While he was working away, breathing very hard over it, Eva came behind him, and peeped over his shoulder.
‘Oh, Uncle Tom! what funny things you are making there!’
Eva put her little golden head close to Uncle Tom’s black one, and the two began a grave and anxious talk over the letter. They were both very earnest, and both very ignorant. But after a great deal of consulting over every word, the writing began, they really thought, to look quite like a proper letter.
‘Yes, Uncle Tom, it begins to look beautiful,’ said Eva, gazing on it with delight. ’How pleased your wife will be, and the poor little children! Oh, it is a shame that you ever had to go away from them! I mean to ask papa to let you go back, some day.’
’Missis said that she would send down money for me, as soon as they could get it together,’ said Tom. ’Young Mas’r George, he said he’d come for me. He gave me this dollar as a sign,’ and Tom drew the precious dollar from under his coat.
‘Oh, he is sure to come, then,’ said Eva, ‘I am so glad.’
’I wanted to send a letter, you see, to let ’em know where I was, and tell poor Chloe that I was well off, ’cause she felt so dreadful, poor soul.’
‘I say, Tom,’ said Mr. St. Clare, coming in at the door at this minute.
Tom and Eva both started.
‘What’s this?’ Mr. St. Clare went on, coming up and looking at the slate.
‘Oh, it’s Tom’s letter. I’m helping him to write it,’ said Eva. ’Isn’t it nice?’
‘I wouldn’t discourage either of you,’ said her father; ’but I rather think, Tom, you had better let me write your letter for you. I’ll do it when I come home from my ride.’
‘It is very important that he should write,’ said Eva, ’because his mistress is going to send money to buy him back again, you know, papa. He told me they had said so.’
Mr. St. Clare thought in his heart that very likely this meant nothing. He thought it was only one of these things which good-natured people said to their slaves to comfort them when they were taken away from their dear ones to be sold. He did not really believe Mrs. Shelby meant to buy Tom back again. However, he did not say so out loud, but just told Tom to get the horses ready for a ride.
That evening the letter was written, and Uncle Tom carried it joyfully to the post-office.
GEORGE FIGHTS FOR FREEDOM
The day after George and Eliza met each other once more at the end of so many sad months of parting, was a very happy one in the Quaker house.
The two had much to say to each other. George had to tell how he had escaped from his cruel master, and how he had followed Eliza all the way and at last found her. Then there were plans to make for going on towards Canada. It was arranged that they should start that night at ten o’clock. ‘The pursuers are hard after thee, we must not delay,’ said Simeon.