Scholarly Editing

The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing

2012, Volume 33

Selection from Uncle Tom’s Cabin: A Digital Critical Edition: “Topsy”: Houghton, Osgood & Co. “New Edition,” 1879

by Harriet Beecher StoweEdited by Wesley Raabe and Les Harrison
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X
CHAPTER XIX.Topsy. ¶ One morning,witness: National Era
CHAPTER XX.TOPSY. ¶ ONE morning,witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
CHAPTER XX.TOPSY. ¶ OONE morning,witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
CHAPTER XX.TOPSY. ¶ ONE morning, witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
CHAPTER XX.TOPSY. ¶ ONE morning,witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

Chapter Numbering
The National Era installment of the “Topsy” chapter appeared on 6 November 1851. The chapter is numbered XIX in the serial. The number XIX continues the chapter-number sequence in the serial, but the previous installment, 23 October, had an error in the sequence. Note that the previous week, 30 October, is one in which no installment from Uncle Tom’s Cabin is published in the Era.
On 23 October, the installment was labeled “CHAPTER XVIII—Continued.” A week earlier, 16 October, the serial installment had the same label, “CHAPTER XVIII—Continued.” But the 16 October installment also included a chapter break that is labeled “CHAPTER XIX.—St. Clare’s History and Opinions,” a chapter division that is unique to the Era version of the text.
We infer that the 23 October chapter was numbered “18” because a newspaper compositor failed to notice the mid-column introduction of the new chapter named after St. Clare on 16 October. Therefore, though the chapter number XIX for the Topsy chapter continues the error from the previous installment, it continues the number sequence that began with Chapter XVIII on 23 October and continued for the remainder of the serial run.
The error in number sequence is scarcely noticeable in the serial. When the Jewett text was set into book form, Stowe or her publisher may have decided to correct the error in the serial sequence by creating new chapter divisions, especially as the two chapters labeled as Miss Ophelia’s opinions (XVIII and XIX) close the first volume and open the second volume of the Jewett first edition (1852). The title of the previous chapter in the serial, “St. Clare’s History and Opinions” is a more apt description of the chapter’s content. Though Miss Ophelia’s experiences are significant in the first of these two companion chapters, St. Clare’s opinions dominate the second. That chapter titles were not a significant concern in the Era is illustrated by the long series of untitled chapters between “Henrique” (20 Nov. 1851) and “The Martyr” (11 Mar. 1852). All later reprints follow the Jewett edition chapter numbers and divisions.
ONE morning, while Miss Ophelia was busy in some
of her domestic cares, St. Clare’s voice was heard,
calling her at the foot of the stairs.
“Come down here,
X
down here, Cousin, I’ve somethingwitness: National Era
down here, Cousin; I’ve somethingwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
down here, cousin; I’ve somethingwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
down here, cousin; I’ve somethingwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
down here, cousin; I’ve somethingwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The word “Cousin,” when capitalized, suggests a formal title. Because “Cousin” is not a formal title, the reader infers that the use of capitalization highlights the teasing quality of Augustine St. Clare’s banter with Miss Ophelia. In the National Era, St. Clare only uses the upper-case form once in this chapter, when he first calls Miss Ophelia so that he can exhibit Topsy for her. In the two-volume Jewett edition (1852), St. Clare in this chapter uses the upper-case form “Cousin” whenever he addresses Miss Ophelia, which suggests that he continues to engage in teasing banter.
By contrast, in all subsequent editions, the Jewett “Million” (1852/53) and “Illustrated” (1853) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), St. Clare always addresses Miss Ophelia with the lower-case form “cousin.” If the text of the Era serial reflects the manuscript, Stowe intended originally to open the chapter with St. Clare’s teasing of Miss Ophelia and then to assume the generic lower-case form of address, which implies greater sincerity in his later address to her. Either Stowe or a Jewett compositor chose to capitalize all instances of “Cousin” in the Jewett first edition. When the word is not capitalized, it tones down the satiric quality and instead emphasizes St. Clare’s genuine insistence that Miss Ophelia’s criticism of slavery as a system is pointless if not backed up with action.
I ’ve something to
show you.”
“What is it?” said Miss Ophelia, coming down, with her
sewing in her hand.
“I ’ve made a purchase for your department,—see here,”
said St. Clare; and, with the word, he pulled along a little
negro girl, about eight or nine years of age.
She was one of the blackest of her race; and her round,
shining eyes, glittering as glass beads, moved with quick and
restless glances over everything in the room. Her mouth, half
open with astonishment at the wonders of the new Mas’r’s
parlor, displayed a white and brilliant set of teeth. Her
woolly hair was braided in sundry little tails, which stuck out
in every direction. The expression of her face was an odd
mixture of shrewdness and cunning, over which was oddly
drawn, like a kind of veil, an expression of the most doleful
gravity and solemnity. She was dressed in a single filthy,
ragged garment, made of bagging; and stood with her hands
demurely folded before her. Altogether, there was something
odd and goblin-like about her appearance,—something, as
Miss Ophelia afterwards said, “so heathenish,” as to inspire
that good lady with utter dismay; and, turning to St. Clare,
she said,—
“Augustine, what in the world have you brought that thing
here for?”
“For you to educate, to be sure, and train in the way she
should go. I thought she was rather a funny specimen in the
Jim Crow line. Here, Topsy,” he added, giving a whistle, as a
man would to call the attention of a dog, “give us a song, now,
and show us some of your dancing.”
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The black, glassy eyes glittered with a kind of wicked droll-
ery, and the thing struck up, in a clear shrill voice, an odd
negro melody, to which she kept time with her hands and
feet, spinning round, clapping her hands, knocking her knees
together, in a wild, fantastic sort of time, and producing in her
throat all those odd guttural sounds which distinguish the
native music of her race; and finally, turning a somerset or
two, and giving a prolonged closing note, as odd and unearthly
as that of a steam-whistle, she came suddenly down on the
carpet, and stood with her hands folded, and a most sanctimo-
nious expression of meekness and solemnity over her face, only
broken by the cunning glances which she shot askance from
the corners of her eyes.
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Miss Ophelia stood silent, perfectly paralyzed with amaze-
ment.
St. Clare, like a mischievous fellow as he was, appeared to en-
joy her astonishment; and, addressing the child again, said,—
“Topsy, this is your new mistress.
X
new mistress. I’m going towitness: National Era
new mistress. I’m going towitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
new mistress. I am going towitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
new mistress. I’m going towitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
new mistress. I’m going towitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The phrase “I am” in the Jewett “Million” edition (1852/53) is presumably an inadvertent compositorial expansion of Stowe’s preferred contraction.
going to give you
up to her; see, now, that you behave yourself.”
“Yes,
X
yourself.” ¶ “Yes, mass’r,” said Topsywitness: National Era
yourself.” ¶ “Yes, Mas’r,” said Topsy,witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
yourself.” ¶ “Yes, Mas’r,” said Topsy,witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
yourself.” ¶ “Yes, mas’r,” said Topsy,witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
yourself.” ¶ “Yes, Mas’r,” said Topsy,witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the National Era serial, the lower-case form “mass’r” predominates, which reflects the practice of lower-case “masser” in Stowe’s manuscript. The Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) use consistently the capitalized “Mas’r.” In the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), an uncapitalized form of the word appears, “mas’r.” The “Illustrated” edition retains the dialect apostrophe of the two-volume and the “Million” editions, but its form “mas’r,” like its form “missis,” may imply that the title of master within slavery is an unlawful convention that should not be honored with capitalization.
For the two-volume and “Million” editions, the printer George C. Rand or publisher Jewett may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional capitalization of this word form, perhaps so that the Jewett editions could appeal to a broader audience than the Era’s anti-slavery readers. Stowe presumably sought to return the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” word to a form closer to the manuscript and serial practice. If the more select audiences of the work in an anti-slavery newspaper and the “Illustrated” edition are expected to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, such readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that linguistic conventions that are associated with courtesy support the perpetuation of slavery as an unlawful system. The Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) follows the practice of the two-volume Jewett edition. Also see variant dialect forms of missis.
said Topsy, with sanctimonious gravity, her
wicked eyes twinkling as she spoke.
“You ’re going to be good, Topsy, you understand,” said
St. Clare.
X
St. Clare. ¶ “Oh yes, mass’r,” said Topsy,witness: National Era
St. Clare. ¶ “O yes, Mas’r,” said Topsy,witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
St. Clare. ¶ “O yes, Mas’r,” said Topsy,witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
St. Clare. ¶ “O, yes, mas’r,” said Topsy,witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
St. Clare. ¶ “O, yes, Mas’r,” said Topsy,witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The form “Oh” is more common in the National Era serial and in Stowe’s surviving manuscript pages. The form “O” is the printer’s conventional spelling that predominates in the three Jewett editions. The Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) follows the practice of the first Jewett edition (1852).
said Topsy, with another twinkle, her hands
still devoutly folded.
“Now, Augustine, what upon earth is this for?” said Miss
Ophelia. “Your house is so full of these little plagues, now,
that a body can’t set down their foot without treading on ’em.
I get up in the
X
morning, and I find onewitness: National Era
morning, and [omit] find onewitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
morning, and [omit] find onewitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
morning, and [omit] find onewitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
morning, and [omit] find onewitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In this sentence of multiple parallel clauses, parts of clauses are dropped out when clauses of similar form are repeated. As the manuscript section is not extant, and as reason that “I” was retained or dropped is indifferent, the author, the printer George C. Rand’s compositor, or a Jewett proofreader may be responsible for the alteration.
asleep behind the door,
and see one black head poking out from under the table, one
lying on the door-mat,—and they are mopping and
X
mopping and moving and grinningwitness: National Era
mopping and mowing and grinningwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
mopping and mowing and grinningwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
mopping, and mowing, and grinningwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
mopping and mowing and grinningwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the phrase “mopping and mowing” refers to grimacing and making faces. The National Era serial form “moving” may represent an effort to avoid repetition of sense with the word “grinning.” But it is more likely that the newspaper serial form is an error that originates in the authorial manuscript or the serial typesetting, which is corrected in all subsequent editions.

and grinning between all the railings, and tumbling over the
kitchen floor! What on earth did you want to bring this one
for?”
“For you to educate,—did n’t I tell you? You ’re always
preaching about educating. I thought I would make you a
present of a fresh-caught specimen, and let you try your hand
on her, and bring her up in the way she should go.”
I don’t want her, I am sure;—I have more to do with
’em now than I want to.”
“That ’s
X
to.” ¶ “That’s you, Christians all over—you’ll get up witness: National Era
to.” ¶ “That’s you Christians, all over!—you’ll get up witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
to.” ¶ “That’s you Christians, all over!—you’ll get up witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
to.” ¶ “That’s you Christians, all over!—you’ll get up witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
to.” ¶ “That’s you Christians, all over!—you’ll get up witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the National Era serial, a comma follows “you,” and no exclamation mark precedes the em dash after “over.” The newspaper form suggests that Augustine St. Clare implies a fault in Miss Ophelia’s Christianity: the form of “Christians” is an aspect that she wears, with an emphasis on outer appearance. The reading is inferred based on voice inflection that the rhetorical style of pointing permits. In the Jewett editions, two-volume (1852), “Million” (1852/53), and “Illustrated” (1853), and in the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), all of which use syntactic punctuation, St. Clare labels Miss Ophelia a representative Christian, and the exclamation mark emphasizes his act of labeling.
get up a
X
up a Society, and getwitness: National Era
up a society, and getwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
up a society, and getwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
up a society, and getwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
up a society, and getwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

Capitalization of Society
The capital “S” of Society in National Era may refer to a particular beneficent society. Regardless of whether capitalized, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s word is ambiguous, but capitalization may suggest a group that serial readers would associate with membership in a national anti-slavery society. To join a Society is to participate in recognized anti-slavery activism, which the subscribers to the Era would hardly consider radical. To join a generic and lower-case society, by contrast, could include beneficent activities of a local or limited scope, a form of political activism that St. Clare may dismiss as ineffective.
Stowe’s father Lyman Beecher actively promoted the Cincinnati Colonization Society, a branch of the American Colonization Society, which encouraged conciliation with advocates of slavery and hoped to limit the social disruption of anti-slavery activism. During the Lane Seminary Debates of 1834, Beecher’s moderation was repudiated by Theodore Weld and his fellow students. Weld and the Lane Students approved the more radical policies of William Lloyd Garrison and the American Anti-Slavery Society, which advocated immediate emancipation. See Joan D. Hedrick, Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 102–05; Thomas D. Matijasic, “The African Colonization Movement and Ohio’s Protestant Community” Phylon 46 (1985): 20.

and get some poor missionary to spend all his days among
just such heathen. But let me see one of you that would take
one into your house with you, and take the labor of their conver-
sion on yourselves! No; when it comes to that, they are dirty
and disagreeable, and it ’s too much care, and so on.”
“Augustine, you know I did n’t think of it in that light,”
said Miss Ophelia, evidently softening. “Well, it might be a
real missionary work,” said she, looking rather more favorably
on the child.
St. Clare had touched the right string. Miss Ophelia’s con-
scientiousness was ever on the alert. “But,” she added, “I
really did n’t see the need of buying this one;—there are
X
there are enough now in your house to takewitness: National Era
there are enough now, in your house, to takewitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
there are enough, now in your house, to takewitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
there are enough now, in your house, to takewitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
there are enough now, in your house, to takewitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The National Era serial often employs rhetorical punctuation, so no commas set off the adverbial modifier “now” to specify which aspect of Miss Ophelia’s sentence it modifies. The vocal stress that the reader places on “now” determines whether Miss Ophelia intends the word to modify “enough” or the prepositional phrase “in your house.” If the former, Miss Ophelia places slightly greater emphasis on the presence of “enough” slaves. If the latter, she places slightly greater emphasis on the house’s capacity for additional slaves.
The Jewett first edition (1852) and “Illustrated Edition” (1853) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) provide more conventional, but differing, syntactic punctuation forms, “enough now,” by which Miss Ophelia may imply that her ability to tolerate additional slaves has reached its limit. The punctuation of the Jewett “Million” edition (1852/53), with a comma after “enough,” offers a quizzical distinction, which places a slightly greater emphasis on the word “now,” perhaps to indicate a rhetorical possibility that is also suggested if commas are omitted, that a domestic household has a finite capacity for slave children.
to take all my time and skill.”
“Well, then,
X
“Well, then, cousin,” said St.witness: National Era
“Well, then, Cousin,” said St.witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
“Well, then, cousin,” said St.witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
“Well, then, cousin,” said St.witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
“Well, then, cousin,” said St.witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The word “Cousin,” when capitalized, suggests a formal title. Because “Cousin” is not a formal title, the reader infers that the use of capitalization highlights the teasing quality of Augustine St. Clare’s banter with Miss Ophelia. In the National Era, St. Clare only uses the upper-case form once in this chapter, when he first calls Miss Ophelia so that he can exhibit Topsy for her. In the two-volume Jewett edition (1852), St. Clare in this chapter uses the upper-case form “Cousin” whenever he addresses Miss Ophelia, which suggests that he continues to engage in teasing banter.
By contrast, in all subsequent editions, the Jewett “Million” (1852/53) and “Illustrated” (1853) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), St. Clare always addresses Miss Ophelia with the lower-case form “cousin.” If the text of the Era serial reflects the manuscript, Stowe intended originally to open the chapter with St. Clare’s teasing of Miss Ophelia and then to assume the generic lower-case form of address, which implies greater sincerity in his later address to her. Either Stowe or a Jewett compositor chose to capitalize all instances of “Cousin” in the Jewett first edition. When the word is not capitalized, it tones down the satiric quality and instead emphasizes St. Clare’s genuine insistence that Miss Ophelia’s criticism of slavery as a system is pointless if not backed up with action.
said St. Clare, drawing her aside, “I
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ought to beg your pardon for my good-for-nothing speeches.
You are so good, after all, that there ’s no sense in them. Why,
the fact is, this concern belonged to a couple of drunken crea-
tures that keep a low restaurant that I have to pass by every
day, and I was tired of hearing her screaming, and them beat-
ing and swearing at her. She looked bright and funny, too,
as if something might be made of her,—so I bought her, and
I ’ll give her to you. Try, now, and give her a good orthodox
New England bringing up, and see what it ’ll make of her.
You know I have n’t any gift that way; but I ’d like you to
try.”
“Well, I ’ll do what I can,” said Miss Ophelia; and she
approached her new subject very much as a person might be
supposed to approach a black spider, supposing them to have
benevolent designs toward it.
“She ’s dreadfully dirty, and half naked,” she said.
“Well, take her down stairs, and make some of them clean
and clothe her up.”
Miss Ophelia carried her to the kitchen regions.
“Don’t see what
X
see what mass’r St. Clarewitness: National Era
see what Mas’r St. Clarewitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
see what Mas’r St. Clarewitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
see what Mas’r St. Clarewitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
see what Mas’r St. Clarewitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The capitalized form “Mas’r,” which typically appears in the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” edition (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), is in this instance retained in the “Illustrated Edition” (1853). The National Era serial has its usual lower-case form “mass’r,” which follows the capitalization practice of the surviving manuscript pages.
Since the “Illustrated Edition” generally has the form “mas’r,” Dinah’s use of the capitalized form may represent a compositor’s oversight. However, Dinah in these words notes her disapproval of her master Augustine St. Clare’s purchase of Topsy. To readers accustomed with the usual capitalization practice in this edition, Dinah’s word form could suggest that she adopts deliberately the most sycophantic form of address to soften her critique of St. Clare’s act. Also see variant dialect forms of master and missis.
St. Clare wants of ’nother nigger!”
said Dinah, surveying the new arrival with no friendly air.
“Won’t have her round under my feet, I know!”
“Pah!” said Rosa and Jane, with supreme disgust; “let her
keep out of our way! What in the world
X
the world mass’r wanted anotherwitness: National Era
the world Mas’r wanted anotherwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
the world Mas’r wanted anotherwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
the world mas’r wanted anotherwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
the world Mas’r wanted anotherwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the National Era serial, the lower-case form “mass’r” predominates, which reflects the practice of lower-case “masser” in Stowe’s manuscript. The Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) use consistently the capitalized “Mas’r.” In the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), an uncapitalized form of the word appears, “mas’r.” The “Illustrated” edition retains the dialect apostrophe of the two-volume and the “Million” editions, but its form “mas’r,” like its form “missis,” may imply that the title of master within slavery is an unlawful convention that should not be honored with capitalization.
For the two-volume and “Million” editions, the printer George C. Rand or publisher Jewett may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional capitalization of this word form, perhaps so that the Jewett editions could appeal to a broader audience than the Era’s anti-slavery readers. Stowe presumably sought to return the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” word to a form closer to the manuscript and serial practice. If the more select audiences of the work in an anti-slavery newspaper and the “Illustrated” edition are expected to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, such readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that linguistic conventions that are associated with courtesy support the perpetuation of slavery as an unlawful system. The Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) follows the practice of the two-volume Jewett edition. Also see variant dialect forms of missis.
wanted another
of these low niggers for, I can’t see!”
“You go ’long! No more nigger dan you be, Miss Rosa,”
said Dinah, who felt this last remark a reflection on herself.
“You seem to tink yourself white folks. You
X
folks. You aint nerry one,witness: National Era
folks. You an’t nerry one,witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
folks. You an’t nerry one,witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
folks. You an’t nerry one,witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
folks. You an’t nerry one,witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The National Era serial reflects Stowe’s manuscript preference for “aint,” which publisher John P. Jewett normalized to “an’t” in the two-volume (1852), “Million” (1852/53), and “Illustrated” (1853) editions. The Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) continued the practice. The form “aint” implies a pejorative difference in class, region, or race. The form “an’t” also departs from conventional English, but the form is less pejorative and emphasizes instead pronunciation. The execution of dialect is defensible for mid-century standards of consistency for spelling but faulty by standards of the late nineteenth or the early twentieth century.
nerry one,
black nor white. I ’d like to be one or turrer.”
Miss Ophelia saw that there was nobody in the camp that
would undertake to oversee the cleansing and dressing of the
new arrival; and so she was forced to do it herself, with some
very ungracious and reluctant assistance from Jane.
It is not for ears polite to hear the particulars of the first
toilet of a neglected, abused child. In fact, in this world, mul-
titudes must live and die in a state that it would be too great
a shock to the nerves of their fellow-mortals even to hear de-
scribed. Miss Ophelia had a good, strong, practical deal of
resolution; and she went through all the disgusting details
with heroic thoroughness, though, it must be confessed, with no
very gracious air,—for endurance was the utmost to which
her principles could bring her. When she saw, on the back
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and shoulders of the child, great welts and calloused spots,
ineffaceable marks of the system under which she had grown
up thus far, her heart became pitiful within her.
“See there!” said Jane, pointing to the marks, “don’t that
show she ’s a limb? We ’ll have fine works with her, I reckon.
I hate these nigger young uns! so disgusting! I wonder that
X
wonder that mass’r would buywitness: National Era
wonder that Mas’r would buywitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
wonder that Mas’r would buywitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
wonder that mas’r would buywitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
wonder that Mas’r would buywitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the National Era serial, the lower-case form “mass’r” predominates, which reflects the practice of lower-case “masser” in Stowe’s manuscript. The Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) use consistently the capitalized “Mas’r.” In the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), an uncapitalized form of the word appears, “mas’r.” The “Illustrated” edition retains the dialect apostrophe of the two-volume and the “Million” editions, but its form “mas’r,” like its form “missis,” may imply that the title of master within slavery is an unlawful convention that should not be honored with capitalization.
For the two-volume and “Million” editions, the printer George C. Rand or publisher Jewett may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional capitalization of this word form, perhaps so that the Jewett editions could appeal to a broader audience than the Era’s anti-slavery readers. Stowe presumably sought to return the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” word to a form closer to the manuscript and serial practice. If the more select audiences of the work in an anti-slavery newspaper and the “Illustrated” edition are expected to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, such readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that linguistic conventions that are associated with courtesy support the perpetuation of slavery as an unlawful system. The Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) follows the practice of the two-volume Jewett edition. Also see variant dialect forms of missis.
would buy her!”
The “young un” alluded to heard all these comments with
the subdued and doleful air which seemed habitual to her, only
scanning, with a keen and furtive glance of her flickering eyes,
the ornaments which Jane wore in her ears. When arrayed at
last in a suit of decent and whole clothing, her hair cropped
short to her head, Miss Ophelia, with some satisfaction, said she
looked more Christian-like than she did, and in her own mind
began to mature some plans for her instruction.
Sitting down before her, she began to question her.
“How old are you, Topsy?”
“Dunno, Missis,” said the image, with a grin that showed
all her teeth.
“Don’t know how old you are? Did n’t anybody ever tell
you? Who was your mother?”
“Never had none!” said the child, with another grin.
“Never had any mother? What do you mean? Where
were you born?”
“Never was born!” persisted Topsy, with another grin, that
looked so goblin-like, that, if Miss Ophelia had been at all ner-
vous, she might have fancied that she had got hold of some
sooty gnome from the land of Diablerie; but Miss Ophelia was
not nervous, but plain and business-like, and she said, with some
sternness,—
“You must n’t answer me in that way, child; I ’m not play-
ing with you. Tell me where you were born, and who your
father and mother were.”
“Never was born,” reiterated the creature, more emphat-
ically; “never had no father nor mother, nor nothin’. I was
raised by a speculator, with lots of others. Old Aunt Sue used
to take car on us.”
The child was evidently sincere; and Jane, breaking into a
short laugh, said,—
X
short laugh, said— ¶ “Laws, missis, there’s heapswitness: National Era
short laugh, said, ¶ “Laws, Missis, there’s heapswitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
short laugh, said, ¶ “Laws, Missis, there’s heapswitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
short laugh, said,— ¶ “Laws, missis, there’s heaps witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
short laugh, said,— ¶ “Laws, Missis, there’s heapswitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
there ’s heaps of ’em. Speculators buys ’em
up cheap, when they ’s little, and gets ’em raised for market.”
“How long have you lived with your master and mistress?”
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“Dunno,
X
“Dun no, missis.” ¶ “Is itwitness: National Era
“Dun no, Missis.” ¶ “Is itwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
“Dun no, Missis.” ¶ “Is itwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
“Dun no, missis.” ¶ “Is itwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
“Dun no, missis.” ¶ “Is itwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
“Is it a year, or more, or less?”
“Dunno, Missis.”
“Laws,
X
“Laws, missis, those lowwitness: National Era
“Laws, Missis, those lowwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
“Laws, Missis, those lowwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
“Laws, missis, those lowwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
“Laws, Missis, those lowwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
those low negroes,—they can’t tell; they
don’t know anything about time,” said Jane; “they don’t know
what a year is; they don’t know their own ages.”
“Have you ever heard anything about God, Topsy?”
The child looked bewildered, but grinned as usual.
“Do you know who made you?”
“Nobody, as I knows on,” said the child, with a short laugh.
The idea appeared to amuse her considerably; for her eyes
twinkled, and she added,—
“I spect I grow’d. Don’t think nobody never made me.”
“Do you know how to sew?” said Miss Ophelia, who thought
she would turn her inquiries to something more tangible.
“No,
X
tangible. ¶ “No, missis.” ¶ “What canwitness: National Era
tangible. ¶ “No, Missis.” ¶ “What canwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
tangible. ¶ “No, Missis.” ¶ “What canwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
tangible. ¶ “No, missis.”¶ “What canwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
tangible. ¶ “No, Missis.” ¶ “What canwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
“What can you do?—what did you do for your master and
mistress?”
“Fetch water, and wash dishes, and rub knives, and wait on
folks.”
“Were they good to you?”
“Spect they was,” said the child, scanning Miss Ophelia
cunningly.
Miss Ophelia rose from this encouraging colloquy; St. Clare
was leaning over the back of her chair.
“You find virgin soil there,
X
soil there, cousin; put inwitness: National Era
soil there, Cousin; put inwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
soil there, cousin; put inwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
soil there, cousin; put inwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
soil there, cousin; put inwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The word “Cousin,” when capitalized, suggests a formal title. Because “Cousin” is not a formal title, the reader infers that the use of capitalization highlights the teasing quality of Augustine St. Clare’s banter with Miss Ophelia. In the National Era, St. Clare only uses the upper-case form once in this chapter, when he first calls Miss Ophelia so that he can exhibit Topsy for her. In the two-volume Jewett edition (1852), St. Clare in this chapter uses the upper-case form “Cousin” whenever he addresses Miss Ophelia, which suggests that he continues to engage in teasing banter.
By contrast, in all subsequent editions, the Jewett “Million” (1852/53) and “Illustrated” (1853) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), St. Clare always addresses Miss Ophelia with the lower-case form “cousin.” If the text of the Era serial reflects the manuscript, Stowe intended originally to open the chapter with St. Clare’s teasing of Miss Ophelia and then to assume the generic lower-case form of address, which implies greater sincerity in his later address to her. Either Stowe or a Jewett compositor chose to capitalize all instances of “Cousin” in the Jewett first edition. When the word is not capitalized, it tones down the satiric quality and instead emphasizes St. Clare’s genuine insistence that Miss Ophelia’s criticism of slavery as a system is pointless if not backed up with action.
put in your own ideas,
—you won’t find many to pull up.”
Miss Ophelia’s ideas of education, like all her other ideas,
were very set and definite; and of the kind that prevailed in
New England a century ago, and which are still preserved in
some very retired and unsophisticated parts, where there are no
railroads. As nearly as could be expressed, they could be com-
prised in very few words: to teach them to mind when they
were spoken to; to teach them the catechism, sewing, and read-
ing; and to whip them if they told lies. And though, of course,
in the flood of light that is now poured on education, these are
left far away in the rear, yet it is an undisputed fact that our
grandmothers raised some tolerably fair men and women under
this régime, as many of us can remember and testify. At all
events, Miss Ophelia knew of nothing else to do; and, therefore,
applied her mind to her heathen with the best diligence she
could command.
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The child was announced and considered in the family as
Miss Ophelia’s girl; and, as she was looked upon with no
gracious eye in the kitchen, Miss Ophelia resolved to confine
her sphere of operation and instruction chiefly to her own cham-
ber. With a self-sacrifice which some of our readers will
appreciate, she resolved, instead of comfortably making her own
bed, sweeping and dusting her own chamber,—which she had
hitherto done, in utter scorn of all offers of help from the
chambermaid of the establishment,—to condemn herself to the
martyrdom of instructing Topsy to perform these operations,—
ah, woe the day! Did any of our readers ever do the same,
they will appreciate the amount of her self-sacrifice.
Miss Ophelia began with Topsy by taking her into her cham-
ber, the first morning, and solemnly commencing a course of
instruction in the art and mystery of bed-making.
Behold, then, Topsy, washed and shorn of all the little
braided tails wherein her heart had delighted, arrayed in a
clean gown, with well-starched apron, standing reverently be-
fore Miss Ophelia, with an expression of solemnity well befit-
ting a funeral.
“Now, Topsy, I ’m going to show you just how my bed is
to be made. I am very particular about my bed. You must
learn exactly how to do it.”
“Yes, ma’am,” says Topsy, with a deep sigh, and a face of
woful earnestness.
“Now, Topsy, look here;—this is the hem of the sheet,—
this is the right side of the sheet, and this is the wrong;—will
you remember?”
“Yes, ma’am,” says Topsy, with another sigh.
“Well, now, the under sheet you must bring over the bolster,
—so,—and tuck it clear down under the
X
under the matrass nice andwitness: National Era
under the mattress nice andwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
under the mattress nice andwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
under the mattress nice andwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
under the mattress nice andwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

An American Spelling, Or an Error
In the National Era serial, the spelling “matrass” may be an error for “matress,” which Noah Webster in his American Dictionary of the English Language (1830) considered the “more correct spelling.” The spelling “mattrass” (with two t’s) was an acceptable alternative to “mattress.” While Stowe may use antiquated spelling “matrass,” with its loss of a “t” as an inflection from Webster, to comment on Miss Ophelia’s old-fashioned notions, it is not Stowe’s preferred spelling. In chapter 39 (Era, chap. 38 [11 Mar. 1852]) Stowe uses the typical spelling in plural “mattresses.” Therefore, the Era serial spelling is probably a typesetting error.
nice and
smooth,—so,—do you see?”
“Yes, ma’am,” said Topsy, with profound attention.
“But the upper sheet,” said Miss Ophelia, “must be brought
down in this way, and tucked under firm and smooth at the
foot,—so,—the narrow hem at the foot.”
“Yes, ma’am,” said Topsy, as before; but we will add, what
Miss Ophelia did not see, that, during the time when the good
lady’s back was turned, in the zeal of her manipulations, the
young disciple had contrived to snatch a pair of gloves and a
ribbon, which she had adroitly slipped into her sleeves, and
stood with her hands dutifully folded, as before.
View Page 285
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“Now, Topsy, let ’s see you do this,” said Miss Ophelia,
pulling off the clothes, and seating herself.
Topsy, with great gravity and adroitness, went through the
exercise completely to Miss Ophelia’s satisfaction; smoothing
the sheets, patting out every wrinkle, and exhibiting, through
the whole process, a gravity and seriousness with which her
instructress was greatly edified. By an unlucky slip, however,
a fluttering fragment of the ribbon hung out of one of her
sleeves, just as she was finishing, and caught Miss Ophelia’s
attention. Instantly she pounced upon it. “What ’s this?
You naughty, wicked child,—you ’ve been stealing this!”
The ribbon was pulled out of Topsy’s own sleeve, yet was
she not in the least disconcerted; she only looked at it with an
air of the most surprised and unconscious innocence.
“Laws! why, that ar ’s Miss Feely’s ribbon, an’t it? How
could it a got caught in my sleeve?”
“Topsy, you naughty girl, don’t you tell me a lie,—you
stole that ribbon!”
“Missis, I
X
“Missis, I declar for’t Iwitness: National Era
“Missis, I declar for’t Iwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
“Missis, I declar for’t Iwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
“Missis, I declare for’t, Iwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
“Missis, I declar for’t Iwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853) Topsy’s dialect form “declar” is corrected to “declare”; “dis yer” to “this yer”; “swarin” to “swarin’ ”; and “de time” to “the time.” The Jewett “Illustrated Edition” has fewer dialect word forms and greater use of apostrophes to indicate omitted letters, to an extent that suggests systematic alteration. By comparison with the other editions, the use of typical English word forms rather than dialect may reflect the influence of Miss Ophelia’s training. Stowe or her publisher may have altered the dialect practice for the more select audience of the “Illustrated Edition” to suggest the efficacy of educational reform efforts.
for ’t, I did n’t;—never seed it till
X
it till dis yer blessedwitness: National Era
it till dis yer blessedwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
it till dis yer blessedwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
it till this yer blessedwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
it till dis yer blessedwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853) Topsy’s dialect form “declar” is corrected to “declare”; “dis yer” to “this yer”; “swarin” to “swarin’ ”; and “de time” to “the time.” The Jewett “Illustrated Edition” has fewer dialect word forms and greater use of apostrophes to indicate omitted letters, to an extent that suggests systematic alteration. By comparison with the other editions, the use of typical English word forms rather than dialect may reflect the influence of Miss Ophelia’s training. Stowe or her publisher may have altered the dialect practice for the more select audience of the “Illustrated Edition” to suggest the efficacy of educational reform efforts.
yer
blessed minnit.”
“Topsy,” said Miss Ophelia, “don’t you know it ’s wicked
to tell lies?”
“I never tells no lies, Miss Feely,” said Topsy, with vir-
tuous gravity; “it ’s jist the truth I ’ve been a tellin’ now, and
an’t nothin’ else.”
“Topsy, I shall have to whip you, if you tell lies so.”
X
lies so.” ¶ “Law, missis, if you’switness: National Era
lies so.” ¶ “Laws, Missis, if you’switness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
lies so.” ¶ “Laws, Missis, if you’switness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
lies so.” ¶ “Laws, missis, if you’switness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
lies so.” ¶ “Laws, Missis, if you’switness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
if you ’s to whip all day, could n’t say no
other way,” said Topsy, beginning to blubber. “I never seed
dat ar,—it must a got caught in my sleeve. Miss Feely must
have left it on the bed, and it got caught in the clothes, and so
got in my sleeve.”
Miss Ophelia was so indignant at the barefaced lie, that she
caught the child and shook her.
“Don’t you tell me that again!”
The shake brought the gloves on to the floor, from the other
sleeve.
“There, you!” said Miss Ophelia, “will you tell me now,
you did n’t steal the ribbon?”
Topsy now confessed to the gloves, but still persisted in
denying the ribbon.
“Now, Topsy,” said Miss Ophelia, “if you ’ll confess all
about it, I won’t whip you this time.” Thus adjured, Topsy
View Page 286
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confessed to the ribbon and gloves, with woful protestations of
penitence.
“Well now, tell me. I know you must have taken other
things since you have been in the house, for I let you run
about all day yesterday. Now, tell me if you took anything,
and I shan’t whip you.”
“Laws,
X
you.” ¶ “Laws, missis, I tookwitness: National Era
you.” ¶ “Laws, Missis! I tookwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
you.” ¶ “Laws, Missis! I tookwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
you.” ¶ “Laws, missis! I tookwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
you.” ¶ “Laws, Missis! I tookwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
I took Miss Eva’s red thing she wars on
her neck.”
“You did, you naughty child!—Well, what else?”
“I took Rosa’s yer-rings,—them red ones.”
“Go bring them to me this minute, both of ’em.”
“Laws,
X
’em.” ¶ “Laws, missis, I can’t—they’switness: National Era
Laws, Missis! I can’t,—they’s witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
Laws, Missis! I can’t,—they’switness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
Laws, missis! I can’t,—they’switness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
Laws, Missis! I can’t,—they’switness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
I can’t,—they ’s burnt up!”
“Burnt up!—what a story! Go get ’em, or I ’ll whip
you.”
Topsy, with loud protestations, and tears, and groans, de-
clared that she could not. “They ’s burnt up,—they was.”
“What did you burn ’em up for?” said Miss Ophelia.
“’Cause I ’s wicked,—I is. I ’s mighty wicked, any how.
I can’t help it.”
Just at this moment, Eva came innocently into the room,
with the identical coral necklace on her neck.
“Why, Eva, where did you get your necklace?” said Miss
X
said Miss Ophelia. ¶ “Get it?witness: National Era
said Miss Ophelia. ¶ “Get it?witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
said Miss Ophelia.” ¶ “Get it?witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
said Miss Ophelia. ¶ “Get it?witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
said Miss Ophelia. ¶ “Get it?witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The closing quotation mark in the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853) is an error
“Get it? Why, I ’ve had it on all day,” said Eva.
“Did you have it on yesterday?”
“Yes; and what is funny, Aunty, I had it on all night. I
forgot to take it off when I went to bed.”
Miss Ophelia looked perfectly bewildered; the more so, as
Rosa, at that instant, came into the room, with a basket of
newly ironed linen poised on her head, and the coral ear-drops
shaking in her ears!
“I ’m sure I can’t tell anything what to do with such a
child!” she said, in despair. “What in the world did you
tell me you took those things for, Topsy?”
“Why,
X
Topsy?” ¶ “Why, missis said Iwitness: National Era
Topsy?” ¶ “Why, Missis said Iwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
Topsy?” ¶ “Why, Missis said Iwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
Topsy?” ¶ “Why, missis said Iwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
Topsy?” ¶ “Why, Missis said Iwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
said I must ’fess; and I could n’t think of
X
think of nothin else towitness: National Era
think of nothin’ else towitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
think of nothin else towitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
think of nothin’ else towitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
think of nothin’ else towitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)
else to ’fess,” said Topsy, rubbing her eyes.
“But, of course, I did n’t want you to confess things you
did n’t do,” said Miss Ophelia; “that ’s telling a lie, just as
much as the other.”
“Laws, now, is it?” said Topsy, with an air of innocent
wonder.
“La, there
X
“La, there aint any suchwitness: National Era
“La, there an’t any suchwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
“La, there an’t any suchwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
“La, there an’t any suchwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
“La, there an’t any suchwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The National Era serial reflects Stowe’s manuscript preference for “aint,” which publisher John P. Jewett normalized to “an’t” in the two-volume (1852), “Million” (1852/53), and “Illustrated” (1853) editions. The Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) continued the practice. The form “aint” implies a pejorative difference in class, region, or race. The form “an’t” also departs from conventional English, but the form is less pejorative and emphasizes instead pronunciation. The execution of dialect is defensible for mid-century standards of consistency for spelling but faulty by standards of the late nineteenth or the early twentieth century.
any such thing as truth in that limb,” said
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Rosa, looking indignantly at Topsy. “If I was
X
I was mass’r St. Clare,witness: National Era
I was Mas’r St. Clare,witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
I was Mas’r St. Clare,witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
I was Mas’r St. Clare,witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
I was Mas’r St. Clare,witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the National Era serial, the lower-case form “mass’r” predominates, which reflects the practice of lower-case “masser” in Stowe’s manuscript. The Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) use consistently the capitalized “Mas’r.” In the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), an uncapitalized form of the word appears, “mas’r.” The “Illustrated” edition retains the dialect apostrophe of the two-volume and the “Million” editions, but its form “mas’r,” like its form “missis,” may imply that the title of master within slavery is an unlawful convention that should not be honored with capitalization.
For the two-volume and “Million” editions, the printer George C. Rand or publisher Jewett may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional capitalization of this word form, perhaps so that the Jewett editions could appeal to a broader audience than the Era’s anti-slavery readers. Stowe presumably sought to return the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” word to a form closer to the manuscript and serial practice. If the more select audiences of the work in an anti-slavery newspaper and the “Illustrated” edition are expected to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, such readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that linguistic conventions that are associated with courtesy support the perpetuation of slavery as an unlawful system. The Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) follows the practice of the two-volume Jewett edition. Also see variant dialect forms of missis.
St.
Clare, I ’d whip her till the blood run. I would,—I ’d let
her catch it!”
“No, no, Rosa,” said Eva, with an air of command, which
the child could assume at times; “you must n’t talk so, Rosa.
I can’t bear to hear it.”
“La sakes! Miss Eva, you ’s so good, you don’t know noth-
ing how to get along with niggers. There ’s no way but to cut
’em well up, I tell ye.”
“Rosa!” said Eva, “hush! Don’t you say another word
of that sort!” and the eye of the child flashed, and her cheek
deepened its color.
Rosa was cowed in a moment.
“Miss Eva has got the St. Clare blood in her, that ’s plain.
She can
X
She can speak for all the world just likewitness: National Era
She can speak, for all the world, just likewitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
She can speak, for all the world, just likewitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
She can speak, for all the world, just likewitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
She can speak, for all the world, just likewitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

Eva as Representative Child: To Speak for the World
In the National Era serial, Evangeline St. Clare speaks on the world’s behalf. In later editions, commas set off the phrase “for all the world.”
At this moment, Eva censures Rosa’s claim that African Americans can only be managed with recourse to violence. The revised form in book editions, “She can speak, for all the world, just like her papa,” changes dramatically the sense of the statement. The world, instead of speaking through Eva, is called upon to witness the extraordinary character of this child. The insertion of these commas should probably be attributed to one of George C. Rand’s compositors or to a John P. Jewett’s proofreader. And while the alteration is in keeping with a more general effort to conform more closely to norms for syntactic punctuation, the textual alteration also mythologizes Eva as a model for others. In chapter 19 (Era chap. 18 [23 Oct. 1851]), Augustine St. Clare uses the same phrase, set off by commas, when he refers to his own father and to Miss Ophelia’s Vermont father as duplicates of one another. Eva’s sympathy for enslaved African Americans derives in part from her father’s influence.
just like her papa,” she said,
as she passed out of the room.
Eva stood looking at Topsy.
There stood the two children, representatives of the two ex-
tremes of society. The fair, high-bred child, with her golden
head, her deep eyes, her spiritual, noble brow, and prince-like
movements; and her black, keen, subtle, cringing, yet acute
neighbor. They stood the representatives of their races. The
Saxon, born of ages of cultivation, command, education, physi-
cal and moral eminence; the Afric, born of ages of oppression,
submission, ignorance, toil, and vice!
Something, perhaps, of such thoughts struggled through
Eva’s mind. But a child’s thoughts are rather dim, undefined
instincts; and in Eva’s noble nature many such were yearning
and working, for which she had no power of utterance. When
Miss Ophelia expatiated on Topsy’s naughty, wicked conduct,
the child looked perplexed and sorrowful, but said, sweetly,—
“Poor Topsy, why need you steal? You ’re going to be
taken good care of, now. I ’m sure I ’d rather give you any-
thing of mine, than have you steal it.”
It was the first word of kindness the child had ever heard in
her life; and the sweet tone and manner struck strangely on
the wild, rude heart, and a sparkle of something like a tear
shone in the keen, round, glittering eye; but it was followed
by the short laugh and habitual grin. No! the ear that
X
ear that had never heardwitness: National Era
ear that has never heardwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
ear that has never heardwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
ear that has never heardwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
ear that has never heardwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

Topsy as a Unique Child or as a Representative Slave Child
If the word is “had,” the National Era form, Topsy is singular to this work and a unique individual. As Topsy also participates in the “wench” stereotype of minstrelsy drama, the serial form asserts that Topsy as a unique individual transcends the stereotype that roots her in the tradition of a dramatic stock character. If the word is “has,” the version of all book forms, Topsy represents the neglected slave children still in bondage. She is a propagandistic reminder that slavery permits the abuse of defenseless children.

never heard anything but abuse is strangely incredulous of
anything so heavenly as kindness; and Topsy only thought
Eva’s speech something funny and inexplicable,—she did not
believe it.
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But what was to be done with Topsy? Miss Ophelia found
the case a puzzler; her rules for bringing up did n’t seem to
apply. She thought she would take time to think of it; and,
by the way of gaining time, and in hopes of some indefinite
moral virtues supposed to be inherent in dark closets, Miss
Ophelia shut Topsy up in one till she had arranged her ideas
further on the subject.
“I don’t see,” said Miss Ophelia to St. Clare, “how I ’m
going to manage that child, without whipping her.”
“Well, whip her, then, to your heart’s content; I ’ll give
you full power to do what you like.”
“Children always have to be whipped,” said Miss Ophelia;
“I never heard of bringing them up without.”
“O, well, certainly,” said St. Clare; “do as you think best.
Only, I ’ll make one suggestion: I ’ve seen this child whipped
with a poker, knocked down with the shovel or tongs, which-
ever came handiest; and, seeing that she is used to that style
of operation, I think your whippings will have to be pretty
energetic, to make much impression.”
View Page 289
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“What is to be done with her, then?” said Miss Ophelia.
“You have started a serious question,” said St. Clare; “I wish
you ’d answer it. What is to be done with a human being
that can be governed only by the lash,—that fails,—it ’s a
very common state of things down here!”
“I ’m sure I don’t know; I never saw such a child as this.”
“Such children are very common among us, and such men and
women, too. How are they to be governed?” said St. Clare.
“I ’m sure it ’s more than I can say,” said Miss Ophelia.
“Or I either,” said St. Clare. “The horrid cruelties and
outrages that once
X
that once and a whilewitness: National Era
that once and a whilewitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
that once in a whilewitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
that once and a whilewitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
that once in a whilewitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The phrase “once and a while,” though deprecated in modern usage manuals, was used elsewhere by Stowe and appears to reflect her preference. The National Era serial, the Jewett two-volume (1852) and the “Illustrated Edition” (1853) use the less familiar form. The phrase “once in a while” was more common, but the alteration to the more familiar phrase in the Jewett “Million” edition (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) is more likely to reflect a compositor’s or proofreader’s preference than authorial correction.
a while find their way into the papers,
—such cases as Prue’s, for example,—what do they come
from? In many cases, it is a gradual hardening process on
both sides,—the owner growing more and more cruel, as the
servant more and more callous. Whipping and abuse are like
laudanum; you have to double the dose as the sensibilities
decline. I saw this very early when I became an owner; and
I resolved never to begin, because I did not know when I
should stop,—and I resolved, at least, to protect my own
moral nature. The consequence is, that my servants act like
spoiled children; but I think that better than for us both to
be brutalized together. You have talked a great deal about
our responsibilities in educating,
X
in educating, cousin. I reallywitness: National Era
in educating, Cousin. I reallywitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
in educating, cousin. I reallywitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
in educating, cousin. I reallywitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
in educating, cousin. I reallywitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The word “Cousin,” when capitalized, suggests a formal title. Because “Cousin” is not a formal title, the reader infers that the use of capitalization highlights the teasing quality of Augustine St. Clare’s banter with Miss Ophelia. In the National Era, St. Clare only uses the upper-case form once in this chapter, when he first calls Miss Ophelia so that he can exhibit Topsy for her. In the two-volume Jewett edition (1852), St. Clare in this chapter uses the upper-case form “Cousin” whenever he addresses Miss Ophelia, which suggests that he continues to engage in teasing banter.
By contrast, in all subsequent editions, the Jewett “Million” (1852/53) and “Illustrated” (1853) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), St. Clare always addresses Miss Ophelia with the lower-case form “cousin.” If the text of the Era serial reflects the manuscript, Stowe intended originally to open the chapter with St. Clare’s teasing of Miss Ophelia and then to assume the generic lower-case form of address, which implies greater sincerity in his later address to her. Either Stowe or a Jewett compositor chose to capitalize all instances of “Cousin” in the Jewett first edition. When the word is not capitalized, it tones down the satiric quality and instead emphasizes St. Clare’s genuine insistence that Miss Ophelia’s criticism of slavery as a system is pointless if not backed up with action.
I really wanted you
to try with one child, who is a specimen of thousands among
us.”
“It is your system makes such children,” said Miss Ophelia.
“I know it; but they are made,—they exist,—and what
is to be done with them?”
“Well, I can’t say I thank you for the experiment. But,
then, as it appears to be a duty, I shall persevere and try, and
do the best I can,” said Miss Ophelia; and Miss Ophelia, after
this, did labor, with a commendable degree of zeal and energy,
on her new subject. She instituted regular hours and employ-
ments for her, and undertook to teach her to read and to sew.
In the former
X
the former act, the childwitness: National Era
the former art, the childwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
the former art, the childwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
the former art the childwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
the former art, the childwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

Reading as “Act” or “Art”
If Topsy’s reading is an “act,” the National Era form, the meaning of a text is manifest in reading. If Topsy’s reading is an “art,” the form in all three Jewett editions and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), to arrive at meaning while reading demands active interpretation. The alteration site highlights the tension in Stowe’s work between a transparent message that is available to all readers, including children and the lowly, and the more complex messages that are accessible only to sophisticated readers. Soon Miss Ophelia will claim that Topsy, like all children, cannot be expected to understand the catechism passages that she repeats, but Topsy illustrates that she is a skeptical reader.
At multiple points in the novel, Stowe condemns artful reading. For example, see chapter 14 (11 Sep. 1851) on Tom’s reading of Scripture, where the text before him is “evidently true and divine.” Tom’s reading is contrasted to Cicero’s, which demands detailed study and the consultation of translations and annotations. Stowe’s most direct critique of artful reading is confined to one version of the text, in chapter 12 of the Era (28 Aug. 1851). There Stowe ’s narrator rebukes sophisticated readers, whom she designates satirically as a “philosophic friend,” whose reading of Christian scripture is informed by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays (1847) and Thomas Carlyle’s Critical and Miscellaneous Essays (1838). She contrasts such readers to Uncle Tom, who seeks consolation by reciting scripture to himself. The satirical passage on Carlyle and Emerson was omitted for all editions after the Era. The alteration of this word “act” may be in parallel to the earlier revision.
The recognition of this tension between plain and artful reading might be pressed further, to apply also to Stowe’s novel as a whole. To highlight textual alteration is itself a particular type of reading, which claims, contrary to Stowe’s advisory against Cicero’s practice, that the analysis of textual complexity is an “art” with the potential to enrich the plain “act” of reading.
the child was quick enough. She learned
her letters as if by magic, and was very soon able to read plain
reading; but the sewing was a more difficult matter. The
creature was as lithe as a cat, and as active as a monkey, and
the confinement of sewing was her abomination; so she broke
her needles, threw them slyly out of windows, or down in
chinks of the walls; she tangled, broke, and dirtied her thread,
or, with a sly movement, would throw a spool away altogether.
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Her motions were almost as quick as those of a practised con-
jurer, and her command of her face quite as great; and though
Miss Ophelia could not help feeling that so many accidents
could not possibly happen in succession, yet she could not,
without a watchfulness which would leave her no time for
anything else, detect her.
Topsy was soon a noted character in the establishment. Her
talent for every species of drollery, grimace, and mimicry—
for dancing, tumbling, climbing, singing, whistling, imitating
every sound that hit her fancy—seemed inexhaustible. In
her play-hours, she invariably had every child in the establish-
ment at her heels, open-mouthed with admiration and wonder,
—not excepting Miss Eva, who appeared to be fascinated by
her wild diablerie, as a dove is sometimes charmed by a glitter-
ing serpent. Miss Ophelia was uneasy that Eva should fancy
Topsy’s society so much, and implored St. Clare to forbid it.
“Poh! let the child alone,” said St. Clare. “Topsy will
do her good.”
“But so depraved a child,—are you not afraid she will
teach her some mischief?”
“She can’t teach her mischief; she might teach it to some
children, but evil rolls off Eva’s mind like dew off a cabbage-
leaf,—not a drop sinks in.”
“Don’t be too sure,” said Miss Ophelia. “I know I ’d
never let a child of mine play with Topsy.”
“Well, your children need n’t,” said St. Clare, “but mine
may; if Eva could have been spoiled, it would have been done
years ago.”
Topsy was at first despised and contemned by the upper ser-
vants. They soon found reason to alter their opinion. It was
very soon discovered that whoever cast an indignity on Topsy
was sure to meet with some inconvenient accident shortly
after;—either a pair of ear-rings or some cherished trinket would
be missing, or an article of dress would be suddenly found
utterly ruined, or the person would stumble accidentally into a
pail of hot water, or a libation of dirty slop would unaccount-
ably deluge them from above when in full gala dress;—and
on all these occasions, when investigation was made, there was
nobody found to stand sponsor for the indignity. Topsy was
cited, and had up before all the domestic judicatories, time and
again; but always sustained her examinations with most edify-
ing innocence and gravity of appearance. Nobody in the world
View Page 291
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ever doubted who did the things; but not a scrap of any direct
evidence could be found to establish the suppositions, and Miss
Ophelia was too just to feel at liberty to proceed to any lengths
without it.
The mischiefs done were always so nicely timed, also, as
further to shelter the aggressor. Thus, the times for revenge
on Rosa and Jane, the two chambermaids, were always chosen
in those seasons when (as not unfrequently happened) they
were in disgrace with their mistress, when any complaint from
them would of course meet with no sympathy. In short,
Topsy soon made the household understand the propriety of
letting her alone; and she was let alone accordingly.
Topsy was smart and energetic in all manual operations,
learning everything that was taught her with surprising quick-
ness. With a few lessons, she had learned to do the proprie-
ties of Miss Ophelia’s chamber in a way with which even that
particular lady could find no fault. Mortal hands could not
lay spread smoother, adjust pillows more accurately, sweep and
dust and arrange more perfectly, than Topsy, when she chose,—
but she did n’t very often choose. If Miss Ophelia, after three
or four days of careful and patient supervision, was so sanguine
as to suppose that Topsy had at last fallen into her way, could
do without overlooking, and so go off and busy herself about
something else, Topsy would hold a perfect carnival of confu-
sion, for some one or two hours. Instead of making the bed,
she would amuse herself with pulling off the pillow-cases, but-
ting her woolly head among the pillows, till it would sometimes
be grotesquely ornamented with feathers sticking out in various
directions; she would climb the posts, and hang head down-
ward from the tops; flourish the sheets and spreads all over
the apartment; dress the bolster up in Miss Ophelia’s night-
clothes, and enact various scenic performances with that,—
singing and whistling, and making grimaces at herself in the
looking-glass; in short, as Miss Ophelia phrased it, “raising
Cain” generally.
On one occasion, Miss Ophelia found Topsy with her very
best scarlet India Canton crape shawl wound round her head
for a turban, going on with her rehearsals before the glass in
great style,—Miss Ophelia having, with carelessness most
unheard of in her, left the key for once in her drawer.
“Topsy!” she would say, when at the end of all patience,
“what does make you act so?”
View Page 292
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X
act so?” ¶ “Dunno, missis—I spects cause I’s so witness: National Era
act so?” ¶ “Dunno, Missis,—I spects cause I’s so witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
act so?” ¶ “Dunno, Missis,—I spects cause I’s so witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
act so?” ¶ “Dun no, missis,—I spects cause I’s so witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
act so?” ¶ “Dunno, Missis,—I spects ’cause I’s so witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In this famous line, Topsy asserts that her quality of being wicked explains her sinful behavior, lying. She also reflects Miss Ophelia’s opinion and recycles the term “wicked” that Miss Ophelia had used to refer to her act of stealing the ribbon. Miss Ophelia implies that Topsy’s innate wickedness explains her stealing, and Topsy adapts to the suggestion by repeating it back to Miss Ophelia. The variant capitalization forms may inflect subtly the quality of their relationship. If the term “Missis” is capitalized, which it is in the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” (1852/53) edition and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), Topsy’s ability to adapt to conventional expectations may be implied. If “missis” is not capitalized, the form of the National Era serial and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), Topsy may resist conventional expectations. However, the reader’s perception of Topsy’s resistance by this form of capitalization would inflect the reading of the entire chapter because it conforms to the general practice of capitalization in these editions.
Based on the surviving manuscript pages, Era serial and the “Illustrated Edition” (1853), Stowe for the word “missis” probably preferred the lower-case form. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is an unwarranted convention. In the two-volume (1852) and “Million” (1852/53) edition and the “New Edition” (1879), the publisher may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional form. The choice may depend on audience. If readers of work in the Era and select readers of the “Illustrated Edition” are more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, they may be more likely to appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see dialect forms of master.
The apostrophe in “ ’cause,” which appears in the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), is probably a compositor’s alteration without authorial authority.
I ’s so wick-
ed!”
“I don’t know any-
thing what I shall do
with you, Topsy.”
“Law,
X
Topsy.” ¶ “Law, missis, you mustwitness: National Era
Topsy.” ¶ “Law, Missis, you mustwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
Topsy.” ¶ “Law, Missis, you mustwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
Topsy.” ¶ “Law, missis, you mustwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
Topsy.” ¶ “Law, Missis, you mustwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
you
must whip me; my old
X
my old missis allers whippedwitness: National Era
my old Missis allers whippedwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
my old Missis allers whippedwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
my old missis allers whippedwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
my old Missis allers whippedwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
allers whipped
me. I
X
me. I aint used towitness: National Era
me. I an’t used towitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
me. I an’t used towitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
me. I an’t used towitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
me. I an’t used towitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The National Era serial reflects Stowe’s manuscript preference for “aint,” which publisher John P. Jewett normalized to “an’t” in the two-volume (1852), “Million” (1852/53), and “Illustrated” (1853) editions. The Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) continued the practice. The form “aint” implies a pejorative difference in class, region, or race. The form “an’t” also departs from conventional English, but the form is less pejorative and emphasizes instead pronunciation. The execution of dialect is defensible for mid-century standards of consistency for spelling but faulty by standards of the late nineteenth or the early twentieth century.
used to
X
used to workin unless Iwitness: National Era
used to workin’ unless Iwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
used to workin’ unless Iwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
used to workin’ unless Iwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
used to workin’ unless Iwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The word “workin” in the National Era serial reflects the typical typesetting practice in that version, which has fewer apostrophes to indicate elided letters. The serial version is closer to Stowe’s manuscript practice. An apostrophe is added in the Jewett two-volume (1852), “Million” (1852/53), and “Illustrated” (1853) editions and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879).
unless I gets
whipped.”
“Why, Topsy, I don’t
want to whip you. You
can do well, if you ’ve a
mind to; what is the
reason you won’t?”
“Laws,
X
won’t?” ¶ “Laws, missis, I’s usedwitness: National Era
won’t?” ¶ “Laws, Missis, I’s usedwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
won’t?” ¶ “Laws, Missis, I’s usedwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
won’t?” ¶ “Laws, missis, I’s usedwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
won’t?” ¶ “Laws, Missis, I’s usedwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
I ’s
used to whippin’; I
spects it ’s good for me.”
Miss Ophelia tried the
recipe, and Topsy inva-
riably made a terrible
commotion, screaming,
groaning, and imploring,
though half an hour af-
terwards, when roosted
on some projection of the
balcony, and surrounded
by a flock of admiring
“young uns,” she would
express the utmost con-
tempt of the whole affair.
X
whole affair. ¶ “La, Miss Feelywitness: National Era
whole affair. ¶ “Law, Miss Feelywitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
whole affair. ¶ “Law, Miss Feelywitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
whole affair. ¶ “Law, Miss Feelywitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
whole affair. ¶ “Law, Miss Feelywitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

Both interjections, “La” and “Law,” are common, and the distinction does not appear to be systematic in the National Era serial. However, the interjection “La” is a seemingly meaningless interjection whereas the pronunciation “Law” in the Jewett two-volume (1852), “Million” (1852/53), and “Illustrated” (1853) editions and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” could imply that whipping is tolerated in part on the basis of legal statute. Topsy, by suggesting a connection between law and cruelty, may provide in her pronunciation another reminder that slavery is both unlawful and cruel.
Miss Feely
whip!—would n’t kill
a skeeter, her whippin’s.
Oughter see how old
Mas’r made the flesh fly;
old Mas’r know’d how!”
Topsy always made
great capital of her own
sins and enormities, evi-
dently considering them as something peculiarly distinguishing.
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X
peculiarly distinguishing. ¶ “La, you niggers,”witness: National Era
peculiarly distinguishing. ¶ “Law, you niggers,”witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
peculiarly distinguishing. ¶ “Law, you niggers,”witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
peculiarly distinguishing. ¶ “Law, you niggers,”witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
peculiarly distinguishing. ¶ “Law, you niggers,”witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

Both interjections, “La” and “Law,” are common, and the distinction does not appear to be systematic in the National Era serial. However, the interjection “La” in the serial is a seemingly meaningless interjection whereas the pronunciation “Law” the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” (1852/53) and “Illustrated” (1853) editions and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) could imply that “you niggers” are defined as “sinners” in part on the basis of legal statute. Topsy, by suggesting a connection between law and sin, may provide in her pronunciation another subtle reminder that slavery is both unlawful and sinful.
you niggers,” she would say to some of her auditors,
“does you know you ’s all sinners? Well, you is,—everybody
is. White folks is sinners too,—Miss Feely says so; but I
spects niggers is the biggest ones; but
X
ones; but lor, ye aint any onwitness: National Era
ones; but lor! ye an’t any onwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
ones; but Lor! ye an’t any onwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
ones; but lor! ye an’t any onwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
ones; but lor! ye an’t any onwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The capitalization of “Lor” in the Jewett “Million” edition (1852/53) is presumably a compositor’s alteration, but Topsy’s use of the capitalized word form and thus her emphatic naming of the Christian deity engages in a more pointed disruption of religious propriety for the audience of the “Million” edition.
any on ye
up to me. I ’s so awful wicked there can’t nobody do
X
nobody do nothin with me.witness: National Era
nobody do nothin’ with me.witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
nobody do nothin’ with me.witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
nobody do nothin’ with me.witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
nobody do nothin’ with me.witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The form “nothin” reflects the typical National Era serial practice, which has fewer apostrophes to indicate elided letters. The serial form is closer to Stowe’s manuscript practice. Also see the form “declar” or “declare.”

with me. I used to keep old
X
keep old missis a swarin witness: National Era
keep old Missis a swarin’ witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
keep old Missis a swarin’ witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
keep old Missis a swarin’ witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
keep old Missis a swarin’ witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
a
X
missis a swarin at mewitness: National Era
missis a swarin at mewitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
missis a swarin at mewitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
missis a swarin’ at mewitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
missis a swarin at mewitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853) Topsy’s dialect form “declar” is corrected to “declare”; “dis yer” to “this yer”; “swarin” to “swarin’ ”; and “de time” to “the time.” The Jewett “Illustrated Edition” has fewer dialect word forms and greater use of apostrophes to indicate omitted letters, to an extent that suggests systematic alteration. By comparison with the other editions, the use of typical English word forms rather than dialect may reflect the influence of Miss Ophelia’s training. Stowe or her publisher may have altered the dialect practice for the more select audience of the “Illustrated Edition” to suggest the efficacy of educational reform efforts.
at me half
X
me half de time. Iwitness: National Era
me half de time. Iwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
me half de time. Iwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
me half the time. Iwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
me half de time. Iwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853) Topsy’s dialect form “declar” is corrected to “declare”; “dis yer” to “this yer”; “swarin” to “swarin’ ”; and “de time” to “the time.” The Jewett “Illustrated Edition” has fewer dialect word forms and greater use of apostrophes to indicate omitted letters, to an extent that suggests systematic alteration. By comparison with the other editions, the use of typical English word forms rather than dialect may reflect the influence of Miss Ophelia’s training. Stowe or her publisher may have altered the dialect practice for the more select audience of the “Illustrated Edition” to suggest the efficacy of educational reform efforts.

time. I spects I ’s the wickedest
X
the wickedest critter in thewitness: National Era
the wickedest critter in thewitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
the wickedest critter in thewitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
the wickedest critter in thewitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
the wickedest crittur in thewitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

Both forms, “critter” and “crittur,” are common in all published versions. The form “critter” is more frequent in the National Era and the Jewett two-volume (1852), “Million” (1852/53), and “Illustrated” (1853) editions. The spelling “crittur” predominates in the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879).
in the world”; and
Topsy would cut a summerset, and come up brisk and shining
on to a higher perch, and evidently plume herself on the dis-
tinction.
X
plume herself on the distinction.
 Miss Ophelia busied herselfwitness: National Era
plume herself on the distinction.
 Miss Ophelia busied herselfwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
plume herself on the distinction.
“But I ’s boun’ to go to heaven, for all that, though,” she said, one day, after an exposé of this kind.
“Why, how ’s that, Tops?” said her master, who had been listening, quite amused.
“Why, Miss Feely ’s boun’ to go, any way; so they ’ll have me thar. Laws! Miss Feely ’s so curous they won’t none of ’em know how to wait on her.”
  Miss Ophelia busied herselfwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
plume herself on the distinction.
 Miss Ophelia busied herselfwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
plume herself on the distinction.
 Miss Ophelia busied herselfwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

Topsy’s Plan for Heaven
This brief exchange between St. Clare and Topsy is present only in the Jewett “Million” (1852/53) edition. Because the exchange echoes other instances of faulty theological doctrine in the novel, it must be authorial even though it does not appear in the earlier National Era installment, inthe Jewett first (1852) and “Illustrated” (1853) editions, or in the Hougton Osgood “New Edition ” (1879). One infers, then, that Stowe prepared this revised text for the benefit of a particular audience, those who could afford the cheapest edition and might succumb to the seductive hope that the Christian afterlife of the servant depends on the piety of the mistress.
Though her theological doctrine is faulty, Topsy, perhaps unwittingly, critiques Ophelia’s emphasis on procedure and rules rather than love. Topsy appears to believe that Miss Ophelia is bound for a Christian heaven, but Topsy assumes also that Miss Ophelia’s heaven would include a servant like herself who is capable of performing duties to Miss Ophelia’s satisfaction. Topsy joins two previous characters in the text who appear to hold a delusive hope in a theologically doubtful plan for heaven, Mr. Shelby and the slave trader Haley. Shelby’s delusion is that he might gain heaven by his wife’s “superabundance of qualities to which he had no particular pretension” (chap. 1; Era, 5 Jun. 1851), and the slave trader Haley leavens his cruelty with humanity to gain “a better chance for comin’ in the kingdom at last” (chap. 8; Era, 17 Jul. 1851). If hers is not a case of obvious self-delusion, Cassy also later in the novel will express a hope that “it can’t be that the Lord will lay sin to our account” (chap. 34; Era, chap. 33, 12 Feb. 1852). Topsy thus joins a range of characters in the novel who hope to avoid damnation but rely on doubtful theological grounds.
The inclusion of Topsy’s Plan for Heaven in the “Million” edition suggests that Stowe thought Topsy’s sentiments uniquely suited for an audience lower on the social scale. But if these readers recognize Topsy’s self-delusion, Stowe warns that Topsy has personal responsibility for her own salvation and cannot pass that responsibility to her mistress. Topsy’s plan also echoes the doctrine of obedience that some slaveholders preached to slaves. In Stowe’s Christian doctrine, everyone has personal responsibility to achieve salvation, even a slave.
Topsy’s image of herself in heaven may comment on George Aiken’s adaptation of the novel which ended, famously, with a grand tableau “representing Eva in heaven, amid clouds and a halo of glory, welcomed by angelic choirs, and accompanied by Uncle Tom and St. Clare.” Stowe also included a revised version of this passage in an adaptation for dramatic reading, The Christian Slave, A Drama. Founded on a Portion of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Dramatized by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Expressly for the Readings of Mrs. Mary E. Webb (Boston: Phillips, Sampson, 1855), p. 42.
Miss Ophelia busied herself very earnestly on Sundays, teach-
ing Topsy the catechism. Topsy had an uncommon verbal
memory, and committed with a fluency that greatly encouraged
her instructress.
“What good do you expect it is going to do her?” said St.
Clare.
“Why, it always has done children good. It ’s what chil-
dren always have to learn, you know,” said Miss Ophelia.
“Understand it or not,” said St. Clare.
“O, children never understand it at the time; but, after
they are grown up, it ’ll come to them.”
“Mine has n’t come to me yet,” said St. Clare, “though I ’ll
bear testimony that you put it into me pretty thoroughly when
I was a boy.”
“Ah, you were always good at learning, Augustine. I used
to have great hopes of you,” said Miss Ophelia.
“Well, have n’t you now?” said St. Clare.
“I wish you were as good as you were when you were a boy,
Augustine.”
“So do I, that ’s a fact,
X
a fact, cousin,” said St.witness: National Era
a fact, Cousin,” said St.witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
a fact, cousin,” said St.witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
a fact, cousin,” said St.witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
a fact, cousin,” said St.witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The word “Cousin,” when capitalized, suggests a formal title. Because “Cousin” is not a formal title, the reader infers that the use of capitalization highlights the teasing quality of Augustine St. Clare’s banter with Miss Ophelia. In the National Era, St. Clare only uses the upper-case form once in this chapter, when he first calls Miss Ophelia so that he can exhibit Topsy for her. In the two-volume Jewett edition (1852), St. Clare in this chapter uses the upper-case form “Cousin” whenever he addresses Miss Ophelia, which suggests that he continues to engage in teasing banter.
By contrast, in all subsequent editions, the Jewett “Million” (1852/53) and “Illustrated” (1853) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), St. Clare always addresses Miss Ophelia with the lower-case form “cousin.” If the text of the Era serial reflects the manuscript, Stowe intended originally to open the chapter with St. Clare’s teasing of Miss Ophelia and then to assume the generic lower-case form of address, which implies greater sincerity in his later address to her. Either Stowe or a Jewett compositor chose to capitalize all instances of “Cousin” in the Jewett first edition. When the word is not capitalized, it tones down the satiric quality and instead emphasizes St. Clare’s genuine insistence that Miss Ophelia’s criticism of slavery as a system is pointless if not backed up with action.
said St. Clare. “Well, go
ahead and catechize Topsy; may be you ’ll make out something
yet.”
Topsy, who had stood like a black statue during this discus-
sion,
X
discussion, with her hands decentlywitness: National Era
discussion, with [omit] hands decently folded witness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
discussion, with [omit] hands decently folded witness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
discussion, with [omit] hands decently folded witness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
discussion, with [omit] hands decently folded witness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

The phrase “with hands decently folded,” the form in the Jewett first (1852) and all subsequent editions, suggests greater agency on Topsy’s part. The placement of “her” in phrase “with her hands” diminishes Topsy’s agency and increases the prominence of the observer. The emphasis for this form is Miss Ophelia’s astonishment. As Stowe emphasizes Topsy’s agency, the National Era serial form is probably an authorial revision or a compositor’s error.
decently folded, now, at a signal from Miss
Ophelia, went on,—
“Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own
will, fell from the state wherein they were created.”
Topsy’s eyes twinkled, and she looked inquiringly.
“What is it, Topsy?” said Miss Ophelia.
“Please,
X
Ophelia. ¶ “Please, missis, was datwitness: National Era
Ophelia. ¶ “Please, Missis, was datwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
Ophelia. ¶ “Please, Missis, was datwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
Ophelia. ¶ “Please, missis, was datwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
Ophelia. ¶ “Please, Missis, was datwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the surviving manuscript pages, the National Era serial, and the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), the lower-case form “missis” is predominant. A lower-case form may indicate that the title “Missis,” like “Mas’r,” is a convention of courtesy that should be questioned. In the Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) and the Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879), the publisher or printer may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional forms. The choice in capitalization may reflect judgment about the audience of each publication form. If the select readers of the work in the anti-slavery Era newspaper and the “Illustrated Edition” are anticipated to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, the lower-case form could suggest that the upper-case title is unwarranted. Sympathetic readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that courtesy contributes to the support of slavery as an unlawful system. Also see the dialect forms of master.
was dat ar
X
dat ar State Kintuck?” ¶ “Whatwitness: National Era
dat ar state Kintuck?” ¶ “Whatwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
dat ar state Kintuck?” ¶ “Whatwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
dat ar state Kintuck?” ¶ “Whatwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
dat ar state Kintuck?” ¶ “Whatwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the National Era serial, “State,” “North” and “South” are typically capitalized. Because Era editor Gamaliel Bailey in his editorials drew a strong distinction between Slave Power and the Free States, the serial audience may have been more sympathetic to a sharper distinction between designations for region and for state. The lower-case form in all three Jewett editions lessened sectional distinctions. The capitalized form for “State” would also have appealed to antebellum supporters of state’s rights and slavery, but Stowe would not have advocated such a distinction.
Kintuck?”
“What
X
Kintuck?” ¶ “What State, Topsy?” ¶ “Datwitness: National Era
Kintuck?” ¶ “What state, Topsy?” ¶ “Datwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
Kintuck?” ¶ “What state, Topsy?” ¶ “Datwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
Kintuck?” ¶ “What state, Topsy?” ¶ “Datwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
Kintuck?” ¶ “What state, Topsy?” ¶ “Datwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the National Era serial, “State,” “North” and “South” are typically capitalized. Because Era editor Gamaliel Bailey in his editorials drew a strong distinction between Slave Power and the Free States, the serial audience may have been more sympathetic to a sharper distinction between designations for region and for state. The lower-case form in all three Jewett editions lessened sectional distinctions. The capitalized form for “State” would also have appealed to antebellum supporters of state’s rights and slavery, but Stowe would not have advocated such a distinction.
Topsy?”
“Dat state dey fell out of. I used to hear
X
to hear mass’r tell howwitness: National Era
to hear Mas’r tell howwitness: Jewett, First Edition, 2 Vols. (1852)
to hear Mas’r tell howwitness: Jewett, “Edition for the Million” (1852/1853)
to hear mas’r tell howwitness: Jewett, Illustrated Edition (1853)
to hear Mas’r tell howwitness: Houghton, Osgood, New Edition (1879)

Note

In the National Era serial, the lower-case form “mass’r” predominates, which reflects the practice of lower-case “masser” in Stowe’s manuscript. The Jewett two-volume (1852) and “Million” editions (1852/53) use consistently the capitalized “Mas’r.” In the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” (1853), an uncapitalized form of the word appears, “mas’r.” The “Illustrated” edition retains the dialect apostrophe of the two-volume and the “Million” editions, but its form “mas’r,” like its form “missis,” may imply that the title of master within slavery is an unlawful convention that should not be honored with capitalization.
For the two-volume and “Million” editions, the printer George C. Rand or publisher Jewett may have imposed—and Stowe may have accepted—the conventional capitalization of this word form, perhaps so that the Jewett editions could appeal to a broader audience than the Era’s anti-slavery readers. Stowe presumably sought to return the Jewett “Illustrated Edition” word to a form closer to the manuscript and serial practice. If the more select audiences of the work in an anti-slavery newspaper and the “Illustrated” edition are expected to be more sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause, such readers may appreciate the subtle insinuation that linguistic conventions that are associated with courtesy support the perpetuation of slavery as an unlawful system. The Houghton Osgood “New Edition” (1879) follows the practice of the two-volume Jewett edition. Also see variant dialect forms of missis.
tell how
we came down from Kintuck.”
View Page 294
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St. Clare laughed.
“You ’ll have to give her a meaning, or she ’ll make one,”
said he. “There seems to be a theory of emigration suggested
there.”
“O, Augustine, be still,” said Miss Ophelia; “how can I
do anything, if you will be laughing?”
“Well, I won’t disturb the exercises again, on my honor”;
and St. Clare took his paper into the parlor, and sat down, till
Topsy had finished her recitations. They were all very well,
only that now and then she would oddly transpose some im-
portant words, and persist in the mistake, in spite of every effort
to the contrary; and St. Clare, after all his promises of good-
ness, took a wicked pleasure in these mistakes, calling Topsy to
him whenever he had a mind to amuse himself, and getting her
to repeat the offending passages, in spite of Miss Ophelia’s re-
monstrances.
“How do you think I can do anything with the child, if you
will go on so, Augustine?” she would say.
“Well, it is too bad,—I won’t again; but I do like to hear
the droll little image stumble over those big words!”
“But you confirm her in the wrong way.”
“What ’s the odds? One word is as good as another to her.”
“You wanted me to bring her up right; and you ought to
remember she is a reasonable creature, and be careful of your
influence over her.”
“O, dismal! so I ought; but, as Topsy herself says, ‘I ’s so
wicked!’”
In very much this way Topsy’s training proceeded, for a year
or two,—Miss Ophelia worrying herself, from day to day, with
her, as a kind of chronic plague, to whose inflictions she became,
in time, as accustomed as persons sometimes do to the neuralgia
or sick-headache.
St. Clare took the same kind of amusement in the child that
a man might in the tricks of a parrot or a pointer. Topsy,
whenever her sins brought her into disgrace in other quarters,
always took refuge behind his chair; and St. Clare, in one way
or other, would make peace for her. From him she got many
a stray picayune, which she laid out in nuts and candies, and
distributed, with careless generosity, to all the children in the
family; for Topsy, to do her justice, was good-natured and lib-
eral, and only spiteful in self-defence. She is fairly introduced
into our corps de ballet, and will figure, from time to time, in
her turn, with other performers.