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Uncle Tom's Cabin : Chapter One


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UNCLE TOM'S CABIN:

 

OR

 

LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY.

CHAPTER I.

 

A MAN OF HUMANITY.

 

ONE chilly day in February, two gentlemen were sit-

ting in a well-furnished room, in a Kentucky

town, discussing some subject with great earnest-

ness. One of the parties, however, did not seem to be a

gentleman when critically examined. He was short and

thick-set, with coarse features and a swaggering air; un-

grammatical and sometimes profane in his speech. His

companion, Mr. Shelby, had the appearance of a gentle-

man, and the arrangements of the house indicated easy

and even opulent circumstances.

 

"That is the way I should arrange the matter/' said Mr,

Shelby.

 

 

 

8 Uncle Tom's Cabin; or

 

"I can't make trade that way I positively can't, Mr.

Shelby,"' said the other.

 

"Why, the fact is, Haley, Tom is an uncommon fellow;

he is certainly worth that sum anywhere, steady, honest,

capable, manages my whole farm like a clock."

 

"You mean honest, as niggers go," said Haley.

 

"Xo; I mean, really, Tom is a good, steady, sensible,

pious fellow. He got religion at a camp-meeting, four

years ago; and I believe he really did get it. I've trusted

him, since then, with everything I have, money, house,

horses, and let him come and go round the country; and

I always found him true and square in everything."

 

"Some folks don't believe there is pious niggers, Shelby/*!

said Haley.

 

"Well, Tom's got the real article, if ever a fellow had/'

rejoined the other. "'Why, last fall, I let him go to Cin-

cinnati alone, to do business for me, and bring home five

hundred dollars. I am sorry to part with Tom. You

ought to let him cover the whole balance of the debt; and

you would, Haley, if }^ou had any conscience."

 

"Well, I 've got just as much conscience as any man in

the business can afford to keep ; but this, yer see, is a leetle

too hard on a fellow a leetle too hard." The trader

sighed contemplatively.

 

"Well, then, Haley, how will you trade?" said Mr. Shel-|

by, after an uneasy interval of silence.

 

"Well, haven't you a boy or gal that you could throw in

with Tom?"

 

"Hum ! none that I could well spare. I don't like part-

ing with any of my hands, that's a fact."

 

 

 

Life Among the Lowly.

 

 

 

Here the door opened, and a small quadroon boy, be-

tween four and five years of age, entered the room.

 

"Come here, Jim Crow," said Mr. Shelby. "Now, Jim,

show this gentleman how you can dance and sing." The

 

 

 

 

"I was looking for Harry."

 

boy commenced one of those wild, grotesque songs common

among the negroes, in a rich, clear voice.

 

"Bravo !" said Haley.

 

"Now, Jim, walk like old Uncle Cudjoe, when he has the

rheumatism," said his master.

 

 

 

10 Uncle Tom's Cabin; or

 

Instantly the child assumed the appearance of deformity

and distortion, as, with his back humped up, and his

master's stick in his hand, he hobbled about the room, his

childish face drawn into a doleful pucker, and spitting

from right to left, in imitation of an old man.

 

"Now, Jim," said his master, "show us how old Elder

Bobbins leads the psalm." The boy drew his chubby face

down to a formidable length, and commenced intoning a

psalm tune through his nose, with imperturbable gravity.

 

"Bravo! what a young 'un!" said Haley. "Tell you

what," said he, "fling in that chap, and I'll settle the busi-

ness !"

 

At this moment, the door was pushed gently open, and

a young quadroon woman, apparently about twenty-five,

entered the room.

 

"Well, Eliza?" said her master.

 

"I was looking for Harry, please, sir."

 

"Well, take him away, then," said Mr. Shelby.

 

"By Jupiter/' said the trader, "there's an article, now!

You might make your fortune on that ar gal in Orleans,

any day."

 

"I don't want to make my fortune on her," said Mr,

Shelb}% dryly.

- "Come, how will you trade about the gal?"

 

"Mr. Haley, she is not to be sold," said Shelby. "My

wife would not par,t with her for her weight in gold."

 

"Ay, ay! women always say such things, 'cause they

ha'nt no sort of calculation, I reckon."

 

"I tell you, Haley, this must not be spoken of; I say no,

and I mean no," said Shelby.

 

 

 

Life Among the Lowly.

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