246 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
Jim came out first, and carefully assisted out his old mother, who clung to his arm, and looked anxiously about, as if she expected the pursuer every moment.
" Jim, are your pistols all in order ? " said George, in a low, firm voice.
" Yes, indeed," said Jim.
" And you 've no doubt what you shall do, if they come ? "
" I rather think I have n't," said Jim, throwing open his broad chest, and taking a deep breath. " Do you think I '11 let them get mother again ? "
During this brief colloquy, Eliza had been taking her leave of her kind friend, Rachel, and was handed into the carriage by Simeon, and, creeping into the back part with her boy, sat down among the buffalo-skins. The old woman was next handed in and seated, and George and Jim placed on a rough board seat front of them, and Phineas mounted in front.
" Farewell, my friends! " said Simeon, from without.
" God bless you ! " answered all, from within.
And the wagon drove off, rattling and jolting over the frozen road.
There was no opportunity for conversation, on account of the roughness of the way and the noise of the wheels. The vehicle, therefore, rumbled on, through long, dark stretches of woodland, — over wide, dreary plains, — up hills, and down valleys, — and on, on, on they jogged, hour after hour. The child soon fell asleep, and lay heavily in his mother's lap. The poor, frightened old woman at last forgot her fears ; and even Eliza, as the night waned, found all her anxieties insufficient to keep her eyes from closing. Phineas seemed, on the whole, the briskest of the company, and beguiled his long drive with whistling certain very unquaker-like songs, as he went on.
But about three o'clock George's ear caught the hasty and decided click of a horse's hoof coming behind them at some distance, and jogged Phineas by the elbow. Phineas pulled up his horses, and listened.