Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Maize in Milk: A Christmas Story of the South >> Page 321

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Page 321

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription MAIZE IN MILK32I
The brave colonel seemed to wince at this suggestion.
"And as for waste what waste? Do I waste anything at Christmas,
or any other time? Is not all consumed that we cook? Is anything
thrown away? Are there not mouths for all? What we and our
guests do not consume, does it not go to the negroes? What they
don't want, does it not go to the dogs and hogs, and ducks and
chickens? I never see anything wasted. Really, Mrs. Openheart, I
can't understand you. If you mean anything, it is that we are to
kill no beef at Christmas, have no sausages, drink no egg-nog, and,
I suppose, for the first time since we've been married, now going
on fifty years"
"Oh, husband fifty years!"
"Yes, fifty years, more or less."
"Less by half only twenty-six last November."
"Is it possible! And I said sixty! 'Well, it's certain I've counted
the years by their pleasures."
A sweet, comical smile went round the circle. He continued
"Well, as I was saying, here then, for the first time since our marriage,
some forty-two years as you yourself admit, we are to have no
mince-pies),
"Nay, my dear; I didn't mean that we were to go without them.
As you have bought the raisins, the citron and the currants, and as
the hogs are already killed"
"Oh! your only anxiety then is to keep these things from being
wasted; but if that was your prudent intention, what do you propose
to do with these nice things, after you have made them up, if we are
to spend our Christmas with your Uncle Thomas?"
"Why, I thought of taking them down with us."
"Indeed! and precious little would Uncle Thomas, in his abun-
dance, thank you for your pies. But, pray, in what respect should we
be more wasteful in consuming them at home here, among our own
poor neighbors, than down in the parishes, with the rich ones of
Uncle Thomas? Really, Emily, I thought you were a better reasoner."
"Well, Edward, you do indeed make out a case against me, and
if the mince-pies were the whole of our consumption in staying at
home, as they will be in going down to the parishes, then your
reproach would be conclusive; but you know, Edward, that these
would form but a small part of our expense. They would not be