Uncle Tom's Cabin, Young Folks' Edition HTML version

4. The Chase
When Eliza left Uncle Tom's cabin, she felt very sad and lonely. She knew she was
leaving all the friends she had ever had behind her.
At first Harry was frightened. Soon he grew sleepy. 'Mother, I don't need to keep awake,
do I?' he said.
'No, my darling, sleep, if you want to.'
'But, mother, if I do get asleep, you won't let the bad man take me?'
'You're sure, an't you, mother?'
'Yes, sure.'
Harry dropped his little weary head upon her shoulder, and was soon fast asleep.
Eliza walked on and on, never resting, all through the night. When the sun rose, she was
many miles away from her old home. Still she walked on, only stopping, in the middle of
the day, to buy a little dinner for herself and Harry at a farm-house.
At last, when it was nearly dark, she arrived at a village, on the banks of the river Ohio. If
she could only get across that river, Eliza felt she would be safe.
She went to a little inn on the bank, where a kind-looking woman was busy cooking
'Is there a boat that takes people across the river now?' she asked.
'No, indeed,' replied the woman. 'The boats has stopped running. It isn't safe, there be too
many blocks of ice floating about.'
Eliza looked so sad and disappointed when she heard this, that the good woman was sorry
for her. Harry too was so tired, that he began to cry.
'Here, take him into this room,' said the woman, opening the door into a small bed-room.
Eliza laid her tired little boy upon the bed, and he soon fell fast asleep. But for her there
was no rest. She stood at the window, watching the river with its great floating blocks of
ice, wondering how she could cross it.
As she stood there she heard a shout. Looking up she saw Sam. She drew back just in
time, for Haley and Andy were riding only a yard or two behind him.
It was a dreadful moment for Eliza. Her room opened by a side door to the river. She
seized her child and sprang down the steps towards it.