear her now."
He struck a few majestic chords, and began singing that grand old Latin piece, the
"Dies Irae."
Tom, who was listening in the outer verandah, was drawn by the sound to the
very door, where he stood earnestly.
He did not understand the words, of course; but the music and manner of singing
appeared to affect him strongly, especially when St. Clare sang the more pathetic
Tom would have sympathized more heartily, if he had known the meaning of the
beautiful words:
Recordare Jesu pie Quod sum causa tuar viae
Ne me perdas, illa die
Querens me sedisti lassus Redemisti crucem passus
Tantus laor non sit cassus. These lines have been thus rather
inadequately translated:
Think, O Jesus, for what reason Thou endured'st earth's spite and treason,
Nor me lose, in that dread season;
Seeking me, thy worn feet hasted, On the cross thy soul death tasted,
Let not all these toils be wasted. [Mrs. Stowe's note.]
St. Clare threw a deep and pathetic expression into the words; for the shadowy
veil of years seemed drawn away, and he seemed to hear his mother's voice leading
Voice and instrument seemed both living, and threw out with vivid sympathy those
strains which the ethereal Mozart first conceived as his own dying requiem.
When St. Clare had done singing, he sat leaning his head upon his hand a few
moments, and then began walking up and down the floor.
"What a sublime conception is that of a last judgment!" said he,--"a righting of
all the wrongs of ages!--a solving of all moral problems, by an unanswerable wisdom!
It is, indeed, a wonderful image."
"It is a fearful one to us," said Miss Ophelia.
"It ought to be to me, I suppose," said St. Clare stopping, thoughtfully.
"I was reading to Tom, this afternoon, that chapter in Matthew that gives an account of
it, and I have been quite struck with it.
One should have expected some terrible enormities charged to those who are
excluded from Heaven, as the reason; but no,--they are condemned for not doing
positive good, as if that included every possible harm."
"Perhaps," said Miss Ophelia, "it is impossible for a person who does no good
not to do harm."
"And what," said St. Clare, speaking abstractedly, but with deep feeling, "what
shall be said of one whose own heart, whose education, and the wants of society, have
called in vain to some noble purpose; who
has floated on, a dreamy, neutral spectator of the struggles, agonies, and wrongs of
man, when he should have been a worker?" "I should say," said Miss Ophelia, "that he
ought to repent, and begin now."
"Always practical and to the point!" said St. Clare, his face breaking out into a
"You never leave me any time for general reflections, Cousin; you always bring me
short up against the actual present; you have a kind of eternal now, always in your
"Now is all the time I have anything to do with," said Miss Ophelia.
"Dear little Eva,--poor child!" said St. Clare, "she had set her little simple soul
on a good work for me."
It was the first time since Eva's death that he had ever said as many words as
these to her, and he spoke now evidently repressing very strong feeling.
"My view of Christianity is such," he added, "that I think no man can
consistently profess it without throwing the whole weight of his being against this
monstrous system of injustice that lies at
the foundation of all our society; and, if need be, sacrificing himself in the battle.
That is, I mean that I could not be a Christian otherwise, though I have
certainly had intercourse with a great many enlightened and Christian people who did no
such thing; and I confess that the apathy
of religious people on this subject, their want of perception of wrongs that filled me
with horror, have engendered in me more scepticism than any other thing."
"If you knew all this," said Miss Ophelia, "why didn't you do it?"
"O, because I have had only that kind of benevolence which consists in lying on a
sofa, and cursing the church and clergy for not being martyrs and confessors.
One can see, you know, very easily, how others ought to be martyrs."
"Well, are you going to do differently now?" said Miss Ophelia.
"God only knows the future," said St. Clare.
"I am braver than I was, because I have lost all; and he who has nothing to lose
can afford all risks."
"And what are you going to do?"
"My duty, I hope, to the poor and lowly, as fast as I find it out," said St. Clare,
"beginning with my own servants, for whom I have yet done nothing; and, perhaps, at
some future day, it may appear that I can
do something for a whole class; something to save my country from the disgrace of
that false position in which she now stands before all civilized nations."
"Do you suppose it possible that a nation ever will voluntarily emancipate?" said
Miss Ophelia. "I don't know," said St. Clare.
"This is a day of great deeds.
Heroism and disinterestedness are rising up, here and there, in the earth.
The Hungarian nobles set free millions of serfs, at an immense pecuniary loss; and,
perhaps, among us may be found generous spirits, who do not estimate honor and
justice by dollars and cents."
"I hardly think so," said Miss Ophelia. "But, suppose we should rise up tomorrow
and emancipate, who would educate these millions, and teach them how to use their
They never would rise to do much among us. The fact is, we are too lazy and
unpractical, ourselves, ever to give them much of an idea of that industry and energy
which is necessary to form them into men.
They will have to go north, where labor is the fashion,--the universal custom; and
tell me, now, is there enough Christian philanthropy, among your northern states,
to bear with the process of their education and elevation?
You send thousands of dollars to foreign missions; but could you endure to have the
heathen sent into your towns and villages, and give your time, and thoughts, and
money, to raise them to the Christian standard?
That's what I want to know. If we emancipate, are you willing to
How many families, in your town, would take a negro man and woman, teach them, bear
with them, and seek to make them Christians?
How many merchants would take Adolph, if I wanted to make him a clerk; or mechanics,
if I wanted him taught a trade?
If I wanted to put Jane and Rosa to a school, how many schools are there in the
northern states that would take them in? how many families that would board them?
and yet they are as white as many a woman, north or south.
You see, Cousin, I want justice done us. We are in a bad position.
We are the more obvious oppressors of the negro; but the unchristian prejudice of the
north is an oppressor almost equally severe."
"Well, Cousin, I know it is so," said Miss Ophelia,--"I know it was so with me, till I
saw that it was my duty to overcome it; but, I trust I have overcome it; and I know
there are many good people at the north,
who in this matter need only to be taught what their duty is, to do it.
It would certainly be a greater self-denial to receive heathen among us, than to send
missionaries to them; but I think we would do it."
"You would, I know," said St. Clare.
"I'd like to see anything you wouldn't do, if you thought it your duty!"
"Well, I'm not uncommonly good," said Miss Ophelia.
"Others would, if they saw things as I do.
I intend to take Topsy home, when I go. I suppose our folks will wonder, at first;
but I think they will be brought to see as I do.
Besides, I know there are many people at the north who do exactly what you said."
"Yes, but they are a minority; and, if we should begin to emancipate to any extent,
we should soon hear from you."
Miss Ophelia did not reply. There was a pause of some moments; and St.
Clare's countenance was overcast by a sad, dreamy expression.
"I don't know what makes me think of my mother so much, tonight," he said.
"I have a strange kind of feeling, as if she were near me.
I keep thinking of things she used to say.
Strange, what brings these past things so vividly back to us, sometimes!"
St. Clare walked up and down the room for some minutes more, and then said,
"I believe I'll go down street, a few moments, and hear the news, tonight."
He took his hat, and passed out. Tom followed him to the passage, out of the
court, and asked if he should attend him.
"No, my boy," said St. Clare. "I shall be back in an hour."
Tom sat down in the verandah.
It was a beautiful moonlight evening, and he sat watching the rising and falling
spray of the fountain, and listening to its murmur.
Tom thought of his home, and that he should soon be a free man, and able to return to
it at will. He thought how he should work to buy his
wife and boys.
He felt the muscles of his brawny arms with a sort of joy, as he thought they would
soon belong to himself, and how much they could do to work out the freedom of his
Then he thought of his noble young master, and, ever second to that, came the habitual
prayer that he had always offered for him; and then his thoughts passed on to the
beautiful Eva, whom he now thought of among
the angels; and he thought till he almost fancied that that bright face and golden
hair were looking upon him, out of the spray of the fountain.
And, so musing, he fell asleep, and dreamed he saw her coming bounding towards him,
just as she used to come, with a wreath of jessamine in her hair, her cheeks bright,
and her eyes radiant with delight; but, as
he looked, she seemed to rise from the ground; her cheeks wore a paler hue,--her
eyes had a deep, divine radiance, a golden halo seemed around her head,--and she
vanished from his sight; and Tom was
awakened by a loud knocking, and a sound of many voices at the gate.
He hastened to undo it; and, with smothered voices and heavy tread, came several men,
bringing a body, wrapped in a cloak, and lying on a shutter.
The light of the lamp fell full on the face; and Tom gave a wild cry of amazement
and despair, that rung through all the galleries, as the men advanced, with their
burden, to the open parlor door, where Miss Ophelia still sat knitting.
St. Clare had turned into a cafe, to look over an evening paper.
As he was reading, an affray arose between two gentlemen in the room, who were both
partially intoxicated.
St. Clare and one or two others made an effort to separate them, and St. Clare
received a fatal stab in the side with a bowie-knife, which he was attempting to
wrest from one of them.
The house was full of cries and lamentations, shrieks and screams, servants
frantically tearing their hair, throwing themselves on the ground, or running
distractedly about, lamenting.
Tom and Miss Ophelia alone seemed to have any presence of mind; for Marie was in
strong hysteric convulsions.
At Miss Ophelia's direction, one of the lounges in the parlor was hastily prepared,
and the bleeding form laid upon it.
St. Clare had fainted, through pain and loss of blood; but, as Miss Ophelia applied
restoratives, he revived, opened his eyes, looked fixedly on them, looked earnestly
around the room, his eyes travelling
wistfully over every object, and finally they rested on his mother's picture.
The physician now arrived, and made his examination.
It was evident, from the expression of his face, that there was no hope; but he
applied himself to dressing the wound, and he and Miss Ophelia and Tom proceeded
composedly with this work, amid the
lamentations and sobs and cries of the affrighted servants, who had clustered
about the doors and windows of the verandah.
"Now," said the physician, "we must turn all these creatures out; all depends on his
being kept quiet."
St. Clare opened his eyes, and looked fixedly on the distressed beings, whom Miss
Ophelia and the doctor were trying to urge from the apartment.
"Poor creatures!" he said, and an expression of bitter self-reproach passed
over his face. Adolph absolutely refused to go.
Terror had deprived him of all presence of mind; he threw himself along the floor, and
nothing could persuade him to rise.
The rest yielded to Miss Ophelia's urgent representations, that their master's safety
depended on their stillness and obedience.
St. Clare could say but little; he lay with his eyes shut, but it was evident that he
wrestled with bitter thoughts.
After a while, he laid his hand on Tom's, who was kneeling beside him, and said,
"Tom! poor fellow!" "What, Mas'r?" said Tom, earnestly.
"I am dying!" said St. Clare, pressing his hand; "pray!"
"If you would like a clergyman--" said the physician.
St. Clare hastily shook his head, and said again to Tom, more earnestly, "Pray!"
And Tom did pray, with all his mind and strength, for the soul that was passing,--
the soul that seemed looking so steadily and mournfully from those large, melancholy
blue eyes.
It was literally prayer offered with strong crying and tears.
When Tom ceased to speak, St. Clare reached out and took his hand, looking earnestly at
him, but saying nothing.
He closed his eyes, but still retained his hold; for, in the gates of eternity, the
black hand and the white hold each other with an equal clasp.
He murmured softly to himself, at broken intervals,
"Recordare Jesu pie-- Ne me perdas--illa die Querens me--sedisti lassus."
It was evident that the words he had been singing that evening were passing through
his mind,--words of entreaty addressed to Infinite Pity.
His lips moved at intervals, as parts of the hymn fell brokenly from them.
"His mind is wandering," said the doctor. "No! it is coming HOME, at last!" said St.
Clare, energetically; "at last! at last!"
The effort of speaking exhausted him.
The sinking paleness of death fell on him; but with it there fell, as if shed from the
wings of some pitying spirit, a beautiful expression of peace, like that of a wearied
child who sleeps.
So he lay for a few moments. They saw that the mighty hand was on him.
Just before the spirit parted, he opened his eyes, with a sudden light, as of joy
and recognition, and said "Mother!" and then he was gone!
CHAPTER XXIX The Unprotected
We hear often of the distress of the negro servants, on the loss of a kind master; and
with good reason, for no creature on God's earth is left more utterly unprotected and
desolate than the slave in these circumstances.
The child who has lost a father has still the protection of friends, and of the law;
he is something, and can do something,--has acknowledged rights and position; the slave
has none.
The law regards him, in every respect, as devoid of rights as a bale of merchandise.
The only possible acknowledgment of any of the longings and wants of a human and
immortal creature, which are given to him, comes to him through the sovereign and
irresponsible will of his master; and when
that master is stricken down, nothing remains.
The number of those men who know how to use wholly irresponsible power humanely and
generously is small.
Everybody knows this, and the slave knows it best of all; so that he feels that there
are ten chances of his finding an abusive and tyrannical master, to one of his
finding a considerate and kind one.
Therefore is it that the wail over a kind master is loud and long, as well it may be.
When St. Clare breathed his last, terror and consternation took hold of all his
He had been stricken down so in a moment, in the flower and strength of his youth!
Every room and gallery of the house resounded with sobs and shrieks of despair.
Marie, whose nervous system had been enervated by a constant course of self-
indulgence, had nothing to support the terror of the shock, and, at the time her
husband breathed his last, was passing from
one fainting fit to another; and he to whom she had been joined in the mysterious tie
of marriage passed from her forever, without the possibility of even a parting
Miss Ophelia, with characteristic strength and self-control, had remained with her
kinsman to the last,--all eye, all ear, all attention; doing everything of the little
that could be done, and joining with her
whole soul in the tender and impassioned prayers which the poor slave had poured
forth for the soul of his dying master.
When they were arranging him for his last rest, they found upon his bosom a small,
plain miniature case, opening with a spring.
It was the miniature of a noble and beautiful female face; and on the reverse,
under a crystal, a lock of dark hair.
They laid them back on the lifeless breast,--dust to dust,--poor mournful
relics of early dreams, which once made that cold heart beat so warmly!
Tom's whole soul was filled with thoughts of eternity; and while he ministered around
the lifeless clay, he did not once think that the sudden stroke had left him in
hopeless slavery.
He felt at peace about his master; for in that hour, when he had poured forth his
prayer into the bosom of his Father, he had found an answer of quietness and assurance
springing up within himself.
In the depths of his own affectionate nature, he felt able to perceive something
of the fulness of Divine love; for an old oracle hath thus written,--"He that
dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."
Tom hoped and trusted, and was at peace.
But the funeral passed, with all its pageant of black crape, and prayers, and
solemn faces; and back rolled the cool, muddy waves of every-day life; and up came
the everlasting hard inquiry of "What is to be done next?"
It rose to the mind of Marie, as, dressed in loose morning-robes, and surrounded by
anxious servants, she sat up in a great easy-chair, and inspected samples of crape
and bombazine.
It rose to Miss Ophelia, who began to turn her thoughts towards her northern home.
It rose, in silent terrors, to the minds of the servants, who well knew the unfeeling,
tyrannical character of the mistress in whose hands they were left.
All knew, very well, that the indulgences which had been accorded to them were not
from their mistress, but from their master; and that, now he was gone, there would be
no screen between them and every tyrannous
infliction which a temper soured by affliction might devise.
It was about a fortnight after the funeral, that Miss Ophelia, busied one day in her
apartment, heard a gentle tap at the door.
She opened it, and there stood Rosa, the pretty young quadroon, whom we have before
often noticed, her hair in disorder, and her eyes swelled with crying.
"O, Miss Feeley," she said, falling on her knees, and catching the skirt of her dress,
"do, do go to Miss Marie for me! do plead for me!
She's goin' to send me out to be whipped-- look there!"
And she handed to Miss Ophelia a paper.
It was an order, written in Marie's delicate Italian hand, to the master of a
whipping-establishment to give the bearer fifteen lashes.
"What have you been doing?" said Miss Ophelia.
"You know, Miss Feely, I've got such a bad temper; it's very bad of me.
I was trying on Miss Marie's dress, and she slapped my face; and I spoke out before I
thought, and was saucy; and she said that she'd bring me down, and have me know, once
for all, that I wasn't going to be so
topping as I had been; and she wrote this, and says I shall carry it.
I'd rather she'd kill me, right out." Miss Ophelia stood considering, with the
paper in her hand.
"You see, Miss Feely," said Rosa, "I don't mind the whipping so much, if Miss Marie or
you was to do it; but, to be sent to a man! and such a horrid man,--the shame of it,
Miss Feely!"
Miss Ophelia well knew that it was the universal custom to send women and young
girls to whipping-houses, to the hands of the lowest of men,--men vile enough to make
this their profession,--there to be
subjected to brutal exposure and shameful correction.
She had known it before; but hitherto she had never realized it, till she saw the
slender form of Rosa almost convulsed with distress.
All the honest blood of womanhood, the strong New England blood of liberty,
flushed to her cheeks, and throbbed bitterly in her indignant heart; but, with
habitual prudence and self-control, she
mastered herself, and, crushing the paper firmly in her hand, she merely said to
Rosa, "Sit down, child, while I go to your
"Shameful! monstrous! outrageous!" she said to herself, as she was crossing the parlor.
She found Marie sitting up in her easy- chair, with Mammy standing by her, combing
her hair; Jane sat on the ground before her, busy in chafing her feet.
"How do you find yourself, today?" said Miss Ophelia.
A deep sigh, and a closing of the eyes, was the only reply, for a moment; and then
Marie answered, "O, I don't know, Cousin; I suppose I'm as well as I ever shall be!"
and Marie wiped her eyes with a cambric
handkerchief, bordered with an inch deep of black.
"I came," said Miss Ophelia, with a short, dry cough, such as commonly introduces a
difficult subject,--"I came to speak with you about poor Rosa."
Marie's eyes were open wide enough now, and a flush rose to her sallow cheeks, as she
answered, sharply, "Well, what about her?"
"She is very sorry for her fault."
"She is, is she? She'll be sorrier, before I've done with
I've endured that child's impudence long enough; and now I'll bring her down,--I'll
make her lie in the dust!"
"But could not you punish her some other way,--some way that would be less
shameful?" "I mean to shame her; that's just what I
She has all her life presumed on her delicacy, and her good looks, and her lady-
like airs, till she forgets who she is;-- and I'll give her one lesson that will
bring her down, I fancy!"
"But, Cousin, consider that, if you destroy delicacy and a sense of shame in a young
girl, you deprave her very fast." "Delicacy!" said Marie, with a scornful
laugh,--"a fine word for such as she!
I'll teach her, with all her airs, that she's no better than the raggedest black
wench that walks the streets! She'll take no more airs with me!"
"You will answer to God for such cruelty!" said Miss Ophelia, with energy.
"Cruelty,--I'd like to know what the cruelty is!
I wrote orders for only fifteen lashes, and told him to put them on lightly.
I'm sure there's no cruelty there!" "No cruelty!" said Miss Ophelia.
"I'm sure any girl might rather be killed outright!"
"It might seem so to anybody with your feeling; but all these creatures get used
to it; it's the only way they can be kept in order.
Once let them feel that they are to take any airs about delicacy, and all that, and
they'll run all over you, just as my servants always have.
I've begun now to bring them under; and I'll have them all to know that I'll send
one out to be whipped, as soon as another, if they don't mind themselves!" said Marie,
looking around her decidedly.
Jane hung her head and cowered at this, for she felt as if it was particularly directed
to her.
Miss Ophelia sat for a moment, as if she had swallowed some explosive mixture, and
were ready to burst.
Then, recollecting the utter uselessness of contention with such a nature, she shut her
lips resolutely, gathered herself up, and walked out of the room.
It was hard to go back and tell Rosa that she could do nothing for her; and, shortly
after, one of the man-servants came to say that her mistress had ordered him to take
Rosa with him to the whipping-house,
whither she was hurried, in spite of her tears and entreaties.
A few days after, Tom was standing musing by the balconies, when he was joined by
Adolph, who, since the death of his master, had been entirely crest-fallen and
Adolph knew that he had always been an object of dislike to Marie; but while his
master lived he had paid but little attention to it.
Now that he was gone, he had moved about in daily dread and trembling, not knowing what
might befall him next.
Marie had held several consultations with her lawyer; after communicating with St.
Clare's brother, it was determined to sell the place, and all the servants, except her
own personal property, and these she
intended to take with her, and go back to her father's plantation.
"Do ye know, Tom, that we've all got to be sold?" said Adolph, and go back to her
father's plantation.
"How did you hear that?" said Tom. "I hid myself behind the curtains when
Missis was talking with the lawyer. In a few days we shall be sent off to
auction, Tom."
"The Lord's will be done!" said Tom, folding his arms and sighing heavily.
"We'll never get another such a master," said Adolph, apprehensively; "but I'd
rather be sold than take my chance under Missis."
Tom turned away; his heart was full.
The hope of liberty, the thought of distant wife and children, rose up before his
patient soul, as to the mariner shipwrecked almost in port rises the vision of the
church-spire and loving roofs of his native
village, seen over the top of some black wave only for one last farewell.
He drew his arms tightly over his bosom, and choked back the bitter tears, and tried
to pray.
The poor old soul had such a singular, unaccountable prejudice in favor of
liberty, that it was a hard wrench for him; and the more he said, "Thy will be done,"
the worse he felt.
He sought Miss Ophelia, who, ever since Eva's death, had treated him with marked
and respectful kindness. "Miss Feely," he said, "Mas'r St. Clare
promised me my freedom.
He told me that he had begun to take it out for me; and now, perhaps, if Miss Feely
would be good enough to speak bout it to Missis, she would feel like goin' on with
it, was it as Mas'r St. Clare's wish."
"I'll speak for you, Tom, and do my best," said Miss Ophelia; "but, if it depends on
Mrs. St. Clare, I can't hope much for you;- -nevertheless, I will try."
This incident occurred a few days after that of Rosa, while Miss Ophelia was busied
in preparations to return north.
Seriously reflecting within herself, she considered that perhaps she had shown too
hasty a warmth of language in her former interview with Marie; and she resolved that
she would now endeavor to moderate her
zeal, and to be as conciliatory as possible.
So the good soul gathered herself up, and, taking her knitting, resolved to go into
Marie's room, be as agreeable as possible, and negotiate Tom's case with all the
diplomatic skill of which she was mistress.
She found Marie reclining at length upon a lounge, supporting herself on one elbow by
pillows, while Jane, who had been out shopping, was displaying before her certain
samples of thin black stuffs.
"That will do," said Marie, selecting one; "only I'm not sure about its being properly
"Laws, Missis," said Jane, volubly, "Mrs. General Derbennon wore just this very
thing, after the General died, last summer; it makes up lovely!"
"What do you think?" said Marie to Miss Ophelia.
"It's a matter of custom, I suppose," said Miss Ophelia.
"You can judge about it better than I."
"The fact is," said Marie, "that I haven't a dress in the world that I can wear; and,
as I am going to break up the establishment, and go off, next week, I
must decide upon something."
"Are you going so soon?" "Yes.
St. Clare's brother has written, and he and the lawyer think that the servants and
furniture had better be put up at auction, and the place left with our lawyer."
"There's one thing I wanted to speak with you about," said Miss Ophelia.
"Augustine promised Tom his liberty, and began the legal forms necessary to it.
I hope you will use your influence to have it perfected."
"Indeed, I shall do no such thing!" said Marie, sharply.
"Tom is one of the most valuable servants on the place,--it couldn't be afforded, any
way. Besides, what does he want of liberty?
He's a great deal better off as he is."
"But he does desire it, very earnestly, and his master promised it," said Miss Ophelia.
"I dare say he does want it," said Marie; "they all want it, just because they are a
discontented set,--always wanting what they haven't got.
Now, I'm principled against emancipating, in any case.
Keep a negro under the care of a master, and he does well enough, and is
respectable; but set them free, and they get lazy, and won't work, and take to
drinking, and go all down to be mean,
worthless fellows, I've seen it tried, hundreds of times.
It's no favor to set them free." "But Tom is so steady, industrious, and
"O, you needn't tell me! I've see a hundred like him.
He'll do very well, as long as he's taken care of,--that's all."
"But, then, consider," said Miss Ophelia, "when you set him up for sale, the chances
of his getting a bad master."
"O, that's all humbug!" said Marie; "it isn't one time in a hundred that a good
fellow gets a bad master; most masters are good, for all the talk that is made.
I've lived and grown up here, in the South, and I never yet was acquainted with a
master that didn't treat his servants well,--quite as well as is worth while.
I don't feel any fears on that head."
"Well," said Miss Ophelia, energetically, "I know it was one of the last wishes of
your husband that Tom should have his liberty; it was one of the promises that he
made to dear little Eva on her death-bed,
and I should not think you would feel at liberty to disregard it."
Marie had her face covered with her handkerchief at this appeal, and began
sobbing and using her smelling-bottle, with great vehemence.
"Everybody goes against me!" she said.
"Everybody is so inconsiderate! I shouldn't have expected that you would
bring up all these remembrances of my troubles to me,--it's so inconsiderate!
But nobody ever does consider,--my trials are so peculiar!
It's so hard, that when I had only one daughter, she should have been taken!--and
when I had a husband that just exactly suited me,--and I'm so hard to be suited!--
he should be taken!
And you seem to have so little feeling for me, and keep bringing it up to me so
carelessly,--when you know how it overcomes me!
I suppose you mean well; but it is very inconsiderate,--very!"
And Marie sobbed, and gasped for breath, and called Mammy to open the window, and to
bring her the camphor-bottle, and to bathe her head, and unhook her dress.
And, in the general confusion that ensued, Miss Ophelia made her escape to her
She saw, at once, that it would do no good to say anything more; for Marie had an
indefinite capacity for hysteric fits; and, after this, whenever her husband's or Eva's
wishes with regard to the servants were
alluded to, she always found it convenient to set one in operation.
Miss Ophelia, therefore, did the next best thing she could for Tom,--she wrote a
letter to Mrs. Shelby for him, stating his troubles, and urging them to send to his
The next day, Tom and Adolph, and some half a dozen other servants, were marched down
to a slave-warehouse, to await the convenience of the trader, who was going to
make up a lot for auction.