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13 January, 2012
Uncle Tom's Cabin
Chapter VII: The Mother's Struggle
by Harriet Beecher Stowe
It is impossible to conceive of a human creature more wholly
desolate and forlorn than Eliza, when she turned her footsteps
from Uncle Tom's cabin.
Her husband's suffering and dangers, and the danger of her
child, all blended in her mind, with a confused and stunning sense
of the risk she was running, in leaving the only home she had ever
known, and cutting loose from the protection of a friend whom she
loved and revered. Then there was the parting from every familiar
object,--the place where she had grown up, the trees under which
she had played, the groves where she had walked many an evening in
happier days, by the side of her young husband,--everything, as it
lay in the clear, frosty starlight, seemed to speak reproachfully
to her, and ask her whither could she go from a home like that?
But stronger than all was maternal love, wrought into a paroxysm
of frenzy by the near approach of a fearful danger. Her boy was
old enough to have walked by her side, and, in an indifferent
case, she would only have led him by the hand; but now the bare
thought of putting him out of her arms made her shudder, and she
strained him to her bosom with a convulsive grasp, as she went
The frosty ground creaked beneath her feet, and she trembled
at the sound; every quaking leaf and fluttering shadow sent the
blood backward to her heart, and quickened her footsteps.
She wondered within herself at the strength that seemed to be
come upon her; for she felt the weight of her boy as if it had
been a feather, and every flutter of fear seemed to increase the
supernatural power that bore her on, while from her pale lips
burst forth, in frequent ejaculations, the prayer to a Friend
above--"Lord, help! Lord, save me!"
If it were your Harry, mother, or your Willie, that were going
to be torn from you by a brutal trader, tomorrow morning,--if
you had seen the man, and heard that the papers were signed and
delivered, and you had only from twelve o'clock till morning to
make good your escape,--how fast could you walk? How many miles
could you make in those few brief hours, with the darling at your
bosom,--the little sleepy head on your shoulder,--the small, soft
arms trustingly holding on to your neck?
For the child slept. At first, the novelty and alarm kept
him waking; but his mother so hurriedly repressed every breath or
sound, and so assured him that if he were only still she would
certainly save him, that he clung quietly round her neck, only
asking, as he found himself sinking to sleep,
"Mother, I don't need to keep awake, do I?"
"No, my darling; sleep, if you want to."
"But, mother, if I do get asleep, you won't let him get me?"
"No! so may God help me!" said his mother, with a paler
cheek, and a brighter light in her large dark eyes.
"You're sure, an't you, mother?"
"Yes, sure!" said the mother, in a voice that startled
herself; for it seemed to her to come from a spirit within, that
was no part of her; and the boy dropped his litle weary head on
her shoulder, and was soon asleep. How the touch of those warm
arms, the gentle breathings that came in her neck, seemed to add
fire and spirit to her movements! It seemed to her as if strength
poured into her in electric streams, from every gentle touch and
movement of the sleeping, confiding child. Sublime is the dominion
of the mind over the body, that, for a time, can make flesh and
nerve impregnable, and string the sinews like steel, so that the
weak become so mighty.
The boundaries of the farm, the grove, the wood-lot, passed
by her dizzily, as she walked on; and still she went, leaving one
familiar object after another, slacking not, pausing not, till
reddening daylight found her many a long mile from all traces of
any familiar objects upon the open highway.
She had often been, with her mistress, to visit some connections,
in the little village of T----, not far from the Ohio river,
and knew the road well. To go thither, to escape across the
Ohio river, were the first hurried outlines of her plan of
escape; beyond that, she could only hope in God.
When horses and vehicles began to move along the highway,
with that alert perception peculiar to a state of excitement, and
which seems to be a sort of inspiration, she became aware that her
headlong pace and distracted air might bring on her remark and
suspicion. She therefore put the boy on the ground, and, adjusting
her dress and bonnet, she walked on at as rapid a pace as she
thought consistent with the preservation of appearances. In her
little bundle she had provided a store of cakes and apples, which
she used as expedients for quickening the speed of the child,
rolling the apple some yards before them, when the boy would run
with all his might after it; and this ruse, often repeated, carried
them over many a half-mile.
After a while, they came to a thick patch of woodland,
through which murmured a clear brook. As the child complained of
hunger and thirst, she climbed over the fence with him; and, sitting
down behind a large rock which concealed them from the road, she
gave him a breakfast out of her little package. The boy
wondered and grieved that she could not eat; and when, putting his
arms round her neck, he tried to wedge some of his cake into her
mouth, it seemed to her that the rising in her throat would choke her.
"No, no, Harry darling! mother can't eat till you are safe!
We must go on--on--till we come to the river!" And she hurried
again into the road, and again constrained herself to walk regularly
and composedly forward.
She was many miles past any neighborhood where she was
personally known. If she should chance to meet any who knew her,
she reflected that the well-known kindness of the family would be
of itself a blind to suspicion, as making it an unlikely supposition
that she could be a fugitive. As she was also so white as not to
be known as of colored lineage, without a critical survey, and her
child was white also, it was much easier for her to pass on
On this presumption, she stopped at noon at a neat farmhouse,
to rest herself, and buy some dinner for her child and self; for,
as the danger decreased with the distance, the supernatural tension
of the nervous system lessened, and she found herself both weary
The good woman, kindly and gossipping, seemed rather pleased
than otherwise with having somebody come in to talk with; and
accepted, without examination, Eliza's statement, that she "was
going on a little piece, to spend a week with her friends,"--all
which she hoped in her heart might prove strictly true.
An hour before sunset, she entered the village of T----,
by the Ohio river, weary and foot-sore, but still strong in heart.
Her first glance was at the river, which lay, like Jordan, between
her and the Canaan of liberty on the other side.
It was now early spring, and the river was swollen and
turbulent; great cakes of floating ice were swinging heavily to
and fro in the turbid waters. Owing to the peculiar form of
the shore on the Kentucky side, the land bending far out into
the water, the ice had been lodged and detained in great
quantities, and the narrow channel which swept round the bend
was full of ice, piled one cake over another, thus forming a
temporary barrier to the descending ice, which lodged, and formed
a great, undulating raft, filling up the whole river, and extending
almost to the Kentucky shore.
Eliza stood, for a moment, contemplating this unfavorable
aspect of things, which she saw at once must prevent the usual
ferry-boat from running, and then turned into a small public
house on the bank, to make a few inquiries.
The hostess, who was busy in various fizzing and stewing
operations over the fire, preparatory to the evening meal, stopped,
with a fork in her hand, as Eliza's sweet and plaintive voice
"What is it?" she said.
"Isn't there any ferry or boat, that takes people over to
B----, now?" she said.
"No, indeed!" said the woman; "the boats has stopped running."
Eliza's look of dismay and disappointment struck the woman,
and she said, inquiringly,
"May be you're wanting to get over?--anybody sick? Ye seem
"I've got a child that's very dangerous," said Eliza. "I never
heard of it till last night, and I've walked quite a piece today,
in hopes to get to the ferry."
"Well, now, that's onlucky," said the woman, whose motherly
sympathies were much aroused; I'm re'lly consarned for ye.
Solomon!" she called, from the window, towards a small back building.
A man, in leather apron and very dirty hands, appeared at the door.
"I say, Sol," said the woman, "is that ar man going to tote
them bar'ls over tonight?"
"He said he should try, if 't was any way prudent," said
"There's a man a piece down here, that's going over with some
truck this evening, if he durs' to; he'll be in here to supper
tonight, so you'd better set down and wait. That's a sweet little
fellow," added the woman, offering him a cake.
But the child, wholly exhausted, cried with weariness.
"Poor fellow! he isn't used to walking, and I've hurried
him on so," said Eliza.
"Well, take him into this room," said the woman, opening
into a small bed-room, where stood a comfortable bed. Eliza laid
the weary boy upon it, and held his hands in hers till he was fast
asleep. For her there was no rest. As a fire in her bones, the
thought of the pursuer urged her on; and she gazed with longing
eyes on the sullen, surging waters that lay between her and liberty.
Here we must take our leave of her for the present, to
follow the course of her pursuers.
Though Mrs. Shelby had promised that the dinner should be hurried
on table, yet it was soon seen, as the thing has often been
seen before, that it required more than one to make a bargain.
So, although the order was fairly given out in Haley's hearing,
and carried to Aunt Chloe by at least half a dozen juvenile
messengers, that dignitary only gave certain very gruff snorts,
and tosses of her head, and went on with every operation in an
unusually leisurely and circumstantial manner.
For some singular reason, an impression seemed to reign among
the servants generally that Missis would not be particularly
disobliged by delay; and it was wonderful what a number of counter
accidents occurred constantly, to retard the course of things.
One luckless wight contrived to upset the gravy; and then gravy
had to be got up de novo, with due care and formality, Aunt Chloe
watching and stirring with dogged precision, answering shortly, to
all suggestions of haste, that she "warn't a going to have raw
gravy on the table, to help nobody's catchings." One tumbled
down with the water, and had to go to the spring for more; and
another precipitated the butter into the path of events; and
there was from time to time giggling news brought into the kitchen
that "Mas'r Haley was mighty oneasy, and that he couldn't sit in
his cheer no ways, but was a walkin' and stalkin' to the winders
and through the porch."
"Sarves him right!" said Aunt Chloe, indignantly. He'll get
wus nor oneasy, one of these days, if he don't mend his ways.
His master'll be sending for him, and then see how he'll look!"
"He'll go to torment, and no mistake," said little Jake.
"He desarves it!" said Aunt Chloe, grimly; "he's broke a many,
many, many hearts,--I tell ye all!" she said, stopping, with
a fork uplifted in her hands; "it's like what Mas'r George reads
in Ravelations,--souls a callin' under the altar! and a callin' on
the Lord for vengeance on sich!--and by and by the Lord he'll hear
'em--so he will!"
Aunt Chloe, who was much revered in the kitchen, was listened
to with open mouth; and, the dinner being now fairly sent in, the
whole kitchen was at leisure to gossip with her, and to listen to
"Sich'll be burnt up forever, and no mistake; won't ther?"
"I'd be glad to see it, I'll be boun'," said little Jake.
"Chil'en!" said a voice, that made them all start. It was
Uncle Tom, who had come in, and stood listening to the conversation
at the door.
"Chil'en!" he said, "I'm afeard you don't know what ye're sayin'.
Forever is a dre'ful word, chil'en; it's awful to think on 't.
You oughtenter wish that ar to any human crittur."
"We wouldn't to anybody but the soul-drivers," said Andy;
"nobody can help wishing it to them, they 's so awful wicked."
"Don't natur herself kinder cry out on 'em?" said Aunt Chloe.
"Don't dey tear der suckin' baby right off his mother's breast,
and sell him, and der little children as is crying and
holding on by her clothes,--don't dey pull 'em off and sells 'em?
Don't dey tear wife and husband apart?" said Aunt Chloe, beginning
to cry, "when it's jest takin' the very life on 'em?--and all the
while does they feel one bit, don't dey drink and smoke, and take
it oncommon easy? Lor, if the devil don't get them, what's he
good for?" And Aunt Chloe covered her face with her checked apron,
and began to sob in good earnest.
"Pray for them that 'spitefully use you, the good book
says," says Tom.
"Pray for 'em!" said Aunt Chloe; "Lor, it's too tough!
I can't pray for 'em."
"It's natur, Chloe, and natur 's strong," said Tom, "but the
Lord's grace is stronger; besides, you oughter think what an awful
state a poor crittur's soul 's in that'll do them ar things,--you
oughter thank God that you an't like him, Chloe. I'm sure I'd
rather be sold, ten thousand times over, than to have all that ar
poor crittur's got to answer for."
"So 'd I, a heap," said Jake. "Lor, shouldn't we cotch
Andy shrugged his shoulders, and gave an acquiescent whistle.
"I'm glad Mas'r didn't go off this morning, as he looked to,"
said Tom; "that ar hurt me more than sellin', it did. Mebbe it
might have been natural for him, but 't would have come desp't
hard on me, as has known him from a baby; but I've seen Mas'r,
and I begin ter feel sort o' reconciled to the Lord's will now.
Mas'r couldn't help hisself; he did right, but I'm feared things
will be kinder goin' to rack, when I'm gone Mas'r can't be spected
to be a pryin' round everywhar, as I've done, a keepin' up all
the ends. The boys all means well, but they 's powerful car'less.
That ar troubles me."
The bell here rang, and Tom was summoned to the parlor.
"Tom," said his master, kindly, "I want you to notice that
I give this gentleman bonds to forfeit a thousand dollars if you
are not on the spot when he wants you; he's going today to look
after his other business, and you can have the day to yourself.
Go anywhere you like, boy."
"Thank you, Mas'r," said Tom.
"And mind yourself," said the trader, "and don't come it over
your master with any o' yer nigger tricks; for I'll take every
cent out of him, if you an't thar. If he'd hear to me, he wouldn't
trust any on ye--slippery as eels!"
"Mas'r," said Tom,--and he stood very straight,--"I was jist
eight years old when ole Missis put you into my arms, and you
wasn't a year old. 'Thar,' says she, 'Tom, that's to be your
young Mas'r; take good care on him,' says she. And now I jist ask
you, Mas'r, have I ever broke word to you, or gone contrary to you,
'specially since I was a Christian?"
Mr. Shelby was fairly overcome, and the tears rose to his eyes.
"My good boy," said he, "the Lord knows you say but the truth;
and if I was able to help it, all the world shouldn't buy you."
"And sure as I am a Christian woman," said Mrs. Shelby,
"you shall be redeemed as soon as I can any bring together means.
Sir," she said to Haley, "take good account of who you sell him
to, and let me know."
"Lor, yes, for that matter," said the trader, "I may bring
him up in a year, not much the wuss for wear, and trade him back."
"I'll trade with you then, and make it for your advantage,"
said Mrs. Shelby.
"Of course," said the trader, "all 's equal with me; li'ves
trade 'em up as down, so I does a good business. All I want is a
livin', you know, ma'am; that's all any on us wants, I, s'pose."
Mr. and Mrs. Shelby both felt annoyed and degraded by the
familiar impudence of the trader, and yet both saw the absolute
necessity of putting a constraint on their feelings. The more
hopelessly sordid and insensible he appeared, the greater became
Mrs. Shelby's dread of his succeeding in recapturing Eliza and
her child, and of course the greater her motive for detaining him
by every female artifice. She therefore graciously smiled, assented,
chatted familiarly, and did all she could to make time pass
At two o'clock Sam and Andy brought the horses up to the posts,
apparently greatly refreshed and invigorated by the scamper
of the morning.
Sam was there new oiled from dinner, with an abundance of
zealous and ready officiousness. As Haley approached, he was
boasting, in flourishing style, to Andy, of the evident and eminent
success of the operation, now that he had "farly come to it."
"Your master, I s'pose, don't keep no dogs," said Haley,
thoughtfully, as he prepared to mount.
"Heaps on 'em," said Sam, triumphantly; "thar's Bruno--he's
a roarer! and, besides that, 'bout every nigger of us keeps a pup
of some natur or uther."
"Poh!" said Haley,--and he said something else, too, with
regard to the said dogs, at which Sam muttered,
"I don't see no use cussin' on 'em, no way."
"But your master don't keep no dogs (I pretty much know he
don't) for trackin' out niggers."
Sam knew exactly what he meant, but he kept on a look of
earnest and desperate simplicity.
"Our dogs all smells round considable sharp. I spect they's
the kind, though they han't never had no practice. They 's far
dogs, though, at most anything, if you'd get 'em started.
Here, Bruno," he called, whistling to the lumbering Newfoundland,
who came pitching tumultuously toward them.
"You go hang!" said Haley, getting up. "Come, tumble up now."
Sam tumbled up accordingly, dexterously contriving to tickle
Andy as he did so, which occasioned Andy to split out into a laugh,
greatly to Haley's indignation, who made a cut at him with his
"I 's 'stonished at yer, Andy," said Sam, with awful gravity.
"This yer's a seris bisness, Andy. Yer mustn't be a makin' game.
This yer an't no way to help Mas'r."
"I shall take the straight road to the river," said Haley,
decidedly, after they had come to the boundaries of the estate.
"I know the way of all of 'em,--they makes tracks for the underground."
"Sartin," said Sam, "dat's de idee. Mas'r Haley hits de thing
right in de middle. Now, der's two roads to de river,--de
dirt road and der pike,--which Mas'r mean to take?"
Andy looked up innocently at Sam, surprised at hearing this
new geographical fact, but instantly confirmed what he said, by a
"Cause," said Sam, "I'd rather be 'clined to 'magine that
Lizy 'd take de dirt road, bein' it's the least travelled."
Haley, notwithstanding that he was a very old bird, and
naturally inclined to be suspicious of chaff, was rather brought
up by this view of the case.
"If yer warn't both on yer such cussed liars, now!" he
said, contemplatively as he pondered a moment.
The pensive, reflective tone in which this was spoken
appeared to amuse Andy prodigiously, and he drew a little behind,
and shook so as apparently to run a great risk of failing off his
horse, while Sam's face was immovably composed into the most
"Course," said Sam, "Mas'r can do as he'd ruther, go de straight
road, if Mas'r thinks best,--it's all one to us. Now, when I
study 'pon it, I think de straight road de best, deridedly."
"She would naturally go a lonesome way," said Haley, thinking
aloud, and not minding Sam's remark.
"Dar an't no sayin'," said Sam; "gals is pecular; they never
does nothin' ye thinks they will; mose gen'lly the contrary.
Gals is nat'lly made contrary; and so, if you thinks they've gone
one road, it is sartin you'd better go t' other, and then you'll
be sure to find 'em. Now, my private 'pinion is, Lizy took der
road; so I think we'd better take de straight one."
This profound generic view of the female sex did not seem to
dispose Haley particularly to the straight road, and he announced
decidedly that he should go the other, and asked Sam when they
should come to it.
"A little piece ahead," said Sam, giving a wink to Andy with
the eye which was on Andy's side of the head; and he added,
gravely, "but I've studded on de matter, and I'm quite clar we
ought not to go dat ar way. I nebber been over it no way.
It's despit lonesome, and we might lose our way,--whar we'd come
to, de Lord only knows."
"Nevertheless," said Haley, "I shall go that way."
"Now I think on 't, I think I hearn 'em tell that dat ar road
was all fenced up and down by der creek, and thar, an't it, Andy?"
Andy wasn't certain; he'd only "hearn tell" about that road,
but never been over it. In short, he was strictly noncommittal.
Haley, accustomed to strike the balance of probabilities
between lies of greater or lesser magnitude, thought that it lay
in favor of the dirt road aforesaid. The mention of the thing he
thought he perceived was involuntary on Sam's part at first, and
his confused attempts to dissuade him he set down to a desperate
lying on second thoughts, as being unwilling to implicate Liza.
When, therefore, Sam indicated the road, Haley plunged
briskly into it, followed by Sam and Andy.
Now, the road, in fact, was an old one, that had formerly
been a thoroughfare to the river, but abandoned for many years
after the laying of the new pike. It was open for about an hour's
ride, and after that it was cut across by various farms and fences.
Sam knew this fact perfectly well,--indeed, the road had been so
long closed up, that Andy had never heard of it. He therefore rode
along with an air of dutiful submission, only groaning and vociferating
occasionally that 't was "desp't rough, and bad for Jerry's foot."
"Now, I jest give yer warning," said Haley, "I know yer; yer
won't get me to turn off this road, with all yer fussin'--so
you shet up!"
"Mas'r will go his own way!" said Sam, with rueful submission,
at the same time winking most Portentously to Andy, whose delight
was now very near the explosive point.
Sam was in wonderful spirits,--professed to keep a very brisk
lookout,--at one time exclaiming that he saw "a gal's bonnet"
on the top of some distant eminence, or calling to Andy "if that
thar wasn't 'Lizy' down in the hollow;" always making these
exclamations in some rough or craggy part of the road, where the
sudden quickening of speed was a special inconvenience to all
parties concerned, and thus keeping Haley in a state of constant
After riding about an hour in this way, the whole party made
a precipitate and tumultuous descent into a barn-yard belonging
to a large farming establishment. Not a soul was in sight, all
the hands being employed in the fields; but, as the barn stood
conspicuously and plainly square across the road, it was evident
that their journey in that direction had reached a decided finale.
"Wan't dat ar what I telled Mas'r?" said Sam, with an air of
injured innocence. "How does strange gentleman spect to know
more about a country dan de natives born and raised?"
"You rascal!" said Haley, "you knew all about this."
"Didn't I tell yer I knowd, and yer wouldn't believe me?
I telled Mas'r 't was all shet up, and fenced up, and I didn't
spect we could get through,--Andy heard me."
It was all too true to be disputed, and the unlucky man had to
pocket his wrath with the best grace he was able, and all
three faced to the right about, and took up their line of march
for the highway.
In consequence of all the various delays, it was about
three-quarters of an hour after Eliza had laid her child to
sleep in the village tavern that the party came riding into the
same place. Eliza was standing by the window, looking out in
another direction, when Sam's quick eye caught a glimpse of her.
Haley and Andy were two yards behind. At this crisis, Sam contrived
to have his hat blown off, and uttered a loud and characteristic
ejaculation, which startled her at once; she drew suddenly back;
the whole train swept by the window, round to the front door.
A thousand lives seemed to be concentrated in that one moment
to Eliza. Her room opened by a side door to the river. She caught
her child, and sprang down the steps towards it. The trader
caught a full glimpse of her just as she was disappearing
down the bank; and throwing himself from his horse, and calling
loudly on Sam and Andy, he was after her like a hound after a deer.
In that dizzy moment her feet to her scarce seemed to touch the
ground, and a moment brought her to the water's edge. Right on
behind they came; and, nerved with strength such as God gives only
to the desperate, with one wild cry and flying leap, she vaulted
sheer over the turbid current by the shore, on to the raft of
ice beyond. It was a desperate leap--impossible to anything but
madness and despair; and Haley, Sam, and Andy, instinctively cried
out, and lifted up their hands, as she did it.
The huge green fragment of ice on which she alighted pitched
and creaked as her weight came on it, but she staid there not
a moment. With wild cries and desperate energy she leaped to
another and still another cake; stumbling--leaping--slipping--
springing upwards again! Her shoes are gone--her stockings cut
from her feet--while blood marked every step; but she saw nothing,
felt nothing, till dimly, as in a dream, she saw the Ohio side,
and a man helping her up the bank.
"Yer a brave gal, now, whoever ye ar!" said the man, with
Eliza recognized the voice and face for a man who owned a
farm not far from her old home.
"O, Mr. Symmes!--save me--do save me--do hide me!" said Elia.
"Why, what's this?" said the man. "Why, if 'tan't Shelby's gal!"
"My child!--this boy!--he'd sold him! There is his Mas'r,"
said she, pointing to the Kentucky shore. "O, Mr. Symmes, you've
got a little boy!"
"So I have," said the man, as he roughly, but kindly, drew
her up the steep bank. "Besides, you're a right brave gal. I like
grit, wherever I see it."
When they had gained the top of the bank, the man paused.
"I'd be glad to do something for ye," said he; "but then
there's nowhar I could take ye. The best I can do is to tell ye
to go thar," said he, pointing to a large white house which stood
by itself, off the main street of the village. "Go thar; they're
kind folks. Thar's no kind o' danger but they'll help you,--they're
up to all that sort o' thing."
"The Lord bless you!" said Eliza, earnestly.
"No 'casion, no 'casion in the world," said the man. "What I've
done's of no 'count."
"And, oh, surely, sir, you won't tell any one!"
"Go to thunder, gal! What do you take a feller for? In course
not," said the man. "Come, now, go along like a likely,
sensible gal, as you are. You've arnt your liberty, and you
shall have it, for all me."
The woman folded her child to her bosom, and walked firmly
and swiftly away. The man stood and looked after her.
"Shelby, now, mebbe won't think this yer the most neighborly
thing in the world; but what's a feller to do? If he catches one
of my gals in the same fix, he's welcome to pay back. Somehow I
never could see no kind o' critter a strivin' and pantin', and
trying to clar theirselves, with the dogs arter 'em and go agin 'em.
Besides, I don't see no kind of 'casion for me to be hunter and
catcher for other folks, neither."
So spoke this poor, heathenish Kentuckian, who had not been
instructed in his constitutional relations, and consequently was
betrayed into acting in a sort of Christianized manner, which, if
he had been better situated and more enlightened, he would not have
been left to do.
Haley had stood a perfectly amazed spectator of the scene,
till Eliza had disappeared up the bank, when he turned a blank,
inquiring look on Sam and Andy.
"That ar was a tolable fair stroke of business," said Sam.
"The gal 's got seven devils in her, I believe!" said Haley.
"How like a wildcat she jumped!"
"Wal, now," said Sam, scratching his head, "I hope Mas'r'll
'scuse us trying dat ar road. Don't think I feel spry enough for
dat ar, no way!" and Sam gave a hoarse chuckle.
"You laugh!" said the trader, with a growl.
"Lord bless you, Mas'r, I couldn't help it now," said Sam,
giving way to the long pent-up delight of his soul. "She looked
so curi's, a leapin' and springin'--ice a crackin'--and only to
hear her,--plump! ker chunk! ker splash! Spring! Lord! how she
goes it!" and Sam and Andy laughed till the tears rolled down
"I'll make ye laugh t' other side yer mouths!" said the
trader, laying about their heads with his riding-whip.
Both ducked, and ran shouting up the bank, and were on
their horses before he was up.
"Good-evening, Mas'r!" said Sam, with much gravity. "I berry
much spect Missis be anxious 'bout Jerry. Mas'r Haley won't
want us no longer. Missis wouldn't hear of our ridin' the critters
over Lizy's bridge tonight;" and, with a facetious poke into Andy's
ribs, he started off, followed by the latter, at full speed,--their
shouts of laughter coming faintly on the wind.