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200             UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
years, when her cousin invited her to visit his Southern mansion. The eldest of a large family, she was still con­sidered by her father and mother as one of " the children," and the proposal that she should go to Orleans was a most momentous one to the family circle. The old, gray-headed father took down Morse's Atlas out of the book­case, and looked out the exact latitude and longitude; and read Flint's Travels in the South and West, to make up his own mind as to the nature of the country.
The good mother inquired, anxiously, " if Orleans was n't an awful wicked place," saying, " that it seemed to her most equal to going to the Sandwich Islands, or anywhere among the heathen."
It was known at the minister's, and at the doctor's, and at Miss Peabody's milliner shop, that Ophelia St. Clare was " talking about" going away down to Orleans with her cousin; and of course the whole village could do no less than help this very important process of talking about the matter. The minister, who inclined strongly to aboli­tionist views, was quite doubtful whether such a step might not tend somewhat to encourage the Southerners in hold­ing on to their slaves; while the doctor, who was a stanch colonizationist, inclined to the opinion that Miss Ophelia ought to go, to show the Orleans people that we don't think hardly of them, after all. He was of opinion, in fact, that Southern people needed encouraging. When, however, the fact that she had resolved to go was fully before the public mind, she was solemnly invited out to tea by all her friends and neighbors for the space of a fortnight, and her prospects and plans duly canvassed and inquired into. Miss Moseley, who came into the house to help to do the dressmaking, acquired daily accessions of importance from the developments with regard to Miss Ophelia's wardrobe which she had been enabled to make. It was credibly ascertained that Squire Sinclare, as his name was commonly contracted in the neighborhood, had counted out fifty dollars, and given them to Miss Ophelia,