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|Uncle Tom's Cabin||Harriet Beecher Stowe|
Miss Ophelia's Experiences and Opinions Continued
|Page 1 of 15||
"Tom, you needn't get me the horses. I don't want to go," she said.
"Why not, Miss Eva?"
"These things sink into my heart, Tom," said Eva,--"they sink into my heart," she repeated, earnestly. "I don't want to go;" and she turned from Tom, and went into the house.
A few days after, another woman came, in old Prue's place, to bring the rusks; Miss Ophelia was in the kitchen.
"Lor!" said Dinah, "what's got Prue?"
"Prue isn't coming any more," said the woman, mysteriously.
"Why not?" said Dinah. "she an't dead, is she?"
"We doesn't exactly know. She's down cellar," said the woman, glancing at Miss Ophelia.
After Miss Ophelia had taken the rusks, Dinah followed the woman to the door.
"What _has_ got Prue, any how?" she said.
The woman seemed desirous, yet reluctant, to speak, and answered, in low, mysterious tone.
"Well, you mustn't tell nobody, Prue, she got drunk agin,--and they had her down cellar,--and thar they left her all day,--and I hearn 'em saying that the _flies had got to her_,--and _she's dead_!"
Dinah held up her hands, and, turning, saw close by her side the spirit-like form of Evangeline, her large, mystic eyes dilated with horror, and every drop of blood driven from her lips and cheeks.
"Lor bless us! Miss Eva's gwine to faint away! What go us all, to let her har such talk? Her pa'll be rail mad."
"I shan't faint, Dinah," said the child, firmly; "and why shouldn't I hear it? It an't so much for me to hear it, as for poor Prue to suffer it."
"_Lor sakes_! it isn't for sweet, delicate young ladies, like you,--these yer stories isn't; it's enough to kill 'em!"
Eva sighed again, and walked up stairs with a slow and melancholy step.
Miss Ophelia anxiously inquired the woman's story. Dinah gave a very garrulous version of it, to which Tom added the particulars which he had drawn from her that morning.
"An abominable business,--perfectly horrible!" she exclaimed, as she entered the room where St. Clare lay reading his paper.
"Pray, what iniquity has turned up now?" said he.
"What now? why, those folks have whipped Prue to death!" said Miss Ophelia, going on, with great strength of detail, into the story, and enlarging on its most shocking particulars.
"I thought it would come to that, some time," said St. Clare, going on with his paper.
"Thought so!--an't you going to _do_ anything about it?" said Miss Ophelia. "Haven't you got any _selectmen_, or anybody, to interfere and look after such matters?"
"It's commonly supposed that the _property_ interest is a sufficient guard in these cases. If people choose to ruin their own possessions, I don't know what's to be done. It seems the poor creature was a thief and a drunkard; and so there won't be much hope to get up sympathy for her."
"It is perfectly outrageous,--it is horrid, Augustine! It will certainly bring down vengeance upon you."
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|Uncle Tom's Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe
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