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

CHAPTER III. THE HUSBAND AND FATHER.

  ELIZA stood in the verandah, when a hand was laid on her shoulder. She turned, and a bright smile lighted up her fine eyes.

  "George; is it you? How you frightened me! Well; I am so glad you's come! Missis is gone to spend the afternoon; so come into my little room, and we'll have the time all to ourselves.

  "How glad I am!—why don't you smile?—and look at Harry—how he grows. Isn't he beautiful?" said Eliza, lifting his long curls and kissing him.

  "I wish he'd never been born!" said George, bitterly. "I wish I'd never been born myself!"

  "George! George! how can you talk so? What dreadful thing has happened, or is going to happen? I'm sure we've been very happy, till lately."

  "So we have, dear," said George. "I have been careful, and I have been patient, but it's growing worse and worse; flesh and blood can't bear it any longer."


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  "It was only yesterday," said George, "as I was busy loading stones into a cart that young Mas'r Tom stood there, slashing his whip so near the horse that the creature was frightened. I asked him to stop, as pleasant as I could,—he just kept right on. I begged him again, and then he turned on me, and began striking me. I held his hand, and then he screamed and kicked and ran to his father, and told him that I was fighting him. He came in a rage, and said he'd teach me who was my master; and he tied me to a tree, and cut switches for young master, and told him


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that he might whip me till he was tired; and he did do it! Yesterday he told me that I should take Mina for a wife, and settle down in a cabin with her, or he would sell me down river."

  "Why—but you were married to me, by the minister, as much as if you'd been a white man!" said Eliza, simply.

  "Don't you know a slave can't be married? There is no law in this country for that; I can't hold you for my wife, if he chooses to part us. So, Eliza, my girl," said the husband, mournfully, "bear up, now; and goodby, for I'm going."

  "Going, George! Going where?"


  "To Canada," said he; "and when I'm there, I'll buy you; that's all the hope that's left us. You have a kind master, that won't refuse to sell you. I'll buy you and the boy—God helping me, I will!"

  "O, George, for my sake, do be careful! Don't do anything wicked; don't lay hands on yourself, or anybody else! You are tempted too much—too much; but don't, go you must—but go carefully, prudently; pray God to help you."

  "Well, then, Eliza, hear my plan. I 've got some preparations made,—and there are those that will help me; and, in the course of a week or so, I shall be among the


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missing, some day. Pray for me, Eliza; perhaps the good Lord will hear you."

  "O, pray yourself, George, and go trusting in Him; then you won't do anything wicked."

  "Well, now, good-by," said George, holding Eliza's hands, and gazing into her eyes, without moving. They stood silent; then there were last words, and sobs, and bitter weeping,—and the husband and wife were parted.