Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> Maize in Milk: A Christmas Story of the South >> Page 338

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Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription 338MAIZE IN MILK
sublimely sung by Burns, without the deficiencies and infirmities of
that venerable compound. It is less unsightly to the eye and less
unfriendly to the taste, more delicate in its flavor, and perhaps even
more various in its ingredients. You shall find it a goodly commodity,
taken along with its kindred, sausage and hominy, at a southern
breakfast, when the Yule Log is blazing. Colonel Openheart had
just killed his usual hundred head of hogs, and this was one of the
great events to bring happiness to the negro quarter. The great beef
had also been slaughtered, and plenty and pleasure were conspicuous
in every visage. No wonder the breakfast went off swimmingly. The
boys were the happiest creatures in the world, and the achievements
of the great gun were thrust into all ears. Not that they were either
obtrusive or uproarious in the house with the guests or at the table.
On these points, our colonel, though very indulgent generally, was
something of a martinet, and breakfast was discussed and dispatched
with a degree of order and quietude which only was not solemnity
and stiffness. After breakfast the girls continued the work of decora-
tion, and the boys went out to play. The lady of the house had her
preparations still in some degree to make, and the worthy colonel
took charge of good Mr. Bond, and they went together to the farm-
yard, comparing notes, and discussing peas, ploughs and potatoes
as they went. Soon, however, their attention was drawn to farther
arrivals. First came poor old Kinsale, a worthy old Irishman—a
farmer of small degree, who had been so long in America as to insist
that yams and Spanish were the real potatoes of green Erin, and
that the Irish potato had never been otherwise than sweet from the
days of Sir Walter Raleigh. He was a good old man, seventy-six
years or more, for whom Colonel Openheart sent his own horses and
carriage every Christmas. Unlike Irishmen, who are not generally
tenacious of early customs, he still wore small clothes and long
stockings, having no better reason for his adherence to ancient fash-
ions than the possession of a pair of legs which were formed after
the best of ancient models. The youngsters of the day, however much
they might smile at the tottering gait and rheumy eyes of old
Kinsale, were not without a sufficient degree of taste to prompt envy
of his calves. The red bandana about his neck, and the great hanging
cape and flaps of his Marseilles vest were in odd contrast with the
modern sack, of newest pattern, which had lately beguiled him by its