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538             UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
he would do all in his power to protect and bring them through.
The next state-room to Cassy's was occupied by a French lady, named De Thoux, who was accompanied by a fine little daughter, a child of some twelve summers.
This lady, having gathered, from George's conversation, that he was from Kentucky, seemed evidently disposed to cultivate his acquaintance ; in which design she was sec­onded by the graces of her little girl, who was about as pretty a plaything as ever diverted the weariness of a fort­night's trip on a steamboat.
George's chair was often placed at her state-room door; and Cassy, as she sat upon the guards, could hear their conversation.
Madame de Thoux was very minute in her inquiries as to Kentucky, where she said she had resided in a former period of her life. George discovered, to his surprise, that her former residence must have been in his own vicin­ity ; and her inquiries showed a knowledge of people and things in his region that was perfectly surprising to him.
" Do you know," said Madame de Thoux to him, one day, " of any man, in your neighborhood, of the name of Harris ? "
" There is an old fellow, of that name, lives not far from my father's place," said George. " We never have had much intercourse with him, though."
" He is a large slave-owner, I believe," said Madame de Thoux, with a manner which seemed to betray more inter­est than she was exactly willing to show.
"He is," said George, looking rather surprised at her manner.
" Did you ever know of his having — perhaps, you may have heard of his having a mulatto boy, named George ? '
" Oh, certainly, — George Harris, — I know him well; he married a servant of my mother's, but has escaped^ now, to Canada."