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392             UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
" What's this ? " said Marie, as she ran over the paper. " Ridiculous ! I thought cousin was too pious for such horrid things," she added, as she carelessly wrote her name ; " but, if she has a fancy for that article, I am sure she 's welcome."
" There, now, she 's yours, body and soul," said St. Clare, handing the paper.
" No more mine now than she was before," said Miss Ophelia. " Nobody but God has a right to give her to me ; but I can protect her now."
" Well, she 's yours by a fiction of law, then," said St. Clare, as he turned back into the parlor, and sat down to his paper.
Miss Ophelia, who seldom sat much in Marie's com­pany, followed him into the parlor, having first carefully laid away the paper.
"Augustine," she said, suddenly, as she sat knitting, " have you ever made any provision for your servants, in case of your death ? "
" No," said St. Clare, as he read on.
" Then all your indulgence to them may prove a great cruelty, by and by."
St. Clare had often thought the same thing himself j but he answered, negligently, —
" Well, I mean to make a provision, by and by."
" When ? " said Miss Ophelia.
" Oh, one of these days."
" What if you should die first ? "
" Cousin, what 's the matter ? " said St. Clare, laying down his paper and looking at her. " Do you think I show symptoms of yellow fever or cholera, that you are making post-mortem arrangements with such zeal ? '
" ' In the midst of life we are in death,' ' said Miss Ophelia.
St. Clare rose up, and, laying the paper down, care­lessly, walked to the door that stood open on the veranda, to put an end to a conversation that was not agreeable to