LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 71
lars if you are not on the spot when he wants you. He 's going to-day 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 yerself," said the trader, " and don't come it over your master with any o' yer nigger tricks ; for I '11 take every cent out of him, if you an't thar. If he 'd hear to me he would n't trust any on ye, — slippery as sels! "
"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 was n'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 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 should n't buy you."
" And sure as I am a Christian woman," said Mrs. Shelby, " you shall be redeemed as soon as I can anyway bring together means. Sir," she said to Haley, " take good account of whom 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 '11 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