The turkey, which had been left to its own devices in the oven much to the concern of the two little girls, had assumed a luscious golden brown when Miriam returned to baste it.
She put on the vegetables and topped up the water in the steamer holding the Christmas pudding before going to set the table.
She had ransacked the airing cupboard and at last found a large white damask cloth, old and beautifully starched, with several darns executed, she guessed, by a long-dead hand. No one these days, surely, could be bothered to do such fine work.
Spread upon the dining room table and decorated with two candlesticks borrowed from the mantlepiece, it began to look like a festive board, although Miriam cursed herself for forgetting to buy crackers, those instant decorations. As it was, there was no time to search for flowers or ribbons, but she filched a few holly sprigs from above the pictures where the children had put them, and set them round the candlesticks.
"It's marvelous!" cried Hazel.
"Can we put some pretty things too?" queried Jenny.
"Yes, do," said Miriam, rushing to the kitchen to attend to an ominous hissing noise."