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|Uncle Tom's Cabin||Harriet Beecher Stowe|
"This Is the Last of Earth"
|Page 2 of 6||
"You must go out," said Rosa, in a sharp, positive whisper; "_you_ haven't any business here!"
"O, do let me! I brought a flower,--such a pretty one!" said Topsy, holding up a half-blown tea rose-bud. "Do let me put just one there."
"Get along!" said Rosa, more decidedly.
"Let her stay!" said St. Clare, suddenly stamping his foot. "She shall come."
Rosa suddenly retreated, and Topsy came forward and laid her offering at the feet of the corpse; then suddenly, with a wild and bitter cry, she threw herself on the floor alongside the bed, and wept, and moaned aloud.
Miss Ophelia hastened into the room, and tried to raise and silence her; but in vain.
"O, Miss Eva! oh, Miss Eva! I wish I 's dead, too,--I do!"
There was a piercing wildness in the cry; the blood flushed into St. Clare's white, marble-like face, and the first tears he had shed since Eva died stood in his eyes.
"Get up, child," said Miss Ophelia, in a softened voice; "don't cry so. Miss Eva is gone to heaven; she is an angel."
"But I can't see her!" said Topsy. "I never shall see her!" and she sobbed again.
They all stood a moment in silence.
"_She_ said she _loved_ me," said Topsy,-- "she did! O, dear! oh, dear! there an't _nobody_ left now,--there an't!"
"That's true enough" said St. Clare; "but do," he said to Miss Ophelia, "see if you can't comfort the poor creature."
"I jist wish I hadn't never been born," said Topsy. "I didn't want to be born, no ways; and I don't see no use on 't."
Miss Ophelia raised her gently, but firmly, and took her from the room; but, as she did so, some tears fell from her eyes.
"Topsy, you poor child," she said, as she led her into her room, "don't give up! _I_ can love you, though I am not like that dear little child. I hope I've learnt something of the love of Christ from her. I can love you; I do, and I'll try to help you to grow up a good Christian girl."
Miss Ophelia's voice was more than her words, and more than that were the honest tears that fell down her face. From that hour, she acquired an influence over the mind of the destitute child that she never lost.
"O, my Eva, whose little hour on earth did so much of good," thought St. Clare, "what account have I to give for my long years?"
There were, for a while, soft whisperings and footfalls in the chamber, as one after another stole in, to look at the dead; and then came the little coffin; and then there was a funeral, and carriages drove to the door, and strangers came and were seated; and there were white scarfs and ribbons, and crape bands, and mourners dressed in black crape; and there were words read from the Bible, and prayers offered; and St. Clare lived, and walked, and moved, as one who has shed every tear;--to the last he saw only one thing, that golden head in the coffin; but then he saw the cloth spread over it, the lid of the coffin closed; and he walked, when he was put beside the others, down to a little place at the bottom of the garden, and there, by the mossy seat where she and Tom had talked, and sung, and read so often, was the little grave. St. Clare stood beside it,--looked vacantly down; he saw them lower the little coffin; he heard, dimly, the solemn words, "I am the resurrection and the Life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live;" and, as the earth was cast in and filled up the little grave, he could not realize that it was his Eva that they were hiding from his sight.
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|Uncle Tom's Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe
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