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|Uncle Tom's Cabin||Harriet Beecher Stowe|
|Page 2 of 11||
"Well, Tom," said St. Clare, the day after he had commenced the legal formalities for his enfranchisement, "I'm going to make a free man of you;--so have your trunk packed, and get ready to set out for Kentuck."
The sudden light of joy that shone in Tom's face as he raised his hands to heaven, his emphatic "Bless the Lord!" rather discomposed St. Clare; he did not like it that Tom should be so ready to leave him.
"You haven't had such very bad times here, that you need be in such a rapture, Tom," he said drily.
"No, no, Mas'r! 'tan't that,--it's bein' a _freeman!_ that's what I'm joyin' for."
"Why, Tom, don't you think, for your own part, you've been better off than to be free?"
"_No, indeed_, Mas'r St. Clare," said Tom, with a flash of energy. "No, indeed!"
"Why, Tom, you couldn't possibly have earned, by your work, such clothes and such living as I have given you."
"Knows all that, Mas'r St. Clare; Mas'r's been too good; but, Mas'r, I'd rather have poor clothes, poor house, poor everything, and have 'em _mine_, than have the best, and have 'em any man's else,--I had _so_, Mas'r; I think it's natur, Mas'r."
"I suppose so, Tom, and you'll be going off and leaving me, in a month or so," he added, rather discontentedly. "Though why you shouldn't, no mortal knows," he said, in a gayer tone; and, getting up, he began to walk the floor.
"Not while Mas'r is in trouble," said Tom. "I'll stay with Mas'r as long as he wants me,--so as I can be any use."
"Not while I'm in trouble, Tom?" said St. Clare, looking sadly out of the window. . . . "And when will _my_ trouble be over?"
"When Mas'r St. Clare's a Christian," said Tom.
"And you really mean to stay by till that day comes?" said St. Clare, half smiling, as he turned from the window, and laid his hand on Tom's shoulder. "Ah, Tom, you soft, silly boy! I won't keep you till that day. Go home to your wife and children, and give my love to all."
"I 's faith to believe that day will come," said Tom, earnestly, and with tears in his eyes; "the Lord has a work for Mas'r."
"A work, hey?" said St. Clare, "well, now, Tom, give me your views on what sort of a work it is;--let's hear."
"Why, even a poor fellow like me has a work from the Lord; and Mas'r St. Clare, that has larnin, and riches, and friends,--how much he might do for the Lord!"
"Tom, you seem to think the Lord needs a great deal done for him," said St. Clare, smiling.
"We does for the Lord when we does for his critturs," said Tom.
"Good theology, Tom; better than Dr. B. preaches, I dare swear," said St. Clare.
The conversation was here interrupted by the announcement of some visitors.
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|Uncle Tom's Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe
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