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26              UNCLE TOM'S CABIN OR
bearing on it, however, if we must confess it, a little o 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 practiced 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 traveling-trunks launched on the veranda, for then she foresaw fresh efforts and fresh triumphs.
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 which it lay, and the whole corner, in fact, were treated with distin­guished consideration, and made, so far as possible, sacred from the marauding inroads and desecrations of little folks. In fact, that corner was the drawing-room of the establishment. In the other corner was a bed of much humbler pretensions, and evidently designed for use. The