328 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN- OR
Tom's cabin was shut up for the present; but George expatiated brilliantly on ornaments and additions to be made to it when Tom came back.
The rest of this letter gave a list of George's school studies, each one headed by a flourishing capital; and also told the names of four new colts that appeared on the premises since Tom left; and stated, in the same connection, that father and mother were well. The style of the letter was decidedly concise and terse; but Tom thought it the most wonderful specimen of composition that had appeared in modern times. He was never tired of looking at it, and even held a council with Eva on the expediency of getting it framed, to hang up in his room. Nothing but the difficulty of arranging it so that both sides of the page would show at once stood in the way of this undertaking.
The friendship between Tom and Eva had grown with the child's growth. It would be hard to say what place she held in tlfe soft, impressible heart of her faithful attendant. He loved her as something frail and earthly, yet almost worshiped her as something heavenly and divine. He gazed on her as the Italian sailor gazes on his image of the child Jesus, — with a mixture of reverence and tenderness ; and to humor her graceful fancies, and meet those thousand simple wants which invest childhood like a many-colored rainbow, was Tom's chief delight. In the market, at morning, his eyes were always on the flower-stalls for rare bouquets for her, and the choicest peach or orange was slipped into his pocket to give to her when he came back; and the sight that pleased him most was her sunny head looking out the gate for his distant approach, and her childish question,— "Well, Uncle Tom, what have you got for me to-day ? "
Nor was Eva less zealous in kind offices, in return. Though a child, she was a beautiful reader; — a fine musical ear, a quick poetic fancy, and an instinctive sympathy with what is grand and noble, made her such a reader of the Bible as Tom had never before heard. At first, she