Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Maize in Milk: A Christmas Story of the South >> Page 323

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Page 323

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription MAIZE IN MILK323
the sleeper. A scream followed, then a roar and scuffle. The leg of
Tom, as he started from his slumbers, was found to be inextricably
involved with that of the chair, and both went over with a clatter
that startled the good mother in her chair and shook the whole house
from its propriety.
"Why, what have you done?"
The victim was not yet sufficiently awake to know well what was
the matter with him, but struggled to throw out his fettered hands
as in the act of swimming. The father saw his predicament, and as
he and Bessy Clinton stooped to undo the ties with which the mis-
chievous boy had fettered the lad, the urchin clapped his hands in
exultation and flew away to the door.
"To bed, sirrah!" said Colonel Openheart, with a voice in which
authority struggled hard with merriment; "to bed, before I give you
the strap."
"No, no, papa! Don't I know it's Christmas time and what's the
use of Christmas if there's to be no fun, I want to know?"
"The boy has the right on't. What's the use of Christmas if
there's to be no fun? There shall be fun, sirrah, but your share of it
must cease for the night. To bed, both of you."
"But to-morrow, papa ! " said both of the boys in a breath.
"You shall have the ponies, and we'll go to the river; and we'll
take the dogs, and see if we can't put up a wild cat. There, enough
for the night."
And the boys were kissed and disappeared.
"And these are to lose their Christmas and the neighbors, and
the negroes, and all, for no better reason than to save the waste, as
if there could be any waste in making so many persons happy. And
you, Bessy Clinton, that you should side with your mother for
having Christmas away from home. You deserve a whipping for it,
"Ah, papa, you never whipped me yet."
"It's not too late to begin!" and he took the damsel about the
waist, and she turned in his embrace and lifted her lips to his own,
and he kissed her with delight as he said "Well, well, we'll put
it off till the New Year. I havn't the heart for whipping just now.
But then-"