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|Uncle Tom's Cabin||Harriet Beecher Stowe|
"The Grass Withereth--the Flower Fadeth"
|Page 5 of 5||
"Mamma," she said, suddenly, to her mother, one day, "why don't we teach our servants to read?"
"What a question child! People never do."
"Why don't they?" said Eva.
"Because it is no use for them to read. It don't help them to work any better, and they are not made for anything else."
"But they ought to read the Bible, mamma, to learn God's will."
"O! they can get that read to them all _they_ need."
"It seems to me, mamma, the Bible is for every one to read themselves. They need it a great many times when there is nobody to read it."
"Eva, you are an odd child," said her mother.
"Miss Ophelia has taught Topsy to read," continued Eva.
"Yes, and you see how much good it does. Topsy is the worst creature I ever saw!"
"Here's poor Mammy!" said Eva. "She does love the Bible so much, and wishes so she could read! And what will she do when I can't read to her?"
Marie was busy, turning over the contents of a drawer, as she answered,
"Well, of course, by and by, Eva, you will have other things to think of besides reading the Bible round to servants. Not but that is very proper; I've done it myself, when I had health. But when you come to be dressing and going into company, you won't have time. See here!" she added, "these jewels I'm going to give you when you come out. I wore them to my first ball. I can tell you, Eva, I made a sensation."
Eva took the jewel-case, and lifted from it a diamond necklace. Her large, thoughtful eyes rested on them, but it was plain her thoughts were elsewhere.
"How sober you look child!" said Marie.
"Are these worth a great deal of money, mamma?"
"To be sure, they are. Father sent to France for them. They are worth a small fortune."
"I wish I had them," said Eva, "to do what I pleased with!"
"What would you do with them?"
"I'd sell them, and buy a place in the free states, and take all our people there, and hire teachers, to teach them to read and write."
Eva was cut short by her mother's laughing.
"Set up a boarding-school! Wouldn't you teach them to play on the piano, and paint on velvet?"
"I'd teach them to read their own Bible, and write their own letters, and read letters that are written to them," said Eva, steadily. "I know, mamma, it does come very hard on them that they can't do these things. Tom feels it--Mammy does,--a great many of them do. I think it's wrong."
"Come, come, Eva; you are only a child! You don't know anything about these things," said Marie; "besides, your talking makes my head ache."
Marie always had a headache on hand for any conversation that did not exactly suit her.
Eva stole away; but after that, she assiduously gave Mammy reading lessons.
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|Uncle Tom's Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe
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