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LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY             103
Mrs. Bird, seeing the defenseless condition of the enemy's territory, had no more conscience than to push her ad­vantage.
" I should like to see you doing that, John, — I really should! Turning a woman out of doors in a snow-storm, for instance; or, may be you 'd take her up and put her in jail, would n't you ? You would make a great hand at that! "
" Of course, it would be a very painful duty," began. Mr. Bird, in a moderate tone.
" Duty, John! don't use that word! You know it is n't a duty, — it can't be a duty ! If folks want to keep their slaves from running away, let 'em treat 'em well, — that's my doctrine. If I had slaves (as I hope I never shall have), I'd risk their wanting to run away from me, or you either, John. I tell you folks don't run away when they are happy ; and when they do run, poor crea­tures ! they suffer enough with cold and hunger and fear, without everybody's turning against them; and, law or na law, I never will, so help me God! "
" Mary! Mary ! My dear, let me reason with you."
" I hate reasoning, John,— especially reasoning on such subjects. There 's a way you political folks have of com­ing round and round a plain right thing; and you don't believe in it yourselves, when it comes to practice. I know you well enough, John. You don't believe it's right any more than I do ; and you would n't do it any sooner than I."
At this critical juncture, old Cudjoe, the black man-of-all-work, put his head in at the door, and wished " Missis would come into the kitchen ; " and our senator, tolerably relieved, looked after his little wife with a whimsical mix­ture of amusement and vexation, and, seating himself in the arm-chair, began to read the papers.
After a moment, his wife's voice was heard at the door, in a quick, earnest tone,— " John ! John! I do wish you 'd come here, a moment."