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Uncle Tom's Cabin, Young Folks' Edition

19.
George Shelby Frees His Slaves
George Shelby wrote a little note to his mother, telling her that he was coming home. He
tried to write about Uncle Tom, but he could not; tears blinded him, and sobs choked
him.
On the day he was expected every one was in a state of bustle and excitement. Aunt
Chloe in a new print dress, and clean white apron walked round the supper-table, making
sure that everything was right. Her black face shone with joy at the thought of seeing
Uncle Tom again.
'I'm thinking my old man won't know the boys and the baby,' she said.
Mrs. Shelby sighed. Ever since the letter had come from George she had had a very sad
heart. She felt sure something must be wrong.
'He won't know the baby, my old man won't,' said Chloe again, 'Why, it's five years since
they took him.'
Just then the sound of wheels was heard.
'It's Mas'r George,' cried Aunt Chloe, running to the window in great excitement.
Mrs. Shelby ran to the door. As George met her he put his arms round her, and kissed her
tenderly.
Aunt Chloe stood behind anxiously looking out into the darkness.
'Oh, poor Aunt Chloe,' said George, gently taking her hard, black hand between both his
own. 'I'd have given all my fortune to have brought Uncle Tom home with me; but he has
gone to a better country.' Mrs. Shelby cried out as if she had been hurt, but Aunt Chloe
did not make a sound.
In silence they went into the supper-room.
'There,' said Aunt Chloe, holding out her trembling hands to her mistress, 'it's just as I
knew it would be. He's been sold and murdered on dem old plantations.'
Then she turned and walked proudly out of the room. Mrs. Shelby followed her softly,
took one of her hands, drew her down into a chair, and sat down beside her.
'My poor, good Chloe,' she said gently.
Chloe leaned her head on her mistress's shoulder, and sobbed out, 'Oh, missis, 'scuse me,
my heart's broke—dat's all.'
'I know it is,' said Mrs. Shelby, as her tears fell fast, 'and I cannot heal it.'
 
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