Uncle Tom's Cabin, Young Folks' Edition by Harriet Beecher Stowe - HTML preview

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8. Eliza Among The Quakers

While Uncle Tom was sailing South, down the wide river, to his new master's home,

Eliza with her boy was travelling north to Canada.

Kind people helped her all the way. She passed from friend to friend, till she arrived

safely at a village where the people were Quakers.

The Quakers were gentle, quiet people. They all dressed alike in plain grey clothes, and

the women wore big, white muslin caps. Because they thought it was wicked to have

slaves, they helped those who ran away from their cruel masters. Often they were

punished for doing this, but still they went on helping the poor slaves. For though the

laws said it was wrong, they felt quite sure that it was really right to do so.

The kind Quaker women grew to be very fond of Eliza, and would have been glad if she

would have stayed with them.

But Eliza said, 'No, I must go on; I dare not stop. I can't sleep at night: I can't rest. Last

night I dreamed I saw that man come into the yard.'

'Poor child,' said Rachel, the kind Quaker woman to whom she was speaking, 'poor child,

thee mustn't feel so. No slave that has run away has ever been stolen from our village. It

is safe here.'

While they were talking, Simeon, Rachel's husband, came to the door and called, 'Wife, I

want to speak to thee a minute.'

Rachel went out to him. 'Eliza's husband is here,' he said.

'Art thee sure?' asked Rachel, her face bright with joy.

'Yes, quite certain; he will be here soon. Will thee tell her?'

Rachel went back into the kitchen, where Eliza was sewing, and, opening the door of a

small bedroom, said gently, 'Come in here with me, my daughter; I have news to tell


Eliza rose trembling, she was so afraid it was bad news.

'No, no! never fear thee. It's good news, Eliza,' said Simeon,

Rachel shut the door, and drew Eliza towards her. 'The Lord has been very good to thee,'

she said gently. 'Thy husband hath escaped, and will be here to-night.'

'To-night!' repeated Eliza, 'to-night!'

Then it seemed as if the room and everything in it swam round her, and she fell into

Rachel's arms.

Very gently Rachel laid her down on the bed. Eliza slept as she had not slept since the

dreadful night when she had taken her boy and run away through the cold, dark night.

She dreamed of a beautiful country—a land, it seemed to her, of rest—green shores,

pleasant islands, and lovely glittering water. There in a house, which kind voices told her

was her home, she saw Harry playing happily. She heard her husband's footstep. She felt

him coming nearer. His arms were around her, his tears falling upon her face, and she


It was no dream. The sun had set, the candles were lit. Harry was sleeping by her side,

and George, her husband, was holding her in his arms.

9. Uncle Tom's New Home

Uncle Tom soon settled down in his new home. He was as happy as he could be, so far

away from his wife and dear little children. He had a kind master.

Mrs. St. Clare, however, was not nearly so nice as her husband. She was cruel, and would

often have beaten her poor slaves, but Mr. St. Clare would not allow it.

She always pretended that she was very ill, and spent most of her time lying on a sofa, or

driving about in her comfortable carriage.

Mrs. St. Clare said she really was too ill to look after the house, so everything was left to

the slaves. Soon things began to be very uncomfortable, and even good-natured Mr. St.

Clare could stand it no longer.

He went to his cousin, Miss Ophelia St. Clare, and begged her to come and keep house

for him, and to look after Eva. It was on the journey back with her that the accident to

Eva happened, which ended in his buying Tom.

Miss Ophelia was a very prim and precise person, not at all like the St. Clares. In her

home people did not have slaves. Though her cousin had a great many, and was kind to

them, she could not help seeing that it was a very wicked thing to buy and sell men and

women as if they were cattle. She was very, very sorry for the poor slaves, and would

have liked to free them all. Yet she did not love them. She could not bear even to have

them near her, nor to touch them, just because they were black.

It made her quite ill to see Eva kissing and hugging the black slave women when she

came home.

'Well, I couldn't do that,' she said.

'Why not?' said Mr. St. Clare, who was looking on.

'Well, I want to be kind to every one. I wouldn't have anybody hurt. But, as to kissing

niggers—' she gave a little shudder. 'How can she?'

Presently a gay laugh sounded from the court. Mr. St. Clare stepped out to see what was


'What is it?' said Miss Ophelia, following him.

There sat Tom on a little mossy seat in the court. Every one of his buttonholes was stuck

full of flowers. Eva, laughing gaily, was hanging a wreath of roses round his neck. Then,

still laughing, she perched on his knee like a little sparrow.

'Oh, Tom, you look so funny!'

Tom had a sober smile on his face. He seemed in his own quiet way to be enjoying the

fun quite as much as his little mistress. When he lifted his eyes and saw his master he

looked as if he were afraid he might be scolded. But Mr. St. Clare only smiled.

'How can you let her do that?' said Miss Ophelia.

'Why not?' said Mr. St. Clare.

'Why? I don't know. It seems dreadful to me.'

'You would think it was quite right and natural if you saw Eva playing with a large dog,

even if he was black. But a fellow-creature that can think, and reason, and feel, and is

immortal, you shudder at. I know how you north-country people feel about it. You loathe

the blacks as you would a toad or a snake. Yet you pity them, and are angry because they

are often ill-treated.'

'Well, cousin,' said Miss Ophelia thoughtfully, 'I daresay you are right. I suppose I must

try to get over my feeling.'