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|Uncle Tom's Cabin||Harriet Beecher Stowe|
The Quaker Settlement
|Page 2 of 7||
"And so thee still thinks of going to Canada, Eliza?" she said, as she was quietly looking over her peaches.
"Yes, ma'am," said Eliza, firmly. "I must go onward. I dare not stop."
"And what'll thee do, when thee gets there? Thee must think about that, my daughter."
"My daughter" came naturally from the lips of Rachel Halliday; for hers was just the face and form that made "mother" seem the most natural word in the world.
Eliza's hands trembled, and some tears fell on her fine work; but she answered, firmly,
"I shall do--anything I can find. I hope I can find something."
"Thee knows thee can stay here, as long as thee pleases," said Rachel.
"O, thank you," said Eliza, "but"--she pointed to Harry--"I can't sleep nights; I can't rest. Last night I dreamed I saw that man coming into the yard," she said, shuddering.
"Poor child!" said Rachel, wiping her eyes; "but thee mustn't feel so. The Lord hath ordered it so that never hath a fugitive been stolen from our village. I trust thine will not be the first."
The door here opened, and a little short, round, pin-cushiony woman stood at the door, with a cheery, blooming face, like a ripe apple. She was dressed, like Rachel, in sober gray, with the muslin folded neatly across her round, plump little chest.
"Ruth Stedman," said Rachel, coming joyfully forward; "how is thee, Ruth? she said, heartily taking both her hands.
"Nicely," said Ruth, taking off her little drab bonnet, and dusting it with her handkerchief, displaying, as she did so, a round little head, on which the Quaker cap sat with a sort of jaunty air, despite all the stroking and patting of the small fat hands, which were busily applied to arranging it. Certain stray locks of decidedly curly hair, too, had escaped here and there, and had to be coaxed and cajoled into their place again; and then the new comer, who might have been five-and-twenty, turned from the small looking-glass, before which she had been making these arrangements, and looked well pleased,--as most people who looked at her might have been,--for she was decidedly a wholesome, whole-hearted, chirruping little woman, as ever gladdened man's heart withal.
"Ruth, this friend is Eliza Harris; and this is the little boy I told thee of."
"I am glad to see thee, Eliza,--very," said Ruth, shaking hands, as if Eliza were an old friend she had long been expecting; "and this is thy dear boy,--I brought a cake for him," she said, holding out a little heart to the boy, who came up, gazing through his curls, and accepted it shyly.
"Where's thy baby, Ruth?" said Rachel.
"O, he's coming; but thy Mary caught him as I came in, and ran off with him to the barn, to show him to the children."
At this moment, the door opened, and Mary, an honest, rosy-looking girl, with large brown eyes, like her mother's, came in with the baby.
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|Uncle Tom's Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe
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