The Property Is Carried Off
The February morning looked gray and drizzling through the window of Uncle Toms cabin. It looked on downcast faces, the images of mournful hearts. The little table stood out before the fire, covered with an ironing-cloth; a coarse but clean shirt or two, fresh from the iron, hung on the back of a chair by the fire, and Aunt Chloe had another spread out before her on the table. Carefully she rubbed and ironed every fold and every hem, with the most scrupulous exactness, every now and then raising her hand to her face to wipe off the tears that were coursing down her cheeks.
Tom sat by, with his Testament open on his knee, and his head leaning upon his hand;but neither spoke. It was yet early, and the children lay all asleep together in their little rude trundle-bed.
Tom, who had, to the full, the gentle, domestic heart, which woe for them! has been a peculiar characteristic of his unhappy race, got up and walked silently to look at his children.
Its the last time, he said.
Aunt Chloe did not answer, only rubbed away over and over on the coarse shirt, already as smooth as hands could make it; and finally setting her iron suddenly down with a despairing plunge, she sat down to the table, and lifted up her voice and wept.
Spose we must be resigned; but oh Lord! how ken I? If I knowd anything whar you s goin, or how theyd sarve you! Missis says shell try and deem ye, in a year or two; but Lor! nobody never comes up that goes down thar! They kills em! Ive hearn em tell how dey works em up on dem ar plantations.
Therell be the same God there, Chloe, that there is here.
Well, said Aunt Chloe, spose dere will; but de Lord lets drefful things happen, sometimes. I dont seem to get no comfort dat way.
Im in the Lords hands, said Tom; nothin can go no furder than he lets it;and thars one thing I can thank him for. Its me thats sold and going down, and not you nur the chilen. Here youre safe;what comes will come only on me; and the Lord, hell help me,I know he will.
Ah, brave, manly heart,smothering thine own sorrow, to comfort thy beloved ones! Tom spoke with a thick utterance, and with a bitter choking in his throat,but he spoke brave and strong.
Lets think on our marcies! he added, tremulously, as if he was quite sure he needed to think on them very hard indeed.
Marcies! said Aunt Chloe; dont see no marcy in t! tant right! tant right it should be so! Masr never ought ter left it so that ye could be took for his debts. Yeve arnt him all he gets for ye, twice over. He owed ye yer freedom, and ought ter gin t to yer years ago. Mebbe he cant help himself now, but I feel its wrong. Nothing cant beat that ar out o me. Sich a faithful crittur as yeve been,and allers sot his business fore yer own every way,and reckoned on him more than yer own wife and chilen! Them as sells hearts love and hearts blood, to get out thar scrapes, de Lordll be up to em!
Chloe! now, if ye love me, ye wont talk so, when perhaps jest the last time well ever have together! And Ill tell ye, Chloe, it goes agin me to hear one word agin Masr. Want he put in my arms a baby?its natur I should think a heap of him. And he couldnt be spected to think so much of poor Tom. Masrs is used to havin all these yer things done for em, and natlly they dont think so much on t. They cant be spected to, no way. Set him longside of other Masrswhos had the treatment and livin Ive had? And he never would have let this yer come on me, if he could have seed it aforehand. I know he wouldnt.
Wal, any way, thars wrong about it somewhar, said Aunt Chloe, in whom a stubborn sense of justice was a predominant trait; I cant jest make out whar t is, but thars wrong somewhar, Im clar o that.
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