442 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
The women went off to their cabins, and Tom sat alone, by the smouldering fire, that flickered up redly in his face.
The silver, fair-browed moon rose in the purple sky, and looked down, calm and silent, as God looks on the scene of misery and oppression, — looked calmly on the lone black man, as he sat, with his arms folded, and his Bible on his knee.
" Is God HERE ?' Ah, how is it possible for the untaught heart to keep its faith, unswerving, in the face of dire misrule, and palpable, unrebuked injustice ? In that simple heart waged a fierce conflict: the crushing sense of wrong, the foreshadowing of a whole life of future misery, the wreck of all past hopes, mournfully tossing in the soul's sight, like dead corpses of wife, and child, and friend, rising from the dark wave, and surging in the face of the half-drowned mariner! Ah, was it easy here to believe and hold fast the great password of Christian faith, " that God is, and is the rewardeb of them that diligently seek him " ?
Tom rose, disconsolate, and stumbled into the cabin that had been allotted to him. The floor was already strewn with weary sleepers, and the foul air of the place almost repelled him; but the heavy night-dews were chill, and his limbs weary, and, wrapping about him a tattered blanket, which formed his only bed-clothing, he stretched himself in the straw and fell asleep.
In dreams, a gentle voice came over his ear; he was sitting on the mossy seat in the garden by Lake Pontchar-train, and Eva, with her serious eyes bent downward, was reading to him from the Bible; and he heard her read, —
" When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and the rivers they shall not overflow thee ; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee ; for I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour."
Gradually the words seemed to melt and fade, as in a