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102            UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
law, and I '11 break it, for one, the first time I get a chance; and I hope I shall have a chance, I do ! Things have got to a pretty pass, if a woman can't give a warm supper and a bed to poor starving creatures, just because they are slaves, and have been abused and oppressed all their lives, poor things ! "
" But, Mary, just listen to me. Your feelings are all quite right, dear, and interesting, and I love you for them ; but, then, dear, we must n't suffer our feelings to run away with our judgment; you must consider it's not a matter of private feeling,— there are great public interests involved, — there is such a state of public agitation rising that we must put aside our private feelings."
" Now, John, I don't know anything about politics, bat I can read my Bible; and there I see that I must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the desolate; and that Bible I mean to follow."
" But in cases where your doing so would involve a great public evil"—
" Obeying God never brings on public evils. I know it can't. It's always safest, all round, to do as He bids us."
"Now, listen to me, Mary, and I can state to you a very clear argument, to show " —
u Oh, nonsense, John ! you can talk all night, but you would n't do it. I put it to you, John,— would you, now, turn away a poor, shivering, hungry creature from your door, because he was a runaway ? Would you, now ? '
Now, if the truth must be told, our senator had the mis-fortuue to be a man who had a particularly humane and accessible nature, and turning away anybody that was in trouble never had been his forte; and what was worse for him in this particular pinch of the argument was, that his wife knew it, and, of course, was making an assault on rather an indefensible point. So he had recourse to the usual means of gaining time for such cases made and pro­vided ; he said " Ahem," and coughed several times, took out his pocket handkerchief, and began to wipe his glasses.