Ann Mary; Her Two Thanksgivings by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, 1892
The magic trick:
Writing a loose, ramshackle plot that is perfect for a lazy, fun Thanksgiving Day
I’m not sure what to make of the semicolon in the title. That’s a little strange. But the story itself? It’s nice. It has an odd rambly quality, like Freeman wrote it during an especially pleasant two hours one winter afternoon and never went back to edit it. The story starts one way, goes another, twists back around to another place and then ends somewhere new. What seems to be the central conflict isn’t; something else takes its place. But it’s not shoddy writing. There are no loose ends. It’s just comfortable and not at all wound tight. Which really when you think about it is a very nice way to spend a Thanksgiving. And that’s quite a trick on Freeman’s part.
“Kitty, kitty, kitty,” called Ann Mary. She was very fond of Loretta’s cat; she had none of her own.
The cat came close and brushed around Ann Mary so she took it up in her lap; and wrapped the shawl around it, and felt a little comforted.
She sat there on the door-step and held the cat until it was quite dusky, and she was very stiff with the cold. Then she put down the cat and prepared to go home. But she had not gone far along the road when she found out that the cat was following her. The little white creature floundered through the snow at her heels, and mewed constantly. Sometimes it darted ahead and waited until she came up, but it did not seem willing to be carried in her arms.
When Ann Mary reached her own house the lonesome look of it sent a chill all over her; she was afraid to go in. She made up her mind to go down to Sarah Bean’s and ask whether she could not stay all night there.