The great event of the day is at hand. It is dinner-time. The table of unnatural length, narrower at one end, where it has been eked out for the occasion, groans with the choicest gifts of the year. There is but one course, but that possesses infinite variety and reckless profusion. For one day, at least, the doctrine of an apostle is in full honor. “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving.” The long grace sanctifies the feast with the word of God and with prayer. The elders and males are distributed to front the substantial of the board—the round of a-la-mode, the brown crisp pig with an apple in his mouth, the great turkey who has frightened the little red-cloaked girls and saucy pugs for months past, the chicken-pie with infinite crimping and stars and knobs, decorating its snowy face. The mothers and daughters are placed over against the puddings and pies, which have exercised their ambition for weeks—vying with rival housekeepers in the number and variety of sorts—and which, after the faint impression made on them to-day, shall be found for a month, filling the shelves of spare-closets and lending a delicious though slightly musty odor to the best wardrobe of the family. Children of all ages—to the toddling darling, the last babe of the youngest daughter—fill up the interstices, while the few books in the house are barely sufficient to bring the little ones in their low chairs to an effective level with the table. Incredible stowage having been effected, the sleepy after-dinner hours are somewhat heavily passed; but with the lamps and the tea-board, sociability revives. The evening passes among the old people, with chequers and back-gammon. Puss-in-the-corner, the game of forfeits—blind-man’s-buff entertain the young folks. Apples, nuts and cider come in at nine o’clock, and perhaps a mug of flip—but it is rather for form’s sake than for appetite. At ten o’clock the fire is raked up, and the household is a-bed. Excepting some bad-dreams, Thanksgiving day is over.
(FROM GOETHE’S FAUST.)
BY GEORGE P. MARSH.