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Uncle Tom's Cabin
Chapter XV: Of Tom's New Master, and Various Other Matters
by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Since the thread of our humble hero's life has now become
interwoven with that of higher ones, it is necessary to give some
brief introduction to them.
Augustine St. Clare was the son of a wealthy planter of Louisiana.
The family had its origin in Canada. Of two brothers, very
similar in temperament and character, one had settled on a
flourishing farm in Vermont, and the other became an opulent planter
in Louisiana. The mother of Augustine was a Huguenot French lady,
whose family had emigrated to Louisiana during the days of its
early settlement. Augustine and another brother were the only
children of their parents. Having inherited from his mother an
exceeding delicacy of constitution, he was, at the instance of
physicians, during many years of his boyhood, sent to the care of
his uncle in Vermont, in order that his constitution might, be
strengthened by the cold of a more bracing climate.
In childhood, he was remarkable for an extreme and marked
sensitiveness of character, more akin to the softness of woman than
the ordinary hardness of his own sex. Time, however, overgrew this
softness with the rough bark of manhood, and but few knew how living
and fresh it still lay at the core. His talents were of the very
first order, although his mind showed a preference always for the
ideal and the aesthetic, and there was about him that repugnance
to the actual business of life which is the common result of this
balance of the faculties. Soon after the completion of his college
course, his whole nature was kindled into one intense and passionate
effervescence of romantic passion. His hour came,--the hour that
comes only once; his star rose in the horizon,--that star that rises
so often in vain, to be remembered only as a thing of dreams; and it
rose for him in vain. To drop the figure,--he saw and won the
love of a high-minded and beautiful woman, in one of the northern
states, and they were affianced. He returned south to make
arrangements for their marriage, when, most unexpectedly, his
letters were returned to him by mail, with a short note from her
guardian, stating to him that ere this reached him the lady would
be the wife of another. Stung to madness, he vainly hoped, as
many another has done, to fling the whole thing from his heart
by one desperate effort. Too proud to supplicate or seek
explanation, he threw himself at once into a whirl of fashionable
society, and in a fortnight from the time of the fatal letter was
the accepted lover of the reigning belle of the season; and as
soon as arrangements could be made, he became the husband of a
fine figure, a pair of bright dark eyes, and a hundred thousand
dollars; and, of course, everybody thought him a happy fellow.
The married couple were enjoying their honeymoon, and
entertaining a brilliant circle of friends in their splendid villa,
near Lake Pontchartrain, when, one day, a letter was brought to
him in that well-remembered writing. It was handed to him while
he was in full tide of gay and successful conversation, in a whole
room-full of company. He turned deadly pale when he saw the writing,
but still preserved his composure, and finished the playful warfare
of badinage which he was at the moment carrying on with a lady
opposite; and, a short time after, was missed from the circle.
In his room, alone, he opened and read the letter, now worse
than idle and useless to be read. It was from her, giving
a long account of a persecution to which she had been exposed by
her guardian's family, to lead her to unite herself with their son:
and she related how, for a long time, his letters had ceased to
arrive; how she had written time and again, till she became weary
and doubtful; how her health had failed under her anxieties, and
how, at last, she had discovered the whole fraud which had been
practised on them both. The letter ended with expressions of hope
and thankfulness, and professions of undying affection, which were
more bitter than death to the unhappy young man. He wrote to her
"I have received yours,--but too late. I believed all I heard.
I was desperate. I am married, and all is over. Only forget,--it
is all that remains for either of us."
And thus ended the whole romance and ideal of life for
Augustine St. Clare. But the real remained,--the real, like
the flat, bare, oozy tide-mud, when the blue sparkling wave, with
all its company of gliding boats and white-winged ships, its music
of oars and chiming waters, has gone down, and there it lies, flat,
slimy, bare,--exceedingly real.
Of course, in a novel, people's hearts break, and they die,
and that is the end of it; and in a story this is very convenient.
But in real life we do not die when all that makes life bright dies
to us. There is a most busy and important round of eating, drinking,
dressing, walking, visiting, buying, selling, talking, reading,
and all that makes up what is commonly called living, yet to be
gone through; and this yet remained to Augustine. Had his wife
been a whole woman, she might yet have done something--as woman
can--to mend the broken threads of life, and weave again into a
tissue of brightness. But Marie St. Clare could not even see that
they had been broken. As before stated, she consisted of a fine
figure, a pair of splendid eyes, and a hundred thousand dollars;
and none of these items were precisely the ones to minister to a
When Augustine, pale as death, was found lying on the sofa,
and pleaded sudden sick-headache as the cause of his distress, she
recommended to him to smell of hartshorn; and when the paleness
and headache came on week after week, she only said that she never
thought Mr. St. Clare was sickly; but it seems he was very liable
to sick-headaches, and that it was a very unfortunate thing for
her, because he didn't enjoy going into company with her, and it
seemed odd to go so much alone, when they were just married.
Augustine was glad in his heart that he had married so undiscerning
a woman; but as the glosses and civilities of the honeymoon wore
away, he discovered that a beautiful young woman, who has lived
all her life to be caressed and waited on, might prove quite a hard
mistress in domestic life. Marie never had possessed much capability
of affection, or much sensibility, and the little that she had,
had been merged into a most intense and unconscious selfishness;
a selfishness the more hopeless, from its quiet obtuseness, its
utter ignorance of any claims but her own. From her infancy, she
had been surrounded with servants, who lived only to study her
caprices; the idea that they had either feelings or rights had
never dawned upon her, even in distant perspective. Her father,
whose only child she had been, had never denied her anything that
lay within the compass of human possibility; and when she entered
life, beautiful, accomplished, and an heiress, she had, of course,
all the eligibles and non-eligibles of the other sex sighing at
her feet, and she had no doubt that Augustine was a most fortunate
man in having obtained her. It is a great mistake to suppose that
a woman with no heart will be an easy creditor in the exchange of
affection. There is not on earth a more merciless exactor of love
from others than a thoroughly selfish woman; and the more
unlovely she grows, the more jealously and scrupulously she exacts
love, to the uttermost farthing. When, therefore, St. Clare began
to drop off those gallantries and small attentions which flowed at
first through the habitude of courtship, he found his sultana no
way ready to resign her slave; there were abundance of tears,
poutings, and small tempests, there were discontents, pinings,
upbraidings. St. Clare was good-natured and self-indulgent, and
sought to buy off with presents and flatteries; and when Marie
became mother to a beautiful daughter, he really felt awakened,
for a time, to something like tenderness.
St. Clare's mother had been a woman of uncommon elevation
and purity of character, and he gave to his child his mother's
name, fondly fancying that she would prove a reproduction of her
image. The thing had been remarked with petulant jealousy by his
wife, and she regarded her husband's absorbing devotion to the
child with suspicion and dislike; all that was given to her seemed
so much taken from herself. From the time of the birth of this
child, her health gradually sunk. A life of constant inaction,
bodily and mental,--the friction of ceaseless ennui and discontent,
united to the ordinary weakness which attended the period of
maternity,--in course of a few years changed the blooming young
belle into a yellow faded, sickly woman, whose time was divided
among a variety of fanciful diseases, and who considered herself,
in every sense, the most ill-used and suffering person in existence.
There was no end of her various complaints; but her principal
forte appeared to lie in sick-headache, which sometimes would
confine her to her room three days out of six. As, of course, all
family arrangements fell into the hands of servants, St. Clare
found his menage anything but comfortable. His only daughter was
exceedingly delicate, and he feared that, with no one to look after
her and attend to her, her health and life might yet fall a sacrifice
to her mother's inefficiency. He had taken her with him on a tour
to Vermont, and had persuaded his cousin, Miss Ophelia St. Clare,
to return with him to his southern residence; and they are now
returning on this boat, where we have introduced them to our readers.
And now, while the distant domes and spires of New Orleans rise to
our view, there is yet time for an introduction to Miss Ophelia.
Whoever has travelled in the New England States will remember,
in some cool village, the large farmhouse, with its clean-swept
grassy yard, shaded by the dense and massive foliage of the
sugar maple; and remember the air of order and stillness, of
perpetuity and unchanging repose, that seemed to breathe over
the whole place. Nothing lost, or out of order; not a picket loose
in the fence, not a particle of litter in the turfy yard, with its
clumps of lilac bushes growing up under the windows. Within, he
will remember wide, clean rooms, where nothing ever seems to be
doing or going to be done, where everything is once and forever
rigidly in place, and where all household arrangements move with
the punctual exactness of the old clock in the corner. In the
family "keeping-room," as it is termed, he will remember the staid,
respectable old book-case, with its glass doors, where Rollin's
History,[The Ancient History, ten volumes (1730-1738), by the
French historian Charles Rollin (1661-1741).] Milton's Paradise Lost,
Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, and Scott's Family Bible,
[Scott's Family Bible (1788-1792), edited with notes by
the English Biblical commentator, Thomas Scott (1747-1821).]
stand side by side in decorous order, with
multitudes of other books, equally solemn and respectable. There
are no servants in the house, but the lady in the snowy cap, with
the spectacles, who sits sewing every afternoon among her daughters,
as if nothing ever had been done, or were to be done,--she and her
girls, in some long-forgotten fore part of the day, "did up the work,"
and for the rest of the time, probably, at all hours when you would
see them, it is "done up." The old kitchen floor never seems
stained or spotted; the tables, the chairs, and the various cooking
utensils, never seem deranged or disordered; though three and
sometimes four meals a day are got there, though the family washing
and ironing is there performed, and though pounds of butter and
cheese are in some silent and mysterious manner there brought
On such a farm, in such a house and family, Miss Ophelia had
spent a quiet existence of some forty-five years, when her
cousin invited her to visit his southern mansion. The eldest of
a large family, she was still considered by her father and mother
as one of "the children," and the proposal that she should go to
Orleans was a most momentous one to the family circle. The old
gray-headed father took down Morse's Atlas [The Cerographic
Atlas of the United States (1842-1845),
by Sidney Edwards Morse (1794-1871), son of the geographer, Jedidiah
Morse, and brother of the painter-inventor, Samuel F. B. Morse.]
out of the book-case,
and looked out the exact latitude and longitude; and read Flint's
Travels in the South and West, [Recollections of the Last Ten
Years (1826) by Timothy Flint
(1780-1840), missionary of Presbyterianism to the trans-Allegheny
West.] to make up his own mind as to the
nature of the country.
The good mother inquired, anxiously, "if Orleans wasn't an
awful wicked place," saying, "that it seemed to her most equal to
going to the Sandwich Islands, or anywhere among the heathen."
It was known at the minister's and at the doctor's, and at
Miss Peabody's milliner shop, that Ophelia St. Clare was "talking
about" going away down to Orleans with her cousin; and of course
the whole village could do no less than help this very important
process of taking about the matter. The minister, who inclined
strongly to abolitionist views, was quite doubtful whether such a
step might not tend somewhat to encourage the southerners in
holding on to their slaves; while the doctor, who was a stanch
colonizationist, inclined to the opinion that Miss Ophelia ought
to go, to show the Orleans people that we don't think hardly of
them, after all. He was of opinion, in fact, that southern people
needed encouraging. When however, the fact that she had resolved
to go was fully before the public mind, she was solemnly invited
out to tea by all her friends and neighbors for the space of a
fortnight, and her prospects and plans duly canvassed and inquired into.
Miss Moseley, who came into the house to help to do the dress-making,
acquired daily accessions of importance from the developments
with regard to Miss Ophelia's wardrobe which she had been enabled
to make. It was credibly ascertained that Squire Sinclare, as his
name was commonly contracted in the neighborhood, had counted
out fifty dollars, and given them to Miss Ophelia, and told her
to buy any clothes she thought best; and that two new silk dresses,
and a bonnet, had been sent for from Boston. As to the propriety
of this extraordinary outlay, the public mind was divided,--some
affirming that it was well enough, all things considered, for once
in one's life, and others stoutly affirming that the money had
better have been sent to the missionaries; but all parties agreed
that there had been no such parasol seen in those parts as had been
sent on from New York, and that she had one silk dress that might
fairly be trusted to stand alone, whatever might be said of
its mistress. There were credible rumors, also, of a hemstitched
pocket-handkerchief; and report even went so far as to state that
Miss Ophelia had one pocket-handkerchief with lace all around it,--it
was even added that it was worked in the corners; but this latter
point was never satisfactorily ascertained, and remains, in fact,
unsettled to this day.
Miss Ophelia, as you now behold her, stands before you, in
a very shining brown linen travelling-dress, tall, square-formed,
and angular. Her face was thin, and rather sharp in its outlines;
the lips compressed, like those of a person who is in the habit of
making up her mind definitely on all subjects; while the keen, dark
eyes had a peculiarly searching, advised movement, and travelled over
everything, as if they were looking for something to take care of.
All her movements were sharp, decided, and energetic; and,
though she was never much of a talker, her words were remarkably
direct, and to the purpose, when she did speak.
In her habits, she was a living impersonation of order, method,
and exactness. In punctuality, she was as inevitable as a clock,
and as inexorable as a railroad engine; and she held in most
decided contempt and abomination anything of a contrary character.
The great sin of sins, in her eyes,--the sum of all
evils,--was expressed by one very common and important word in her
vocabulary--"shiftlessness." Her finale and ultimatum of contempt
consisted in a very emphatic pronunciation of the word "shiftless;"
and by this she characterized all modes of procedure which had not
a direct and inevitable relation to accomplishment of some purpose
then definitely had in mind. People who did nothing, or who did
not know exactly what they were going to do, or who did not take
the most direct way to accomplish what they set their hands to,
were objects of her entire contempt,--a contempt shown less frequently
by anything she said, than by a kind of stony grimness, as if she
scorned to say anything about the matter.
As to mental cultivation,--she had a clear, strong, active mind,
was well and thoroughly read in history and the older English
classics, and thought with great strength within certain
narrow limits. Her theological tenets were all made up,
labelled in most positive and distinct forms, and put by, like
the bundles in her patch trunk; there were just so many of them,
and there were never to be any more. So, also, were her ideas
with regard to most matters of practical life,--such as
housekeeping in all its branches, and the various political
relations of her native village. And, underlying all, deeper
than anything else, higher and broader, lay the strongest
principle of her being--conscientiousness. Nowhere is conscience
so dominant and all-absorbing as with New England women. It is
the granite formation, which lies deepest, and rises out, even to
the tops of the highest mountains.
Miss Ophelia was the absolute bond-slave of the "ought."
Once make her certain that the "path of duty," as she commonly
phrased it, lay in any given direction, and fire and water could
not keep her from it. She would walk straight down into a well,
or up to a loaded cannon's mouth, if she were only quite sure that
there the path lay. Her standard of right was so high, so
all-embracing, so minute, and making so few concessions to human
frailty, that, though she strove with heroic ardor to reach it,
she never actually did so, and of course was burdened with a constant
and often harassing sense of deficiency;--this gave a severe and
somewhat gloomy cast to her religious character.
But, how in the world can Miss Ophelia get along with Augustine
St. Clare,--gay, easy, unpunctual, unpractical, sceptical,--in
short,--walking with impudent and nonchalant freedom over every
one of her most cherished habits and opinions?
To tell the truth, then, Miss Ophelia loved him. When a boy,
it had been hers to teach him his catechism, mend his clothes,
comb his hair, and bring him up generally in the way he should go;
and her heart having a warm side to it, Augustine had, as he usually
did with most people, monopolized a large share of it for himself,
and therefore it was that he succeeded very easily in persuading
her that the "path of duty" lay in the direction of New Orleans,
and that she must go with him to take care of Eva, and keep
everything from going to wreck and ruin during the frequent
illnesses of his wife. The idea of a house without anybody to take
care of it went to her heart; then she loved the lovely little
girl, as few could help doing; and though she regarded Augustine
as very much of a heathen, yet she loved him, laughed at his jokes,
and forbore with his failings, to an extent which those who knew
him thought perfectly incredible. But what more or other is to be
known of Miss Ophelia our reader must discover by a personal
There she is, sitting now in her state-room, surrounded by
a mixed multitude of little and big carpet-bags, boxes, baskets,
each containing some separate responsibility which she is tying,
binding up, packing, or fastening, with a face of great earnestness.
"Now, Eva, have you kept count of your things? Of course
you haven't,--children never do: there's the spotted carpet-bag
and the little blue band-box with your best bonnet,--that's two;
then the India rubber satchel is three; and my tape and needle box
is four; and my band-box, five; and my collar-box; and that little
hair trunk, seven. What have you done with your sunshade? Give it
to me, and let me put a paper round it, and tie it to my umbrella
with my shade;--there, now."
"Why, aunty, we are only going up home;--what is the use?"
"To keep it nice, child; people must take care of their things,
if they ever mean to have anything; and now, Eva, is your
thimble put up?"
"Really, aunty, I don't know."
"Well, never mind; I'll look your box over,--thimble, wax, two
spools, scissors, knife, tape-needle; all right,--put it in here.
What did you ever do, child, when you were coming on with
only your papa. I should have thought you'd a lost everything
"Well, aunty, I did lose a great many; and then, when we stopped
anywhere, papa would buy some more of whatever it was."
"Mercy on us, child,--what a way!"
"It was a very easy way, aunty," said Eva.
"It's a dreadful shiftless one," said aunty.
"Why, aunty, what'll you do now?" said Eva; "that trunk is
too full to be shut down."
"It must shut down," said aunty, with the air of a general,
as she squeezed the things in, and sprung upon the lid;--still a
little gap remained about the mouth of the trunk.
"Get up here, Eva!" said Miss Ophelia, courageously; "what
has been done can be done again. This trunk has got to be shut
and locked--there are no two ways about it."
And the trunk, intimidated, doubtless, by this resolute
statement, gave in. The hasp snapped sharply in its hole, and Miss
Ophelia turned the key, and pocketed it in triumph.
"Now we're ready. Where's your papa? I think it time this baggage
was set out. Do look out, Eva, and see if you see your papa."
"O, yes, he's down the other end of the gentlemen's cabin,
eating an orange."
"He can't know how near we are coming," said aunty; "hadn't
you better run and speak to him?"
"Papa never is in a hurry about anything," said Eva, "and
we haven't come to the landing. Do step on the guards, aunty.
Look! there's our house, up that street!"
The boat now began, with heavy groans, like some vast, tired
monster, to prepare to push up among the multiplied steamers
at the levee. Eva joyously pointed out the various spires, domes,
and way-marks, by which she recognized her native city.
"Yes, yes, dear; very fine," said Miss Ophelia. "But mercy
on us! the boat has stopped! where is your father?"
And now ensued the usual turmoil of landing--waiters running
twenty ways at once--men tugging trunks, carpet-bags, boxes--women
anxiously calling to their children, and everybody crowding in a
dense mass to the plank towards the landing.
Miss Ophelia seated herself resolutely on the lately
vanquished trunk, and marshalling all her goods and chattels in
fine military order, seemed resolved to defend them to the last.
"Shall I take your trunk, ma'am?" "Shall I take your baggage?"
"Let me 'tend to your baggage, Missis?" "Shan't I carry out
these yer, Missis?" rained down upon her unheeded. She sat
with grim determination, upright as a darning-needle stuck in a
board, holding on her bundle of umbrella and parasols, and replying
with a determination that was enough to strike dismay even into a
hackman, wondering to Eva, in each interval, "what upon earth her
papa could be thinking of; he couldn't have fallen over, now,--but
something must have happened;"--and just as she had begun to work
herself into a real distress, he came up, with his usually careless
motion, and giving Eva a quarter of the orange he was eating, said,
"Well, Cousin Vermont, I suppose you are all ready."
"I've been ready, waiting, nearly an hour," said Miss
Ophelia; "I began to be really concerned about you.
"That's a clever fellow, now," said he. "Well, the carriage
is waiting, and the crowd are now off, so that one can walk out in
a decent and Christian manner, and not be pushed and shoved.
Here," he added to a driver who stood behind him, "take these things."
"I'll go and see to his putting them in," said Miss Ophelia.
"O, pshaw, cousin, what's the use?" said St. Clare.
"Well, at any rate, I'll carry this, and this, and this," said Miss
Ophelia, singling out three boxes and a small carpet-bag.
"My dear Miss Vermont, positively you mustn't come the Green
Mountains over us that way. You must adopt at least a piece
of a southern principle, and not walk out under all that load.
They'll take you for a waiting-maid; give them to this fellow;
he'll put them down as if they were eggs, now."
Miss Ophelia looked despairingly as her cousin took all her
treasures from her, and rejoiced to find herself once more in
the carriage with them, in a state of preservation.
"Where's Tom?" said Eva.
"O, he's on the outside, Pussy. I'm going to take Tom up to
mother for a peace-offering, to make up for that drunken fellow
that upset the carriage."
"O, Tom will make a splendid driver, I know," said Eva;
"he'll never get drunk."
The carriage stopped in front of an ancient mansion, built
in that odd mixture of Spanish and French style, of which there
are specimens in some parts of New Orleans. It was built in the
Moorish fashion,--a square building enclosing a court-yard, into
which the carriage drove through an arched gateway. The court, in
the inside, had evidently been arranged to gratify a picturesque
and voluptuous ideality. Wide galleries ran all around the four
sides, whose Moorish arches, slender pillars, and arabesque ornaments,
carried the mind back, as in a dream, to the reign of oriental
romance in Spain. In the middle of the court, a fountain threw
high its silvery water, falling in a never-ceasing spray into a
marble basin, fringed with a deep border of fragrant violets.
The water in the fountain, pellucid as crystal, was alive with myriads
of gold and silver fishes, twinkling and darting through it like
so many living jewels. Around the fountain ran a walk, paved with
a mosaic of pebbles, laid in various fanciful patterns; and this,
again, was surrounded by turf, smooth as green velvet, while a
carriage-drive enclosed the whole. Two large orange-trees, now
fragrant with blossoms, threw a delicious shade; and, ranged in a
circle round upon the turf, were marble vases of arabesque sculpture,
containing the choicest flowering plants of the tropics.
Huge pomegranate trees, with their glossy leaves and flame-colored
flowers, dark-leaved Arabian jessamines, with their silvery stars,
geraniums, luxuriant roses bending beneath their heavy abundance
of flowers, golden jessamines, lemon-scented verbenum, all united
their bloom and fragrance, while here and there a mystic old aloe,
with its strange, massive leaves, sat looking like some old enchanter,
sitting in weird grandeur among the more perishable bloom and
fragrance around it.
The galleries that surrounded the court were festooned with a
curtain of some kind of Moorish stuff, and could be drawn down
at pleasure, to exclude the beams of the sun. On the whole, the
appearance of the place was luxurious and romantic.
As the carriage drove in, Eva seemed like a bird ready to
burst from a cage, with the wild eagerness of her delight.
"O, isn't it beautiful, lovely! my own dear, darling home!"
she said to Miss Ophelia. "Isn't it beautiful?"
"'T is a pretty place," said Miss Ophelia, as she alighted;
"though it looks rather old and heathenish to me."
Tom got down from the carriage, and looked about with an air
of calm, still enjoyment. The negro, it must be remembered,
is an exotic of the most gorgeous and superb countries of the world,
and he has, deep in his heart, a passion for all that is splendid,
rich, and fanciful; a passion which, rudely indulged by an untrained
taste, draws on them the ridicule of the colder and more correct
St. Clare, who was in heart a poetical voluptuary, smiled as
Miss Ophelia made her remark on his premises, and, turning
to Tom, who was standing looking round, his beaming black face
perfectly radiant with admiration, he said,
"Tom, my boy, this seems to suit you."
"Yes, Mas'r, it looks about the right thing," said Tom.
All this passed in a moment, while trunks were being hustled
off, hackman paid, and while a crowd, of all ages and sizes,--men,
women, and children,--came running through the galleries, both
above and below to see Mas'r come in. Foremost among them was a
highly-dressed young mulatto man, evidently a very distingue
personage, attired in the ultra extreme of the mode, and gracefully
waving a scented cambric handkerchief in his hand.
This personage had been exerting himself, with great alacrity,
in driving all the flock of domestics to the other end of
"Back! all of you. I am ashamed of you," he said, in a tone
of authority. "Would you intrude on Master's domestic relations,
in the first hour of his return?"
All looked abashed at this elegant speech, delivered with quite an
air, and stood huddled together at a respectful distance, except
two stout porters, who came up and began conveying away the baggage.
Owing to Mr. Adolph's systematic arrangements, when St. Clare
turned round from paying the hackman, there was nobody in
view but Mr. Adolph himself, conspicuous in satin vest, gold
guard-chain, and white pants, and bowing with inexpressible grace
"Ah, Adolph, is it you?" said his master, offering his hand
to him; "how are you, boy?" while Adolph poured forth, with great
fluency, an extemporary speech, which he had been preparing, with
great care, for a fortnight before.
"Well, well," said St. Clare, passing on, with his usual air of
negligent drollery, "that's very well got up, Adolph. See that
the baggage is well bestowed. I'll come to the people in a minute;"
and, so saying, he led Miss Ophelia to a large parlor that opened
on the verandah.
While this had been passing, Eva had flown like a bird, through
the porch and parlor, to a little boudoir opening likewise
on the verandah.
A tall, dark-eyed, sallow woman, half rose from a couch on
which she was reclining.
"Mamma!" said Eva, in a sort of a rapture, throwing herself
on her neck, and embracing her over and over again.
"That'll do,--take care, child,--don't, you make my head ache,"
said the mother, after she had languidly kissed her.
St. Clare came in, embraced his wife in true, orthodox, husbandly
fashion, and then presented to her his cousin. Marie lifted
her large eyes on her cousin with an air of some curiosity,
and received her with languid politeness. A crowd of servants now
pressed to the entry door, and among them a middle-aged mulatto
woman, of very respectable appearance, stood foremost, in a tremor
of expectation and joy, at the door.
"O, there's Mammy!" said Eva, as she flew across the room;
and, throwing herself into her arms, she kissed her repeatedly.
This woman did not tell her that she made her head ache, but,
on the contrary, she hugged her, and laughed, and cried, till
her sanity was a thing to be doubted of; and when released from
her, Eva flew from one to another, shaking hands and kissing, in
a way that Miss Ophelia afterwards declared fairly turned her stomach.
"Well!" said Miss Ophelia, "you southern children can do
something that I couldn't."
"What, now, pray?" said St. Clare.
"Well, I want to be kind to everybody, and I wouldn't have
anything hurt; but as to kissing--"
"Niggers," said St. Clare, "that you're not up to,--hey?"
"Yes, that's it. How can she?"
St. Clare laughed, as he went into the passage. "Halloa, here,
what's to pay out here? Here, you all--Mammy, Jimmy, Polly,
Sukey--glad to see Mas'r?" he said, as he went shaking hands from
one to another. "Look out for the babies!" he added, as he stumbled
over a sooty little urchin, who was crawling upon all fours. "If I
step upon anybody, let 'em mention it."
There was an abundance of laughing and blessing Mas'r, as
St. Clare distributed small pieces of change among them.
"Come, now, take yourselves off, like good boys and girls,"
he said; and the whole assemblage, dark and light, disappeared
through a door into a large verandah, followed by Eva, who carried
a large satchel, which she had been filling with apples, nuts,
candy, ribbons, laces, and toys of every description, during her
whole homeward journey.
As St. Clare turned to go back his eye fell upon Tom, who was
standing uneasily, shifting from one foot to the other, while
Adolph stood negligently leaning against the banisters, examining
Tom through an opera-glass, with an air that would have done credit
to any dandy living.
"Puh! you puppy," said his master, striking down the opera glass;
"is that the way you treat your company? Seems to me, Dolph,"
he added, laying his finger on the elegant figured satin vest that
Adolph was sporting, "seems to me that's my vest."
"O! Master, this vest all stained with wine; of course, a
gentleman in Master's standing never wears a vest like this.
I understood I was to take it. It does for a poor nigger-fellow,
And Adolph tossed his head, and passed his fingers through
his scented hair, with a grace.
"So, that's it, is it?" said St. Clare, carelessly. "Well, here,
I'm going to show this Tom to his mistress, and then you take him
to the kitchen; and mind you don't put on any of your airs to him.
He's worth two such puppies as you."
"Master always will have his joke," said Adolph, laughing.
"I'm delighted to see Master in such spirits."
"Here, Tom," said St. Clare, beckoning.
Tom entered the room. He looked wistfully on the velvet carpets,
and the before unimagined splendors of mirrors, pictures, statues,
and curtains, and, like the Queen of Sheba before Solomon, there
was no more spirit in him. He looked afraid even to set his
"See here, Marie," said St. Clare to his wife, "I've bought
you a coachman, at last, to order. I tell you, he's a regular
hearse for blackness and sobriety, and will drive you like a funeral,
if you want. Open your eyes, now, and look at him. Now, don't
say I never think about you when I'm gone."
Marie opened her eyes, and fixed them on Tom, without rising.
"I know he'll get drunk," she said.
"No, he's warranted a pious and sober article."
"Well, I hope he may turn out well," said the lady; "it's
more than I expect, though."
"Dolph," said St. Clare, "show Tom down stairs; and, mind
yourself," he added; "remember what I told you."
Adolph tripped gracefully forward, and Tom, with lumbering
tread, went after.
"He's a perfect behemoth!" said Marie.
"Come, now, Marie," said St. Clare, seating himself on a stool
beside her sofa, "be gracious, and say something pretty to
"You've been gone a fortnight beyond the time," said the
"Well, you know I wrote you the reason."
"Such a short, cold letter!" said the lady.
"Dear me! the mail was just going, and it had to be that
"That's just the way, always," said the lady; "always something
to make your journeys long, and letters short."
"See here, now," he added, drawing an elegant velvet case out
of his pocket, and opening it, "here's a present I got for you
in New York."
It was a daguerreotype, clear and soft as an engraving,
representing Eva and her father sitting hand in hand.
Marie looked at it with a dissatisfied air.
"What made you sit in such an awkward position?" she said.
"Well, the position may be a matter of opinion; but what
do you think of the likeness?"
"If you don't think anything of my opinion in one case, I
suppose you wouldn't in another," said the lady, shutting the
"Hang the woman!" said St. Clare, mentally; but aloud he added,
"Come, now, Marie, what do you think of the likeness? Don't be
"It's very inconsiderate of you, St. Clare," said the lady,
"to insist on my talking and looking at things. You know I've been
lying all day with the sick-headache; and there's been such a tumult
made ever since you came, I'm half dead."
"You're subject to the sick-headache, ma'am!" said Miss
Ophelia, suddenly rising from the depths of the large arm-chair,
where she had sat quietly, taking an inventory of the furniture,
and calculating its expense.
"Yes, I'm a perfect martyr to it," said the lady.
"Juniper-berry tea is good for sick-headache," said Miss
Ophelia; "at least, Auguste, Deacon Abraham Perry's wife, used to
say so; and she was a great nurse."
"I'll have the first juniper-berries that get ripe in our
garden by the lake brought in for that special purpose," said St.
Clare, gravely pulling the bell as he did so; "meanwhile, cousin,
you must be wanting to retire to your apartment, and refresh yourself
a little, after your journey. Dolph," he added, "tell Mammy to
come here." The decent mulatto woman whom Eva had caressed so
rapturously soon entered; she was dressed neatly, with a high red
and yellow turban on her head, the recent gift of Eva, and which
the child had been arranging on her head. "Mammy," said St. Clare,
"I put this lady under your care; she is tired, and wants rest;
take her to her chamber, and be sure she is made comfortable," and
Miss Ophelia disappeared in the rear of Mammy.