THIS LITTLE WORK
The purpose of the Editor of this little Work, has been to adapt it for the juvenile family circle. The verses have accordingly been written by the Authoress for the capacity of the youngest readers, and have been printed in a large bold type. The prose parts of the book, which are well suited for being read aloud in the family circle, are printed in a smaller type, and it is presumed that in these our younger friends will claim the assistance of their older brothers or sisters, or appeal to the ready aid of their mamma.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1853, by
Come read my book good boys and girls
Oh children dear, 'twas sad to hear,
That all about the rich man's house
Before setting out, Eliza took a piece of paper and a pencil, and wrote hastily the following note to her kind mistress, who had tried in vain to save little Harry from being sold:—
"Oh missus! dear missus! don't think me ungrateful; don't think hard of me. I am going to try to save my boy; you will not blame me! God bless and reward you for all your kindness!"
Hastily folding and directing this, she went to a drawer and made up a little package of clothing for her boy, which she tied firmly round her waist; and so fond is a mother's remembrance, that even in the terrors of that hour she did not forget to put up in the package one or two of his favourite toys.
On the bed lay her slumbering boy, his long curls falling negligently around his unconscious face, his rosy mouth half open, his little fat hands thrown out over the bed-clothes, and a smile spread like a sunbeam over his whole face. "Poor boy! poor fellow!" said Eliza, "they have sold you, but your mother will save you yet."
It was some trouble to arouse the little sleeper; but after some effort he sat us, and began playing with his wooden bird, while his mother was putting on her bonnet and shawl.
"Where are you going, mother?" said he, as she drew near the bed with his little coat and cap.
His mother drew near, and looked so earnestly into his eyes, that he at once divined that something unusual was the matter.
"Hush, Harry," she said; "mustn't speak loud, or they will hear us. A wicked man was coming to take little Harry away from his mother, and carry him 'way off in the dark; but mother won't let him—she's going to put on her little boy's cap and coat, and run off with him, so the ugly man can't catch him."
Saying these words, she had tied and buttoned on the child's simple outfit, and taking him in her arms, she whispered to him to be very still; and, opening the door, she glided noiselessly out.
It was a frosty, sparkling, starlight night, and the mother wrapped the shawl close round her child, as, perfectly quiet with terror, he clung round her neck.
At first the novelty and alarm kept him waking, but after they had gone a considerable way, poor Harry said, as he found himself sinking to sleep—
"Mother, I don't need to keep awake, do I?"
"No, my darling; sleep now, if you want to."
"But mother, if I do get asleep, you won't let him get me?"
"No! so may God help me!" said his mother, with a paler cheek, and a brighter light in her large, dark eyes.
"You're sure, an't you, mother?"
"Yes, sure!" said the mother, in a voice that startled herself; for it seemed to her to come from a spirit within that was no part of her; and the boy dropped his little weary head on her shoulder, and was soon asleep.
When morning came, as poor Harry complained of hunger and thirst, she sat down behind a large rock, which hid them from the road, and gave him a breakfast out of her little package. The boy wondered and grieved that she could not eat, and when putting his arms around her neck he tried to force some of his cake into her mouth, it seemed to her that the rising in her throat would choke her.
"No, no, Harry, darling! mother can't eat till you are safe! We must go on—on—till we come to the river." And she hurried again into the road and proceeded on her journey.
When the trader came to take away Harry, he was in a great rage, because
neither the boy nor his mother could be found. The master who sold him was
also very angry, and ordered two of his negroes, called Andy and Sam, to bring
out two of the swiftest horses, and help the trader to pursue Eliza, and take
Harry from her. Andy and Sam did not like that work, but being slaves, they
dared not disobey. However, they did what they could
to detain the trader; for, pretending to be in great haste, they squalled for this and that, and frightened the horses, till they ran off over hedges and ditches, with Andy and Sam after them, laughing till their sides ached as soon as they got out of sight. The trader all the while stood cursing and swearing, like a wicked man as he was.
When the horses were caught, they were so tired with their race, that he was fain to let them stay and rest till dinner-time. But when dinner-time came, Chloe the cook, of whom you will hear more in the course of the story, spilled one dish; kept another long in baking; and so the trader did not get his dinner till it was late in the afternoon.
The horses were brought out at last, and he set out with Sam and Andy in pursuit of poor Harry and his mother. They had gone a great way by this time, and Eliza's feet were sore with walking all the night and day, and Harry was ready to go lie down and sleep on the snow. As the sun was setting, they came in sight of the great river Ohio. There was no bridge over it. People crossed in boats in the summer time, and in winter on the thick ice, with which it was always covered. Now it was the month of February. The ice had broken, because spring was near. The river was swollen over all its banks, and no boatman would venture on it. There was a little inn hard by, and there poor Eliza hoped to get a little rest for herself and Harry, who was now fast asleep in her arms. She had just sat down by the fire, when, who should ride into the yard but the trader and his guides. The swift horses had brought them much quicker than she and Harry could walk, but the weary mother would not lose her child. She darted out with him that moment, and the verses will tell you by what means she escaped.
ELIZA CROSSING THE RIVER
From her resting-place by the trader chased,
When the two negroes saw Eliza's escape, they began to laugh and cheer;
on which the trader chased them with his horsewhip, cursing and swearing as
usual. But he could not get over the river, and went in very bad temper to
spend that night at the little inn, determined to get a boat, if possible,
and catch Harry in the morning. The man who had helped Eliza up the river's
bank, showed her a pretty white house at some distance, where a kind gentleman
and his wife lived. The dark night had fallen, the tea-cups were on the table,
and the fires were bright in kitchen and parlour, when the poor mother, all
wet and weary, her feet cut by the sharp ice (for she had lost her shoes in
the river), walked in, with Harry still in her arms. Before she could ask
for shelter, she dropped down fainting on the
floor. The good people of the house thought she was dead, and raised a terrible alarm. Mr. and Mrs. Bird ran into the kitchen to see what had happened. They were good, kind people, and great in that place, for Mr. Bird was a member of the American Parliament. He kept slaves himself, and tried to think it was no sin. He had even been trying that very night, in conversation with his wife, to defend a law lately passed, which forbade any one to give shelter to poor runaway slaves. But Mrs. Bird would listen to no defence of such a law, and said, "It is a shameful, wicked, and abominable law, and I'll break it for one the first time I have a chance, and I hope I shall have a chance too. I know nothing about politics, but I can read my Bible, and there I see that I must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the desolate; and that Bible I mean to follow. No, no, John," said she, "you may talk all night, but you would not do what you say. Would you now turn away a poor, shivering, hungry creature from your door because he was a runaway? Would you, now?"
Now, if the truth must be told, Mr. Bird was a very kind man, and could not in his heart give a very decided reply to his wife; and it was just at this moment that poor Eliza and little Harry came to his door. As we said, Mr. and Mrs. Bird ran to the kitchen to see what had happened. They found poor Eliza just recovering from her faint. She stared wildly round her for a moment, and then sprang to her feet, saying, "Oh! my Harry! have you got him?" The boy at this ran to her, and put his arms round her neck. "Oh! he's here, he's here!" she exclaimed. And then she cried wildly to Mrs. Bird, "O, ma'am, do protect us, don't let them get him!"
"Nobody shall hurt you here, poor woman," said Mrs. Bird. "You are safe; don't be afraid."
"God bless you," said the woman, covering her face and sobbing, while poor little Harry, seeing her crying, tried to get into her lap.
With many gentle and womanly offices, which no one knew better how to render than Mrs. Bird, the poor woman was rendered more calm. A temporary bed was provided for her near the fire; and after a short time, Eliza, faint and weary with her long journey, fell into a heavy slumber, with little Harry soundly sleeping on her arm.
"I wonder who and what she is," said Mr. Bird, when he had gone back to the parlour with his wife.
"When she wakes and feels a little rested, we shall see," said Mrs. Bird, who began to busy herself with her knitting.
Mr. Bird took up a newspaper, and pretended to be reading it, but it was not long before he turned to his wife and said, "I say, wife, couldn't she wear one of your gowns; and there's that old cloak that you keep on purpose to put over me when I take my afternoon's nap, you might give her that; she needs clothes."
Mrs. Bird simply replied, "We'll see;" but a quiet smile passed over her face as she remembered the conversation that had had together that very night before Eliza and little Harry came to their door.
After an hour or two, Eliza awoke, and Mr. and Mrs. Bird again went to the kitchen. As they entered, poor Eliza lifted her dark eyes, and fixed them on Mrs Bird, which such a forlorn and imploring expression, that the tears came into the kind-hearted woman's eyes.
"You need not be afraid of anything; we are friends here, poor woman! Tell me where you came from, and what you want?" said she.
"I came from Kentucky," said poor Eliza.
"And what induced you to run away?" said Mrs. Bird.
The woman looked up with a keen, scrutinising glance, and it did not escape her that Mrs. Bird was dressed in deep mourning.
"Ma'am," she said, suddenly, "have you ever lost a child?"
The question was unexpected, and it was a thrust on a new wound; for it was only a month since a darling child of the family had been laid in the grave.
Mr. Bird turned round and walked to the window, and Mrs. Bird burst into tears; but, recovering her voice, she said—
"Why do you ask that? I have lost a little one."
"Then you will feel for me. I have lost two, one after another—left them buried there when I came away; and I had only this one left. I never slept a night without him; he was all I had. He was my comfort and pride day and night; and, ma'am, they were going to take him away from me—to sell him—a baby that had never been away from his mother in his life! I couldn't stand it, ma'am. I knew I never should be good for anything if they did; and when I knew the papers were signed and he was sold, I took him and came off in the night, and they chased me—the man that bought him and some of master's folks, and they were coming down right behind me, and I heard them—I jumped right on to the ice, and how I got across I don't know, but first I knew a man was helping me up the bank."
"Crossed on the ice?" cried every one present.
"Yes," said poor Eliza, slowly. "I did, God helping me. I crossed on the ice, for they were behind me—right behind—and there was no other way!"
All around were affected to tears by Eliza's story.
Mr. Bird himself, to hide his feelings, had to turn away; and became particularly busy in wiping his spectacle-glasses and blowing his nose.
After a short pause, Mrs. Bird asked:—
"And where do you mean to go to, my poor woman?"
"To Canada if I only knew where that was. Is it very far off ma'am?" said she, looking up with a simple and confiding air to Mrs. Bird's face.
"Poor woman," said Mrs. Bird; "it is much further off than you think; but we will try to think what can be done for you. Here Dinah," said she to one of the servants, "make her up a bed in your own room close by the kitchen, and I'll think what to do for her in the morning. Meanwhile, never fear poor woman, put your trust in God, He will protect you."
Mrs. Bird and her husband re-entered the parlour. She sat down in her little rocking chair before the fire, swinging it thoughtfully to and fro. Mr. Bird strode up and down the room, grumbling to himself. At length, striding up to his wife, he said:—
"I say, wife, she'll have to get away from here this very night. That trader fellow will be down after her very early to-morrow morning."
"To-night," said Mrs. Bird, "how is it possible—and where to?"
"Well, I know pretty well where to," said Mr. Bird, beginning to put on his boots. "I know a place where she would be safe enough, but the plague of the thing is, nobody could drive a carriage there to-night but me. The creek has to be crossed twice, and the second crossing is quite dangerous, unless one knows it as I do. But never mind. I'll take her over myself. There is no help for it. I could not bear to see the poor woman caught."
"Thank you, thank you, dear John," said the wife, laying her white hand on his—"Could I ever have loved you had I not known you better than you do yourself?"
Off Mr. Bird set to see about the carriage, but at the door he stopped for a moment, and then coming back, he said, with a quivering voice,—
"Mary, I don't know how you'd feel about it, but there's the drawer full of things—of—of—poor little Henry's." So saying, he turned quickly on his heel, and shut the door after him.
His wife opened the little bedroom door adjoining her room, and taking the candle, set it down on the top of a bureau there; then from a small recess she took a key, and put it thoughtfully in the lock of a drawer, and made a sudden pause, while two boys, who, boy-like, had followed close on her heels, stood looking, with silent, significant glances, at their mother. And oh! mother that reads this, has there never been in your house a drawer, or a closet, the opening of which has been to you like the opening again of a little grave? Ah! happy mother that you are, if it has not been so!
Mrs. Bird slowly opened the drawer. There were little coats of many a form and pattern, piles of aprons, and rows of small stockings; and even a pair of little shoes, worn and rubbed at the toes, were peeping from the folds of a paper. There was a toy horse and waggon, a top, a ball—memorials gathered with many a tear and many a heartbreak. She sat down by the drawer, and leaning her head on her hands over it, wept till the tears fell through her fingers into the drawer; then suddenly raising her head, she began, with nervous haste, selecting the plainest and most substantial articles, and gathering them into a bundle.
"Mamma," said one of the boys, gently touching her arm, "are you going to give away those things?"
"My dear boys," she said, softly and earnestly, "if our dear, loving, little Henry looks down from heaven, he would be glad to have us do this. I could not find it in my heart to give them away to any common person—to any body that was happy; but I give them to a mother more heart-broken and sorrowful than I am; and I hope God will send his blessings with them!"
Mr. Bird returned about twelve o'clock with the carriage. "Mary," said he, coming in with his overcoat in his hand, "you must wake her up now. We must be off." Soon arrayed in a cloak, bonnet, and shawl that had belonged to her benefactress, poor Eliza appeared at the door with her child in her arms. When she got seated in the carriage, she fixed her large dark eyes on Mrs. Bird's face, and seemed going to speak. Her lips moved, but there was no sound; pointing upward with a look never to be forgotten, she fell back in her seat and covered her face. The door was shut, and the carriage drove on.
It was not long before they arrived at the place where Mr. Bird thought they would be safe from the cruel trader. It was a village about seven miles off, consisting of neat houses, with orchards and meadows about them.
They all belonged to Quakers, a sect of Christians whom foolish people laugh at, because they think it right to wear broad-brimmed hats, and odd old-fashioned bonnets; but they do many good and charitable things, especially for the poor negroes, and one of them took Harry and his mother in.
I cannot tell all the kindness the Quaker and his family did to them, giving
Harry such good things, and watching lest the trader should come that way;
but the greatest joy of all was, one evening, when a tall, strong man called
Phineas Fletcher, who was a Quaker, and a great traveller, guided to the village
Harry's poor father, George. His man was going to sell him too, and he had
and searched everywhere for his wife and child, to take them with him to Canada, which you know belongs to England. Oh what a happy meeting that was between George, Eliza, and little Harry.
But they could not remain long with the kind Quakers. Their cruel pursuers had found out where they were hid, so they had all to set off again together. This time they were guided by the brave-hearted Phineas Fletcher, and hoped to reach Canada in safety. But their pursuers overtook them, and they had to run to the rocks to defend themselves, as the verses will tell.
See Harry's poor father, with pistol in hand,
But far is their way through the slave-dealing land,
After this, George and Eliza, with their little Harry, journeyed on, never stopping, except at the house of another kind friend, to disguise themselves before going on board the steamboat, which at last brought them safe to Canada.
ARRIVAL IN THE LAND OF FREEDOM.
Look on the travellers kneeling,
George got employment in a factory, and as he was active and clever in his work, he soon earned enough to take a pretty little house, where they all lived together. Harry grew older, and went to school, where he was a good boy, and never forgot how God had preserved him from the wicked trader, and what his poor mother had suffered to bring him away. His father, George, though he worked all day, was learning too from all sorts of good books, which he used to read by the fire in the evenings. He was ever thinking of the poor heathen kings in Africa, and the negroes they sold for slaves. So at last, when he had learned a great deal, he determined to become a missionary; and, with his wife and family, he embarked for Africa, where he still labours, teaching the poor negroes the glad tidings of the gospel.
WHO UNCLE TOM WAS.
Now I must tell you something about Uncle Tom, from whom this book is named. He was a negro man, as black as jet, and a slave, belonging to Mr. Shelby, the rich man who at first owned Eliza and Harry. Mr. Shelby had a great estate, and many slaves to cultivate it, but they all loved and respected Tom, for he was a good Christian and kind to everybody, on which account they used to call him Uncle. Tom's master was kind to his slaves, and especially to Tom, because he was honest and careful with his property. Tom had a
No man can buy or sell them,
cabin or cottage hard by the rich man's house; it was built of logs cut from great trees; there was a garden in front, with beautiful flowers and strawberries in it; and climbing plants, so common in our country, twined along the walls. Tom had also a wife as black as himself; her name was Chloe, and she cooked for the Shelbys. You will remember how late she kept the trader's dinner when he wanted to pursue Eliza. They had two little sons, with very black faces and curly heads, and a little black baby just beginning to walk. Tom and his family were very happy in that cabin; the poor negroes used to gather there to hear Tom sing hymns and pray, for, as I said, he was a pious man, and the slaves had no other church to go to, for many people in America will not let negroes worship God with them. Mr. Shelby's son, a very clever boy, who had gained many prizes at school, liked Tom too, and used to come to teach him to read and write in the evenings, and Tom had great hopes of being able to read the Bible at last. As Chloe was a cook, she always contrived to have ready something very nice for Mr. George when he came to teach her goodman, and George would stand with one eye on Tom's copy, and another on the cake she prepared while the boys and the baby played about them.
But all these pleasant days came to an end. Mr. Shelby lost his money, and got in debt to a man who dealt in slaves; for that debt he sold little Harry to him, and the rest of it was paid with poor Tom. Think what sad news that was for the cabin!
TOM AND HIS WIFE HAVE HEARD THAT HE IS SOLD.
The work of the winter day is o'er,
The fire-light shows on the lowly bed,
The fire light shows on the lowly bed,
Tom might have fled away, as Eliza did with Harry, but he took pity on Mr. Shelby for being in debt to the trader, and also feared that if he fled, his wife and children would be sold to pay it. Poor Chloe wept sore, and so did the boys, and all the negroes on the estate were very sorry to part with him. George Shelby was from home when Tom was sold, and knew nothing about the matter. But he returned that very day, and the moment he learned that Tom was gone, he saddled his horse and rode after him. When he came up to the waggon he sprang into it, and throwing his arms round Tom's neck, began sobbing and scolding most violently.
"I declare, it's a shame! I don't care what they say, any of them. It's a nasty mean shame! If I was a man, they shouldn't do it," said George.
"Oh Mas'r George! this does me good!" said Tom. "I couldn't bear to go off without seein' ye! It does me real good, ye can't tell!" Here Tom made some movement of his feet, and George's eye fell on the fetters.
"What a shame!" he exclaimed, lifting his hands. "I'll knock that old fellow down—I will!"
"No, you won't, Mas'r George; and you must not talk so loud. It won't help me any, to anger him."
"Well, I won't, then, for your sake; but only to think of it—isn't it a shame? They never sent for me, nor sent me any word, and, if it hadn't been for Tom Lincon, I shouldn't have heard it. I tell you, I blew them up well, all of them, at home!"
"That wasn't right, I'm feared, Mas'r George."
"Can't help it! I say it's a shame! Look here, Uncle Tom," said he, turning his back to the rest of the party, and speaking in a mysterious tone, "I've brought you my dollar!"
"Oh, I couldn't think o' takin' it, Mas'r George, no ways in the world," said Tom, quite moved.
"But you shall take it," said George. "Look here; I told Aunt Chloe I'd do it, and she advised me just to make a hole in it, and put a string through, so you could hang it round your neck, and keep it out of sight, else this mean scamp would take it away. I tell ye, Tom, I want to blow him up! it would do me good!"
"No, don't, Mas'r George, for it won't do me any good."
"Well, I won't, for your sake," said George, busily tying his dollar round Tom's neck; "but there, now, button your coat tight over it, and keep it, and remember, every time you see it, that I'll come down after you, and bring you back. Aunt Chloe and I have been talking about it. I told her not to fear; I'll see to it, and I'll tease father's life out if he don't do it."
"O, Mas'r George, ye mustn't talk so 'bout yer father! You must be
a good boy; remember how
many hearts is set on ye. Always keep close to yer mother. Don't be gettin'
into any of them foolish ways boys has of gettin' too big to mind their
mothers. Tell ye what, Mas'r George, the Lord gives good many things twice
over; but he don't give ye a mother but once. Ye'll never see sich
another woman, Mas'r George, if ye live to be a hundred years old. So, now, you hold on to her, and grow up, and be a comfort to her, thar's my own good boy,—you will now, won't ye?"
"Yes, I will, Uncle Tom," said George seriously.
"And be careful of yer speaking, Mas'r George. Young boys, when they comes to your age, is wilful, sometimes—it's natur they should be. But real gentlemen, such as I hopes you'll be, never lets fall no words that isn't respectful to thar parents. Ye an't offended, Mas'r George?"
"No indeed, Uncle Tom; you always did give me good advice."
"I's older, ye know," said Tom, stroking the boy's fine curly head with his large, strong hand, but speaking in a voice as tender as a woman's—"and I sees all that's bound up in you. O, Mas'r George, you has everything—l'arnin', privileges, readin', writin'—and you'll grow up to be a great, learned, good man, and all the people on the place, and your mother and father, 'll be so proud on ye! Be a good mas'r, like yer father; and be a Christian, like yer mother. Remember yer Creator in the days o' yer youth, Mas'r George. And now, Good-bye, Mas'r George," said Tom, looking fondly and admiringly at him. "God Almighty bless you." Away George went, and Tom looked, till the clatter of his horse's heels died away, the last sound or sight of his home.
When the trader was disappointed in catching Harry, he put handcuffs on poor Tom to prevent his escape, and took him away in a waggon to a town, where he bought more slaves—children from their mothers, husbands from their wives—some of them as black as Tom, and some nearly white, like Harry and his mother. Then he put them all on board of a steamboat going down the great river Mississippi. You will see on the map that it is one of the largest rivers in America. There are many towns on its banks, and steamboats go from one to another carrying goods and passengers; and the trader seeing that Tom was quiet and peaceable, took off the handcuffs, and allowed him to go about the steamboat helping the sailors, for Tom would help anybody. There were many people on board besides the negroes, and among them a rich gentleman called Mr. St. Clair. He was returning home from a visit to his relations, who lived in New England, and had with him his little daughter Eva, and his cousin, Miss Feely. Eva had long yellow curls, and a fair, pretty face; better than that, she had the fear of God and the love of all goodness in her heart. Always cheerful, meek, and kindly, everybody loved Eva St. Clair, especially her father, for she was his only daughter. Tom saw her play about the steamboat, for they were days and nights on the voyage. Eva used to came close and look at him, when he sat thinking of Chloe and the children. The little one was shy, notwithstanding her busy interest in everything going on, and it was not easy to tame her. But at last Tom and she got on quite confidential terms.
"What's little missy's name?" said Tom at last, when he thought matters were ripe to push such an inquiry.
"Evangeline St. Clair," said the little one, "though papa and everybody else call me Eva. Now, what's your name?"
"My name's Tom; the little children used to call me Uncle Tom, way back thar in Kentucky."
"Then I mean to call you Uncle Tom, because, you see, I like you," said Eva. "So, Uncle Tom, where are you going?"
"I don't know, Miss Eva."
"Don't know?" said Eva.
"No. I am going to be sold to somebody. I don't know who."
"My papa can buy you," said Eva, quickly; "and if he buys you, you will have good times. I mean to ask him to, this very day."
"Thank you, my little lady," said Tom.
The boat here stopped at a small landing to take in wood, and Eva, hearing her father's voice, bounded nimbly away. Tom rose up, and went forward to offer his service in wooding, and soon was busy among the hands.
Eva and her father were standing together by the railings to see the boat start from the landing-place; the wheel had made two or three revolutions in the water, when, by some sudden movement, the little one suddenly lost her balance and fell sheer over the side of the boat into the water. Her father, scarce knowing what he did, was plunging in after her, but was held back by some behind him, who saw that more efficient aid had followed his child.
Tom was standing just under her on the lower deck as she fell. He saw her strike the water and sink, and was after her in a moment. A broad-chested, strong-armed fellow, it was nothing for him to keep afloat in the water, till, in a moment or two the child rose to the surface, and he caught her in his arms, and, swimming with her to the boat-side, handed her up, all dripping, to the grasp of hundreds of hands, which, as if they had all belonged to one man, were stretched eagerly out to receive her. A few moments more, and her father bore her, dripping and senseless, to the ladies' cabin, where she soon recovered.
Her father was much rejoiced, and Eva took such a liking for Tom, that she
would not rest till the rich Mr. St. Clair had bought him from the trader; and
the girl hoped that she would one day get her father coaxed to set him free.
From that day Tom and Eva were great friends. The steamer
brought them safely to New Orleans. The trader took all his slaves away to sell them in that town; and Tom was taken to Mr. St. Clair's fine house, where you see him and Eva. You may also see the doings of little Topsy, a poor negro child, whom Mr. St. Clair bought, and made a present of to his cousin, Miss Feely.
EVA PUTTING A WREATH OF FLOWERS ROUND TOM'S NECK.
Poor Tom is far from his cottage now,
She will read to Tom for hours on hours,
TOPSY AT THE LOOKING GLASS.
See little Topsy at the glass quite gay,
Mark where she stands! the shawl of gorgeous red
No home, no school, no Bible she had seen,
TOPSY BRINGING FLOWERS TO EVA.
Poor Topsy, trying to be kind,
"Oh mother dear, let Topsy stay,"
For in her happier days of health
Oh, swift and sad were the tears that fell,
THE DEATH OF EVA.
There is peace on Eva's wasted brow,
When Eva was dead and buried, Tom missed her sore, but he knew it was the will of God, and tried to comfort his master. Mr. St. Clair intended to set him free for Eva's sake. He was a kind man, but given to delay, and one day a wicked man stabbed him in a coffee-house, when he was trying to settle a quarrel. Mrs. St. Clair was a proud, hard-hearted woman, who cared for no one but herself. She sold all the negroes, and Tom among them, to a cruel cotton planter, Simon Legree, and you shall see how he behaved.
LEGREE STRIKING TOM.
Tom's good wife Chloe, far at home,
By the time all these things happened, George Shelby had grown up; but when he came to buy back Tom, the pious, kindly negro, had been so ill-treated by that cruel planter, because he tried to save the other slaves from his evil temper, that he lay dying in an old shed; and there was no law to punish the wicked planter, because Tom was black.
When George entered the shed where Tom lay, he felt his head giddy, and his heart sick.
"Is is possible?" said he, kneeling down by him. "Uncle Tom, my poor, poor old friend!"
Something in the voice penetrated to the ear of the dying. He smiled, and said—
"Jesus can make a dying bed
Tears fell from the young man's eyes as he bent over his poor friend.
"O, dear Uncle Tom! do wake—do speak once more! Look up. Here's Mas'r George—your own little Mas'r George. Don't you know me?"
"Mas'r George!" said Tom, opening his eyes, and speaking in a feeble voice—"Mas'r George!" He looked bewildered.
Slowly the idea seemed to fill his soul; and the vacant eye became fixed and brightened, the whole face lighted up, the hard hands clasped, and tears ran down the cheeks.
"Bless the Lord! it is—it is—it's all I wanted! They haven't forgot me. It warms my soul; it does my old heart good! Now I shall die content! Bless the Lord, O my soul!"
He began to draw his breath with long, deep aspirations; and his broad chest rose and fell heavily. The expression of his face was that of a conqueror.
"Who—who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" he said, in a voice that contended with mortal weakness; and with a smile he fell asleep.
Beyond the boundaries of the plantation George had noticed a dry, sandy knoll, shaded by a few trees; there they made a grave for poor Tom.
"Shall we take off the cloak, mas'r?" said the negroes, when the grave was ready.
"No, no, bury it with him. It's all I can give you now, poor Tom, and you shall have it."
They laid him in; and the men shoveled away silently. They banked it up, and laid green turf over it.
"You may go, boys," said George, slipping a quarter dollar into the hand of each. They lingered about, however.
"If young mas'r would please buy us," said one.
"We'd serve him so faithful!" said the other. "Do, mas'r, buy us, please!"
"I can't—I can't," said George, with difficulty motioning them off; "it's impossible!"
The poor fellows looked dejected, and walked off in silence.
"Witness, eternal God," said George, kneeling on the grave of his poor friend—"O, witness that from this hour, I will do what one man can to drive out this curse of slavery from my land!"
There is no monument to mark the last resting place of poor Tom. He needs none. His Lord knows where he lies, and will raise him up immortal, to appear with Him when He shall appear in his glory.
But little does that wicked man,