42 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN;
" Because they will bring the highest sum of any, — that's why. I could choose another, if you say so. The fellow made me a high bid on Eliza, if that would suit you any better," said Mr. Shelby.
" The wretch ! " said Mrs. Shelby, vehemently.
" Well, I did n't listen to it, a moment, — out of regard to your feelings, I would n't; — so give me some credit."
" My dear," said Mrs. Shelby, recollecting herself, " forgive me. I have been hasty. I was surprised and entirely unprepared for this ; — but surely you will allow me to intercede for these poor creatures. Tom is a noble-hearted, faithful fellow, if he is black. I do believe, Mr. Shelby, that if he were put to it, he would lay down his life for you."
" I know it, — I dare say ; — but what *s the use of all this? — I can't help myself."
" Why not make a pecuniary sacrifice ? I 'm willing to bear my part of the inconvenience. Oh, Mr. Shelby, I have tried — tried most faithfully, as a Christian woman should — to do my duty to these poor, simple, dependent creatures. I have cared for them, instructed them, watched over them, and known all their little cares and joys, for years ; and how can I ever hold up my head again among them, if, for the sake of a little paltry gain, we sell such a faithful, excellent, confiding creature as poor Tom, and tear from him in a moment all we have taught him to love and value ? I have taught them the duties of the family, of parent and child, and husband and wife; and how can I bear to have this open acknowledgment that we care for no tie, no duty, no relation, however sacred, compared with money ? I have talked with Eliza about her boy, — her duty to him as a Christian mother, to watch over him, pray for him, and bring him up in a Christian way; and now what can I say, if you tear him away, and sell him, soul and body, to a profane, unprinci* pled man, just to save a little money ? I have told her that one soul is worth more than all the money in the