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318             UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
some projection of the balcony, and surrounded by a floe of admiring " young uns," she would express the utmost contempt of the whole affair.
" Law, Miss Feely whip ! — would n't kill a skeeter, her whippin's. Oughter see how old Mas'r made the flesh fly ; old Mas'r know'd how ! "
Topsy always made great capital of her own sins and enormities, evidently considering them as something pe­culiarly distinguishing.
"Law, you niggers," she would say to some of her auditors, " does you know you 's all sinners ? Well, you is, — everybody is. White folks is sinners too, — Miss Feely says so ; but I spects niggers is the biggest ones; but lor! ye an't any on ye up to me. I's so awful wicked there can't nobody do nothin' with me. I used to keep old Missis a-swarin' at me half de time. I spects I 's the wickedest crittur in the world;" and Topsy would cut a somerset, and come up brisk and shining on to a higher perch, and evidently plume herself on the distinc­tion.
Miss Ophelia busied herself very earnestly on Sundays, teaching Topsy the catechism. Topsy had an uncommon verbal memory, and committed with a fluency that greatly encouraged her instructress.
" What good do you expect it is going to do her ? " said St. Clare.
" Why, it always has done children good. It 's what children always have to learn, you know," said Miss Ophelia.
" Understand it or not," said St. Clare.
" Oh, children never understand it at the time ; but, after they are grown up, it '11 come to them."
" Mine has n't come to me yet," said St. Clare, " though I '11 bear testimony that you put it into me pretty thoroughly when I was a boy."
" Ah, you were always good at learning, Augustine. I used to have great hopes of you," said Miss Ophelia.