Chapter 25 Notes from Uncle Tom's Cabin

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Uncle Tom's Cabin Chapter 25

One day, when Eva, Miss Ophelia, and Tom return from church, Miss Ophelia is distressed to learn that Topsy has snuck into one of her drawers and cut up one of her bonnets to make dolls' jackets. Miss Ophelia tells St. Clare that she cannot bear the child any longer, and Marie says that if it were up to her, the child would be sent out and whipped. St. Clare asks Topsy why she misbehaves so, and she tells him it is because she's so wicked. Miss Ophelia tells St. Clare that she will have to give the child up because she cannot tolerate her anymore. Marie says that the only way to discipline Topsy is to beat her:

"'I told you, Cousin, that you'd find out that these creatures can't be brought up, without severity. If I had my way, now, I'd send that child out, and have her thoroughly whipped, I'd have her whipped till she couldn't stand!'" Chapter 25, pg. 278

Eva signals Topsy to follow her, and they retreat into another room. St. Clare, curious, follows them, along with Miss Ophelia, and they lift up a curtain to spy on the children. Miss Eva asks Topsy why she cannot behave better, and asks her if she does not love anyone. Topsy says that she doesn't, that she's never had a mother or father or brothers and sisters to love. Eva tells Topsy that Miss Ophelia would love her, if only she was good. Topsy tells Eva that Miss Ophelia would never love her, that she'd rather a toad touched her than Topsy:

"'No; she can't bar me, 'cause I'm a nigger!--she'd soon have a toad touch her! There can't nobody love niggers, and niggers can't do nothin'! I don't care.'" Chapter 25, pg. 280

Eva throws her arms around Topsy's shoulders and exclaims that she loves her, and that Jesus loves her even more, and that Topsy's behavior grieves her. She asks Topsy to be good even for a little while, explaining that she will not be around much longer:

"'O, Topsy, poor child, I love you! I love you because you haven't had any father, or mother, or friends;--because you've been a poor, abused child! I love you, and I want you to be good. I am very unwell, Topsy, and I think I shan't live a great while; and it really grieves me, to have you be so naughty. I wish you would try to be good, for my sake;--it's only a little while I shall be with you.'" Chapter 25, pg. 280

Topsy begins to cry and promises Eva that she will be good for her sake. St. Clare, having observed the entire scene, turns to Miss Ophelia and remarks that if people truly want to comfort and help the afflicted, they must be willing to lay their hands on them, as Christ did. Miss Ophelia confesses that she could never bring herself to touch blacks, as she finds them disagreeable, but adds that she never believed Topsy noticed or knew. St. Clare assures her that she does, as most children can discern such things easily. Miss Ophelia wonders aloud how she can help feeling so, and St. Clare points out that Eva does. Miss Ophelia replies that Eva is so loving as to almost be Christ-like, and she adds that she hopes she can one day be the same.

Topic Tracking: Morality 16

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