7.12.13Posted by Jeanne
Madam could have scratched Oliver for designing to spoil her party. But bush-rangers were a subject on which everybody could talk—and did, over the blazing brandy fumes of the plumpudding; over the steaming mince pies, melting and golden; over the ruddy raspberry tarts, the tansy shortbreads, the queenpuddings frail with white of egg. There were strawberries in great silver dishes, and clotted cream in Doulton bowls, pale lakes of gooseberry-fool, yellow custard in fat cups of cut glass. Madeira and port took the place of sherry. The company grew mellow. Madam was happy again, and husbands looked at wives down the table-length and smiled. Danger might come with the morning, their eyes said, but we will take what the gods give to-night.
G. B. Lancaster, Pageant, 1933