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

SCENE VII.—A Bed-room. -- MISS OPHELIA and -- TOPSY.


Ophelia.

  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.


Topsy.

  Yes, ma'am.


Oph.

  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?


Top.

  Yes, ma'am.


Oph.

  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?


Top.

  Yes, ma'am.


Oph.

  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.


Top.

  Yes, ma'am. [Adroitly snatching a pair of gloves and a ribbon, and hiding them in her sleeve.]


Oph.

  Now, Topsy, let's see you do this.

[As TOPSY goes to make the bed, the ribbon hangs out of her sleeve.]

Oph. [Seizing it.]

  What 's this? You naughty, wicked child—you 've been stealing this!


Top.

  Laws! why, that ar's Miss Feely's ribbon, an't it? How could it a got in my sleeve?


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Oph.

  Topsy, you naughty girl, don't you tell me a lie; you stole that ribbon!


Top.

  Missis, I declar for 't, I did n't; never seed it till dis yer blessed minnit!


Oph.

  Topsy, don't you know it 's wicked to tell lies?


Top.

  I never tells no lies, Miss Feely; it 's jist the truth I've been a tellin' now, and an't nothin' else.


Oph.

  Topsy, I shall have to whip you, if you tell lies so.


Top.

  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?


Top.

  Laws, missis, I did steal dem ar gloves—but I never did take dat ar ribbon, in the world, never!


Oph.

  Now, Topsy! If you 'll confess all about it, I won't whip you this time.


Top.

  Well, den, missis, I did take de ribbon and de gloves both, I did so.


Oph.

  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.


Top.

  Laws, missis! I took Miss Eva's red thing she wars on her neck.


Oph.

  You did, you naughty child! Well, what else?


Top.

  I took Rosa's yer-rings—dem red ones.


Oph.

  Go bring them to me this minute, both of 'em.


Top.

  Laws, missis, I can't—they's burnt up!


Oph.

  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.


Oph.

  What did you burn 'em up for?


Top.

  '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.

Oph.

  Why, Eva, where did you get your necklace?


Eva.

  Get it? Why, I 've had it on all day.


Oph.

  Did you have it on yesterday?


Eva.

  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?


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Top.

  Why, missis said I must 'fess; and I could n't think of nothin' else to 'fess.


Oph.

  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.


Top.

  Laws, now, is it? Why, how curus!


Rosa.

  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 it!


Eva.

  No, no, Rosa! you must n't talk so, Rosa. I can't bear to hear it.


Rosa.

  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.


Eva.

  Rosa, hush! Don't say another word of that sort.


Rosa.

  Miss Eva has got the St. Clare blood in her, that's plain. She can speak for all the world just like her papa. [Exit ROSA.]


Oph.

  Well, I don't know anything what I shall do with you, Topsy.


Top.

  Laws, missis, you must whip me! Ole missis always whipped me. I s'pects 's good for me.


Oph.

  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?


Top.

  Why, missis, I 's so used to whippin'.


Oph.

  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 it.


Top.

  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.