Uncle Tom’s Cabin had swept the nation, changing minds and hearts at their very core and moving people in a way that laws and politics and arguments never could. Harriet and Catherine read every page of it together, Harriet often in tears. When they read the words that so painfully described a mother’s loss of her child, Harriet collapsed under the weight of it all. Catherine realized immediately that Harriet was that child. The child who would have been sold away, torn away from her mother.
“My sister took my place,” She said mournfully.
“It wasn’t your fault,” Catherine attempted to comfort, but words would not come. And, in reality, Harriet was right.
“I wonder if ever she made it to Canada. If ever she had a chance at freedom, like I have had. Oh, but nothing is for a black woman as it is for a white woman. Yet, we share the same blood. We share the same mother.”
“It’s wrong, Harriet, and I am so sorry.”
“This,” she said, holding up the book, “this is going to change the world.” She kept the novel next to her Bible, and prayed daily that God would use the words to liberate her people, at any cost. Catherine prayed this prayer with her.
Harriet Brown did not make it through the winter of 1852. With a sense of guilt, Catherine was thankful that she had not been the one to discover her, as she really was the person most likely to. It so happened Reverend Laurence had been by to call. Catherine had been with her the day before, and she seemed herself, though she had a cough. She was to stop by a few days later. The Reverhad had called upon Catherine soon after discovering her frail, lifeless body. Dane had answered the door, and Catherine heard Reverend Laurence introduce himself. She instantly knew the reason for his call. She ran to the door. The look on his face confirmed it. She was surprised at her own shock. She had been expecting this, hadn’t she? She had enjoyed three wonderful years with Harriet. She was thankful. She was thankful that Harriet was enjoying her new home, her heaven, her Jesus. But mostly, she missed her immensely. She felt selfish for worrying about herself, but she wondered what life would be like without Harriet. She wondered with whom she would talk. She wondered who would answer her questions, pray with her, have afternoon tea with her. Dane still held himself at a considerable distance, and Catherine felt more alone than she had felt in years. Almost as alone as she had felt the night she walked into the church and heard that sweet old voice singing Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.