Not a member?     Existing members login below:
Take Free-eBooks to GO! With our Mobile Apps here

Uncle Tom's Cabin

The Mother
Eliza had been brought up by her mistress, from girlhood, as a petted and indulged
The traveller in the south must often have remarked that peculiar air of refinement, that
softness of voice and manner, which seems in many cases to be a particular gift to the
quadroon and mulatto women. These natural graces in the quadroon are often united with
beauty of the most dazzling kind, and in almost every case with a personal appearance
prepossessing and agreeable. Eliza, such as we have described her, is not a fancy sketch,
but taken from remembrance, as we saw her, years ago, in Kentucky. Safe under the
protecting care of her mistress, Eliza had reached maturity without those temptations
which make beauty so fatal an inheritance to a slave. She had been married to a bright
and talented young mulatto man, who was a slave on a neighboring estate, and bore the
name of George Harris.
This young man had been hired out by his master to work in a bagging factory, where his
adroitness and ingenuity caused him to be considered the first hand in the place. He had
invented a machine for the cleaning of the hemp, which, considering the education and
circumstances of the inventor, displayed quite as much mechanical genius as Whitney's
[1] A machine of this description was really the invention of a young colored man in
Kentucky. [Mrs. Stowe's note.]
He was possessed of a handsome person and pleasing manners, and was a general
favorite in the factory. Nevertheless, as this young man was in the eye of the law not a
man, but a thing, all these superior qualifications were subject to the control of a vulgar,
narrow-minded, tyrannical master. This same gentleman, having heard of the fame of
George's invention, took a ride over to the factory, to see what this intelligent chattel had
been about. He was received with great enthusiasm by the employer, who congratulated
him on possessing so valuable a slave.
He was waited upon over the factory, shown the machinery by George, who, in high
spirits, talked so fluently, held himself so erect, looked so handsome and manly, that his
master began to feel an uneasy consciousness of inferiority. What business had his slave
to be marching round the country, inventing machines, and holding up his head among
gentlemen? He'd soon put a stop to it. He'd take him back, and put him to hoeing and
digging, and "see if he'd step about so smart." Accordingly, the manufacturer and all
hands concerned were astounded when he suddenly demanded George's wages, and
announced his intention of taking him home.
"But, Mr. Harris," remonstrated the manufacturer, "isn't this rather sudden?"
"What if it is?--isn't the man mine?"