284 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
Gomorrah, is because it is used in a way infinitely bette than it is. For pity's sake, for shame's sake, because we are men born of women, and not savage beasts, many of us do not, and dare not, — we would scorn to use the full power which our savage laws put into our hands. And he who goes the furthest, and does the worst, only uses within limits the power that the law gives him."
St. Clare had started up, and, as his manner was when excited, was walking, with hurried steps, up and down the floor. His fine face, classic as that of a Greek statue, seemed actually to burn with the fervor of his feelings. His large blue eyes flashed, and he gestured with an unconscious eagerness. Miss Ophelia had never seen him in this mood before, and she sat perfectly silent.
" I declare to you," said he, suddenly stopping before his cousin, — " it's no sort of use to talk or to feel on this subject, — but I declare to you, there have been times when I have thought, if the whole country would sink, and hide all this injustice and misery from the light, I would willingly sink with it. When I have been traveling up and down on our boats, or about on my collecting tours, and reflected that every brutal, disgusting, mean, low-lived fellow I met, was allowed by our laws to become absolute despot of as many men, women, and children, as he could cheat, steal, or gamble money enough to buy, — when I have seen such men in actual ownership of helpless children, of young girls and women, I have been ready to curse my country, to curse the human race! "
"Augustine! Augustine !" said Miss Ophelia. "I'm, sure you 've said enough. I never, in my life, heard any-' thing like this, even at the North."
" At the North! " said St. Clare, with a sudden change of expression, and resuming something of his habitual careless tone. " Pooh! your Northern folks are cold-blooded; you are cool in everything ! You can't begin to curse up hill and down as we can, when we get fairly at it."
" Well, but the question is," said Miss Ophelia.