LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 323
" Don't you think we might in some way contrive to raise that money ? Poor Aunt Chloe ! her heart is so set on it! "
" I 'm sorry, if it is. I think I was premature in promising. I 'm not sure, now, but it's the best way to tell Chloe, and let her make up her mind to it. Tom '11 have another wife in a year or two; and she had better take up with somebody else."
" Mr. Shelby, I have taught my people that their marriages are as sacred as ours. I never could think of giving Chloe such advice."
" It's a pity, wife, that you have burdened them with a morality above their condition and prospects. I always thought so."
«It's only the morality of the Bible, Mr. Shelby."
" Well, well, Emily, I don't pretend to interfere with your religious notions; only they seem extremely unfitted for people in that condition."
" They are, indeed," said Mrs. Shelby, " and that is why, from my soul, I hate the whole thing. I tell you, my dear, / cannot absolve myself from the promises I make to these helpless creatures. If I can get the money no other way, I will take music-scholars ; — I could get enough, I know, and earn the money myself."
'' You would n't degrade yourself that way, Emily ? I never could consent to it."
" Degrade ! would it degrade me as much as to break my faith with the helpless ? No, indeed! "
" Well, you are always heroic and transcendental," said Mr. Shelby, " but I think you had better think before you undertake such a piece of Quixotism."
Here the conversation was interrupted by the appearance of Aunt Chloe, at the end of the veranda.
" If you please, Missis," said she.
" Well, Chloe, what is it ? " said her mistress, rising, and going to the end of the balcony.
" If Missis would come and look at dis yer lot o' poetry."