494 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
tration, by a few decaying brands, where his coarse supper was baking. He put a few bits of brushwood on the fire, and strove to raise the light, and then drew his worn Bible from his pocket. There were all the marked passages, which had thrilled his soul so often, — words of patriarchs and seers, poets and sages, who from early time had spoken courage to man, — voices from the great cloud of witnesses who ever surround us in the race of life. Had the word lost its power, or could the failing eye and weary sense no longer answer to the touch of that mighty inspiration ? Heavily sighing, he put it in his pocket. A coarse laugh roused him; he looked up, — Legree was standing opposite to him.
" Well, old boy," he said, " you find your religion don't work, it seems ! I thought I should get that through your wool, at last! "
The cruel taunt was more than hunger and cold and nakedness. Tom was silent.
" You were a fool," said Legree; " for I meant to do well by you, when I bought you. You might have been better off than Sambo, or Quimbo either, and had easy times ; and, instead of getting cut up and thrashed, every day or two, ye might have had liberty to lord it round, and cut up the other niggers ; and ye might have had, now and then, a good warming of whiskey punch. Come, Tom, don't you think you 'd better be reasonable ? — heave that ar old pack of trash in the fire, and join my church I "
" The Lord forbid ! " said Tom, fervently.
" You see the Lord an't going to help you; if He had been, He would n't have let me get you! This yer religion is all a mess of lying trumpery, Tom. I know all about it. Ye 'd better hold to me. I 'm somebody, and can do something ! "
"No, Mas'r," said Tom; "I'll hold on. The Lord may help me, or not help; but I '11 hold to Him, and believe Him to the last! "
" The more fool you ! " said Legree, spitting scornfully