Uncle Tom's Cabin
Altemus' Young People's Library
Philadelphia: Henry Altemus Company, 1900



  LIFE passes, with us all, a day at a time; so it passed with our friend. Tom, till two years were gone. Tom and Eva were seated on a little mossy seat, in an arbor, at the foot of the garden. It was Sunday evening, and Eva's Bible lay open on her knee. She read,—"And I saw a sea of glass, mingled with fire."

  "Tom," said Eva, suddenly stopping, and pointing to the lake. "there 't is."

  "What, Miss Eva ,"

  "Don't you see,—there?" said the child, pointing to the glassy water, which, as it rose and fell, reflected the golden glow of the sky. "There 's a 'sea of glass, mingled with fire.'"

  "True enough, Miss Eva," said Tom; and Tom sang:

"O, had I the wings of the morning,
I 'd fly away to Canaan's shore;
Bright angels should convey me home,
To the new Jerusalem."


  "Where do you suppose new Jerusalem is, Uncle Tom?" said Eva.

  "O, up in the clouds, Miss Eva."

  "Then I think I see it," said Eva. "Look in those clouds!—they look like great gates of pearl; and you can see beyond them—far, far off—it 's all gold. Tom, sing about 'spirits bright.'"


  Tom sung the words of a well-known Methodist hymn:

"I see a band of spirits bright,
That taste the glories there;
They are all robed in spotless white,
And conquering palms they bear."

  "Uncle Tom, I 've seen them," said Eva.

  Tom had no doubt of it at all; it did not surprise him in the least. If Eva had told him she had been to heaven, he would have thought it entirely probable.

  "They come to me sometimes in my sleep, those spirits;" and Eva's eyes grew dreamy, and she hummed, in a low voice,

They are all robed in spotless white,
And conquering palms they bear."

  "Uncle Tom," said Eva, "I 'm going there."

  "Where, Miss Eva?"

  The child rose, and pointed her little hand to the sky; the glow of evening lit her golden hair and flushed cheek with a kind of unearthly radiance, and her oven were bent earnestly on the skies.

  "I'm going there," she said, "to the spirits bright, Tom: I'm going, before long."

  The faithful old heart felt a sudden thrust; and Tom thought how often he had noticed, within six months, that Eva's little hands had grown thinner, and her skin more transparent, and her breath shorter; and how, when she ran or played in the garden, as she once could for hours,


she became soon so tired and languid. They were interrupted by a hasty call from Miss Ophelia.

  "Eva—Eva!—why, child, the dew is falling; you mustn't be out there!"

  She had noted the slight, dry, cough, the daily brightening cheek, and tried to communicate her fears to St. Clare; but he threw back her suggestions with a restless petulance, unlike his usual careless good humor.

  "Don't be croaking, cousin,—I hate it!" he would say; "don't you see that the child is only growing? Children always lose strength when they grow fast."

  The child's whole heart and soul seemed absorbed in works of love and kindness, and there was a touching and womanly thoughtfulness about her now, that everyone noticed. She would sit for half an hour at a time, laughing at the odd tricks of Topsy, and then a shadow would seem to pass across her face, her eyes grew misty, and her thoughts were afar.

  "Mamma," she said, suddenly, to her mother, one day, "why don't we teach our servants to read?"

  "What a question, child! People never do."

  "Why don't they?" said Eva.

  "Because it is no use for them to read. It don't help them to work any better, and they are not made for anything else."

  "But they ought to read the Bible, mamma, to learn God's will."

  "O! they can get that read to them all they need."

  "It seems to me, mamma, the Bible is for everyone to read themselves. They need it a great many times when there is nobody to read it."


  "Eva, you are an odd child," said her mother. "See here!" she added, "these jewels I 'm going to give you when you come out. I wore them to my first ball. I can tell you, Eva, I made a sensation."

  Eva took the jewel-case, and lifted from it a diamond necklace. Her large, thoughful eyes rested on them, but it was plain her thoughts were elsewhere.

  "How sober you look, child!" said Marie.

  "Are these worth a great deal of money, mamma?"

  "To be sure they are. Father sent to France for them. They are worth a small fortune."

  "I wish I had them," said Eva, "to do what I pleased with!"

  "What would you do with them?"

  "I 'd sell them, and buy a place in the free States, and take all our people there, and hire teachers, to teach them to read and write."

  Eva was cut short by her mother's laughing.

  "Set up a boarding-school! Would n't you teach them to play on the piano, and paint on velvet?"

  "I'd teach them to read their own Bible, and write their own letters, and read letters that are written to them," said Eva, steadily. "I know, mamma, it does come very hard on them, that they can't do these things. Tom feels it,—Mammy does,—a great many of them do. I think it's wrong."

  "Come, come, Eva; you are only a child! You don't know anything about these things," said Marie; "besides, your talking makes my head ache."

  Eva stole away; but after that, she assiduously gave Mammy reading lessons.