Uncle Tom's Cabin
Tom's Mistress and Her Opinions
"And now, Marie," said St. Clare, "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."
This remark was made at the breakfast-table, a few mornings after Miss Ophelia had
"I'm sure she's welcome," said Marie, leaning her head languidly on her hand. "I think
she'll find one thing, if she does, and that is, that it's we mistresses that are the slaves,
"O, certainly, she will discover that, and a world of wholesome truths besides, no doubt,"
said St. Clare.
"Talk about our keeping slaves, as if we did it for our convenience," said Marie. "I'm
sure, if we consulted that, we might let them all go at once."
Evangeline fixed her large, serious eyes on her mother's face, with an earnest and
perplexed expression, and said, simply, "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 was plagued with."
"O, come, Marie, you've got the blues, this morning," said St. Clare. "You know 't isn't
so. There's Mammy, the best creature living,--what could you do without her?"
"Mammy is the best I ever knew," said Marie; "and yet Mammy, now, is selfish--
dreadfully selfish; it's the fault of the whole race."
"Selfishness is a dreadful fault," said St. Clare, gravely.
"Well, now, there's Mammy," said Marie, "I think it's selfish of her to sleep so sound
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."
"Hasn't she sat up with you a good many nights, lately, mamma?" said Eva.
"How should you know that?" said Marie, sharply; "she's been complaining, I suppose."