280 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
" My dear cousin, I did n't do it, and I can't help it; 1 would if I could. If low-minded, brutal people will act like themselves, what am I to do ? They have absolute control; they are irresponsible despots. There would be no use in - interfering; there is no law that amounts to anything practically, for such a case. The best we can do is to shut our eyes and ears, and let it alone. It's the only resource left us."
" How can you shut your eyes and ears ? How can you let such things alone ? "
" My dear child, what do you expect ? Here is a whole class, — debased, uneducated, indolent, provoking,
— put, without any sort of terms or conditions, entirely into the hands of such people as the majority in our world are ; people who have neither consideration nor self-control, who have n't even an enlightened regard to their own interest,
— for that 's the case with the largest half of mankind. Of course, in a community so organized, what can a man of honorable and humane feelings do, but shut his eyes all he can, and harden his heart? I can't buy every poor wretch I see. I can't turn knight-errant, and undertake to redress every individual case of wrong in such a city as this. The most I can do is to try and keep out of the way of it."
St. Clare's fine countenance was for a moment overcast; he looked annoyed, but, suddenly calling up a gay smile, he said, —
" Come, cousin, don't stand there looking like one of the Fates ; you 've only seen a peep through the curtain, — a specimen of what is going on, the world over, in some shape or other. If we are to be prying and spying into all the dismals of life, we should have no heart to anything. 'T is like looking too close into the details of Dinah's kitchen ;" and St. Clare lay back on the sofa, and busied himself with his paper.
Miss Ophelia sat down, and pulled out her knitting-work, and sat there grim with indignation. She knit and