A Bird Social

On the walls should be displayed numbered pictures of twenty different species of birds, characteristic of our climate; the names should be omitted. (Beautiful colored plates of birds may be obtained from Birds and All Nature, published by Monfort Co., Chicago.) Pencils and paper are given the guests, and they are required to record the names of the birds according to number; twenty minutes are given to complete the lists. At the end of this time a correct list is read and all lists are checked by it.


Not from the book, but from the Internet (Taubert, M, and Geo. H Curtis. Jenny Lind’s bird song. Firth, Pond, and Co., New York, monographic, 1851. Notated Music. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/sm1851.150170/. (Accessed July 19, 2017.))

Some pretty bird songs may be introduced, after which the following list of Hidden Birds is distributed, the guests being asked to search for the caged birds:

  1. The path through all the meadow leads to the mill. (Owl)
  2. Are all arks built alike? (Lark)
  3. How rents have advanced! (Wren)
  4. Oh awkward boy, how could you be so careless? (Hawk)
  5. Did they rob in daylight? (Robin)
  6. Have you read Gulliver’s Travels? (Gull)
  7. She looks wan and pale. (Swan)
  8. He hath rushed away in silence (Thrush)
  9. The crown and glory of life is character. (Crow)
  10. He broke the reed in half-inch lengths. (Finch)
  11. He swallowed the medicine easily. (Swallow)
  12. I made known to her a venerable friend of mine. (Raven)
  13. Do venture a little farther. (Dove)
  14. I met her on the beach. (Heron)
  15. Does the pup love Ruth? (Plover)
  16. This song will be a glee. (Eagle)
  17. Maj. Ayers is a handsome man (Jay)
  18. The celebration began and dawn. (Daw)
  19. He found in grammar tiny words for great uses. (Martin)
  20. Can a rye field produce such sorrow? (Canary)

A paraphrase of Longfellow’s beautiful poem “The Birds of Killingworth” may be read while a vocalist may render the “Jenny Lind Bird Song.”


A “Broken Heart” Social

This social is designed for St. Valentine day. The rooms should be decorated with hearts cut from fancy paper, all colors and sizes. They may be used in many ways — a frieze above the picture molding stretched on invisible wires from the chandelier to the four corners of the room, and in every nook and corner. The table may bear a centerpiece, heart-shaped, composed of flowers and foliage. Tiny heart-shaped menu cards, bearing the old couplet,

“If you love me as I love you,
No knife can cut our love in two,”

are prepared for each guest.

Five "gentlemen" with bows and arrows pointed at a heart on a wall.

“If you love me as I love you, No knife can cut our love in two,” (Appropriate on St. Valentine Day)

Let the amusements, as well as the decorations, be “hearty.” Get a quantity of the so-called candy “hearts,” those with mottoes; now divide each heart into two parts, and lay on separate trays; when ready to serve refreshments, pass these trays, one to the ladies, the other to the gentlemen. Each gentleman by finding the remaining portion of his “heart” will know whom he is to escort to refreshments. For other amusements, cut an immense heart out of rather stiff paper and tack it firmly on the wall; next cut a quantity of tiny arrows from the same paper. Now blindfold a guest, turn him three times around to confuse him on directions and tell him to place the arrow in the center of the heart; the arrow will, perhaps, be on the opposite wall when he is relieved of his bandage.

Next, have a “Fishing for Hearts.” Behind a screen or piano, a person is secreted with innumerable little paper hearts before him — one lot for the ladies, the other lot for the gentlemen; on these hearts has been written a “fortune” for each guest. A pole and line, with a bent pin for a hook, is provided for the fisher, who stands some distance in front of the piano, and casts over his line. The hostess should call each fisher’s name distinctly, that the hidden person may know whether the fisher is a lady or gentleman. The fisher is told that when the fish bites he is to pull in the line; the secreted person fastens the hook in the heart, then gives the line a twitch, and up it goes; the fisher then reads his future tot he party. These fortunes should be as amusing as possible — thus:

  • You will marry a woman whose hair is red;
    Then often and often you’ll wish you were dead.
  • A doctor you’ll marry, who cures many ills,
    And he will compel you to sort all his pills.
  • You’re doomed to endure a bachelor’s woes,
    To cook your own meals and darn your own hose.
  • Twice will  you marry, and happy you’ll be,
    Sitting by a cozy fire, drinking cold tea.
  • A bachelor maid is your lot in life,
    And you’ll tell other women how to be “a good wife.”
  • You will wed two women, the first one will die,
    The other will make you go on the “fly.”
  • You have an ambition to be President some day,
    But it takes a “brainy” man to go that way.
  • You’ll be an “old maid” and keep a fat cat
    That will sleep in your band-box with your best hat.
  • You’ll be a book-agent and call at each door,
    While the ladies cold water on will pour.
  • You’ll have for your future plenty of gold,
    And a husband to spend it, flashing and bold.
  • In your future I see pangs that will hurt;
    Your heart will be broken by a young flirt.
  • You’ll be a widower and live at your ease,
    With twelve little children to fret and to tease.
  • You’ll be a politician, and run a whole ward,
    And many good things in life you’ll afford.
  • You’ll be a policeman and boss a whole street,
    And the woman you marry you’ll find hard to “beat.”
  • You’ll marry a girl and live with her “ma,”
    And she will make known to you points of the law.

An All Fools’ Social

photograph of a boy pulling something from the back of a man's coat tails.

“Hunt the Whistle” The above engraving illustrates one of the interesting features of an “All Fools’ Social”

This should be made the occasion for pure and simple fun, only lively games being admissible.

First, suspend an apple from a hook in the center of the ceiling; the string should be of rubber. Tie the hands behind the back and bite the apple(?). This will seem an easy task, until it has been tried.

Second, place a lighted candle on a table; blindfold a guest, turn him three times around to confuse him on directions, then tell him to blow out the candle. This will be found most amusing.

Tie the hands again, take a dime and place it firmly in the center of the forehead, press hard, then deftly remove the dime. Now command him to shake the head three times and remove the dime, though the shaking may be most vigorous the dime will yet seem to cling.

The old favorite “Hunt the Whistle” will be found adaptable to this evening: Choose a person who has never seen the game played. Place him in the center of the room’ the remaining guests now form a circle around him; show him the whistle and tell him that it is to be hidden in the ring; blindfold him while the whistle is being hidden. During the time he is being blindfolded some person quietly fastens the whistle to the back of [his] coat, by a string to which is attached a crooked pin. The bandage is removed and he is told to hunt the whistle. While he is searching, some person behind slips quietly forward and blows the whistle; until it is discovered.

Suspend an odd-shaped bundle, formed by wrapping paper together in an odd way, from the chandelier; now let each guest make a guess as to what the bundle contains, no one is allowed to touch same. After all have registered a guess, the bundle is unwrapped, and in its center is found a tiny box; on opening the box a slip of paper is found, bearing the words “An April Fool.”

A sleight-of-hand performer would be a suitable addition to this evening’s entertainment.


A Cat Social

This entertainment is a “Show” and “Social” combined. Every guest owning a pet cat is requested to bring it to this social; also to provide a written history of its life, so far as it is known. These histories should be made as amusing as possible, and form one part of the evening’s entertainment.

Next, a Cat game is played, as follows: Some guest is chosen as “Kitty”; this guest now kneels before some person and utters a plaintive little “meou”; the person must then pat “Kitty” on the head and say, “Poor Kitty!” This is repeated three times, and if the “Kitty” succeeds in making the guest laugh, this guest, in turn, becomes the “Kitty.”

Now provide pencils and paper, and give the following list of Queer Poetical Cats, to be deciphered by each guest:

There’s a cat very good for food, ’tis said,
And a cat marks the resting place of the dead;
There’s a cat that makes a discordant sound,
And a cat that is made to scatter around.
There’s a cat that crawls beneath our feet,
And a cat whose movements are quick and fleet:
There’s a cat that blanches our face with fear,
And a cat that wanders far and near.

Answers to the above are: Catsup, catacomb, house cat, catalogue, caterpillar, catamount, catastrophe, cattle.

A Reunion of the People of Dickens

A child gazing into the the face of an old woman

The Charles Dickens Social

A pleasant evening’s entertainment is the reunion of the people of Charles Dickens’ novels. In the works of no other writer will be found such a variety of characters for representation. This exercise is especially adaptable for a Lyceum or Reading Circle. It may be arranged as a masquerade or purely literary affair. If the latter, we would suggest a Dickens Programme in connection with the character exhibit.

In choosing the characters for representation a careful study of the part will be necessary, in order that the representation may be perfectly natural.

A pleasant feature of the literary programme may be tableaux adapted from the most pathetic scenes, as “Death of Little Nell,” “Pip and the Escaped Convict,” and the “Companionship of Paul and Florence Dombey.”

We give a complete list of characters for representation, also the book in which they may be found.


  • Mr. Bumble, a pompous parish beadle in Oliver Twist.
  • Jack Bunsby, a sea captain, oracle, and philosopher, in Dombey and Son.
  • Searjeant Buzfuz, a bullying lawyer, in Pickwick Papers.
  • Rev. Mr. Chadband, a hypocritical clergyman in Bleak House.
  • Capt. Cuttle, a sea-captain, in Dombey and Son.
  • Dodson and Fogg, a law firm, in Pickwick Papers.
  • Paul Dombey, a delicate, pathetic child, in Dombey and Son.
  • Dora, the child-wife of David Copperfield, in David Copperfield.
  • David Copperfield, hero, in book of same name.
  • Mr. Squeers, a villainous schoolmaster, in Nicholas Nickleby. Also Mrs. Squeers and Miss Fanny Squeers.
  • The Fat Boy, a humorous character who is always hungry, in Pickwick Papers.
  • Joe Gargery, an illiterate blacksmith, in Great Expectations.
  • Mrs. Joe Gargery, wife of the aforesaid Joe.
  • Barnaby Rudge, a half-witted boy, in book of same name.
  • Bill Sikes, a thief, and murderer, in Oliver Twist.
  • Smike, a poor, despised outcast, in Nicholas Nickleby.
  • Mark Tapley, boy servant of Martin Chuzzlewit, in book of Martin Chuzzlewit.
  • Mrs. Betsy Trotwood, eccentric aunt of David Copperfield.
  • Mr. Tulkinghorn, an old bachelor, in Bleak House.
  • Oliver Twist, a poor miserable boy, in book of same name.
  • Mrs. Gummidge, the poor, ‘lorn widder, in David Copperfield.
  • Uriah Heep, a deceitful villain, in David Copperfield.
  • Mrs. Leo Hunter, a blue-stocking, in Pickwick Papers.
  • Vincent Crummels and Ninetta Crummels, a traveling showman and his daughter, in Nicholas Nickleby.
  • Mrs. Jarley, proprietor of the waxworks show, in Old Curiosity Shop.
  • Mrs. Jellyby, a sham philanthropist, in Bleak House.
  • Mr. Alfred Jingle, a swindling stroller, in Pickwick Papers.
  • The Kenwigs, a family of little girls, in Nicholas Nickleby.
  • Little Nell, the pure child heroine, in Old Curiosity Shop. Also Nell’s grandfather, in same book.
  • Little Emily, pathetic character, in David Copperfield.
  • Mr. Mantalini, a fop, in Nicholas Nickleby.
  • The Marchioness, a poor, abused servant girl in Old Curiosity Shop.
  • Mr. Micawber, a shiftless fellow in David Copperfield.
  • Miss Miggs, an ill-tempered servant maid, in Barnaby Rudge.
  • Nancy, a depraved girl, in Oliver Twist.
  • Mrs. Nickleby and Nicholas Nickleby, her son in book of same name.
  • Pecksniff, a hypocrite, in Martin Chuzzlewit.
  • Clara Peggotty, a nurse of David Copperfield.
  • Mr. Pickwick, hero of Pickwick Papers.
  • Tom Pinch, an oddity, in Martin Chuzzlewit.
  • Mr. John Podsnap, a pompous Britisher, in Our Mutual Friend.
  • Quipp, a hideous dwarf, in Old Curiosity Shop.
  • Samuel Weller, body servant of Mr. Pickwick.
  • Tony Weller,father of Samuel.
  • Agnes Wickfield, second wife of David Copperfield.
  • Mr. Winkle, a sport, in Pickwick Papers.
  • Pip, a little lad, in Great Expectations.

A Carnival of Nations

Woman dressed as Miss Columbia

Miss Columbia

It is not entirely clear that this photo goes with this activity because some of the text from the caption is missing, but the only other activities on page 22 are A Cat Social and A Date Social. This comes the closest because it mentions costumes:

This is designed for a fancy-dress affair, each guest being requested to dress to represent some nation. When all have gathered a grand march is participated in by all. As a feature of the entertainment a short description of the nation represented is read by each guest; these descriptions should be limited to not more than half a dozen facts; this and his dress are the key by which he is identified. Slips of paper are provided and the guesses are recorded in the order in which they are read. A simple gift, as a book of views, is provided for the most successful contestant.

The second part of the evening may be devoted to the following national conundrums; the answers may be written or given orally as desired.

Name a:

  •  Murderess nation (Assassination)
  • Floral nation (Carnation)
  • Poet’s nation (Imagination)
  • School-girl’s nation (Examination)
  • Teacher’s nation (Explanation)
  • Traveler’s nation (Destination)
  • Preventative nation (Vaccination)
  • Ruler’s nation (Coronation)
  • Church-goer’s nation (Donation)