Page:Aunt Phillis's Cabin.djvu/92

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Chapter VIII

As absurd would it be for one of the small unsettled stars, for whose place and wanderings we care not, to usurp the track of the Queen of night or of the God of day, as for an unpretending writer to go over ground that has been trodden by the master minds of the age. It was in the olden time that Cooper described a dinner party in all its formal, but hospitable perfection. Washington was a guest there, too, though an unacknowledged one; we cannot introduce him at Exeter, yet I could bring forward there, more than one who knew him well, valuing him not only as a member of society and a hero, but as the man chosen by God for a great purpose. Besides, I would introduce to my readers, some of the residents of L——. I would let them into the very heart of Virginia life; and, although I cannot arrogate to it any claims for superiority over other conditions of society, among people of the same class in life, yet, at least, I will not allow an inferiority. As variety is the spice of society, I will show them, that here are many men of many minds.

Mark, was a famous waiter, almost equal to Bacchus, who was head man, on such occasions. They were in their elements at a dinner party, and the sideboard, and tables, on such an occasion, were in their holiday attire. A strong arm, a hard brush, and plenty of beeswax, banished all appearance of use, and the old servants thought that every article in the room looked as bright and handsome as on the occasion of their young mistress' first presiding at her table. The blinds of the windows looking south, were partly open; the branches of the lemon-tree, and the tendrils of the white-jessamine, assisted