SCENE I.—New Orleans.
A Parlor in ST. CLARE'S house.
MARIE reclining on a lounge.
Enter EVA, flying to embrace her mother.
That 'll do! [Languidly kissing
her.] Take care, child—don't you make my headache!
Enter ST. CLARE; he embraces MARIE and presents MISS
Marie! this is our cousin Ophelia.
I am happy to see you, cousin.
Enter SERVANTS, crowding—foremost the old nurse. EVA flies to her and hugs and kisses
O, Mammy! dear Mammy!
Well, you Southern children can do something that I could n't.
What, now, pray?
Well, I want to be kind to everybody, and I would n't have anything hurt;
but as to kissing —
Niggers, that you 're not up to; eh?
Yes, that 's it. How can she?
St. C. [Laughing.]
O, that 's the way with you, is it? [Goes among the servants.] Here, you all, Mammy, Sukey, Jinny,
Polly—glad to see mas'r? Look out for the babies! [Stumbling over one.] If I step on anybody
let 'em mention it. [Sees TOM, and beckons.]
Here, Tom. See here, Marie, I 've brought you a coachman, at last, to order.
I tell you he 's a regular hearse for blackness and sobriety, and will drive
you like a funeral, if you want. Open your eyes, now, and look at him.
Now, don't say I never think about you when I 'm gone.
I know he 'll get drunk.
No, he 's warranted a pious and sober article.
Well, I hope he may turn out well; it 's more than I expect, though.
'Dolph, show Tom down stairs; and mind yourself; remember what I told
[Exit TOM and DOLPH.]
He 's a perfect behemoth!
Come, now, Marie, be gracious, and say something pretty to a fellow.
You 've been gone a fortnight beyond the time.
Well, you know I wrote you the reason.
Such a short, cold letter!
Dear me! the mail was just going, and it had to be that or nothing.
That 's just the way always; always something to make your journeys long,
and letters short.
See here, now; here 's a present I got for you in New York.
A daguerreotype! What made you sit in such an awkward position?
Well, the position may be a matter of opinion; but what do you think of
If you don't think anything of my opinion in one case, I suppose you would
n't in another.
Hang the woman! [Aside.]
Come, now, Marie, what do you think of the likeness? Don't be nonsensical!
It 's very inconsiderate of you, St. Clare, to insist on my talking and
looking at things. You know I 've been lying all day with the sick-headache;
and there 's been such a tumult made, ever since you came, I 'm half dead.
You 're subject to the sick-headache, ma'am?
Yes, I 'm a perfect martyr to it.
Juniper-berry tea is good for sick-headache; at least, Augustine, Deacon
Abraham Perry's wife used to say so; and she was a great nurse.
I 'll have the first juniper-berries that get ripe in our garden by the
lake brought in for that especial purpose. And now [rings the bell. Enter MAMMY], show this lady to her room. [To MARIE, offering her
his arm.] Come, now—come—I 've got something for you in here—come.
[Exeunt ST. CLARE and MARIE.]
SCENE II.—A Parlor. A Breakfast Table. -- MARIE, -- ST.
CLARE, -- EVA, -- OPHELIA.
And now, Marie, your golden days are dawning. Here is our practical, business-like New
England cousin, who will take the whole budget of cares off your shoulders, and give you time to refresh yourself and grow
young and handsome. The ceremony of
delivering the keys had better come off forthwith.
I'm sure she 's welcome. I think she 'll find one thing, if she does,
and that is, that it 's we mistresses that are the slaves, down here.
O, certainly, she will discover that, and a world of wholesome truths
beside, no doubt.
Talk about our keeping slaves, as if we did it for our convenience! I 'm sure, if we consulted that,
we might let them all go at once.
What do you keep them for, mamma?
I don't know, I 'm sure, except for a plague; they are the plague of my
life. I believe that more of my ill-health is caused by them than by any
one thing; and ours, I know, are the very worst that ever anybody w as plagued
O, come, Marie, you 've got the blues this morning. You know 't is n't
so. There 's Mammy, the best creature living—what could you do without
Mammy is the best I ever knew; and yet Mammy, now, is selfish—dreadfully
selfish; it 's the fault of the whole race.
Selfishness is a dreadful fault.
Well, now, there 's Mammy; I think it 's selfish of her to sleep so sound
at nights; she knows I need little attentions almost every hour, when my
worst turns are on, and yet she 's so hard to wake. I absolutely am worse,
this very morning, for the efforts I had to make to wake her last night.
Has n't she sat up with you a good many nights lately, mamma?
How should you know that? She 's been complaining, I suppose.
She did n't complain; she only told me what bad night you 'd had—so many
Why don't you let Jane or Rosa take her place a night or two and let her
How can you propose it? St. Clare, you really are inconsiderate! So
nervous as I am, the least breath disturbs me; and a strange hand about me
would drive me absolutely frantic. If Mammy felt the interest in me she
ought to, she 'd wake easier—of course she would. I 've heard of people
who had such devoted servants, but it never was my
luck. Now, Mammy has a sort of goodness; she 's
smooth and respectful, but she 's selfish at heart. Now, she never will
be done fidgeting and worrying about that husband of hers. You see, when
I was married and came to live here, of course I had to bring her with me,
and her husband my father could n't spare. He was a blacksmith, and, of
course, very necessary; and I thought, and said at the time, that Mammy and
he had better give each other up, as it was n't likely to be convenient for
them ever to live together again. I wish now I 'd insisted on it, and married
Mammy to somebody else; but I was foolish and indulgent, and did n't want
to insist. I told Mammy at the time that she must n't ever expect to see
him more than once or twice in her life again, for the air of father's place
does n't agree with my health, and I can't go there; and I advised her to
take up with somebody else; but no—she would n't. Mammy has a kind of obstinacy
about her, in spots, that everybody don't see as I do.
Has she children?
Yes; she has two.
I suppose she feels the separation from them?
Well, of course, I could n't bring them. They were little, dirty things—I
could n't have them about; and, besides, they took up too much of her time;
but I believe that Mammy has always kept up a sort of sulkiness about this.
She won't marry anybody else; and I do believe now, though she knows how
necessary she is to me, and how feeble my health is, she would go back to
her husband to-morrow, if she only could. I do,
indeed; they are just so selfish, now, the best of them!
St. C. [Dryly.]
It 's distressing to reflect upon.
Now, Mammy has always been a pet with me. I wish some of your northern
servants could look at her closets of dresses—silks and muslins, and one
real linen cambric, she has hanging there. I've worked sometimes whole afternoons,
trimming her caps, and getting
her ready to go to a party.
As to abuse, she don't know what it is. She never was whipped in her whole
life. She has her strong coffee or her tea every day, with white sugar in
it. It's abominable, to be sure; but St. Clare will have high life below
stairs, and they, every one of them, live just as they please. The fact
is, our servants are over-indulged. I suppose it is partly our fault that
they are selfish, and act like spoiled children; but I've talked to St. Clare
till I am tired.
And I, too.
to her mother, and puts her arms round her neck.]
Well, Marie, what now?
Mamma, could n't I take care of you one night—just one? I know I should
n't make you nervous, and I should n't sleep. I often lie awake nights,
O, nonsense, child—nonsense! You are such a strange child!
But may I, mamma? I think that Mammy is n't well. She told me her head
ached all the time, lately.
O, that 's just one of Mammy's fidgets! Mammy is just like all the rest
of them—makes such a fuss about every little headache or finger-ache; it
'll never do to encourage it—never! I 'm principled about this matter;— [To MISS OPHELIA] you 'll find the necessity of it. If you encourage servants
in giving way to every little disagreeable feeling, and complaining of every
little ailment, you 'll have your hands full. I never complain myself; nobody
knows what I endure. I feel it a duty to bear it quietly, and I do.
[MISS OPHELIA looks amazed, and ST. CLARE breaks out laughing.]
Mar. [Putting her handkerchief to her
St. Clare always laughs when I make the least allusion to my ill-health.
I only hope the day won't come when he 'll remember it.
Come, Eva, I'll take you down street with me.
[Exit ST. CLARE and EVA.]
Now, that's just like St. Clare! He never realizes, never can, and never
will, what I suffer, and have, for years. If I was one of the complaining
sort, or ever made any fuss about my ailments, there would be some reason
for it. Men do get tired, naturally, of a complaining wife. But I've kept
things to myself, and borne, and borne, till St. Clare has got in the way
of thinking I can bear anything. But it 's no use talking, cousin. Well,
here are the keys of the linen closet, and I hope you 'll never let Jane
or Rosa get hold of 'em or touch 'em. And I hope you 'll be very particular
about the way they fold the pillow-cases; I believe I 'm foolishly particular,
but I really have had a nervous headache for a week, from the way those girls
fold pillow-cases, if they are not looked to. There 's two or three kinds
of sheeting—you 'll observe them; I think it important to keep each kind
by itself. And here are the keys of the store-room; you 'll find Dinah
always will be running after them—I dare say she has half the things out
in the kitchen now. Dinah 's a first-rate cook, and so she rules with a
rod of iron—she knows her importance. She will insist on having everything
she wants in the kitchen, and calling every five minutes for something; it tires me to death. But, then, what can one do? O!—there
are the keys of some trunks of clothing in the blue chamber;
they 'll have to be hung out and aired, I suppose. Dear knows what a state
you 'll find them in; my poor head has n't allowed me to do anything these
three months; and Rosa and Jane have always insisted on making one excuse
or another to go to them. I should n't wonder if half the things had been
worn out. And as to marketing, and all that, you must ask St. Clare; I 'm
sure I don't know how that 's to be arranged. And now—O dear me! how my
head does ache!—but—well—I believe I 've told you everything; so that,
when my next sick turn comes on, you 'll be able to go forward entirely without
consulting me; only about Eva—she requires watching.
She seems to be a good child, very; I never saw a better child.
Eva 's peculiar. There are things about her so singular; she is n't like
me, now, a particle.
I hope she is n't.
Eva always was disposed to be with servants; and I think that well enough
with some children. Now, I always played with father's little negroes—it
never did me any harm. But Eva, somehow, always seems to put herself on
an equality with every creature that comes near her. It 's a strange thing
about the child. I never have been able to break her of it. St. Clare, I
believe, encourages her in it. The fact is, St. Clare indulges every creature
under this roof but his own wife.
Now, there's no way with servants, but to put them
down, and keep them down. It was always natural to me, from a child.
Eva is enough to spoil a whole house-full. What she will do when she comes
to keep house herself, I'm sure I don't know. I hold to being kind to servants—I always am; but you must make 'em know their place. Eva never does; there's no getting into the child's
head the first beginning of an idea what a servant's place is! You heard
her offering to take care of me nights, to let Mammy sleep! That's just a
specimen of the way the child would be doing all the time, if she was left
Well, I suppose you think your servants are human creatures, and ought
to have some rest when they are tired?
Certainly, of course I 'm very particular in letting them have everything
that comes convenient—anything that does n't put one at all out of the way,
you know. Mammy can make up her sleep some time or other; there's no difficulty
about that. She 's the sleepiest concern that ever I saw. Sewing, standing,
or sitting, that creature will go to sleep, and sleep anywhere and everywhere.
No danger but Mammy gets sleep enough. But this treating servants as if
they were exotic flowers, or china vases, is really ridiculous.
You see, Cousin Ophelia, I don't often speak of myself. It isn't my habit; 't is n't agreeable to me. In fact, I have n't strength to do
it. But there are points where St. Clare and I differ. St. Clare never
understood me—never appreciated me. I think it lies at the root of all
my ill health. St. Clare means well, I am bound to believe; but men are
constitutionally selfish and inconsiderate to woman. That, at least, is my
Where 's my knitting? O—here 't is. [Knits energetically.]
You see, I brought my own property and servants into the
connection, when I married St. Clare, and I am legally entitled to manage
them my own way. St. Clare had his fortune and his servants, and I 'm well
enough content he should manage them his way; but St. Clare will be interfering.
He has wild, extravagant notions about things, particularly about the treatment
of servants. He really does act as if he set his servants before me, and
before himself, too; for he lets them make him all sorts of trouble, and
never lifts a finger. Now, about some things, St. Clare is really frightful—he
frightens me—good-natured as he looks, in general. Now, he has set down
his foot that, come what will, there shall not be a blow struck in this house,
except what he or I strike; and he does it in a way that I really dare not
cross him. Well, you may see what that leads to; for St. Clare would n't
raise his hand, if every one of them walked over him, and I—you see how
cruel it would be to require me to make the exertion. Now, you know these
servants are nothing but grown-up children.
I don't know anything about it, and I thank the Lord that I don't!
Well, but you will have to know something, and know it to your cost, if
you stay here. You don't know what a provoking, stupid, careless, unreasonable,
childish, ungrateful set of wretches they are. You don't know, and you can't,
the daily, hourly trials that beset a housekeeper from them, everywhere and
every way. But it 's no use to talk to St. Clare. He talks the strangest
stuff. He says we have made them what they are, and ought to bear with them.
He says their faults are all owing to us, and that it would be cruel to
make the fault and punish it too. He says we should n't do any better, in
their place; just as if one could reason from them to us, you know!
Don't you believe that the Lord made them of one blood with us?
No, indeed, not I! A pretty story, truly! They are a degraded race.
Don't you think they 've got immortal souls?
O, well, that, of course—nobody doubts that. But as to putting them
on any sort of equality with us, you know, as if we could be compared, why,
it 's impossible! Now, St. Clare really has talked to me as if keeping Mammy
from her husband was like keeping me from mine. There's no comparing in
this way. Mammy could n't have the feelings that I should. It 's a different
thing altogether— of course, it is; and yet St. Clare pretends not to see
it. And just as if Mammy could love her little, dirty babies as I love Eva!
Yet St. Clare once really and soberly tried to persuade me that it was my
duty, with my weak health, and all I suffer, to let Mammy go back, and take
somebody else in her place! That was a little too much even for me to bear. I don't often show my feelings, I make it a principle to
endure everything in silence; it 's a wife's hard lot, and I bear it. But
I did break out, that time, so that he has never alluded to the subject
since. But I know by his looks, and little things that he says, that he thinks
so as much as ever; and it 's so trying, so provoking!
Oph. [Rattling her needles.]
So, you just see what you've got to manage. A household without any rule;
where servants have it all their own way, do what
and have what they please, except so far as I, with my feeble health, have
kept up government.
And how 's that?
Why, send them to the calaboose, or some of the other places, to be flogged.
That 's the only way. If I was n't such a poor, feeble piece, I believe
I should manage with twice the energy that St. Clare does.
And how does St. Clare contrive to manage? You say he never strikes a
Well, men have a more commanding way, you know; it is easier for them.
Besides, if you ever looked full in his eye, it 's peculiar—that eye—and
if he speaks decidedly, there 's a kind of flash. I 'm afraid of it, myself;
and the servants know they must mind. I could n't do as much by a regular
storm and scolding as St. Clare can by one turn of his eye, if once he is
in earnest. O, there 's no trouble about St. Clare! that 's the reason he's
no more feeling for me. But you 'll find, when you come to manage, that
there's no getting along without severity—they are so bad, so deceitful,
Enter ST. CLARE.
The old tune! What an awful account these wicked creatures will have
to settle, at last, especially for being lazy! You see, cousin, it 's wholly
inexcusable in them, in the light of the example that Marie and I set them,
Come, now, St. Clare, you are too bad.
Am I now? Why, I thought I was talking good, quite remarkably for me.
I try to enforce your remarks, Marie, always.
You know you mean no such thing, St. Clare.
O, I must have been mistaken, then! Thank you, my dear, for setting me
You do really try to be provoking.
O, come, Marie, the day is growing warm, and I have just had a long quarrel
with 'Dolph, which has fatigued me excessively; so, pray be agreeable, now,
and let a fellow repose in the light of your smile.
What 's the matter about 'Dolph? That fellow's impudence has been growing
to a point that is perfectly intolerable to me. I only wish I had the undisputed
management of him a while. I 'd bring him down!
What you say, my dear, is marked with your usual acuteness and good sense.
As to 'Dolph, the case is this: that he has so long been engaged in imitating
my graces and perfections, that he has at last really mistaken himself for
his master, and I have been obliged to give him a little insight into his
Why, I was obliged to let him understand explicitly that I preferred to
keep some of my clothes for my own personal wearing;
also, I put his magnificence upon an allowance of cologne-water, and actually
was so cruel as to restrict him to one dozen of my cambric handkerchiefs.
'Dolph was particularly huffy about it, and I had to talk to him like a
father to bring him round.
O! St. Clare, when will you learn how to treat your servants? It 's abominable,
the way you indulge them!
Why, after all, what 's the harm of the poor dog's wanting to be like
his master? and if I have n't brought him up any better than to find his
chief good in cologne and cambric handkerchiefs, why should n't I give them
And why have n't you brought him up better?
Too much trouble; laziness, cousin, laziness—which ruins more souls than
you can shake a stick at. If it were n't for laziness, I should have been
a perfect angel, myself. I 'm inclined to think that laziness is what your
old Dr. Botherem, up in Vermont, used to call "the essence of moral evil."
It 's an awful consideration, certainly.
I think you slaveholders have an awful responsibility upon you. I would
n't have it for a thousand worlds. You ought to educate your slaves, and
treat them like reasonable creatures, like immortal creatures, that you
've got to stand before the bar of God with. That 's my mind.
O! come, come, what do you know about us?
[Goes to the piano, and plays and sings.]
now, cousin, you 've given us a good talk, and done your duty; on the whole,
I think the better of you for it. I make no manner of doubt that you threw
a very diamond of truth at me, though you see it hit me so directly in the
face, that it was n't exactly appreciated at first.
For my part, I don't see any use in such sort of talk. I 'm sure, if anybody
does more for servants than we do, I 'd like to know who; and it don't do
'em a bit good—not a particle; they get worse and worse. As to talking
to them, or anything like that, I 'm sure I have talked till I was tired and
hoarse, telling them their duty, and all that; and I 'm sure they can go
to church when they like, though they don't understand a word of the sermon,
more than so many pigs; so it is n't of any great use for them to go, as
I see; but they do go, and so they have every chance; but, as I said before,
they are a degraded race, and always will be, and there isn't any help for
them; you can't make anything of them, if you try. You see, Cousin Ophelia,
I 've tried, and you have n't; I was born and bred among them, and I know. [ST. CLARE whistles
a tune.] St. Clare, I wish you would n't whistle; it makes my
I won't. Is there anything else you would n't wish me to do?
I wish you would have some kind of sympathy for
my trials; you never have any feeling for me.
My dear accusing angel!
It 's provoking to be talked to in that way.
Then how will you be talked to? I 'll talk to order—any way you 'll
mention, only to give satisfaction.
[A laugh heard below in the court.]
What is it? [Rising and coming
to the window.] As I live! if there an't Eva, sitting in Uncle
Tom's lap! Eugh! there, she 's hanging a wreath of roses round his neck!
Eva. [Below, laughing.]
O, Tom, you look so funny!
How can you let her?
Why, I don't know, it seems so dreadful!
You would think no harm in a child's caressing a large dog, even if he
was black; but a creature that can think, and reason, and feel, and is immortal,
you shudder at; confess it, cousin. I know the feeling among some of you
northerners well enough. Not that there is a particle of virtue in our not
having it; but custom with us does what Christianity ought to do—obliterates
the feeling of personal prejudice. I have often noticed, in my travels north,
how much stronger this was with you than with us. You loathe them as you
would a snake or a toad, yet you are indignant at their wrongs. You would
not have them abused; but you don't want to have anything to do with them
yourselves. You would send them to Africa, out of your sight and smell,
and then send a missionary or two to do up all the self-denial of elevating
them compendiously. Is n't that it?
Well, cousin, there may be some truth in this.
What would the poor and lowly do, without children? Your little child
is your only true democrat. Tom, now, is a hero to Eva; his stories are wonders
in her eyes, his songs and Methodist hymns are better than an opera, and
the traps and little bits of trash in his pocket a mine of jewels, and he
the most wonderful Tom that ever wore a black skin. This is one of the roses
of Eden that the Lord has dropped down expressly for the poor and lowly,
who get few enough of any other kind.
It 's strange, cousin; one might almost think you were a professor, to hear you talk.
Yes; a professor of religion.
Not at all; not a professor, as your town folks have it; and, what it
worse, I 'm afraid, not a practiser either.
What makes you talk so, then?
Nothing is easier than talking. I believe Shakspeare makes somebody say,
"I could sooner teach twenty what were good to be done, than be one of the
twenty to follow my own teaching." Nothing like division of labor. My forte
lies in talking, and yours, cousin, lies in doing.
SCENE III.—Sabbath Morning. The Hall.
Enter MARIE and MISS OPHELIA, dressed for church.
Where 's Eva?
The child stopped on the stairs, to say something to Mammy.
Eva, what were you stopping for?
I was just stopping to give Mammy my vinaigrette, to take to church with
Eva! your gold vinaigrette to Mammy!. When will
you learn what 's proper? Go right and take it back,
Enter ST. CLARE.
I say, Marie, let the child alone; she shall do as she pleases.
St. Clare, how will she ever get along in the world?
The Lord knows; but she 'll get along in heaven better than you or I.
O papa! don't; it troubles mother.
Well, cousin, are you ready to go to meeting?
I 'm not going, thank you.
I do wish St. Clare ever would go to church; but he has n't a particle
of religion about him. It really is n't respectable.
I know it. You ladies go to church to learn how to get along in the world,
I suppose, and your piety sheds respectability on us. If I do go at all,
I would go where Mammy goes; there 's something to keep a fellow awake there,
What! those shouting Methodists? Horrible!
Anything but the dead sea of your respectable churches, Marie. Positively,
it 's too much to ask of a man. Eva, do you like to go? Come, stay at home
and play with me.
Thank you, papa, but I 'd rather go to church.
Is n't it dreadful tiresome?
I think it is tiresome, some, and I am sleepy, too; but I try to keep
What do you go for, then?
Why, you know, papa, cousin told me that God wants to have us; and he
gives us everything, you know; and it is n't much to do it, if he wants us
to. It is n't so very tiresome, after all.
You sweet little obliging soul! go along, that 's a good girl; and pray
Certainly, I always do.
St. C. [Solus.]
O Evangeline! rightly named; hath not God made thee an evangel to me?
SCENE IV—The Dinner Table. -- ST. CLARE, MARIE,
OPHELIA, EVA, SERVANTS.
Well, ladies, and what was the bill of fare at church to-day?
O, Dr. G——- preached a splendid sermon! It was just such a sermon as
you ought to hear; it expressed all my views exactly.
How very improving! The subject must have been an extensive one.
Well, I mean all my views about society, and such things. The text was,
"He hath made everything beautiful in its season;" and he showed how all
the orders and distinctions in society came from God; and that it was so
appropriate, you know, and beautiful, that some should be high and some low,
and that some were born to rule
and some to serve, and
all that, you know; and he applied it so well to all this ridiculous fuss
that is made about slavery, and he proved distinctly that the Bible was on
our side, and supported all our institutions so convincingly, I only wish
you 'd heard him.
O, I did n't need it! I can learn what does me as much good as that from
the Picayune any time, and smoke a cigar besides; which I can't do, you know,
in a church.
Why, don't you believe in these views?
Who—I? You know I 'm such a graceless dog that these religious aspects
of such subjects don't edify me much. If I was to say anything on this slavery
matter, I would say out, fair and square, "We 're in for it; we've got 'em,
and mean to keep 'em—it 's for our convenience and our interest;" for that
's the long and short of it; that 's just the whole of what all this sanctified
stuff amounts to, after all; and I think that will be intelligible to everybody
I do think, Augustine, you are so irreverent! I think it 's shocking
to hear you talk.
Shocking! it 's the truth. This religious talk on such matters, why don't
they carry it a little further, and show the beauty, in its season, of a
fellow's taking a glass too much, and sitting a little too late over his
cards, and various providential arrangements of that sort, which are pretty
frequent among us young men? We 'd like to hear that those are right and
Well, do you think slavery right or wrong?
I 'm not going to have any of your horrid New England directness, cousin.
If I answer that question, I know you 'll be at me with half a dozen others,
each one harder than the last; and I'm not a-going to define my position.
I am one of that sort that lives by throwing stones at other people's glass-houses;
but I never mean to put up one for them to stone.
That 's just the way he 's always talking; you can't get any satisfaction
out of him. I believe it 's just because he don't like religion that he 's
always running out in this way he 's been doing.
Religion! Religion! Is what you have been hearing at church, religion?
Is that which can bend and turn, and descend and ascend, to fit every crooked
phase of selfish, worldly society, religion? Is that religion which is less
scrupulous, less generous, less just, less considerate for man, than even
my own ungodly, worldly, blinded nature? No! When I look for a religion,
I must look for something above me, and not something beneath.
Then you don't believe that the Bible justifies slavery?
The Bible was my mother's book. By it she lived
and died, and I would be very sorry to think it did. I 'd as soon desire
to have it proved that my mother could drink brandy, chew tobacco, and swear,
by way of satisfying me that I did right in doing the same. It would n't
make me at all more satisfied with these things in myself, and it would take
from me the comfort of respecting her; and it really is a comfort, in this
world, to have anything one can respect. In short, you see [gayly], all I want is that different things
be kept in different boxes. The whole frame-work of society, both in Europe
and America, is made up of various things which will not stand the scrutiny
of any very ideal standard of morality. It 's pretty generally understood
men don't aspire after the absolute right, but only
to do about as well as the rest of the world. Now, when any one speaks up,
like a man, and says slavery is necessary to us, we can't get along without
it, we should be beggared if we give it up, and, of course, we mean to hold
on to it—this is strong, clear, well-defined language; it has the respectability
of truth to it; and, if we may judge by their practice, the majority of the
world will bear us out in it. But when he begins to put on a long face,
and snuffle, and quote Scripture, I incline to think he isn't much better
than he should be.
You are very uncharitable.
Well, suppose that something should bring down the price of cotton once
and forever, and make the whole slave property a drug in the market; don't
you think we should soon have another version of the Scripture doctrine?
What a flood of light would pour into the church, all at once, and how immediately
it would be discovered that everything in the Bible and reason went the other
Well, at any rate, I 'm thankful I 'm born where slavery exists; and I
believe it 's right—indeed, I feel it must be; and, at any rate, I 'm sure
I could n't get along with it.
St. C. [To EVA.]
I say, what do you think, pussy?
What about, papa?
Why, which do you like the best; to live as they do at your uncle's, up
in Vermont, or to have a house-full of servants, as we do?
O, of course, our way is the pleasantest!
Why, it makes so many more round you to love, you know.
Now, that 's just like Eva; just one of her odd speeches.
Is it an odd speech, papa?
Rather, as this world goes, pussy. But where has my little Eva been,
O, I 've been up in Tom's room, hearing him sing, and Aunt Dinah gave
me my dinner.
Hearing Tom sing, eh?
O, yes! He sings such beautiful things about the New Jerusalem, and bright
angels, and the land of Canaan.
I dare say; it 's better than the opera, is n't it?
Yes; and he 's going to teach them to me.
Singing-lessons, eh?—you are coming on.
Yes, he sings for me, and I read to him in my Bible; and he explains what
it means, you know.
On my word, that is the latest joke of the season.
Tom is n't a bad hand, now, at explaining Scripture, I 'll dare swear.
Tom has a natural genius for religion. I wanted the horses out early, this
morning, and I stole up to Tom's cubiculum there, over the stables, and
there I heard him holding a meeting by himself; and, in fact, I have n't heard
anything quite so savory as Tom's prayer this some time. He put in for me
with a zeal that was quite apostolic.
Perhaps he guessed you were listening. I 've heard of that trick before.
If he did, he was n't very polite; for he gave the Lord his opinion of
me pretty feely. Tom seemed to think there was decidedly room for improvement
in me, and seemed very earnest that I should be converted.
I hope you 'll lay it to heart.
St. C. [Gayly.]
I suppose you are much of the same opinion. Well, we shall see-shan't
SCENE V.—The Kitchen.
DINAH (smoking). Negro children playing about.
'Still there, ye young uns, 'sturbin' me, while I 's takin' my smoke!
Enter JANE and ROSA.
Well, such a time as there 's been in the house to-day, I never saw! Such
a rummagin' and frummagin' in bandboxes and closets!—everything dragged
out! Hate these yer northen misses!
Laws! ye orter seen her to the sheet trunk! Wan't it as good as a play
to see her turn 'em out!
Bob. [From floor.]
Tell ye, ef she don't sail round the house, coat-tail standin' out ahind
her! Bound if she don't clar every one on us off the verandys minnit we shows
An't gwine to have her in my diggin's, sturbin'
my idees! Never let Miss Marie interfere, and she sartin shan't, her! Allus telled Miss Marie the kitchen wan't no place for ladies;
Miss Marie got sense—she know'd it; but these yer northen misses—Good Lor!
who is she, anyhow?
Why, she 's Mas'r St. Clare's cousin.
'Lation, is she? Poor, too, an't she?—hearn tell they done their own
work up thar. Anything I hate, it 's these yer poor 'lations!
Hush! here she comes!
Enter MISS OPHELIA.
Oph. [Advances and opens a drawer.]
What 's this drawer for, Dinah?
Handy for most anything, missis.
Oph. [Rummaging—draws out a table-cloth.]
What 's this? A beautiful French damask table-cloth, all stained and bloody!
Why, Dinah, you don't wrap up meat in your mistress' best damask table-cloths?
O Lor, missis, no! the towels was all a missin'—so I jest did it. I
laid out to wash that are—that 's why I put it thar.
Oph. [Disgusted—still rummaging.]
Shiftless! What 's here?—nutmeg-grater—Methodist hymn-book—knitting-work!
Faugh!—filthy old pipe! Faugh! what a sight! Where do you keep your nutmegs,
Most anywhar, missis; there 's some in that cracked tea-cup up there,
and there 's some over in that ar cuboard.
Here are some in the grater.
Laws, yes! I put 'em there this morning. I likes to keep my things handy.
You, Bob! what are you stopping for? You 'll cotch it! Be still thar!
[Striking at him with a stick.]
What 's this?
[Holding up a saucer.]
Laws, it 's my har grease; I put it thar to have
Do you use your mistress' best saucers for that?
Law! it was cause I was driv, and in sich a hurry; I was gwine to change
it this very day.
Here are two damask table-napkins.
Them table-napkins I put thar to get 'em washed out, some day.
Don't you have some place here on purpose for things to be washed?
Well, Mas'r St. Clare got dat ar chest, he said, for dat; but I likes
to mix up biscuit and hev my things on it some days, and then it an't handy
a liftin' up the lid.
Why don't you mix your biscuits on the pastry-table, there?
Law, missis, it get sot so full of dishes, and one thing and another,
der an't no room, noways——
But you should wash your dishes, and clear them
Wash my dishes! What does ladies know 'bout work, I want to know? When
'd mas'r ever get his dinner if I was to spend all my time a washin' and
a puttin' up dishes? Miss Marie never telled me so, nohow.
Well, here are these onions.
Laws, yes! thar is whar I put 'em, now. I could
n't 'member. Them 's particular onions I was a savin' for dis yer very stew.
I 'd forgot they was in dar ar old flannel. [MISS OPHELIA lifts a paper of herbs.]
I wish missis would n't touch dem ar. I likes to keep my things whar I knows
what to go to 'em.
But you don't want these holes in the papers.
Them 's handy for siftin' on't out.
But you see it spills all over the drawer.
Laws, yes! if missis will go a tumblin' things all up so, it will. Missis
has spilt lots dat ar way. If missis only will go up stars till my clarin'-up
time comes, I 'll have everything right; but I can't do nothin' when ladies
is round, a henderin'. You, Sam, don't you gib the baby dat ar sugar-bowl!
I'll crack ye over, if ye don't mind!
I 'm going through the kitchen, and going to put everything in order once, Dinah; and then I 'll expect you to keep it so.
Lor, now! Miss 'Phelia, dat ar an't no way for ladies to do. I never
did see ladies doin' no sich; my old missis nor Miss Marie never did, and
I don't see no kinder need on't.
Enter ST. CLARE.
There is no such thing as getting anything like system in this family!
To be sure there is n't.
Such shiftless management, such waste, such confusion, I never saw!
I dare say you did n't.
You would not take it so coolly if you were a housekeeper.
My dear cousin, you may as well understand, once for all, that we masters
are divided into two classes, oppressors and oppressed. We who are good-natured
and hate severity make up our minds to a good deal of inconvenience. If
we will keep a shambling, loose, untaught set in the
community, for our convenience, why, we must take the consequence. Some
rare cases I have seen, of persons, who, by a peculiar tact, can produce
order and system without severity; but I 'm not one of them, and so I made
up my mind, long ago, to let things go just as they do. I will not have
the poor devils thrashed and cut to pieces, and they know it; and, of course,
they know the staff is in their own hands.
But to have no time, no place, no order—all going on in this shiftless
My dear Vermont, you natives up by the North Pole set an extravagant value
on time! What on earth is the use of time to a fellow who has twice as much
of it as he knows what to do with? As to order and system, where there is
nothing to be done but to lounge on the sofa and read, an hour sooner or later
in breakfast or dinner is n't of much account. Now, there's Dinah gets you
a capital dinner—soup, ragout, roast fowl, dessert, ice-creams and all—and
she creates it all out of Chaos and old Night out here in this kitchen.
I think it really sublime, the way she manages. But, Heaven bless us! if
we were to come out here, and view all the smoking and squatting about, and
hurryscurryation of the preparatory process, we should never eat more. My
good cousin, absolve yourself from that! It 's more than a Catholic penance,
and does no more good. You 'll only lose your own temper, and utterly confound
Dinah. Let her go her own way.
But, Augustine, you don't know how I found things.
Don't I? Don't I know that the rolling-pin is under her bed, and the nutmeg-grater
in her pocket with her tobacco—that there are sixty-five different sugar-bowls,
one in every hole in the house—that she wa shes dishes with a dinner-napkin
one day, and with the fragment of an old petticoat the next? But the upshot
is, she gets up glorious dinners, makes superb coffee; and you must judge
her, as warriors and statesmen are judged, by her success.
But the waste—the expense!
O, well! lock everything you can, and keep the key. Give out by driblets,
and never inquire for odds and ends—it is n't best.
That troubles me, Augustine. I can't help feeling as if these servants
were not strictly honest. Are you sure they can be
[Laughing.] O, cousin,
that 's too good! Honest!— as
if that 's a thing to be expected! Honest!—why, of course they arn't.
Why should they be? What upon earth is to make them so?
Why don't you instruct?
Instruct! O, fiddlestick! What instructing do you think I should do? I
look like it! As to Marie, she has spirit enough, to be sure, to kill off
a whole plantation, if I'd let her manage; but she would n't get the cheatery
out of them.
Are there no honest ones?
Well, now and then one, whom nature makes so impracticably simple, truthful
and faithful, that the worst possible influence can't destroy it. But, you
see, from the mother's breast the colored child feels and sees that there
are none but underhand ways open to it. It can get along no other way with
its parents, its mistress, its young master and missie play-fellows. Cunning
and deception become necessary, inevitable habits. It is n't fair to expect
anything else of him. He ought not to be punished for it. As to honesty,
the slave is kept in that dependent, semi-childish state, that there is no
making him realize the rights of property, or feel that his master's goods
are not his own, if he can get them. For my part, I don't see how they can be honest. Such a fellow as Tom here is, is a moral
And what becomes of their souls?
That is n't my affair, as I know of. I am only dealing in facts of the
present life. The fact is, that the whole race are pretty generally understood
to be turned over to the devil, for our benefit, in this world, however it
may turn out in another!
This is perfectly horrible! You ought to be ashamed of yourselves!
I don't know as I am. We are in pretty good company, for all that, as
people in the broad road generally are.
SCENE VI.—New Orleans. A Parlor in -- ST. CLARE'S House.
Enter ST. CLARE and TOPSY.
Come down here, cousin; I 've something to show you.
Enter MISS OPHELIA, sewing in hand.
What is it?
I 've made a purchase for your department—see here.
Augustine, what in the world did you bring that thing here for?
For you to educate, to be sure, and train in the way she should go. I
thought she was rather a funny specimen in the Jim Crow line. Here, Topsy,
this is your new mistress. I 'm going to give you up to here; see, how,
that you behave yourself.
You 're going to be good, Topsy, you understand.
O, yes, mas'r!
Now, Augustine, what upon earth is this for? Your house is so full of
these little plagues, now, that a body can't set their feet
down without treading on 'em. I get up in the morning, and find one asleep
behind the door, and see one black head poking out from under the table,
one lying on the door-mat; and they are mopping, and mowing, and grinning
between all the railings, and tumbling over the kitchen floor! What on
earth did you want to bring this one for?
For you to educate—did n't I tell you? You 're always preaching about
educating. I thought I would make you a present of a fresh-caught specimen,
and let you try your hand on her, and bring her up in the way she should
I don't want her, I am sure; I have more to do
with 'em now than I want to.
That 's you Christians, all over! You 'll get up a society, and get some
poor missionary to spend all his days among just such heathen. But let me
see one of you that would take one into your house with you, and take the
labor of their conversion on yourselves! No; when it comes to that, they are
dirty and disagreeable, and it 's too much care, and so on.
Augustine, you know I did n't think of it in that light. Well, it might
be a real missionary work. But I really did n't see the need of buying this
one—there are enough now, in your house, to take all my time and skill.
Well, then, Cousin, I ought to beg your pardon for my good-for-nothing
speeches. You are so good, after all, that there 's no sense in them. Why,
the fact is, this concern belonged to a couple of drunken creatures that
keep a low restaurant that I have to pass by every day, and I was tired of
hearing her screaming, and them beating and swearing at her. She looked
bright and funny, too, as if something might be made of her; so I bought
her, and I 'll give her to you. Try, now, and give her a good orthodox New
England bringing up, and see what it 'll make of her. You know I have n't
any gift that way; but I 'd like you to try.
Well, I 'll do what I can. Come here, Topsy. How old are you?
Dun no, missis.
Don't know how old you are? Did n't anybody ever tell you? Who was your
Never had none!
Never had any mother? What do you mean? Where was you born?
Never was born!
You must n't answer me in that way, child; I 'm not playing with you.
Tell me where you were born, and who your father and mother were.
Never was born; never had no father nor mother, nor nothin'! I was raised
by a speculator, with lots of others. Old Aunt Sue used to take car of us.
Enter JANE, DINAH, and ROSA.
Laws, missis, there 's heaps of 'em! Speculators buys 'em up cheap, when
they 's little, and gets 'em raised for market.
How long have you lived with your master and mistress?
Dun no, missis.
Is it a year, or more, or less?
Dun no, missis.
Laws, missis, those low negroes, they can't tell; they don't know anything
about time; they don't know what a year is; they don't know their own ages.
Have you ever heard anything about God, Topsy?
Do you know who made you?
Nobody, as I knows on. I 'spect I grow'd. Don't think nobody never made
Do you know how to sew?
What can you do? What did you do for your master and mistress?
Fetch water, and wash the dishes, and rub knives, and wait on folks.
Were they good to you?
'Spect they was.
Dinah. [Lifting up both hands.]
Good Lor, what a limb! What on 'arth Mas'r St. Care want to bring on
dese yer low nigger young 'uns here for? Wont have her round under my feet,
Well, go to your work, all of you. [Exeunt JANE, DINAH, and ROSA.] Come, Topsy, to my room.
SCENE VII.—A Bed-room. -- MISS OPHELIA and -- TOPSY.
Now, Topsy, I 'm going to show you just how my bed is to be made. I am
very particular about my bed. You must learn exactly how to do it.
Now, Topsy, look here; this is the hem of the sheet—this is the right
side of the sheet, and this is the wrong; will you remember?
Well, now, the under sheet you must bring over the bolster—so—and tuck
it clear down under the mattress nice and smooth—so; do you see?
But the upper sheet must be brought down in this way, and tucked under
firm and smooth at the foot—so—the narrow hem at the foot.
[Adroitly snatching a pair of gloves
and a ribbon, and hiding them in her sleeve.]
Now, Topsy, let's see you do this.
[As TOPSY goes to make the bed, the ribbon hangs out of her
Oph. [Seizing it.]
What 's this? You naughty, wicked child—you 've been stealing this!
Laws! why, that ar's Miss Feely's ribbon, an't it? How could it a got
in my sleeve?
Topsy, you naughty girl, don't you tell me a lie; you stole that ribbon!
Missis, I declar for 't, I did n't; never seed it till dis yer blessed
Topsy, don't you know it 's wicked to tell lies?
I never tells no lies, Miss Feely; it 's jist the truth I've been a tellin'
now, and an't nothin' else.
Topsy, I shall have to whip you, if you tell lies so.
Laws, missis, if you 's to whip all day, could n't say no other way.
I never seed dat ar—it must a got caught in my sleeve. Miss Feely must have
left it on the bed, and it got caught in the clothes, and so got in my sleeve.
Oph. [Shaking her.]
Don't you tell me that again! [The gloves fall out.] There, you! will you tell me now you did
n't steal the ribbon?
Laws, missis, I did steal dem ar gloves—but I never did take dat ar ribbon,
in the world, never!
Now, Topsy! If you 'll confess all about it, I won't whip you this time.
Well, den, missis, I did take de ribbon and de gloves both, I did so.
Well, now, tell me. I know you must have taken other things since you
have been in the house, for I let you run about all day yesterday. Now, tell
me if you took anything, and I shan't whip you.
Laws, missis! I took Miss Eva's red thing she wars on her neck.
You did, you naughty child! Well, what else?
I took Rosa's yer-rings—dem red ones.
Go bring them to me this minute, both of 'em.
Laws, missis, I can't—they's burnt up!
Burnt up? what a story! Go get 'em, or I 'll whip you!
Top. [Crying and groaning.]
I can't missis, I can't no how! Dey 's burnt up—dey is.
What did you burn 'em up for?
'Cause I 's wicked—I is. I 's mighty wicked, any how. I can't help
it, no how.
Enter EVA, with the coral necklace on her neck.
Why, Eva, where did you get your necklace?
Get it? Why, I 've had it on all day.
Did you have it on yesterday?
Yes; and what is funny, aunty, I had it on all night. I forgot to take
it off when I went to be.
Enter ROSA, with a basket of newly-ironed linen poised
on her head, and the coral ear-drops shaking in her ears.
Oph. [In despair.]
I 'm sure I can't tell anything to do with such a child! What in the
world did you tell me you took those things for, Topsy?
Why, missis said I must 'fess; and I could n't think of nothin' else to
But, of course, I did n't want you to confess things you did n't do; that
's telling a lie, just as much as the other.
Laws, now, is it? Why, how curus!
La, there an't any such thing as the truth in that limb! If I was Mas'r
St. Clare, I 'd whip her till the blood run, I would! I 'd let her catch
No, no, Rosa! you must n't talk so, Rosa. I can't bear to hear it.
La, sakes! Miss Eva, you 's so good, you don't know nothing how to get
along with niggers. There 's no way but cut 'em well up, I tell ye.
Rosa, hush! Don't say another word of that sort.
Miss Eva has got the St. Clare blood in her, that's plain. She can speak
for all the world just like her papa.
Well, I don't know anything what I shall do with you, Topsy.
Laws, missis, you must whip me! Ole missis always whipped me. I s'pects
's good for me.
Why Topsy, I don't want to whip you. You can do well if you 've a mind
to. What 's the reason you won't?
Why, missis, I 's so used to whippin'.
Well, I shall shut you in this closet, to think of your ways a while.
Eva. [Goes up to Topsy.]
Poor Topsy, why need you steal? You 're going to be taken good care of
now. I 'm sure I 'd rather give you anything of mine than have you steal
Ha! ha! dat ar 's curus! Well, I 's gwine in de closet—mebbe I 'll come
out better. [Goes in.]
[Exeunt EVA and MISS OPHELIA.
SCENE VIII.—A Veranda. -- ST. CLARE lounging
on a sofa. -- MISS OPHELIA sewing.
Let me see if you can say your catechism; and if you can you may go and
play. Did all mankind fall in Adam's first transgression?
Top. [Repeating very rapidly.]
Covenant being made with Adam not only for hisself but for his posterity,
all mankind 'scending from him by ordinar transgression, sinned wid him,
and fell in him, in that fust generation.
Stop! stop!! stop!!! Topsy. Why, how are you saying it?
Why, what 's the odds? I don't see but that it makes as good sense one
way as the other.
St. Clare! now—how can I teach this child if you will take so? And now
you 're laughing!
I 'm done. Proceed. Topsy! you careless hussy, mind yourself! Be sure
you get everything in right end first. Now for it!
Into what state did the fall bring all mankind?
Fall brought all mankind into a state of sin and misery. Please ma'am—?
Dar 'ar state Kintuck? De Lor' knows dey has sin and misery 'nough dar!
Hush, hush, Topsy!
No personal reflections, Topsy!
Please, missis, can't I go play? Dar ar 'bout the generations was so
curus! Never kin get it right nohow!
O, yes, coz, let her go. I want you to go up stairs and look at a new
carpet I 've been buying for Eva's room. There, Tops, there 's some candy
for you. Next time get the words straight.
[Exeunt ST. CLARE and OPHELIA.]
Enter JAKE, AMANDA, and other
Dar now, ye niggers! I 'se gittin' eddecated, I is; 'cause I b'longs
to Miss Feely. I larns catechize every day, and you por trash don't. Laws,
you 's runnin' wild all the while! What doos you know? Doos you know you
's all sinners? Wal, you is, everybody is. White folks is sinners, too—Miss
Feely says so; but I 'spects niggers is the biggest ones; but, lor! ye an't
any on ye up to me. I 's so awful wicked there can't nobody do nothin' with
me. I used to keep old missis a swarin' at me half de time. I 'spects I
's the wickedest crittur in the world.
Ah! Den ye 'll go to torment one dese days, anyhow. Ye won't be quite
so crank then.
No I shan't—I 's bound to go to heaven, I is.
No ye won't neither!
Shall too! Miss Feely 's bound to go thar, and they 'll have to let me
come too; cors she 's so curus they won't nobody else know how to wait on
her dar! Come, now, be still touching that thing of mine, or I 'll crack
[Exit JAKE, running with TOPSY'S thimble. TOPSY follows,
with all the rest, in pursuit.]
SCENE IX.—An Arbor, looking out on Lake Ponchartrain. -- UNCLE TOM and -- EVA.
O, Uncle Tom, I 'm going to read you some such beautiful places!—now, this: "Behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat
on the throne; and he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine
stone; and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto
an emerald. And round about the throne were four-and-twenty seats; and upon
the seats I saw four-and-twenty elders sitting clothed in white raiment,
and they had on their heads crowns of gold." Only think of it! [She turns to another place.] And, now, this: "And I saw, as it were, a sea of glass, mingled
with fire, and them that had gotten the victory over the beast stand on the
sea of glass, having the harps of God, and they sing the song of Moses, the
servant of God, and the song of the Lamb; saying, Great and marvel-
lous are thy works, Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways,
thou King of saints." [Pointing to
the lake.] There 't is, Uncle Tom! see! there 't is—a sea of
glass mingled with fire!
What, Miss Eva?
Don't you see—there, that water? There 's a "sea of glass mingled with
True enough, Miss Eva. [Sings.]
"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?
O, up in the clouds, Miss Eva!
Then, I think I see it! Look in those clouds! they look like great gates
of pearl; and you can see way, way beyond them—far, far off—it 's all gold.
Tom, sing about "spirits bright!"
Uncle T. [Sings.]
"O, what hath Jesus bought for me!
Before my wondering eyes
Rivers of pure delight I see,
And streams of Paradise.
"I see a band of spirits bright,
That taste the glories there;
They all are robed in spotless white,
And conquering palms they bear."
Uncle Tom, I 've seen them! They come to me sometimes
in my sleep, those spirits. [Sings.]
"They are all robed in spotless white,
And conquering palms they bear."
Uncle Tom, I 'm going there.
Where, Miss Eva?
Eva. [Rising and pointing up.]
I 'm going there, to the spirits bright, Tom; I 'm going before long.
Oph. [Calling from a distance.]
Eva! Eva! child—come in; the dew is falling! you must not be out there!
SCENE X.—A Veranda. -- ST. CLARE and -- MARIE reclining on lounges.
I say, Augustine, I must send to the city after my old doctor Posey; I
'm sure I 've got the complaint of the heart.
Well; why need you send for him? The doctor that attends Eva seems skilful.
I would not trust him in a critical case; and I think I may say mine is
becoming so! I 've been thinking of it these two or three nights past; I
have such distressing pains, and such strange feelings.
O, Marie, you are blue! I don't believe it 's heart complaint.
I dare say you don't; I was prepared to expect that. You can be alarmed enough, if Eva coughs, or has
the least thing the matter with her; but you never think of me.
If it 's particularly agreeable to you to have heart disease, why, I 'll
try and maintain you have it. I did n't know it was.
Well, I only hope you won't be sorry for this when it 's too late! But,
believe it or not, my distress about Eva, and the exertions I have made with
that dear child, have developed what I have long suspected.
O, here comes cousin from her excursion. [Enter MISS OPHELIA and EVA.] Well, coz, what success in
the religious line? Did you find a preacher?
Wait till I put my bonnet and shawl away. [Exit.]
Here, Eva, you come to me.
[Climbs into her father's lap.]
What 's this! You wicked little hussy, you! Come out here! Come out
this very minute!
What new witchcraft has Tops been brewing?
Enter MISS OPHELIA, dragging TOPSY.
Come out here, now. I will tell your master!
What 's the row, pray?
The fact is, I cannot be plagued with this child any longer! It 's past
all bearing; flesh and blood cannot endure it! Here I locked her up, and gave
her a hymn to study; and what does she do, but spy out where I put my key,
and has gone to my bureau, and got a bonnet-trimming, and cut it all to pieces
to make dolls' jackets! I never saw anything like it, in my life!
I told you, cousin, that you 'd find out that these creatures can't be
brought up without severity. If I had my way, now,
I 'd send that child out, and have her thoroughly whipped; I 'd have her
whipped till she could n't stand!
I don't doubt it. Tell me of the lovely rule of woman! I never saw above
a dozen women that would n't half kill a horse, or a servant, either, if
they had their own way with them, let alone a man!
There is no use in this shilly-shally way of yours, St. Clare! Cousin
is a woman of sense, and she sees it now, as plainly as I do.
I would n't have the child treated so, for the world; but I am sure, Augustine,
I don't know what to do. I 've taught and taught; I 've talked till I 'm
tired; I 've whipped her; I 've punished her in every way I can think of,
and she 's just what she was at first.
Come here, Tops, you monkey! [Topsy comes.] What makes you behave so?
'Spects it 's my wicked heart; Miss Feely says so!
Don't you see how much Miss Ophelia has done for you? She says she has
done everything she can think of.
Lor, yes, mas'r! ole missis used to say so, too. She whipped me a heap
harder, and used to pull my har, and knock my head agin the door; but it
didn't do me no good; I 'spects, if they 's to pull
spear o' har out o' my head, it would n't do no good, neither—I 's so wicked!
Laws! I 's nothin but a nigger, no ways!
Well, I shall have to give her up; I can't have that trouble any longer.
Well, I 'd just like to ask one question.
What is it?
Why, if your Gospel is not strong enough to save one heathen child, that
you can have at home here all to yourself, what 's the use of sending one
or two poor missionaries off with it among thousands of just such? I suppose
this child is about a fair sample of what thousands of your heathen are.
[Beckons to TOPSY, who follows her to the end of the veranda.]
What 's Eva about now? I mean to see.
What does make you so bad, Topsy? Why don't you try and be good? Don't
you love anybody, Topsy?
Dunno nothing 'bout love; I loves candy and sich, that 's all.
But you love your father and mother?
Never had none, ye know. I telled ye that, Miss Eva.
O, I know; but had n't you any brother or sister, or aunt, or ——
No, none on 'em; never had nothing nor nobody.
But, Topsy, if you 'd only try to be good, you might——
Could n't never be nothin' but a nigger if I was ever so good. If I could
be skinned, and come white, I 'd try then.
But people can love you, if you are black, Topsy. Miss Ophelia would love
you if you were good.
Don't you think so?
No; she can't bar me, 'cause I 'm a nigger! she 'd 's soon have a toad
touch her. There can't nobody love niggers, and niggers can't do nothin'.
I don't care! [Whistles.]
O, Topsy, poor child, I love you! I love you,
because you have n't had any father, or mother, or friends; because you 've
been a poor, abused child! I love you, and I want you to be good. I am very
unwell, Topsy, and I think I shan't live a great while, and it really grieves
me, to have you be so naughty. I wish you would try to be good, for my sake;
it 's only a little while I shall be with you.
Poor Topsy! don't you know that Jesus loves all alike? He is just as willing
to love you, as me. He loves you just as I do, only more, because he is
better. He will help you to be good; and you can go to heaven at last, and
be an angel forever, just as much as if you were white. Only think of it,
Topsy, you can be one of those spirits bright Uncle
Tom sings about!
O, dear Miss Eva! dear Miss Eva! I will try! I will try! I never did
care nothin' about it before.
SCENE XI — -- EVA lying in bed. -- MISS OPHELIA looks out of the door, and sees -- UNCLE TOM lying.
Uncle Tom, what alive! have you taken to sleeping everywhere, and anywhere,
like a dog? I thought you were one of the orderly sort, and liked to sleep
in your bed, in a decent way.
I do, Miss Feely; but now—— [Pauses.]
Well, what now?
We must n't speak loud; Mas'r St. Clare won't hear on 't; but, Miss Feely,
you know there must be somebody watchin' for the Bridegroom.
What do you mean, Tom?
You know it says in Scripture, "At midnight there was a great cry made,
Behold, the Bridegroom cometh!" That 's what I 'm 'spectin' now, every night,
Miss Feely; and I could n't sleep out o' hearin', no ways.
Why, Uncle Tom, what makes you think so?
Miss Eva, she talks to me. The Lord, he sends his messenger in the soul.
I must be thar, Miss Feely; for when that ar blessed child goes into the
kingdom, they 'll open the door so wide, we 'll all get a look in at the
glory, Miss Feely.
Uncle Tom, did Miss Eva say she felt more unwell than usual to-night?
No; but she telled me this morning she was coming nearer; that 's them
that tells it to the child, Miss Feely. It 's the angels; "it 's the trumpet-sound
afore the break o' day."
Well, Tom, perhaps you had better lie down here by the door, so as to
be ready if I should call you.
Oph. [Closes the door and arranges the
chamber. Takes the light and walks toward the bed, and examines the countenance
Ah! indeed! [Sets down the lamp
and feels of her pulse.] Is it possible? [Goes to the door.] Tom!
Uncle T. [Without.]
Go and bring the doctor here, directly; don't lose a minute! [Crosses the chamber and raps.] Augustine!
St. C. [Opening.]
What, cousin? Anything the matter?
Just look at Eva! feel of her hands!
St. C. [Bending over EVA.]
O, my God!
Hush! she's dying!
SERVANTS flocking into the room.
O, Miss Eva! O, Miss Eva!
Hush! Eva! Eva! O, if she would only speak once more! Eva! darling!
There! her eyes are opening!
Do you know me, Eva?
Dear papa! [Throws her arms around
his neck, then drops them and struggles, as in a spasm.]
O, God! O, God! this is dreadful! [Wrings TOM'S hand.] O, Tom, my boy, it's killing me!
Lord, have mercy!
O, pray that it may be over!
O, bless the Lord, it is over—there, look! look
O, what a look!
O, those eyes! What does she see?
She does n't hear you!
O, Eva! Tell us. What is it?
O! [Looks at her father.] Love! [Raises her hands.] Joy! joy!
She 's gone! [Falls on the bed. Curtain drops.]
SCENE XII—A Parlor. -- ST. CLARE, -- MISS OPHELIA. -- TOM on a bench near the window,
Augustine, have you ever made any provision for your servants, in case
of your death?
Then all your indulgence to them may prove a great cruelty by and by.
Well, I mean to make a provision by and by.
One of these days!
What if you should die first?
Cousin, what 's the matter? Do you think I show symptoms of yellow fever
or cholera, that you are making post mortem arrangements with such zeal?
"In the midst of life we are in death!"
St. C. [Laying aside the paper, and rising.]
DEATH! Strange that there should be such a
word, and such a thing, and we ever forget it; that one should be living,
warm and beautiful, full of hopes, desires, and wants, one day, and the next
be gone, utterly gone, and forever! [To TOM.] Want me to read to you,
If mas'r pleases; mas'r makes it so much plainer.
St. C. [Reads.]
"When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all his holy angels
with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory; and before him
shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another,
as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats." [ST. CLARE reads on, in an animated
voice, till he comes to the last of the verses.] "Then shall
the King say unto them on his left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into
everlasting fire: for I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty,
and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked,
and ye clothed me not: I was sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Then shall they answer unto him, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or
athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister
unto thee? Then shall he say unto them, Inasmuch as ye
did it not to one of the least of these my bethren, ye did it not to me."
[Pauses. To TOM.] Tom, these folks that get such hard measure seem to have
been doing just what I have—living good, easy respect able lives; and not
troubling themselves to inquire how many of their brethren were hungry, or
athirst, or sick, or in prison. [Goes to the piano and plays and sings.]
"Dies irae dies illa,
Solvet saeclum in favilla,
Teste David cum sybilla."
What a sublime conception is that of the last judgment! A righting of
all the wrongs of ages! A solving of all moral problems by an unanswerable
wisdom! It is, indeed, a wonderful image.
It is a fearful one to us.
It ought to be to me, I suppose. Now, that which I was reading to Tom
strikes singularly. One should have expected some terrible enormities charged
to those who are excluded from heaven, as the reason; but, no,—they are
condemned for not doing positive good, as if that
included every possible harm.
Perhaps it is impossible for a person who does no good not to do harm.
And what, what shall be said of one whose own heart, whose education,
and the wants of society, have called in vain to some noble purpose; who
has floated on, a dreamy, neutral spectator of the struggles, agonies, and
wrongs of man, when he should be been a worker?
I should say that he ought to repent, and begin now.
Always practical and to the point! You never leave me any time for general
reflections, cousin; you always bring me short up against the actual present;
you have a kind of eternal now, always in your mind.
Now is all the time I have anything to do with.
Dear little Eva—poor child! she had set her little simple soul on a good
work for me. [A pause.]
I don't know what makes me think of my mother so much to-night. I have a
strange kind of feeling, as if she were near me. I keep thinking of things
she used to say. Strange what brings these past things so vividly back to
us, sometimes! [Walks.]
I believe I 'll go down the street, a few moments, and hear the news to-night.
SCENE XIII.—A Court-Yard. -- SERVANTS running
distractedly to and fro; some looking in at the windows where lights are
[Comes out.] He's
O, mas'r! O! O! O, Lord! Good Lord! Do hab pity! O Lord, hab mercy!
O, Mas'r St. Clare! O, mas'r, mas'r, mas'r! he 's dead! he 's dead! he 's