LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 555
The writer has often been inquired of, by correspondents from different parts of the country, whether this narrative is a true one ; and to these inquiries she will give one general answer.
The separate incidents that compose the narrative are, to a very great extent, authentic, occurring, many of them, either under her own observation, or that of her personal friends. She or her friends have observed characters the counterpart of almost all that are here introduced ; and many of the sayings are word for word as heard herself, or reported to her.
The personal appearance of Eliza, the character ascribed to her, are sketches drawn from life. The incorruptible fidelity, piety, and honesty of Uncle Tom had more than one development, to her personal knowledge. Some of the most deeply tragic and romantic, some of the most terrible incidents, have also their parallel in reality. The incident of the mother's crossing the Ohio River on the ice is a well-known fact. The story of " old Prue " (Chapter XIX.) was an incident that fell under the personal observation of a brother of the writer, then collecting-clerk to a large mercantile house in New Orleans. From the same source was derived the character of the planter Legree. Of him her brother thus wrote, speaking of visiting his plantation on a collecting tour: " He actually made me feel of his fist, which was like a blacksmith's hammer, or a nodule of iron, telling me that it was k calloused with knocking down niggers.' When I left the plantation, I drew a long breath, and felt as if I had escaped from an ogre's den."