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500             UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
have met to hear, and pray, and sing, in some place, to­gether ; but Legree would not permit it, and more than once broke up such attempts, with oaths and brutal execra­tions, — so that the blessed news had to circulate from in­dividual to individual. Yet who can speak the simple joy with which some of these poor outcasts, to whom life was a joyless journey to a dark unknown, heard of a compas­sionate Redeemer and a heavenly home ? It is the state­ment of missionaries, that, of all races of the earth, none have received the gospel with such eager docility as the African. The principle of reliance and unquestioning faith, which is its foundation, is more a native element in this race than any other; and it has often been found among them, that a stray seed of truth, borne on some breeze of accident into hearts the most ignorant, has sprung up into fruit, whose abundance has shamed that of higher and more skillful culture.
The poor mulatto woman, whose simple faith had been well-nigh crushed and overwhelmed by the avalanche of cruelty and wrong which had fallen upon her, felt her soul raised up by the hymns and passages of Holy Writ, which this lowly missionary breathed into her ear in intervals, as they were going to and returning from work ; and even the half-crazed and wandering mind of Cassy was soothed and calmed by his simple and unobtrusive influences.
Stung to madness and despair by the crushing agonies of a life, Cassy had often resolved in her soul an hour of retribution, when her hand should avenge on her oppressor all the injustice and cruelty to which she had been witness, or which she had in her own person suffered.
One night, after all in Tom's cabin were sunk in sleep, he was suddenly aroused by seeing her face at the hole be­tween the logs, that served for a window. She made a silent gesture for him to come out.
Tom came out the door. It was between one and two o'clock at night, — broad, calm, still moonlight. Tom re­marked, as the light of the moon fell upon Cassy's large