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|Uncle Tom's Cabin||Harriet Beecher Stowe|
Emmeline and Cassy
|Page 1 of 5||
Cassy entered the room, and found Emmeline sitting, pale with fear, in the furthest corner of it. As she came in, the girl started up nervously; but, on seeing who it was, rushed forward, and catching her arm, said, "O Cassy, is it you? I'm so glad you've come! I was afraid it was--. O, you don't know what a horrid noise there has been, down stairs, all this evening!"
"I ought to know," said Cassy, dryly. "I've heard it often enough."
"O Cassy! do tell me,--couldn't we get away from this place? I don't care where,--into the swamp among the snakes,--anywhere! _Couldn't_ we get _somewhere_ away from here?"
"Nowhere, but into our graves," said Cassy.
"Did you ever try?"
"I've seen enough of trying and what comes of it," said Cassy.
"I'd be willing to live in the swamps, and gnaw the bark from trees. I an't afraid of snakes! I'd rather have one near me than him," said Emmeline, eagerly.
"There have been a good many here of your opinion," said Cassy; "but you couldn't stay in the swamps,--you'd be tracked by the dogs, and brought back, and then--then--"
"What would he do?" said the girl, looking, with breathless interest, into her face.
"What _wouldn't_ he do, you'd better ask," said Cassy. "He's learned his trade well, among the pirates in the West Indies. You wouldn't sleep much, if I should tell you things I've seen,--things that he tells of, sometimes, for good jokes. I've heard screams here that I haven't been able to get out of my head for weeks and weeks. There's a place way out down by the quarters, where you can see a black, blasted tree, and the ground all covered with black ashes. Ask anyone what was done there, and see if they will dare to tell you."
"O! what do you mean?"
"I won't tell you. I hate to think of it. And I tell you, the Lord only knows what we may see tomorrow, if that poor fellow holds out as he's begun."
"Horrid!" said Emmeline, every drop of blood receding from her cheeks. "O, Cassy, do tell me what I shall do!"
"What I've done. Do the best you can,--do what you must,--and make it up in hating and cursing."
"He wanted to make me drink some of his hateful brandy," said Emmeline; "and I hate it so--"
"You'd better drink," said Cassy. "I hated it, too; and now I can't live without it. One must have something;--things don't look so dreadful, when you take that."
"Mother used to tell me never to touch any such thing," said Emmeline.
"_Mother_ told you!" said Cassy, with a thrilling and bitter emphasis on the word mother. "What use is it for mothers to say anything? You are all to be bought and paid for, and your souls belong to whoever gets you. That's the way it goes. I say, _drink_ brandy; drink all you can, and it'll make things come easier."
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|Uncle Tom's Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe
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