Uncle tom's cabin - online children's book

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10               UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
" Well, call up this evening, between six and seve«, an you shall have my answer," said Mr. Shelby, and the trader bowed himself out of the apartment.
" I 'd like to have been able to kick the fellow down the steps," said he to himself, as he saw the door fairly closed, " with his impudent assurance; but he knows how much he has me at advantage. If anybody had ever said to me that I should sell Tom down South to one of those rascally traders, I should have said, ' Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing? ' And now it must come, for aught I see. And Eliza's child, too! I know that I shall have some fuss with wife about that; and, for that matter, about Tom, too. So much for being in debt, — heigh-ho ! The fellow sees his advantage, and means to push it."
Perhaps the mildest form of the system of slavery is to be seen in the State of Kentucky. The general prevalence of agricultural pursuits of a quiet and gradual nature, not requiring those periodic seasons of hurry and pressure that are called for in the business of more southern districts, makes the task of the negro a more healthful and reason­able one; while the master, content with a more gradual style of acquisition, has not those temptations to hard-heartedness which always overcome frail human nature when the prospect of sudden and rapid gain is weighed in the balance, with no heavier counterpoise than the inter­ests of the helpless and unprotected.
Whoever visits some estates there, and witnesses the good-humored indulgence of some masters and mistresses, and the affectionate loyalty of some slaves, might be tempted to dream the oft-fabled poetic legend of a patri­archal institution, and all that; but over and above the scene there broods a portentous shadow, — the shadow of law. So long as the law considers all these human be­ings, with beating hearts and living affections, only as so many things belonging to a master ; so long as the fail­ure, or misfortune, or imprudence, or death of the kindest owner may cause them any day to exchange a life of kind