LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 425
THE MIDDLE PASSAGE.
" Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look upon iniquity : wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?" — Hab. i. 13.
On the lower part of a small, mean boat, on the Red River, Tom sat, — chains on his wrists, chains on his feet, and a weight heavier than chains lay on his heart. All had faded from his sky, — moon and stars ; all had passed by him, as the trees and banks were now passing, to return no more. Kentucky home, with wife and children, and indulgent owners; St. Clare home, with all its refinements and splendors; the golden head of Eva, with its saint-like eyes ; the proud, gay, handsome, seemingly careless, yet ever-kind St. Clare ; hours of ease and indulgent leisure, — all gone ! and in place thereof, what remains ?
It is one of the bitterest apportionments of a lot of slavery, that the negro, sympathetic and assimilative, after acquiring, in a refined family, the tastes and feelings which form the atmosphere of such a place, is not the less liable to become the bond-slave of the coarsest and most brutal, — just as a chair or table, which once decorated the superb saloon, comes, at last, battered and defaced, to the bar-room of some filthy tavern, or some low haunt of vulgar debauchery. The great difference is, that the table and chair cannot feel, and the man can; for even a legal enactment that he shall be "taken, reputed, adjudged in law, to be a chattel personal" cannot blot out his soul, with its own private little world of memories, hopes, loves, fears, and desires.
Mr. Simon Legree, Tom's master, had purchased slaves