Uncle Tom's Cabin HTML version
Our readers may not be unwilling to glance back, for a brief interval, at Uncle Tom's
Cabin, on the Kentucky farm, and see what has been transpiring among those whom he
had left behind.
It was late in the summer afternoon, and the doors and windows of the large parlor all
stood open, to invite any stray breeze, that might feel in a good humor, to enter. Mr.
Shelby sat in a large hall opening into the room, and running through the whole length of
the house, to a balcony on either end. Leisurely tipped back on one chair, with his heels
in another, he was enjoying his after-dinner cigar. Mrs. Shelby sat in the door, busy about
some fine sewing; she seemed like one who had something on her mind, which she was
seeking an opportunity to introduce.
"Do you know," she said, "that Chloe has had a letter from Tom?"
"Ah! has she? Tom 's got some friend there, it seems. How is the old boy?"
"He has been bought by a very fine family, I should think," said Mrs. Shelby,--"is kindly
treated, and has not much to do."
"Ah! well, I'm glad of it,--very glad," said Mr. Shelby, heartily. "Tom, I suppose, will get
reconciled to a Southern residence;--hardly want to come up here again."
"On the contrary he inquires very anxiously," said Mrs. Shelby, "when the money for his
redemption is to be raised."
"I'm sure I don't know," said Mr. Shelby. "Once get business running wrong, there does
seem to be no end to it. It's like jumping from one bog to another, all through a swamp;
borrow of one to pay another, and then borrow of another to pay one,--and these
confounded notes falling due before a man has time to smoke a cigar and turn round,--
dunning letters and dunning messages,--all scamper and hurry-scurry."
"It does seem to me, my dear, that something might be done to straighten matters.
Suppose we sell off all the horses, and sell one of your farms, and pay up square?"
"O, ridiculous, Emily! You are the finest woman in Kentucky; but still you haven't sense
to know that you don't understand business;--women never do, and never can.
"But, at least," said Mrs. Shelby, "could not you give me some little insight into yours; a
list of all your debts, at least, and of all that is owed to you, and let me try and see if I
can't help you to economize."