is impossible to conceive of a human creature more wholly desolate and forlorn
than Eliza, when she turned her footsteps from Uncle Tom's cabin.
Her husband's suffering and dangers, and
the danger of her child, all blended in her mind, with a confused and stunning
sense of the risk she was running, in leaving the only home she had ever known,
and cutting loose from the protection of a friend whom she loved and revered.
Then there was the parting from every familiar object,--the place where
she had grown up, the trees under which she had played, the groves where she had
walked many an evening in happier days, by the side of her young
husband,--everything, as it lay in the clear, frosty starlight, seemed to speak
reproachfully to her, and ask her whither could she go from a home like that?
But stronger than all was maternal love,
wrought into a paroxysm of frenzy by the near approach of a fearful danger.
Her boy was old enough to have walked by her side, and, in an indifferent
case, she would only have led him by the hand; but now the bare thought of
putting him out of her arms made her shudder, and she strained him to her bosom
with a convulsive grasp, as she went rapidly forward.
The frosty ground creaked beneath her
feet, and she trembled at the sound; every quaking leaf and fluttering shadow
sent the blood backward to her heart, and quickened her footsteps.
She wondered within herself at the strength that seemed to be come upon
her; for she felt the weight of her boy as if it had been a feather, and every
flutter of fear seemed to increase the supernatural power that bore her on,
while from her pale lips burst forth, in frequent ejaculations, the prayer to a
Friend above--"Lord, help! Lord,
If it were _your_ Harry, mother, or your
Willie, that were going to be torn from you by a brutal trader, tomorrow
morning,--if you had seen the man, and heard that the papers were signed and
delivered, and you had only from twelve o'clock till morning to make good your
escape,--how fast could _you_ walk? How
many miles could you make in those few brief hours, with the darling at your
bosom,--the little sleepy head on your shoulder,--the small, soft arms
trustingly holding on to your neck?
For the child slept.
At first, the novelty and alarm kept him waking; but his mother so
hurriedly repressed every breath or sound, and so assured him that if he were
only still she would certainly save him, that he clung quietly round her neck,
only asking, as he found himself sinking to sleep,
"Mother, I don't need to keep
awake, do I?"
"No, my darling; sleep, if you want
"But, mother, if I do get asleep,
you won't let him get me?"
"No! so may God help me!" said
his mother, with a paler cheek, and a brighter light in her large dark eyes.
"You're _sure_, an't you,
"Yes, _sure_!" said the
mother, in a voice that startled herself; for it seemed to her to come from a
spirit within, that was no part of her; and the boy dropped his litle weary head
on her shoulder, and was soon asleep. How
the touch of those warm arms, the gentle breathings that came in her neck,
seemed to add fire and spirit to her movements! It seemed to her as if strength poured into her in electric
streams, from every gentle touch and movement of the sleeping, confiding child.
Sublime is the dominion of the mind over the body, that, for a time, can
make flesh and nerve impregnable, and string the sinews like steel, so that the
weak become so mighty.
The boundaries of the farm, the grove,
the wood-lot, passed by her dizzily, as she walked on; and still she went,
leaving one familiar object after another, slacking not, pausing not, till
reddening daylight found her many a long mile from all traces of any familiar
objects upon the open highway.
She had often been, with her mistress,
to visit some connections, in the little village of T----, not far from the Ohio
river, and knew the road well. To
go thither, to escape across the Ohio river, were the first hurried outlines of
her plan of escape; beyond that, she could only hope in God.
When horses and vehicles began to move
along the highway, with that alert perception peculiar to a state of excitement,
and which seems to be a sort of inspiration, she became aware that her headlong
pace and distracted air might bring on her remark and suspicion.
She therefore put the boy on the ground, and, adjusting her dress and
bonnet, she walked on at as rapid a pace as she thought consistent with the
preservation of appearances. In her
little bundle she had provided a store of cakes and apples, which she used as
expedients for quickening the speed of the child, rolling the apple some yards
before them, when the boy would run with all his might after it; and this ruse,
often repeated, carried them over many a half-mile.
After a while, they came to a thick
patch of woodland, through which murmured a clear brook. As the child complained of hunger and thirst, she climbed
over the fence with him; and, sitting down behind a large rock which concealed
them from the road, she gave him a breakfast out of her little package.
The boy wondered and grieved that she could not eat; and when, putting
his arms round her neck, he tried to wedge some of his cake into her mouth, it
seemed to her that the rising in her throat would choke her.
"No, no, Harry darling! mother
can't eat till you are safe! We
must go on--on--till we come to the river!"
And she hurried again into the road, and again constrained herself to
walk regularly and composedly forward.
She was many miles past any neighborhood
where she was personally known. If
she should chance to meet any who knew her, she reflected that the well-known
kindness of the family would be of itself a blind to suspicion, as making it an
unlikely supposition that she could be a fugitive. As she was also so white as not to be known as of colored
lineage, without a critical survey, and her child was white also, it was much
easier for her to pass on unsuspected.
On this presumption, she stopped at noon
at a neat farmhouse, to rest herself, and buy some dinner for her child and
self; for, as the danger decreased with the distance, the supernatural tension
of the nervous system lessened, and she found herself both weary and hungry.
The good woman, kindly and gossipping,
seemed rather pleased than otherwise with having somebody come in to talk with;
and accepted, without examination, Eliza's statement, that she "was going
on a little piece, to spend a week with her friends,"--all which she hoped
in her heart might prove strictly true.
An hour before sunset, she entered the
village of T----, by the Ohio river, weary and foot-sore, but still strong in
heart. Her first glance was at the
river, which lay, like Jordan, between her and the Canaan of liberty on the
It was now early spring, and the river
was swollen and turbulent; great cakes of floating ice were swinging heavily to
and fro in the turbid waters. Owing
to the peculiar form of the shore on the Kentucky side, the land bending far out
into the water, the ice had been lodged and detained in great quantities, and
the narrow channel which swept round the bend was full of ice, piled one cake
over another, thus forming a temporary barrier to the descending ice, which
lodged, and formed a great, undulating raft, filling up the whole river, and
extending almost to the Kentucky shore.
Eliza stood, for a moment, contemplating
this unfavorable aspect of things, which she saw at once must prevent the usual
ferry-boat from running, and then turned into a small public house on the bank,
to make a few inquiries.
The hostess, who was busy in various
fizzing and stewing operations over the fire, preparatory to the evening meal,
stopped, with a fork in her hand, as Eliza's sweet and plaintive voice arrested
"What is it?" she said.
"Isn't there any ferry or boat,
that takes people over to B----, now?" she said.
"No, indeed!" said the woman;
"the boats has stopped running."
Eliza's look of dismay and
disappointment struck the woman, and she said, inquiringly,
"May be you're wanting to get
over?--anybody sick? Ye seem mighty
"I've got a child that's very
dangerous," said Eliza. "I
never heard of it till last night, and I've walked quite a piece today, in hopes
to get to the ferry."
"Well, now, that's onlucky,"
said the woman, whose motherly sympathies were much aroused; I'm re'lly
consarned for ye. Solomon!"
she called, from the window, towards a small back building.
A man, in leather apron and very dirty hands, appeared at the door.
"I say, Sol," said the woman,
"is that ar man going to tote them bar'ls over tonight?"
"He said he should try, if 't was
any way prudent," said the man.
"There's a man a piece down here,
that's going over with some truck this evening, if he durs' to; he'll be in here
to supper tonight, so you'd better set down and wait.
That's a sweet little fellow," added the woman, offering him a cake.
But the child, wholly exhausted, cried
"Poor fellow! he isn't used to
walking, and I've hurried him on so," said Eliza.
"Well, take him into this
room," said the woman, opening into a small bed-room, where stood a
comfortable bed. Eliza laid the
weary boy upon it, and held his hands in hers till he was fast asleep. For her there was no rest.
As a fire in her bones, the thought of the pursuer urged her on; and she
gazed with longing eyes on the sullen, surging waters that lay between her and
Here we must take our leave of her for
the present, to follow the course of her pursuers.
Though Mrs. Shelby had promised that the dinner should be
hurried on table, yet it was soon seen, as the thing has often been seen before,
that it required more than one to make a bargain.
So, although the order was fairly given out in Haley's hearing, and
carried to Aunt Chloe by at least half a dozen juvenile messengers, that
dignitary only gave certain very gruff snorts, and tosses of her head, and went
on with every operation in an unusually leisurely and circumstantial manner.
For some singular reason, an impression
seemed to reign among the servants generally that Missis would not be
particularly disobliged by delay; and it was wonderful what a number of counter
accidents occurred constantly, to retard the course of things.
One luckless wight contrived to upset the gravy; and then gravy had to be
got up _de novo_, with due care and formality, Aunt Chloe watching and stirring
with dogged precision, answering shortly, to all suggestions of haste, that she
"warn't a going to have raw gravy on the table, to help nobody's
catchings." One tumbled down
with the water, and had to go to the spring for more; and another precipitated
the butter into the path of events; and there was from time to time giggling
news brought into the kitchen that "Mas'r Haley was mighty oneasy, and that
he couldn't sit in his cheer no ways, but was a walkin' and stalkin' to the
winders and through the porch."
"Sarves him right!" said Aunt
Chloe, indignantly. He'll get wus
nor oneasy, one of these days, if he don't mend his ways. _His_ master'll be sending for him, and then see how he'll
"He'll go to torment, and no
mistake," said little Jake.
"He desarves it!" said Aunt
Chloe, grimly; "he's broke a many, many, many hearts,--I tell ye all!"
she said, stopping, with a fork uplifted in her hands; "it's like what
Mas'r George reads in Ravelations,--souls a callin' under the altar! and a
callin' on the Lord for vengeance on sich!--and by and by the Lord he'll hear
'em--so he will!"
Aunt Chloe, who was much revered in the
kitchen, was listened to with open mouth; and, the dinner being now fairly sent
in, the whole kitchen was at leisure to gossip with her, and to listen to her
"Sich'll be burnt up forever, and
no mistake; won't ther?" said Andy.
"I'd be glad to see it, I'll be
boun'," said little Jake.
"Chil'en!" said a voice, that
made them all start. It was Uncle
Tom, who had come in, and stood listening to the conversation at the door.
"Chil'en!" he said, "I'm
afeard you don't know what ye're sayin'. Forever
is a _dre'ful_ word, chil'en; it's awful to think on 't.
You oughtenter wish that ar to any human crittur."
"We wouldn't to anybody but the
soul-drivers," said Andy; "nobody can help wishing it to them, they 's
so awful wicked."
"Don't natur herself kinder cry out
on 'em?" said Aunt Chloe. "Don't
dey tear der suckin' baby right off his mother's breast, and sell him, and der
little children as is crying and holding on by her clothes,--don't dey pull 'em
off and sells 'em? Don't dey tear
wife and husband apart?" said Aunt Chloe, beginning to cry, "when it's
jest takin' the very life on 'em?--and all the while does they feel one bit,
don't dey drink and smoke, and take it oncommon easy? Lor, if the devil don't get them, what's he good for?"
And Aunt Chloe covered her face with her checked apron, and began to sob
in good earnest.
"Pray for them that 'spitefully use
you, the good book says," says Tom.
"Pray for 'em!" said Aunt
Chloe; "Lor, it's too tough! I
can't pray for 'em."
"It's natur, Chloe, and natur 's
strong," said Tom, "but the Lord's grace is stronger; besides, you
oughter think what an awful state a poor crittur's soul 's in that'll do them ar
things,--you oughter thank God that you an't _like_ him, Chloe.
I'm sure I'd rather be sold, ten thousand times over, than to have all
that ar poor crittur's got to answer for."
"So 'd I, a heap," said Jake.
"Lor, _shouldn't_ we cotch it, Andy?"
Andy shrugged his shoulders, and gave an
"I'm glad Mas'r didn't go off this
morning, as he looked to," said Tom; "that ar hurt me more than
sellin', it did. Mebbe it might
have been natural for him, but 't would have come desp't hard on me, as has
known him from a baby; but I've seen Mas'r, and I begin ter feel sort o'
reconciled to the Lord's will now. Mas'r
couldn't help hisself; he did right, but I'm feared things will be kinder goin'
to rack, when I'm gone Mas'r can't be spected to be a pryin' round everywhar, as
I've done, a keepin' up all the ends. The
boys all means well, but they 's powerful car'less. That ar troubles me."
The bell here rang, and Tom was summoned
to the parlor.
"Tom," said his master,
kindly, "I want you to notice that I give this gentleman bonds to forfeit a
thousand dollars if you are not on the spot when he wants you; he's going today
to look after his other business, and you can have the day to yourself.
Go anywhere you like, boy."
"Thank you, Mas'r," said Tom.
"And mind yourself," said the
trader, "and don't come it over your master with any o' yer nigger tricks;
for I'll take every cent out of him, if you an't thar.
If he'd hear to me, he wouldn't trust any on ye--slippery as eels!"
"Mas'r," said Tom,--and he
stood very straight,--"I was jist eight years old when ole Missis put you
into my arms, and you wasn't a year old. `Thar,'
says she, `Tom, that's to be _your_ young Mas'r; take good care on him,' says
she. And now I jist ask you, Mas'r,
have I ever broke word to you, or gone contrary to you, 'specially since I was a
Mr. Shelby was fairly overcome, and the
tears rose to his eyes.
"My good boy," said he,
"the Lord knows you say but the truth; and if I was able to help it, all
the world shouldn't buy you."
"And sure as I am a Christian
woman," said Mrs. Shelby, "you shall be redeemed as soon as I can any
bring together means. Sir,"
she said to Haley, "take good account of who you sell him to, and let me
"Lor, yes, for that matter,"
said the trader, "I may bring him up in a year, not much the wuss for wear,
and trade him back."
"I'll trade with you then, and make
it for your advantage," said Mrs. Shelby.
"Of course," said the trader,
"all 's equal with me; li'ves trade 'em up as down, so I does a good
business. All I want is a livin',
you know, ma'am; that's all any on us wants, I, s'pose."
Mr. and Mrs. Shelby both felt annoyed
and degraded by the familiar impudence of the trader, and yet both saw the
absolute necessity of putting a constraint on their feelings. The more hopelessly sordid and insensible he appeared, the
greater became Mrs. Shelby's dread of his succeeding in recapturing Eliza and
her child, and of course the greater her motive for detaining him by every
female artifice. She therefore
graciously smiled, assented, chatted familiarly, and did all she could to make
time pass imperceptibly.
At two o'clock Sam and Andy brought the
horses up to the posts, apparently greatly refreshed and invigorated by the
scamper of the morning.
Sam was there new oiled from dinner,
with an abundance of zealous and ready officiousness. As Haley approached, he was boasting, in flourishing style,
to Andy, of the evident and eminent success of the operation, now that he had
"farly come to it."
"Your master, I s'pose, don't keep
no dogs," said Haley, thoughtfully, as he prepared to mount.
"Heaps on 'em," said Sam,
triumphantly; "thar's Bruno--he's a roarer! and, besides that, 'bout every
nigger of us keeps a pup of some natur or uther."
"Poh!" said Haley,--and he
said something else, too, with regard to the said dogs, at which Sam muttered,
"I don't see no use cussin' on 'em,
"But your master don't keep no dogs
(I pretty much know he don't) for trackin' out niggers."
Sam knew exactly what he meant, but he
kept on a look of earnest and desperate simplicity.
"Our dogs all smells round
considable sharp. I spect they's
the kind, though they han't never had no practice.
They 's _far_ dogs, though, at most anything, if you'd get 'em started.
Here, Bruno," he called, whistling to the lumbering Newfoundland,
who came pitching tumultuously toward them.
"You go hang!" said Haley,
getting up. "Come, tumble up
Sam tumbled up accordingly, dexterously
contriving to tickle Andy as he did so, which occasioned Andy to split out into
a laugh, greatly to Haley's indignation, who made a cut at him with his
"I 's 'stonished at yer,
Andy," said Sam, with awful gravity. "This
yer's a seris bisness, Andy. Yer
mustn't be a makin' game. This yer
an't no way to help Mas'r."
"I shall take the straight road to
the river," said Haley, decidedly, after they had come to the boundaries of
the estate. "I know the way of
all of 'em,--they makes tracks for the underground."
"Sartin," said Sam,
"dat's de idee. Mas'r Haley
hits de thing right in de middle. Now,
der's two roads to de river,--de dirt road and der pike,--which Mas'r mean to
Andy looked up innocently at Sam,
surprised at hearing this new geographical fact, but instantly confirmed what he
said, by a vehement reiteration.
"Cause," said Sam, "I'd
rather be 'clined to 'magine that Lizy 'd take de dirt road, bein' it's the
Haley, notwithstanding that he was a
very old bird, and naturally inclined to be suspicious of chaff, was rather
brought up by this view of the case.
"If yer warn't both on yer such
cussed liars, now!" he said, contemplatively as he pondered a moment.
The pensive, reflective tone in which
this was spoken appeared to amuse Andy prodigiously, and he drew a little
behind, and shook so as apparently to run a great risk of failing off his horse,
while Sam's face was immovably composed into the most doleful gravity.
"Course," said Sam,
"Mas'r can do as he'd ruther, go de straight road, if Mas'r thinks
best,--it's all one to us. Now,
when I study 'pon it, I think de straight road de best, _deridedly_."
"She would naturally go a lonesome
way," said Haley, thinking aloud, and not minding Sam's remark.
"Dar an't no sayin'," said
Sam; "gals is pecular; they never does nothin' ye thinks they will; mose
gen'lly the contrary. Gals is
nat'lly made contrary; and so, if you thinks they've gone one road, it is sartin
you'd better go t' other, and then you'll be sure to find 'em.
Now, my private 'pinion is, Lizy took der road; so I think we'd better
take de straight one."
This profound generic view of the female
sex did not seem to dispose Haley particularly to the straight road, and he
announced decidedly that he should go the other, and asked Sam when they should
come to it.
"A little piece ahead," said
Sam, giving a wink to Andy with the eye which was on Andy's side of the head;
and he added, gravely, "but I've studded on de matter, and I'm quite clar
we ought not to go dat ar way. I
nebber been over it no way. It's
despit lonesome, and we might lose our way,--whar we'd come to, de Lord only
"Nevertheless," said Haley,
"I shall go that way."
"Now I think on 't, I think I hearn
'em tell that dat ar road was all fenced up and down by der creek, and thar,
an't it, Andy?"
Andy wasn't certain; he'd only
"hearn tell" about that road, but never been over it. In short, he was strictly noncommittal.
Haley, accustomed to strike the balance
of probabilities between lies of greater or lesser magnitude, thought that it
lay in favor of the dirt road aforesaid. The
mention of the thing he thought he perceived was involuntary on Sam's part at
first, and his confused attempts to dissuade him he set down to a desperate
lying on second thoughts, as being unwilling to implicate Liza.
When, therefore, Sam indicated the road,
Haley plunged briskly into it, followed by Sam and Andy.
Now, the road, in fact, was an old one,
that had formerly been a thoroughfare to the river, but abandoned for many years
after the laying of the new pike. It
was open for about an hour's ride, and after that it was cut across by various
farms and fences. Sam knew this
fact perfectly well,--indeed, the road had been so long closed up, that Andy had
never heard of it. He therefore
rode along with an air of dutiful submission, only groaning and vociferating
occasionally that 't was "desp't rough, and bad for Jerry's foot."
"Now, I jest give yer
warning," said Haley, "I know yer; yer won't get me to turn off this
road, with all yer fussin'--so you shet up!"
"Mas'r will go his own way!"
said Sam, with rueful submission, at the same time winking most Portentously to
Andy, whose delight was now very near the explosive point.
Sam was in wonderful spirits,--professed
to keep a very brisk lookout,--at one time exclaiming that he saw "a gal's
bonnet" on the top of some distant eminence, or calling to Andy "if
that thar wasn't `Lizy' down in the hollow;" always making these
exclamations in some rough or craggy part of the road, where the sudden
quickening of speed was a special inconvenience to all parties concerned, and
thus keeping Haley in a state of constant commotion.
After riding about an hour in this way,
the whole party made a precipitate and tumultuous descent into a barn-yard
belonging to a large farming establishment.
Not a soul was in sight, all the hands being employed in the fields; but,
as the barn stood conspicuously and plainly square across the road, it was
evident that their journey in that direction had reached a decided finale.
"Wan't dat ar what I telled
Mas'r?" said Sam, with an air of injured innocence.
"How does strange gentleman spect to know more about a country dan
de natives born and raised?"
"You rascal!" said Haley,
"you knew all about this."
"Didn't I tell yer I _knowd_, and
yer wouldn't believe me? I telled
Mas'r 't was all shet up, and fenced up, and I didn't spect we could get
through,--Andy heard me."
It was all too true to be disputed, and
the unlucky man had to pocket his wrath with the best grace he was able, and all
three faced to the right about, and took up their line of march for the highway.
In consequence of all the various
delays, it was about three-quarters of an hour after Eliza had laid her child to
sleep in the village tavern that the party came riding into the same place.
Eliza was standing by the window, looking out in another direction, when
Sam's quick eye caught a glimpse of her. Haley
and Andy were two yards behind. At
this crisis, Sam contrived to have his hat blown off, and uttered a loud and
characteristic ejaculation, which startled her at once; she drew suddenly back;
the whole train swept by the window, round to the front door.
A thousand lives seemed to be
concentrated in that one moment to Eliza. Her
room opened by a side door to the river. She caught her child, and sprang down
the steps towards it. The trader
caught a full glimpse of her just as she was disappearing down the bank; and
throwing himself from his horse, and calling loudly on Sam and Andy, he was
after her like a hound after a deer. In
that dizzy moment her feet to her scarce seemed to touch the ground, and a
moment brought her to the water's edge. Right
on behind they came; and, nerved with strength such as God gives only to the
desperate, with one wild cry and flying leap, she vaulted sheer over the turbid
current by the shore, on to the raft of ice beyond. It was a desperate leap--impossible to anything but madness
and despair; and Haley, Sam, and Andy, instinctively cried out, and lifted up
their hands, as she did it.
The huge green fragment of ice on which
she alighted pitched and creaked as her weight came on it, but she staid there
not a moment. With wild cries and
desperate energy she leaped to another and still another cake;
stumbling--leaping--slipping-- springing upwards again!
Her shoes are gone--her stockings cut from her feet--while blood marked
every step; but she saw nothing, felt nothing, till dimly, as in a dream, she
saw the Ohio side, and a man helping her up the bank.
"Yer a brave gal, now, whoever ye
ar!" said the man, with an oath.
Eliza recognized the voice and face for
a man who owned a farm not far from her old home.
"O, Mr. Symmes!--save me--do save
me--do hide me!" said Elia.
"Why, what's this?" said the
man. "Why, if 'tan't Shelby's
"My child!--this boy!--he'd sold
him! There is his Mas'r," said
she, pointing to the Kentucky shore. "O,
Mr. Symmes, you've got a little boy!"
"So I have," said the man, as
he roughly, but kindly, drew her up the steep bank. "Besides, you're a right brave gal.
I like grit, wherever I see it."
When they had gained the top of the
bank, the man paused.
"I'd be glad to do something for
ye," said he; "but then there's nowhar I could take ye.
The best I can do is to tell ye to go _thar_," said he, pointing to
a large white house which stood by itself, off the main street of the village.
"Go thar; they're kind folks. Thar's
no kind o' danger but they'll help you,--they're up to all that sort o'
"The Lord bless you!" said
"No 'casion, no 'casion in the
world," said the man. "What
I've done's of no 'count."
"And, oh, surely, sir, you won't
tell any one!"
"Go to thunder, gal!
What do you take a feller for? In
course not," said the man. "Come,
now, go along like a likely, sensible gal, as you are.
You've arnt your liberty, and you shall have it, for all me."
The woman folded her child to her bosom,
and walked firmly and swiftly away. The
man stood and looked after her.
"Shelby, now, mebbe won't think
this yer the most neighborly thing in the world; but what's a feller to do?
If he catches one of my gals in the same fix, he's welcome to pay back.
Somehow I never could see no kind o' critter a strivin' and pantin', and
trying to clar theirselves, with the dogs arter 'em and go agin 'em. Besides, I don't see no kind of 'casion for me to be hunter
and catcher for other folks, neither."
So spoke this poor, heathenish
Kentuckian, who had not been instructed in his constitutional relations, and
consequently was betrayed into acting in a sort of Christianized manner, which,
if he had been better situated and more enlightened, he would not have been left
Haley had stood a perfectly amazed
spectator of the scene, till Eliza had disappeared up the bank, when he turned a
blank, inquiring look on Sam and Andy.
"That ar was a tolable fair stroke
of business," said Sam.
"The gal 's got seven devils in
her, I believe!" said Haley. "How
like a wildcat she jumped!"
"Wal, now," said Sam,
scratching his head, "I hope Mas'r'll 'scuse us trying dat ar road.
Don't think I feel spry enough for dat ar, no way!" and Sam gave a
"_You_ laugh!" said the
trader, with a growl.
"Lord bless you, Mas'r, I couldn't
help it now," said Sam, giving way to the long pent-up delight of his soul.
"She looked so curi's, a leapin' and springin'--ice a crackin'--and
only to hear her,--plump! ker chunk! ker splash!
Spring! Lord! how she goes
it!" and Sam and Andy laughed till the tears rolled down their cheeks.
"I'll make ye laugh t' other side
yer mouths!" said the trader, laying about their heads with his
Both ducked, and ran shouting up the
bank, and were on their horses before he was up.
"Good-evening, Mas'r!" said
Sam, with much gravity. "I
berry much spect Missis be anxious 'bout Jerry.
Mas'r Haley won't want us no longer.
Missis wouldn't hear of our ridin' the critters over Lizy's bridge
tonight;" and, with a facetious poke into Andy's ribs, he started off,
followed by the latter, at full speed,--their shouts of laughter coming faintly
on the wind.