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410             UNCLE TOM'S CABIN OR
up the establishment, and go off, next week, I must decide upon something."
" Are you going so soon ? "
" Yes. St. Clare's brother has written, and he and the lawyer think that the servants and furniture had better be put up at auction, and the place left with our lawyer."
" There 's one thing I wanted to speak with you about," said Miss Ophelia. " Augustine promised Tom his liberty, and began the legal forms necessary to it. I hope you will use your influence to have it perfected."
" Indeed, I shall do no such thing! " said Marie sharply. " Tom is one of the most valuable servants on the place, — it could n't be afforded, anyway. Besides, what does he want of liberty ? He 's a great deal better off as he is."
" But he does desire it, very earnestly, and his master promised it," said Miss Ophelia.
" I dare say he does want it," said Marie; " they all want it, just because they are a discontented set, — always wanting what they have n't got. Now, I 'm principled against emancipating, in any case. Keep a negro under the care of a master, and he does well enough, and is re­spectable ; but set them free, and they get lazy, and won't work, and take to drinking, and go all down to be mean, worthless fellows. I 've seen it tried, hundreds of times. It's no favor to set them free."
" But Tom is so steady, industrious, and pious."
" Oh, you need n't tell me ! I 've seen a hundred like him. He '11 do very well, as long as he 's taken care of, — that's all."
" But, then, consider," said Miss Ophelia, " when you set him up for sale, the chances of his getting a bad master."
" Oh, that's all humbug ! " said Marie ; " it is n't one time in a hundred that a good fellow gets a bad master ; most masters are good, for all the talk that is made. I 've lived and grown up here, in the South, and I never yet was acquainted with a master that did n't treat his ser­vants well, — quite as well as is worth while. I don't feel any fears on that head."