562 The Book of Indoor and Outdoor Games
possible, all furniture and ornaments removed, and the curtains and pictures draped and covered with forest, green cheese-cloth, upon which sprays and sprigs of laurel leaves had been thickly sewn. The floor was covered with a green-baize drugget, with bits of evergreen plentifully scattered over its surface, while green denim pillows, stuffed with pine balsam, and a fairly ponderous log or two, alone offered opportunity of seats other than that which the ground furnished.
The invitations had requested that the guests come in picnic garb, which was understood by the men to mean suits of tweed and homespun, knickerbockers, and "anything comfortable," and by the girls to make themselves as "fetching" as possible, with a touch of rusticity in their attire whenever it could be made artistic or becoming.
The easy clothing seemed of itself to make things informal, while the requirement of seating themselves in such primitive fashion had its effect in banishing any possible stiffness.
Games, sports, stunts, etc., occupied the time before supper, the fun culminating in a contest in which each man in turn tried to get into a huge clothes-basket, through the handles of which a broomstick was passed, the ends resting upon the seats of two chairs, placed back to back.
If one succeeded in the difficult feat without overbalancing the basket and "coming a cropper" to the ground, he was then shod by a comrade with a pair of very large list slippers. These he was to kick off in turn, while preserving his balance, the jerk, however, usually having the effect of promptly precipitating him to the ground, which has an unaccountable mirth-provoking effect upon the spectators.