352 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN OR
live so happy, and never to have any pain, — never suffer anything, — not even hear a sad story, when other poor creatures have nothing but pain and sorrow, all their lives ; — it seems selfish. I ought to know such things, I ought to feel about them! Such things always sunk into my heart; they went down deep ; I 've thought and thought about them. Papa, is n't there any way to have all slaves made free ? "
" That's a difficult question, dearest. There 's no doubt that this way is a very bad one ; a great many people think so ; I do myself. I heartily wish that there were not a slave in the land ; but, then, I don't know what is to be done about it!"
"Papa, you are such a good man, and so noble, and kind, and you always have a way of saying things that is so pleasant, could n't you go all round and try to persuade people to do right about this ? When I am dead, papa, then you will think of me, and do it for my sake. I would do it, if I could."
" When you are dead, Eva! " said St. Clare, passionately. " Oh, child, don't talk to me so! You are all I have on earth."
"Poor old Prue's child was all that she had, — and yet she had to hear it crying, and she could n't help it! Papa, these poor creatures love their children as much as you do me. Oh, do something for them ! There 's poor Mammy loves her children ; I 've seen her cry when she talked about them. And Tom loves his children ; and it's dreadful, papa, that such things are happening, all the time! '
" There, there, darling," said St. Clare, soothingly; " only don't distress yourself, and don't talk of dying, and I will do anything you wish."
" And promise me, dear father, that Tom shall have his freedom as soon as " — she stopped, and said, in a hesitating tone, — "I am gone ! "
" Yes, dear, I will do anything in the world, — anything you could ask me to."