LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 523
" Ye poor miserable crittur! " he said, " there an't no more ye can do ! I forgive ye, with all my soul! " and he fainted entirely away.
" I b'lieve, my soul, he 's done for, finally," said Le-gree, stepping forward to look at him. " Yes, he is! Well, his mouth 's shut up, at last, — that 's one comfort ! "
Yes, Legree; but who shall shut up that voice in thy soul ? that soul, past repentance, past prayer, past hope, in whom the fire that never shall be quenched is already burning!
Yet Tom was not quite gone. His wondrous words and pious prayers had struck upon the hearts of the im-bruted blacks, who had been the instruments of cruelty upon him ; and, the instant Legree withdrew, they took him down, and, in their ignorance, sought to call him back to life, — as if that were any favor to him.
" Sartin, we 's been doin' a drefful wicked thing!' said Sambo; " hopes Mas'r '11 have to 'count for it, and not we."
They washed his wounds, — they provided a rude bed, of some refuse cotton, for him to lie down on; and one of them, stealing up to the house, begged a drink of brandy of Legree, pretending that he was tired, and wanted it for himself. He brought it back, and poured it down Tom's throat.
" Oh, Tom! " said Quimbo, " we 's been awful wicked to ye!"
" I forgive ye, with all my heart! " said Tom, faintly.
" Oh, Tom ! do tell us who is Jesus, anyhow ? ' said Sambo, — " Jesus, that 's been a-standin' by you so, all this night ? — Who is He ? "
The word roused the failing, fainting spirit. He poured forth a few energetic sentences of that wondrous One, — his life, his death, his everlasting presence, and power to save.
They wept, — both the two savage men.