Special Dinners, Dances and Luncheons 563
The supreme moment arrived when the fair cooks spread a table-cloth upon the ground and invited the company to gather about it.
Each guest then unwrapped his or her own mysterious contribution, which was proudly displayed. One brought a country nosegay for the central ornament of the "spread," composed of flowers stiffly arranged and of a combination of colours that set at defiance all the laws of taste. Another contributed home-made candies, a third, olives and pickles, while the hostesses delighted their friends with an incomparable chowder, fish-balls light as thistle-down, a tongue cooked to velvet, and salads, biscuits, cakes, etc., to please an epicure.
The coffee was made in true picnic fashion in the presence of the company at the wide hearth, which made a fairly good substitute for a camp-fire.
After the feast each guest was given a long, pointed stick which was used for roasting apples and toasting marshmallows—and later on, corn was popped over the bed of glowing embers. Then the banjos were played, and all joined in singing popular songs.
At another winter picnic each young woman guest was requested to bring a box containing luncheon for two and to place her visiting-card within it. The guests arrived wearing duck skirts, straw hats, knickerbockers, etc., and played games, and tried their luck at a fishpond improvised in one corner of the room, where "fortunes," not favours, were caught on the hook, cleverly adapted to the fisherman by the person representing "Truth, at the bottom of the well"—or pond, in this case.
As the supper hour approached, the young men were given a number of beans, and the "luncheon boxes"