Uncle Tom's Cabin
An Evening in Uncle Tom's Cabin
The cabin of Uncle Tom was a small log building, close adjoining to "the house," as the
negro par excellence designates his master's dwelling. In front it had a neat garden-patch,
where, every summer, strawberries, raspberries, and a variety of fruits and vegetables,
flourished under careful tending. The whole front of it was covered by a large scarlet
bignonia and a native multiflora rose, which, entwisting and interlacing, left scarce a
vestige of the rough logs to be seen. Here, also, in summer, various brilliant annuals, such
as marigolds, petunias, four-o'clocks, found an indulgent corner in which to unfold their
splendors, and were the delight and pride of Aunt Chloe's heart.
Let us enter the dwelling. The evening meal at the house is over, and Aunt Chloe, who
presided over its preparation as head cook, has left to inferior officers in the kitchen the
business of clearing away and washing dishes, and come out into her own snug
territories, to "get her ole man's supper"; therefore, doubt not that it is her you see by the
fire, presiding with anxious interest over certain frizzling items in a stew-pan, and anon
with grave consideration lifting the cover of a bake-kettle, from whence steam forth
indubitable intimations of "something good." A round, black, shining face is hers, so
glossy as to suggest the idea that she might have been washed over with white of eggs,
like one of her own tea rusks. Her whole plump countenance beams with satisfaction and
contentment from under her well-starched checked turban, bearing on it, however, if we
must confess it, a little of that tinge of self-consciousness which becomes the first cook of
the neighborhood, as Aunt Chloe was universally held and acknowledged to be.
A cook she certainly was, in the very bone and centre of her soul. Not a chicken or turkey
or duck in the barn-yard but looked grave when they saw her approaching, and seemed
evidently to be reflecting on their latter end; and certain it was that she was always
meditating on trussing, stuffing and roasting, to a degree that was calculated to inspire
terror in any reflecting fowl living. Her corn-cake, in all its varieties of hoe-cake,
dodgers, muffins, and other species too numerous to mention, was a sublime mystery to
all less practised compounders; and she would shake her fat sides with honest pride and
merriment, as she would narrate the fruitless efforts that one and another of her compeers
had made to attain to her elevation.
The arrival of company at the house, the arranging of dinners and suppers "in style,"
awoke all the energies of her soul; and no sight was more welcome to her than a pile of
travelling trunks launched on the verandah, for then she foresaw fresh efforts and fresh
Just at present, however, Aunt Chloe is looking into the bake-pan; in which congenial
operation we shall leave her till we finish our picture of the cottage.
In one corner of it stood a bed, covered neatly with a snowy spread; and by the side of it
was a piece of carpeting, of some considerable size. On this piece of carpeting Aunt
Chloe took her stand, as being decidedly in the upper walks of life; and it and the bed by