250 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
here 's a path. I 'm for going right up. They can't jump down in a hurry, and it won't take long to ferret 'em out."
" But, Tom, they might fire at us from behind the rocks," said Marks. " That would be ugly, you know."
" Ugh! " said Tom, with a sneer. " Always for saving your skin, Marks! No danger ! niggers are too plaguy scared! "
" I don't know why I should n't save my skin," said Marks. " It 's the best I 've got; and niggers do fight like the devil, sometimes."
At this moment, George appeared on the top of a rock above them, and, speaking1' in a calm, clear voice, said, —
" Gentlemen, who are you, down there, and what do you want ? "
" We want a party of runaway niggers," said Tom Loker. " One George Harris, and Eliza Harris, and their son, and Jim Selden, and an old woman. We 've got the officers here, and a warrant to take 'em; and we 're going to have 'em, too. D' ye hear ? An't you George Harris, that belongs to Mr. Harris, of Shelby County, Kentucky?"
" I am George Harris. A Mr. Harris, of Kentucky, did call me his property. But now I 'm a free man, standing on God's free soil; and my wife and my child I claim as mine. Jim and his mother are here. We have arms to defend yourselves, and we mean to do it. You can come up, if you like ; but the first one of you that comes within the range of our bullets is a dead man, and the next, and the next; and so on till the last."
" Oh, come ! come ! " said a short, puffy man, stepping forward, and blowing his nose as he did so. " Young man, this an't no kind of talk at all for you. You see, we 're officers of justice. We 've got the law on our side, and the power, and so forth; so you 'd better give up peaceably, you see ; for you '11 certainly have to give up, sit last."