Tom has lived in the St. Clare home for two years, and though he misses Kentucky he finds some comfort in his faith and in the good treatment he receives at the hands of his master. Tom receives George Jr.’s letter and is cheered by its contents. Eva and Tom grow closer, and the two of them take turns reading the Bible together, with Eva enjoying “Revelations and the Prophecies the most.”
Although the Gospels and teachings of Jesus receive their due in the novel, Beecher Stowe places special emphasis on the book of Revelation, which details the end times when Jesus separates the Saved from the Wicked. This mirrors the kind of “reckoning” some, including St. Clare, believe will occur once slaves mount a revolt against their masters. Beecher Stowe is implying that only those who oppose the wickedness of slavery will be saved.
Reading from the Bible at the St. Clare summer home on Lake Ponchartrain, Eva believes she sees the lake as a “sea of glass mingled with fire,” words from the Bible, and tells Tom she has seen angels and expects to be in heaven soon. Uncle Tom remembers that Miss Ophelia has spoken more frequently of Eva’s cough, seemingly signaling an illness. Beecher Stowe hints that Eva might be too good for this earth.
This is the first mention of Eva’s illness. Eva’s saintliness, as mentioned by Beecher Stowe, is symbolic of her “being apart” from other children. The earth is fallen and Eva is not—therefore she must rejoin her Father—God—in heaven.
Miss Ophelia confides in St. Clare that she fears Eva is getting sick, and he responds that he’s not convinced, but privately he fears that she might die, and recalls the ominous and wisely religious comments Eva has made to him in passing. Eva tells her mother that, since Miss Ophelia has taught Topsy to learn to read, she might teach Mammy. Although Marie thinks this is a distraction from Eva’s other education, which involves learning to be a lady, Eva begins teaching Mammy anyway.
St. Clare refuses to believe that something could happen to Eva. Marie continues in her belief that slaves are to be treated firmly and without regard to their humanity—it would be worthless, in Marie’s eyes, to teach Mammy to read, since reading will not help Mammy to do her chores and serve the St. Clare family.