Uncle Tom's Cabin, Young Folks' Edition HTML version
One morning, while Miss Ophelia was busy, as usual, she heard Mr. St. Clare calling her
from the foot of the stairs.
'Come down here, cousin. I have something to show you.'
'What is it?' said Miss Ophelia, coming down with her sewing in her hand.
'I have bought something for you. See here,' he said, pulling forward a little negro girl of
about eight or nine years old.
She was quite black. Her round, shining eyes glittered like glass beads. Her wooly hair
was plaited into little tails which stuck out in all directions. Her clothes were dirty and
ragged. Miss Ophelia thought she had never seen such a dreadful little girl in all her life.
'Cousin, what in the world have you brought that thing here for?' she asked, in dismay.
'For you to teach, to be sure, and train in the way she should go,' said Mr. St. Clare,
laughing. 'Topsy,' he went on, 'this is your new mistress. See, now, that you behave
'Yes, mas'r,' said Topsy gravely, but her eyes had a wicked twinkle in them.
'You're going to be good, Topsy, you understand?' said Mr. St. Clare.
'Oh yes, mas'r' said Topsy again, meekly folding her hands, but with another twinkle in
'Now cousin, what is this for? Your house is full of these little plagues as it is. I get up in
the morning and find one asleep behind the door; see one black head poking out from
under the table; another lying on the mat. They tumble over the kitchen floor, so that a
body can't put their foot down without treading on them. What on earth did you want to
bring this one for?'
'For you to teach, didn't I tell you?'
'I don't want her, I'm sure. I have more to do with them now than I want.'
'Well the fact is, cousin,' said Mr. St. Clare, drawing her aside, 'she belonged to some
people who were dreadfully cruel and beat her. I couldn't bear to hear her screaming
every day, so I bought her. I will give her to you. Do try and make something of her.'
'Well, I'll do what I can,' said Miss Ophelia. 'She is fearfully dirty, and half naked.'
'Well, take her downstairs, and tell somebody to clean her up, and give her some decent
Getting Topsy clean was a very long business. But at last it was done.