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Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin

by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Uncle Tom's Cabin Chapter 39 Summary

  • Cassy’s strategy is to make Legree and every house servant afraid of ghosts in the attic. She starts by indicating that she wants a new room so she can get some sleep.
  • She claims she’s kept up at night hearing noises. It sounds like there are people in the attic.
  • Legree starts to get a little freaked out.
  • Cassy puts the neck of a bottle in a hole in the garret (or attic) wall. When the wind blows, it makes a wailing sound that puts everybody (but her) on edge.
  • A night or two later, Legree is sitting in the living room with a fire going. He hears window rattling, shutters flapping, and the wind howling. Cassy is in the corner, reading ghost stories. Legree picks up the book of ghost stories and starts to read it.
  • They discuss whether ghosts exist or not. Cassy says it doesn’t matter what she believes, while Legree claims the noises in the garret are only rats.
  • Cassy doesn’t say much; she just stares at him, making him more and more nervous.
  • Then she asks if rats can walk downstairs and open a door when it’s been locked?
  • Legree is startled and afraid. He wants to know if she’s really seen a ghost.
  • Through subtle persuasion, Cassy leads Legree to believe that she really has seen a ghost and that there really are supernatural things in the attic. Then she runs to the garret and a gust of wind blows his candle out, accompanied by ghostly shrieks of wind.
  • For the second part of her plan, Cassy urges Legree to take her to a neighboring town. She memorizes every turn in the road to get there.
  • On the evening that she and Emmeline plan to escape, Cassy tells Emmeline to put on her bonnet. Cassy wants everyone to see them leaving and watch them head to the swamp.
  • The two women leave by the back door and run over to the swamp, jumping into the muck.
  • Sambo and Quimbo see them escaping and go fetch the dogs.
  • While Sambo and Quimbo are busy getting the search dogs together, the women sneak back to the house and hide in the garret. Cassy even steals some of Legree’s money while he’s out searching for them.
  • Cassy is sure the garret won’t be searched, since she’s done such a good job convincing everyone that this section of the house is haunted.

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