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|Uncle Tom's Cabin||Harriet Beecher Stowe|
|Page 5 of 11||
"Now, Topsy, I'm going to show you just how my bed is to be made. I am very particular about my bed. You must learn exactly how to do it."
"Yes, ma'am," says Topsy, with a deep sigh, and a face of woful earnestness.
"Now, Topsy, look here;--this is the hem of the sheet,--this is the right side of the sheet, and this is the wrong;--will you remember?"
"Yes, ma'am," says Topsy, with another sigh.
"Well, now, the under sheet you must bring over the bolster,--so--and tuck it clear down under the mattress nice and smooth,--so,--do you see?"
"Yes, ma'am," said Topsy, with profound attention.
"But the upper sheet," said Miss Ophelia, "must be brought down in this way, and tucked under firm and smooth at the foot,--so,--the narrow hem at the foot."
"Yes, ma'am," said Topsy, as before;--but we will add, what Miss Ophelia did not see, that, during the time when the good lady's back was turned in the zeal of her manipulations, the young disciple had contrived to snatch a pair of gloves and a ribbon, which she had adroitly slipped into her sleeves, and stood with her hands dutifully folded, as before.
"Now, Topsy, let's see _you_ do this," said Miss Ophelia, pulling off the clothes, and seating herself.
Topsy, with great gravity and adroitness, went through the exercise completely to Miss Ophelia's satisfaction; smoothing the sheets, patting out every wrinkle, and exhibiting, through the whole process, a gravity and seriousness with which her instructress was greatly edified. By an unlucky slip, however, a fluttering fragment of the ribbon hung out of one of her sleeves, just as she was finishing, and caught Miss Ophelia's attention. Instantly, she pounced upon it. "What's this? You naughty, wicked child,--you've been stealing this!"
The ribbon was pulled out of Topsy's own sleeve, yet was she not in the least disconcerted; she only looked at it with an air of the most surprised and unconscious innocence.
"Laws! why, that ar's Miss Feely's ribbon, an't it? How could it a got caught in my sleeve?
"Topsy, you naughty girl, don't you tell me a lie,--you stole that ribbon!"
"Missis, I declar for 't, I didn't;--never seed it till dis yer blessed minnit."
"Topsy," said Miss Ophelia, "don't you now it's wicked to tell lies?"
"I never tell no lies, Miss Feely," said Topsy, with virtuous gravity; "it's jist the truth I've been a tellin now, and an't nothin else."
"Topsy, I shall have to whip you, if you tell lies so."
"Laws, Missis, if you's to whip all day, couldn't say no other way," said Topsy, beginning to blubber. "I never seed dat ar,--it must a got caught in my sleeve. Miss Feeley must have left it on the bed, and it got caught in the clothes, and so got in my sleeve."
Miss Ophelia was so indignant at the barefaced lie, that she caught the child and shook her.
"Don't you tell me that again!"
The shake brought the glove on to the floor, from the other sleeve.
"There, you!" said Miss Ophelia, "will you tell me now, you didn't steal the ribbon?"
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|Uncle Tom's Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe
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