In no place as in New England, or where New England’s sons and daughters sojourn, does the Thanksgiving season seem complete; and no sort of homely feasting ever attains the absolute comfort of an old-fashioned New England Thanksgiving Day dinner. The many scattered children of that rocky soil from which their forefathers wrung scant living will welcome this recall of the old-time festivity, even if they cannot perfectly reproduce it. There is a distinction without much difference in the dinners at the coast and in the interior; on farms and in villages away from the railroads fresh fish is seldom used, while on the coast baked tautog is a prime Thanksgiving luxury; oysters reach the interior both in cans and in the shells, and are regarded as special rarities worthy to be served at the greatest festivals; then, too, away from the large towns game birds are rarely cooked, partridge being the exception…Even the interior dinners might be varied with game, for the addition of the partridge there are plenty of woodock, wild duck, and herons, to say nothing of the Gargantuan widow’s cruse full of young rooks for pies.
The third day at Fort Francis Williams was no longer able to avoid the church; his Indian captor dragged him there by force, just as the priests had warned. Williams sat as close to the door as possible, fascinated and repulsed by what he witnessed. He had never heard a Catholic Mass before, and what he “saw [was] a great confusion, instead of Gospel Order.” The elaborate liturgy, the polyphonic music, and the overabundance of priestly noises paired with the ungodly passivity of the silent congregation, were indeed far from a Gospel Order that privileges congregational comprehension and participation. One priest delivered the “Mass in a Tongue Unknown to the Savages”—what use was such a performance, Williams wondered, if those who listened couldn’t understand the words? What’s more, another priest was “singing Prayers among the Indians at the same time”—cacophony and nonsense! Williams grimly noted the ceaseless chanting as “many others were at the same time saying over their Pater Nosters, and Ave Mary, by tale from their … Beads on a String.” Compared to the simplicity and clarity of Puritan worship, the Catholic Mass was incomprehensible idolatry, the music aimed at seducing rather than inspiring sincere conversion. Williams was appalled.
(Credit to Wicked Dark Photography; check out their fantastic stuff!)
In Dublin, New Hampshire up near Keene there is a series of mansions. These mansions were once part of a farm estate that had its own barns and carriage houses all within a half-mile radius. One of the barns has been…