306 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
was the utmost to which her principles could bring her. When she saw, on the back and shoulders of the child, great welts and calloused spots, ineffaceable marks of the system under which she had grown up thus far, her heart became pitiful within her.
"See there! " said Jane, pointing to the marks, "don't that show she 's a limb ? We '11 have fine works with her, I reckon. I hate these nigger young uns ! so disgusting ! I wonder that Mas'r would buy her ! "
The " young un " alluded to heard all these comments with the subdued and doleful air which seemed habitual to her, only scanning, with a keen and furtive glance of her flickering eyes, the ornaments which Jane wore in her ears. When arrayed at last in a suit of decent and whole clothing, her hair cropped short to her head, Miss Ophelia, with some satisfaction, said she looked more Christian-like than she did, and in her, own mind began to mature some plans for her instruction.
Sitting down before her, she began to question her.
" How old are you, Topsy ? "
" Dunno, Missis," said the image, with a grin that showed all her teeth.
" Don't know how old you are ? Did n't anybody ever tell you ? Who was your mother ? "
" Never had none ! " said the child, with another grin.
" Never had any mother ? What do you mean ? Where were you born ? "
" Never was born! " persisted Topsy, with another grin, that looked so goblin-like, that, if Miss Ophelia had been at all nervous, she might have fancied that she had got hold of some sooty gnome from the land of Diablerie; but Miss Ophelia was not nervous, but plain and business-like, and she said, with some sternness, —
" You must n't answer me in that way, child ; I 'm not playing with you. Tell me where you were born, and who your father and mother were."
"Never was born," reiterated the creature, more em-