September 11, 1851 Transcription

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Chapter XIV.—Evangeline.

——

“A young star! which shone
O’er life—too sweet an image for such glass!
A lovely being scarcely formed or moulded,
A rose with all its sweetest leaves yet folded.”

The Mississippi! How as by an enchanted wand have its scenes been changed since Chateaubriand wrote his prose poetic description of it, as a river of mighty, unbroken solitudes, rolling amid undreamed wonders of vegetable and animal existence.

But, as in an hour, this river of dreams and wild romance has emerged to a reality scarcely less visionary and splendid. What other river of the world bears on its bosom to the ocean the wealth and enterprise of such another country—a country whose products embrace all between the tropics and the poles! Those turbid waters, hurrying, foaming, tearing along, an apt resemblance of that headlong tide of business which is poured along its wave by a race more vehement and energetic than any the old world ever saw—ah! would that they did not also bear along a more fearful freight—the tears of the oppressed, the sighs of the helpless, the bitter prayers of poor, ignorant hearts to an unknown God—unknown, unseen, and silent—but who will yet “come out of his place to save all the poor of the earth!”

The slanting light of the setting sun quivers on the sea-like expanse of the river; the shivery canes and the tall, dark cypress, hung with wreaths of dark, funeral moss, glow in the golden ray as the heavily laden steamboat marches onward. Piled with cotton bales, from many a plantation, up over deck and sides, till she seems in the distance a square, massive block of gray, she moves heavily onward to the nearing mart. We must look sometimes among its crowded decks before we shall find again our humble friend Tom. High on the upper deck, in a little nook among the everywhere predominant cotton bales, at last we may find him. Partly from confidence inspired by Mr. Shelby’s representations, and partly from the remarkably inoffensive and quiet character of the man, Tom had insensibly won his way far into the confidence even of such a man as Haley.

At first he had watched him narrowly through the day, and never allowed him to sleep at night unfettered; but the uncomplaining patience and apparent contentment of Tom’s manner led him gradually to discontinue these restraints, and for some time Tom had enjoyed a sort of parole of honor, being permitted to come and go freely where he pleased on the boat. Ever quiet and obliging, and more than ready to lend a hand in every emergency which occurred among the work-men below, he had won the good opinion of all the hands, and spent many hours in helping them with as hearty a good will as ever he worked on a Kentucky farm.

When there seemed to be nothing for him to do, he would climb to a nook among the cotton bales of the upper deck, and busy himself in studying over his New Testament, and[1] it is there we see him now.

For a hundred or more miles above New Orleans the river is higher than the surrounding country, and rolls its tremendous volume between massive levees twenty feet in height. The traveller from the deck of the steamer, as from some floating castle top, overlooks the whole country for miles and miles around. Tom therefore had spread out full before him, in plantation after plantation, a map of the life to which he was approaching. He saw the distant slaves at their toil; he saw afar their villages of huts gleaming out in long rows on many a plantation, distant from the stately mansions and pleasure grounds of the master; and as the moving picture passed on, his poor, foolish heart would be turning backward to the old[2] Kentucky farm, with its old shadowy beeches—to the master’s house, with its wide, cool halls, and, near by, the little cabin, overgrown with the multiflora and bignonia. There he seemed to see old familiar faces of comrades, who had grown up with him from infancy—he saw his busy wife bustling in her preparations for his evening meals—he heard the merry laugh of his boys at their places,[3] and the cherrup of the baby at his knee; and then, with a start, all faded, and he saw again the cane-brakes and cypresses and gliding plantations, and heard again the creaking and groaning of the machinery, all telling him too plainly that all that phase of life had gone by forever.

In such a case, you write to your wife, and send messages to your children; but Tom could not write, the mail for him had no existence, and the gulf of separation was unbridged by even a friendly word or signal.

Is it strange, then, that some tears fall on the pages of his Testament, as he lays it on the cotton bale, and with patient finger, threading his slow way from word to word, traces out its promises? Having learned late in life, Tom was but a slow reader, and passed on laboriously from verse to verse. Fortunate for him was it that the book he was intent on was one which slow reading cannot injure—nay, one whose words, like ingots of gold, seem often to need to be weighed separately, that the mind may take in their priceless value. Let us follow him a moment as, pointing to each word, and pronouncing each half-aloud, he reads—

“Let—not—your—heart—be—troubled. In my Father’s—house are—many—mansions. I go to—prepare—a place—for you.”

Cicero, when he buried his darling and only daughter, had a heart as full of honest grief as poor Tom’s—perhaps no fuller, for both were only men—but Cicero could pause over no such sublime words of hope, and look to no such future reunion; and if he had seen them, ten to one he would not have believed—he must fill his head first with a thousand questions of authenticity of manuscript and correctness of translation. But to poor Tom there it lay, just what he needed, so evidently true and divine that the possibility of a question never entered his simple head. It must be true; for if not true, how could he live?

As for Tom’s New Testament, though it had no annotations and helps in margin from learned commentators, still it had been embellished with certain way-marks and guide-boards of Tom’s own invention, and which helped him more than the most learned expositions could have done. It had been his custom to get the Testament read to him by his master’s children, in particular by young master George; and as they read, he would designate by bold, strong marks and dashes, with pen and ink, the passages which more particularly gratified his ear or affected his heart. His Testament was thus marked through from one end to the other with a variety of styles and designations, so he could in a moment seize upon his favorite passages, without the labor of spelling out what lay between them; and while it lay there before him, every passage breathing of some old home scene, and recalling some past enjoyment, his Testament seemed to him all of this life that remained, as well as the promise of a future one.

Among the passengers on the boat was a young gentleman of fortune and family, resident in New Orleans, who bore the name of St. Clare. He had with him a daughter between five and six years of age, together with a lady, who seemed to claim relationship to both, and to have the little one specially under her charge.

Tom had often caught glimpses of this little girl, for she was one of those busy, tripping creatures than can no more be[4] contained in one place than a sunbeam or a summer breeze, nor was she one that once seen could be easily forgotten.

Her form was the perfection of childish beauty, without its usual chubbiness and squareness of outline. There was about it an undulating and aerial grace, such as one might dream of for some mythic and allegorical[5] being. Her face was remarkable less for its perfect beauty of feature than for a singular and dreamy earnestness of expression which made the ideal start when they looked at her, and by which the dullest and most literal were impressed without exactly knowing why. The shape of her head and the turn of her neck and bust was peculiarly noble, and the long golden-brown hair that floated like a cloud around it, the deep spiritual gravity of her violet blue eyes, shaded by heavy fringes of golden brown, all marked her out from other children, and made every one turn and look after her as she glided hither and thither on the boat. Nevertheless, the little one was not what you would have called either a grave child or a sad one. On the contrary, an airy and innocent playfulness seemed to flicker like the shadow of summer leaves over her childish face and around her bouyant figure. She was always in motion, always with a half smile on her rosy mouth, flying hither and thither, with an undulating and cloudlike tread, singing to herself as she moved as in a happy dream. Her father and female guardian were incessantly busy in pursuit of her, but when caught she melted from them again like a summer cloud; and as no word of chiding or reproof ever fell on her ear for whatever she chose to do, she pursued her own way all over the boat. Always dressed in white, she seemed to move like a shadow through all sorts of places, without contracting spot or stain, and there was not a corner or nook above or below where those fairy footsteps had not glided, and that visionary, golden head, with its deep blue eyes, fleeted along. The fireman, as he looked up from his sweaty toil, sometimes found those eyes looking wonderingly into the raging depths of the furnace, and fearfully and pityingly at him, as if she thought him in some dreadful danger. Anon the steersman at the wheel paused and smiled as the picture-like head gleamed through the window of the round house, and in a moment was gone again. A thousand times a day rough voices blessed her, and smiles of unwonted softness stole over hard faces as she passed; and when she tripped fearlessly over dangerous places, rough, sooty hands were stretched involuntarily out to save her and smooth her path.

Tom, who had the soft, impressible nature of his kindly race, ever yearning toward the simple and childlike, watched the little creature with daily increasing interest. To him, she seemed something almost divine; and whenever her golden head and deep blue eyes peered out upon him from behind some dusky cotton bale, or looked down upon him over some ridge of packages, he half believed that he saw one of the angels stepped out of his New Testament.

Often and often she walked mournfully round the place where Haley’s gang of men and women sat in their chains. She would glide in among them, and look at them with an air of perplexed and sorrowful earnestness; and sometimes she would lift their chains with her slender hands, and then sigh wofully as she glided away. Several times she appeared suddenly among them, with her hands full of candy, nuts, and oranges, which she would distribute joyfully to them, and then be gone again.

Tom watched the little lady a great deal before he ventured on any overtures towards acquaintanceship. He knew an abundance of simple acts to propitiate and invite the approaches of the little people, and he resolved to play his part right skillfully. He could cut cunning little baskets out of cherry stones, could make grotesque faces on hickory nuts or odd-jumping figures out of elder pith, and he was a very Pan in the manufacture of whistles of all sizes and sorts. His pockets were full of miscellaneous articles of attraction, which he had hoarded in days of old for his master’s children, and which he now produced with commendable prudence and economy, one by one, as overtures for acquaintance and friendship.

The little one was shy, for all her busy interest in everything going on, and it was not easy to tame her. For a while, she would perch like a canary bird on some box or package near Tom, while busy in the little arts aforenamed, and take from him with a kind of grave bashfulness the little articles he offered. But at last they got on quite confidential terms.

“What’s little missy’s name?” said Tom, at last, when he thought matters were ripe to push such an inquiry.

“Evangeline St. Clare,” said the little one, though papa and everybody else call me Eva. Now, what’s your name?”

“My name’s Tom; the little chil’en used to call me Uncle Tom, way back thar in Kentuck.”

“Then I mean to call you Uncle Tom, because, you see, I like you,” said Eva. “So, Uncle Tom, where are you going?”

“I don’t know, Miss Eva.”

“Don’t know?” said Eva.

“No. I am going to be sold—to somebody. I don’t know who.”

“My papa can buy you,” said Eva, quickly; and if he buys you, you will have good times. I mean to ask him to this very day.”

“Thank you, my little lady,” said Tom.

The boat here stopped at a small landing to take in wood, and Eva, hearing her father’s voice, bounded nimbly away. Tom rose up, and went forward to offer his service in wooding, and soon was busy among the hands.

Eva and her father were standing together by the railings, to see the boat start from the landing-place, the wheel had made two or three revolutions in the water, when by some sudden movement little Eva[6] suddenly lost her balance, and fell sheer over the side of the boat into the water. Her father, scarce knowing what he did, was plunging in after her, but was held back by some behind him, who saw that more efficient aid had followed his child.

Tom was standing just under her on the lower deck, as she fell. He saw her strike the water, and sink, and was after her in a moment. A broad-chested, strong-armed fellow, it was nothing for him to keep afloat in the water, till in a moment or two the child rose to the surface, and he caught her in his arms, and swimming with her to the boat side, handed her up, all dripping, to the grasp of hundreds of hands, which, as if they had all belonged to one man, were stretched eagerly out to receive her. A few moments more, and her father bore her, dripping and senseless, to the ladies’ cabin—where, as is usual in cases of the kind, there ensued a very well-meaning and kind-hearted strife among the female occupants generally, as to who should do the most things to make a disturbance, and to hinder her recovery in every way possible.

———

It was a sultry close, day, the next day, as the steamer drew near to New Orleans. A gentle bustle of expectation and preparation was spread through the boat; in the cabin one and another were gathering their things together, and arranging them, preparatory to going ashore. The steward and chambermaid, and all, were busily engaged in cleaning, furbishing, and arranging the splendid boat, preparatory to a grand entree.

On the lower deck sat our friend Tom, with his arms folded, and anxiously from time to time turning his eyes towards a group on the other side of the boat.

There stood the fair Evangeline, a little paler than the day before, but otherwise exhibiting no traces of the accident which had befallen her. A graceful, elegantly-formed young man stood by her, carelessly leaning one elbow on a bale of cotton, while a large pocket-book lay open before him. It was quite evident, at a glance, that the gentleman was Eva’s father. There was the same noble cast of head, the same large blue eyes, the same golden brown hair—yet the expression was wholly different. In the large, clear blue eyes, though in form and color exactly similar, there was wanting that misty, dreamy depth of expression—all was clear, bold, and bright, but with a light wholly of this world; the beautifully cut mouth had a proud and somewhat sarcastic expression, while an air of free-and-easy superiority sat not ungracefully in every turn and movement of his fine form. He was listening, with a good-humored, negligent air, half comic, half contemptuous, to Haley, who was very volubly expatiating on the quality of the article for which they were bargaining.

“All the moral and Christian virtues bound in black morocco, complete!” he said, when Haley had finished. “Well, now, my good fellow, what’s the damage, as they say in Kentucky; in short, what’s to be paid out for this business? How much are you going to cheat me now? Out with it!”

“Wal,” said Haley, “if I should say twelve[7] hundred dollars for that ar fellow, I shouldn’t but just save myself; I shouldn’t now, re’ely.”

“Poor fellow!” said the young man, fixing his keen, mocking blue eye on him; but I suppose you’d let me have him for that, out of a particular regard for me.”

“Well, the young lady here seems to be sot on him, and nat’lly enough.”

“Oh! certainly, there’s a call on your benevolence, my friend. Now, as a matter of Christian charity, how cheap could you afford to let him go, to oblige a young lady that’s particular sot on him?”

“Wal now, just think on’t,” said the trader; just look at them limbs; broad-chested—strong as a horse. Look at his head; them high forrads allays shows calculatin niggers, that’ll do any kind o’ thing. I’ve marked that ar. Now a nigger of that ar heft and build is worth considerable, just[8] as you may say, for his body, supposin he’s stupid; but come to put in his calculatin faculties, and them which I can show he has oncommon, why, of course, it makes him come higher. Why, that ar fellow managed his master’s whole farm. He has a strornary talent for business.”

“Bad, bad, very bad; knows altogether too much!” said the young man, with the same mocking smile playing about his mouth. “Never will do in the world. Your smart fellows are always running off, stealing horses, and raising the devil generally. I think you’ll have to take off a couple of hundred for his smartness.”

“Wal, there might be something in that ar, if it warnt for his character; but I can show recommends from his master and others, to prove he is one of your real pious—the most humble, prayin, pious crittur ye ever did see. Why, he’s been called a preacher in them parts he came from.”

“And I might use him for a family chaplain, possibly,” added the young man, dryly. “That’s quite an idea. Religion is a remarkably scarce article at our house.”

“You’re joking now.”

“How do you know I am? Didn’t you just warrant him for a preacher? Has he been examined by any synod or council? Come, hand over your papers.”

If the trader had not been sure, by a certain good-humored twinkle in the large blue eye, that all this banter was sure, in the long run, to turn out a cash concern, he might have been somewhat out of patience; as it was, he laid down a greasy pocket-book on the cotton bales, and began anxiously studying over certain papers in it, the young man standing by the while, looking down on him with an air of careless, easy drollery.”

“Papa, do buy him; it’s no matter what you pay,” whispered Eva, softly, getting up on a package, and putting her arm round her father’s neck; “you have money enough, I know. I want him.”

“What for, pussy? Are you going to use him for a rattle-box, or a rocking-horse, or what?”

“I want to make him happy.”

“An original reason, certainly!”

Here the trader handed up a certificate, signed by Mr. Shelby, which the young man took with the tips of his long fingers, and glanced over carelessly.

“A gentlemanly hand,” he said, “and well spelt, too. Well, now, but I’m not sure, after all, about this religion,” said he, the old wicked expression returning to his eye; “the country is almost ruined with pious white people—such pious politicians as we have just before elections—such pious goings on in all departments of church and state, that a fellow does not know who’ll cheat him next. I don’t know, either, about religion’s being up in the market, just now. I have not looked in the papers lately, to see how it sells. How many hundred dollars, now, do you put on for his religion?”[9]

“You like to be a jokin, now,” said the trader; “but then there’s sense under all that ar. I know there’s differences in religion. Some kinds is mis’rable; there’s your meetin pious—there’s your singin, roarin pious—them ar aint no account, in black or white, but these rayly is; and I’ve seen it in niggers as often as any, your rail softly, quiet, stiddy, honest pious, that the hull world couldn’t tempt em to do nothing that they thinks is wrong; and ye see in this letter what Tom’s old master says about him.”

“Now,” said the young man, stooping gravely over his book of bills, “if you can assure me that I really can buy this kind of pious, and that it will be set down to my account in the book up above, as something belonging to me, I wouldn’t care if I did go a little extra for it. How d’ye say?”

“Wal, raily, I can’t do that,” said the trader. “I’m a thinkin that every man’ll have to hang on his own hook in them ar quarters.”

“Rather hard on a fellow that pays extra on religion, and can’t trade with it in the state where he wants it most—aint it, now?” said the young man, who had been making out a roll of bills while he was speaking. There, count your money, old boy!” he added, as he handed the roll to the trader.

“All right,” said Haley, his face beaming with delight; and pulling out an old inkhorn, he proceeded to fill out a bill of sale, which in a few moments he handed to the young man.

“I wonder, now, if I was divided up and inventoried,” said the latter, as he ran over the paper, “how much I might bring. Say so much for the shape of my head, so much for a high forehead, so much for arms, and hands, and legs, and then so much for education, learning, talent, honesty, religion! Bless me! there would be small charge on that last, I’m thinking. But come, Eva,” he said; and taking the hand of his daughter, he stepped across the boat, and carelessly putting the tip of his finger under Tom’s chin, said good-humoredly, “Look up, Tom, and see how you like your new master.”

Tom looked up. It was not in nature to look into that gay, young, handsome face, without a feeling of pleasure, and Tom felt the tears start in his eyes as he said, heartily, “God bless you, mass’r!”

“Well, I hope he will. What’s your name? Tom? Quite as likely to do it for your asking, as mine, from all accounts. Can you drive horses, Tom?”

“I’ve been allays used to horses,” said Tom. “Mass’r Shelby raised heaps on em.”

“Well, I think I shall put you in coachy, on condition that you won’t be drunk more than once a week, unless in cases of emergency, Tom.”

Tom looked surprised, and rather hurt, and said, “I never drink, mass’r.”

“I’ve heard that story before, Tom—but then we’ll see. It will be a special accommodation to all concerned, if you don’t. Never mind, my boy,” he added, good-humoredly, seeing Tom still looked grave, “I don’t doubt you mean to do well.”

“I sartin do, mass’r,” said Tom.

“And you shall have good times,” said Eva. “Papa is very good to everybody, only he always will laugh at them.”

“Papa is much obliged to you for his recommendation,” said St. Clare, laughing, as he turned on his heel and walked away.

[to be continued.]

Notes

This Stowe Center edition reproduces the National Era serial text of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The wording of the newspaper in many cases differs from publisher John P. Jewett’s first edition. At the conclusion of each installment, notes are provided on a small selection of textual variants, those which have the greatest interpretive significance. The model for these notes is editor John Bryant’s concept of fluid-text editing, which foregrounds the interpretation of textual variants as an act of critical reading. Readers who hold alternate interpretations are encouraged to submit comments to the blog. For general comments on the text and the bibliography, see the Note on the Text.

Note 1

over his New Testament, and it is | Erapg. 145

over his Bible,—and it is | Jewett (1852) vol. 1, pg. 209

In this the first of five similar revisions for this chapter, Stowe replaces Uncle Tom’s “New Testament” in the Era serial with a “Bible” in the Jewett edition. Two times in the serial Stowe specifies the “New Testament,” but in the remaining three instances—all changed to “Bible” in the Jewett edition—Stowe writes “Testament.” In two instance in this chapter a mention of the “Testament” or “New Testament” in serial remains in the Jewett edition: the initial mention of Tom with his “Testament on his knee” remains in the Jewett edition, and Tom half-imagines Eva as an angel that “stepped out of his New Testament” in both texts (213). Nonetheless, as Stowe in the 28 August installment said that Tom’s reading had been “confined entirely to the New Testament,” the Era reader would assume that “Testament” in regard to Tom’s reading refers only to the “New” Testament. In the Jewett edition, Tom always has a Bible. Two recent editors who reprint the Jewett edition have annotated the initial appearance of “Testament” in this chapter as “Bible,” but the annotation misleads if applied to the serial text (see Uncle Tom’s Cabin, ed. Elizabeth Ammons [New York: Norton, 2010], 138n1; Uncle Tom’s Cabin, ed. Christopher G. Diller [Peterborough, ON: Broadview, 2009], 85n1.

In this installment, Tom’s reading of Scripture is first described as semi-literate but then glossed as highly innovative, a paradoxical elaboration on the identification of Tom both with Scripture as language and Scripture as a book. Tom is initially characterized as “but a slow reader, and passed on laboriously from verse to verse.” Three paragraphs later, his New Testatment (serial) or Bible (Jewett edition) is an innovate object personalized with a highly sophisticated, but individualistic, style of annotative marks. Tom’s book has no scholarly annotation or commentary, but his copy “had been embellished with certain way-marks and guide-boards of Tom’s own invention.” That is, Tom’s marking is highly innovative: he has invented his own system of annotation. This description of Tom furthers the symbolic claim that the language of Scripture and Tom are one: Scripture “seemed so entirely to have wrought itself into his being as to have become a part of himself” (chapter 4). At this chapter’s end, Tom will be purchased in part because, in Augustine St. Clare’s jest, Haley conflates Tom’s moral and monetary value with the same appeal that an ornately bound book of Scripture possesses: “All the moral and Christian virtues bound in black morocco, complete!”

Stowe seems fully cognizant that Scripture as both text (nonmaterial linguistic form) and document (a book) presents a fundamental paradox. The Protestant emphasis on reading the Bible as a book is a potential stumbling block for access to the Christian word: the free may confuse access to Spripture as a book with access to its message, the lowly may be denied access to Scripture because they lack literacy or money, or may be constrained by a master’s power to deny access to these. Stowe embeds this paradox in her text at a prominent thematic level, but the paradox also haunts the fluid relationship between multiple textual forms of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Readers of this serial version reprint should imagine the shadowy presence of Stowe’s revised Jewett form “Bible.” Readers of a Jewett edition reprint for the term “Bible” should recognize the shadowy presence of the serial form “New Testament.” Subsequent instances of this revision are not marked in the Stowe Center edition text. [Back]

Note 2

to the old Kentucky farm, | Era pg. 145
to the [omit] Kentucky farm, | Jewett (1852) vol. 1, pg. 209

In the Era serial, Tom recalls the Shelby plantation as the “old Kentucky farm” just days after his separation from his family. In the next sentence Tom recalls the “old familiar faces” of comrades, wife, and children. In the Jewett edition, neither of Tom’s memories is yet “old” to his mind. Only when Tom marks Scripture passages do both texts agree that the on physical remnant of his “old home scene” is his New Testament (serial) or Bible (Jewett edition).

In the serial, the word “old” could be construed as past or former rather than the nostalgic “old Kentucky Home” in Stephen C. Foster’s musical adaptation, “My old Kentucky home, good night” (New York: Firth, Pond and Co., 1853), 5. [Back]

Note 3

at their places, and the | Era pg. 145
at their play, and the | Jewett (1852) vol. 1, pg. 209

In the Era serial, Tom’s boys (Peet and Mose) are “at their places.” In the Jewett edition, they are “at their play.” The serial word “places” may suggest that Tom’s sons are employed at work as slaves or are limited to a narrow circuit of activity. In the Jewett edition, Pete and Mose are at “play.” If the serial version is a compositorial error, it is unlikely that it would be detectable to a reader. If a revision can be attributed to Stowe, it may form a continuation of the previous revision, in which Stowe removed the word “old” twice. [Back]

Note 4

busy, tripping creatures than can no more be contained in one place than a sunbeam | Era pg. 145
busy, tripping creatures, that can be no more contained in one place than a sunbeam | Jewett (1852) vol. 1, pg. 211

In the Era serial, “than can no more be contained in one place than…” is an odd construction. If a comparison, it is gramatically stilted. The grammatical relationship is sufficiently awkward that readers may suspect an error. The Jewett edition’s relative pronoun “that,” which resolves the grammatical akwardness, is presumably an authorial correction. We can attribute the corrected form to Stowe or a proofreader, and we can also ascribe to Stowe the altered placement of “no more,” from “can no more be contained” to “can be no more contained.”

This example is one of a set of variant readings in which the Era text in not obviously wrong but in which the Jewett edition has a reading that is presumably a correction. The Era has “gentle bustle” to describe the passengers as the steamboat approaches to New Orleans, but Stowe’s usual accounts of crowd actions suggest that the Jewett edition’s “general bustle” is the authorial preference. Eva is a “bouyant” figure” in the serial but a “buoyant figure” in the Jewett edition. These instances are retained unmarked in the Era form in the Stowe Center edition text. [Back]

Note 5

mythic and alegorical being. Her | Era pg. 145
mythic and allegorical being. Her | Jewett (1852) vol. 1, pg. 211

The child that Tom sees but does not yet know by name—readers of the chapter title will suspect her to be the “Evangeline” who will soon be identified as Eva St. Clare—is an “alegorical being” in the serial but an “allegorical being” in the Jewett edition. The book edition corrects the serial’s faulty spelling. The serial text has two more relatively obvious errors. Below, the word “but” is repeated in Haley’s phrase “shouldn’t but but just save myself.” Finally, when Haley says “You’re joking now,” the terminal “e” is missing in the serial’s spelling “You’r.” All three obvious errors are corrected silently in the Stowe Center text. [Back]

Note 6

some sudden movement little Eva suddenly lost | Era pg. 145
some sudden movement, the little one suddenly lost | Jewett (1852) vol. 1, pg. 214

In the Era this is the first time that Eva is identified by the name by which she would be known in popular culture, “little Eva.” But she is not so named in the Jewett edition until chapter 24 entitled “Foreshadowings” (20 November installment, chapter 23 in Era). In the serial, the child and father are observed by Tom, who may know the child’s name but has yet to internalize the reader’s identification of her as the “little Eva” whom she will become. Stowe’s alteration of this passage to the generic “the little one” in the Jewett edition suggests that the phrase “little Eva” in the serial implied a degree of familiarity by Tom or the reader that prior experience did not yet merit. Stowe prepared carefully the strong hints about Eva’s fate in the novel. While one can attribute the alteration to authorial fine-tuning of the draft, one can be relatively confident that Stowe in her serial composition had by this time a very clear conception—and presumably nearly complete drafts—of the novel’s next ten to twelve chapters. [Back]

Note 7

should say twelve hundred dollars | Era pg. 145
should say thirteen hundred dollars | Jewett (1852) vol. 1, pg. 216

In the Era version Haley offers to sell Tom to St. Clare for “twelve hundred” dollars. In the Jewett edition, Haley offers Tom to St. Clare for “thirteen hundred” dollars. Though the actual price that St. Clare pays is not specified, in both serial and Jewett edition St. Clare appears to pay the price that Haley requests. Later in the work, when Tom is auctioned and purchased by Simon Legree, his price as property in both serial and book is twice specified as twelve hundred dollars.

As Stowe when she revises this passage for the Jewett edition knows that Tom in later chapters will be sold to Legree for twelve hundred dollars, she by revising the serial text to the Jewett edition’s higher price of “thirteen hundred” dollars may suggest that St. Clare pays an inflated price for Tom. Eva presses her father to not consider price. A quality of St. Clare’s characer to be brought out later is his carelessness with money: his frugal New England cousin Miss Ophelia believes him to be wasteful. [Back]

Note 8

worth considerable, just as you may say, for his body, | Era pg. 145
worth considerable, just, as you may say, for his body, | Jewett (1852) vol. 1, pg. 217

In the Era serial, Haley’s word “just” in the phrase “just as you may say” is more likely to be understood in the sense of “precisely” or “very nearly.” In the Jewett edition, the parenthetical commas setting off the phrase “as you may say” can slightly alter the inferred meaning of the word “just.”

While the Era’s sense remains a valid reading in the Jewett edition also, the marking of the parnethetical phrase may imply Haley’s claim that Tom’s price is “just” in the sense of honorable, fair, or consistent with moral rightness. The comma may raise, if only slightly, the reader’s awareness of the dramatic irony, that Haley’s choice of the word “just” is another instance of his unconscious rationalization of slavery, his inability to recognize that designating a human as property is unjust. [Back]

Note 9

on for his religion?” ¶ “You | Era pg. 145
on for this religion?” ¶ “You | Jewett (1852) vol. 1, pg. 218

In the Era, the religion for which St. Clare pays is Tom’s attribute, a “property” that Tom as a slave has. In the Jewett edition, St. Clare pays for religion, but “religion” is a secondary form of “property,” which is bundled with Tom as human merchandise. The variant word intrigues because the degree to which Tom’s religion can be purchased as the master’s property, for the master’s benefit, or as Tom’s property, which is independent of him, is the subject that the two men debate facetiously while pretending to haggle over the price for Tom.

The Era version is suggestive, for it is St. Clare who proposes that he purchases Tom’s religion with his body. Haley responds to St. Clare’s question by distinguishing between types of religion. He stresses that Tom’s religion is a financially valuable piety, the type that is “quiet, stiddy, honest pious.” Following Haley’s assertion, St. Clare requests additional assurance that he can buy “this kind of pious.” In the Jewett edition, then, where this phrase echoes the earlier, St. Clare directly prompts Haley’s effort to distinguish types of piety. In the serial text by contrast, the form “his” telescopes their other exchange, St. Clare’s request for assurance that Tom’s religion will be registered in the “book up above, as something belonging to me”—that the property which is Tom’s (piety) will be transferred with his body for the master’s benefit. [Back]

Copyright 2011. For introduction and annotation, all rights reserved. The text is distributed under a Creative Commons License. Creative Commons License Uncle Tom’s Cabin: National Era by Harriet Beecher Stowe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at Copyright Commons License.

Chapter and Commentary Table of Contents

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