456 UNCLE TOMS CABIN; OR
" Poor critturs ! " said Tom, — " what made 'em cruel ? — and, if I give out, I shall get used to 't, and grow, little by little, just like 'em ! No, no, Missis ! I 've lost everything, — wife, and children, and home, and a kind Mas'r,
— and he would have set me free, if he 'd only lived a week longer ; I 've lost everything in this world, and it's clean gone, forever, — and now I can't lose heaven, too ; no, I can't get to be wicked, besides all! "
" But it can't be that the Lord will lay sin to our account," said the woman ; " He won't charge it to us, when we 're forced to it; He '11 charge it to them that drove us to it."
" Yes," said Tom ; "but that won't keep us from growing wicked. If I get to be as hard-hearted as that ar Sambo, and as wicked, it won't make much odds to me how I come so; it's the bein' so, — that ar 's what I 'm a-dreadin'."
The woman fixed a wild and startled look on Tom, as if a new thought had struck her ; and then, heavily groaning, said, —
" O God V mercy ! you speak the truth ! Oh ! — Oh!
— Oh! " — and, with groans, she fell on the floor, like one crushed and writhing under the extremity of mental anguish.
There was a silence, awhile, in which the breathing of both parties could be heard, when Tom faintly said, " Oh, please, Missis ! "
The woman suddenly rose up, with her face composed to its usual stern, melancholy expression.
" Please, Missis, I saw 'em throw my coat in that ar' corner, and in my coat-pocket is my Bible; — if Missis would please get it for me."
Cassy went and got it. Tom opened, at once, to a heavily marked passage, much worn, of the last scenes in the life of Him by whose stripes we are healed.
" If Missis would only be so good as read that ar', — it's better than water."