Uncle Tom's Cabin
Altemus' Young People's Library
Philadelphia: Henry Altemus Company, 1900


  CASSY entered the room, and found Emmeline sitting, pale with fear, in the furthest corner of it. As she came in, the girl started up nervously; but, on seeing who it was, rushed forward, and catching her arm, said: "O, Cassy, is it you? I was afraid it was—. O, you don't know what a horrid noise there has been, downstairs, all this evening!"

  "I ought to know," said Cassy, dryly. "I 've heard it often enough."

  "O, Cassy! do tell me,—could n't we get away from this place? I don't care where, into the swamp among the snakes,—anywhere! Could n't we get somewhere away from here?"

  "Nowhere, but into our graves," said Cassy.

  "Did you ever try?"

  "I've seen enough of trying, and what comes of it," said Cassy.

  "I 'd be willing to live in the swamps, and gnaw the bark from trees. I an't afraid of snakes! I 'd rather have one near me than him," said Emmeline, eagerly.

  "There have been a good many here of your opinion," said Cassy; "but you could n't stay in the swamps,—you'd


be tracked by the dogs, and brought back, and then— then—"

  "What would he do?" said the girl, looking, with breathless interest, into her face.

  "What would n't he do, you 'd better ask," said Cassy. "He 's learned his trade well, among the pirates in the West Indies. You would n't sleep much, if I should tell you things I 've seen,—things that he tells of, sometimes, for good jokes. I 've heard screams here that I have 'nt been able to get out of my head for weeks and weeks. There 's a place way out down by the quarters, where you can see a black, blasted tree, and the ground all covered with black ashes. Ask anyone what was done there, and see if they will dare to tell you."

  Emmeline turned away, and hid her face in her hands. While this conversation was passing in the chamber, Legree, overcome with his carouse, had sank to sleep in the room below.

  In the morning he woke with an oath and a curse, and, stumbling to his feet, poured out a tumbler of brandy and drank half of it.

  "I've had a frightful night!" he said to Cassy, who just then entered from an opposite door.

  "You 'll get plenty of the same sort, by and by," said she, dryly.

  "What do you mean, you minx?"

  "You 'll find out, one of these days," returned Cassy, in the same tone. "Now, Simon, I 've one piece of advice to give you. You let Tom alone."

  "What business is 't of yours?"

  "What? To be sure, I don 't know what it should be.


If you want to pay twelve hundred for a fellow, and use him right up in the press of the season, just to serve your own spite, it's no business of mine. I've done what I could for him."

  "You have? What business have you meddling in my matters?"

  "None, to be sure. I 've saved you some thousands of dollars, at different times, by taking care of your hands,—that 's all the thanks I get. If your crop comes shorter into market than any of theirs, you won't lose your bet, I suppose? Tompkins won't lord it over you, I suppose,—and you'll pay down your money like a lady, won't you? I think I see you doing it!"

  Legree, like many other planters, had but one form of ambition,—to have in the heaviest crop of the season; and he had several bets on this very present season pending in the next town. Cassy, therefore, with woman's tact, touched the only string that could be made to vibrate.

  "Well, I 'll let him off at what he 's got," said Legree; "but be shall beg my pardon, and promise better fashions."

  Legree, though he talked so stoutly to Cassy, sallied forth from the house with a degree of misgiving.

  "Well, my boy," said Legree, with a contemptuous kick, "how do you find yourself? Did n't I tell yer I could larn yer a thing or two? How do yer like it,—eh? How did yer whaling agree with yer, Tom? An't quite so crank as ye was last night. Ye could n't treat a poor sinner, now, to a bit of a sermon, could ye,—eh?"

  Tom answered nothing.

  "Get up, you beast!" said Legree, kicking him again.

  This was a difficult matter for one so bruised and faint;


and, as Tom made efforts to do so, Legree laughed brutally.

  "What makes ye so spry, this morning, Tom:' Cotched cold, maybe, last night."

  Tom by this time had gained his feet, and was confronting his master with a steady, unmoved front.

  "The devil, you can!" said Legree, looking him over. "I believe you have n't got enough yet. Now, Tom, get right down on yer knees and beg my pardon, for yer shines last night."

  Tom did not move.

  "Down, you dog!" said Legree, striking him with his riding whip.

  "Mas'r Legree," said Tom, "I can't do it. I did only what I thought was right. I shall do just so again, if ever the time comes. I never will do a cruel thing, come what may."

  "I'll make ye give out, though, 'fore I 've done!" said Legree, in a rage.

  "I shall have help," said Tom ; "you 'll never do it."

  "Who the devil 's going to help you?" said Legree, scornfully.

  "The Lord Almighty," said Tom.

  "D—n you!" said Legree, as with one blow of his fist he felled Tom to the earth.

  "Hark, ye!" he said to Tom; "I won't deal with ye now, because the business is pressing, and I want all my hands; but I never forget. I'll score it against ye, and sometime I 'll have my pay out o' yer old black hide,—mind ye!"