Chapter 28 Notes from Uncle Tom's Cabin

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Uncle Tom's Cabin Chapter 28

St. Clare finds himself questioning the meaning of his existence, as his whole reason for being had been to make Eva happy. He found himself reading her Bible and considering it more thoughtfully, and he found himself contemplating his relationship to his servants, realizing that he was not happy with the way things had been. He began to commence the legal work necessary to emancipate Tom, and he found himself spending more time with him, as he felt he was his closest link to Eva. St. Clare tells Tom that he will soon be free, and Tom falls to his knees, thanking him. He tells St. Clare that he will not leave, however, until his master becomes a Christian. St. Clare laughs, but Tom tells him he is sincere, and that he believes St. Clare has been called to do God's work.

Meanwhile, Eva's death has made Miss Ophelia kinder and more sensitive, and she becomes more diligent in her teachings to Topsy. One day Rosa sees that Topsy has hidden something in her dress and accuses her of stealing. Miss Ophelia tells Topsy to show her what she has, and Topsy reveals that it is a book that Eva gave her, along with the lock of her hair, wrapped in some black crepe stolen from the funeral weeds. Topsy cries wildly, begging them not to take the things away, as they are all she has of Eva. St. Clare tells her she can keep them and tells Miss Ophelia that he believes that Topsy will one day improve, as anyone capable of feeling such sorrow cannot be a truly bad person. Miss Ophelia tells him that she believes Topsy has made great strides but that any attempts to redeem her character will be useless if the child is kept in slavery.

Topic Tracking: Morality 19

She tells St. Clare she wants the child legally turned over to her, so that she can take her north and liberate her. St. Clare agrees, and begins reading a newspaper. Much to his annoyance, Miss Ophelia demands that he draw up the papers right away, and he does. She then asks him if he has made any provisions for his servants in the event of his death, and he tells her he has not. He jokingly asks her if she thinks he's got yellow fever, so urgent are her questions. She simply replies that "in the midst of life we are in death." Later, Tom asks St. Clare to read the Bible, and one passage in particular moves him. One sentence--"In asmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it not to me"--causes St. Clare to ask himself what he has done for his servants. Miss Ophelia later tells him that he should repent, and he tells her that he does not feel that he could truly be a Christian unless he throws himself body and soul against slavery, as he finds it horrifying. She asks him why, if he knew this, he did not do anything about it sooner, and he tells her that it was simply his laziness. He confides that he now feels braver, as one does when one has nothing to lose, and he tells her that he plans to carry out his duty to the poor and lowly as soon as he figures out what that is.

Topic Tracking: Morality 20

Later, he decides to step out for an hour to go to a cafe and read the paper. To everyone's horror, St. Clare is carried home with a knife wound in his side. Two men in the cafe had gotten into a fight, and as St. Clare tried to break it up, one of the men stabbed him in the side. He is brought home and a doctor is called, but everyone realizes it is too late. As he lies dying, he grabs Tom's hand and tells him to pray.

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