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LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY              49
worth more than the world ; and this boy has a soul, and if I let him be carried off, who knows what '11 become of it ? It must be right; but if it an't right, the Lord forgive me, for I can't help doing it! "
" Well, old man ! " said Aunt Chloe, " why don't you go, too ? Will you wait to be toted down river, where they kill niggers with hard work and starving ? I 'd a heap rather die than go there, any day ! There 's time for ye, — be off with Lizy, — you 've got a pass to come and go any time. Come, bustle up, and I '11 get your things together."
Tom slowly raised his head, and looked sorrowfully but quietly around, and said, —
"No, no, — I an't going. Let Eliza go, — it's her right! I would n't be the one to say no, — 't an't in natter for her to stay ; but you heard what she said ! If I must be sold, or all the people on the place, and every­thing go to rack, why, let me be sold. I s'pose I can b'ar it as well as any on 'em," he added, while something like a sob and a sigh shook his broad, rough chest convulsively. " Mas'r always found me on the spot, — he always will. I never have broke trust, nor used my pass noways con­trary to my word, and I never will. It's better for me alone to go, than to break up the place and sell all. Mas'r an't to blame, Chloe, and he '11 take care of you and the poor " —
Here he turned to the rough trundle-bed full of little woolly heads, and broke fairly down. He leaned over the back of the chair, and covered his face with his large hands. Sobs, heavy, hoarse, and loud, shook the chair, and great tears fell through his fingers on the floor : just such tears, sir, as you dropped into the coffin where lay your first-born son ; such tears, woman, as you shed when you heard the cries of your dying babe. For, sir, he was a man, — and you are but another man. And, woman, though dressed in silk and jewels, you are but a woman, and, in life's great straits and mighty griefs, ye feel but one sorrow !