And so he would sit and muse, his head in his hand, his well-rounded legs stretched toward the fire, his white, shapely fingers tapping the arms of his chair—each click so many telegraphic records of the workings of his mind.
With the closing in of the autumn and the coming of the first winter cold, the denizens of Kennedy Square gave themselves over to the season’s entertainments. Mrs. Cheston, as was her usual custom, issued invitations for a ball—this one in honor of the officers who had distinguished themselves in the Mexican War. Major Clayton, Bowdoin, the Murdochs, Stirlings, and Howards—all persons of the highest quality—inaugurated a series of chess tournaments, the several players and those who came to look on to be thereafter comforted with such toothsome solids as wild turkey, terrapin, and olio, and such delectable liquids as were stored in the cellars of their hosts. Old Judge Pancoast, yielding to the general demand, gave an oyster roast—his enormous kitchen being the place of all others for such a function. On this occasion two long wooden tables were scoured to an unprecedented whiteness—the young girls in white aprons and the young men in white jackets serving as waiters—and laid with wooden plates, and two big wooden bowls—one for the hot, sizzling shells just off their bed of hickory coals banked on the kitchen hearth, and the other for the empty ones—the fun continuing until the wee sma’ hours of the morning.
The Honorable Prim and his charming daughter, not to be outdone by their neighbors, cleared the front drawing-room of its heavy furniture, covered every inch of the tufted carpet with linen crash, and with old black Jones as fiddler and M. Robinette—a French exile—as instructor in the cutting of pigeon wings and the proper turning out of ankles and toes, opened the first of a series of morning soirees for the young folk of the neighborhood, to which were invited not only their mothers, but their black mammies as well.