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188             UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
was plunging in after her, but was held back by some be­hind him, who saw that more efficient aid had followed his child.
Tom was standing just under her on the lower deck, as she fell. He saw her strike the water, and sink, and was after her in a moment. A broad-chested, strong-armed fellow, it was nothing for him to keep afloat in the water, till, in a moment or two, the child rose to the surface, and he caught her in his arms, and, swimming with her to the boat-side, handed her up, all dripping, to the grasp of hundreds of hands, which, as if they had all belonged to one man, were stretched eagerly out to receive her. A few moments more, and her father bore her, dripping and senseless, to the ladies' cabin, where, as is usual in cases of the kind, there ensued a very well-meaning and kind-hearted strife among the female occupants generally, as to who should do the most things to make a disturbance, and to hinder her recovery in every way possible.
It was a sultry, close day, the next day, as the steamer drew near to New Orleans. A general bustle of expecta­tion and preparation was spread through the boat; in the cabin, one and another were gathering their things to­gether, and arranging them, preparatory to going ashore. The steward and chambermaid, and all, were busily en­gaged in cleaning, furbishing, and arranging the splendid boat, preparatory to a grand entree.
On the lower deck sat our friend Tom, with his arms folded, and anxiously, from time to time, turning his eyes towards a group on the other side of the boat.
There stood the fair Evangeline, a little paler than the day before, but otherwise exhibiting no traces of the acci­dent which had befallen her. A graceful, elegantly formed young man stood by her, carelessly leaning one elbow on a bale of cotton, while a large pocket-book lay open before him. It was quite evident, at a glance, that