LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 383
Mas'r, when I was sold away from my old woman and the children, I was jest a'most broke up. I felt as if there warn't nothin' left; and then the good Lord, he stood by me, and he says, * Fear not, Tom;' and he brings light and joy into a poor feller's soul, — makes all peace ; and I's so happy, and loves everybody, and feels willin' jest to be the Lord's, and have the Lord's will done, and be put jest where the Lord wants to put me. I know it could n't come from me, 'cause I's a poor, complainin' cretur; it comes from the Lord; and I know He 's willin* to do for Mas'r."
Tom spoke with fast-running tears and choking voice. St. Clare leaned his head on his shoulder, and wrung the hard, faithful, black hand.
" Tom, you love me," he said.
" I's willin' to lay down my life, this blessed day, to see Mas'r a Christian."
" Poor, foolish boy! " said St. Clare, half raising himself. " I 'm not worth the love of one godd, honest heart, like yours."
"Oh, Mas'r, dere's more than me loves you, — the blessed Lord Jesus loves vou."
" How do-you know that, Tom ? " said St. Clare.
" Feels it in my soul. Oh, Mas'r! 'the love of Christ, that passeth knowledge.'"
" Singular !' said St. Clare, turning away, " that the story of a man that lived and died eighteen hundred years ago can affect people so yet. But he was no man," he added, suddenly. " No man ever had such long and living power! Oh, that I could believe what my mother taught me, and pray as I did when I was a boy! '
" If Mas'r pleases," said Tom, " Miss Eva used to read this so beautifully. I wish Mas'r 'd be so good as read it. Don't get no readin', hardly, now Miss Eva 's gone."
The chapter was the eleventh of John, — the touching account of the raising of Lazarus. St. Clare read it aloud, often pausing to wrestle down feelings which were roused by the pathos of the story. Tom knelt before him, with