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Doughnuts

I love this passage from The Country of the Pointed Firs. The narrator, her landlady Mrs. Todd, and Mrs. Todd's mother, Mrs. Blackett, are riding upcountry to a family reunion, when they stop at a farm to water their horse.

We stopped, and seeing a party of pleasure-seekers in holiday attire, the thin, anxious mistress of the farmhouse came out with wistful sympathy to hear what news we might have to give. Mrs. Blackett first spied her at the half-closed door, and asked with such cheerful directness if we were trespassing that, after a few words, she went back to her kitchen and reappeared with a plateful of doughnuts.

“Entertainment for man and beast,” announced Mrs. Todd with satisfaction. “Why, we've perceived there was new doughnuts all along the road, but you're the first that has treated us.”

Our new acquaintance flushed with pleasure, but said nothing.

“They're very nice; you've had good luck with 'em,” pronounced Mrs. Todd. “Yes, we've observed there was doughnuts all the way along; if one house is frying all the rest is; 'tis so with a great many things.”

“I don't suppose likely you're goin' up to the Bowden reunion?” asked the hostess as the white horse lifted his head and we were saying good-by.

“Why, yes,” said Mrs. Blackett and Mrs. Todd and I, all together.

“I am connected with the family. Yes, I expect to be there this afternoon. I've been lookin' forward to it,” she told us eagerly.

“We shall see you there. Come and sit with us if it's convenient,” said dear Mrs. Blackett, and we drove away.

“I wonder who she was before she was married?” said Mrs. Todd, who was usually unerring in matters of genealogy. “She must have been one of that remote branch that lived down beyond Thomaston. We can find out this afternoon. I expect that the families'll march together, or be sorted out some way. I'm willing to own a relation that has such proper ideas of doughnuts.”

As Mrs. Todd later notes, there's no shortage of relatives (whether close or shirt-tail) in the area. But only one that has such proper ideas of doughnuts.

May 9, 2018 in Books | Permalink

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