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|Uncle Tom's Cabin||Harriet Beecher Stowe|
The Little Evangelist
|Page 3 of 4||
"What is it?"
"Why, if your Gospel is not strong enough to save one heathen child, that you can have at home here, all to yourself, what's the use of sending one or two poor missionaries off with it among thousands of just such? I suppose this child is about a fair sample of what thousands of your heathen are."
Miss Ophelia did not make an immediate answer; and Eva, who had stood a silent spectator of the scene thus far, made a silent sign to Topsy to follow her. There was a little glass-room at the corner of the verandah, which St. Clare used as a sort of reading-room; and Eva and Topsy disappeared into this place.
"What's Eva going about, now?" said St. Clare; "I mean to see."
And, advancing on tiptoe, he lifted up a curtain that covered the glass-door, and looked in. In a moment, laying his finger on his lips, he made a silent gesture to Miss Ophelia to come and look. There sat the two children on the floor, with their side faces towards them. Topsy, with her usual air of careless drollery and unconcern; but, opposite to her, Eva, her whole face fervent with feeling, and tears in her large eyes.
"What does make you so bad, Topsy? Why won't you try and be good? Don't you love _anybody_, Topsy?"
"Donno nothing 'bout love; I loves candy and sich, that's all," said Topsy.
"But you love your father and mother?"
"Never had none, ye know. I telled ye that, Miss Eva."
"O, I know," said Eva, sadly; "but hadn't you any brother, or sister, or aunt, or--"
"No, none on 'em,--never had nothing nor nobody."
"But, Topsy, if you'd only try to be good, you might--"
"Couldn't never be nothin' but a nigger, if I was ever so good," said Topsy. "If I could be skinned, and come white, I'd try then."
"But people can love you, if you are black, Topsy. Miss Ophelia would love you, if you were good."
Topsy gave the short, blunt laugh that was her common mode of expressing incredulity.
"Don't you think so?" said Eva.
"No; she can't bar me, 'cause I'm a nigger!--she'd 's soon have a toad touch her! There can't nobody love niggers, and niggers can't do nothin'! _I_ don't care," said Topsy, beginning to whistle.
"O, Topsy, poor child, _I_ love you!" said Eva, with a sudden burst of feeling, and laying her little thin, white hand on Topsy's shoulder; "I love you, because you haven't had any father, or mother, or friends;--because you've been a poor, abused child! I love you, and I want you to be good. I am very unwell, Topsy, and I think I shan't live a great while; and it really grieves me, to have you be so naughty. I wish you would try to be good, for my sake;--it's only a little while I shall be with you."
The round, keen eyes of the black child were overcast with tears;--large, bright drops rolled heavily down, one by one, and fell on the little white hand. Yes, in that moment, a ray of real belief, a ray of heavenly love, had penetrated the darkness of her heathen soul! She laid her head down between her knees, and wept and sobbed,--while the beautiful child, bending over her, looked like the picture of some bright angel stooping to reclaim a sinner.
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|Uncle Tom's Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe
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