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322             UNCLE TOMS CABIN; OR
" I 'm sure / don't know," said Mr. Shelby. " Once get business running wrong, there does seem to be no end to it. It's like jumping from one bog to another, all through a swamp; borrow of one to pay another, and then borrow of another to pay one, — and these confounded notes falling due before a man has time to smoke a cigar and turn round, — dunning letters and dunning messages, — all scamper and hurry-scurry."
" It does seem to me, my dear, that something might be done to straighten matters. Suppose we sell off all the horses, and sell one of your farms, and pay up square ?'
" Oh, ridiculous, Emily ! You are the finest woman in Kentucky ; but still you have n't sense to know that you don't understand business ; — women never do, and never can."
" But, at least," said Mrs. Shelby, " could not you give me some little insight into yours ; a list of all your debts, at least, and of all that is owed to you, and let me try and see if I can't help you to economize."
" Oh, bother ! don't plague me, Emily ! — I can't tell exactly. I know somewhere about what things are likely to be; but there 's no trimming and squaring my affairs, as Chloe trims crust off her pies. You don't know any­thing about my business, I tell you."
And Mr. Shelby, not knowing of any other way of en­forcing his ideas, raised his voice, — a mode of arguing very convenient and convincing, when a gentleman is dis­cussing matters of business with his wife.
Mrs. Shelby ceased talking, with something of a sigh. The fact was, that though her husband had stated she was a woman, she had a clear, energetic, practical mind, and a force of character every way superior to that of her hus­band ; so that it would not have been so very absurd a supposition, to have allowed her capable of managing, as Mr. Shelby supposed. Her heart was set on performing her promise to Tom and Aunt Chloe, and she sighed as discouragements thickened around her.