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