There was great excitement at the old Carbon Homestead. It was Thanks giving Day and upon this particular Thanksgiving Day, the Carbon family were having a reunion. When the invitations were sent out, no one could find the address of Bismuth carbon, Cuprum carb., Titanium carb. and Zinc carbon, so they were of necessity slighted, but all the other branches of the family were invited.
Manganum carbon had fallen into a despondent condition; she was low-spirited. Even joyous music did not please her, and as for the dinner, she had an aversion to food, and always felt as though she had eaten too much. The vexations of life were too real for her to indulge in any merry-making, so she sent regrets. Mrs. Plumbum carbon had become so thoroughly one of her husband’s family that you couldn’t tell her from a plumbum. She had lost all interest in the carbon family, therefore she also sent regrets. With these exceptions, all of the invited were on hand.
You should have seen dear old Grandma Carbon veg., as with her twin sister, Carbo animalis, she received her guests. She was not very strong, poor thing. She was taking her usual nap in her chair, when the clamor of the arriving guests awakened her. She snatched her fan and hastened out on the porch to welcome them. The poor old soul was afflicted with asthma and always carried her fan, even in the open air. Grandma had a weak voice, which soon gave out upon exertion, so her greeting was expressed by her smiling pale face, and she left most of the talking to the young people. Aunt Carbo animalis wasn’t much stronger than Grandma Carbo veg. She never did have much strength or energy and now in her old age had developed Carcinoma, which did not improve matters, but in union there is strength, and it took the united strength of the two old ladies to do justice to the occasion.
A fine array of children and grand-children, nephews and nieces came running to meet the old lady. Fat Amm-carb. with her scrofulous children, hysterical Baryta carb. with her poor little dwarfish child, dwarfed in mind as well as in body, Calc-carb., fair, fat and flabby, with her fat, self-willed children, dark haired asthmatic Kali carb., weak inspite of her obesity, with no children at all, though it was not her fault, poor thing! weak-eyed Lith-carb., nervous Mag-carb. irritable as ever, Natrum carb., who, for once had laid aside her dislike for exercise, and the open air, and Strontium carb. with her bundled up children, had all come to celebrate this Thanksgiving Day with Grandma Carbon.
Dinner was all prepared, but there was some delay in seating the guests, for children, after an hour’s play needed a little cleansing to make them presentable. Now it happened thus the little Amm carbs. were exceedingly hemorrhagic in their nature. It also happened that they were exceedingly averse to being washed, and when the cleansing process began, their noses began to bleed, and they began to cry. Grandma induced them to stop crying by bribing them with sugar of which they were very fond, and Mrs. Amm-carb. finally succeeded in stopping the epistaxis, so with red spotted faces, blue hands and swollen veins, but clean, they were at last ready.
Tiny Baryta carb. needed no washing. The Calcarea children had tried to quarrel with her, but she was shy of strangers, and had hidden in the corner, and kept so still that there was not a speck of dirt upon her. Not so with the Calc- carb. children. They had stumbled around, whenever their weak little legs had chosen to carry them, and had fallen just as often as those same little legs had given out under them or the little toes had stumbled against some slight elevation. But each had found its heart’s desire, and when they had appeared before the eyes of the assembled relatives, one was nibbling a piece of chalk, another was treating a piece of coal in the same manner, while the third was gnawing away upon a raw potato, much to the horror of Kali carb., who was a great sufferer from indigestion and had to be very careful what went into stomach. Mrs. Calcarea soon transformed the dirty little folks into sweet-faced, rosy-cheeked chubs and brought them to the table.
Grandma Carb. had seated the guests according to their needs.
Weak-eyed Lithium carb. was placed in a shaded corner; Natrum carb., who had been afflicted with sunstroke years before and had never fully recovered from the effects of it, was given the coolest corner; while Strontium carb. was given the seat nearest to the fire, for she is in danger of apoplexy if a draught touches her or when she does not keep warm. Grandma’s dining room was built with a sky-light and no windows, and in that way she avoided all draughts. Many of her children were sensitive to the air, though she herself couldn’t get too much of it.
That was a glorious Thanksgiving Dinner! It was not a modern affair, with an endless number of courses, but one of the old fashioned kind such as our puritan forefathers indulged in. There was plenty of everything that the market could afford, and all was prepared to suit the taste of the guests.
The food to which the guests had an especial aversion, was placed as far as possible from that guest; for instance, all of the sweets, the fruits and especially the plums, were placed at a distance from the Baryta carbons; the meats were kept away from the Kali carbs., Calc-carbs. and Stront-carbs. The milk was not placed near the Nat-carb, or the Calc-carb., etc. and on the other hand, if there was a dish that a guest especially liked, it was placed in her vicinity. No one could describe that table or tell all that was upon it. Everyone’s pleasure had been consulted. There was bread, cold food and plenty of sugar lumps for the Amm-carbs. Grandma had notion the sugar loaf cubes were purer than candy. There were eggs, sour things, salt things, sweets, and ice cream for the Calc-carbs., sour things, sweet things and sugar for Kali carb., meat, bread and fruit for Mag-carb. Neither was Grandma forgetful for the thirst of her guests, for she had provided cold water for Nat-carb., Mag-carb. and Calc-carb., beer for Stront-carb. and lemonade for the Calc-carbs, besides several acid drinks for Mag-carb. and Kali-carb.
When all were seated, Grandma Carbon cast an affectionate glance down the long table and told her children that she thought each should tell what particular thing she had to be thankful for, and set the example by saying that she herself was extremely thankful that so many of her family had once more been permitted to gather at her table. The children giggled at Grandma’s speech, not because it was funny, but because she started off in a deep bass voice and ended with no voice at all! You see Grandma was exerting herself too much. Absent-minded Amm-carb. forgot what she was thankful for and could hardly keep from weeping in her anxiety to recall some blessing. She finally remembered that she was thankful that the day was pleasant, because her children were always so irritable in stormy weather. Little Baryta carb. peeped timidly from the folds of her mother’s dress skirt and looked thankful that she had found such a protecting hiding place, and said nothing. Mrs. Calc-carb. thought she had so many things to be thankful for she couldn’t be expected to remember them all, but her children, who had been intently scanning the table, piped up as in one voice, “pickles, eggs, cakes corn beef, ice cream, lemonade; it’s good dinner,” and the fond mother, remembering her little pale-faced emaciated children that had gone into the other world, responded, “Yes, we are thankful for the dinner, but I am more thankful for the rosy-faced healthy-looking children, who, I know have stomachs big enough to hold the dinner” Kali-carb. looked listlessly around the table and was glad that others were happy even she were low-spirited. For once, Lith-carb. forgot to weep about her lonesome condition and was thankful to find that she had so many relatives, though she had difficulty in remembering their names. Nervous Mag-carb. said she had been trembling with fear all day as if some accident would happen, something almost always did happen when so many were together but she was thankful that nothing had happened. Nat-carb., who had much difficulty in grasping and connecting thoughts, at this point comprehended that she was expected to be thankful for something and astonished her relatives by announcing that as her stomach was empty she was thankful dinner was ready.
Thereupon, Mag-carbs., Lith-carb., and all the little Calcarea carbs. cordially responded “so are we”, which reminded Grandma that it was quite the time for the guests to be served.
The little Amm-carbs., soon had enough, for no matter how hungry they were, a small quantity always satiated them. They made it all up, though, by drinking when they couldn’t eat. Baryta carb. soon had to stop eating, not because she was too timid to eat, but because there came a sudden disgust for food in the midst of the meal. No one urged her to continue, for all agreed that no child with such hypertrophied and indurated tonsils, could be expected to swallow much; they wondered how with such a throat, she could succeed in getting anything down. Stront-carb. had no appetite at all, but she sipped her beer and enjoyed watching the rest who certainly did justice to the dinner.
While the dinner was in progress, Grandma could not help noting the Carbon traits in her children. All had seen the hard side of life and as each related her story to the sympathetic listeners, Grandma observed and made her comparisons. In each of her guests, she recognized some characteristic of herself or of her sister, Carbo animalis, but in a greater or less degree of development. Their absent-mindedness reminded her of her own periodical want of memory. In their mental sluggishness, she saw her own feeble memory and slow flow of ideas. Their anxiety and tears recalled the time when, her own anxiety was so great as to cause her to tremble all over and weep.
Timid Baryta reminded her of her own bashful childhood and she recalled the time when she too was easily frightened. She smiled now at her former nightly fear of ghosts. The little self-willed calc. children reminded her of the days when in a fit of temper, she used to strike, kick and bite to express her rage. The Amm-carbs. nose-bleed had been an inheritance from the Carbon side of the house; there was the thin, dark blood so familiar to Grandma, but the Ammonium’s epistaxis was produced more easily than her own. She could not remembered the time when hers had been brought on by simply washing the face. Amm-carb. was the most hemorrhagic of all her children, though most of them suffered from hemorrhages to a certain extent. Baryta carb’s. nose bleed was likely to be attended by catarrh in the post nares, and it was quite likely to come before the menstrual period. The Calc-carb’s nose bleed was more likely to come from the right nostril. It was just as frequent and profuse as Grandma’s, but it was likely to came in the morning, while Grandma’s usually came at night, though at times it came in the fore-noon, and it was followed by fainting or pain in the chest. Amm-carb’s. came in the morning and usually from the right nostril, though the left nostril sometimes bleeds. Most of Amm-carb’s. troubles come on the right side. Lith-carb. was full of sympathy for Amm-carb’s. troubles, because her own came on the right side also. Kali carb. like Amm-carb. suffered from nose-bleed on washing the face in the morning. Calc-carb’s nose bleeds from the right side and Stront-carb. was suffering from the chronic effects of hemorrhage.
Calc-carb. had trouble with her children. In spite of their good appetites and fat bodies, they were not healthy. Their teeth were slow and difficult in coming, and their fontanelles did not close early. She had to brace their little bow legs and backs to make them straight. She could keep no decent bedding in the house for they would wet the bed every night, though when she woke them up in very early sleep, she sometimes prevented it, that is if she woke them up soon enough, but after all it did not do much good for they perspire so profusely, that by morning the bed was about as wet as though they had urinated!.
The glands of the neck became enormously large. One of her children had hip- joint disease, another white swelling, while several had died of marasmus. Mrs. Calc-carb. received much sympathy from her sisters who had endured similar experiences. Amm-carb’s children were also scrofulous, though these glands did not enlarge to the extent of those of the Calc-carb children. They too had profuse night-sweats, and involuntary urination during sleep. Their urine was pale with red sediment. Mrs. Amm-carb. had great dread of scarlet fever, her children were of such hemorrhagic nature that it usually took the malignant form with them.
Little Baryta carb. was also a scrofulous child. She had enlarged glands of the neck, with fistulous ulcers. Her glandular trouble was the result of scarlet fever. She had an irritation of the bladder, which was worse at night causing her to wet the bed. Little Mag-carb. and Nat-carb. all had the same story of enlarged glands and scrofula. Mag-carb’s children were slow in cutting their teeth; thin involuntary urination came during the day, and they had night sweats which came after 12.00 p.m. until morning. The sweat was oily and difficult to wash off, and was of sour, putrid odor. Nat-carb’s. emaciated pale-faced children had night sweats alternating with dry skin. They too had involuntary urination at night which smelled sour or like horse’s urine and deposited a mucous sediment.
Grandma mused as she listened. Night-sweats, weak bladder, enlarged glands, scrofula, all down through and they inherited it from Carbons. She re-called her own exhausting night-sweats and enlarged and suppurating glands, her own bladder trouble, for she used to wet the bed as much as any of her grandchildren, and as the thought of it all came over her she questioned in her mind, if any one so psoric had the right to marry and bear children, whose inheritance must be that of continued suffering.