Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Maize in Milk: A Christmas Story of the South >> Page 331

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Page 331

Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription MAIZE IN MILK331
Emily, dear wife, a kiss! God has blessed us in our children—eight
living out of thirteen, five already blessed, and the others blessing us!
We have not lived in vain, dear wife! And, hark you, is that Bessy
Clinton again? No; it's dear little Rose. She has awakened at last,
and sounds her little pipes in song also. How like her voice to Bessy
Clinton's, and how like both to your own ! But the horses are at the
door, and those rogues are ten times as noisy as ever. And you don't
like their singing, Emily, so much as Bessy Clinton's, eh?"
"Surely not. How can you ask?"
"Nor I —nor I," said the good-natured father, as he hurried below,
leaving the now thoroughly awakened mother to the embraces of
the two girls, who entered from an inner chamber, bearing in their
hands great bunches of holly, prankt gayly with their own and the
red berries of the cassina.
"You are late this morning, dear mother," said Bessy Clinton with
a kiss; and little Rose echoed the opinion and followed the example.
"Late? You are as impatient as Dick and Harry," said the mother.
"I am sure it's an hour sooner than you rise usually."
"Ah! but it's Christmas eve, mother, and we have to do a great
deal. We shall have them here, pretty soon, and must get an early
breakfast. Good old Mr. Bond will be here betimes to help us, and
Squire Whipple won't be long after him."
"And Susan Bond's a-coming too, mamma, and Sally," was the
eager assurance of little Rose, anxious to put in.
"You are all too like your father, too impatient, children. But now
that you are here, Bessy Clinton, make yourself useful. Put the
pin in this tippet, and—ah! child, how you're sticking me ! "
"I'm so sorry, mother ! "
"You're always so impatient! There, that will do. Pick up your
holly branches and your berries: such a litter as you make. And come,
we will hurry down and see about breakfast, so that it be in readiness
when your father comes back. By this time he's half way to the
river."
And they descended the stairs, Bessy Clinton singing pleasantly,
while her fingers wove the green bushes and the red berries artfully
together, from another of the ancient carols with which the English
tastes of an affectionate grandsire had long since made her familiar.