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Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

The Mince Pie

M OTHER was going to make the mince pie. She was very busy, and her mind was full of other things, for Kitty and Jack were in bed with the measles, and Maggie, the cook, had just scalded her hand, and Aunt Kate and Uncle Ebenezer and Cousin Timothy and Grandmother Simpkins were all coming on the afternoon train to spend Thanksgiving.

Still, it would never do to have a Thanksgiving dinner without a mince pie; so mother tied on her blue-checked apron, took out the paste board and rolling pin, and went to work. She mixed the paste and rolled it out thin, and put bits of butter all over it; then she folded it over and rolled it out again and put more bits of butter on it. When she had done this a good many times, it began to puff up in places and make bubbles; and mother stopped rolling it and cut out a nice round piece which she laid in the pie dish, trimming the edges neatly all around.

Just then a man came to the back door and asked would the lady please give him a piece of bread, as he "hadn't had anything to eat since the day before yesterday"; so mother got a great piece of bread and some corned beef, and while he was eating it she went back to the pie and began cutting another round piece. But before she had it half done she heard Kitty calling, and she ran upstairs to see what was the matter. Kitty wanted a glass of water, and Jack wanted his pillow turned, and it was time for them both to take their medicine. Mother did everything they wanted, and then went back to her pie. She put in the mince meat, and then she began to put on thin layers of crust around the edge; and then a book agent came to the door and said he had a most interesting book he would like to show her, and it was in nineteen volumes, at two dollars a volume, and no person of education could afford to be without it.

So mother said she was not a person of education, and the book agent went away, looking very cross. Then mother put the cover on the pie, and marked it with three crosses for Faith, Hope and Charity, as she always did; and then the doorbell rang, and she put the pie on the shelf in the closet, and took off her checked apron, and went to the door. It was the doctor, who had been called to set a broken leg for a boy who had climbed on a shed to find his ball and had fallen off, so the doctor could not come before to see Kitty and Jack.

By the time the doctor's visit was over, the afternoon train had come in, and Aunt Kate and Uncle Ebenezer and Cousin Timothy and Grandmother Simpkins were at the door. They had brought Cousin Almira Jane with them as a surprise for mother, and it was a surprise. She took them all upstairs and showed them their rooms, and put Cousin Almira Jane in her own room, because there was no other. Then she went down to get tea, and poultice Maggie's hand, and make milk toast for Kitty and Jack, and iron father's collars, and press out Aunt Kate's mantilla, which had got crumpled in the carriage.

So it was tea-time, and in a little while it was morning again, and Thanksgiving Day. Mother was so glad to think that the mince pie was all ready, for she had the turkey to dress and roast, and the cranberry sauce to make, and the vegetables to cook, and the pudding to make. At last dinner-time came, and the turkey was done to a turn and smelled so good; and the pudding was ready, and so was everything else; and then mother went to the closet and took out the mince pie—and she found that she had forgotten to bake it! Poor mother!

— Laura E. Richards