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The Christian Slave
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Boston: Phillips, Sampson, 1855

SCENE VIII.—The Parlor.

Enter SAM and ANDY below, horseback. MRS. SHELBY from the window.

Mrs. Shelby.

  Is that you, Sam? Where are they?


Sam.

  Mas'r Haley's a-restin' at the tavern; he's drefful fatigued, missis.


Mrs. S.

  And Eliza, Sam?


Sam.

  Wal, she's clar 'cross Jordan. As a body may say, in the land o' Canaan.


Mrs. S.

  Why Sam, what do you mean?


Sam.

  Wal, missis, de Lord he persarves his own. Lizy's done gone over the river into 'Hio, as 'markably as if the Lord took her over in a charrit of fire and two hosses.

Enter MR. SHELBY.

Mr. S.

  Come up here, Sam, and tell your mistress what she wants. Come, come, Emily, you are cold and all in a shiver; you allow yourself to feel too much.


Mrs. S.

  Feel too much! Am I not a woman—a mother? Are we not both responsible to God for this poor girl? My God, lay not this sin to our charge!


Mr. S.

  What sin, Emily? You see yourself that we have only done what we were obliged to.


Mrs. S.

  There's an awful feeling of guilt about it, though. I can't reason it away.

Enter SAM from below.

Mr. S.

  Now, Sam, tell us distinctly how the matter was. Where is Eliza, if you know?


Sam.

  Wal, mas'r, I saw her, with my own eyes, a crossin' on the floatin' ice. She crossed most 'markably; it wasn't no less nor a miracle; and I saw a man help her up the 'Hio side, and then she was lost in the dusk.


Mr. S.

  Sam, I think this rather apocryphal—this miracle. Crossing on floating ice is n't so easily done.


Sam.

  Easy! couldn't nobody a done it, without de Lord. Why, now, 't was jist dis yer way. Mas'r Haley, and me, and Andy, we comes up to de little tavern by the river, and I rides a leetle ahead—(I's so zealous to be a cotchin' Lizy, that I could n't hold in, no way)—and when I comes by the tavern winder, sure enough there she was, right in plain sight, and dey diggin' on behind. Wal, I loses off my hat, and sings out nuff to raise the dead. Course Lizy she hars, and she dodges back, when Mas'r Haley he goes past the door; and then, I tell ye, she clared out de side door; she went down de river bank; Mas'r Haley he seed her, and yelled out, and him, and me, and Andy, we took arter. Down she came to the river, and thar was the current running ten feet wide by the shore, and over t' other side ice a sawin'


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and a jiggling up and down, kinder as 't were a great island. We come right behind her, and I thought my soul he'd got her sure enough—when she gin sich a screech as I never hearn, and thar she was, clar over t' other side of the current, on the ice, a nd then on she went, a screechin' and a jumpin'—the ice went crack! c'wallop! chunk! and she a boundin' like a buck! Lord, the spring that ar gal's got in her an't common, I'm o' 'pinion.


Mrs. S.

  God be praised, she is n't dead! But where is the poor child now?


Sam.

  De Lord will pervide. As I've been a sayin', dis yer 's a providence and no mistake, as missis has allers been a instructin' on us. Thar's allers instruments ris up to do de Lord's will. Now, if 't hadn't been for me to-day, she'd a been took a dozen times. Warn't it I started off de hosses, dis yer morning', and kept 'em chasin' till nigh dinner time? And didn't I car Mas'r Haley night five miles out of de road, dis evening? or else he'd a come up with Lizy as easy as a dog arter a coon. These yer's all providences.


Mr. S.

  They are the kind of providences that you 'll have to be pretty sparing of, Master Sam. I allow no such practices with gentlemen on my place.


Sam.

  Mas'r quite right—quite; it was ugly on me, there's no disputin' that ar; and of course mas'r and missis wouldn't encourage no such works. I'm sensible of dat ar; but a poor nigger like me 's 'mazin' tempted to act ugly sometimes, when fellers will cut up such shines as dat ar Mas'r Haley; he an't no gen'l'man no way; anybody's been raised as I've been can't help a seein' dat ar.


Mrs. S.

  Well, Sam, as you appear to have a proper sense of your errors, you may go now and tell Aunt Chloe she may get you some of that cold ham that was left of dinner to-day. You and Andy must be hungry.


Sam.

  Missis is a heap too good for us.