TOPSY

            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 a rather 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.”

Uncle Tom’s Cabin, 1852

Harriet Beecher Stowe