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|Uncle Tom's Cabin||Harriet Beecher Stowe|
|Page 2 of 10||
"Miss Eva! A pretty excuse!--you suppose she wants _your_ flowers, you good-for-nothing nigger! Get along off with you!"
In a moment, Eva was off from her lounge, and in the verandah.
"O, don't, mother! I should like the flowers; do give them to me; I want them!"
"Why, Eva, your room is full now."
"I can't have too many," said Eva. "Topsy, do bring them here."
Topsy, who had stood sullenly, holding down her head, now came up and offered her flowers. She did it with a look of hesitation and bashfulness, quite unlike the eldrich boldness and brightness which was usual with her.
"It's a beautiful bouquet!" said Eva, looking at it.
It was rather a singular one,--a brilliant scarlet geranium, and one single white japonica, with its glossy leaves. It was tied up with an evident eye to the contrast of color, and the arrangement of every leaf had carefully been studied.
Topsy looked pleased, as Eva said,--"Topsy, you arrange flowers very prettily. Here," she said, "is this vase I haven't any flowers for. I wish you'd arrange something every day for it."
"Well, that's odd!" said Marie. "What in the world do you want that for?"
"Never mind, mamma; you'd as lief as not Topsy should do it,--had you not?"
"Of course, anything you please, dear! Topsy, you hear your young mistress;--see that you mind."
Topsy made a short courtesy, and looked down; and, as she turned away, Eva saw a tear roll down her dark cheek.
"You see, mamma, I knew poor Topsy wanted to do something for me," said Eva to her mother.
"O, nonsense! it's only because she likes to do mischief. She knows she mustn't pick flowers,--so she does it; that's all there is to it. But, if you fancy to have her pluck them, so be it."
"Mamma, I think Topsy is different from what she used to be; she's trying to be a good girl."
"She'll have to try a good while before _she_ gets to be good," said Marie, with a careless laugh.
"Well, you know, mamma, poor Topsy! everything has always been against her."
"Not since she's been here, I'm sure. If she hasn't been talked to, and preached to, and every earthly thing done that anybody could do;--and she's just so ugly, and always will be; you can't make anything of the creature!"
"But, mamma, it's so different to be brought up as I've been, with so many friends, so many things to make me good and happy; and to be brought up as she's been, all the time, till she came here!"
"Most likely," said Marie, yawning,--"dear me, how hot it is!"
"Mamma, you believe, don't you, that Topsy could become an angel, as well as any of us, if she were a Christian?"
"Topsy! what a ridiculous idea! Nobody but you would ever think of it. I suppose she could, though."
"But, mamma, isn't God her father, as much as ours? Isn't Jesus her Saviour?"
"Well, that may be. I suppose God made everybody," said Marie. "Where is my smelling-bottle?"
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|Uncle Tom's Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe
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