Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas in the Confederate White House - Part 1

FROM: The New York WORLD, Sunday, December 13, 1896: Written especially for the Sunday World Magazine by Mrs. Jefferson Davis. PART 1 While looking over the advertisements of the toys and everything else intended to make the children joyful in the columns of the city papers, I have been impressed with the contrast between the present time and (that) of the Southern country thirty-one years ago, but not withstanding the great facilities of the present time, have been unable to decide whether for the young it was not as gay then as now. For as Christmas season was ushered in under the darkest clouds, everyone felt the cataclysm which impended but the rosy, expectant faces of our little children were a constant reminder that self-sacrifice must be the personal offering of each member of the family. How to satisfy the children when nothing better could be done than the little makeshift attainable in the Confederacy was the problem of the older members of each household. There were no currants, raisins or other ingredients to fill the old Virginia recipe for mince pie, and the children considered that at least a slice of that much-coveted dainty was their right and the price of indigestion paid for it was a debt of honor. Apple trees grew and bore in spite of war's alarms, so the foundation of the mixture was assured. The many excited housekeepers in Richmond had preserved all the fruits attainable, and these were substituted for the time-honored raisins and currants. Then brandy required for seasoning at one hundred dollars a bottle was forthcoming, the cider was obtained. Suet at a dollar a pound was ordered; it seemed a blessed certainty.

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