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|Uncle Tom's Cabin||Harriet Beecher Stowe|
The Quaker Settlement
|Page 4 of 7||
"This child's husband is in the settlement, and will be here tonight," said Simeon.
"Now, thee doesn't say that, father?" said Rachel, all her face radiant with joy.
"It's really true. Peter was down yesterday, with the wagon, to the other stand, and there he found an old woman and two men; and one said his name was George Harris; and from what he told of his history, I am certain who he is. He is a bright, likely fellow, too."
"Shall we tell her now?" said Simeon.
"Let's tell Ruth," said Rachel. "Here, Ruth,--come here."
Ruth laid down her knitting-work, and was in the back porch in a moment.
"Ruth, what does thee think?" said Rachel. "Father says Eliza's husband is in the last company, and will be here tonight."
A burst of joy from the little Quakeress interrupted the speech. She gave such a bound from the floor, as she clapped her little hands, that two stray curls fell from under her Quaker cap, and lay brightly on her white neckerchief.
"Hush thee, dear!" said Rachel, gently; "hush, Ruth! Tell us, shall we tell her now?"
"Now! to be sure,--this very minute. Why, now, suppose 't was my John, how should I feel? Do tell her, right off."
"Thee uses thyself only to learn how to love thy neighbor, Ruth," said Simeon, looking, with a beaming face, on Ruth.
"To be sure. Isn't it what we are made for? If I didn't love John and the baby, I should not know how to feel for her. Come, now do tell her,--do!" and she laid her hands persuasively on Rachel's arm. "Take her into thy bed-room, there, and let me fry the chicken while thee does it."
Rachel came out into the kitchen, where Eliza was sewing, and opening the door of a small bed-room, said, gently, "Come in here with me, my daughter; I have news to tell thee."
The blood flushed in Eliza's pale face; she rose, trembling with nervous anxiety, and looked towards her boy.
"No, no," said little Ruth, darting up, and seizing her hands. "Never thee fear; it's good news, Eliza,--go in, go in!" And she gently pushed her to the door which closed after her; and then, turning round, she caught little Harry in her arms, and began kissing him.
"Thee'll see thy father, little one. Does thee know it? Thy father is coming," she said, over and over again, as the boy looked wonderingly at her.
Meanwhile, within the door, another scene was going on. Rachel Halliday drew Eliza toward her, and said, "The Lord hath had mercy on thee, daughter; thy husband hath escaped from the house of bondage."
The blood flushed to Eliza's cheek in a sudden glow, and went back to her heart with as sudden a rush. She sat down, pale and faint.
"Have courage, child," said Rachel, laying her hand on her head. "He is among friends, who will bring him here tonight."
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|Uncle Tom's Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe
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