226 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OH
u Then how will you be talked to ? I '11 talk to order, — any way you '11 mention, — only to give satisfaction."
A gay laugh from the court rang through the silken curtains of the veranda. St. Clare stepped out, and lifting up the curtain, laughed too.
"What is it? " said Miss Ophelia, coming to the railing.
There sat Tom, on a little mossy seat in the court, every one of his button-holes stuck full of cape-jessamines, and Eva, gayly laughing, was hanging a wreath of roses round his neck; and then she sat down on his knee, like a chip-sparrow, still laughing.
" Oh, Tom, you look so funny! "
Tom had a sober, benevolent smile, and seemed, in his quiet way, to be enjoying the fun quite as much as his little mistress. He lifted his eyes, when he saw his master, with a half-deprecating, apologetic air.
" How can you let her ? " said Miss Ophelia.
" Why not ? " said St. Clare.
" Why, I don't know, it seems so dreadful! "
u You would think no harm in a child's caressing a large dog, even if he was black; but a creature that can think, and reason, and feel, and is immortal, you shudder at; confess it, cousin. I know the feeling among some of you Northerners well enough. Not that there is a particle of virtue in our not having it; but custom with us does what Christianity ought to do, — obliterates the feeling of personal prejudice. I have often noticed, in my travels North, how much stronger this was with you than with us. You loathe them as you would a snake or a toad, yet you are indignant at their wrongs. You would not have them abused; but you don't want to have anything to do with them yourselves. You would send them to Africa, out of your sight and smell, and then send a missionary or two to do up all the self-denial of elevating them compendiously. Is n't that it ? "
" Well, cousin," said Miss Ophelia, thoughtfully, " there may be some truth in this."