Uncle Tom's Cabin HTML version

The Quaker Settlement
A quiet scene now rises before us. A large, roomy, neatly-painted kitchen, its yellow
floor glossy and smooth, and without a particle of dust; a neat, well-blacked cooking-
stove; rows of shining tin, suggestive of unmentionable good things to the appetite;
glossy green wood chairs, old and firm; a small flag-bottomed rocking-chair, with a
patch-work cushion in it, neatly contrived out of small pieces of different colored woollen
goods, and a larger sized one, motherly and old, whose wide arms breathed hospitable
invitation, seconded by the solicitation of its feather cushions,--a real comfortable,
persuasive old chair, and worth, in the way of honest, homely enjoyment, a dozen of your
plush or brochetelle drawing-room gentry; and in the chair, gently swaying back and
forward, her eyes bent on some fine sewing, sat our fine old friend Eliza. Yes, there she
is, paler and thinner than in her Kentucky home, with a world of quiet sorrow lying under
the shadow of her long eyelashes, and marking the outline of her gentle mouth! It was
plain to see how old and firm the girlish heart was grown under the discipline of heavy
sorrow; and when, anon, her large dark eye was raised to follow the gambols of her little
Harry, who was sporting, like some tropical butterfly, hither and thither over the floor,
she showed a depth of firmness and steady resolve that was never there in her earlier and
happier days.
By her side sat a woman with a bright tin pan in her lap, into which she was carefully
sorting some dried peaches. She might be fifty-five or sixty; but hers was one of those
faces that time seems to touch only to brighten and adorn. The snowy fisse crape cap,
made after the strait Quaker pattern,--the plain white muslin handkerchief, lying in placid
folds across her bosom,--the drab shawl and dress,--showed at once the community to
which she belonged. Her face was round and rosy, with a healthful downy softness,
suggestive of a ripe peach. Her hair, partially silvered by age, was parted smoothly back
from a high placid forehead, on which time had written no inscription, except peace on
earth, good will to men, and beneath shone a large pair of clear, honest, loving brown
eyes; you only needed to look straight into them, to feel that you saw to the bottom of a
heart as good and true as ever throbbed in woman's bosom. So much has been said and
sung of beautiful young girls, why don't somebody wake up to the beauty of old women?
If any want to get up an inspiration under this head, we refer them to our good friend
Rachel Halliday, just as she sits there in her little rocking-chair. It had a turn for quacking
and squeaking,--that chair had,--either from having taken cold in early life, or from some
asthmatic affection, or perhaps from nervous derangement; but, as she gently swung
backward and forward, the chair kept up a kind of subdued "creechy crawchy," that
would have been intolerable in any other chair. But old Simeon Halliday often declared it
was as good as any music to him, and the children all avowed that they wouldn't miss of
hearing mother's chair for anything in the world. For why? for twenty years or more,
nothing but loving words, and gentle moralities, and motherly loving kindness, had come
from that chair;--head-aches and heart-aches innumerable had been cured there,--
difficulties spiritual and temporal solved there,--all by one good, loving woman, God
bless her!