270 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
her bed, and the nutmeg-grater in her pocket with her tobacco, — that there are sixty-five different sugar-bowls, one in every hole in the house, — that she washes dishes with a dinner-napkin one day, and with a fragment of an old petticoat the next ? But the upshot is, she gets up glorious dinners, makes superb coffee ; and you must judge her as warriors and statesmen are judged, by her success."
" But the waste, — the expense ! "
" Oh, well! Lock everything you can, and keep the key. Give out by driblets, and never inquire for odds and ends, — it is n't best."
"That troubles me, Augustine. I can't help feeling as if these servants were not strictly honest. Are you sure they can be relied on ? "
Augustine laughed immoderately at the grave and anxious face with which Miss Ophelia propounded the question.
" Oh, cousin, that's too good,— honest I — as if that's a thing to be expected ! Honest! — why, of course they arn't. Why should they be ? What upon earth is to make them so ? "
" Why don't you instruct ? "
" Instruct! Oh, fiddlestick ! What instructing do you think I should do ? I look like it ! As to Marie, she has spirit enough, to be sure, to kill off a whole plantation, if I 'd let her manage ; but she would n't get the cheatery out of them."
"Are there no honest ones ? "
" Well, now and then one, whom Nature makes so impracticably simple, truthful, and faithful, that the worst possible influence can't destroy it. But, you see, from the mother's breast the colored child feels and sees that there are none but underhand ways open to it. It can get along no other way with its parents, its mistress, its young master and missie play-fellows. Cunning and deception become necessary, inevitable habits. It is n't fair to expect anything else of him. He ought not to be punished for it.