Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Maize in Milk: A Christmas Story of the South >> Page 336

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Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription 336MAIZE IN MILK
buss, and set on a rude block before the house, though in itself a
delight, and which they could venture to discharge themselves, was
not to be spoken of in the same breath with the more formidable
engine by which the river was commanded. Strange passion which
the boy has for guns and uproar! Colonel Openheart encouraged
this passion among his sons, and the fantastic notion of a fort at
his landing on the river was a sort of tribute to the memory of his
father, who had been one of the defenders of Fort Moultrie against
the British. The fact then proved for the first time that a rifleman
of the American forests made a first-rate artillerist, was one to be
remembered by the son of one who had been conspicuous among those
by whom the fact was so well proven; and the possession of a small
British piece, which was one of the trophies awarded to his father's
valor, had prompted the little battery that crowned the water ap-
proaches to "Maize-in-Milk."
But the signal is given! The eager hearts of the boys are bounding
violently against their ribs; their eyes are dilating; their heads
stretched forward, and their whole souls filled with delicious expecta-
tion. The torch is applied, and the roar follows. Then they rush
forward into the smoke, Dick leading the way, and even little Harry,
convulsed with frenzy, rolling and tumbling about in the sulphurous
fog. Twice, thrice the discharge is made, and then the signal is given
to resume the march. Each lad unfastens his horse, Bedford per-
forming the office for little Harry, who is too proud, however, to
admit of any help in clambering up his pony's sides. The adventure
of the morning is over, and now back to the domicil for breakfast,
with what appetite they may.
There they found old Mr. Bond and pretty Susan Bond, and other
guests, already arrived for their excursion to the river had some-
what encroached, in spite of all their efforts at early rising, upon
the breakfast hour. The breakfast consisted of all the varieties known
to a Carolina plantation of ante-revolutionary establishment. I don't
know that it would be worth while to enumerate the various "crea-
ture comforts" under which the table groaned; and yet there may
be some young persons among my readers to whom a catalogue
raisonee may not be altogether without its uses. And first, then, for
the inevitable dish of Indian corn, in its capacity of vegetable rather
than breadstuff hominy! Now, your yellow corn won't do for