Uncle Tom's Cabin discovered.
Evening. Candles lighted. A rude but clean hut. Fire burning in
large chimney, R. A door and window in the flats. Table. Stools.
Chairs. A book-shelf, with an old Bible on it. A few cheap pictures
on the wall. A Child's crib. A bed, &c. Chloe and children
discovered. Sambo sitting by the fire.
CHLOE. G'long all on ye, you brack
trash! Git into yo' cribs! Your fader's a coming in soon, and den
you'll get rats if you's not abed.
Dis yar pie, Aunt Chloe, is fust rate! I guess dar's no cook ken
beat yo' on pies in this district.
CHLOE. Guess not, Sambo—he, he, haw!
Miss Shelby knows what cooking is.
SAM. I don't believe as Jenny, over
to Harris', could beat dis yar (gulping the last
piece.) I mean dat ar pie!
Jenny, indeed! Jenny's a common plain cook—biles her taters far,
but Lor', when she comes to de higher branches what ken she do?
Nuffin! Didn't I stand behind de do' up to de house to-day, and
didn't dat ar gemman as was dinin' wid Massa Shelby—didn't I see him
pass his plate tree times for more of dat bery pie.
SAM. Dar ar gemman! He aint no
gemman at all, Aunt Chloe. Dar ar man's a nigger trader, sure.
CHLOE. De Lord save jus! What's he a
SAM. Dunno; but Ise afeerd dar's
suthin' wrong gwine on around hyar.
CHLOE. And you is right, Sambo. I
been a most raised on dis plantation; I married my old man Tom hyar;
de chil'n was all born hyar; and I neber know'd afore as a nigger
trader sot down wid Mas'r and Missis at de same table.
SAM. And was Missis at de table?
CHLOE. Lor' sakes, no! I 'member now
as she was tuck sudden sick all at onst, just afore.
SAM. I tole you, Aunt Chloe, dat
dar's trouble a comin' afore long, sure. (Earnestly)
CHLOE. Den I wish to de debble dat
pie had choked dat ar trader at de fust bite.
(Music. Enter Uncle Tom with
CHLOE. What, ole man, you's come back?
Bress you! (She hugs Tom. Children surround
TOM. Dat's right. Gi' me a hug all
round. Dat's good; it kinder lifts my heart up, to come back to de
ole place, arter being away for twenty-fo' hours. Dat's enuf, dat's
enuf. (Addressing the children who climb over
CHLOE. Go back to your cribs, you
Mose and Pete, go back, or look out for dis yar! (She
shakes rattan—general scamper.) But you's hungry, old man, arter
dat long journey; you must want you supper mighty bad?
TOM. No, I don't, Chloe. De people
ob de town put plenty of good food into me, and jest now when I gave
Massa de money he sent me to fetch, he took me by the hand and said,
'I knew I could trust you with untold dollars, Tom.' 'Twas better
than a meal, Chloe; it kinder made me tremble, for I saw de tears in
Massa Shelby's eyes. God bless him!
CHLOE. Mass didn't 'spect as you was
agwine to run away, did he?
TOM. He might ha' thought so once,
Chloe, but den I hadn't you and de chil'n to come back to. It's a
good thing to be a free man, Chloe; but it's a better, to be a slave
to de Lord, and do your duty on this arth.
You's too good for dis arth, Uncle Tom, you oughter be flyin' around
(He crams his mouth with pie.
CHLOE. Guess you'll never be an
angel, Sambo, you's too fond o' you belly.
SAM. Dat's so! I don't want to get
out of dis till dar's no mo' pies, and all de good things is burnt
TOM. Sambo, it's time to put things
in shape for de meetin'; I hurried back cos I wouldn't miss meetin'
night; tote in dem barl's and make things comf'ble for de friends.
SAM. All right, Uncle. (He opens the door. Music. George Harris appears.)
La's sakes! Who's dat! George Harris?
CHLOE. George Harris, what's de matter?
(George falls into a seat, buries
his face, then rises and speaks passionately.
GEO. All the world's wrong! The
curse of heaven is on me! Would that I were dead!
TOM. What's de matter, George?
What's de matter, poor heart?
GEO. Heart? What right have you or
I to a heart? We are others' property, and our hearts must beat as
TOM. No, George! Our hearts are
free, even if our bodies are our massa's.
GEO. Our masters! Who made any man
my master? Have I not hands? Do I not talk and act as other men?
Do I not speak the same tongue? Am I not better instructed than half
the wretches who can buy and sell me? I have no master, then, but
heaven; and heaven cannot be wroth if I break the usurper's laws.
TOM. Tell us, George, what has
GEO. My master, as he calls himself,
was pleased to send for me from the factory, today; to take me from
the work which made me feel a man at least,
and set me to hauling stones and garbage from his fields.
CHLOE. Oh! George! Dat's cruel,
TOM. Be patient, George.
GEO. Why should I be patient? Have
I not paid for my food, paid for myself ten times over? Yet he is my
master still! He saw rebellion in my eyes, when he insulted me, and
he swore, with a loud oath, that he would crush the spirit which
throbs beneath this tawny skin. He wont, though, he wont!
(He crosses to R.
TOM. But think, George, think of
Eliza, your wife—think of your boy.
GEO. My wife! My boy! Has the
slave a chattel he can call his own? Think of them! I do think, and
every thought is a stab at my heart. Eliza is in kind hands, it's
true—'twas Mrs. Shelby's plan to marry us, although we lived on
different estates—and what may be the upshot? My boy may be torn
from his mother's arms, and sold at a higher price, for that very
beauty which makes him doubly dear in both our eyes.
TOM. No, no, George,
Massa Shelby is too good a massa
to part with Eliza and her boy.
GEO. But it may be—and while such
things are possible, the curse of heaven is on the land, and upon us,
who, like tame animals, submit to them! My mind is made up, Tom. In
a day or two I shall be among the missing.
TOM. Oh, George, don't try
it—don't, for Eliza's sake.
GEO. It is for her sake I shall.
What do you think, this very day, my master said he hated these
Shelbys for a stuck up lot; that I should not come to see Eliza any
more, but take Mina, one of the girls on his plantation, for a wife.
CHLOE. Oh, de Lord, de Lord!
TOM. But dey can't part you, you was
married by de clergy, and dey can't part you.
GEO. Can't! Ha, ha, ha! Is there a
law by which a slave can hold his wife when the man who calls himself
master wills it they shall part? No, my
master said that 'if I would not marry Mina he would sell me down the
CHLOE. Oh, de good Lor' save us!
GEO. I came round by Mas'r Shelby's
house to tell Eliza that if I could get the chance, I am out of
bounds, and if I'm caught I shall pay for it with a whipping. You
will see my darling in the morning. Give her my love, and tell her I
TOM. Going where?
GEO. To Canada! Where men of every
shade are free and equal. Tell her that I'll work there for her and
for my boy, and that I'll earn the money to redeem them both. Ask
her to forgive me, and to pray for me.
TOM. Oh, George! if you should be
taken, dey'd cut you to pieces.
GEO. Well, if I am taken alive, let
them! But I wont. I'll be free or die. Better a grave beneath the
soil than tame submission to a master's will above it. Good-bye.
Pray for my safety.
(Music. Exit George, followed by
CHLOE. Pray for yourself, honey! If
dey catches you dey'll skin you alive, shuah.
(She sweeps up the hearth as
Sambo re-enters with planks, which he places on barrels for seats.
Children sit up in their cribs.
SAM. Hyar's de folks, Aunty; hyar dey
is all a come to de meetin'.
CHLOE. Hurry up den and set de forms
around for de congleum gation.
(Music. Re-enter Tom and about
twenty negroes of both sexes. Dinah, a very old white-headed negress
with staff. Two old men. The others, chorus singers.)
TOM. Come in, friends, come in. You
all knows de way.
ALL. (to Chloe)
How dy'e do, Missus Chloe? Hope you's well; and de chil'n?
CHLOE. Putty well. And how's you,
DINAH. I'se jest waitin', jest
waitin', Chloe, to hear the blessed voice call me. (She stands, and raising up her staff prophetically,
speaks with solemnity.) I dunno de time, but I'se ready, chil'n.
'Pears like I got ma bundle tied up, and me jest a waitin' fo' de
stage to come along an' take me home——
Oh! Oh! Oh! Dat's it, aunty, dat's it!
DINAH. Sometimes in de night, chil'n,
I thinks I hears de wheels a rattlin'; so Ise lookin' out all de time
and listenin'. I tell you, chil'n, you jest be
ready, too, for that glory's a mighty thing, and we's all
bound home, bound for de land o' Canaan.
(Dinah totters to her place as
the chorus sing the "Sweet Canaan." Uncle Tom takes the Bible from
the shelf and lays it with reverence on the table, at the end of the
song. Eliza enters hurriedly. All start surprised.)
ALL. Who's dat? Eliza!
TOM. What's amiss, Eliza? What's
come over you?
ELIZA. I'm running away, Uncle Tom,
and carrying off my boy. Mas'r sold him.
ALL. Sold him!
ELIZA. And O, Aunt Chloe—forgive me
that I bring such bitter news!—but he has sold your husband,
too—sold my Harry and you, dear Uncle Tom. (Weeps.)
ALL. De Lord have pity on us!
CHLOE. Sold my Tom? Lizzy, you's
ELIZA. I may be; but I tell you I
heard them bargain for your husband and my boy.
CHLOE. Oh, what has he done, what has
ELIZA. It isn't for that. Mas'r
didn't want to sell, and Missis pleaded hard and begged for us; but
Mas'r Shelby told her he was in this trader's debt, and if he didn't
pay him clear 'twould end in selling off the place and people.
ALL. De good Lord save us, den! (Groans.)
ELIZA. And so, I'm running
away—thither—toward the free land, if I can reach it. It's cruel,
I know, to desert so good and kind a mistress; but all the blood in my
mother's heart cries out—Save your boy! Save him at any risk!
CHLOE. (To Tom,
who has buried his face in the Bible) And why don't you go, too,
ole man? Will you wait to be toted down de river, where dey kills
niggers with starvation? Git away! You's got a pass to come and go;
so git away with Lizzy!
No! It's Lizzy's right to save her boy if she ken—it's her duty
perhaps, but my duty is here.
TOM. Yes! here!
Mas'r has always found me at my post, and while I am here he always
shall. Massa's been good to me for years—he
can't help himself, and if it's to save the old home and all
here—why—let me be sold! (All groan.)
ELIZA. But there is hope, Uncle Tom.
Missis made the trader give bond to sell you only into a good
service, and she and young Mas'r Shelby vowed they'd work, and pinch,
and save, to buy you back.
TOM. Dat's a comfort den, and I can
bar it better. Good-bye, Lizzy, and de good Lord keep you safe.
ELIZA. Good-bye to all! Give my
love to George, and tell him that I fly only to save our Harry.
Good-bye, good-bye. (Music.)
(Exit Eliza and Harry
TOM. I'll try and bar it friends!
Don't cry, Chloe!
Don't cry, old man! Who's to take care o' me and the chil'n when
you's gone. Oh, dem traders, dem traders! If de debble don't get
hold of dem cussed traders, what de debble is de good ob de debble
TOM. Hush, Chloe! I'd suner be
sold ten times over than hab to answer what they must, for de great
Mas'r ob all above will set things straight some day. It's hard,
Chloe, it's hard, friends, but I'll try and bar it for your sake, and
for my little fatherless ones. I'll try and bar it. Pray for me, let
me hear your voices, let me——
(He breaks down and falls on his
knees in a passion of tears.)
All kneel around Tom and sing a
negro dirge. Closed in by