Uncle Tom's Cabin
The Husband and Father
Mrs. Shelby had gone on her visit, and Eliza stood in the verandah, rather dejectedly
looking after the retreating carriage, when a hand was laid on her shoulder. She turned,
and a bright smile lighted up her fine eyes.
"George, is it you? How you frightened me! Well; I am so glad you 's come! Missis is
gone to spend the afternoon; so come into my little room, and we'll have the time all to
Saying this, she drew him into a neat little apartment opening on the verandah, where she
generally sat at her sewing, within call of her mistress.
"How glad I am!--why don't you smile?--and look at Harry--how he grows." The boy
stood shyly regarding his father through his curls, holding close to the skirts of his
mother's dress. "Isn't he beautiful?" said Eliza, lifting his long curls and kissing him.
"I wish he'd never been born!" said George, bitterly. "I wish I'd never been born myself!"
Surprised and frightened, Eliza sat down, leaned her head on her husband's shoulder, and
burst into tears.
"There now, Eliza, it's too bad for me to make you feel so, poor girl!" said he, fondly;
"it's too bad: O, how I wish you never had seen me--you might have been happy!"
"George! George! how can you talk so? What dreadful thing has happened, or is going to
happen? I'm sure we've been very happy, till lately."
"So we have, dear," said George. Then drawing his child on his knee, he gazed intently
on his glorious dark eyes, and passed his hands through his long curls.
"Just like you, Eliza; and you are the handsomest woman I ever saw, and the best one I
ever wish to see; but, oh, I wish I'd never seen you, nor you me!"
"O, George, how can you!"
"Yes, Eliza, it's all misery, misery, misery! My life is bitter as wormwood; the very life is
burning out of me. I'm a poor, miserable, forlorn drudge; I shall only drag you down with
me, that's all. What's the use of our trying to do anything, trying to know anything, trying
to be anything? What's the use of living? I wish I was dead!"
"O, now, dear George, that is really wicked! I know how you feel about losing your place
in the factory, and you have a hard master; but pray be patient, and perhaps something--"