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Mrs. Elmore herself, armed with her large bunch of keys, of which she seemed always to be selecting one for especial use; and then there was some one always chopping or beating eggs; and another always moving some kettle or saucepan on the hearth; and there was a constant noise of the smoke-jack in the wide chimney, under the pressure of a tremendous piece of beef, which caused every black wheel in the higher regions to utter sounds not unlike the skirlings of an ill-conditioned pipe. The very dogs seemed to be on the alert, and from always being in the way, received many a kick, which sent them yelping into other parts of the busy scene. And as the hours advanced, and the report arrived from the fields respecting the progress of the work in that quarter, the fervor of preparation became hotter, and the old and the ran faster and got more and more into each other's way, till at length Mrs. Elmore, coming to a stand in the very middle of the kitchen, gave one scientific glance around her, and exclaimed, “They may come now as soon as they will; if nothing has been forgotten, we are all ready.”
“And so we be,” cried old Betty, “ the best table,
and all set off with flowers as fine as a May-pole, thanks to Miss Harriet and them without, just as fine; and if Madam has not provided a supper fit for a king, why then my old age has taken away my understanding of such things.”
Whilst the farmer and his men were unloading the last wagon,
supper was being set upon the tables, and the poor women and children ranged in their places in the yard. The great table within the kitchen was kept for the elders of this humble assembly, many of whom used to reckon up with great
many times in which they had been admitted to sit down at the same board with their masters and their families, for some remembered the father, and even the grandfather of Mr. Elmore.
It was most pleasant to the master and mistress to observe how much the good fare was enjoyed, and still more to see how' modestly and thankfully every favor was received by the poor guests. When every one was satisfied, the company went out into the yard, where Mr. Elmore, before he left them to the enjoyment of some little amusement which had been provided for them with their wives and children, addressed
them, and called on them to thank God, who, after having shown his power to withhold the means of plenty, had then in his infinite mercy opened his hand to supply their necessities in rich abundance. “ Hence, then,” he added, “to him our God and Saviour, the Saviour of our bodies, we owe all the happiness of this our harvest home feast, and the prospect which we have of being amply fed during the ensuing year.
“But this is not all which we may learn by the Divine blessing from this feast of our harvest home.
“ As I have often told you, my friends," he continued, “and as my father told me and you who knew him in former years, this life is but the shadow, the passing shadow of that which is to come, so that in all the most striking and important blessings granted us below and in the order and manner of natural things, we have the promise and the picture of things spiritual and now to us unseen; for example, the gathering in of our golden grain, and the rejoicings which we are permitted to make on such occasions, is like the earnest penny which a servant receives when he is accepted to any service into which he is not received at the moment. Our joyful
harvest home should be accounted by us, who believe in the Son of God as the Saviour of our race, as a pious festival in which we receive the earnest of that glorious feast, when all the holy seed, having been cut off from their roots in earth, shall be admitted into the treasure-house of the King of Kings, whilst all the courts of heaven shall ring with the cry of glory! glory! glory! be to him who hath gathered his wheat into his garner, and there will preserve it for ever."
BY MRS. ABDY.
EAR Sister! I come to your cool retreat,
A seat by your side to ask;
And play has become a task :
I have gathered flowers in the glade,
And talk in the quiet shade.
Ere long I must quit these bowers and brooks,
And cease in these fields to roam;
Away from my happy home.
And that duties must be obeyed;