Uncle Tom's Cabin
One morning, while Miss Ophelia was busy in some of her domestic cares, St. Clare's
voice was heard, calling her at the foot of the stairs.
"Come down here, Cousin, I've something to show you."
"What is it?" said Miss Ophelia, coming down, with her sewing in her hand.
"I've made a purchase for your department,--see here," said St. Clare; and, with the word,
he pulled along a little negro girl, about eight or nine years of age.
She was one of the blackest of her race; and her round shining eyes, glittering as glass
beads, moved with quick and restless glances over everything in the room. Her mouth,
half open with astonishment at the wonders of the new Mas'r's parlor, displayed a white
and brilliant set of teeth. Her woolly hair was braided in sundry little tails, which stuck
out in every direction. The expression of her face was an odd mixture of shrewdness and
cunning, over which was oddly drawn, like a kind of veil, an expression of the most
doleful gravity and solemnity. She was dressed in a single filthy, ragged garment, made
of bagging; and stood with her hands demurely folded before her. Altogether, there was
something odd and goblin-like about her appearance,--something, as Miss Ophelia
afterwards said, "so heathenish," as to inspire that good lady with utter dismay; and
turning to St. Clare, she said,
"Augustine, what in the world have you brought that thing here for?"
"For you to educate, to be sure, and train in the way she should go. I thought she was
rather a funny specimen in the Jim Crow line. Here, Topsy," he added, giving a whistle,
as a man would to call the attention of a dog, "give us a song, now, and show us some of
The black, glassy eyes glittered with a kind of wicked drollery, and the thing struck up, in
a clear shrill voice, an odd negro melody, to which she kept time with her hands and feet,
spinning round, clapping her hands, knocking her knees together, in a wild, fantastic sort
of time, and producing in her throat all those odd guttural sounds which distinguish the
native music of her race; and finally, turning a summerset or two, and giving a prolonged
closing note, as odd and unearthly as that of a steam-whistle, she came suddenly down on
the carpet, and stood with her hands folded, and a most sanctimonious expression of
meekness and solemnity over her face, only broken by the cunning glances which she
shot askance from the corners of her eyes.
Miss Ophelia stood silent, perfectly paralyzed with amazement. St. Clare, like a
mischievous fellow as he was, appeared to enjoy her astonishment; and, addressing the
child again, said,