Uncle Tom's Cabin
"The Grass Withereth--the Flower Fadeth"
Life passes, with us all, a day at a time; so it passed with our friend Tom, till two years
were gone. Though parted from all his soul held dear, and though often yearning for what
lay beyond, still was he never positively and consciously miserable; for, so well is the
harp of human feeling strung, that nothing but a crash that breaks every string can wholly
mar its harmony; and, on looking back to seasons which in review appear to us as those
of deprivation and trial, we can remember that each hour, as it glided, brought its
diversions and alleviations, so that, though not happy wholly, we were not, either, wholly
Tom read, in his only literary cabinet, of one who had "learned in whatsoever state he
was, therewith to be content." It seemed to him good and reasonable doctrine, and
accorded well with the settled and thoughtful habit which he had acquired from the
reading of that same book.
His letter homeward, as we related in the last chapter, was in due time answered by
Master George, in a good, round, school-boy hand, that Tom said might be read "most
acrost the room." It contained various refreshing items of home intelligence, with which
our reader is fully acquainted: stated how Aunt Chloe had been hired out to a
confectioner in Louisville, where her skill in the pastry line was gaining wonderful sums
of money, all of which, Tom was informed, was to be laid up to go to make up the sum of
his redemption money; Mose and Pete were thriving, and the baby was trotting all about
the house, under the care of Sally and the family generally.
Tom's cabin was shut up for the present; but George expatiated brilliantly on ornaments
and additions to be made to it when Tom came back.
The rest of this letter gave a list of George's school studies, each one headed by a
flourishing capital; and also told the names of four new colts that appeared on the
premises since Tom left; and stated, in the same connection, that father and mother were
well. The style of the letter was decidedly concise and terse; but Tom thought it the most
wonderful specimen of composition that had appeared in modern times. He was never
tired of looking at it, and even held a council with Eva on the expediency of getting it
framed, to hang up in his room. Nothing but the difficulty of arranging it so that both
sides of the page would show at once stood in the way of this undertaking.
The friendship between Tom and Eva had grown with the child's growth. It would be
hard to say what place she held in the soft, impressible heart of her faithful attendant. He
loved her as something frail and earthly, yet almost worshipped her as something
heavenly and divine. He gazed on her as the Italian sailor gazes on his image of the child
Jesus,--with a mixture of reverence and tenderness; and to humor her graceful fancies,
and meet those thousand simple wants which invest childhood like a many-colored
rainbow, was Tom's chief delight. In the market, at morning, his eyes were always on the
flower-stalls for rare bouquets for her, and the choicest peach or orange was slipped into