He reached his chamber and was soon dreaming over the Event of the Season.
The morning after.
Colonel Sprowle’s family arose late the next morning. The fatigues and excitements of the evening and the preparation for it were followed by a natural collapse, of which somnolence was a leading symptom. The sun shone into the window at a pretty well opened angle when the Colonel first found himself sufficiently awake to address his yet slumbering spouse.
“Sally!” said the Colonel, in a voice that was a little husky,—for he had finished off the evening with an extra glass or two of “Madary,” and had a somewhat rusty and headachy sense of renewed existence, on greeting the rather advanced dawn,—“Sally!”
“Take care o’ them custard-cups! There they go!”
Poor Mrs. Sprowle was fighting the party over in her dream; and as the visionary custard-cups crashed down through one lobe of her brain into another, she gave a start as if an inch of lightning from a quart Leyden jar had jumped into one of her knuckles with its sudden and lively poonk!
“Sally!” said the Colonel,—“wake up, wake up. What ‘r’ y’ dreamin’ abaout?”
Mrs. Sprowle raised herself, by a sort of spasm, sur son seant, as they say in France,—up on end, as we have it in New England. She looked first to the left, then to the right, then straight before her, apparently without seeing anything, and at last slowly settled down, with her two eyes, blank of any particular meaning, directed upon the Colonel.
“What time is ’t?” she said.
“Ten o’clock. What y’ been dreamin’ abaout? Y’ giv a jump like a hopper-grass. Wake up, wake up! Th’ party ‘s over, and y’ been asleep all the mornin’. The party’s over, I tell ye! Wake up!”
“Over!” said Mrs. Sprowle, who began to define her position at last,—“over! I should think ’t was time ’t was over! It’s lasted a hundud year. I’ve been workin’ for that party longer ’n Methuselah’s lifetime, sence I been asleep. The pies would n’ bake, and the blo’monje would n’ set, and the ice-cream would n’ freeze, and all the folks kep’ comin’ ‘n’ comin’ ‘n’ comin’,—everybody I ever knew in all my life,—some of ’em ’s been dead this twenty year ‘n’ more,—’n’ nothin’ for ’em to eat nor drink. The fire would n’ burn to cook anything, all we could do. We blowed with the belluses, ‘n’ we stuffed in paper ‘n’ pitch-pine kindlin’s, but nothin’ could make that fire burn; ‘n’ all the time the folks kep’ comin’, as if they’d never stop,—’n’ nothin’ for ’em but empty dishes, ‘n’ all the borrowed chaney slippin’ round on the waiters ‘n’ chippin’ ‘n’ crackin’,—I would n’ go through what I been through t’-night for all th’ money in th’ Bank,—I do believe it’s harder t’ have a party than t’”—
Mrs. Sprowle stated the case strongly.