LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 411
"Well," said Miss Ophelia, energetically, "I know it was one of the last wishes of your husband that Tom should have his liberty; it was one of the promises that he made to dear little Eva on her death-bed, and I should not think you would feel at liberty to disregard it."
Marie had her face covered with her handkerchief at this appeal, and began sobbing and using her smelling-bottle, with great vehemence.
" Everybody goes against me ! " she said. " Everybody is so inconsiderate ! I should n't have expected that you would bring up all these remembrances of my troubles to me, — it's so inconsiderate ! But nobody ever does consider, — my trials are so peculiar! It's so hard, that when I had only one daughter, she should have been taken! — and when I had a husband that just exactly suited me, — and I 'm so hard to be suited ! — he should be taken ! And you seem to have so little feeling for me, and keep bringing it up to me so carelessly, — when you know how it overcomes me ! I suppose you mean well; but it is very inconsiderate, — very !': And Marie sobbed, and gasped for breath, and called Mammy to open the window, and to bring her the camphor-bottle, and to bathe her head, and unhook her dress. And, in the general confusion that ensued, Miss Ophelia made her escape to her apartment.
She saw, at once, that it would do no good to say anything more ; for Marie had an indefinite capacity for hysteric fits; and, after this, whenever her husband's or Eva's wishes with regard to the servants were alluded to, she always found it convenient to set one in operation. Miss Ophelia, therefore, did the next best thing she could for Tom, — she wrote a letter to Mrs. Shelby for him, stating his troubles, and urging them to send to his relief.
The next day, Tom and Adolph, and some half a dozen other servants, were marched down to a slave warehouse, to await the convenience of the trader, who was going to make up a lot for auction.