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264            UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
ments, was seated on the kitchen floor, smoking a short, stumpy pipe, to which she was much addicted, and which she always kindled up, as a sort of censer, whenever she felt the need of an inspiration in her arrangements. It was Dinah's mode of invoking the domestic Muses.
Seated around her were various members of that rising race with which a Southern household abounds, engaged in shelling peas, peeling potatoes, picking pin-feathers out of fowls, and other preparatory arrangements, — Dinah every once in a while interrupting her meditations to give a poke, or a rap on the head, to some of the young oper­ators, with the pudding-stick that lay by her side. In fact, Dinah ruled over the woolly heads of the younger members with a rod of iron, and seemed to consider them born for no earthly purpose but to " save her steps," as she phrased it. It was the spirit of the system under which she had grown up, and she carried it out to its full extent.
Miss Ophelia, after passing on her reformatory tour through all the other parts of the establishment, now entered the kitchen. Dinah had heard, from various sources, what was going on, and resolved to stand on de­fensive and conservative ground, — mentally determined to oppose and ignore every new measure, without any actual and observable contest.
The kitchen was a large, brick-floored apartment, with a great old-fashioned fireplace stretching along one side of it, — an arrangement which St. Clare had vainly tried to persuade Dinah to exchange for the convenience of a modern cook-stove. Not she. No Puseyite, or conser­vative of any school, was ever more inflexibly attached to time-honored inconveniences than Dinah.
When St. Clare had first returned from the North, im­pressed with the system and order of his uncle's kitchen arrangements, he had largely provided his own with an array of cupboards, drawers, and various apparatus, to induce systematic regulation, under the sanguine illusion that it would be of any possible assistance to Dinah in her