LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 531
not countermand his orders, but stood, whistling, with an air of forced unconcern. He sulkily followed them to where the wagon stood at the door.
George spread his cloak in the wagon, and had the body carefully disposed of in it, — moving the seat, so as to give it room. Then he turned, fixed his eyes on Legree. and said, with forced composure, —
" I have not, as yet, said to you what I think of this most atrocious affair; — this is not the time and place. But, sir, this innocent blood shall have justice. I will proclaim this murder. I will go to the very first magistrate and expose you."
" Do! " said Legree, snapping his fingers, scornfully. " I 'd like to see you doing it. Where you going to get witnesses ? — how you going to prove it ? — Come, now !'
George saw, at once, the force of this defiance. There was not a white person on the place; and, in all Southern courts, the testimony of colored blood is nothing. He felt, at that moment, as if he could have rent the heavens with his heart's indignant cry for justice ; but in vain.
" After all, what a fuss, for a dead nigger! " said Legree.
The word was as a spark to a powder-magazine. Prudence was never a cardinal virtue of the Kentucky boy. George turned, and, with one indignant blow, knocked Legree flat upon his face; and, as he stood over him, blazing with wrath and defiance, he would have formed no bad personification of his great namesake triumphing over the dragon.
Some men, however, are decidedly bettered by being knocked down. If a man lays them fairly flat in the dust, they seem immediately to conceive a respect for him; and Legree was one of this sort. As he rose, therefore, and brushed the dust from his clothes, he eyed the slowly retreating wagon with some evident consideration; nor did he open his mouth till it was out of sight.
Beyond the boundaries of the plantation, George had