UTC
The Christian Slave
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Boston: Phillips, Sampson, 1855

SCENE I— -- UNCLE TOM'S CABIN.

A Table with cups, saucers, &c.; AUNT CHLOE cooking at the fire; UNCLE TOM and GEO. SHELBY at a table, with slate between them; MOSE and PETE playing with baby in the corner.

Geo. Shelby.

   Ha! ha! ha! Uncle Tom! Why, how funny! — brought up the tail of your g wrong side out — makes a q, don't you see?


Uncle Tom.

  La sakes! now, does it?


Geo. S.

  Why yes. Look here now [writing rapidly], that's g, and that's q—that's g — that's q. See now?


Aunt Chloe.

  How easy white folks al'ays does things! The way he can write now! and read, too! and then to come out here evenings and read his lessons to us—it's mighty interestin'!


Geo. Sh.

  But, Aunt Chloe, I'm getting mighty hungry. Is n't that cake in the skillet almost done?


Aunt C.

  Mose done, Mas'r George; brownin' beautiful—a real lovely brown. Ah! let me alone for dat. Missis let Sally try to make some cake, t' other day, jes to larn her, she said. "O, go way, Missis," said I; "it really hurts my feelin's, now, to see good vittles spilt dat ar way! Cake ris all to one side—no shape at all; no more than my shoe; go way!" Here you, Mose and Pete, get out de way, you niggers! Get away, Polly, honey,—mammy'll give her baby some fin, by-and-by. Now, Mas'r George, you jest take off dem books, and set down now with my old man, and I'll take up de sausages, and have de first griddle-full of cakes on your plates in less dan no time.


Geo. S.

  They wanted me to come to supper in the house, but I knew what was what too well for that, Aunt Chloe.


Aunt C.

  So you did—so you did, honey; you know'd your old aunty'd keep the best for you. O, let you alone for dat—go way!


Geo. S.

  Now for the cake.


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Aunt C.

  La bless you! Mas'r George, you would n't be for cuttin' it wid dat ar great heavy knife? Smash all down—spile all de pretty rise of it. Here, I've got a thin old knife I keeps sharp a purpose. Dar now, see!—comes apart light as a feather. Now eat away; you won't get anything to beat dat ar.


Geo. S.

  Tom Lincoln says that their Jinny is a better cook than you.


Aunt C.

  Dem Lincons an't much count no way; I mean, set along side our folks. They's 'spectable folks enough in a plain way; but as to gettin' up anything in style, they don't begin to have a notion on't. Set Mas'r Lincon, now, alongside Mas'r Shelby. Good Lor! and Missis Lincon—can she kinder sweep it into a room like my missis,—so kinder splendid, yer know? O, go way ! don't tell me nothin' of dem Lincons!


Geo. S.

  Well, though, I've heard you say that Jinny way a pretty fair cook.


Aunt C.

  So I did. I may say dat. Good, plain, common cookin', Jinny'll do; make a good pone o' bread—bile her taters far,—her corn cakes is n't extra, not extra, now, Jinny's corn cakes is n't; but then they's far. But, Lor, come to de higher branches, and what can she do? Why, she makes pies—sartin she does; but what kinder crust? Can she make your real flecky paste, as melts in your mouth and lies all up like a puff? Now, I went over thar when Miss Mary was gwine to be married, and Jinny she jest showed me de weddin' pies. Jinny and I is good friends, ye know. I never said nothin'; but go 'long, Mas'r George! Why, I shouldn't sleep a wink for a week if I had a batch of pies like dem ar. Why, dey wan't no 'count 't all.


Geo. S.

  I suppose Jinny thought they were ever so nice.


Aunt C.

  Thought so!—did n't she! Thar she was, showing 'em as innocent—ye see, it's jest here, Jinny don't know. Lor, the family an't nothing! She can't be spected to know! 'Ta'nt no fault o' hern. Ah, Mas'r George, you doesn't know half yer privileges in yer family and bringin' up! [Sighs and rolls her eyes.]


Geo. S.

  I'm sure, Aunt Chloe, I understand all my pie-and-pudding privileges. Ask Tom Lincoln if I don't crow over him every time I meet him.


Aunt C. [Sitting back in her chair.]

  Ya! ha! ha! And so ye telled Tom, did ye? Ha! ha! ha! O Lor—what young mas'r will be up to! Ha! ha! ha! Ye crowed over Tom! Ho! ho! ho! Lor, Mas'r George, if ye would n't make a hornbug laugh.


Geo. S.

  Yes, I says to him, "Tom, you ought to see some of Aunt Chloe's pies; they're the right sort," says I.


Aunt C.

  Pity, now, Tom could n't. Ye oughter jest ax him here to dinner some o' these times, Mas'r George; it would look quite pretty of ye. Ye know, Mas'r George, ye oughtenter fur to feel 'bove nobody on 'count yer privileges, 'cause all our privileges is gi'n to us; we ought al'ays to 'member dat ar.


Geo. S.

  Well, I mean to ask Tom here, some day next week; and you do your prettiest, Aunt Chloe, and we'll make him stare. Won't we make him eat so he won't get over it for a fortnight?


Aunt C.

  Yes, yes—sartin; you'll see. Lor! to think of some of our dinners! Yer mind dat ar great chicken pie I made when we guv


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de dinner to General Knox? I and Missis, we come pretty near quarrellin' about dat ar crust. What does get into ladies sometimes, I don't know; but sometimes, when a body has de heaviest kind o' 'sponsibility on 'em, as ye may say, and is all kinder "seris" and taken up, dey takes dat ar time to be hangin' round and kinder interferin'! Now, Missis, she wanted me to do dis way, and she wanted me to do dat way; and finally I got kinder sarcy, and, says I, "Now, Missis, do jist look at dem beautiful white hands o' yourn, with long fingers, and all a sparklin' with rings, like my white lilies when de dew's on 'em; and look at my great black stumpin' hands. Now, don't ye think dat de Lord must have meant me to make de pie-crust, and you to stay in de parlor?" Dar! I was jist so sarcy, Mas'r George.


Geo. S.

  And what did mother say?


Aunt C.

  Say?—why, she kinder larfed in her eyes—dem great handsome eyes o' hern; and says she, "Well, Aunt Chloe, I think you are about in the right on 't," says she; and she went off in de parlor. She oughter cracked me over de head for bein' so sarcy; but dar's whar 't is—I can't do nothin' with ladies in de kitchen!


Geo. S.

  Well, you made out well with that dinner—I remember everybody said so.


Aunt C.

  Didn't I? And wan't I behind de dinin'-room door dat bery day? and didn't I see de Gineral pass his plate three times for some more dat bery pie? and, says he, "You must have an uncommon cook, Mrs. Shelby." Lor! I was jest fit fur ter split. And de Gineral, he knows what cookin' is. Bery nice man, de Gineral! He comes of one of de bery fustest families in Ole Virginny! He knows what's what, now, as well as I do—de Gineral. Ye see, there's pints in all pies, Mas'r George; but tan't everybody knows what they is, or fur to be. But the Gineral, he knows; I knew by his 'marks he made. Yes, he knows what de pints is!


Geo. S. [Throwing pieces of cake to the children.]

  Here you Mose, Pete—you want some, don't you? Come, Aunt Chloe, bake them some cakes.


Aunt C. [Feeding baby, while Mose and Pete roll on the floor and pull baby's toes.]

  O, go long, will ye? [Kicking them.] Can't ye be decent when white folks comes to see ye? Stop dat ar, now, will ye? Better mind yerselves, or I'll take ye down a button-hole lower, when Mas'r George is gone!


Uncle Tom.

  La, now! they are so full of tickle all the while, they can't behave theirselves.


Aunt C.

  Get along wid ye! ye'll all stick together. Go long to de spring and wash yerselves. Mas'r George! did ye ever see such aggravatin' young uns? Wall, now, I hopes you's done. Here, now, you Mose and Pet e—ye got to go to bed, mighty sudden, I tell ye. Cause we's gwine to have meetin' here.


Mose and Pete.

  O, mother, we don't wanter. We wants to sit up to meetin'—meetin's is so curis. We likes 'em.


Geo. S. [Pushing the trundle-bed.]

  La! Aunt Chloe, let 'em sit up.


Aunt C.

  Well, mebbe 't will do 'em some good. What we's to to for cheers, now I declare I don't know.


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Mose.

  Old Uncle Peter sung both de legs out of dat oldest cheer, last week.


Aunt C.

  You go long! I'll boun' you pulled 'em out; some o' your shines.


Mose.

  Well, it'll stand, if it only keeps jam up agin de wall!


Pete.

  Den Uncle Peter mus' n't sit in it, 'cause he al'ays hitches when he gets a singing. He hitched pretty nigh cross de room t'udder night.


Mose.

  Good Lor! get him in it den; and then he'd begin, "Come, saints and sinners, hear me tell," and then down he'll go. [Mimicking.]


Aunt C.

  Come, now, be decent, can't ye? An't yer shamed yerself? Well, ole man, you'll have to tote in them ar bar'ls yerself.


Mose. [Aside to Pete.]

  Mother's bar'ls is like dat ar widder's Mas'r George was reading 'bout in de good book—dey never fails.


Pete. [Aside to Mose.]

  I'm sure one on 'em caved in last week, and let 'em all down in de middle of de singin'; dat ar was failin', warn't it?


Aunt C.

  Mas'r George is such a beautiful reader, now, I know he'll stay to read for us; 'pears like 't will be so much more interestin'.