Miss November's Dinner Party by Agnes Carr
An amusing allegorical fantasy. All the most interesting Days,
grandchildren of Mother Year, came to Mrs. November's dinner
party, to honour the birthday of her daughter, Thanksgiving.
THE widow November was very busy indeed this
year. What with elections and harvest homes,
her hands were full to overflowing; for she takes great
interest in politics, besides being a social body, without
whom no apple bee or corn husking is complete.
Still, worn out as she was, when her thirty sons and
daughters clustered round, and begged that they might
have their usual family dinner on Thanksgiving Day,
she could not find it in her hospitable heart to refuse,
and immediately invitations were sent to her eleven
brothers and sisters, old Father Time, and Mother Year,
to come with all their families and celebrate the great
Then what a busy time ensued! What a slaughter
of unhappy barnyard families—turkeys, ducks, and
chickens! What a chopping of apples and boiling of
doughnuts! What a picking of raisins and rolling of pie
crust, until every nook and corner of the immense
storeroom was stocked with "savoury mince and toothsome
pumpkin pies," while so great was the confusion
that even the stolid red-hued servant, Indian Summer,
lost his head, and smoked so continually he always
appeared surrounded by a blue mist, as he piled logs
upon the great bonfires in the yard, until they lighted
up the whole country for miles around.
But at length all was ready; the happy day had come,
and all the little Novembers, in their best "bib and
tucker," were seated in a row, awaiting the arrival of
their uncles, aunts, and cousins, while their mother, in
russet-brown silk trimmed with misty lace, looked them
over, straightening Guy Fawkes's collar, tying Thanksgiving's
neck ribbon, and settling a dispute between two
little presidential candidates as to which should sit at
the head of the table.
Soon a merry clashing of bells, blowing of horns, and
mingling of voices were heard outside, sleighs and
carriages dashed up to the door, and in came, "just in
season," Grandpa Time, with Grandma Year leaning
on his arm, followed by all their children and grandchildren,
and were warmly welcomed by the hostess
and her family.
"Oh, how glad I am we could all come to-day!" said
Mr. January, in his crisp, clear tones, throwing off his
great fur coat, and rushing to the blazing fire. "There
is nothing like the happy returns of these days."
"Nothing, indeed," simpered Mrs. February, the
poetess. "If I had had time I should have composed
some verses for the occasion; but my son Valentine has
brought a sugar heart, with a sweet sentiment on it, to
his cousin Thanksgiving. I, too, have taken the liberty
of bringing a sort of adopted child of mine, young Leap
Year, who makes us a visit every four years."
"He is very welcome, I am sure," said Mrs. November,
patting Leap Year kindly on the head. "And,
Sister March, how have you been since we last met?"
"Oh! we have had the North, South, East, and West
Winds all at our house, and they have kept things
breezy, I assure you. But I really feared we should
not get here to-day; for when we came to dress I found
nearly everything we had was lent; so that must account
for our shabby appearance."
"He! he! he!" tittered little April Fool. "What a
sell!" And he shook until the bells on his cap rang; at
which his father ceased for a moment showering kisses
on his nieces and nephews, and boxed his ears for his
"Oh, Aunt May! do tell us a story," clamoured the
younger children, and dragging her into a corner she
was soon deep in such a moving tale that they were all
melted to tears, especially the little Aprils, who cry
Meanwhile, Mrs. June, assisted by her youngest
daughter, a "sweet girl graduate," just from school, was
engaged in decking the apartment with roses and lilies
and other fragrant flowers that she had brought from
her extensive gardens and conservatories, until the
room was a perfect bower of sweetness and beauty;
while Mr. July draped the walls with flags and banners,
lighted the candles, and showed off the tricks of his
pet eagle, Yankee Doodle, to the great delight of the
Madam August, who suffers a great deal with the
heat, found a seat on a comfortable sofa, as far from
the fire as possible, and waved a huge feather fan back
and forth, while her thirty-one boys and girls, led by the
two oldest, Holiday and Vacation, ran riot through
the long rooms, picking at their Aunt June's flowers,
and playing all sorts of pranks, regardless of tumbled
hair and torn clothes, while they shouted, "Hurrah for
fun!" and behaved like a pack of wild colts let loose
in a green pasture, until their Uncle September called
them, together with his own children, into the library,
and persuaded them to read some of the books with
which the shelves were filled, or play quietly with the
game of Authors and the Dissected Maps.
"For," said Mr. September to Mrs. October, "I
think Sister August lets her children romp too much. I
always like improving games for mine, although I have
great trouble to make Equinox toe the line as he should."
"That is because you are a schoolmaster," laughed
Mrs. October, shaking her head, adorned with a wreath
of gayly tinted leaves; "but where is my baby?"
At that moment a cry was heard without, and Indian
Summer came running in to say that little All Hallows
had fallen into a tub of water while trying to catch an
apple that was floating on top, and Mrs. October, rushing
off to the kitchen, returned with her youngest in a
very wet and dripping condition, and screaming at the
top of his lusty little lungs, and could only be consoled
by a handful of chestnuts, which his nurse, Miss Frost,
cracked open for him.
The little Novembers, meanwhile, were having a charming
time with their favourite cousins, the Decembers,
who were always so gay and jolly, and had such a delightful
papa. He came with his pockets stuffed full of toys
and sugarplums, which he drew out from time to time,
and gave to his best-loved child, Merry Christmas, to
distribute amongst the children, who gathered eagerly
around their little cousin, saying:
"Christmas comes but once a year,
But when she comes she brings good cheer."
At which Merry laughed gayly, and tossed her golden
curls, in which were twined sprays of holly and clusters
of brilliant scarlet berries.
At last the great folding-doors were thrown open.
Indian Summer announced that dinner was served, and
a long procession of old and young being quickly formed,
led by Mrs. November and her daughter Thanksgiving,
whose birthday it was, they filed into the spacious dining-room,
where stood the long table groaning beneath
its weight of good things, while four servants ran continually
in and out bringing more substantials and
delicacies to grace the board and please the appetite.
Winter staggered beneath great trenchers of meat and
poultry, pies and puddings; Spring brought the earliest
and freshest vegetables; Summer, the richest creams
and ices; while Autumn served the guests with fruit, and
poured the sparkling wine.
All were gay and jolly, and many a joke was cracked
as the contents of each plate and dish melted away like
snow before the sun; and the great fires roared in the
wide chimneys as though singing a glad Thanksgiving
New Year drank everybody's health, and wished
them "many happy returns of the day," while Twelfth
Night ate so much cake he made himself quite ill, and
had to be put to bed.
Valentine sent mottoes to all the little girls, and
praised their bright eyes and glossy curls. "For," said
his mother, "he is a sad flatterer, and not nearly so
truthful, I am sorry to say, as his brother, George Washington,
who never told a lie."
At which Grandfather Time gave George a quarter,
and said he should always remember what a good boy
After dinner the fun increased, all trying to do something
for the general amusement. Mrs. March persuaded
her son, St. Patrick, to dance an Irish Jig, which
he did to the tune of the "Wearing of the Green," which
his brothers, Windy and Gusty, blew and whistled on
Easter sang a beautiful song, the little Mays "tripped
the light fantastic toe" in a pretty fancy dance, while
the Junes sat by so smiling and sweet it was a pleasure to
look at them.
Independence, the fourth child of Mr. July, who is a
bold little fellow, and a fine speaker, gave them an oration
he had learned at school; and the Augusts suggested
games of tag and blindman's buff, which they all enjoyed
Mr. September tried to read an instructive story
aloud, but was interrupted by Equinox, April Fool, and
little All Hallows, who pinned streamers to his coat
tails, covered him with flour, and would not let him
get through a line; at which Mrs. October hugged her
tricksy baby, and laughed until she cried, and Mr. September
retired in disgust.
"That is almost too bad," said Mrs. November, as
she shook the popper vigorously in which the corn was
popping and snapping merrily; "but, Thanksgiving,
you must not forget to thank your cousins for all they
have done to honour your birthday."
At which the demure little maiden went round to
each one, and returned her thanks in such a charming
way it was quite captivating.
Grandmother Year at last began to nod over her teacup
in the chimney corner.
"It is growing late," said Grandpa Time.
"But we must have a Virginia Reel before we go,"
said Mr. December.
"Oh, yes, yes!" cried all the children.
Merry Christmas played a lively air on the piano,
and old and young took their positions on the polished
floor with grandpa and grandma at the head.
Midsummer danced with Happy New Year, June's
Commencement with August's Holiday, Leap Year
with May Day, and all "went merry as a marriage
The fun was at its height when suddenly the clock in
the corner struck twelve. Grandma Year motioned all
to stop, and Grandfather Time, bowing his head, said
softly, "Hark! my children, Thanksgiving Day is ended."