Uncle Tom's Cabin HTML version

In Which Property Gets into an Improper State of Mind
It was late in a drizzly afternoon that a traveler alighted at the door of a small country
hotel, in the village of N----, in Kentucky. In the barroom he found assembled quite a
miscellaneous company, whom stress of weather had driven to harbor, and the place
presented the usual scenery of such reunions. Great, tall, raw-boned Kentuckians, attired
in hunting-shirts, and trailing their loose joints over a vast extent of territory, with the
easy lounge peculiar to the race,--rifles stacked away in the corner, shot-pouches, game-
bags, hunting-dogs, and little negroes, all rolled together in the corners,--were the
characteristic features in the picture. At each end of the fireplace sat a long-legged
gentleman, with his chair tipped back, his hat on his head, and the heels of his muddy
boots reposing sublimely on the mantel-piece,--a position, we will inform our readers,
decidedly favorable to the turn of reflection incident to western taverns, where travellers
exhibit a decided preference for this particular mode of elevating their understandings.
Mine host, who stood behind the bar, like most of his country men, was great of stature,
good-natured and loose-jointed, with an enormous shock of hair on his head, and a great
tall hat on the top of that.
In fact, everybody in the room bore on his head this characteristic emblem of man's
sovereignty; whether it were felt hat, palm-leaf, greasy beaver, or fine new chapeau, there
it reposed with true republican independence. In truth, it appeared to be the characteristic
mark of every individual. Some wore them tipped rakishly to one side--these were your
men of humor, jolly, free-and-easy dogs; some had them jammed independently down
over their noses--these were your hard characters, thorough men, who, when they wore
their hats, wanted to wear them, and to wear them just as they had a mind to; there were
those who had them set far over back--wide-awake men, who wanted a clear prospect;
while careless men, who did not know, or care, how their hats sat, had them shaking
about in all directions. The various hats, in fact, were quite a Shakespearean study.
Divers negroes, in very free-and-easy pantaloons, and with no redundancy in the shirt
line, were scuttling about, hither and thither, without bringing to pass any very particular
results, except expressing a generic willingness to turn over everything in creation
generally for the benefit of Mas'r and his guests. Add to this picture a jolly, crackling,
rollicking fire, going rejoicingly up a great wide chimney,--the outer door and every
window being set wide open, and the calico window-curtain flopping and snapping in a
good stiff breeze of damp raw air,--and you have an idea of the jollities of a Kentucky
Your Kentuckian of the present day is a good illustration of the doctrine of transmitted
instincts and pecularities. His fathers were mighty hunters,--men who lived in the woods,
and slept under the free, open heavens, with the stars to hold their candles; and their
descendant to this day always acts as if the house were his camp,--wears his hat at all
hours, tumbles himself about, and puts his heels on the tops of chairs or mantelpieces,
just as his father rolled on the green sward, and put his upon trees and logs,--keeps all the