LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 435
" Well, my little dear," said he, turning to Emmeline, and laying his hand on her shoulder, " we 're almost home! "
When Legree scolded and stormed, Emmeline was terrified ; but when he laid his hand on her, and spoke as he now did, she felt as if she had rather he would strike her. The expression of his eyes made her soul sick, and her flesh creep. Involuntarily she clung closer to the mulatto woman by her side, as if she were her mother.
" You did n't ever wear ear-rings," he said, taking hold of her small ear with his coarse fingers.
"No, Mas'r! " said Emmeline, trembling and looking down.
" Well, I '11 give you a pair, when we get home, if you 're a good girl. You need n't be so frightened; I don't mean to make you work very hard.' You '11 have fine times with me, and live like a lady, — only be a good girl."
Legree had been drinking to that degree that he was inclining to be very gracious; and it was about this time that the inclosures of the plantation rose to view. The estate had formerly belonged to a gentleman of opulence and taste, who had bestowed some considerable attention to the adornment of his grounds. Having died insolvent, it had been purchased, at a bargain, by Legree, who used it, as he did everything else, merely as an implement for money-making. The place had that ragged, forlorn appearance, which is always produced by the evidence that the care of the former owner has been left to go to utter decay.
What was once a smooth-shaven lawn before the house, dotted here and there with ornamental shrubs, was now covered with frowzy, tangled grass, with horse-posts set up, here and there, in it, where the turf was stamped away, and the ground littered with broken pails, cobs of corn, and other slovenly remains. Here and there, a mildewed jessamine or honey-suckle hung raggedly from some ornamental support, which had been pushed to one side by