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|Uncle Tom's Cabin||Harriet Beecher Stowe|
|Page 4 of 11||
St. Clare was a good deal affected at the sight of it; the little book had been rolled in a long strip of black crape, torn from the funeral weeds.
"What did you wrap _this_ round the book for?" said St. Clare, holding up the crape.
"Cause,--cause,--cause 't was Miss Eva. O, don't take 'em away, please!" she said; and, sitting flat down on the floor, and putting her apron over her head, she began to sob vehemently.
It was a curious mixture of the pathetic and the ludicrous,--the little old stockings,--black crape,--text-book,--fair, soft curl,--and Topsy's utter distress.
St. Clare smiled; but there were tears in his eyes, as he said,
"Come, come,--don't cry; you shall have them!" and, putting them together, he threw them into her lap, and drew Miss Ophelia with him into the parlor.
"I really think you can make something of that concern," he said, pointing with his thumb backward over his shoulder. "Any mind that is capable of a _real sorrow_ is capable of good. You must try and do something with her."
"The child has improved greatly," said Miss Ophelia. "I have great hopes of her; but, Augustine," she said, laying her hand on his arm, "one thing I want to ask; whose is this child to be?--yours or mine?"
"Why, I gave her to you, " said Augustine.
"But not legally;--I want her to be mine legally," said Miss Ophelia.
"Whew! cousin," said Augustine. "What will the Abolition Society think? They'll have a day of fasting appointed for this backsliding, if you become a slaveholder!"
"O, nonsense! I want her mine, that I may have a right to take her to the free States, and give her her liberty, that all I am trying to do be not undone."
"O, cousin, what an awful `doing evil that good may come'! I can't encourage it."
"I don't want you to joke, but to reason," said Miss Ophelia. "There is no use in my trying to make this child a Christian child, unless I save her from all the chances and reverses of slavery; and, if you really are willing I should have her, I want you to give me a deed of gift, or some legal paper."
"Well, well," said St. Clare, "I will;" and he sat down, and unfolded a newspaper to read.
"But I want it done now," said Miss Ophelia.
"What's your hurry?"
"Because now is the only time there ever is to do a thing in," said Miss Ophelia. "Come, now, here's paper, pen, and ink; just write a paper."
St. Clare, like most men of his class of mind, cordially hated the present tense of action, generally; and, therefore, he was considerably annoyed by Miss Ophelia's downrightness.
"Why, what's the matter?" said he. "Can't you take my word? One would think you had taken lessons of the Jews, coming at a fellow so!"
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|Uncle Tom's Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe
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