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Uncle Tom's Cabin: Novel Summary: Chapters 16-18

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Chapter 16: Since Ophelia was to be taking over the running of the household, Marie began telling her how she should treat the servants.  Marie thought they should be whipped often and that her husband was entirely too lenient in his management of them.  Mammy, a black woman who took care of Marie in her illness, was the example used.  Though Mammy had a husband back at Marie's father's plantation, she came with Marie when she got married.  Marie complained that the slave fell asleep too much when she was caring for her in the middle of the night, and when Eva realized that Mammy too was having headaches.  Marie did not care.  Since in her eyes, the slaves were inferior, Marie did not care about their feelings or much for their well-being.  Ophelia, Marie, and Eva all go to church the next Sunday and the pastor in his sermon enforces Marie's views on slavery, but her husband does not.  He believes that slaves should be treated with kindness, but because of his broken heart he has a very cynical view of the world, and does not take much of a stand against his wife.  Tom, while all of this had been going on, had not been made a coachman but Eva's personal servant to guard and protect her wherever she went.  Both Eva and Tom were overjoyed with the arrangement.
Chapter 17: At the Quaker establishment, George and Eliza Harris were talking about their plans when bad news arrived.  Tom Loker and his partner, Marks, had gathered up some help and were planning to come after the runaways that night.  George, Eliza, Harry, and two other runaways decided to run that night to the next stop in their journey.  Driven in a covered wagon by a man named Phinneas, it was not until dawn that the drunken posse of slave catchers caught up them.  The fugitives abandoned the wagon, and ran off into a field that contained a rock-covered hill.  They took shelter in the rocks, and when the men chasing them came, George told him that if they pursued they would be shot.  The men, not thinking he was serious, came up single file to where the slaves were hidden, and as they came into sight George shot at them.  He hit Loker, and Phinneas pushed him off a small cliff though neither killed the man.  Seeing what happened to him, the others retreated, and left their comrade.  A friend of the Quakers had gone to get help for the fugitives and came back then with it.  They gathered up Loker, and took him with them to the next stop so he could be doctored for his wounds. 
Chapter 18: Miss Ophelia took over management of the house and spent the first few days looking at and rearranging all of the various regions to make them more efficient.  In the kitchen however, the slave Dinnah reigned supreme, and Miss Ophelia had a hard time getting the old servant to change her unsystematic ways.  One day while in the kitchen, an old slave who brought the bread, Prue, came in and the servants in the St. Clare household began to make fun of her for her drinking.  Tom was in the kitchen at the time, and when the woman left, he went to help her carry her basket.  She told him her sad story about losing all of her children either by death or to traders, and Uncle Tom told her the story of Jesus.  After making her rounds one afternoon, Ophelia went to St. Clare and told him her opinions and he said that he expected the servants to be dishonest because of the way they were raised.  He also said that servants as honest and as pious as Tom were rare.  As time went on, St. Clare gave Tom the charge over his money and business matters because the slave was so honest and good. 


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