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290            UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
speak for some minutes. After a while, he looked up, and went on : —
" What poor, mean trash this whole business of human virtue is! A mere matter, for the most part, of latitude and longitude, and geographical position, acting with nat­ural temperament. The greater part is nothing but an accident! Your father, for example, settles in Vermont, in a town where all are, in fact, free and equal; becomes a regular church-member and deacon, and in due time joins an Abolition society, and thinks us all little better than heathens. Yet he is, for all the world, in constitu­tion and habit, a duplicate of my father. I can see it leaking out in fifty different ways,— just that same strong, overbearing, dominant spirit. You know very well how impossible it is to persuade some of the folks in your vil­lage that Squire Sinclair does not feel above them. The fact is, though he has fallen on democratic times, and em­braced a democratic theory, he is to the heart an aristo­crat, as much as my father, who ruled over five or six hundred slaves."
Miss Ophelia felt rather disposed to cavil at this picture, and was laying down her knitting to begin, but St. Clare stopped her.
" Now, I know every word you are going to say. I do not say they were alike, in fact. One fell into a condition where everything acted against the natural tendency, and the other where everything acted for it; and so one turned out a pretty willful, stout, overbearing old democrat, and the other a willful, stout old despot. If both had owned plantations in Louisiana, they would have been as like as two old bullets cast in the same mould.7'
" What an undutiful boy you are ! " said Miss Ophelia.
" I don't mean them any disrespect," said St. Clare. " You know reverence is not my forte. But, to go back to my history: —
" When father died, he left the whole property to us twin boys, to be divided as we should agree. There does