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436            UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
being used as a horse-post. What once was a large gar­den was now all grown over with weeds, through which, here and there, some solitary exotic reared its forsaken head. What had been a conservatory had now no window-sashes, and on the mouldering shelves stood some dry, for­saken flower-pots, with sticks in them, whose dried leaves showed they had once been plants.
The wagon rolled up a weedy gravel walk, under a noble avenue of China-trees, whose graceful forms and ever-springing foliage seemed to be the only things there that neglect could not daunt or alter, — like noble spirits, so deeply rooted in goodness, as to flourish and grow stronger amid discouragement and decay.
The house had been large and handsome. It was built in a manner common at the South; a wide veranda of two stories running round every part of the house, into which every outer door opened, the lower tier being sup­ported by brick pillars.
But the place looked desolate and uncomfortable; some windows stopped up with boards, some with shattered panes, and shutters hanging by a single hinge, — all telling of coarse neglect and discomfort.
Bits of board, straw, old decayed barrels and boxes, garnished the ground in all directions; and three or four ferocious-looking dogs, roused by the sound of the wagon-wheels, came tearing out, and were with difficulty restrained from laying hold of Tom and his companions, by the effort of the ragged servants who came after them.
" Ye see what ye 'd get!' said Legree, caressing the dogs with grim satisfaction, and turning to Tom and his companions. " Ye see what ye 'd get, if ye try to run off. These yer dogs has been raised to track niggers ; and they 'd jest as soon chaw one on ye up as to eat their supper. So, mind yerself! How now, Sambo ! " he said, to a ragged fellow, without any brim to his hat, who was officious in his attentions. " How have things been going ? "
" Fust-rate, Mas'r."