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."