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