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Full text of "Table traits : with something on them"

ALBERT R. MANN 
LIBRARY 



New York State Colleges 

OF 

Agriculture and Home Economics 




AT 

Cornell University 




The original of tliis book is in 
tlie Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



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TABLE TRAITS 



SOMETHING ON THEM. 



DE., DOKAN. 



■ Je suis aujouid'hui en train de conter ; plaise 4 Dieu que cela i 
soit pas une calamity publique." — Brillat Savarin. 



hcan!) €bJtioK. 



LONDON : 
KICHARD BBNTL'BY, NEW BURLINGTON STREET ; 

OLIVER & BOYD, EDINBURGH; HODGES & SMITH, DUBLIN; 

AN1> TO BE HAD OF ALL BOOKSELLERS, AND AT TJIE RAILWAY STATIONS. 

1854. 



214520 



lOHDOS : 
B.CIAT, PBIHraB, =»»*» STREET H'"'''' 



TO 
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE 

HENRY, EARL OF HAREWOOD, 

IN GRATEFUL MEMORY OF BY-GONE 

HAPPY YEARS, 

THIS VOLUME IS INSCHrBED 
BY 

THE AUTHOR. 



BILL OF FARE. 



PAGE 

The Legend of Amphitryon — a, Prologue J 

Diet and Digestion ° 

Water J* 

Breakfast 26 

Materials for Breakfast 31 

Com, Bread, &c 36 

Tea ^8 

Coffee ey 

Chocolate 64 

The Old Coffee Houses 67 

The French Cafgs 80 

The Ancient Cook and his Art 86 

The Modern Cook and his Science 9^ 

Pen and Ink Sketch of CarSme H* 

Dinner Traits 123 

The Materials for Dining ; . . . . 136 

A Light Dinner for Two 169 

Sauces 190 

The Parasite 219 

Table Traits of Utopia and the Golden Age 230 

Table Traits of England in the Early Times 244 

Table Traits of the Last Century 260 

Wine and Water 282 

The Birth of the Vine, and what has come of it 287 

The Making and Marring of Wine 303 

Imperial Drinkers and Incidents in Germany 312 

An Incident of Travel 313 

A few odd Glasses of Wine 324 

The Tables of the Ancient and Modern Egyptians 341 

The Diet of Saints of Old 353 

The Bridal and Banquet of Perques ........ 372 

The Support of Modern Saints 377 

The Csesars at Table 394 

Their Majesties at Meat 412 

English Kings at their Tables 442 

Strange Banquets 467 

The Castellan Von Coney 473 

Authors and their Dietetics 487 

The Liquor-loving Laureates 508 

Supper 513 



TABLE TEAITS 

WITH SOMETHING ON THEM. 



THE LEGEND OF AMPHITRYON. 

A PEOLOGUE. 

"Le veritable Amphitryon eat V Amj^hitryon o4 Von <fj»e."^MoLiEEE. 

Amokg well-worn illustrations and similes, there are 
few that have been more hardly worked than the above 
line of Poquelin-Moliere. It is a line which tells us 
pleasantly enough, that he who sits at the head of a 
table is among those '' respectable " powers who find an 
alacrity of worship at the hands of man. I say, " at the 
hands ;" for what is "adoration" but the act of putting 
the hand to the mouth (as expressed by its components 
ad and os, oris) ? and what worship is so common as that 
which takes this form, especially when the Amphitryon 
is amiable, and his altar weU supplied ? 

But such a solution of the question affords us, after 
all, no enlightenment as to the mystery of the reality or 
Amphitryon himself, whose name is now worn, and some- 
times Tisurped, by those who preside at modern banquets. 



2 TABLE TSAIT3. 

"Was he real ? is he a myth ? was he ever in the body ? 
or is his name that of a shadow only, employed for 
purposes of significance ? If real, whence came he ? 
What does classic story say of the abused husband of 
Alcmena ? 

Amphitryon was a Theban gentleman, who had two 
nephews, fast young men, who were slain by the Tele- 
boans. This is a myth. They were extravagant iudi- 
viduals, of the class of those who count the chimes at 
midnight. Their father could not help them ; and so the 
uncle, a bachelor, was expected to do his avuncular office, 
spend his substance for the benefit of bis brother's chil- 
dren, and get small thanks for his trouble. His brother, 
however, had an article of small value, — a daughter, 
named Alcmena ; and this lady was given in marriage to 
her uncle, without any scruple about the laws of affinity. 
As soon as the ceremony of the betrothal was over, 
Amphitryon departed to punish the Teleboans ; and he 
had not been long absent, when Jupiter presented him- 
self in the likeness of the absent husband, set up a 
household with the readily-convinced Alcmena, and became 
the father of Hercules. When Amphitryon returned, 
his surprise was natural, and his ill-temper not to be 
wondered at. But Jupiter explained the imbroglio in a 
very cavalier way, as was his custom, and which they 
who are curious may see in the liveliest' of the lively 
comedies of the miller's man, Plautus. 

An incident connected with the story shows us that 
Amphitryon, fond of good living generally, and of beef 
in particular, made a razzia among the Teleboan herds, 
and brought back all the cows and oxen he found amongst 
them. He was exhibiting the cattle to his brother 
Electryon, when one of the animals strayed from the 
herd ; and Amphitryon, in order to bring it back, flung 
a stick at it, but with such violence, that the weapon, 



THE LEGENT) OE AMPHITETOIT. 3 

falling on the hovns, rebounded as violently upon 
Eleetryon, who died upon the spot. But this, too, is 
a myth ; and I have no doubt but that Eleetryon died 
of indigestion; for the Teleboan beef was famous for 
its toughness. Indeed, many of the Teleboes them- 
selves were so disgusted with it, that they -abandoned 
their ^toli^ homes, and settled in the island of 
CapresB. 

The Egyptians claim Amphitryon for their own. They 
boast that his dinners at Memphis were divine, and that 
Hercules, his son, was among the last-born of the gods ; 
for Hercules was more than a hero among the leek- 
worshippers of Egypt. But the truth is, that the story 
of Amphitryon, his strength, his good fare, and his hard 
fate, belongs to a more distant period and land. It is a 
Hindoo story, the actors are children of the sun, and 
Voltaire declares that the tale is to be found in Dow's 
" Hindostan ;" but that is as much of a fable as the legend 
itself of Amphitryon, whose name, by the way, may be 
as easily "Indicized" as that of Pythagoras. 

In Scotland, the crime of child-stealing is distinguished 
by the title of "plagiary ;" and an instance of the latter 
is here before us. When Plautus sat in his master's 
mill, and thought over the subject of his lively (Comedy, 
founded on the story of Amphitryon, he took for granted 
all that he had been told of his hero's birth and parentage. 
But the classical Amphitryon is, as I have said, but a 
stolen child. His home is in the far East ; and his his- 
tory was calling up smiles upon the faces of hsteners by 
the Indus long before the twiu founders of Eome had 
been intrusted, by their nurse Lupa, to walk alone. The 
Hindoo Amphitryon was a fellow of some renown, and 
here is his story. 

A Hindoo, whose name, indeed, has not descended to 
us, — ^but he was the individual whom the Greeks stole, 
B 2 



4 TABLE TEAITS. 

and called Amphitryon, — ^Uved many years ago. He was 
remarkable for his gigantic strength and stature ; and he 
not only found the former a good thing to possess, but 
he used it like a giant. He had for the wife of his 
bosom a fair, but fragile, girl, who lay in his embrace, as 
she sang to him at sunset, "like Hebe in Hercules' 
arms." It was not often, however, that such passages of 
pea,ce embellished the course of their daily life. The 
Hindoo was jealous, and his little wife was coquettish. 
The lady had smiles for flatterers ; and her monster of a 
husband had a stick, which showered blows upon her 
when he detected her neglecting her household work. 
Cudgelling took its turn with caressing, as it did in the 
more modern, and consequently more vulgar, case of 
Captain Wattle and Miss Roe ; and finally there was 
much more of the first than there was of the last. One 
summer eve, the husband, in a fit of frantic jealousy, 
assaulted his wife so ferociously, that he left her insen- 
sible on the threshold of their house, and threatened 
never again to keep up a manage with so incorrigible a 
partner. 

A Hindoo deity, of an inferior order, — not the King of 
gods and men, as in the Grecian . legend, — had witnessed 
the whole proceeding from his abiding place in a neigh- 
bouring cloud. He smiled as the husband disappeared ; 
and, gradually descending in his little palace to the 
ground, he lightly leaped on to the firm set earth, gave 
a hurried glance at the unconscious and thickly-bruised 
beauty, and then, in testimony of his ecstatic delight, he 
clapped his hands, and commenced revolving on one leg, 
as D'Egville used to do, when Venua's violin led the 
orchestra, and gave him strength. 

The spirit, having subsided into repose, thought for 
a whUe, and speedily arrived at a resolution. It infused 
itself into a human body, which was found without diEEL- 



THE liaEND OF AMPHITETOIT. 5 

culty, and it clothed the whole under the counterfeit 
presentment of the errant hushand. These feats of trans- 
mutation were common among the eastern deities ; and I 
take for granted that my readers are aware that Pytha- 
goras himself — ^who is connected with Table Traits, on the 
subject of beans — was no other than Buddha Goroos, who 
slipped into a vacant body, and taught the metempsychosis 
to wondering Europe. 

The wile of the Hindoo giant was something astonished, 
on recovering herself, to find that she was seated, without 
any sense of pain, on a bench in the little garden, with 
her apparent husband at her feet, pouring out protesta- 
tions of love and assurances of fidelity. She accepted all, 
without questioning ; for it was all too pleasant to be 
refused. A new life commenced. The married pair 
became the admiring theme of the village ; and when a 
son was bom to them, there ensued such showers of 
felicitations and flowers as had never fallen upon married 
lovers since the Hindoo world first started on its career, 
on the back of the self-supporting elephant. Their moon 
never ceased to shed honey; and this was flowing, 
sweetly and copiously as ever, when, one sultry noon, the 
vagrant husband returned home, and, confronting the 
counterfeit at an inner door, bitterly satirized the vanity 
of women who indulged in capricious tempers and Psyche 
glasses. In an instant, however, he was conscious that 
his other self was not a reflection, but only the cause of 
many that began crowding into the brain of the true 
man. The cool complacency of the counterfeit irritated 
the bewildered and legitimate husband, and an affiray 
ensued, in which the mortal got all the blows, and his 
rival all the advantage. The wife was herself perplexed, 
but manifested a leaning towards the irresistible divinity. 
In vain did the gigantic original roar forth the tale of his 
wrongs, and claim his undoubted rights ; and it waa only 



G TAEM TEAITS. 

during a lull in the storm that he heeded a suggee* 
tion made, to the effect, that all the parties should 
submit their case to the judgment of an inspired 
Brahmin. 

This eminent individual speedily perceived that, of the 
double-man that stood before him, one was a dupe, and 
the other a deity, — something, at all events, above 
humanity. The question was, how to discover the 
divinity. After much cogitation, this was the judgment 
pronounced by the dusky Solomon: "Madam," said he 
to the perplexed lady, " your husband was known as being 
the most robust man ever made out of the red earth, of 
which was composed the father of us all. Now, let these 
two litigants salute you on the lips ; and we pronounce 
him to be the true man who comes off with the loudest 
report." The trial took place forthwith in presence of the 
assembled multitude. The Indian mortal first approached 
the up-raised lips of his wife ; and he performed the 
required feat with an echo that was as half a hmidred 
culverins to the "pistol-shot" kiss recorded of Petruchio. 
The Judge and the people looked curiously to the defend- 
ant, as wondering how, on the pretty instrument before 
him, he could strike a note higher than his rival. The 
Indian god addressed him to what seemed a rose-bud wet 
with dew ; and therewith ensued a sound as though all 
the artillery of the skies were saluting, too, in honour of 
the achievement. The multitude and the Brahmia 
looked, for aU. the world, as if they had lost their hear- 
ing ; and it was calculated that the astounding din might 
have been heard by the slumbering tortoise below the 
antipodes. At length, the assembly hailed the deity as 
the undoubted Simon Pure, and looked towards the Brah- 
min for confirmation of their award; but the Brahmin 
merely remarked to them, with urbanity, that they were 
the sons and fathers of asses, and were unablo to distin- 



THE lEGEND OF AMPHITETON'. 7 

guish between the almost invisible seed wbieb diets the 
bird of Pai'adise, and the gigantic palm ,of the garden of 
the gods, each leaf of which is of such extent that an 
earthly courser, at his utmost speed, could not traverse it 
in fifty millions of mortal-measOTcd years. " Here is the 
true husband," added the Judge, putting his hand upon 
the shoulder of the Indian, " who has done all that human 
being, in the particular vocation required, could do ; and 
here," added he, turning reverentially to the other, "is 
some supreme being, who has been pleased to amuse 
himself at the expense of his servants." 

The god smUed, and confessed to the excellence of the 
Judge's perspicuity by revealing himself in his true, and 
somewhat operatic, form. He ascended the cloud, which 
appeared in waiting for him like an aerial cab, and, loot- 
ing from over its side, laughingly bade the edified multi- 
tude farewell, adding, that he was the deity appointed to 
preside at tables that were not ungraced by the fair ; — and, 
"if these have a cause for complaint, it is my privilege 
to avenge them according to my good pleasure." The 
ladies thereupon flung flowers to him as he rose, and the 
husbands saluted his departure with rather faint cheers ; 
but throughout India, while orthodoxy lasted, there never 
was a table spread, but the master thereat, prince or pea- 
sant, invoked the Hindoo deity to cast the beams of the 
sun of his gaiety upon the board. Heresy, however, in 
this matter, has crept in ; and, if Hindoo feasts lack real 
brilliancy, it is because the sunlight of the god no longer 
bfems from the eyes of the fair, who are no longer pre- 
sent sharers in the banquet. It is otherwise in Europe, 
whither, perhaps, the god came, and aped Jupiter, as well 
as Amphitryon, when he perplexed the household of 
Alcmeua. He sits presiding at our feast, ensconced within 
a rose; from thence bis smiles urge to enjoyment, and 
the finger on his lip to discretion; and every docile 



8 TASIE TEAITS. 

guest wliispers sub rosa, and acknowledges the present 
god. 

It is said, in India, that this divinity was the one who 
gave men diet, but forgot digestion. It was like giving 
them philosophical lectures, without power to understand 
them ; and the ease is stiU common enough upon earth. 
These subjects demand brief notice, were it only by way 
of appendis to this prolegomeuical chapter. 



DIET AND DIGESTION. 

" No digest of law 's like the law of digestion." — MooEE. 

Otjb good neigh'bours the French, or rather, the philo- 
sophers among them, have asserted that the perfecting 
of man and his species depends upon attention to diet 
and digestion ; and, in a material point of view, they are 
not far wrong ; and, indeed, in a non-material point of 
view, it may he said that the spirit, without judgment, is 
very likely to he exposed to indigestion; and perhaps 
ignorance complete is to be preferred to an ill-digested 
erudition. With diet and patience, Walpole thought all 
the diseases of man might be easily cured. Montesquieu, 
on the other hand, held that health purchased by rigo- 
rously watching over diet, was but a tedious disease. But 
Walpole was nearly correct, while Montesquieu was not 
very distant from the truth. Dieting, like other things, 
must be vindertaken on common-sense principles ; for, 
though there be multitudes of mad people in the world, 
society generally is not to be put upon the regime of 
"Bedlam." 

We live, not by what we eat, but by what we digest ; 
and what one man may digest, another would die of 
attempting. Rules on this subject are almost useless. 
Each man may soon learn the powers of his stomach, in 
health or disease, in this respect ; and this ascertained, he 
has no more business to bring on indigestion than he has 
to get intoxicated or fall into debt. He who offends on 



10 TABLE TBAITS, 

these three points, deserves to forfeit stomach, head, and 
his electoral franchise ! 

Generally speaking, fat and spices resist the digestive 
power ; and too much nutritions food is the next evil to 
too little. Good cookery, hy developing flavour, increases 
the nutritiousness of food, which had cookery would per- 
haps render indigestible. Hence a good cook rises to the 
dignity of " artist." He may rank with the chemists, if 
not with the physicians. 

Animal food, of mild quality, is more digestible than 
vegetable, and fresh meats are preferable to salted. In 
the latter the salt is a different composition from that 
which is taken at meals, and which is indispensable to 
health. Pish fills rather than feeds ; but there are excep- 
tions to this. Vegetables are accounted as doing little to 
maintain stamina ; but there have been races and classes 
of men who have been heroes upon bread, fruit, and vege- 
tables. The poor cannot live upon "curry," it is true; 
but in England, with less drink and more vegetable food, 
they would be an improved race. Not that they could 
live like a Lazzaroni on maccaroni and the open air. 
Layard says the Bedouin owes his health and strength to 
his spare diet. But even a Bedouin swallows lumps of 
butter tOl he becomes bilious ; and were he to live in 
England instead of the desert, he would not keep up his 
strength by living on the dishes which support him in 
Arabia Felix. The golden rule is " moderation and regu- 
larity." He who transgresses the rule, will pay for it by 
present suffering and a " check" after Christmas. 

A false hunger ought not to be soothed, nor a false 
thirst to be satisfied ; for satisfaction here is only adding 
fuel to a fire that would otherwise go out. On the other 
hand, the bilious and sedentary man need not be afraid of 
beer ; it is a better stomachic than wine. For him, and 
for all lords of that heritage of woe, a weak stomach, the 



DIET AND DIGESTION. 11 

common-sense system of cookery, as it is called, is most 
required. It is something between the hard crude system 
of the English, and the juice-extracting method of the 
French; with a leaning, however, towards the latter, 
(with whom it is common to reduce food to a condition 
of pulp,) hut imiting with it so much of the English 
custom as allows the gelatinous matter to he retained, 
especially in the meats. " Ihstina lente," is "Latin de 
cuisine" for "Eat slowly," and it is of first-rate value. He 
who does so, gives best chance for healthy chyle ; and 
that wanting, I should like to know where the post-pran- 
dial enjoyment would he. Without it, digestion is not ; 
and when digestion is away. Death is always peering 
about to profit by his absence. "See to it!" as the 
Chinese " chop" says. 

There are upwards of seventeen himdred works extant 
on the subject of diet and digestion. Sufferers may study 
the question till they are driven mad by doubt and dys- 
pepsia, and difference of opinions among the doctors. 
Fordyce saw no use in the saliva, and Paris maintains 
that without it digestion is not. " Quot homines, tot sen- 
tenticB," is as applicable here as in every other vexed ques- 
tion. But Paris's book on Diet is the safest guide I 
know for a man who, being dyspeptic, wants to cure him- 
self, or simply to discover the defiuement of his degree of 
suffering. On the other hand, every man may find com- 
fort in the reflection, that with early hotirs, abundant 
exercise, generous diet, but not too much of it, and occu- 
pation, — ^without which a worse devil than the former 
enters on possession of the victim, — dyspepsia cannot 
assume a chronic form. It may be a casual visitor, but 
it wUl be the easiest thing possible to get rid of him. 
But philosophy has said as much from the beginning, 
and yet dyspepsia prevails and physicians ride in car- 
riages. Exactly! and why? Because philosophers them' 



12 TABLE TUAITS. 

selves, like the Stoic gentleman in Marmontel, after prais- 
ing simplicity of living, sink to sleep, on heavy suppers 
and beds of down, with the suicidal remark, that " Le 
iMxe est unejolie chose" 

We must neither act unreservedly on the dictum of 
books, nor copy slavishly the examples of others, if we 
would have the digestion in a healthy condition. There 
is a self-moilitor that may safely be consulted. Of his 
existence there can be no doubt ; for every man who wakes 
with a head-ache most ungratefully blames that same 
monitory "self." 

If any class may fairly complain of others in this 
respect, rather than of themselves, it is the "babies." 
The Kajpoots do not slay half so many of their infants 
out of pride, as we do by indiscreet dieting ; or, to speak 
plainly, over-feeding. The- New Zealand mother is not 
more foolish, who thrusts stones down the throat of her 
babe, in order to make him a stem and fearless warrior, 
and only mars him for a healthy man. And Christian 
matrons have been quite as savage without intending it. 
Brantome's uncle, Chastargnerage, was no sooner weaned 
than, by the advice of a Neapolitan physician, he took 
gold, steel, and iron, (in powders,) mixed up with aU he 
ate and drank. This regimen he followed until he was 
twelve years old, by which time (we are asked to believe) 
it had so strengthened him that he could stop a wild bull 
in full course. This diet, however, seems little likely to 
have produced such an effect. As soon might one expect 
that the Bolton ass, which chewed tobacco and took snuff, 
was made swift as a race-horse by so doing. I think that 
it is of Dean Nowell it is said, that he grew strong by 
drinking ale. He was the accidental inventor of bottled 
ale. He was out fishing with a bottle of the freshly- 
drawn beverage at his side, when intelligence reached 
him touching the peril his life was in, under Mary, which 



DIET AND BIGESTIOir. 13 

made him fly, after flinging away liis rod, and tlmisting 
his bottle of ale -under the grass. When he could again 
«afely resort to the same spot, he looked for his hottle, 
which, on being disturbed, drove out the cork like a 
peUet from a gun, and contained so creamy a fluid, that 
the Dean, noting the fact, and rejoicing therein, took care 
to be well provided with the same thenceforward. As 
Henry II. was the first King who acted as sewer, and 
placed the boar's'head on the table of his young son, just 
crowned, so Dean NoweU was the first church dignitary 
who laid the foundation of red noses, by bringing bottled 
ale to the notice of the clergy. There is an old tradition, 
that what this ale used to do for churchmen, cider used 
to effect for Africans. 

As we have said, " moderation" is the first principle of 
digestion ; and as, according to the Latin proverb, " water 
gives moderation," it behoves us to look for a few minutes 
into the much praised, and little appreciated, aqua pura. 



¥ATER. 



A Kenttickt man, who was lately at one of the great 
tahles in an hotel in the States, where the bill of fare was 
in French, after sorely puzzling himself with descriptions 
which he could not comprehend, " cotelettes a la Main- 
tenon" and " ceufs a la braise;'" exclaimed, " I shall go 
hack to first principles: give me some roast beef!" So, 
after speaking of the birth of him, whose putative father 
has lent a name to liberal hosts, let us also fall back upon 
first principles, and contemplate the uses of water. 

There is nothing in nature more useful ; but, commonly 
speaking, you can neither buy any thing with it, nor get 
any article for it in exchange. Adam Smith strikingly 
compares with it the uselessness and the value of a 
diamond: the latter has scarcely any value in use, but 
much that is valuable may be had in exchange for it. In 
the desert a cup full of water is worth one full of diamonds ; 
that is, in certain emergencies. The diamond and the 
water illustrate the difierence between value in use and 
value in exchange. 

If water be not, according to Pindar and the legend 
over the Bath Pump-Room, the best of things, few things 
would attain to excellence without it. Greek philosophy 
was not wrong which made it the principle of life, and 
the popular belief scarcely erred in seeing in every stream, 
spring, and fountain a resident deity. Water was so 
reverenced by certain ancient nations, that they would 



WATER. 15 

never desecrate it by purifying themselves therewith! 
The ancient Persians and Cappadocians exemplified their 
devotion by personal dirtiness. In presence of the visible 
power of the stream, altars were raised, and adoration 
paid to the god whose existence was evidenced by such 
power. The Egyptians gave their divine river more 
than prayers, because their dependence on it was more 
absolute than that of other nations on their respective 
streams. The Nile, swelling beneficently, bestowed food, 
health, and therewith content on the Egyptians ; and they, 
in return, flung gratefully into the stream corn, sugar, 
and fruit. When human sacrifices were made to rivers, 
it was probably because the river was recognised as giving 
life, and was worthy of being paid in kind. We may 
smUe superciliously at this old reverence for the " liquid 
good," but there was connected therewith much that we 
might profitably condescend to copy. Greece had her 
officers appointed to keep her streams pure. Had those 
officials exposed the people to drink such indescribable 
matter as we draw from the Thames, they would have 
been thrown into it by popular indignation. In Kome, 
Ancus Martius was long remembered, not for his victo- 
ries, but for his care to supply the city with salubrious 
and sufficient water ; and if people generally cursed Nero 
for his crimes, they acknowledged that he had at least not 
damaged the public aqueducts ; and that in his reign ice- 
houses were first bmlt, the contents of which enabled 
thousands to quaff the cool beverage which is so com- 
mendably spoken of by Aristotle. 

The fountains were the ornaments of the pubHc places, 
as the crystal ampulla, with. its slender neck and its 
globular body, was of the side-boards of private houses in 
Ilome. The common people drank to excess, both of hot 
water and cold : the former they drank in large measures ; 
— ^this was in winter, and in taverns where they fed 



16 TABLE TEAITS. 

largely upon pork, and drank the water as a stimulant ! 
The Emperor Claudius looked upon this regimen as an 
immoral indulgence, and he closed the taverns where pro- 
prietors injured the public stomach by such a diet. 
Some Eomans were so particular as to boil the water 
they intended to drink, in vessels at their own table. 
They were Hke the epicures who never intrust the boil- 
ing of an egg to their own cooks. We may notice that 
Augustus employed it lavishly, both as a bather and 
drinker. The "faculty" were unanimous in recommend- 
ing a similar use of it, and some of these gentlemen made 
considerable fortunes by the various methods of applying 
it. For instance, patients resorting to Charmis, to take 
cold baths in winter under his direction, were required to 
pay him a consulting fee of £800 ! He was the first 
" water-cure" Doctor that ever practised, and he realized 
a fortune such as his successors may aim at in vain. 

Horace Walpole, forgetting what he had once before 
said, namely, that diet and patience formed the universal 
panacea, declared that bis " great nostrum was the use of 
cold water, inwardly and outwardly, on all occasions, and 
that with disregard of precaution against catching cold. 
I have often," he continues, " had the gout in my face 
and eyes, and instantly dip my head in a pail of cold 
water, which always cures it, and does not send it any 
where else." And again, alluding to another use of 
water, he says sneeringly, " Whether Christianity will 
be laid aside I cannot say. As nothing of the spirit is 
left, the forms, I think, signify very little. Surely^ it is 
not an age of morahty and principle ; does it import 
whether profligacy is baptized or not ?" 

With regard to the sanitary application of water, as 
noticed by Walpole, there can be no doubt but that diet 
and digestion proceed the more perfectly, as the ablution 
of the body is general and daily, and made with cold 



WATEB. 17 

water. But discretion must be used ; for there are con- 
ditions of the body wbich cannot endure cold bathing 
without palpitation of the heart following. In such case, 
tepid water should be used for a time, when the palpita- 
tions will soon cease, unless the heart be organically 
affected. 

The same writer's remarks on the Christian uses of 
water, remind me of what is said of some such uses in 
Weever's " Funeral Monuments." He cites the inscrip- 
tions that used to be placed over the holy water in 
ancient churches. Some deposed that the sprinkling of 
it drove away devils : — 

"ffujus aqnts tactus dejpellit damonis actus." 

Others promised a blessing, as, for example : — 

" A^erget vos Detts cum omnibus Sanctis suis ad vitam aternam." 

Another implied, that sis benefits arose from its use; 

namely, — 

" Sex operantur aqud henedictd: 

Cor mundat, accidiam (!'Jfuqat, venalia tollit, 
Aiiget opem, removetgue Jwstem, phantasmata pellit." 

Homer, too, it will be recollected, speaks of the soimd of 
water inspiring consolatory thoughlo, in the passage 
where he describes one " suffering cruel wounds from a 
diseased heart, but he found a remedy ; for, sitting down 
beneath a lofty rock, looking down upon the sea, he 
began to sing." 

The dormitories of many of the old convents were 
adorned with inscriptions recommendatory of personal 
cleanliness ; but the inmates generally were more content 
with the theory than the practice : they were, in some 
degree, like the man at Bishop-Middleham, who died 
with the reputation of a water-drinker, but who really 
lulled himself by secret drunkenness. He praised water 

c 



18 TABLE TEAITS. 

in public, but drank brandy in private, though it was not 
till after death that his delinquency was discovered. 

The use of water against the spells of witchcraft lin- 
gered longer in Scotland than elsewhere. The Straths 
down Highlander even now, it is said, is not ashamed to 
drink " the water of the dead and living ford," on New 
Tear's Day, as a charm to secure him from sorcery until 
the ensuing New Tear. 

St. Bernard, the Abbot, made application of water for 
another purpose. Butler says of him, that he once hap- 
pened to fix his eyes on the face of a woman ; but imme- 
diately reflecting that this was a temptation, he ran to a 
pond, and leaped up to the neck into the water, which 
was then as cold as ice, to punish himself, and to van- 
quish the enemy ! 

There is a second incident connected with water, that 
will bear to be told as an illustration, at least, of old 
times. When Patricius was Bishop of Prusa, the Pro- 
consul Julius resorted thither to the famous baths, and 
was restored to such vigorous health thereby, that he not 
only made sacrifice of thanksgiving to Esculapius and 
Health, but required the Bishop to follow his example. 
The Prelate declined, and the Proconsul ordered him to 
be thrown into a caldron of boiling water, by which he 
was no more affected than if he had been enjoying a bath 
of tepid rose-water. Whereupon he was taken out and 
beheaded. The power that kept the water cool did not 
interfere to blunt the axe. 

We have seen the reverence paid by certain " ancients 
of old" to the supposed divinities whose crystal thrones 
were veiled beneath the waves. Men under a better dis- 
pensation have shown, perhaps, a worse superstition. 
Bede makes mention of a Monk who thought he would 
purify his sin-stained spirit by actual ablution. He had, 
the church-historian tells us, a solitary place of residence 



■WATEE. 19 

assigned him in the monastery, adjacent to a river : into the 
latter he was accustomed to plunge, by way of penance to 
his body. He went manfullj- to the bottom, and his mouth 
was no sooner again in upper air, than it was opened to 
give utterance to lusty prayer and praise.' He would 
sometimes thus stand for hours, up to the neck, and 
uttering his orisons aloud. He was in full dress when 
this penance was performed, and, on coming from the 
stream, he let his wet, and sometimes frozen, garments 
dry upon his person. A Friar, once seeing him break the 
ice, in order that he might make his penitential plunge, 
expressed shiveringly his wonder at the feat : " It must 
be so very cold," said the Friar. "I have seen greater 
cold," was the sole remark of the devotional diver. 
" Such austerity I never beheld," exclaimed another 
spectator. "Z have beheld far greater," replied the 
Monk. " And thus," adds the historian, as simply as 
any of them, " thus he forwarded the salvation of many 
by his words and example." 

Connected with a pious man of our own time, I may 
mention an incident touching water, which is rather 
remarkable : — ^the person to whom I allude is Bishop 
Grobat, of Jerusalem. He states, in his last Annual 
Letter, that he is building a school which will cost him 
about £600 : the school is not yet finished ; but the 
water used for mixing the mortar has already cost the 
enormous sum of £60. It is, in fact, a luxury which 
must be paid for. Where it is so dear, it were well if 
the people never were thirsty ; and there were such peo- 
ple of old. 

The late Vice-ChanceUor of England, Sir LaLcelot 
ShadweU, was as indefatigable a bather as the Monk 
noticed by Bede. Every morning throvghout the year, 
during his residence at Barnes Elms, he might be seen 
wrestling joyously with the Thames. It is said that, on 
2 



20 TABLE TEAITS. 

one oecaBion, a party, in urgent need of an injunction, 
after looking for tlie Judge in a hundred places where he 
was not to be found, at length took boat, and encountered 
him. as he was swimming in the river. There he is said 
to have heard the case, Ustenirig to the details as the 
astonished applicants made them, and now and then per- 
forming a frohcsome " summersault," when they paused 
for want of breath. The injunction was granted, it is 
said ; after which the applicants left the Judge to continue 
his favourite aquatic sport by himself. 

If the late amiable and able Vice-ChanceUor was a 
water-lawyer, so was the late Archdeacon Singleton a 
water-divine. When tutor to the young Lords Percy, he, 
and the eldest of the sons of the then Duke of Northum- 
berland, — ^Hugh, Earl Percy, — were expert swimmers, and 
often, by their achievements, excited the admiration of less 
daring venturers. The Archdeacon was accustomed to 
float away for miles from Sion, depending upon the tide 
to float him back again. At first, many a boatman looked 
inquiringly at the motionless body carrying on with the 
stream ; but, when he was better known, his appearance 
thus excited no more surprise than if he had been in -an 
outrigger, calmly taking a pull before the hour of dinner. 

With respect to water-drinkers, they seem to have 
abounded among the good old Heathens, of whom so many 
stories are told that we are not called upon to believe. 

Aristotle, who, like Dr. Macnish, wrote an " Anatomy 
of Drunkenness," (jiepl miens,) states therein, that he 
knew, or had heard, of many people who never experienced 
what it was to be thirsty. Archonides, of Argos, is cited 
by him as a man who could eat salt beef for a week with- 
out caring to drink, therewith or thereafter. Mago, the 
Carthaginian, is famous for having twice crossed the 
Desert without having once tasted water, or any other 
beverage. The Iberians, wealthy and showy people as 



"WATEE. 21 

they were, were water-drinkers ; and it was peculiar to 
some of the Sophists of Elis,that they lived upon nothing 
tut water and dried figs. Their hodUy strength, which 
was great, is said to have been the result of such diet ; 
but, it is added, that the ■ pores of their skin exuded any 
thing but a celestial ichor, and that, whenever they went 
to the baths, aU the other bathers fled, holding their 
ofiended noses between their fingers ! Matris, of Athens, 
lived aU his life upon myrtle-berries and water ; but, as 
nobody knows how long he did Uve, it would be rather 
rash to imitate him in hopes of obtaining extension of . 
existence. Lamprus, the musician, was a water-drinker, 
as were Polemon, the Academician, and Diodes, of Pepa- 
rethus ; but, as they were never famous for any thing 
else, they are hardly worth citing. It is different when we 
contrast Demosthenes with Demades. Demosthenes 
states, in his second Philippic, that he was a water- 
drinker; and Pytheas was right, when he bade the 
Athenians remark, that the sober demagogue was, like 
Dr. Young, in fact, constantly engaged hx solemn Night 
Thoughts. "Not so your other demagogue, Demades," 
said Pytheas; "he is an unclean fellow, who is daily 
drunk, and who never comes into your assemblies but to 
exhibit his enormous paunch." Such was the style of elec- 
tion speeches in Greece ; and it has a smack of the hust- 
ings, and, indeed, of the market, too, in Covent Garden. 

To turn from old to modern mythology, I may notice 
that water entered into the old sports of St. Distaff's 
Day, or the morrow after Twelfth Day. It is thus 
alluded to by one whose " mind was jocund, but his life 
was chaste," — ^the lyric Parson of Dean Priors : — 

' Partly work and partly play 
Ye must, on St. Distaff's Day. 
From the plough soon free your team, 
Then come home and folher them. 



22 TABLE TEAITS. 

If the maids a-spinning go, 
' Eum the flax, and fire the tow. 
Scorch their placlcets, but beware 
That ye singe no maiden-hair. 
Bring in pails of water then. 
Let the maids bewaah the men. 
Give St. Distaff all the right. 
Then bid Christmas sport ' Good-night ;' 
And next morrow ev'ry one 
To his own vocation." 

When Herrick wrote these lines, I do not know how it 
may have been at Dean Priors, but London was but indif- 
ferently supplied with water. But now London is sup- 
pKed with water from eight different sources. Five of 
them are on the north, or Middlesex, side of London, 
three on the Southwark and Surrey side. The first com- 
prise the New Eiver, at Islington ; the East London, at 
Old Ford, on the Lea ; the West Middlesex, on the 
Thames, at Brentford and Hammersmith ; and the Chel- 
sea and Grand Junction, on the same river, at Chelsea. 
The south side is entirely supplied from the Thames, by 
the Southwaik, Lambeth, and VauxhaU Waterworks, 
whose names are descriptive of their locality. 

The daily supply amounts to about 35,000,000 of 
gallons, of which more than a third is supplied by the 
New River Company. The original projector of this 
Company was Sir Hugh Myddelton, who proposed to sup- 
ply the London conduits from the wells about Amwell 
and Ware. The project was completed ia 1613, to the 
benefit of posterity and the ruin of the projector. The 
old hundred-pound shares are now worth ten times their 
original cost. 

In 1682 the private houses of the metropolis were only 
supplied with fresh water twice a-week. Mr. Cunning- 
ham, in his "Handbook of London," informs us that the 
old sources of supply were the Wells, or Fleet Eiver, 



WATEE. 23 

Wallbrook and Langbourne Waters, Clement's, Clerk's, 
and Holy Well, Tyburn, and the Eiver Lea. Tyburn 
first supplied the City in the year 1285, the Thames not 
being pressed into the service of the City conduits till 
1568, when it supplied the conduit at Dowgate. There 
were people who stole water from the pipes then, as there 
are who steal gas now. " This yere," (1479,) writes an 
old chronicler of London, quoted by Mr. Cunningham, 
"a wax-charndler in Flete Strete had bi craft perced a 
pipe of the oondite withynne the ground, and so conveied 
the water into his selar ; wherefore he was judged to ride 
thurgh the Citee with a condite upon his hedde." The 
first engine which conveyed water into private houses, by 
leaden pipes, was erected at London Bridge, in 1582. 
The pipes were laid over the steeple of St. Magnus ; and 
the engineer was Maurice, a Dutchman. Bulmer, an 
Englishman, erected a second engine, at Broken Wharf. 
Previous to 1656, the Strand and Covent Garden, though 
so near to the river, were only supplied by water-tankards, 
which were carried by those who sold the water, or by 
the apprentice, if there were one in the house, whose duty 
it was to fill the house-tankard at the conduit, or in the 
river. In the middle of the seventeenth century, Ford 
erected water-works on the Thames, in front of Somerset 
House ; but the Queen of Charles II. — like the Princess 
Borghese, who pulled down a church next to her palace, 
because the incense turned her sick, and the organ made her 
head ache — ordered the works to be demolished, because 
they obstructed a clear view on the river. The inhabit- 
ants of the district depended upon their tankards and 
water-carriers, imtU the reign of WnUam III., when 
the York-buildings Waterworks were erected. The 
frequently-occurring name of Conduit-street, or Conduit- 
courtj indicates the whereabout of many of the old 
sources whence our forefathers drew their scanty supplies. 



24 TABLE TEAITS. 

Water is not necessarily unhealthy, because of a Httle 
earthy matter in it ; mineral, or animal, or vegetable mat- 
ter held in it, by solution, or othenvise, renders it decidedly 
unwholesome. Eain water is the purest water, when it 
is to be had by its natural' distillation in the open fields. 
When collected near towns, it should never be used with- 
out being previously boiled and strained. 

The hardness of water is generally caused by the pre- 
sence of sulphate of lime. Horses commonly refuse to 
drink hard water, — a water that can make neither good 
tea, nor good beer, and which frequently contains many 
salts. Soft water, which is a powerful solvent of aU vege- 
table matters, is to be preferred for all domestic purposes. 
Eiver water is seldom pure enough for drinking. Where 
purest, it has lost its carbonic acid from long exposure ; 
and in the neighbourhood of cities it is often a slow 
poison, and nothing more, scarcely to be rescued from 
the name by the process of filtration. London is still 
supplied, at a very costly price, with water which is 
" offensive to the sight, disgusting to the imagination, 
and destructive to the health." Thames water, as at 
present flowing into our houses, is at once the jackal 
and aide-de-camp of cholera. People are apt to praise it, 
as being the water from which is made the purest porter 
in the world ; but it is a well-known fact, that the great 
London brewers never employ it for that purpose. 

The more a spring is drawn from, the softer the water 
will become ; hence old weUs furnish a purer water than 
those which are more recent ; but a well of soft water is 
sensibly hardened by a coating of bricks. To obviate this, 
the bricks should be coated with cement. Snow water 
deserves a better reputation than it has acquired. Lake 
water is fitted only for the commonest household detergent 
purposes. But the salubrity of water is converted into 
poison by the conveyances which bring it almost to our lips; 



WATEE. 25 

and we have not yet adopted in full the recommendation 
of Vitruvius and CohimeUa to use pipes of earthenware, as 
being not only cheaper, hut more durahle and more whole- 
some, than lead. We stiU convey away refuse water in 
earthenware, and hring fresh water into our houses in 
lead! The noted choleraic colic of Amsterdam, in the 
last century, was entirely caused by the action of vegetable 
matter in the water-pipes. 

Filtration produces no good effect upon hard water. 
The sulphate of lime, and still more the super-carbonate 
of lime, are only to be destroyed by boiling. Boiled 
water, cooled, and agitated in contact with the atmo- 
sphere, before use, is a safe and not an unpleasant beverage. 
It is essential that the water be boiling when " toast and 
water " is the beverage to be taken. 

"Water, doubtless, is the natural drink of man — ^in a 
natural state. It is the only liquid which truly appeases 
thirst ; and a small quantity is sufficient for that effect. 
The other liquids are, for the most part, palliatives merely. 
If man had kept to water, the saying would not be appU- 
cahle to him, that "he is the only animal privileged to 
drink without being thirsty." But, then, where would the 
medical profession, have been ? 

But he does well who, at aU events, commences the 
day with water and prayer. With such an one we go 
hand in hand, not only in that service, but, as now, to 
Breakfast. 



BREAKFAST. 



SwrFT lent dignity to this repast, and to laundresses 
partaking of it, when he said, in illustration of modem 
Epicureanism, that " the world must be encompassed 
before a washerwoman can sit down to breakfast." 

Franklin, who made a "morality" of every sentiment, 
and put opinions into dramatical action, has a passage in 
some one of his Essays, in which he says, that " Disorder 
breakfasts with Plenty, dines with Poverty, sups with 
Misery, and sleeps with Death." It is an unpleasant 
division of the day, but it is truly described, as far as it 
goes. On the other hand, it is not to be concluded that 
Disorder is the favourite guest of Abundance ; and I do 
not know any one who has described a plentiful breakfast, 
with regularity presiding, better than another essayist, 
though one of a less matter-of-fact quality than Franklin, 
— I mean Leigh Hunt. In the " Indicator " he invites us 
to a " Breakfast in Cold Weather." " Here it is," he says, 
" ready laid. Imprimis, tea and coffee ; secondly, dry toast ; 
thirdly, butter; fourthly, eggs; fifthly, ham; sixthly, 
something potted ; seventhly, bread, salt, mustard, knives, 
forks, &c. One of the first things that belong to a break- 
fast, is a good fire. There is a delightful mixture of the 
lively and the snug, in coming down to one's breakfast- 
room of a cold morning, and seeing every thing prepared 
for us, — a blazing grate, a clean table-cloth and tea- 
things; the newly-washed faces and combed heads of a 



EEEAKTAST. 27 

set of good-humoured urchins ; and the sole empty chair, 
at its accustomed corner, ready for occupation. When 
we lived alone," he adds, " we could not help reading at 
meals ; and it is certainly a dehcious thing to resume an 
entertaining hoot, at a particularly interesting passage, 
with a hot cup of tea at one's elbow, and a piece of buttered 
toast in one's hand. The first look at the page, accom- 
panied by a co-existent bite of the toast, comes under the 
head of ' intensities.' " Under the head of " &c." in the 
above Ust, I should be disposed to include " sunshine ;" for 
sunshine in a breakfast-room in winter, is almost as glo- 
rious a thing as the fire itself. It is a positive tonic ; it 
cheers the spirits, strengthens the body, and promotes 
digestion. As for breakfast in hot weather, aU well- 
disposed persons who have gardens take that meal, of 
course, in "the arhoiir," and amid flowers. Breakfasts 
al fresco are all the more intensely enjoyed, because so 
few may be discussed in the open air in a country whose 
summer consists of "three hot days and a thunder-storm ;" 
and in a climate wherein, according to Boerhaave, people 
should not leave off their winter clothing tiU Midsummer- 
Day, resuming the same the next morning when they are 
dressing for breakfast ! Walpole and Boerhaave are 
right ; our summers do sometimes set in with extraor- 
dinary severity. 

The breakfast of a Greek soldier, taken at dawn of day, 
required a strong head to bear it. It consisted of bread 
soaked in wine. If Princes were in the habit of so break- 
ing their fast, we hardly need wonder at the denunciation 
in Ecclesiastes against those who eat in the morning. 
The Greek patricians sat daily down to but one soUd 
meal. Soldiers and plebeians had less controllable appe- 
tites, and these could not be appeased with less than two 
meals a-day. They were accounted peculiarly coarse 
people who consumed three. The Eomans were, in this 



28 TABIE TEAITS. 

respect, simUar to the Greeks. Fashionable people ate 
little or nothing before the hour when they compensated 
for a long fast by a daily meal, where they fed hugely. 
A simple breakfast, as soon as they awoke, of " bread and 
cheese," has a very unclassical soimd; but good authority 
assures us, that it was a custom duly honoured with much 
observance. Not of such light fare, however, was the 
breakfast of Galba. Suetonius says that the old Emperor 
used to cry for his morning repast long before day-break. 
This was in winter time. He took the meal in bed, and 
was probably induced to do so by indisposition ; for he 
was a huge, ogre-like supper-eater, — eating much, leaving 
more, and ordering the remains to be divided among the 
attendants, who duly, rather than dignifiedly, scrambled 
for the same. 

Modern epicures would hardly approve of some of the 
dishes half-consumed by the hungry Galba at breakfast ; 
but potentates of our own days have made their first 
meal upon very questionable matta:. 

When Clapperton, the African traveller, breakfasted 
with the Sultan of Baussa, which is a collection of 
straggling villages on the banks of the Quorjra, among 
the delicacies presented were a large grUled water-rat, 
and alligators' eggs, fried or stewed. The company were 
much amazed at the singularity of taste which prompted 
the stranger to choose fish and rice in preference to those 
savoury viands. The Prince, who gave this public break- 
fast in honour of a foreign commoner, was disgusted at 
the fastidious super-delicacy of his guest. In the last 
century, our commoners used to give similar entertain- 
ments in honour of Princes. 

" JEKa Lselia" Chudleigh, as Walpole calls the famous 
lady who was stiE more famous as Duchess of Kingston, 
gave splendidly untidy entertainments of this sort in a splen- 
didly untidy mansion. Her suppers will be foimd noticed 



EEEAKFAST. 29 

in another page. In 1763, slie gave a concert and vast 
cold collation, or "breakfast," in honour of Prince Edward's 
birthday. The scene is admirably painted by Walpole. 
" The house is not fine, nor in good taste, but loaded with 
finery. Execrable varnished pictures, chests, cabinets, 
commodes, tables, stands, boxes, riding on one another's 
backs, and loaded with terrenes, figures, fiUigrees, and 
every thing upon earth ! Every favour she has bestowed 
is registered by a bit of Dresden China. There is a large 
case full of enamels, eggs, ambers, lapis-lazuU, cameos, 
tooth-pick cases, and all kinds of trinkets, things that 
she told me were her playthings. Another cupboard full 
of the finest japan, and candlesticks, and vases of rock- 
crystal, ready to be thrown down in every corner. But 
of all curiosities are the conveniencies in every bed- 
chamber ; great mahogany projections, with brass handles, 
cocks, &c. I could not help saying it was the loosest 
family I ever saw." 

There was a philosopher of the same century, at whom 
even Walpole "dared not have sneered. I allude to Dr. 
Black, whom Lavoisier called " the Nestor of the Chemical 
Eevolution." Dr. Black was famous for the , frugality of 
his breakfasts, and for the singularity of his death, when 
seated at that repast. His usual fare was a little bread, 
a few prunes, and a measured quantity of mUlc and water. 
One morning in November, 1799, he was seated at this 
modest meal. His cup was in his hand, when the 
Inevitable Angel beckoned to him, and the Christian 
philosopher calmly obeyed. He placed the cup on his 
knees, " which were j'oined together, and kept it steady 
with his hand, in the manner of a person perfectly at his 
ease; and in this attitude he expired, without a drop 
being spilt, or a feature in his countenance changed, as if 
an experiment had been required, to show to his friends 
the facility with which he departed." There was neither 



30 TABLE TRAITS. 

convulsion, shock, nor stupor, we are told, to announce or 
retard the approach of death. This was a more becoming 
end than that of another chemist, the younger Berthollet, 
— although in the latter there was something heroical, 
too. He had taken his last .breakfast, when he calmly 
proceeded to a sacrifice which he made to the interests of 
science. He destroyed his life by enclosing himself in an 
atmosphere of carbonic acid. There he began register- 
ing aU the successive feelings he experienced, which were 
such as would have been occasioned by a narcotic ; — " a 
pause, and then an almost illegible word occurred. It is 
presumed that the pen dropped irom his hand, and he 
was no more." 

I have spoken of winter and of summer breakfasts. I 
must have recourse to Mr. Forrester's " Norway in 1848 
and 1849," to show what a breakfast for a traveller should 
be ; namely, oatmeal porridge, or stir-about, with a slice 
of rye or wheaten bread. Such a breakfast, he says, wiU 
not only fortify the traveller for a lengthened period, but 
to the sedentary, the bilious, and the dyspeptic, its adop- 
tion wiU afford more relief than the best prescription of a 
physician. But this breakfast must be prepared with due 
care, and this is the fashion of it : " Take two or three 
handsfull of oatmeal ; I prefer it of mixed coarse and fine 
meal, in the proportion of one third of the latter to two 
of the former. Mingle the meal in a basin of cold water, 
and pour it into a saucepan containing about a quart of 
boiling water ; add a small portion of salt. Set the sauce- 
pan over the fire, and keep stirring it, sprinkling, from 
time to time, small quantities of the meal, till the com- 
position boils, and has acquired the proper consistency. 
That may be known by its glutinous state as it drops 
from the spoon. Let it simmer for ten minutes, and then 
pour it, not into a deep dish, but into common dinner 
plates, and it wiU form a soft, thin, jeUied cake ; spoon 



MATEEIAIS FOE BEEAKPAST. 31 

out portions of thLs, and float it in new milk, adding moist 
sugar, to your taste." For the benefit of others, I may- 
add my testimony touching this recipe. I have strictly 
followed the instruction given, and I certainly never 
tasted any thing to equal the dish. It was execrable ! 
But it has the double recommendation of being easy to 
digest, and of keeping off the sensation of hunger for a 
very long time. Use alone is needed to make it a populax 
breakfast, and he is a hero who . uses it till he likes it. 
But it is time to consider the various 



MA.TEEIALS FOE BREAKFAST. 

Ajjd first of milk. If Britons really have, what they 
so much boast of, — a birth-right, — the least disputable 
article of that class, is their undoubted right to that lacteal 
treasure which their mother holds from Nature, on trust, 
for their use and advantage. •< 

It is a curious fact, that aristocratic infants are those 
who are most ordinarily deprived of this first right of 
their citizenship, and are sent to slake their thirst and 
fortify their thews and sinews at ochlocratic breasts. 
Jean Jacques Eousseau was not often right, but he was 
triumphantly so when he denounced the young and 
healthy mother, let her rank be what it might, who 
made surrender of what should be one of the purest of a 
young mother's pleasures, and flung her child to the 
bosom of a stranger. Who can say what bad principles 
may not have been drawn in with these " early break- 
fasts ?" Certainly this vicarious exercise of the office of 
maternity is an abomination ; and the abomination of 
having one's child suckled by a mercenary stranger can 

only be next in intensity to that of having him but 

let us keep to " Table Traits." 



32 TABLE TEAITS. 

Milk is too popularly known to need description ; but 
it is not all that is sold under that name that comes from 
the cow. The cow with one arm, that produces what 
fresh medical students caU the aqua ptmpagimis, has very 
much to do with the dairies of London. Metropolitan 
milk-maids are not as unsophisticated as the milk -maids 
of the olden time ; if, indeed, maids or milk were particu- 
larly pure even then ; for milk was a propitiatory offering 
to Mercury, and if ever there was a deity who loved mis- 
chief, why, Dan Mercury was the one. 

In Rome milk was used as a cosmetic, and for baths as 
well as beverage. Five hundred asses supplied the bath 
and toilette-vases of the Empress Poppsea; and some 
dozen or two were kept to maintain the decaying 
strength of Francis I. Of course, asses' milk became 
fashionable in Paris immediately, just as bolster cravats 
did with us, when the Regent took to them in order to 
conceal a temporary disease in the neck. 

"OU of milk" and " cow-cheese" were classical names 
for butter, — a substance which was not known in either 
Greece or Eome until comparatively late periods. Greece 
received it from Asia, and Eome knew it not as an article 
of food until the legionaries saw the use to which it was 
applied by the German matrons. The Scythians, like the 
modem Bedouins, were great butter-consumers. Their 
chtirners were slaves, captured in war, and bhnded before 
they were chained to the sticks beside the tub, at which, 
with sightless orbs, they were set to work. 

There have been seasons when, as now in Abyssinia, 
butter has been burned in the lamps in churches, instead 
of on. The "butter-tower" of the cathedral at Eouen 
owes its distinctive appellation to its having been built 
from the proceeds of a tax levied in return for permis- 
sions to eat butter at imcanonical times ; so that the 
tower is a monument of the violation of the ecclesiastical 



MATEBIALS FOE BEEAKFAST. 33 

canons. But there is great licence in these matters ; and 
chaipels in Ireland have been constructed with money 
raised by putting up Moore's erotic works to he raffled 
for, at half-a-erown a ticket ! 

Goats, cows, sheep, asses, and mares have all contri- 
buted their milk towards the making of cheese; and 
naitional prejudice has run so high on the question of 
superiority, that as many broken heads have been the 
result, as there have been rivulets of blood spilt at Dinant 
on the question of copper kettles. The Phrygian cheese is 
said to have owed its excellence to the fact, that it was 
made of asses' and mares' inilk mixed together. I 
doubt, however, if the strong-smeUing Phrygian cheese 
was equal to our Stilton, — ^which, by the way, is not 
made at Stilton, — and whose ripeness has been judiciously 
assisted by the addition of a pint of Madeira. Delicate 
persons at Eome breakfasted on bread and cheese, — ^prin- 
cipally goat cheese. It was administered, on the same 
principle that we prescribe rump-steak, as strengthening. 
People in rude health flourished in spite of it, and there- 
fore ailing people must, it was thought, be invigorated 
because of it. However, our own system is less open to 
objection than that of the ancient faculty. 

I do not know whether mothers will consider it com- 
plimentary or not ; but it is a fact, that the mUk of asses 
more nearly resembles human milk than any other. 
Like the human milk, it contains more saccharine matter 
than that of the cow, and deposits a large proportion of 
curd by mere repose. 

lyrilk is easily assimilated, nourishes quickly, and but 
slightly excites to vascular action. It is stringent, how- 
ever, and has a tendency to create acidity ; but an addi- 
tion of oatmeal gruel will correct both these matters. 
Suet, inserted in a muslin bag, and simmered with the 
milk, is of highly nourishing quality; but it is some- 



Si TABLE TEAITS. 

times more than weak stomaclis can 'bear. Lime-water 
with milk is recommended as sovereign against the 
acidity which milk alone is apt to create in feeble 
stomachs. 

Eggs have been as violently eiJogized as they have 
been condemned, and both in extremes. In some parts 
of Africa, where they are very scarce, and the Priests are 
very fond of them, it has been revealed to the people, 
that it is sacrilege for any but clerical gentlemen to eat 
eggs ! The lay scruple, if I may so speak, is quieted by 
the assurance, that, though the sacred hens produce only 
for the servants at the altar, the latter never address 
themselves to the food ia question, without the whole 
body of the laity profiting thereby ! I suppose that Dis- 
senters naturally abound in this part of Africa. There is 
nothing so unsatisfactory as vicarious feeding. Feeding 
is a duty which every man is disposed to perform for 
himself, whether it be expected of him or not. All the 
eggs in Africa, passing the oesophagus of a Priest, could 
hardly nourish a layman, even though the eggs were as 
gigantic as those which an old author says are presented 
by ladies in the moon to their profoimdly delighted hus- 
bands, and from which spring young babies, six feet 
high, and men at all points. 

If the matrons ia the moon were thus remarkable in 
this respect, the Egyptian shepherds on earth were not 
less so ia another : , they had a singular method of cooking 
eggs, without the aid of fire. They laid them in a 
shng, and then applied so violent a rotatory motion 
thereto, that they were heated and cooked by the very 
friction of the air through which they passed '. 

Diviners and dreamers dealt largely in eggs. Livia, 
was told, just before the birth of Tiberius, to hatch one 
in her bosom, and that the sex of the chick would fore- 
tell that of the expected little stranger, In Kome and 



MATEEIAIS rOE BEEAEPAST. 35 

Greece eggs were among the introductory portions of 
every iDanquet. But Eome knew only of twenty differ- 
ent manners of cooking them. What an advance ia civil- 
ization has been made in Paris, which, according to Mr. 
Robert Fudge, boasts of six hundred and eighty ifive ways 
to dress eggs ! 

Eggs, filled with salt, used to be eaten by curious 
maidens, after a whole day's fasting, on St. Agnes' Eve : 
the profit of such a meal was, that she who partook of it 
had information, in her afber-dreams, of that very iater- 
esting personage, her future husband ! 

There is a story narrated of a Welsh weaver, that he 
could tell, by the look of the egg, whether the bird would 
be worth any thing or not. He reminds me of an old 
Monk I heard of, when in Prague, who, on a man passing 
him, could tell whether he were an honest man, or a 
knave, by the smell ! But the Welsh weaver was even 
more clever than this. He could not only judge of eggs, 
but hatch them. A badger once carried off his sitting-hen, 
and no plumed nurse was near to supply her place. The 
weaver, thereupon, took the eggs (there were sis of them) 
to bed with him, and in about two days hatched them all ! 
Of this brood he only reared a cock and a hen. The cock 
was a gallant bird, that used to win flitches of bacon for 
his master at cock-fights ; and the hen was as prolific as 
Mrs. Partlett could have desired. The result was, that 
they kept their step-mother, the weaver, in bacon and 
eggs for many a month ; and the two days spent ia bed 
were not so entirely thrown away as might, at first sight, 
appear. 

Let it be xmderstood that eggs may lose their nourish- 
ment by cooking. The yolk, raw or very slightly boiled, 
is exceedingly nutritious. It is, moreover, the only food 
for those afflicted with jaundice. When an egg has been 
exposed to a long continuance of culinary heat, its nature 
D 2 



36 TABLE TEAIT3. 

is eutirely changed. A slightly-boiled egg, however, is 
more easy of digestion than a raw one. The best accom- 
paniment for a hard egg isviaegar. Eaw eggs have a 
laxative effect; hard-boiled, the contrary. There is an 
idiosyncrasy ia some persons, which shows itself in the 
utter disgust which they experience, not only against the 
egg itself, but also against any preparation of which it 
forms an ingredient, however shght. Eggs should always 
be liberally accompanied by bread ; — of which I will now 
say a few words, and first of 

COEN. 

OrE first parents received the mission to cultivate the 
garden which was given them for a home. Their Hebrew 
descendants looked upon tillage of all descriptions with a 
reverence worthy of the authority which they professed 
to obey. The sons of the tribes stood proudly by the 
plough, the daughters of the patriarchs were gleaners, 
warriors lent their strength in the threshing bam, Kings 
guided oxen, and Prophets were summoned from the fur- 
rows to put on their mantles, and go forth and tell of 
things that were to come. What Heaven had enjoined, the 
law enforced. The people were taught to love and hold by 
the land which was in their own possession. To alienate 
it was to commit a crime, And, it is from this ancient 
rule, probably, that has descended to us the feeling which 
universally prevails, — that he alone is aristocratic, has the 
best of power, who is lord of the land, upon which he has 
built his earthly tabernacle. 

The fields of Palestine were fertile beyond what was 
known elsewhere ; her cattle produced more abundantly, 
and the very appeUatioijs of many of her localities have 
reference to the beauty and the blessings showered down 
upon them by the Lord. 



COEN. 37 

Next to it, perhaps, in richness and productiveness, was 
Egypt, the home of fugitives from other homes where 
temporary famine reigned. Egypt was long the granary 
of the Roman empire, and twenty million bushels of corn, 
was the life-sustaining tribute which she annually poured 
into the store-houses of Imperial Eome. That territory 
could hardly be more productive, of which an old Latin 
author speaks, and touching which he says, that a rod 
thrust into the soil at night would be found budding before 
morning. And this ancient story, I may notice, has been 
the venerable father of a large family of similar jokes 
among our Transatlantic cousins. 

The Egyptians recognised Osiris as their instructor 
how to subdue and use the earth. The Greeks took the 
teaching from Ceres. Romulus, too, acknowledged the 
divine influence ; and his ■ first pubhc act, as King, was 
to raise the twelve sons of his nurse into a priesthood, 
charged with watching over the fields, and paying sacri- 
fice and prayer to Jove for yearly increase of harvests. 

It was a selfish wish ; but not more so than that of the 
Italian peasants, who, when one who was a native of their 
district had been raised to the tiara, sent a delegation to 
request an especial favomr at his hands. The new Pope 
looked on his old acquaintances benevolently, and bade 
them express their wish. " They wanted but a modest 
boon," they replied: "nothing more than a declaration 
from the Pontiff that their district should be henceforth 
distinguished by its having two harvests every year!" 
And the obliging "successor of the Fisherman" smiled, 
and not only granted their request, but promised more 
than he was petitioned for. " To do honour to my old 
friends," said he, "not alone shall they have two harvests 
every year, but henceforth the year in their district shall 
be twice as long as it is in any other !" And therewith 
the simple people departed joyously. 



38 TABLE TEAITS. 

The older Eomans honoured agriculture, as did the 
Jews. Their language bore reference to this, their coin 
was stamped with symbols in connexion therewith, and 
their public treasury ^'pascua" showed, by its name, that 
"pasturage " was wealth. So he who was rich in minted 
coia enjoyed the peounia, or "money," for which "flocks" 
(pecus) were bought and sold. The owner of an " estate " 
(locus) was locuples, a term for a ma» well endowed with 
worldly goods ; and he was in possession of a " salary," 
who had his solarium, his allowance of salt-money, or of 
salt, wherewith to savour the food by which he Uved. 

The Greeks refreshed the mouths of their ploughing 
oxen with wine. The labour was considerable; for, 
although the plough was light, it lacked the conveniencies 
of the more modern implement. Like the Anglo-Norman 
plough, it had no wheels : the wheeled plough is the 
work of the inventive Gauls. 

The French Eepublicans made a show of paying honour 
to agriculture by pubUc demonstrations, the chief actors 
in which were the foremost men in the Land of Equality. 
They, absurdly enough, took their idea from the example 
presented them by a Monarch, all of whom they pro- 
nounced execrable ; and by one, too, who was the most 
despotic upon earth, — ^the Emperor of China. 

And, in the case of the Emperor, there probably was 
more ostentation than any better motive for the act. 
Grimm, in his " Correspondence," says, truly enough, 
that the ceremony is a fine one, which places the Emperor 
of China, every year, at the tail of the plough ; but, as he 
adds, it is possible that, hke much of the etiquette of 
European Courts, such a custom may have sunk into a 
mere observance, exercising no influence on the public 
mind. " I defy you," he says, " to find a more impressive 
ceremony than that by which the Doge of Venice yearly 
declares himself the husband of the Adriatic Sea. How 



COEN. 39 

exalting ! — tow stimulating ! — how proudly inspiring for 
the Venetians, when their nation was, in reality, sove- 
reign of the seas ! But now it is little more than a ridi- 
culous sport, and without any other effect than that of 
attracting a multitude of people to the Fair of the 
Ascension." 

Charles IX., infamous as he was in most respects, was 
honourable in one ; namely, in exempting from arrest for 
debt all persons engaged in the cultivation of land, "with 
intent to raise grain and fruit necessary for the sustenance 
of men and beasts." All the property of such husband- 
men was alike exempted from seizure ; and it strikes us, 
that this was a much more reasonably-founded exemption 
than that with which we endow roue Members of Parlia- 
ment, who have no excuse for exceeding their income. 
They are free from arrest for six weeks from the proroga- 
tion of Parliament ; and this is the cause of the farce 
which is so often played in the autumn and winter, when 
Parliament is " further prorogued." The Great Council 
would be all the better for the absence of men who so far 
forget their duty as to cheat her Majesty's lieges by 
exceeding their own income. The Senate could better 
spare the spendthrifts, than the land could spare the pre- 
sence of him whose mission it is to render it productive. 

Wheat is a native of Asia, — some say, of Siberia ; others, 
of Tartary ; but it is a matter of doubt, whether it can 
now be found there growing in a wild state. The Eomans 
created a corn-god, and then asked its protection. The 
powerful deity was called Eobigus, and he was solemnly 
invoked, on every 25th of April, to keep mildew from the 
grain. The- Eomans had a reverence for com, but barley 
was excepted from this homage ; and to threaten to put 
an offending soldier on rations of barley, was to menace 
him with disgrace. The Italian antipathy still exists, if 
we may believe the Italian Professor, who, being offered 



40 TABLE TEAITS, 

a tasin of gruel, (made from liarley,) declared its proper 
appeUation to be " acqua crudeley He accounted of it, as 
PUny did of rye, that it was detestable, and could only be 
swallowed by an extremely hungry man. Oats were only 
esteemed a degree higher by VirgiL The poet speaks of 
them almost as disparagingly as Johnson did, when he 
described them as " food for horses in England, and for 
men in Scotland." The grain, however, found a good 

advocate in him who asked, " where did you ever see 

such horses and such men?" The meal is, nevertheless, 
of a heating quaUty, and certain cutaneous diseases are 
traced to a too exclusive use of it. But oatmeal cakes 
are not bad eating, — ^where better is not to be prociu:ed, — 
though they are less attractive to the palate than those 
sweet buns made from sesame grain, and which the 
Eomans not only swallowed with dehght, but used the 
name proverbially. The lover who was treating his mis- 
tress to sugared phrases, was said to be regaling her with 
"sesame cakes." This sort of provision was very largely 
dealt in by Latin lovers. It was to be had cheaply ; and 
nymphs consumed as fast as swains presented. 

If lovers gave the light bread of persuasion to win a 
maiden's affection, the Government distributed solid loaves, 
or com to make them with, to the people, in order to gain 
the popular esteem, and suppress sedition. In some cases, 
it was as a "poor's rate" paid by the Emperors, and cost- 
ing them nothing. In too many cases, it was ill applied ; 
and if Adrian daily fed all the children of the poor, other 
imperial rulers showered their tens of thousands of bushels 
daily on an idle populace and a half-dressed soldiery. It 
was easily procured. Sixty nuHions of bushels — twenty 
times that number of pounds' weight — ^were supplied by 
Africa; and those "sweet nurses of Eome," the islands 
of the Mediterranean, also poured into the imperial gra- 
naries an abundant tribute of the golden seed. It is a 



COEN. 41 

fact, however, that neither Homaus nor Gauls were, till a 
late period, acquainted with the method of making fer- 
mented hread. , 

Ambrosia, nine times sweeter than honey, was the food 
of the gods ; the first men existed on more bitter fare, 
— ^bread made from acorns. Ceres has the honour of 
having introduced a better fare. Men worshipped her 
accordingly ; and, abandoning acorns, took also to eating 
the pig, now allowed to fatten on them at his leisure. 
Ceres and King Miletus dispute the renown of having 
invented grinding-stones^ The hand-mill was one of the 
trophies which the Eoman eagles bore back with them 
from Asia. Mola, the goddess charged therewith, looked to 
the well-being of mills, millers, and bread. In Greece, 
Mercury had something to do with this. It was he, at 
least, who sent to the Athenian market-women, selling 
bread, their customers ; and, as he was the God of Elo- 
quence, it is, doubtless, from this ancient source that all 
market-women are endowed with shrewdness and loquacity. 

The Athenian bread-sellers are said to have possessed 
both. Our ladies of the Gate, in T unin g's Ward, are, 
probably, not behind them ; and I am inclined to think 
that a true old-fashioned Bristol market-woman would 
surpass both. Let me cite an instance. 

Some years ago, an old member of this ancient sister- 
hood was standing at her stall, in front of one of the 
Bristol banks. She had a £10 Bank-of-England note ia 
her hand; and as, in her younger days, she had been 
nitrse-maid in the family of one of the partners, she 
thought she might venture to enter, and ask for gold for 
her note. She did so ; but it was at a time when guuieas 
were worth five-and-twenty shillings a-piece, and gold was 

scarce, and in short, she met with a refusal. The 

quick-witted market-woman, without exhibiting any dis- 
appointment, thereupon asked the cashier to let her have 



42 TABLE TEAITS. 

ten of the bank's £1 notes In exchange for her " Bank-of- 
Englander." The cashier was delighted to accommodate 
her in this fashion. The exchange being completed, the 
old lady, taking np one of the provincial notes, read aloud 
the promise engraved upon it, to pay the bearer in cash. 
"Very good!" said she, with a gleesome chuckle, "now 
gi' me goold for yowr notes, or I'U nm to the door, and 
call out, ' Bank 's broke !' '.' There was no resisting this, 
and the market-woman departed triumphantly with her 
gold. Light-heeled Mercury could not have helped her 
better than she helped herself, by means of her own sharp 
wit. 

Despite what Virgil says of oats, the Eoman soldiery, 
for many years, had no better food than gruel made from 
oatmeal, and sharpened for the appetite by a little vine- 
gar. The vinegar was an addition suggested by Numa, 
who also not only improved the very rude ideas which 
previously prevailed with regard to the making of bread, 
but turned baker himself, and sent his loaves to the ovens 
which he had erected, and to the bakers whom he had 
raised into a "gmld," placed under the protection of the 
goddess Fornax ; — and a very indifferent, nay, disreputable, 
deity she was ! The public ovens were to the people of 
Eome what a barber's shop is to a village ia war time, — 
the temple of gossip. It had been well had they never 
been any thing worse ! The vocation of baker was here- 
ditary in a family ; the son was compelled to follow his 
father's calling. Occasionally, a member of the fraternity 
was offered a senatorship ; but then he was required to 
make over his property, reahzed by baking, to his suc- 
cessors; and, consequently, the honour was as deeply 
declined as the London mayoralty would be by the 
Governor of the Bank of England. 

If Fornax was the goddess to whose patronage the 
bakers were consigned by the State, she suffered by the 



COEH-. 43 

religious liberty exercised by the bakers themselves, who 
chose to pay adoration to Vesta. Vesta was the very 
antipodes in character and attributes to !Pomax ; and the 
selection of the former would seem to show, that the 
generally reviled bakers could not only praise virtue, but 
practise it. 

Endless were the varieties of bread sold ia the markets 
at Eome. There was Cappadocian bread for the wealthy ; 
pugilistic loaves for the athletae; batter-bread for the 
strong, and Greek rolls for the weak, of stomach : and 
there were the prepared bread poultices, which people 
who, like Pompey's young soldiers, were afraid of injur- 
ing their complexion, were wont to keep applied to their 
cheeks during the hours of sleep. Anadyomene so slum- 
bering, with Adonis at her side similarly poulticed, can 
hardly be said to be a subject for a painter ; and yet many 
a blooming Caia slept on the bosom of her Caius, and 
more panis madidus than blushes on the cheeks of either. 

Pliny ventures on a strange statement with regard to 
oats. He says that oats and barley are so nearly allied, 
that when a man sows the one, he is not sure that he 
may not reap the other ! He also illustrates the prolifip- 
ness of rmllet, by asserting that a single grain produced 
"innumerable ears of com; and that a bushel (twenty 
pounds' weight) of miUet would make more than sixty 
pounds of wholesome bread!" The Eomans and the 
Greeks also appear to have been acquainted with Indian 
com. 

Jean Jacques Eousseau, much as he afiFected to love 
nature, — and he was himself one of the most artificial of 
characters, — knew very little about her, or her produc- 
tions. Some of our great men are described as being in 
much the same condition of ignorance. Three poets of the 
last century were one day walking through a field, pro- 
mising a glorious harvest of grain. One of them extoUed 



44 TABIiE TEAITS. 

the beauty of the wheat. "Nay," said the second, "it 
is rye." "Not so," remarked the third, "it is a field of 
barley." A clown, standing by, heard and marvelled at 
the triple ignorance. " Tou are all wrong, gentlemen," 
said he ; " those be oats." The poets were town-bred ; 
or were of that class of people who go through a country 
with their eyes open, and are unable to distinguish between 
its productions. I have seen Londoners contemplating, 
with a very puzzled look, the " canary " crops growing iu 
the vicinity of Heme Bay ; and I was once gravely asked 
if it was "teazle!" 

These crops are, as I was told by a grower, "capri- 
cious." They will grow abundantly upon certain land 
having certain aspects ; but where the aspect is changed, 
although the land be chemically the same, the canary 
wiE scarcely grow at all. It is shipped in large quantities 
from Heme Bay for London, where it is used for many 
purposes. None of its uses are so singular as one to which 
com was applied, some thirty years ago, in the western 
settlements of America, namely, for stretching boots and 
shoes. The boot or shoe was well filled with corn, and 
made secure by such tight tying that none could escape. 
It was then immersed for several hours in water ; during 
which the leather was distended by the gradual swelling 
of the grain. After being taken from the water, a coat- 
ing of neat's-foot oO, laid on and left to dry, rendered the 
boot or shoe fit for wear. 

A more interesting anecdote in connexion with com, 
and illustrative of character, is afibrded us by Dr. Chal- 
mers in his Diary. The Doctor, as is well known, — and he 
was ever ready to confess his weakness, — occasionally let 
his warm temper get the better of his excellent judgment. 
Here is an instance, which shows, moreover, how Chris- 
tian judgment recovered itself from the influence of 
human nature : " Nov. 20th, 1812. — ^Was provoked with 



coEir. 45 

Thomas taking it upon him to ask more com for my 
horse. It has got feeble under his administration of 
com, and I am not without suspicion that he appropriates 
it ; and his eagerness to have it strengthens the suspi- 
cion. Erred in betraying anger to my servant and wife ; 
and, though I afterwards got my feelings into a state of 
placidity and forbearance, upon Christian principles, was 
moved and agitated when I came to talk of it to himself. 
Let me take the com into my own hand, but carry it to 
him with entire charity. O, my God, support me !" 
Was it not to Socrates that some one said ? — " To judge 
from your looks, you are the best-tempered man in the 
world." "Then my looks belie me," replied the philo- 
sopher ; " I have the worst possible temper, by nature ; 
with the strongest possible control over it, by philo- 
sophy." Chalmers was, in one sense, like Socrates ; but 
the control over his stubborn infirmity had something 
better " than your philosophy " for its support. 

Reverting to the feeding of horses, I may notice, that, 
according to the Earl of Northumberland's " Household 
Book," the com was not thrown loose into the manger, 
but made into loaves. It has been conjectured, that the 
English poor formerly ate the same bread. There can be 
no question about it ; and even at the present time it is 
no uncommon sight, in some towns of the Continent, to 
see a driver feeding his horse from a loaf, an^ occasionally 
taking a slice therefrom for himself. 

There is no greater consumer of com in England than 
the pigeon. Vancouver, in laudable zeal for the hungry 
poor, calls pigeons "voracious and insatiate vermin." He 
calculates the pigeons of England and Wales at nearly a 
million and a quarter ; " consuming 159,500,000 pints of 
com annually, to the value of £1,476,562. 10s." It is im- 
possible for calculation to be made closer. Darwin says of 
pigeons, that they have an organ in the stomach for 



46 TABIE TEAITS. 

secreting milk. And it is not alone in tlie way of devour- 
ing corn that they are destructive. In the " Philosophical 
Transactions," it is mentioned that pigeons for many 
ages built under the roof of the great church of Pisa. 
Their dung spontaneously took fire, at last, and the 
church was consumed. 

I have said that the Roman soldiers marched to victory 
xmder the influence of no more exciting stimulant than 
gruel and vinegar. A little oatmeal has often sustained 
the strength of our own legions ia the hour of struggle. 
The Germans, brave as they are, sometimes require a 
more substantial support. Thus, after a defeat endured 
by the Great Frederick, hundreds of respectable burgesses 
of the province of Mark set out as volunteers for the 
royal army,— the Hellengers in white, the Sauerlanders 
in bluejackets, — each man with a stout staflf in 'his hand, 
and a rye loaf and a ham on his back. " Fritz " glared 
with astonishment when they presented themselves at his 
head-quarters. "Where do you fellows come from?" 
said he. " From Mark, to help our King." " Who doesn't 
want you," interrupted Fritz. "So much the better; 
we are here of our own accord." " Where are your 
officers?" " We have none." " And how many of you 
deserted by the way ?" " Deserted !" cried the Markers 
indignantly : "if any of us had been capable of that, we 
should not be what we are, — ^volunteers." "True!" 
said the King, " and I can depend upon you. You shall 
have iire enough soon to toast your bread and cook your 
hams by." 

When Henri IV. was besieging Paris, held by the 
Leaguers, the want most severely felt by the famished 
inhabitants was that of bread. The Guise party, who held 
the city, — and the most active agent of that party was the 
Duchess of Montpensier, the sister of Duke Henri of 
Guise, — endeavoured to keep life in the people by means 



BriTEE. 47 

that nature revolts at. When every other sort of food 
had disappeared, the Government within the walls dis- 
tributed very diminutive rolls made of a paste, the chief 
ingredient in which was human bones ground to powder. 
The people devoured them under the name of " Madame 
de Montpensier's cakes;" — no wonder that they soon 
after exultingly welcomed the entry of a King, who 
declared that his fitrst desire was to secure to every man 
in France his "poule au pot!" But enough of bread. 
Let us examine briefly the subject of 



BUTTEE. 

The illustrious Tide, or some one constituting him the 
authority for the nonce, has sneered at the English as 
being a nation having twenty religions, and only one 
sauce, — melted butter. A French commentator has added, 
that we have nothing polished about us but our steel, and 
that our only ripe fruit is baked apples. Guy Pantia 
traces the alleged dislike of the French of his day for the 
English, to the circumstance that the latter poured melted 
butter over their roast veal. The French execration is 
amusingly said to have been further directed against us, on 
account of the declared barbarism of eating oyster-sauce 
with rump-steak, and " poultice," as they cruelly charac- 
terize "bread sauce," with pheasant. But, to return to 
butter : — ^the spilling of it has more than once been eluci- 
dative of character. When, in the days of the old regime, 
an English servant accidentally let a drop or two of 
melted butter fall upon the silken suit of a French petit- 
maitre, the latter iadignantly declared that " blood and 
butter were an Enghshman's food." The conclusion was 
illogical, but the arguer was excited. Lord John Town- 
shend manifested better temper and wit, when a similar 



48 TABLE TBAITS. 

accident tefell him, as he was dining at a friend's table, 
where the coachman was the only servant in waiting. 
" John," said my Lord, " you should never grease any- 
thing hut your coach-wheels." 

It was an old popular error that a pound of butter 
might consist of any number of ounces. It is an equally 
popular error, that a breakfast cannot be, unless bread and 
butter be of it. Marcus Antoninus breakfasted on dry 
biscuits ; and many a person of less rank, and higher worth, 
is equally incapable of digesting any thing stronger. Solid 
breakfasts are only fit for those who have much sohd 
exercise to take after it ; otherwise heartburn may be 
looked for. Avoid new bread and spongy roUs ; look on 
muffins and crumpets as inventions of men of worse than 
sanguinary principles, and hot buttered toast as of equally 
wicked origin. Dry toast is the safest morning food, 
perhaps, for persons of indifferent powers of digestion ; or 
they may substitute for it the imperial fashion set by 
Marcus Antoninus. Of liquids I may next speak ; and in 
this our ancient friend, Tea, takes the precedence. 



TEA. 

The origin of tea is very satisfactorily accounted for 
by the Indian mythologists. Darma, a Hindoo Prince, 
went on a pilgrimage to China, vowing he would never 
take rest by the way ; but he once feU asleep, and he was 
so angry with himself, on awaking, that he cut off his 
eye-lids, and flung them on the ground. They sprang 
up in the form of tea shrubs ; and he who drinks of the 
infusion thereof, imbibes the juice of the eye-lids of 
Darma. Tea, however, is said to have been first used in 
China as a corrective for bad water ; and that not at a 
remote date. 



TEA. 49 

In the seventeenth century, half the physicians of 
Holland published treatises in favour of tea. It was 
hailed as a panacea, and the most moderate eulogizers 
affirmed that two hundred cups a day might he drunk 
without injury to the stomach of the drinker. In the 
ninth century, tea was taken in China simply as a medi- 
cine ; and it then had the repute of being a panacea. 
The early Dutch physicians who so earnestly recommended 
its use as a common beverage, met with strenuous opposi- 
tion. France, Germany, and Scotland, in the persons of 
Patin, Hahnemann, and Duncan, decried tea as an imperti- 
nent novelty, and the vendors of it as immoral and 
mercenary. Nor was Holland itself unanimous in- pane- 
gyrizing the refreshing herb. Some, indeed, eulogized the 
infusion as the fountain of health, if not of youth ; but 
others again, and those of the Dutch faculty, indignantly 
derided it as filthy "hay-water." Olearius, the German, 
on the other hand, recognised its dietetic virtues as early 
as 1133 ; while a Russian Ambassador, at about the same 
period, refused a pound or two of it, offered him by the 
Mogid as a present to the Czar, on the ground that the 
gifb was neither useful nor agreeable. 

The Dutch appear to have been the first who dis- 
covered the value of the shrub, in a double sense. They 
not only procured it for the sake of its virtues, but con- 
trived to do so by a veiy profitable species of barter. 
They exchanged with the Chinese a pound of sago for 
three or four pounds of tea ; and it is very possible that 
each party, preferring its own acquisition, looked on the 
opposite party as duped. 

Tea is supposed to have been first imported into England, 
from Holland, in 1666, by Lords Arundel and Ossory. 
We cannot be surprised that it was slow in acquiring 
the popular fovour, if its original cost was, as it is said 
to have been, 60*. per pound. But great uncertainty 



50 TABLE TEAITS. 

rests as well upon the period of introduction, as upon the 
original importers, and the value of the merchandise. 
One fact connected with it is well ascertained ; namely, 
that European Companies had long traded with China 
before they discovered the value and uses of tea. 

It is said to have heen in favour at the Court of 
Charles II., owing to the example of Catherine, his Queen, 
who had been used to drink it in Portugal. Medical men 
thought, at that time, that health could not be more 
effectually promoted than by increasing the fluidity of the 
blood ; and that the infusion of Indian tea was the best 
means of attaining that object. In 1678, Bontekoe, a 
Dutch physician, published a celebrated treatise in favour 
of tea, and to his authority its general use in so many 
parts of Europe is to be attributed. 

The first tea-dealer was also a tobacconist, and sold the 
two weeds of novelty together, or separately. His name 
was Garway, (" Garraway's,") and his locale, Exchange- 
alley. It was looked upon chiefly as a medicinal herb ; 
and Garway, in the seventeenth century, not only " made 
up prescriptions," in which tea was the sole ingredient, 
but parcels for presents, and cups of the infusion for those 
who resorted to his house to drink it over his counter. 
Its price then varied from lis. to 50s. per pound. The 
taking tea with a visitor was soon a domestic circumstance ; 
and, towards the end of the century, Lord Clarendon and 
Pere Couplet supped together, and had a cup of tea after 
supper, an occurrence which is journalized by his Lordship 
without any remark to lead us to suppose that it was an 
extraordinary event. 

Dr. Lettsom has written largely, and plagiarized unre- 
servedly, on the subject of tea ; adding, as Mr. Disraeli 
remarks, his own dry medical reflections to the sparkling 
facts of others ; but he was the first, perhaps, who esta- 
blished the unwholesomeness of green tea. He " distilled 



TEA. 51 

some green tea, injected three drachms of the very odorous 
and pellucid water which he obtained, into the cavity of 
the abdomen aud cellular membrane of a frog, hy which 
he paralysed the animal. He applied it to the cavity 
of the abdomen and ischiatic nerves of another, and the 
frog died ; and this he thought proved green tea to be 
im wholesome" — to the frogs, and so apphed, as it xm- 
doubtedly was. Such experiments, however, are unsar 
tisfactory. I^ux vomica, for instance, deadly poison to 
man, may be taien, almost with impunity, by many ani- 
mals. 

The first brewers of tea were often sorely perplexed 
with the preparation of the new mystery. " Mrs. Hutchin- 
son's great grandmother was one of a party who sat down 
to the first pound of tea that ever came into Penrith. It 
was sent as a present, and without directions how to use 
it. They boiled the whole at once in a bottle, and sat 
down to eat the leaves with butter and salt, and they 
wondered how any person could like such a diet." 

Steele, in " The Funeral," laughs at the " cups which 
cheer, but not inebriate." " Don't you see," says he, 
" how they swallow gallons of the juice of tea, while their 
own dock-leaves are trodden under foot ?" 

"What Bishop Berkeley did with " Tar Water," when he 
made his Essay thereupon a ground for a Dissertation on 
the Trinity, Joseph WUliams — " the Christian merchant " 
of the early and middle part of last century, whose biogra- 
phy is well known to serious readers — did, when he wrote 
to his friend Green upon the necessity of " setting the Lord 
always before us." When treating of this subject, the 
pious layman adverts to a present of that new thing 
called " tea," which Green had sent him, and which had lost 
some of its flavour in the transit. There is something 
amusing in the half sensual, half spiritual way in which 
worthy Joseph Williams mixes his Jeremiad upon tea 
£ 2 



52 TABLE TEAITS. 

witli one upon human morals. " The tea," he says, " came 
safe to hand, but it hath lost the elegant flavour it had 
when we drank of it at Sherhome, owing, I suppose, to , 
its conveyance in paper, which, being very porous, easily 
admits effluvia from other goods packed up with it, and 
emits effluvia from the tea. Such are the moral ten- 
dencies of evil communications among men, which nothing 
will prevent, (Hke canisters for tea,) but taking to us the 
whole armour of God. Had the tea been packed up with 
cloves, mace, and cinnamon, it would have been tinctured 
with these sweet spices ; so ' he that walks with wise men 
shall be wise.' He that converses with heaven-bom souls, 
whose conversation is in heaven, whose treasure and 
whose hearts are there, wiU catch some sparks from their 
holy fire ; but 'evil communications corrupt good manners.' 
I have put the tea into a canister, and am told it will 
recover its original flavour, as the pious soul which hath 
received some iU impressions from vicious or vain con- 
versation will, by retiring from the world, by communing 
with his own heart, by heavenly meditation, and fervent 
prayer, recover his spiritual ardoiu-." The simile, how- 
ever, limps a little ; for if every man canistered himself, 
and a good example, from the world, the wide-spreading 
aroma of that example would never seductively insinuate 
itself into the souls of men. It is by contact we brighten, 
and sometimes suffer. We must not canister our virtue 
as Mr. Williams did his tea : the latter was for selfish en- 
joyment. A guinea may be kept for ever unstained by 
the commerce of the world, in the very centre of the chest 
of avarice ; but what good does it do there ? Let it cir- 
culate merrily through the hundred hands of the giant 
Industry, and there will be more profit than evil efiected 
by the process. But good Joseph Williams would not 
have agreed with us, and he would take his saintly similes 
from traits of the table. " that I may walk humbly," 



TEA. 53 

he says, " and look on myself, when fullest of divine com- 
munications, but as a driaking-glass without a foot, and 
which, consequently, cannot stand of itself, nor retain 
what may be put into it." A very tipsy-Uke simile ! 

I may be permitted to add that, after all, religion 
happily proved stronger than tea, but not without stUl 
stronger opposition ; and we are told by the disgusted 
Connoisseur, that " persons of fashion cannot but lament 
that the Sunday evening tea-drinkings in. Eanelagh were 
laid aside, from a superstitious regard to rehgion." A 
remark which shows how very poor a connoissev/r this 
writer was in matters of propriety. Not, indeed, that diet 
and divinity coiJd not be seated at the same table. On 
Easter-day, for instance, the first dish that used to be placed 
before the jubilant guests was a red-herring on horseback, 
set in a corn salad. Some hundred and fifty years ago, too, 
there was a semi-religious, semi-roystering club held at the 
" Northern Ale-house in St. Paul's AUey," every member 
of which was of the name of Adam. It was formed in 
honour and remembrance of the first man. The honour 
was more than Adam deserved ; for the first created man 
not only<betrayed his trust, but he shabbily sought to 
lay the responsibiUty upon the first woman. And as for 
" remembrance," he has managed to survive even the 
memory of the club founded by his namesakes, and long 
since defunct. The members were hard drinkers, but not 
of saffron posset, which Arabella, in " The Committee," 
recommends as " a very good drink against the heaviness 
of the spirits." The Adamites mostly died, as the legend 
says Adam himself did, of hereditary gout, — an assertion 
which would seem to indicate that the author of it was of 
Hibemian origin ! 

There are various passages of our poets which tend to 
show that "tea" and "coffee" became, very early, fixed 
social observances. Pope, writing, in 1715, of a lady who 



54! TABLE TBAITS. 

left town after the coronation of George I., says that she 
went to the country — 

" To part her time 'twixt reading and Bohea, 
To muse, and spill her solitary tea ; 
Or o'er cold coffee trifle with the spoon, 
Count the slow clock, and dine exact at noon." 

At the same period, the more fortunate helles who 
remained in town made of tea a means for other ends 
than shortening time. Dr. Young, in his " Satires," says 
of Memmia, that-r— 

" Her two red lips affected zephyrs blow. 
To cool the Bohea and inflame the beau ; 
TVhile one white finger and a thumb conspire 
To lift the cup and make the world admire." 

Dr. Parr's delicate compliment is well known; hut I 
may he pardoned, perhaps, for introducing it here. He 
was not very partial to the Thea Sinensis, though lauded 
so warmly hy a French writer, as "nostris gratissima 
Musis ;" hut once being invited to take tea hy a lady, he, 
with a mixture of wit and gallantry, exclaimed, ^ Ii"ec tea- 
cum possum vivere, nee sine te!" The Christchm'ch men 
at Oxford were remarkable, at an early period, for their 
love of tea ; and, in reference to it, they were pleasantly 
recommended to adopt as their motto : " Te veniente die, 
te decedente notamus." In 1718, Pope draws an illustra- 
tion from tea, when writing to Mr. Digby : " My Lady 
Scudamore," he remarks jocosely, " from having rusticated 
in your company too long, really behaves herseK scanda- 
lously among us. She pretends to open her eyes for the 
sake of seeing the sun, and to sleep because it is night ; 
drinks tea at nine in the morning, and is thought to have 
said her prayers before; talks, without any manner of 
shame, of good books, and has not seen Gibber's play of 



TEA. 55 

'The Nonjuror.' " This is a pleasant picture of the 
" good woman" of the last century. She drank tea at 
nine in the morning, not sleeping on till noon, to be 
aroused at last, like Belinda, by — 

" Shock, who thought she slept too long, 
Leap'd up and waked his mistress with his tougue." 

Tea is little nutritious ; it is often injurious from being 
drunk at too high a temperature, when the same quantity 
of the fluid at a lower temperature would be beneficial. 
It is astringent and narcotic ; but its effects are various 
on various individuals, and the cup which refreshes and 
invigorates one, depresses or unnaturally excites and 
damages the digestive powers of others. Green tea can 
in no case be useful, except medicinally, in cases where 
there has been excessive fatigue of the mind or body; 
and even thten the dose should be small. Tea, as a pro- 
moter of digestion, or rather, as a comforter of the 
stomach when the digestive process has been completed, 
should not be taken earlier than from three to four hours 
after the principal meal. Taken too early, it disturbs 
digestion by arresting chymification, and by causing disten- 
sion. The astringency of tea is diminished by adding 
mUk, and its true taste more than its virtue is spoiled by 
the addition of sugar. 

These remarks are applicable to tea in its pure state, 
and not to the adulterated messes which come from China, 
or are made up in England. If sloe leaves here are made 
to pass for Souchong, so also is many an unbroken chest 
of " tea" landed, which is largely composed of leaves that 
are not the least akin to the genuine shrub. Black teas 
are converted into green, some say by means of a poisonous 
dye, others by roasting on copper ; but I do not think 
this process is extensively adopted. At one time the 
chests were rendered heavy by an adulterated mixture of 



56 TABLE TEAITS. 

a considerable quantity of tea, and a not inconsiderable 
quantity of earthy detritus, strongly impregnated witb 
iron. But our searchers soon put a stop to this knavery. 
They just dipped a powerful magnet into the chest, 
stirred it about, and, when drawn out, the iron particles, if 
any, were sure to be found adhering to the irresistible 
"detective." I have heard that Lady Morgan's tea- 
parties, in Dublin, were remarkable for the excellent 
qualities both of the beverage and the company; and 
also for her Ladyship's stereotyped joke, of " Sugar your- 
selves, gentlemen, and I 'U mUk you all." 

Tea-parties, I may observe in conclusion, are not confined 
in China to festive occasions. Tea is solemnly drunk on 
serious celebrations, with squibs to follow. Thus, for 
instance, at the funeral of a Buddhist Priest, there is 
thought taken for the living as well as for the dead, for the 
appetites of mortals as well as for the gratification of the 
gods. The latter are presented with various sorts of food, 
save animal. It is placed on the altar, and it is eaten at 
night by the deities, of course. AVhile the ceremonies pre- 
liminary to the interment are proceeding, a servant enters 
the temple, and hands tea round to the reverend gentlemen 
who are ofiiciating ! The interment usually takes place in 
the morning, and it is numerously attended ; but if, as the 
long procession is advancing, the hour of breakfast should 
happen to arrive, the corpse is suddenly dropped in the 
highway, the entire assembly rush to their respective 
homes, and not till they have consumed their tea and 
toast, or whatever materials go to the constituting of a 
Chinese dejeAner, do they return to carry the corse to its 
final resting-place, and fire no end of squibs over it in 
testimony of their afiliction. Which done, more refresh- 
ment follows ; and perhaps some of the mourners retire to 
Chinese taverns, where inviting placards promise them 
" A cup of tea and a bird's nest for 4(?. ! " 



corrEE. 57 



COFFEE. 



The English and French dispute the honour of being 
the first introducers of coffee into Western Europe. The 
Dutch assert that they assisted in this iatroduction ; and, 
although coffee was not drunk at Rome, until long after 
it had been known to, and tasted by, Italian travellers at 
Constantinople, the Church looked with pleasure on a 
beverage, one effect of which was to keep both Priests and 
people awake. 

An Arab author of the fifteenth century — Sherbaddin — 
asserts, that the first man who drank coffee was a certaia 
Muphti of Aden, who lived in the ninth century of the 
Hegira, about a.d. 1500. The popular tradition is, that 
the Superior of a Dervish community, observing the effects 
of coffee-berries when eaten by some goats, rendering 
them much more Hvely and skittish than before, pre- 
scribed it for the brotherhood, in order to cure them of 
drowsiness and indolence. 

It was originally known by the name of caJiui or hauM, — 
an orthography which comes near to that of the ingenious 
Town-CounciUor of Leeds, who, writing out a biU of fare 
for a public breakfast, contrived to speU " coffee " without 
employing a single letter that occurs in that word, — to 
wit, Teawphy ! 

Sandys, a traveller of the seventeenth century, gives it 
no very attractive character. Good for digestion and 
mirth, he allows it to be ; but he says that in taste as in 
colour it is nearly as black as soot. 

The coffee-houses of England take precedence of those 
of France, though the latter have more enduringly 
flourished. In 1652, a Greek, in the service of an Eng- 
lish Turkey merchant, opened a house in London. " I 
have discovered his hand-bill," says Mr. Disraeh, "in 



58 TA3IE a?EAITS. 

which he sets forth the -virtue of the coffee drink, first 
pubhquely made and sold in England, hy Pasqna Bosee, of 
St. Michael's Alley, Cornhill, at the sign of his own head." 
Mr. Peter Cunningham cites a MS. of Oldjs in his pos- 
session, in which some fuller details of much iuterest are 
given. Oldys says, " The first use of coffee in England 
was known in 1657, when Mr. Daniel Edwards, a Turkey 
merchant, brought from Smyrna to London one Pasqua 
Rosee, a Eagusan youth, who prepared this driak for him 
every morning. But the novelty thereof drawing too 
much company to him, he allowed his said servant, 
with another of his son-in-law's, to sell it publicly ; and 
they set up the first coffee-house in London, in St. 
Michael's Alley, Cornhill. But they separating, Pasqua 
kept in the house; and he who had been his partner 
obtained leave to pitch a tent, and sell the Uquor, in St. 
Michael's church-yard." Aubrey, in his Anecdotes, states 
that the first vendor of coffee in London was one Bowman, 
coachman to a Turkey merchant, named Hodges, who 
was the father-in-law of Edwards, and the partner of 
Pasqua, who got into difficulties, partly by his not being 
a freeman, and who left the country. Bowman was not 
only patronized, but a magnificent contribution of one 
thousand sixpences was presented to him, wherewith he 
made great improvements in his coffee-house. Bowman 
took an apprentice, (Paynter,) who soon learnt ' the 
mystery, and in four years set up for himself The coffee- 
houses soon became numerous : the principal were Farres', 
the Eainbow, at the Inner-Temple Gate, and John's, in 
Puller's Eents. " Sir Henry Blount," says Aubrey, " was 
a great upholder of coffee, and a constant frequenter of 
coffee-houses." 

The frequenters of these places, however, were consi- 
dered as belonging to the idle and dissipated classes ; and 
the reputation was not altogether vmdeserved. Eespeet- 



corrBE. 59 

able people denounced the coffee-drinking evils, illns- 
triously obscnre and loyal people dreaded the pohtics that 
were discussed at the drinking, and tipsy satirists hurled 
strong contempt and weak verse at the new-fangled 
fashion of abandoning Canary wine for the Arabian infu- 
sion. The fashion, however, extended rapidly ; the more 
so, that cups were soon to be had at so low a price, that 
the shops where they were sold went by the name of 
" Penny Universities." The ladies, who were excluded from 
public participation in the bitter enjoyment, made some 
characteristic complaints against the male drinkers, and 
intimated that the indulgence of coffee-drinking would in 
time deteriorate, if not destroy, the human race ; but the 
imbibers heeded not the complaint, their answer to which 
was that of Beranger's gay marital philosopher : — 

"Nous laisserioTis jinir le monde. 
Si nosfemmes le voulaient bien." 

While the ladies, through their poetical representatives, 
were complaining, male philanthropists quickly discerned 
the social uses of the cup ; and Sir Henry Blount 
acknowledges, with grateful pleasure, that the custom, 
on the part of labouring men and apprentices, of drinking 
a cup of coffee in the morning, instead of their ordinary 
matinal draught of beer or wine, was chiefly owing to 
Sir James Muddiford, "who introduced the practice 
hereof first in London." 

The Government of the Stuarts, hating free discussion 
and not particularly caring for wit, watched the coffee- 
houses with much jealousy, and placed as much restriction 
upon them as they possibly could strain the law to. The 
vexatious proceeding did not secure the desired result; 
and the coffee-house wits laughed at the Government. 
The wits, however, were not always successful either in 
their praise of, or satire against, coffee. Pepys, on the 



60 TABLE TEAITS, 

15th of October, 1667, went to the Duke's House, to see 
the comedy of " Taruga's Wiles ; or, the Coffee-House," 
of which he says, " The most ridiculous, insipid play that 
ever I saw in my life ; and glad we were that Betterton 
had no part in it." But Pepys was probably not in the 
true vein to decide critically that night ; for his pretty 
n;iaid Willett was sitting at his side ; and his wife, who 
was on the other, spoiled the effect of the play by her 
remarks on the girl's " confidence." Perhaps one of the 
most curious apologies for coffee-houses was that of 
Aubrey, who declared that he should never have acquired 
so extensive an acquaintance but for " the modern advan- 
tages of coffee-houses in this great city, before which 
men knew not how to be acquainted but with their own 
relations and societies." And Aubrey, who has been 
called the small Boswell of his day, " was a man who 
had more acquaintances than friends." 

Yemen is the accepted birth-place, if we may so speak, 
of the coffee-tree, Pietro de la VaUe introduced it into 
Italy, La Eoyne into Marseilles, and Thevenot brought it 
with him to Paris. In 1643, a Levantine opened a 
coffee-house in Paris, in the Place du Petit Chatelet ; but 
it was Soleiman Aga, Turkish Ambassador in Paris, in 
1689, who was the medium through which coffee found 
its way into the realm of fashion. Had it been reaUy 
what some have supposed it to have been, — ^the black 
broth of the Lacedsemonians, — he could have made it 
modish by his method of service. This was marked by 
all the minute details of oriental fashion, — small cups 
and foot-boys, gold-fringed napkins and pages, coffee 
wreathing with smoke, and Ganymedes .wreathed with 
garlands, the first aU aroma, and the hand-bearers all otto 
of roses : the whole thing was too dazzling and dramatic 
to escape adoption. But the intolerable vulgar would 
imitate their betters, and coffee became as common at 



COrFEB. 61 

taverns as wine, beer, and smoking. It would have 
inevitably been abandoned to coarse appetites only, but 
for Frangois Procope, a Sicilian, who, in the Eue de 
r Ancienne Comedie, exactly opposite to the old play-house 
in the Faubourg St. Germain, opened an establishment 
expressly for the sale of coffee, but with such innocent 
additional articles as ices, lemonade, and the hke harm- 
less appliances, to make pleasant the seasons in their 
change. The Gqfe Frocope became the immediate resort 
of all the wits, philosophers, and refined roues of Paris. 
There Eousseau wrote or repeated the lines which brought 
him into such frequent trouble. There Piron muttered 
the verses with which the incitement of devils inspired 
him. There Voltaire tried to rule supreme, but found 
himself in frequent bitter contest with PaKssot and 
Freron. The Cafe Frocope was the morning journal, the 
foreign news-mart, the exchange, — literary, witty, and 
emphatically charming. There Lamothe renewed the 
contest between the ancient and modern, the classical 
and the romantic, drama. There the brilliant Chevalier 
de St. Georges gave lessons in fencing to the men of let-, 
ters ; and thence Dorat addressed his amorous missives to 
Mademoiselle Saunier. There Marmontel praised Clairon, 
and the Marquis de Bievre tried his calembourgs ; and 
there Duclos and Mercier made their sketches of society, at 
once serious and sarcastic. The universal favour in which 
coffee is stiU held in Paris, and the crowds which still 
wait on " Andromaque," sufficiently behe the famous pror 
phecy of Madame de Sevigne, that "coffee and Eacine 
would have their day." The dark infusion reigns with- 
out a rival, the demi-tagse follows dinner oftener than 
"grace," Eachel helps to keep Eacine alive, and cafe', in 
its turn, has the reputation of being one of the favourite 
stimxJants of the great trage'ddenne. 

With regard to the making of coffee, there is no doubt 



62 TABLE TEAITS. 

that the Turkish method of pounding the coffee in a 
mortar is infinitely superior to grinding it in a mUl, as 
with us. But after either method the process recom- 
mended by M. Soyer may be advantageously adopted; 
namely, " Put two ounces of ground coffee into a stew- 
pan, which set upon the fire, stirring the coffee round 
with a spoon until quite hot, then pour over a pint of 
boiling water ; cover over closely for five minutes, pass it 
through a cloth, warm again, and serve." 

The chemist Laplace explained to Napoleon thd residts 
of various methods of manipulation. "How is it. Sir," 
said the Emperor, " that a glass of water in which I melt 
a, lump of sugar, always appears to me to be superior in 
taste to one in which I put the same quantity of pow- 
dered sugar ?" " Sire," said the sage, " there exist three 
substances, whose elements are precisely the same ; namely, 
sugar, gum, and starch. They only differ under certain 
conditions, the secret of which Nature has reserved to 
herself; and I believe that it is possible, that, by the 
collision caused by the pestle, some of the portions of the 
sugar pass into the condition of gum or starch, and 
thence arises the result which has been observed." 

Medical men are widely at issue as to the merits of 
coffee. AU, however, are agreed that it stimulates the 
brain, and banishes somnolency. Voltaire and Buffon 
were great coffee-drinkers ; but I do not know that we are 
authorized to attribute the lucidity of the one or the 
harmony of the other to the habit in question. Ability 
would be cheaply purchased if that were the case ; and 
the "royal road" would have been discovered where it 
had never been looked for. 

The sleeplessness produced by coffee is not one of an 
unpleasant character. It is simjily a painless vigilance ; 
but, if often repeated, it may be exceedingly prejudicial. 
Brillat de Savarin illustrates the power of coffee by 



COITEE. 63 

remarking, that a man may live many years who takes 
two bottles of wine daily; but the same quantity of 
strong coffee would soon make him imbecile, or drive him 
iato a consumption. 

Taken immediately after dinner, coffee aids the dys- 
peptic, especially to digest fat and oily aliment, which, 
without such stimulant, would undoubtedly create much 
disturbance. The Turks drink it .to modify the effects of 
opium. Cafe au lait, that is, three parts milk to one of 
coffee, is the proper thing for breakfast ; but the addition 
of milk to that taken after dinner is a cruelty to the 
stomach. A Dutchman, named Nieudorff, is said to have 
been the first who ventured on the experiment of mixing 
milk with coffee. When he had the courage to do this, 
the two liquids together were considered something of 
such an abomination as we should now consider brown 
sugar with oysters. 

I must not omit to mention, that the favourite beverage 
of Voltaire, at the Cafe Frocope, was "choca," — a mix- 
ture of coffee (with milk) and chocolate. The Emperor 
Napoleon was as fond of the same mixture as he was of 
Chambertia; and, in truth, I do not know a draught 
which so perfectly soothes and revives as that of hot, 
well-frothed "choca." 

Substances mixed with coffee, or substitutes for the 
berry altogether, have been tried with various degrees of 
success. Roasted acorns have been made to pass for it 
when ground. There is more chicory than coffee con- 
sumed at the present time in France ; and the infusion of 
the lupin does duty for it at poor hearths in Flanders ; 
as that of roasted rye (the nearest resemblance to coffee) 
does in America. Experimentalists say, that an excellent 
substitute for coffee may be made from asparagus ; and 
Frankfort, alarmed lest the complications of the " Eastern 
Question " should deprive it of the facilities for procuring 



64 TABLE TEAITS. 

the terry as heretofore, is gravely consulting as to wlie- 
ther asparagus coffee may he a beverage likely to be 
acceptable as a substitute for the mucli prized "demi- 



CHOCOLATE. 

' Peebinanb Coetez went to Mexico in searcb of gold ; 
but the first discovery lie made was of chocolate. The 
discovery was not welcomed ecclesiastically, as coffee was. 
This new substance was considered a sort of wicked 
luxury, at least for Monks, who were among the earliest 
to adopt it, but who were solemnly warned against its 
supposed peculiar effects. The moralists quite as eagerly 
condemned it ; and in England Eoger North angrily 
asserted, that " the use of coffee-houses seems much iiii- 
proved by a new invention, called ' chocolate-houses,' for 
the benefit of rooks and cullies of quahty, where gambling 

is added to aU the rest, and the summons of W 

seldom fails ; as if the devil had erected a new university, 
and these were the colleges of its Professors, as well as his 
schools of discipline." The Stuart jealousy of these 
localities, where free discussion was amply enjoyed, seems 
to have influenced the Attorney-General of James II. ; 
for, although they may not have been frequented, he says, 
by "the factious gentry he so much dreaded," he adds, 
" This way of passing time might have been stopped at 
first, before people had possessed themselves of some con- 
venience from them of meeting for short dispatches, and 
passing evenings with small expenses." Of what chiefly 
recommended these places, the stem official thus made a 
grievance. 

Chocolate (or, as the Mexicans term it, chocolalt) is 
the popular name for the seeds of the cocoa, or, more 
correctly, the cacao, plant, in a prepared state, generally 



CHOCOLATE. G5 

witli sugar and cinnamon. The Mexicans improve the 
flavour of the inferior sorts of cacao seeds by burying 
them in the earth for a month, and allowing them to 
ferment. The nutritious quality of either cacao or choco- 
late is entirely owing to the oil or butter of cacao which 
it contains. Cacao-nibs, the best form of taking this pro- 
duction, are the seeds roughly crushed. When the seed 
is crushed between rollers, the result is flake cacao. 
Common cacao is the seed reduced to a paste, and pressed 
into cakes. The cheap kinds of chocolate are said to be 
largely adulterated with lard, sago, and red-lead, — a 
pernicious mixture for healthy stomachs ; but what must 
it be for weak stomachs craving for food at once nutri- 
tious and easy of digestion ? The " patent " chocolates 
of the shops are nothing more than various modes of 
preparing the cacao seeds. 

The ladies of Mexico are so excessively fond of choco- 
late, that they not only take it several times during the 
day, but they occasionally have it brought to them in 
church, and during the service. A cup of good chocolate 
may, indeed, afford the drinker strength and patience to 
undergo a bad sermon. The Bishops opposed it for a 
time, but they at length closed their eyes to 'he practice. 
I am afraid there is no chance of the fashion being intro- 
duced into England. The advantages would be acknow- 
ledged ; but then there would be a savour of Popery 
detected about it, that would inevitably cause its rejec- 
tion. The Church herself found a boon in this exquisite 
supporter of strength. The Monks took it of a morning 
before celebrating Mass, even in Lent. The orthodox and 
strong-stomached raised a dreadful cry at the scandal; 
but Escobar metaphysically proved, that chocolate made 
with water did not break a fast ; thus establishing the 
ancient maxim, " JAquidum non fr<mgit jejunium." 

Spain welcom.ed the gift of chocolate made herby. 



66 TABIE TEAITS. 

Mexico with as mncli enthiisiasm as she did that of gold 
by Peru ; the metal she soon Bquandered, but chocolate is 
stm to be found in abundance in the Peninsula : it is an 
especial favourite with ladies and Monks, and it always 
appears on occasions when courtesy requires that refresh- 
ments be offered. The Spanish Monks sent presents 
of it to their brethren in French monasteries ; and 
Anne of Austria, daughter of Philip II. of Spain, when 
she brought across the Pyrenees her hand, but not her 
heart, to the unenergetio Louis XIII., brought a sup- 
ply of chocolate therewith ; and henceforth it became an 
estabHshed fact. In the days of the Eegency it was far 
more commonly consumed than coffee ; for it was then 
taken as an agreeable aliment, while coffee was stUl looked 
upon as a somewhat strange beverage, but certainly akin 
to luxury. In the opinion of Linnaeus it must have sur- 
passed all other nutritious preparations, or that naturalist 
would hardly have conferred upon it, as he did, the proud 
name of Theohroma, " food for the gods 1 " 

Invalids wiU do well to remember, that chocolate made 
with vanilla is indigestible, and injurious to the nerves. 
Indeed, there are few stomachs at all that can bear choco- 
late as a daily meal. It is a highly concentrated aliment ; 
and all such cease to act nutritiously if taken into constant 
use. 

We will now look into some of those famous resorts of 
by-gone days, where coffee and chocolate were prepared, 
and wit was bright and spontaneous. 



THE OLD COPFEE-HOTJSES. 



The " Grecian" appears to have been the oldest of the 
hetter-known eoifee-houses, and to have lasted the longest. 
It was opened by Constantine, a Grecian, "living in Thread- 
needle-street, over against St. Christopher's Church," in 
the early part of the last half of the seventeenth century. 
Its career came to a close towards the middle of the nine- 
teenth century ; namely, in 18413, when the Grecian Coffee- 
house, then in Devereux-court, Strand, where it had 
existed for very many years, was converted into the " Gre- 
cian Chambers," or lodgings for bachelors. 

Constantine not only sold " the right Turkey coffee 
berry, or chocolate," but gave instructions how to " pre- 
pare the said liquors gratis." The " Grecian " was the 
resort rather of the learned than the dissipated. The 
antiquarians sat at its tables ; and, despising the news 
of the day, discussed the events of the Trojan war, and 
similar lively, but remote, matters. The laborious trifling 
was ridiculed by the satirists ; and it is clear that there 
were some pedants as well as philosophers there. It 
was a time when both sages and sciolists wore swords ; 
and it is on record that two friendly scholars, sipping their 
coffee at the " Grecian," became enemies in argument, the 
subject of which was the accent of a Greek word. What- 
ever the accent ought to have been, the quarrel was acute, 
and its conclusion grave. The scholars rushed into Deve- 
reux-court, drew their swords, and, as one was run through 
r 2 



68 TABLE TEAITS. 

the body and killed on the spot, it is to he supposed that 
he was necessarily wrong. But the duel was the strangest 
method of settling a question in grammar that I ever 
heard of. Still it was rather the scholars than the rakes 
who patronized the " Grecian ;" and there were to he 
found the Committee of the Eoyal Society, and Oxford 
Professors, enjoying their leisure and hot cups, after philo- 
sophical discussion and scientific lecturing ; and even the 
Privy Council Board sometimes assembled there to take 
coffee after Council. 

The " coffee-houses," which were resorted to for mere 
conversation as well as coffee, began on a first floor ; they 
were the seed, as it were, whence has arisen the political 
and exclusive " club" of the present day. The advantages 
of association were first experienced in coffee-houses; but 
at the same time was felt the annoyance caused by intru- 
sive and unwelcome strangers. The club, with its bal- 
lot-box to settle elections of members, was the natural 
result. 

WUliam Urwin's Coffee-house, known as " Will's," from 
its owner's name, and recognised as the "Wits','' from its 
company, was on the first floor of the house at the west 
corner of Bow-street and Eussell-street, Covent Garden. 
In the last half of the seventeenth century, it was at the 
height of its good fortune and reputation. The shop 
beneath it was kept by a woollen-draper. 

Tom Brown says that a wit was set up at a small cost ; 
he was made by " peeping once a day in at Will's," and 
by relating " two or three second-hand sayings." It was 
at Will's that Dryden " pedagogued" without restraint, 
accepted flattery without a blush, and praised with happy 
complacency the perfection of his own works. He was 
the great attraction of the place, and his presence there of 
an evening filled the room with admiring listeners, or 
indiscreet adulators. Dryden had the good sense to retire 



THE OLD COFFEE-HOUSES. 69 

early, when tlie tables were full, and he knew he had 
made a favourable impression, which the company might 
improve in his absence. Addison, more given to jolly 
fellowship, sat late with those who tarried to drink. Pepys, 
recording his first visit, in February, 1663-4, says that 
he stepped in on his way to fetch his wife, " where Dry den 
the poet, (I knew at Cambridge,) and all the wits of the 
town, and Harris the player, and Mr. Hoole of our Col- 
lege. And had I had time then, as I could at other 
times, it wiU be good coming thither ; for there I per- 
ceive is very witty and pleasant discourse. But I could 
not tarry ; and, as it was late, they were all ready to go 
away." 

The reign of Dryden at Will's was not, however, with- 
out its pains. Occasionally, a daring stranger, like young 
Lockier, raw from the country, would object to the dicta 
of the despot. Thus, when Dryden praised his " Mac 
riecknoe," as the first satire " written in heroics," the 
future Dean timidly suggested that the"LutrLn" and 
the " Secclda Bapita " were so written; and Dryden ac- 
knowledged that his corrector was right. The London 
beaux would have been, afraid, or incapable, of setting 
Dryden right ; they were sufficiently happy if they were 
but permitted to dip their fingers into the poet's snuff- 
box, and, at a separate table, listen to the criticisms 
uttered by the graver authorities who were seated roxmd 
another, at the upper end of the room. Of the disputes 
that there arose, " glorious John" was arbiter; for his 
particular use a chair was especially reserved; therein 
enthroned, he sat by the hearth or the balcony, according 
to the season, and delivered judgments which were not 
always final. 

No man was better qualified to do so, for the " spe- 
cialty" of Will's Coffee-house was poetry. Songs, epi- 
grams, and satires, circulated from table to table; and 



70 TABLE TEAITS. 

the wits judged plays, even Dryden's, until the play- 
wrights hegan to satirize the wits. "With Dryden, " Will's" 
lost some of its dignity. Late hours, card-playing, and 
politics ; poets more didactic in their verse, and essayists 
more instructive in their prose, than in their daily prac- 
tice ; " dissipateurs" like Addison, and peers who shared in 
Addison's lower tastes, without either his talent or occa- 
sional refinement, — spoiled the character of " Will's," 
where, by the way. Pope had heen introduced by Sir Charles 
Wogan, though, years before, in his youth, he had been 
proud to follow old Wycherley about from coffee-house to 
cofiee-house ; and then "Button's" attracted the better 
portion of the company, and left WiU's to the vulgar and 
the witless. 

" Button's " Coffee-house was so named from its original 
proprietor, who had been a servant of the Countess of 
Warwick, the wife of Addison. It was situated in Great 
Eussell-street, on the south side, about two doors from 
Covent Garden. What Dryden had been at " Will's," 
Addison was at " Button's." There, — after writing during 
the morning at his house in St. James's Place, where 
his breakfast-table was attended by such men as Steele, 
BudgeU, Philips, Carey, Davenant, and Colonel Brett, 
with some of whom he generally dined at a tavern, 
— he was to be found of an evening, untU the supper hour 
called him and his companions to some other tavern, 
where, if not at Button's, they made a night of it. Pope 
was of the company for almost a year, but left it because 
the late hours injured his health ; and furthermore, per- 
haps, for the reason, that his irritable temper had rendered 
him unpopular, and that he had so provoked Ambrose 
Philips, that the latter suspended a birchen rod over 
Pope's usual seat, in intimation of what the ordinary 
occupant would get if he ventured into it. The Butto- 
nians were famous for the fierceness of their criticism, 



THE OIB COITEE-HOrSES. 71 

but it appears to have been altogether a better organized 
establishment than Will's ; for while the parish registers 
show that the landlord of the latter was fined for misde- 
meanour, the vestry-books of St. Paul (Covent Garden), 
prove that Button paid " for two places in the pew No. 18, 
on the south side of the north aisle, £2. 2s. ;" and charity 
leads us to conclude that Daniel and his wife occupied 
the places so paid for, and were orthodox as well as loyal. 
The "Lion's Head" of the "Guardian," which was put 
up at Button's, over the box destined to receive contribu- 
tions for the editor, is now at Wobum, in the possession 
of the Duke of Bedford. 

Of cofifee-houses that went by the name of " Tom's" 
there were three. At the one in Birchin-lane, Garrick 
occasionally appeared among the young merchants ; and 
Chatterton, before despair slew even ambition, more than 
once dined. At the second house so called, in Devereux- 
court, many of the scholars, critics, and scientific men of 
the last century used to congregate. There Akenside 
essayed to rule over the tables as Dryden had done at 
"WUl's," and Addison at "Button's ;" but his imperious 
rule was often overthrown by "flat rebeUion." The 
"Tom's" was opposite "Button's," and stood on the 
north side of Great EusseU-street, No. 17. It received 
its name from the Christian appellation of its master, 
Thomas West, who committed suicide in 1722. If guests 
gained celebrity in the latter days at " WiU's" for writing 
a "posie for a ring," so at "Tom's" Mr. Ince was held 
in due respect, for the reason that he had composed a 
solitary paper for the " Spectator." It was a place where 
the tables were generally crowded from the time of Queen 
Anne to that of George III. Seven hundred of the 
nobility, foreign Ministers, gentry, and geniuses of the 
age, subscribed a guinea each, in 1714, for the erection of 
a card-room ; and this fact, with the additional one that, 



72 



TABIE TEAITS, 



only four years later, an enlarged room for cards and con- 
versation was constructed, may serve to show by what 
sort of people, and for what particular purposes, "Tom's" 
was patronized. 

At the time that White's Chocolate-house was opened 
at the bottom of St. James's-street, — ^the close of the last 
century, — ^it was probably thought vulgar ; for there was a 
garden attached, and it had a suburban air. At the 
tables in the house or garden more than one highwayman 
took his chocolate, or threw his main, before he quietly 
mounted his horse and rode slowly down Piccadilly 
towards Bagshot. Before the establishment was burned 
down, in 1733, it was famous rather for intensity of 
gaming than excellence of chocolate. It arose from its 
ashes, and settled, at the top of the street, into a fixed- 
ness of fashion that has never swerved. Gallantry, plea- 
sure, and entertainment were the characteristics of the 
place. The celebrated Lord Chesterfield there " gamed, 
and pronounced witticisms among the boys of quality." 
Steele dated all his love-news in the " Tatler" from 
White's. It was stigmatized as "the common rendez- 
vous of infamous sharpers and noble cullies ;" and bets 
were laid to the effect that Sir William Burdett, one of 
its members, would be the first Baronet who would be 
hanged. The gambling went on till dawn of day ; and 
Pelham, when Prime Minister, was not ashamed to divide 
his time between his official table and the picquet-table 
at White's. Selwyn, Kbe Chesterfield, enlivened the 
room with his wit. As a sample of the spirit of betting 
which prevailed, Walpole quotes " a good story made at 
White's." A man dropped down dead at the door, and was 
carried in ; the Club immediately made bets whether he 
was dead or not, and, when they were going to bleed him, 
the wagerers ifor his death interposed, and said it would 
affect the fairness of the bet ! 



TKE OLD COrFEE-HOTJSES. 73 

Some of the old rules of the houses are rich m " table 
traits." Thus, in 1736, every memher was required to pay 
an extra guinea a year " towards having a good cook." 
The supper was on tahle at ten o'clock ; the bill at twelve. 
In 1758, it was agreed that he who transgressed the 
rules for balloting should pay the supper reckoning. In 
1797 we find, " Dinner at 10s. 6d. per head, (malt hquor, 
biscuits, oranges, apples, and oUves included,) to be on 
table at sis o'clock; the biU to be brought at nine." 
" That no hot suppers be provided, unless particularly 
ordered ; and then be paid for at the rate of 8s. per head. 
That in one of the rooms there be laid every night (from 
the Queen's to the King's birthday) a table, with cold 
meat, oysters, &c. Each person partaking thereof to pay 
4s., malt liquors only included." 

Colley Gibber was a member, but, as it would seem, an 
honorary one only, who dined with the Manager of the 
Club, and was tolerated afterwards by the company for 
the sake of his wit. Mr. Cunningham 'states, that at the 
supper given by the Club in 1814, at Burlington House, 
to the AlUed Sovereigns, there were covers laid for 2,400 
people, and that the cost was " £9,849. 2s. 6d." " Three 
weeks after this, (July 6, 1814,) the Club gave a dinner 
to the Duke of Wellington, which cost £2,840. 10s. 9d." 
The dinner given, in the month of February of the pre- 
sent year, to Prince George of Cambridge, was one not to 
welcome a victorious warrior, but to cheer annntried, 
about to go forth to show himself worthy of his spurs. 
White's ceased to be an open Chocolate-house in 1736, 
from which period it has been as private an establish- 
ment as a Club can be said to be. 

The politicians had their coffee-houses as well as the 
wits. The " Cocoa Tree," in St. James's-street, was the 
Tory house in the reign of Queen Anne. The " St. 
James's" was the Whig house. It was a well-frequented 



74 TABLE TEAITS. 

house in the latter days of George II., when Gibbon 
recorded his surprise at seeing a score or two of the 
noblest and wealthiest in the land, seated in a noisy 
coffee-room, at little tables covered by small napkins, 
supping off cold meat or sandwiches, and finishing with 
strong punch and confused politics. 

The St. James's Coffee-house ranked Addison, Swift, 
Steele, and, subsequently. Goldsmith and Garrick, among 
its haiitues. It had a more solid practical reputation than 
any of the other coffee-houses ; for within its walls Gold- 
smith's poem of "Eetaliation" originated. But politics 
was its " staple ;" and poor pohticians seem to have been 
among its members, seeing that many of them were in 
arrears with their subscriptions : but these were probably 
the outer-room men ; for the magnates, who were accus- 
tomed to sit and waitch the line of Boiirbon, within the 
steam of the great coffee-pot, were doubtless punctual in 
their payments ere they could have earned the privilege. 
And yet their poetical acumen was often more correct 
than their political discernment ; for while the company at 
Button's ascribed the " Town Eclogues " to Gay, the coffee- 
drinkers at St. James's were unanimous in giving them 
to a lady of quality. 

Of the coffee-houses of a second order, the "Bedford," 
in Covent Garden, was probably the first ; but, for good 
fellowship, it equalled any of the more exclusive houses ; 
for Garrick, and Quin, and Murphy, and Foote, were of 
the company. Wit was the serious occupation of aU its 
members ; and it never gave any of them serious trouble 
to produce in abundance. Quin, above all, was brilliant 
in the double achievements of Epicureanism and sparkling 
repartee. Garrick, in allusion to the sentiments often 
expressed here by his brother actor, wrote the epigram- 
matic lines, supposed to be uttered by Quin, in reference 
to a discussion on embalming the dead, and which will be 



THE OLD COITEE-HOrSES. 75 

found in a subsequent chapter, under the head of " Table 
Traits of the last Century." 

^sopus, the actor, who was to Cicero what Quin was 
to George the Third, — he "taught the boy to speak," — 
^sopus was as great an epicure, in his way, as Quin him- 
self. It is related of him, that one day he dined off a 
costly dish of birds, the whole of which, when Uving, had 
been taught either to sing or speak. iEsopus was as fond 
of such a dish as his fellow-comedian, Quin, was of mullet ; 
for which, and for some other of his favourite morceaux, 
he used to say that a man ought to have a swallow as 
long as from London to Botany Bay, and palate aU the 
way ! When the fish in question was in season, his first 
inqidry of the servant who used to awaken him was, " Is 
there any mullet ia the market this morning, John?" 
and if John replied in the negative, his master's reported 
rejoinder was, "Then call me at nine to-morrow, John." 

The Bedford Coffee-house had its disadvantages, as 
when bullies, like Tiger Eoach, endeavoured to hold 
sovereignty over the members. But usurpers like the 
Tiger were deposed as easily by the cane as by the sword ; 
but such occurrences marred the peace of the coffee-house, 
nevertheless. It was, indeed, a strange company that some- 
times was to be found within these houses. At Batem's, 
the City House, patronized by Blackmore, the brother of 
Lord Southwell was to be found enacting the parasite, 
and existing by the aid of men who thought his wit worth 
paying for. Child's Coffee-house, St. Paul's Chittch-yard, 
was patronized by the Clergy, who assembled there, espe- 
cially the younger Clergy, in gowns, cassocks, and scarfs, 
smoked till they were invisible, and obtained the hono- 
rary appellation of "Doctor" from the waiters. Clerical 
visitants were also to be found at the " Smyrna," in Pall 
Mall. Swift was often there with Prior ; and the politics 
of the day were so loudly discussed, that the chairmen 



76 TABLE TBAITS. 

and porters in waiting outside used to derive that sort of 
edification therefrom which is now to be had in the cheap 
weekly periodicals. " Garraway's" takes us once more 
into the City. Garway, as the original proprietor was 
called, was one of the earliest sellers of tea in London ; 
and his house was frequented by nobles who had business 
in the City, who attended the lotteries at his house, or 
who wished to partake of his tea and coifee. Foreign 
Bankers and Ministers patronized " Robin's ;" the buyers 
and sellers of Stock collected at "Jonathan's;" and the 
shipping interest went, as now, to " Lloyd's." All these 
places were in full activity of business and cofiee-drinking 
in the reign of Queen Anne. Finally, the lawyers 
crowded "Squire's," in Fulwood's lients; and there, it 
will be remembered. Sir Roger de Coverley smoked a pipe, 
over a dish of coffee, with the Spectator. But enough 
of these places, whose names are more familiar to many 
of us than their whereabout, but whose connexion with 
what may be called the table-life of past times gives me 
warrant for the notice of them, with which, perhaps, I 
have only troubled the reader. I will only add, that the 
ceremony of serving chocolate was never such a solemnity 
in England as in France. In the latter country, as late 
as the days of Louis XVI., a "man of condition" required 
no less than four footmen, each with two watches in his 
fob, according to the fashion, to help him to take a single 
cup of chocolate. One bore the tray, and one the choco- 
late-pot, a third presented the cup, and a fourth stood in 
waiting with a napkia! — and all this coil to carry a 
morning draught to a poor wretch, whose red heels to his 
shoes were symbols of the rank which gave him the pri- 
vilege of being helpless. 

The old coifee-houses were not simply resorts for the 
critics, the poUticians, and the fine gentlemen. Gay, 
writing to Congreve, in 1715, says, "Amidst clouds of 



THE OLD COFFEE-IEOirSES. 77 

tobacco, at a coffee-house, I write this letter. There is a 
grand revolution at "Will's. Moira has quitted for a 
coffee-house in the City ; and Titcomb is restored, to the 
great joy of Cromwell, who was at a great loss for a person 
to converse with upon the Fathers and church history. 
The knowledge I gain from him is entirely in painting 
and poetry ; and Mr. Pope owes all his skill in astronomy 
to him and Mr. Whiston." Pope learnt his astronomy by 
the assistance of what Moore calls, " the sun of the table ;" 
for, adding a postscript to Gay's letter to Congreve, he 
says, "I sit up tiU two o'clock, over Burgundy and 
Champagne." Ten years before, the coffee-house and 
London life had less charms for him. Witness the para- 
graph in the letter to Wycherley, in 1705, to this effect : 
" I have now changed the scene from town to country, — 
from Will's Coffee-house to Windsor Forest. I found no 
other difference than this betwixt the common town wits 
and the downright country fools, — that the first are 
partly in the wrong, with a little more flourish and 
gaiety ; and the last, neither in the right nor the wrong, 
but confirmed in a stupid settled medium, betwixt both." 
But, ten years later than the period of Pope's postscript 
to Congreve, in which he boasted of sitting over wine 
during the "wee short hours ayont the twal'," as Bums 
calls them, we find the boaster stricken. Swift, writing 
to him, in 1726, remarks, " I always apprehend most for 
you after a great dinner; for the least transgression of 
yours, if it be only two bits and one sup more than yom* 
stint, is a great debauch, for which you certainly pay 
more than those sots who are carried drunk to bed." 

In England, the chocolate and coffee-houses were not 
confined to the metropolis and its rather rakish inhabit- 
ants. The Universities had their coffee-houses, as London 
had ; and the company there, albeit alvmni of the various 
Colleges, do not appear to have been remarkable for refine- 



78 TABLE TEAITS. 

ment. Dr. Ewins, at Cambridge, in the last century, 
acquired the ill-will hoth of Town and Gown for exer- 
cising a sort of censorship over their conduct. According 
to Cole, the Antiquaiy, they needed it ; for he says, with 
especial allusion to the Undergraduates, that " they never 
were more licentious, riotous, and dehauched. They often 
broke the Doctor's windows," he adds, " as they said he 
had been caught listening on their staircases and (at 
their) doors." The Doctor, like his adversaries, was in 
the habit of visiting the Union Coffee-house, opposite St. 
Eadigund's (or Jesus) lane, — a fashionable rendezvous. 
He was there one night about Christmas, 1771, or Janu- 
ary, 1772, "when some FeUow-Commoners, who owed 
him a grudge, sitting in the box near him, in order to 
affront him, pretended to call their dog ' Squintum,' and fre- 
quently repeated the name very loudly in the coffee-house ; 
and, in their joviality, swore many oaths, and caressed 
their dog. Dr. Ewin, as did his father, squinted very much, 
as did Whitefield, the Methodist teacher, who was vul- 
garly called !Dr. Squintum, from the blemish in his eyes. 
Dr. Ewin was sufficiently mortified to be so affronted in 
pubUc. However, he carefully marked down the number 
of oaths sworn by these gentlemen, whom he made to pay 
severely the penalty of five shiUings for each oath, which 
amounted to a good round sum." The next week, ballad- 
singers sang, in the streets of Cambridge, a ballad, which 
they gave away to aU who would accept a copy, and from 
which the following verses are extracted. They will 
show — if nothing else — ^that the University coffee-house 
poet was less elegant than Horace, and that the " well of 
English" into which he had dipped was not altogether 
"undefiled:"— 

" Of all the blocldieads in the Town, 

That strut and bully up and down, 

And bring complaints against the Gown, 

There 's none like Dr. Squintum. 



THE OID COrrEE-HOirSES. 79 

" With gimlet eyes and dapper wig, 
TMs Justice thinis he looks so big : 
A most infernal stupid gig 

Is this same Dr. S^uintum. 

" What pedlar can forbear to grin. 
Before his Worship that has been, 
To think what foUy lurks within 

This Just Ass Dr. Squintmn? " 

Old Rene d'Anjou used to say, that, as soon as a man 
had breakfasted, it was his hounden duty to devote him- 
self to the great business of the day, — ^think of dinner. 
We mil in some wise follow the instructions given, — 
first, however, saying a word or two upon French coffee- 
houses, and then upon those who naturally take pre- 
cedence of " dinners," — ^the cooks by whom dinners are 
prepared. 



THE FRENCH CAFES. 



In the reign of Louis XV. there were not less than six 
hundred cafes in Paris. London, at the same period, could 
not count /^" many dozens. Under Louis Napoleon, the 
cafes have reached to the amazing number of between 
three and four thousand. All these establishments 
acknowledge the Cafe' Procope as the founder of the 
dynasty, although, indeed, there were coffee-vendors in 
Paris before the time of the accomplished Sicilian. " Vix- 
ervmt fortes ante Agamemnona.'" 

The consumption of coffee in Paris, at the period of 
the breaking out of the Eevolution, was something enor- 
mous. The French West-Indian Islands furnished eighty 
miUions of pounds annually, and this was irrespective of 
what was derived from the East. The two sources toge- 
ther were not sufficient to supply the kingdom. Thence 
adulterations, fortunes to the adulterators, and that 
supremacy of chicory, which has destroyed the weU- 
eamed reputation of French coffee. 

I have already spoken of the Cafe Procope, and here I 
will only add an anecdote illustrative of the scenes that 
sometimes occurred there, and of the national character 
generally in the reign of Louis XV. One afternoon that 
M. de Saint Foix was seated at his usual table, an officer 
of the King's Body-Gruard entered, sat down, and ordered 
"a; cup of coffee, with milk, and a roll," adding, "It wiU 
serve me for a dinner!" At this Saint Foix remarked 



THE FKENCH CAFES. 81 

aloTid, that " a cup of coffee, witli milk, and a roll, was 
a confoundedly poor dinner." The officer remonstrated ; 
Saint Foix reiterated his remark, and again and again 
declared, that nothing the gallant officer could say to the 
contrary, would convince him. that a cup of coffee, with 
milk, and a roll*, was not a confoundedly poor dinner. 
Thereupon a challenge was given and accepted, and the 
whole of the persons present adjourned as spectators of a 
fight, which ended by Saint Foix receiving a wound in 
the arm. " That is aU very well," said the wounded 
comhatant ; " hut I call you to witness, gentlemen, that 
I am still profoundly convinced, that a cup p--^offee, with 
milk, and a roll, is a confoundedly poor dinner !" At this 
moment, the principals were arrested, and carried before 
the Duke de NoaiUes, in whose presence Saint Fois, 
without waiting to be questioned, said, " Monseigneur, 1 
had not the slightest intention of offending the gallant 
officer, who, I doubt not, is an honourable man ; but 
Tour Excellency can never prevent my asserting, that a 
cup of coffee, with milk, and a roU, is a confoundedly 
poor dinner." " Why, so it is," said the Duke. " Then 
I am not in the wrong," remarked Saint Foix; "and a 
cup of coffee," at these words Magistrates, delin- 
quents, and auditory, burst into a roar of laughter, and 
the antagonists became friends. It was a more bloodless 
issue than that which occurred to Michel Lepelletier, in 
later years, at the Cafi Fevrier. He was seated at din- 
ner there, when an ex-ga/rde-du-corps, named Paris, 
approached him, inquired if he were the Lepelletier who 
had voted for the death of Louis XVI., and, receiving an 
affirmative reply, drew forth a dagger, and swiftly slew 
him on the spot. 

Before Procope, the Armenian, Pascal, sold coffee at the 
Fair of St. Germain, at three-halfpence a cup ; and "the 
beverage was sung by the poet Thomas in terms not exactly 



82 TABLE TEAITS, 

like those with which DelUle suhsequently sang the virtues 
of the tree. The Trench coffee-houses at once gained 
the popularity to which they aspired. To Pascal suc- 
ceeded Maliban, and then Gregoire opened his estahlish- 
ment in the Eue Mazarin, in the vicinity of players and 
play-goers. At the same time, there was a man in Paris, 
called "the lame Candiot," who carried ready-made coffee 
about from door to door, and sold it for a penny per cup, 
sugar included. The cafe at the foot of the bridge of 
Notre-Dame was founded by Joseph ; that at the foot of 
the bridge of St. Michel, by Etienne ; and both of these 
are more ancient than that of Procope, who was the first, 
however, who made a fortune by his speculation. The 
Qwaj & Z'^coZe had its establishment, (the Cafe Manoury,) 
which I beUeve stiU exists, as does the Cafe de la Hegence, 
which dates from the time of the Regent Duke of Orleans, 
and where Rousseau used to play at chess, and appear in 
his Armenian costume. It was also frequented, incog., by 
the Emperor Joseph. The oldest cafe' in the Palais Royal 
is the celebrated Cafe de IFoy, so called' from the name of 
its founder. Carl Vernet was one of its most constant 
patrons. He was there on one occasion, when some 
repairs were going on, and, in his impatience, he flung a 
wet colouring brush from him, which struck the ceiling 
and left a spot. He immediately ascended the ladder, 
and with a touch of his finger converted the stain into a 
swallow ; and his handy-work was still to be seen on the 
ceiling, when I was last in Paris. It was before the Ccfe 
de Foy that Camille Desmouhns harangued the mob, ia 
July, 1789, with such effect, that they took up arms, 
destroyed the BastUle, and inaugurated the Revolution. 

The Cafe' de Valois vnR long be remembered for its 
aristocratic character ; that of Montansier, on the other 
hand, was remarkable for the coarseness of its frequenters, 
and the violence with which they discussed politics, 



THE rEENCH CAFES. 83 

especially at tte period of the Eestoration. The Gaf4 du 
Caveau was more joyously noisy with its gay artists and 
broad songs. The Empire brought two establishments 
into popular favour, both of which appealed to the lovers 
of beauty as well as of coffee. The first was the Caf/dw 
Bosquet, and the second the Cafe des Mille Golonnes. 
Each was celebrated for the magnificent attractions of 
the presiding lady, — the telle limonadiere, as she was at 
first called, or the dame du comptoir, as refinement chose 
to name her. Madame Eomain, at the Mille Golonnes, 
had a longer reign than her rival ; and the lady was alto- 
gether a more remarkable person. In the reign of Louis 
XVIII., her seat was composed of the throne of Jerome, 
King of Westphalia, — which was sold by aiiction on the 
baiikruptcy of his Majesty. Madame Eomain descended 
from it, like a weary Queen, to take refuge in a nunnery ; 
and, curiously enough, the ex- King has recovered his 
"throne," which now figures, in the reduced aspect of a 
simple arm-chair, in the salon of his residence at the 
Palais Eoyal. After the abdication of Madame Eomain, 
the Mille Golonnes endeavoured to secure success by very 
meretricious means. Girls of a brasen quality of beauty 
bore through the apartments flaming bowls of punch, 
usually taken after the coffee ; and the beverage and the 
bearers were equally bad. 

As the Cafe Chretien was once thoroughly Jacobin, so 
the Cafe Lemblin became entirely Imperial, and was the 
focus of the Opposition after the return of the Bourbons. 
It was famous for its chocolate, as well as for its coffee. 
When the AlUes were at Paris, it was hardly safe for the 
officers to enter the Cafe Lemblin, and many scenes of 
violence are described as having occurred there, and many a 
duel was fought with fatal effect, after a co/b dispute between 
French and foreign officers, — and all for national honour. 
The Bourbon officers were far more insulting in the cafes 
G 2 



84 TABIiE TEAITS, 

to tte ex-imperial " braves," than the latter were to the 
iavading Captains, — and they generally paid dearly for their 
temeritj-. Finally, — for to name all the cafes in Paris, 
would require an encyclopsedia, — it is worthy of notice 
that Tortoni's, which is now a grave adjunct to the Bov/rse, 
first achieved success by the opposite process of biUiard- 
playing. A broken-down provincial advocate, Spolar of 
Eennes, came to Paris with a bad character, and a capital 
cue ; and the latter he handled so wonderfully at the Cafe 
Tortoni, that all Paris went to witness his feats. Talley- 
rand patronized him, backed his playing, and gained no 
inconsiderable sum by the cue-driving of Spolar, whose star 
culminated when he was appointed " Professor of BiDiards 
to Queen Hortense," — an appointment which sounds 
strange, but which was thought natural enough at the 
time ; and, considering all things, so it was. 

There is one feature in the French cafe's which strikes 
an observer as he first contemplates it. I allude to the 
intensity, gravity, and extent of the domino-playing. A 
quartett party wUl spend half the evening at this mystery, 
with nothing to enliven it but the gentlest of conversa- 
tion, and the lightest of beer, or a simple petit verre. 
The Government wisely thinks that a grave domino- 
player can be given to neither immorality nor conspiracies. 
But a British, Government proudly scorns to tolerate such 
insipidities in Britons. British tradesmen, at the end of 
the day, may be perfectly idle, spout blasphemy, and get 
as drunk as they please, in any London tavern, provided 
they do not therewith break the peace ; hut, let the 
reprobates only remain obstinately sober, and play at 
dominoes, then they ofiend the immaculate justice of 
Justices, and landlords and players are liable to be fined. 
So, on Sabbath nights, the working-classes have thrown 
open to their edification the gin-palaces, which invite not 
in vain ; but if one of these same classes should, on the 



THE lEESrCH CAPES. 85 

same Simday evening, knock at the religiously-closed door 
of a so-called free library, tlie secretary's maid who 
answers the appeal would be pale with horror at the 
atrocity of the applicant. And what is the bewildered 
Briton to do ? He looks in at church, where, if there be 
a few free seats, they have a look about them so as to 
make him understand that he is in his fustian, and that 
he and the miserable sinners in their fine cloth are not on 
an equality in the house of God ; and so he turns sigh- 
ingly away, and goes where the law allows him, — to the 
house of gin. 

But, leaving the further consideration of these matters 
to my readers, let us now address ourselves to the sketching 
of a class whose most illustrious members have borne 
witness to their own excellency, not exactly according to 
the fashion spoken of by Shakspeare ; namely, by putting 
a strange face on their own perfection. 



THE ANCIENT COOK, AND HIS ART. 



It is an incontestable fact, that lie wLo lives soberly 
does not depend upon Ms cook for the pleasure wHch he 
derives from his repast. Nevertheless, the cook is one of 
the most important of personages ; and even appetite, 
without him, would not he of the value that it is at 
present. A great wrtiste knows his vocation. When the 
cook of Louis XVIII. was reproached, hy His Majesty's 
Physician, with ruining the royal health by savoury juices, 
the dignitary of the kitchen sententiously remarked, that 
it was the office of the cook to supply His Majesty with 
pleasant dishes, and that it was the duty of the doctor to 
enable the King to digest them. The division of labour, 
and the responsibilities of office, could not have been better 
defined. 

From old times the cook has had a proper sense of the 
solemn importance of his wonderful art. The Goquus 
Gloriosws, in a fragment of Philemon, shows us what 
these artists were in the very olden time. He swears by 
Minerva that he is dehghted at his success, and that he 
cooked a fish so exquisitely, that it returned him 
admiring and grateful looks from the frying-pan ! He 
had not covered it with grated cheese, not disguised it 
with sauce ; but he had treated it with such daintiness 
and dehcacy, that, even when fully cooked, it lay on the 
dish as fresh-looking as if it had just been taken from the 
lake. This result seems to have been a rarity ; for, when 
the fish was served up at table, the delighted guests tore 



THE HfCrENT COOK, AUD HIS AET. 87 

it from one another, and a running struggle was kept up 
around the hoard to get possession of this exquisitely 
prepared morceau. "And yet," says the cook, "I had 
nothing hetter to exhibit my talent upon than a wretched 
river fish, nourished in mud. But, Jupiter Saviour ! if 
I had only had at my disposal some of the fish of Attica 
or Argos, or a conger from pleasant Sicyon, like those 
which Neptune serves to the gods in. Olympus, why, the 
guests would have thought they had become divinities 
themselves. Yes," adds the culinary boaster, "I think I 
may say that I have discovered the principle of immor- 
tality, and that the odour of my dishes would recall life 
into the nostrils of the very dead." The resonant vaunt 
is not unlike that of Bechamel, who said that, with the 
sauce that he had invented, a man would experience 
nothing but dehght in eating his own grandfather ! 

Hegesippus further illustrates the vanity of the genus 
coquorum of his days. In a dialogue between Syrus and 
his chef, the master declares that the culinary art appears 
to have reached its limit, and that he would fain hear 
something novel upon the subject. The cook's reply 
admits us to an insight into ancient manners. "I am 
not one of those fellows," says the personage in question, 
" who are content to suppose that they learn their art by 
wearing an apron for a couple of years. My study of the 
art has not been superficial : it has been the work of my 
life ; and I have learned the use and appliances of every 
herb that grows — for kitchen purposes. But I especially 
shine in getting up funeral dinners. When the mourners 
have returned from the doleful ceremony, it is I who 
introduce them to the mitigated affiction department. 
While they are yet in their mourning attire, I hffc the 
lids of mj kettles, and straightway the weepers begin to 
laugh. They sit down with their senses so enchanted, 
that every guest fancies himself at a wedding. If I can 



S» TASIiE TEAITS. 

only have all I require, Syrus," adds the artist, " if my 
kitchen be only properly furnished, you will see renewed 
the scenes which used to take place on the coasts fre- 
quented by the Syrens. It will he impossible, for any 
one to pass the door ; all who scent the process will be 
compelled, despite themselves, to stop. There they will 
stand, mute, open-mouthed, and nostrils extended ; nor 
will it be possible to make them ' move on,' unless the 
police, coming to their aid, shut out the irresistible scent 
by plugging their noses." 

Posidippus shows us a classical master-cook instructing 
his pupils. Leucon is the name of the teacher ; and the 
first truth he impresses on his young friend is, that the 
most precious sauce for the purpose of a cook is impu- 
dence. " Boast away," he says, " and never be tired of 
it." For, as he logically remarks, " if there be many a 
Captain under whose dragon-embossed cuirass lies a poor 
hare, why should not we, who kill hares, pass for better 
than we are, like the Captains?" "A modest cook must 
be looked on," he says, " as a contradiction in nature. 
If he be hired out to cook a dinner in another man's 
house, he will only get considered in proportion to his 
impudence and overbearing conduct. If he be quiet and 
modest, he will be held as a pitiful cook." 

Alexis, another artist, takes other and higher ground. 
He says, that in all the arts the resulting pleasm-e does , 
not depend solely on those who exercise the art ; there 
must be others who possess the science of enjoyment. 
This is true ; and Alexis further adds, that the guest who 
keeps a dinner waiting, or a master who suddenly demands 
it before its time, are alike enemies to the art which 
Alexis professes. 

The earthly paradise of the early cooks was, unques- 
tionably, among the Sybarites, — ^the people to whom the 
crumpling of a rose under the side on which they lay, 



THE A^^CIENT COOK, AND HIS AET. 89 

gave exquisite pain. They were as self-luxurious as though 
the world was made for them alone, and they and the 
world were intended to last for ever. They would not 
admit into their city any persons whose professions 
entailed noise in the practice of them : the trunkmaker at 
the corner of St. Paul's would have been flogged to death 
with thistle-down, if he had carried on his trade in 
Sybaris for an hour, and if a Sybarite could have been 
found with energy enough to wield the instrument of 
execution ! The crowing of one of the proscribed race of 
cocks once put all the gentlemen of the city into fits ; and, 
on another occasion, a Sybarite telling a friend how his 
nerves had been shaken by hearing the tools of some 
labouring men in another country strike against each 
other, at their work, the friend was so overcome, that 
he merely exclaimed, "Good gracious!" and fainted 
away. 

Athenaeus, borrowing, if I remember rightly, from one 
of the authors whose works were in that Alexandrian 
library, the destruction of which by the Caliph Omar, Dr. 
Gumming tells us in his " Finger of God," is a circum- 
stance at which he is rather glad than sorry, — Athenaeus 
mentions the visit of a Sybarite to Sparta, where he was 
invited to one of the public dinners, at which the citizens 
ate very black broth, in common, out of wooden bowls. 
Having tasted the national diet, he feebly uttered the Sy- 
baritic expression for " Stap my vitals !" and convulsively 
remarked, that " he no longer wondered why the Lacedae- 
monians sought death in battle, seeing that such a fate 
was preferable to life with such broth !" 

Certainly the public repasts of the Sybarites were of 
another quality. The giver of such repasts was enrolled 
among the benefactors of their coimtry, and the cook who 
had distinguished himself was invested with a golden 
crown, and an opera ticket ; that is, free admission to those 



90 TABLE TEAITS. 

public games where hired dancers voluptuously perverted 
time and the human form divine. 

I am afraid that all cooks in remote ages enjoyed but 
an indiiferent reputation, and thoroughly deserved what 
they enjoyed. The comic Dionysius introduces one of 
the succulent brotherhood, impressing upon a young 
apprentice the propriety of stealing in houses where they 
were hired to cook dinners. The instruction is worthy 
of Profesfsor Pagan of the Saffron-HOl University. " What- 
ever you can prig," says the elder rogue, " belongs to 
yourself, as long as you are in the house. When you get 
past the porter into the street, it then becomes my pro- 
perty. So fake away ! (BaSife SeDp" fijua,) and look out for 
unconnected trifles." 

And yet Athenseus asserts that nothing has so power- 
fully contributed to instil piety into the souls of men, as 
good cookery ! His proof is, that when men devoured each 
other, they were beasts, — ^which is a self-evident proposi- 
tion; but that- when they took to cooked meats, and 
were particular with regard to these, why, then alone they 
began to live cleanly, — which is a proposition by no means 
so self-evident. In his opinion, a man to be supremely 
happy only needed the gift of Ceres to Pandora, — a good 
appetite, and an irreproachable indigestion. These are, 
doubtless, great portions of happiness ; and if felicity can 
do without them,-^which is questionable, — where they are 
not, comfort is absent, and a good conscience is hardly a 
sufficient compensation. 

If Sybaris was the paradise of cooks, Lacedaemon was 
their purgatory. They were blamed if men grew fat on 
their diet, and plump children were legally condemned to 
get spare again upon their gruel. The Eomans, again, 
restored the cook to his proper place in society. He 
might be still a slave, and so were greater men than he ; but 
he was the confidant of his master, and there were not a 



THE ANCIENT COOK, AND HIS ART. 01 

few who would have exchanged their liberty for such a 
post and chains. And who dare affirm that the coquus 
was not an officer of distinction ? He who knows how to 
prepare food for digestion and delight, is a greater man, , 
in one particular at least, than Achilles, who could go no 
farther in culinary science than turning the spit ; than 
Ulysses, who could light fires and lay cloths with the dex- 
terity of a Frankfort waiter ; or than Patroclus, who could 
draw wine and drink it, but who knew no more how to 
make a stew, than he did how to solve the logarithms of 
Napier. 

When it is asserted that it was Cadmus, the grand- 
father of Bacchus, who first taught men how to eat as 
civiEzed beings should, it is thereby further intimated 
that good eating should be followed by good drinking. 

We have heard of cooks in monasteries who made dis- 
sertations on eternal flames by the heat of their own fires : 
so Timachidas, of Rhodes, made patties and poetry at 
the same stove, and both after a fashion to please their 
several admirers. Artemidorus was the Dr. Johnson of 
his own art, and wrote a Kitchen Lexicon for the benefit 
of students. Sicily especially was celebrated for its lite- 
rary cooks, and Mithoecus wrote a treatise on the art; 
while Archestratus, the Syracusan, looking into causes 
and efiects, meditated on stomachs as well as sauces, and 
first showed how digestion might be taught to wait on 
appetite. Then theoretical laymen came in to the aid of 
the practical cook, and gastronomists hit upon all sorts 
of strange 'ideas to help them to renewed enjoyments. 
Pithyllus, for instance, invented a sheath for the tongue, 
in order that he might swallow the hottest viands faster 
than other guests, who wisely preferred rather to slowly 
please the palate than suddenly satisfy the stomach. It 
is of Pithyllus the Dainty, that it is related how, after 
meals, he used to clean his tongue by rubbing it with a 



92 TABLE TEAITS. 

piece of rough fish-skin ; and his taking up hot viands 
with his hand, like that of Gotz von Berlichingen, encased 
in a glove, is cited as proof that the Greeks used no forks. 
The spoons of the Romans had a pointed end, at the 
extremity of the handle, for the purpose of picking fish 
from the sheU. 

Then came the age when, if men had not appetites of 
nature's making, they were made for them by the cooks ; 
and the latter, in return, were crowned with flowers by 
the guests who had eaten largely, and had no fears of indi- 
gestion. The inventor of a new dish had a patent for its 
exclusive preparation for a year. But ere that time it 
had probably been forgotten in something more novel dis- 
covered by a Sicilian rival ; for the Greeks looked on 
Sicily as the Parisians of the last century used to look 
on Languedoc, — as the only place on earth -where cooks 
were bom and bred, and were worth the paying. The 
artists of both countries, and of the opposite ages men- 
tioned, were especially skilled in the preparation of mate- 
rials which were made to appear the things they were 
not; and a seemingly grand dinner of fish, flesh, and 
fowl, was really fashioned out of the supplies furnished 
by the kitchen garden. The Greeks, however, never 
descended to the bad taste of which the diarists of the 
last century show the French to have been guilty ; namely, 
in having wooden joints, carved and painted, placed upon 
their tables for show. Artificial flowers may be tolerated, 
but an artificial sirloin, made of a block of deal, would be 
very intolerable board indeed, particularly to the hungry 
guests, who saw the seemingly liberal fare, but who could 
make very little of the deal before them. 

In Sicily, the goddess of good cheer, Adephagia, had 
her especial altars, and thence, perhaps, the estimation in 
which the SicUian cooks were held, who prayed to her for 
inspiration. Her ministers were paid salaries as rich as 



THE AirCIENT COOK, A2JD HIS AET, 93 

the sauces tbey invented. Something like £800 per 
annum formed the honorarium of the learned and juicy 
gentleman. But he was not always to be had, even at 
that price ; and the disgusted Languedocien who would 
not remain in the cuisine of the Duke of Richmond, when 
Governor of Ireland, for the sufficient reason that there 
was no Opera in Dublin, had his prototype among his 
Sicilian predecessors. The jealousy of the culinary bonds- 
man in Greek households against the free cook from 
SicUy, must have been sometimes deadly in its results. 

The best-feed cook on record is the happy mortal to 
whom his master Antony gave a city, because he had 
cooked a repast which had caUed forth encomium from 
that dreadful jade, Cleopatra. 

But money was the last thing thought of by the 
wearied epicures of Rome, especially when what they gave 
belonged to somebody else. When Lucvillus spent £1,000 
sterling on a snug dinner for three, — ^himself, Csesar, and 
Pompey, — he doubtless spent his creditors' money; at 
least, extravagant people generally do. Claudius dined 
often with six hundred guests, and the Roman people 
paid the cooks. The dinners of Vitellius cost that sacri- 
legious feeder upwards of £3,000 each, but the bUls were 
discharged by a levy on the public pocket. When Tibe- 
rius ordered several thousands sterUng to be bestowed on 
the author of a piece wherein every thing eatable was 
made to speak wittily, the author was really paid out of 
the popular pocket ; and when Geta insisted on having 
as many courses at each repast as there were letters in 
the alphabet, and all the viands at each course so named 
that their initials should be the same as that of the course 
itself, he was the last person who troubled himself about 
the payment for such extravagance. 

The cooks of such epicures must necessarily, however, 
have been as despotic in the kitchen as their lord was in 



94! TABLE TEAITS. 

tte saloon. The slaves there, who hurried to and fro, bear- 
ing their tributes of good things from the market-place, 
or distributing them according to his bidding, obeyed 
the cook's very nod, nay, anticipated his very wishes. 
They were, in fact, the ministers of an awful Sovereign. 
The cook was their Lord paramount. The stewards pos- 
sessed no little power ; but when the fires were lighted, 
and the dinner had to be thought of, the head cook was 
the kitchen Jupiter; and when he spoke, obedience, 
silence, and trembling followed upon his word. 

From his raised platform, the Archimagirus, as he 
was called, could overlook aU the preparations, and with 
his tremendous spoon of office he could break the heads- 
of his least skilful disciples, and taste the sauces seething 
in the remotest saucepans. The effect must have been 
quite pantomimic ; and to complete it, there was only 
wanted a crash of discordant music to accompany the 
rapid descent of the gigantic spoon upon the skuU or 
ribs of an offender. The work was done in presence of 
the gods, and scullions blew the fires under the gaze 
of the Lares, — sooty divinities to whom, the legend 
says, inferior cooks were sometimes sacrificed in the 
month of December. "But," as Othello says, "that's a 
fable!" 

Great Roman kitchens were as well worth seeing, and 
perhaps were as often inspected by the curious and privi- 
leged, as that of the Reform Club. "Order reigned" 
there quite as much as it did, according to Marshal 
Sebastiani, at Warsaw, amid the most abject slavery. 
Art and costliness were lavished upon the vessels, but the 
human beings there were exactly the things that were 
made the least account of. , 

No doubt that the triumph of the art of the cook con- 
sisted in serving up an entire pig at once roasted and 
boiled. The elder Disraeli has shown from Archestratus 



THE ANCIENT COOK, AND HIS AUT. 95 

how this was done. " The animal had heen bled to death 
by a wound under the shoulder, whence, after copious 
eSusion, the master-cook extracted the entrails, washed 
them with wine, and hanged the animal by the feet. He 
crammed down the throat the stuffings already prepared. 
Then, covering the half of the pig with a paste of barley 
thickened with wine and oil, he put it in a small oven, or 
on a heated table of brass, where it was gently roasted 
with all due care. When the skin was browned, he boiled 
the other side, and then, taking away the barley paste, the 
pig was served up, at once boiled and roasted." And such 
was the way by which the best of cooks spoiled the best 
of pigs. 

According to Plautus, cooks alone were privileged in 
the old days to carry knives in their girdles. In the 
" Aulularia" old EueUo says to Congrio, the cook, "Adtres 
virosjam ego defer am tuicm nomenj" — " I 'U go and inform 
against you to the Magistrates." " Why so ? " asks Con- 
grio. " Because you carry a knife,' ' — " Quia cultrum Tiabes." 
"Well," says the artist, standing on his rights, " cocum 
decet,' ' " it is the sign of my profession.' ' From another of 
the many cooks of Plautus we learn, in the "Mencschmei," 
that, when a parasite was at table, his appetite was reck- 
oned as equivalent to that of eight guests ; and when 
Cylindrus is ordered to prepare a dinner for Mensechmus, 
his "lady," and the official parasite, "Then," says the 
cook, " that 's as good as ten ; for your parasite does the 
work of eight : " — 

" Jam isti sunt decern. 
Nam parasitus octo hominum munus facile fungitur." 

The musicians would appear to have Uved as pleasantly 
as the parasites. Simo remarks to Tranio, in the " Mostel- 
laria," that he lives on the best the cooks and vintners 
caai procure for him, — a real fiddler's destiny : — 



06 TABLE TEAIT3. 

" Musice hercle agitis atatem : ita ut vos decet. 
Vino et victu, piscata prole electili. 



Stalino complains in the " Casina," that, clever as cooks 
are, they cannot put a little essence of love into all their 
dishes, — a sauce, he says, that would please everybody. 
Their reputation in Rome for steahng was much the same 
as that enjoyed hy their Grecian brethren. The scene of 
the "Casina," indeed, is in Athens ; but Olympio utters a 
Eoman sentiment when he says, that cooks use their 
hands as much for larceny as cookery, and that wherever 
they are they bring double ruin, through extravagance 
and robbery, upon their masters : " UM sunt, dwplid damno 
dominos multant." This is further proved by the speech of 
Upidicus, in the comedy so called, where that slave-cook 
speaks of his master's purse as if it were game, to disem- 
bowel which, he says, he wiU. use his professional knife -. — 

" Acutttm'cuHrum habeo, sends qui exenterem 



We learn something of the pay of a cook from a speech 
of one of the craft, in the '' JPseudolus." Ballio, seeing a 
single practitioner remaining in the square to be hired, 
asks how it is that he has not been engaged. " Mloqwar" 
says the cook, " here is the reason : — 

" He who, now-a-days, comes here to hire cooks. 
No longer seeks the best, that is, the dearest. 
But some poor spoil-sauce who for nothing works. 
Therefore you see me here alone tQ-da,y. 
A poor drachma hath my brethren purchased ; 
But under a crown I cook a dish for no man. 
For 'twixt the common herd and me, you see. 
There is a diff'rence : they into a dish 
Hing whole meadows, and the guests they treat. Sir, 
As though they were but oxen out at grass. 
Herbs season they with herbs, and grass with grass ; 
And in the mess, garlic, coriander, fennel. 



THE ANOIUNT COOK, AST) HIS AET. 07 

Sorrel, rochet, beet-root, leeks, and greens, 
AH go together, with a pound of benzoin. 
And mustard ditto, that compels the tears 
Prom out the eyes of those that have to mix it. 
* * * * * 

If men are short-lived now, the reason 's plain : 
They put death into their stomachs, and so 
Of indigestion and bad cookery die. 
Their sauces but to think of, makes me shudder ; 
Yet men will eat what asses would not bend to. 
***** 

'Who of my dishes eats, obtains at least 

Two hundred happy years of life reuew'd. 

I season Neptune's fishes with a juice 

Made up of CicUindrum, Muscadel, 

Sipolindrum, and Sancapatides. 

The odour of my mutton, nicely stuffed 

"With Cicimaudrum, Nappalopsides, 

And of Cataractaria a pinch, 

Teeds Jupiter himself, who, when I rest. 

Sleeps on Olympus, sad and supperless. 

As for my potions, he who deeply drinks. 

Gulps with the draught the gift of endless youth." 

Finally, after inventing the above names unpronounce- 
atle of sauces that do not exist, the boaster adds, that his 
fee is a crown, provided he is not overlooked ; but that if 
there be supervision to check him in his perquisites, he is 
not to be hired under a mina : — ■ 

" Si credis, nummos ; si non, ne mina quidem I " 

I do not know if cooks more especially Tised different 
fingers in mingling their sauces, according as they were 
employed on wedding banquets, martial feasts, senatorial 
entertainments, al-fresco d^jeAners, or commercial suppers ; 
but certain it is, that the fingers were sacred to diverse 
deities. The thumb was devoted to Venus, the index 
finger to Mars, the longest finger to Saturn, the next to 
the Sun, and the little finger to Mercury. 

H 



98 TABIE TEAITS. 

I conclude with a remark that I hope will be gratify- 
ing to all culinary artists who respect themselves and 
their calling, and who are anxious to prove that their 
vocation is of ancient and honourable descent. Cadmus, 
who introduced letters into Greece, had formerly been 
cook to the King of Sidon. Thus learning ascended to 
us from the kitchen ; and to the ex-cook of the King of 
Sidon we perhaps owe aU the epics that have ever been 
written. By this genealogy, even "Paradise Lost " may 
be traced to the patties of Cadmus. But cooks in England 
may boast of a nohlesse de cuisine, which dates from the 
Norman Conquest. When WiUiam, who wooed his wife 
Matilda by knocking her down, had established himself 
in England, he gave a banquet, at which his cook, Tezelin, 
served a new white soup of such exquisite flavour, that 
William sent for the artist, and inquired its name. " I 
call it Dillegrout" said Tezelin. "A scurvy name for 
so good a soup," said the Conqueror; " but let that pass. 
We make you Lord of the Manor of Addington !" Thus 
modern cooks may boast of a descent from the landed 
aristocracy of the Conquest ! Some of their masters cannot 
do as much ; and this, perhaps, accounts for the pride of 
the one, and the simplicity of the other. 



THE MODEM COOK, AND HIS SCIENCE. 



If it were necessary that the cook of the ancient world 
should be a Sicilian, and that the cuisinier of the ancient 
regime should be of Languedoc, (the native place of " blanc 
manger") so in these modern times he alone is considered 
a true graduate in the noble science de la gueule who is a 
Graul by birth, or who has gone through his studies in 
the University of French Kitchens. In England, it must 
be confessed that great cooks have formed the exception 
rather than the rule ; and that our native culinary litera- 
ture, however interesting in certain national details, is 
chiefly based upon a French foundation. And yet we 
may boast of some native professors who were illustrious 
in their way. Master John Murrel, for instance, wrote 
a cookery book in 1630, and dedicated it to the daughter 
of the Lord Mayor. He starts by asserting that cookery 
books generally mar rather than make good meats ; and 
then shows what good meats were in his estimation, by 
teaching how to dress " minced bullock's kidney, a rack of 
veal, a farced leg of mutton, an umble pie, and a chewit 
of stockfish." He is succulently eloquent on a compound 
production, consisting of marrow-bones, a leg of mutton, 
fowls and pullets, and a dozen larks, all in one dish. 

The Duke of Newcastle, in the last century, had a 
female cook of some renown, named " Chloe." General 
Guise, at the siege of Carthagena, saw some wild fowl on 
the wing, and, amid the din of war, he thought of " Chloe" 
and her sauces. She was famous for her stewed mush- 
H 2 



100 TABLE TRAITS. 

rooms, and there is an anecdite connected therewith that 
will hear repeating. " Poor Dr. Shaw," writes Horace 
Walpole, " heing sent for in great haste to Claremont, (it 
seems the Duchess had caught a violent cold by a hair of 
her own whisker getting up her nose, and making her 
sneeze,) the poor Doctor, I say, having eaten a few 
mushrooms before he set out, was taken so ill that he was 
forced to stop at Kingston ; and, being carried to the first 
apothecary's, prescribed a medicine for himself which 
immediately cured him. This catastrophe so alarmed 
the Duke of Newcastle, that he immediately ordered all 
the mushroom-beds to be destroyed ; and even the toad- 
stools in the park did not escape scalping in this general 
measure. And a voice of lamentation was heard at 
Kamah in Claremont, ' Chloe' weeping for Jier mush- 
rooms, and they are not!" But, let us turn to trace 
lightly the genealogy of the cooks of modern times. 

The descent of the barbarians from the north was 
the ruin of cooks as well as of Kings, of kitchens as well 
as constitutions. Many of the cooks of the classic period 
were slain like the Druid Priests at the fire of their own 
altars. A patriotic few fled rather than feed the invader ; 
and the servile souls who tremblingly ofiered to prepare a 
fricassee of ostrich brains for the Northmen, were dis- 
missed with contempt by warrior princes, who lived on 
under-done beef, and very much of it ! 

But as sure as the Saxon blood beats out the Norman, 
so does good cookery prevail over barbarous appetites. 
The old cooks were a sacrqd race, whose heirs took up 
the mission of their sires. This mission was so far trium- 
phant, that, at the period of Charlemagne, the imperial 
kitchen recognised in its chef the representative of the 
Emperor. The oriental pheasant and the peacock, in all 
the glories of expanded taU, took the place, or appeared 
at the side, of coarser viands. The dignity and the 



THE MODERN COOK, AITD HIS SCIENCE. 101 

mirth of Charlemagne's tahle were heightened by the 
presence of ladies. Brillat de Savarin states, that since 
that period the presence of the fair sex has ever been a law 
of society. But in this he errs; for the Marquis de 
Bo^iille, in his admirable work on the Dukes of Guise, 
affirms that the good civilizing custom had fallen into 
disuse, but that a permanent improvement was com- 
menced in the reign of Francis I., when the Cardinal of 
Lorraine induced that Monarch to invite ladies to be 
present at all entertainments given at Court. Society 
followed the fashion of the Sovereign ; and as it used to be 
said, " No feast, no Levite," so now it was felt that 
where there was no lady, there was no refined enjoyment. 

At whatever period the emancipation of the ladies from 
their forced seclusion took place, from that period the 
tone of social life was elevated. They went about, like 
Eve, " on hospitable thoughts intent." The highest in rank 
did not disdain to supervise the kitchen ; they displayed 
their talents in the invention of new dishes, as well as in 
the preparation of the old; and they occasionally well- 
nigh ruined their lords by the magnificence of their tastes, 
and their subhme disregard of expense. All the sump- 
tuary laws of Kings to restrain this household extrava- 
gance were joyously evaded, and banquets became deadly 
destructive to men's estates. 

The French Kings granted corporate rights to the dif- 
ferent trades connected ^ith the kitchen and the table ; 
and perhaps the most valued privilege was that conceded 
by Charles IX. to the pastry-cooks, who alone were per- 
mitted to make bread for the service of the Mass. 

Montaigne, in his pleasant way, recounts a conversa- 
tion he had with an Italian clief who had served in the 
kitchen of Cardinal Caraffa, up to the period of the death 
of his gastronomic Eminence. " I made him," says the 
great Essayist, " tell me something about his post. He 



102 TABLE TEAITS. 

gave me a lecture on the science of eating, witli a gravity 
and magisterial countenance as if he had been determining 
some vexed question in theology. He deciphered to me, 
as it were, the distinction that exists between appetites : — 
the appetite at fasting; that which people have at the 
end of the second or third service ; the means of awaking 
and exciting it ; the general * police,' so to speak, of his 
sauces; and then particularized their ingredients and 
effects. The differences of salads, according to the seasons, 
he next discoursed upon. He explained what sorts ought 
to be prepared warm, and those which should always be 
served cold ; the way of adorning and embellishing them, 
in order to render them seductive to the eye. After this 
he entered on the order of table-services, — a subject full of 
fine and important considerations ; and all this was puffed 
up with rich and magnificent terms ; phrases, indeed, 
such as are employed by statesmen and diplomatists, 
when they are discom'sing on the government of an 
empire." We see by this what the "arf de la gueule" 
was in the days of Charles IX., whose mother, Catherine 
de Medicis, had introduced it into France, as a science 
whereby men should enjoy life. The same lady introduced 
also poisoning, as a science whereby men might be deprived 
of life. Her own career was full of opposing facts like 
these, — facts which caused a poetic cook to write the epi- 
taph upon her, which says : — 

" Here lieth a Queen, who was angel and devil, 
Admirer of good, and a doer of evil ; 
She supported the State, and the State she destroyed ; 
She reconciled friends, and she friendships alloyed ; 
She hrought forth three Kings, thrice endanger'd the Crown, 
Built palaces up, and threw whole cities down ; 
Made many good laws, many bad ones as well. 
And merited richly both heaven and hell." 

The mention of Cardinal de Caraffa, by Montaigne, 



THE MOBEEN COOK, ASD HIS SCIENOE. 103 

reminds me that, for a gastronome, the Cardinal was sin- 
gularly sanguinary in spirit. I know no one to compare 
with him, except Dr. Cahill, who is not averse to good 
living, and who has earned so gloomy a notoriety by his 
terrible sentiment of the massacre of Protestants being " a 
glorious idea." Caraffa was enabled to enjoy both his 
propensities, of swallowing good things and slaughtering 
heretics. "Having obtained leave from the Pope to 
establish the Inquisition at Rome, at a time when the 
resources of the State ran low, he turned his private pro- 
perby to the use of his zeal, and set up a small Inquisition 
at his own expense." Thus he could dine within hearing 
of the groans of his victims ; his cook could inform him 
that the hares and heretics had both been roasted ; and 
he may have been occasionally puzzled to know whether 
that smeU of burning came from the patties or the 
Protestants. 

The Italian cooks were, for a season, fashionable in 
France ; but they had a passion for poetry as well as for 
pies, and were given to let their sauces bum while 
they recited whole pages of " Orlando Furioso." They 
were critics as well as cooks, and the kitchens resotmded 
with their denunciations of all who objected to, the merits 
of the divine Ariosto. But even the Papal ennobling 
of a cook could not compensate for an indifferent dinner ; 
and though Leo X., in a fit of modest delight at a sauce 
made by his cook during Lent, named him from that 
circumstance " Jack o' Lent," or " Jean de Careme," 'the 
French would not allow that such au event authorized 
the artiste to be dreaming over epics, when he should be 
wide awake to the working of his proper mystery. But 
the mystery itself was much obstructed by the political 
events of the times. There were the bloody wars of the 
Guises, the troubles of the League, the despotic reign of 
Eichelieu, the cacochymical temperament (as the editor of 



104 TABLE TBAITS. 

the "Almanack des Crourmands" would call it) of Louis 
XIII., and the ridiqulous war of the Fronde. The glory of 
the French kitchen rose with that of the Grand Monarque, 
and Vatel and Louis XIV. were contemporaries. Vatel 
slew himself to save his honour ! The King had come to 
dine with Conde ; hut the cod had not arrived in time to 
he dressed for the King, and thereupon the heroic artist 
fell upon his sword, Hke an ancient Eoman, and is immor- 
tahzed for ever by his glorious folly ! 

But there was nothing really heroic in the death of 
Vatel, whose sword was pointed at his breast by wounded 
vanity. Far more heroic was the death of the cook of 
the Austrian Consul, in the late cruel massacre, by the 
cowardly Russian fleet, at Sinope. The Consul's cook 
was a young woman of thirty years of age. The Musco- 
vite murderers were at the very height of their bloody 
enjoyment, and sending shots into the town, when the 
cook attempted to cross a garden, to procure some herbs ; 
for Consuls must dine, though half the world be dying. 
She had performed her mission, and was returning, when 
a thirty-six pounder shot cut her completely in two. 
Eather than give up the parsley for her master's soup, 
she thus encountered death. What was Vatel and his 
bodkin, to this more modern cook and the thirty-sbc 
pounder, loaded by the Czar for her destruction ? 

The cooks "looked up" in the nights and suppers of 
the Eegency, and the days and dinners of Louis XV. It 
would be difficult to say whether under the Regent, or 
under the King, the culinary art and its professors most 
flourished. I am inclined, however, to think, that, during 
the tranquil and voluptuous period of the reign of Louis 
XV., the cooks of France rose to that importance from 
which they have never descended. They became a recog- 
nised and esteemed class in society, whose spoiled children 
they were j and, in return, it was very like spoiled children 



THE MODEEK COOK, AND HIS SCIENCE. 105 

that they behaved. But how could it be otherwise, when 
the noble, the brave, and the fair girded aprons to their 
loins, and stood over stew-pans, with the air of alchymists 
over alembics ? It is to the nobihty and other distia- 
guished persons in high life, yet not noble, in France, that 
gastronomy owes many a dish, whose very name betrays 
to ecstasy. And here are a few of these droU benefactors 
of mankind. 

The Marquis de Bechamel immortalized his name, in 
the reign of Louis XIV., by his invention of cream-sauce, 
for turbot and cod. Madame de Maintenon imagined the 
" cutlets in curl-papers " which go by her name, and which 
her ingenuity created in order to guard the sacred sto- 
mach of the Grand Monarque from the grease which he 
could not digest. The " Chartreuse a la Mauconseil " is the 
work, and the most innocent one, of the free and easy 
Marchioness of that name. A woman more free and easy 
. stni, the Duchess of YiUeroy, (Marechale de Luxem- 
bourg,) produced, in her hours of reflection, the dish known 
as the poulets a la Villeroy. They were eaten with bread 
a la Segent, of which the author was the rott/Duke of Or- 
leans. His too " weU-beloved " daughter, the Duchess of 
Berry, had a gastronomic turn of mind, like her illus- 
trious father. She was an epicurean lady, who tasted of 
all the pleasures of life without moderation, whose device 
was, " Short and sweet," and who was contented to die 
young, seeing that she had exhausted all enjoyment, and 
had achieved a renown, that should embalm her name for 
ever, as the inventor of the Jilets de lapereaw. The ffiffot 
a la Mailly was the result of much study, on the part 
of the first mistress of Louis XV., to rid herself of a 
sister who was a rival. Madame de Pompadour, another 
of the same King's "ladies," testified her gratitude for 
the present which the Monarch made her of the Chateau 
de BeUevue, by the production of fke filets de volaille a la 



106 TABLE TEAITS. 

jBellevue. The Queen of Louis was more devout, but not 
less epicurean, than his mistresses ; and the petites houcMes 
a la Seine, if they were not of her creating, were named in 
honour of Maria Leczinzka. Louis himself had a con- 
tempt for female cooks ; but Madame Du Barry had one 
so well-trained, that with a charming dinner of coulis de 
faisans, croustades de lafoie de lottes, salmis de Moassine, 
pain de volatile a la supreme, poularde au cresson, e'cre- 
visses au vin de Sauterne, hisquets de pSches au Noyau, and 
crtme de cerneaux, the King was so overcome with 
ecstasy, that, after recovering from the temporary disgust 
he experienced at hearing that it was the handywork of 
a woman, he consented to ennoble her by conferring upon 
her the cordon lieu, — which phrase, from that time, has 
been accepted as signifying a skilled female cook. 

With respect to other dishes and their authors, the 
vol au vent a la Nesle owns a Marquis for its father ; and 
the poularde a la Montmorency is the offspring of a Duke. 
The Bayonnoise, or the Mdboniioise rather, recalls one of 
the victories of the Duke de ' Eichelieu ; and veau a la 
Montgolfier, weU inflated, was the tribute of a culinary 
artist to the hero who first rode the air at the tail of a 
balloon. The sorbet a la Donizetti was the master- 
piece of the Italian confectioner of the late Duke of 
Beaufort. He had been to the Opera; and one of the 
composer's charming airs having given him an idea, he 
brooded over it, tiU, an hour or so before dawn, it was 
hatched into reahty, when he rushed to the Duke's bed- 
chamber, and, "drawing Priam's bed-curtains in the 
night," announced to his startled Grace the acliievement 
of a new sorhet. 

The tendrons d'agneaux au soleil, and the filets de 
poulets a la Pompadour, were two of the dishes invented 
by the famous lady of that name. The carbonnade a la 
Soubise, and the carre de veau a la Guemenee, date — 



THE MODEEK COOK, AlTD HIS SCIENCE. 107 

the first from the reign of Louis XV., the last from 
that of Louis XVI., — periods when the people were 
famishing. The Pompadour was a great patron of the 
arts, and especially of the culinary art ; and the cuisine 
des petits a^^artements, during her reign, was at the very 
height of its savoury reputation. The Prince of Souhise 
was a poor General, but a rich glutton ; and his son-in- 
law, the Prince de Guemenee, was famous for his inven- 
tion of various ragouts, his inordinate extravagance, and 
his bankruptcy, with liabilities against him amounting to 
twenty-eight millions of francs. Madame la Marechale de 
Mirepoix. was the authoress of cailles a la Mirepoix ; and 
her descendants live on the reputation acquired thereby 
by their epicurean ancestress. The Bourbons vied with 
the aristocracy in taxing their genius, and cudgelling 
their brains, in order to produce new dishes. Thus, the 
potage a la Xavier was the production of Louis XVIII., in 
the days of his early manhood ; while the sovpe a la Conde 
was a rival dish invented by his princely cousin, — a cousin, 
by the way, who, when a refugee in England, used to pass 
his evenings at Astley's, with his pockets full of apples, 
which he gallantly presented to ladies as highly, but not 
as naturally, coloured as the fruit. Perhaps the reputa- 
tion of the Marechal de Eichelieu rests more on his 
ioudins a la carpe, than on his battles and hillets-doux. 
Pinally, a mysterious obscmity conceals from us the 
name of the inventor of the petites iouchees de file gras. 
He is the Junius of gastronomic literature ; but if he be 
guessed at in vain, he is blessed abundantly, as one who 
has concentrated paradise, (an Epicurean's paradise,) and 
given an antepast thereof, in a single mouthful. 

The Prince de Soubise was famous in the reign of Louis 
XV. for giving great dinners, and paying nobody but his 
cooks, and the young ladies of the opera. He once varied 
his extravagance by a splendid fete, which was to ter- 



108 TABLE TEAITS. 

minate by a supper. His chef waited on him with the 
bill of fare for the banquet, and the first article which 
attracted his attention was " fifty hams." " Half a hun- 
dred hams 1" said the Prince, " that 's a coarse idea, Ber- 
tramd. Yon have not got to feed my regiment of cavalry." 
" Truly, Prince ! and only one ham will appear on the 
table ; I want the remaining forty-nine for adjuncts, sea- 
sonings, flavourings, and a dozen other purposes." " Ber- 
trand," replied the Prince, " you are robbing me, and I 
cannot allow this article to pass." " Monseigneur !" ex- 
claimed the offended artiste, " you doubt my morals, and 
libel my merit. You do not know what a treasure you 
possess in me ; you have only to order it, and those fifty 
hams which so terribly offend you, why, I will put them 
all into a phial not bigger than my thumb !" The Prince 
smiled, and Bertrand triumphed. 

The cooks of. the young King Louis XVI. remarked, 
with mingled terror and disgust, that his appetite was 
rather voracious than delicate. He cared little what he 
ate, provided there was enough of it ; and he looked to 
nutrition rather than niceness. A succulent joint with 
him had more merit than the most singular of dishes, the 
invention of which had perhaps caused three nights of 
wakefulness to its author. But the aristocracy, the law, 
and finance, maintained tables which ought to have been 
the pride of Versailles. Late dinners, or gorgeous sup- 
pers, were indulged in to such a degree by the moneyed 
classes, that it was familiarly said, that of an evening the 
chimneys of the Faubourg Saint Honore made fragrant 
vyith their incense the entire capital. It was reckoned 
that, at this period, twenty thousand men had no other 
profession than that of " diner out," which they carried 
on, like the parasites of old, by retailing anecdotes ■ and 
news in return for the repast. It was a time when " Mon- 
seigneur" thought nothing of dispatching his cook to 



THE MODEEN COOK, AND HIS SCIENCE. 109 

London to procure a turtle ; whicli, after all, was less extra- 
vagant than the process of Cambaceres, who had his Peri- 
gord pies sent to him through the post, " On His Majesty's 
Service." The Languedocien cooks in France were paid 
the quadruple of the salary of the family tutor, good 
eating being so much more essential to life than mere 
instruction; and, besides, could the family tutor have 
accomplished any thing that could equal the achievement 
of the family cook who could bring to table entire a 
" sanffUer a la crapaudine ?" The cooks of the age of 
Louis XVI. invented the " hotiillie" and the " consomme'" 
because mastication was considered by them a vulgar 
process ; and the royal cooks, during Passion Week, mani- 
pulated the vegetables placed before the King into the 
forms of ocean-dwelling fish, and gave to the semblance 
the taste of the reality for which it passed to the eye. 

The glory of gastronomy was again rismg when it was 
suddenly quenched by the revolutionary torrent, and the 
nation was put on a three years' meagre dietary by the 
Jacobins and the Directory. But the Revolution, which 
affected to hate cooks as aristocratic appendages that 
ought to be suppressed, sometimes made, where it hoped 
to mar. The case of Ude is one in point. 

Monsieur TJde, like Prince Eugene, was originally 
intended for the Church. At the breaking out of the 
French Kevolution, he was residing, for instruction, with 
an Abbe, and master and pupil had to fly before the 
popular indignation, which, for a time, assailed the Church, 
and aU therewith connected. Ude's life was in peril in 
the public streets, and he just saved it, by rushing into 
the shop of a pastry-cook, where he found a permanent 
asylum. The " house of TJde," like other great houses, 
nearly perished in the great political shipwreck of the day, 
and this particular scion thereof took to the study of prac- 
tical gastronomy, and became chief supreme in various 



110 TABIE TEAITS. 

great kitchens, from that of royalty down to that of 
Crockford. 

When the sluices of the French Eevolution were 
opened, how diverse were the fortunes of those who 
fled from before it ! It was the same with the gentlemen 
who had followed the fortunes of Napoleon. They were 
scattered, like the Generals of Alexander, without being 
able, like them, to retire upon independent sovereignties, 
and rear dynasties of baiibaric splendour. Some went to 
Greece to crush despotism, some went to Lahore to aid it. 
A few, like Latour ,d'Auvergne, took to the Church ; but, 
saving that portly person himself, none had the good luck 
to reach the arohiepiscopate. Those who failed to procure 
employment in foreign armies, and yet could not lay aside 
their propensity for killing, went to the East, and pre- 
scribed as Physicians. Such of the rest as were abso- 
lutely fit for nothing, and willing to do it, inundated 
England, and undertook the hght and irresponsible ofl3.ce 
of Private Tutors ! 

But it was the earlier Eevolution that afibrded examples 
of the greatest contrasts. Many young men, intended 
for the Church, changed their profession, and became 
popular, useful, and rich, in the households of European 
royalty, as civihzers of the kitchen, who raised cookery 
from its barbarous condition to a matter of science and 
taste. Perhaps the most curious of the waifs and strays 
of the Eevolution flung upon our shores, was the ChevaHer 
D'Aubigne, who contrived to live, as so many French 
gentlemen of that time did, in bitter poverty, without a 
sacrifice of dignity. He had one day been invited by an 
English friend to dine with the latter at a tavern. In 
the course of the repast, he took upon himself to mix the 
salad ; and the way in which he did this, attracted the 
notice of all the other guests in the room. Previous to 
the period of which I am speaking, lettuces were com- 



THE MODEEN COOK, AND HIS SCIENCE. Ill 

monly eaten, by tavern frequenters at least, au naturel, 
Tvith no more dressing than Nebuchadnezzar had to his 
grass when he dieted daily among the beasts. Conse- 
quently, when D'Aubigne handled the preparation forwhich 
he had asked, like a chymist concocting elixir in his labo- 
ratory, the guests were lost in admiration ; for the refresh- 
ing aroma of a Mayonnaise was warrant to their senses, 
that the French Knight had discovered for them a new 
pleasure. One of them approached the foreign magician, 
and said, " Sir, it is universally known that your nation 
excels all others in the making a salad. Would it be too 
great a Hberty to ask you to do us the faroiir to mix one 
for the party at my table ?" The courteous Frenchman 
smiled, was flattered, performed the office asked of him, 
and put four gentlemen in a state of uncontrollable ecstasy. 
He had talked cheerfully, as he mixed gracefully and 
scientifically, and, in the few minutes required by him to 
complete his work of enchantment, he contrived to ex- 
plain his position as emigrant, and his dependence on the 
pecimiary aid -afforded by the English Government. The 
guests did not let the poor Chevalier depart without 
slipping into his hand a golden fee, which he received 
with as little embarrassment, and as much dignity, as 
though he had been the Physician De Portal taking an 
'honorarium from the hands of the Cardinal de Eohan. 

He had communicated his address, and he, perhaps, was 
not very much surprised when, a few days after, he received 
a letter in which he was poUtely requested to repair to a 
house in Grosvenor Square, for the purpose of mixing a 
salad for a dinner-party there to be given. D'Aubigne 
obeyed the summons ; and, after performing his mission, 
returned home richer by a five-pound note than when 
he went out. 

Henceforth he became the recognised " fashionable 
salad-maker;" and ladies " died" for his salads, as they 



112 TABLE TBAITS. 

do now for Constantine's simulative bouquets. The pre- 
parer was soon enabled to proceed to his responsible duties 
in a carriage; and a servant attended him, carrying a 
mahogany case, containing the necessary ingredients for 
concocting various salads, according to the respective tastes 
of his employers. At a later period, he sold, by hundreds, 
similar mahogany cases, which he had caused to be made, 
and which were furnished with all matters necessary for 
the making an irreproachable salad, and with directions 
how to administer them. The Chevalier, too, was, like 
old Carre, — whose will was so cleverly made by the very 
disinterested friends who had never before spoken to him, 
— a prudent and a saving man ; and by the period which 
re-opened France to the emigres, he had realized some 
eighty thousand francs, upon which he enjoyed a dignified 
retirement in a provincial town. He invested sixty thou- 
sand francs in the Funds ; with the other twenty thousand 
he purchased a little estate in the Limousin, and, if he 
lacked a " legend" to his device, I would have helped 
him to one in " Sal adfert." 

A Knight over a salad-bowl is not a chivalrous picture ; 
but the stern necessity of the case gave it dignity, and 
the resulting profits quieted the scruples of the gentle- 
man. When Booth pounced upon Captain Bath, sitting 
in a dirty flannel gown, and warming his sister's posset 
at the fire, the noble and gaunt Captain was taken some- 
thing aback, and said, in a little confusion, " I did not 
expect. Sir, to be seen by you in this situation." Booth 
told him " he thought it impossible he could appear in a 
situation more becoming his character." The compli- 
ment was equivocal ; but the Captain said, " You do not ? 
By Gr — I am very much obliged to you for that opinion ; 
but I believe. Sir, however my weakness may prevail on 
me to descend from it, no man can be more conscious of 
his own dignity than myself." The apology of good 



THE MODEEir COOK, AKD HIS SOIEITOE. 113 

Captain Bath in Fielding's " Amelia," would have served 
the Chevalier who made salads, had he needed one. 

If a salad made the fortune of a Chevalier, it on one 
occasion made that of a female cook, with whose dexterity 
in this respect a learned English Judge was so enchanted, 
that he raised the lucky maiden to the quality of wife. If 
we discuss the traits of life at tahle, we have nothing to 
do with the secrets of household ; but an incident, illus- 
trative of the consequences of this match, may be men- 
tioned. The Judge ever after was famous for protracting 
the sittings in court beyond all precedent and patience ; 
and when weary Barristers were aghast at hearing a new 
cause called on, when the night was half spent, and fairly 
remonstrated against the judicial cruelty, the learned 
husband of his cook would remark with a sigh, " Gentle- 
men, we must be somewhere ; we cannot be better any 
where than where we now are," — the half of which asser- 
tion was stoutly denied by his hearers. 

Our aristocracy are not quite so famous for their inven- 
tion of dishes as that of France ; but their love for good 
dinners, and their knowledge of what they ought to be, 
are not inferior to the affection and science of our neigh- 
bours. When Lord Marcus Hill officiated as whipper-in 
to the Whig Government, it was part of his office to 
order the fish dinner at which Ministers regale themselves 
when sessional cares no longer molest them. The fish 
dinners of Lord Marcus are remembered with satisfaction 
smd gratitude ; for they were first-rate in their way. The 
rej)utation of the Carlton cuisine and cellar is said to be 
chiefly owing to Sir Alexander Grant, of whom a gastro- 
nomic critic says, "No living Amphitryon has given 
better dinners in his tune ; and few can boast of having 
entertained more distinguished guests." His name, as a 
patron, leminds me of that of Careme, as a practitioner. 



PEN AND INK SKETCH OE CAREME. 



It would be as easy to compile a Dictionary of Coots, 
as of Musicians or Painters; but it would not be so 
amusing or so edifying, except perhaps to those who 
tbink more of their stomach than of their mind. But it 
would then be attractive and useful to the majority of 
readers ; for the sages themselves are not unmindful of 
their stomachs, and, according to a sage, they would be 
unworthy of the name if they neglected that vital matter. 
Johnson, you know, lived in an age when things were 
called by their real names. " J'appelle wn chat rni chat" 
was the device of the plain-spoken, when not only men, 
but ladies, bold as the Thalestris of Young's pungent 
satire, loudly dared to name what nature dared to give. 
Dr. Johnson, then, says, " Some people have a foolish way 
of not minding, or pretending not to mind, what they 
eat. For my part, I mind my helly very studiously ; for 
I look upon it that he who does not mind his lelly, will 
hardly mind any thing else !" 

To the world, then, even a Biographical Dictionary of 
Cooks might be captivating ; but as my present mission 
is not to write an Encyclopsedia, but rather deferentially 
to offer my Kttle sketches to gentle, and not too critical, 
readers, with leisure half-hours at their command, so do I 
offer them a sketch of Careme, as the knowledge of the 
individual may stand for that of the class. 

He was illustrious by descent ; for one of his ancestors 



FEN AND INK SKETCH OF CAEEME. 115 

had served in the household of a Pope, who himself made 
more sauces than saints, Leo X. But Careme was one 
of so poor and so numerous a family, that when he came 
into the world, he was no more welcome than OUver 
Goldsmith was : the respective parents of the httle-cared- 
for habes did not know what future great men lay in 
naked helplessness before them. One wrote immortal 
poetry, and starved : the other made deUcious pastry, and 
rode ia a chariot ! We know how much Oliver received 
for his " Vicar ;" while Anthony Careme used to receive 
twice as much for merely writing out a recipe to make a 
"pate." Nay, Careme's untouched patties, when they 
left royal tables, were bought up at a cost whict would 
have supported Goldsmith for a month ; and a cold 
sugared entremet, at the making of which Careme had 
presided, readily fetched a higher price than the pubHc 
now pay for the " Complete Works " of the poet of Green- 
Arbour-court ! 

Careme studied imder various great masters, but he 
perfected his studies imder Boucher, chef des services of 
the Prince Talleyrand. The glory of Careme was co-eval 
with that of Napoleon : those two individuals were great 
men at the same period ; but the glory of one wUl, per- 
haps, be a Httle more enduring than that of the other. I 
will not say whose glory wiU thus last the longer ; for as 
was remarked courteously by the Oxford candidate for 
honours, who was more courteous than " crammed," and 
who was asked which were the minor Prophets, " I am 
not willing to draw invidious distinctions ! " 

In the days of the Empire, — the era of the greatness, of 
the achievements, and of the reflections of Careme, — the 
possession of him was as eagerly contested by the rich as 
that of a nymph by the satyrs. He was alternately the 
glory of Talleyrand, the boast of Lavalette, and the pride 
of the Saxon Ambassador. In their houses, too, his hand 
I 2 



116 TABLE TEAIT3. 

was as often on his pen as on the handle of his casserole ; 
and inspiration never visited his brain without the call 
being duly registered in his note-book, with reflections 
thereon highly philosophical and gastronomic. 

But Careme was capricious. It was not that he was 
unfaithful, but he was volage ; and he passed from kitchen 
to kitchen, as the bee wings from flower to flower. The 
Emperor Alexander dined with Talleyrand, and forthwith 
he seduced Careme : the seduction-money was only £100 
sterling per month, and the culinary expenses. Careme 
did not yield without much coyness. He urged his love 
for study, his desire to refine the race of which he made 
himself , the model, his love for his country j and he even 
accompanied, for a brief moment, " Lord Stewart" to 
Vienna ; but it was more in the way of policy than pastiy : 
for Count Orloff was sent after him on a mission, and 
Careme, after flying, with the full intention of being fol- 
lowed, to London and Paris, yielded to the golden solici- 
tation, and did the Emperor Alexander the honour of 
becoming the head of the imperial kitchen in whatever 
palace His Majesty presided. But the delicate suscepti- 
bility of Careme was wounded by discovering that his 
book of expenses was subjected to supervision. He flung 
up his appointment in disgust, and hastened across Europe 
to England. The jealous winds wished to detain him for 
France, and they blew him back on the coast between 
Calais and Boulogne, exactly as they did another gentle- 
man, who may not be so widely known as Careme, but 
who has been heard of in England under the name of 
William Wordsworth. CaJeme accepted the omen, repaired 
to Paris, entered the service of the Princess Bagration, and 
served the table of that capricious lady, en maitre d'hotel. 
As the guests uttered ecstatic praises of the feire, the 
Princess would smile upon ihim as he stood before her, 
and exclaim, " He is the pearl of cooks I" Is it a matter 



PEN AKD INK SKETCH OF CAEEME. 117 

of surprise that he was vam? Fancy being called a 
"pearl" by a Princess ! On reading it we think of the 
days when Lady Mary Wortley Montague put nasty 
footmen into eclogues, and deified the dirty passions of 
Mrs. Mahony's lacquey. 

The Princess, however, ate herself into a permanent 
indigestion, and Careme transferred his services to the 
English Ambassador at the Court of Vienna. There, 
every morning, seated in his magnificent kitchen, Careme 
received the visit of " Milor Stewart," who seldom lefb 
him without presents and encouragements. Indeed, these 
rained upon the immortal artist. The Emperor Alex- 
ander had consented to have Careme's projects uf culinary 
architecture dedicated to him, and, with notice of consent, 
sent him a diamond ring. When Prince Walkouski 
placed it on his finger, the cook forgot his dignity, and 
burst into tears. So did all the other cooks in the 
Austrian capital, — out of sheer jealousy. 

Careme, two years before George IV. was King, had 
been for a short period a member of the Eegent's house- 
hold. He left Vienna to be present at the Coronation.; 
but he arrived too late ; and he does not scruple to say, 
very imgenerously, that the banquet was spoiled for want 
of his presence, nor to insinuate that the colleagues with 
whom he would have been associated were imworthy of 
such association, — an insinuation at once base and base- 
less. After being the object of a species of semi-worship, 
and yielding to every new ofier, yet affecting to despise 
them aU, Careme ultimately tabernacled with Baron 
Eothschild in Paris ; and the super-human excellency of 
his dinners, is it not written in the "Book without a 
Name " of Lady Morgan ? And was not his residence 
there the object of envy, and cause of much melan- 
choly, and opportunity for much eulogy, on the part of 
George IV.? Well, Anthony Careme would have us 



118 TABLE TEAITS. 

believe as matih with respect to himself and the King ; 
but we do not believe a word of it ; for the royal table 
was never better cared for by the royal officers, whose 
duty lay in such care, than at this very period. George 
IV. is said to have tempted him by offering triple sala- 
ries ; but all in vain ; for London was too triste an abiding 
place for a man whose whole soul, out of kitchen hours, 
was given to study. And so Careme remained with his 
Jewish patron until infirmity overtook his noble nature, 
and he retired to dictate his immortal works (like Mil- 
ton, very !) to his accomplished daughter. IJes hecmx 
Testes of Careme were eagerly sought after ; but he would 
not heed what was no longer a temptation ; for he was 
realizing twenty thousand francs a year from the book- 
sellers, besides th6 interest of the money he had saved. 
Think of it, shade of MUtou! Eight hundred pounds 
sterling ,{/earZy, for writing on kitchen-stuff! Who would 
compose epics after that ? But Careme's books were 
epics after their sort, and they are highly creditable to 
the scribe who wrote them from his notes. Finally, even 
Antony Careme died, like cooks of less degree; but he 
had been the imperial despot of European kitchens, had 
been "beringed" by Monarchs, and been smiled on by 
Princesses ; he had received Lords in his kitchen, and had 
encountered ladies who gave him a great deal for a very 
Httle knowledge in return ; and finally, as Pulke GrevUle 
had inscribed on his tomb that he had been the friend of 
Sir Philip' Sidney, so the crowning joy of Careme's life 
might have been chiselled on his monument, indicating 
that he had been the friend of one whom he would 
have accounted a greater man than the knightly hero in 
question, — namely, il Maestro Mossini ! Careme's cup was 
thereat full ; and he died, perfectly convinced that para- 
dise itself would be glad at his coming. 
The celebrated Damvers was chef to the as celebrated 



PEN AND INK SKETCH OF CAEEME. 119 

financier Grimaud de la Eeyniere, in the last century. 
Grimaud died a martyr to his epicurean tastes. He was 
di n ing on a.pdte de foies gras, when he allowed his appe- 
tite to overpower his digestion, and he died of the excess. 
Barthe, the author of " Les Fausses Infidelites," also fell 
on the field of the dining-room. He was extremely short- 
sighted, and ate of every thing on the table. He did not 
consult his appetite, but his servant, asking him, " Have 
I eaten of that ?" "Have I had any of this ?" It was 
after partaking too freely, both of "this" and "that," 
that poor M. Barthe let his temper get the better of him 
in an argument, and a stroke of apoplexy sent him under 
the table. His cook deplored in him the loss of a man 
of taste. 

The cook of the Count de Tesse, Master of the Horse 
to Marie Antoinette, was famous for dressing artichokes. 
The great MoriUian surpassed him, however ; but this 
feat did not save the artist from ending his days in 
poverty. The elder Eobert was, perhaps, equal to either 
of them, in this or in any other respect connected with 
his art. The great Careme, ignorant of every thing 
else, was at least an accomplished cook. There is, as I 
have said, a tradition that his petits pate's, when they 
left the Regent's table, were sold, like the second-hand 
pies from the royal table at Versailles, for fabulous prices. 
Aa I have before intimated, it was for Leo X. that Careme 
the First invented those succulent, but orthodox, dishes, 
which pleased the pontifical palate at a season when 
gratification by gravy would have been scandalous! 
It was in the Baron Eothschild's household that Careme 
the Second invented his famous sauce piquante, the result 
of his studies under Eichaut, Asne, and the elder Eobert. 
It was in and for France that Careme published the 
learned and curious work of which he is the reputed 
author, and which he may have dictated, but which he 



120 TABLB TBAITa. 

could not have written. It is marked by pMosophical 
inquiry, instruction, and pleasant trifling ; and neither 
book nor reputed author has been excelled by any artist, 
or any. sample of kitchen literature, that has appeared 
since that period. 

Before the age of Careme, the popular kitchen in 
Prance was not very superior to our own ; and the patrons 
of twvernes and traitewrs were as coarsely fed as our 
frequenters of ordinaries. But as royalty fell, the restaii- 
rateurs rose ; and when, in 1786, the cooks of Louis XVI. 
began to augur badly of their prospects, three jfrovii 
brothers, Barthelemy, Mannielles, and Simon, opened 
their famous restawremt, " Les Trois Freres Frovengaux," 
in the Palais Eoyal, and constituted themselves the cooks 
of another King, — ^the sovereign people. The new esta- 
blishment created an era in the history of cookery, and 
men of aU shades of politics, and Generals of aU grades 
of reputation, resorted to the tables of the Brothers. 
General Bonaparte and Barras were to be seen there 
daily, before they took their cheap pleasure at the theatre 
of Mile. Montansier. During the wars of the Empire 
it was the chosen stage for the farewell banquets of bre- 
thren in arms, and at this period the receipts amounted 
to not less than £500 sterling daily. The triumvirate 
of proprietors endured longer than any such union in the 
political world; and it was not till the reign of Louis 
PHlippe that the estabHshment of " Les Trois M-eres'" 
descended, under a new proprietary, into a more unpre- 
tending position than that which it had proudly sus- 
tained during half a century. The casseroles of the 
savoury Brothers had remained unshaken, while Kings 
and constitutions had fallen around them. 

The fortune of the Provincial Brothers tempted another 
country cook from his obscurity ; and some fovir years 
after. the former had set up their tables in the Palais 



PEN AND INK SKETCH OF CAEEME. 121 

Eoyal, the immortal V&y thrust his feet into wooden 
clogs, and trudged from a village on the Meuse up to the 
capital, to give it a taste of his quality. He enchanted 
Marshal Duroc with some of his plats, and henceforth 
his fortune was secure. He married a heautiful woman, 
whose pen kept his hooks, whose face attracted customers, 
and whose heart was devoted to her hushand. A quarter 
of a century sufficed to enahle Very to die immensely 
rich, after working excessively hard, and to he magni- 
ficently entomhed in the Cimetiere Montmwrtre, under a 
marble column, which bore the engraved assurance that 
"his whole life was devoted to the useful arts." 

BeauviUiers appeared in Paris about the same time as 
"the Three Brothers ;" he made and unmade his fortune 
three or four times, and died poor, three years after Very 
died so rich. BeauviUiers was the author of " L'Art du 
Chiisinier" a hook almost as interesting as "The Art of 
Dining ;" and one cannot name either without standing 
mentally ckapeau las ! before the author. 

BeauviUiers was famous for his splendid wines and heavy 
bUl. The Veau qui tette was renowned for its sheep- 
trotters. The reputation of others was built upon kid- 
neys ; that of Very, on his entrees truffi^es. The " Three 
Provincial Brothers" enjoyed a wide esteem for the way in 
which they dressed cod with garlic. Baleine kept a 
house that was crowded by the admirers of fish ; while 
that of Robert was distinguished for the graceful atten- 
tion with which previoiisly ordered dinners were served ; 
and that of Henneveu for the splendid botidoirs in which 
shy couples, too modest to encotmter the pubHo gaze, 
could dine in private, and cease to find their modesty 
oppressive. BeauviUiers', as I have intimated, was a 
costly house ; but it was not therefore the most excel- 
lent in Paris. The exceUence of a dinner is not to be 
determined by its price. Four years ago an illustrious 



122 TABLE TEAITS. 

party dined at Philippe's, in the Eue Montorgueil, at a 
far lower cost, and after a far more exquisite fashion, 
than if they had joined the Epicureans of the Clarendon, 
at £5 per head. The party consisted of Lords Brougham 
and Dufferin, the Honourahle W. Stuart, two other 
"Britishers," and Count D'Orsay and M. Alexandre 
Dumas. The dinner on this occasion was a reeherchee 
affair. It had been as anxiously meditated upon as an 
epic poem; and it was a far pleasanter thing. "The 
most successful dishes," says the author of "The Art of 
Dining," " were the hisques, the fritures a I'ltalienne, 
and the gigot a la Sretwnne. Out of compliment to the 
world-wide fame of Lord Brougham and Alexandre 
Dumas, M. Philippe produced some Clos de Vougeot, 
which, (like his namesake in ' High Life Below Stairs,') 
he vowed, should never go down the throat of a man 
whom he did not esteem and admire ; and it was voted 
first-rate by acclamation." 

The French repasts are not always good, even when 
they are rather costly. In 1807, a party of twenty-two 
sat down to a repast at the yotmger " Eobert's," in Paris. 
The Amphitryon of the feast was M. Daolouis ; and the 
bin, exclusive of wine, amounted to thirty louis. There 
were but three or four great dishes, and two or three 
sauces. The discontent of the guests was general, and 
the giver of the feast allowed that the dinner was not 
near so good as that of the " Soeiete des Mercredis," at 
Le Qacque's, which cost only seven francs per head, ordi- 
nary wine, liqueurs, and coffee included. " Mais, a diner, 
Messieurs, a diner!" 



DINNER TRAITS. 



"Foe these and all His mercies" once began 

Dr. Johnson, whose good custom it was always to thank 
Heaven for the good things set before him ; but he almost 
as invariably found fault with the food given. And of 
this see-saw process Mrs. Johnson grew tired ; and on the 
occasion alluded to, she stopped her husband by remarking 
that it was a farce to pretend to be grateful for dishes 
which, in two minutes, he would pronounce to be as 
worthless as the worst of Jeremiah's figs ! And so there 
was no blessing. Mrs. Johnson might have supplied the 
one employed by merry old Lady Hobart at a dinner 
where she looked inquiringly, but vainly, for a grace- 
sayer. "Well," remarked the good ancient dame, "I 
think I must say as one did in the like case, ' God be 
thanked! — nobody wUl say grace!'" It is seldom that 
"grace" is properly said or sung. The last is a terribly 
melodious mockery at public dinners ; but then every 
man should silently and fervently make thanksgiving in 
his own heart. He is an ungracious knave who sits 
down to a meal without at least a sUent acknowledgment 
of gratitude to Him, without whom there could have 
been no spreading of the banquet. Such«a defaulter 
deserves to be the bound slave of dyspepsia, until he 
learn better manners. " Come, gentlemen," Beau Nash 
used to say, " eat, and welcome !" It was all his grace ; 



124 TABLE TEAITS. 

and had lie said, " Come, gentlemen, be thaniM and eat," 
it would have been more like the Christian gentleman, 
and less like the "bean." 

It was a good old rule that prescribed as a law of num- 
bers at the dinner table, that the company should not be 
more than the Muses nor less than the Graces. There 
was not always unlimited freedom of action in the matter ; 
for, by the Lex Faunia, a man was forbidden to invite 
more than three strangers (not of his family) to dinner, 
except on market days, (three times a month,) when he 
might invite five. The host was restricted to spending 
only two and a half drachmas; but he might consume 
annually one hundred and twenty Eoman pounds of meat 
for each person in his house, and eat at discretion of all 
plants and herbs that grew wild; and, indeed, little 
restriction was put upon vegetables at all. One conse- 
quence -was, that this law against luxury begot a great 
deal of it, and ruined men's stomachs in consequence. 
When the French Mayor ordered all good citizens in his 
dark district to carry lanterns at night, he forgot to say a 
word about candles, and the wits walked about with the 
lanterns unfurnished. The official rectified the mistake by 
ordering the candles ; but as he omitted to say that these 
were to be lighted, the public did not profit by the decree. 
So the Lea Faunia, when it allowed mirestrained liberty 
in thistles, forgot to limit sauces ; and vegetables generally 
were eaten with such luscious adds to which the name of 
" sauce " was given, that even the grave Cicero yielded to 
the temptation, spoiled his digestion, and got a liver 
complaint ! After all, it is said that only three Romans 
could be found who rigorously observed the Mmnia Law, 
according to their oaths. These were men more easily 
satisfied than Apiqius, who cried like a child, when, of aU 
his vast fortune, he had only about £250,000 sterling 
that he could devote to gluttony ; or than Lucullus, who 



BINITEE THAITS. 125 

never supped in the "Apollo" without its costing him 
at least ten thousand pounds. 

Notwithstanding this, the Faimia Law was an ahsurd 
impertinence. It was like the folly of Antigonus, who 
one day, seeing the poet Antagoras in the camp, cooking 
a dish of congers for his dinner, asked, " O Antagoras, dost 
thou think that Homer sang the deeds of heroes while he 
boiled fish?" "And you, O King," returned the poet, 
" thinkest thou that Agamemnon gained renown for his ex- 
ploits, by trying to find out who had boUed fish for dinner 
in his camp ?" The moral is, that it is best to leave men 
at liberty to eat as they like. Society is strong enough 
to make laws on these matters for itself; and no one now 
could commit the crime of the greedy Demylos, who, to 
secure a superb dish of fish for himself, himvaev eh taniiv, 
"spat in it;" and if my readers refer to the chapter 
illustrating "Their Majesties at Meat," they will find 
that so dirty a trick was not the reserved privilege of 
Heathenism. 

The Pythagoreans were clean eaters, and dined daily on 
bread and honey. On the smeU of the latter Democritus 
did not indeed dine, but died. He had determined to 
commit suicide, and had cut down his allowance to such 
small rations, that his death was expected daily. But the 
fun and the festival of Ceres was at hand ; and the ladies 
of his house begged him to be good enough not to spoil 
the frolic by dying at such a mirthful moment. He con- 
sented, asked for a pot of honey, and kept himself aHve 
by smelling at it, till the festival was over, when his 
family hoped that he would die whenever he found it con- 
venient. He took one s niff more at the pot, and in the 
efert his breath passed away for ever. There was 
nothing reprehensible in the conduct of those ladies. 
They did not outrage the spirit of their times. I think 
worse of Madam du Deffand, who went out to dine on tho 



1.26 TABLE TEAITS. 

day her old lover died, remarking, as she entered the 
room, how lucky it was that he had expired before six 
o'clock, as otherwise she would have been too late for 
the gay party expecting her. The brilliant society who 
played cards by the side of the bed of the dying Mile, de 
I'Espinasse, and coimted their tricks while they com- 
mented upon her "rattles," may be pronounced as being 
twice as Pagan as the ladies of the household of Demo- 
critus. 

A small portion of soup is a good preparative to excite 
the digestive powers generally for what is to foUow. 
Oysters form a far less commonly safe introduction to the 
more solid repast, their chiU, which even Chabhs cannot 
always rectify, paralysing rather than arousing the sto- 
mach. The French louilli after soup is a dangerous 
vulgarity ; for it is simply, as a distinguished professor 
has styled it, " meat, all but its nourishing juice." 

" Poultry," says M. BriUat, " is to the sick man who has 
been floating over an uncertain and uneasy sea, like the 
first odour or sight of land to the storm-beaten mariner." 
But a skilful cook can render almost any dish attractive 
to any and every quality of appetite. In this respect, 
the French and Chinese cooks are reaUy professional bre- 
thren ; much more so than a general practitioner and a 
veterinary surgeon! 

The Chinese are exceedingly skilful cooks, and exhibit 
taste and judgment in the selection of their food. With 
a few beans, and the meal of rice and com, they wiU 
make a palatable and nutritious dish. They eat horse- 
flesh, rats, mice, and young dogs. Why not ? All these 
are far cleaner feeders than pigs and lobsters. A tho- 
rough-bred horse is so nice in his appetite, that he will 
refuse the corn which has been breathed upon by another 
horse. The Tonquin birds' nests eaten in China may 
be described as young Mr. Fudge describes the Paris 



BimOlK TEAITS. 127 

grisettes : "Eather eatable things, those grisettes, by 
the bye !" So are the birds' nests, composed as they are 
of small sheU-fish and a glutinous matter, supplied by the 
plumed inhabitant of the edible houses. Bears' paws, 
roUed ia pepper and nutmeg, dried in the sun, and subse- 
quently soaked in rice-water, and boiled in the gravy of a 
kid, form a dish that would make ecstatic the grave 
Confucius himself. 

There are sonie men for whom cooks toil ia vain. The 
Duke of Wellington's cook had serious doubts as to his 
master being a great man, — he so loved simple fare. 
Suwarrow was another General who was the despair of 
cooks. His biographer says of him, that he vyas at din- 
ner when Col. Hamilton appeared before him to announce 
an Austrian victory over the French. The General had 
one huge plate before him, a sort of Irish stew, with 
every thing for sauce, from which he ate greedily, spitting 
out the bones, " as was his custom." He was so delighted 
with the message and the messenger, that he received 
Mm as Galba did Icelus, the annoimcer of Nero's death : 
with his unwiped mouth, he began kissing the latter, (as 
the half-shaven Duke of Newcastle once did the bearer of 
some welcome intelligence,) and insisted on his sitting 
down and eating from the General's plate, " without cere- 
mony." The great Coligny was, like Suwarrow, a rapid 
eater; but he was more nice in his diet. The charac- 
teristic of Coligny was, that he always used to eat his 
tooth-picks ! 

According to ancient rule, an invitation not replied to 
within four-and-twenty hours was deemed accepted ; and 
from an invitation given and accepted, nothing releases 
the contracting parties but illness, imprisonment, or death ! 
Nothing suffers so much by delay as dinner ; and if punc- 
tuality be the politeness of Kings, it should also be the 
policy both of guests and cooks. Lack of punctuality oa 



128 TABIE TEAITS. 

the part of tlie fonner has been illustrated in the cases of 
men, of whom it is said that they never saw soup and 
fish but at their own tables. The late Lord Dudley- 
Ward used to cite two brothers as startling examples of 
want of punctuality : " If you asked Eobert for Wednes- 
day, at seven, you got Charles on Thursday, at eight !" 
On the other hand, an unpunctual cook is scarcely to be 
accounted a cook; and an unpunctual master is not 
worthy of a cook whose dinner is ready to be served at 
the moment it has been ordered. The great "artiste" 
who dismissed his patron because he never sat down to 
dinner until after he had kept it waiting for an hour, was 
thoroughly acquainted with the dignity of his profession. 

At the beginning of the present century, it was the 
custom in France to serve the soup immediately before 
the company entered the dining-room. The resulting 
advantage was a simultaneous operation on the part of 
the guests. The innovation was introduced by Mile. 
Emilie Contat, the actress ; but it was tolerated only for 
a season. It was, at the same period, of rigorous neces- 
sity, when eggs were eaten at dinner, to crush the empty 
shell. To allow the latter to leave the table whole was a 
breach in good manners ; but the reason of this prandial 
law I have never been able to discover. MUe. Contat 
was almost as famous for her love of good cheer as our 
own Foote, and both were, equally often, " on hospitable 
thoughts intent." 

It would appear that in Foote's time Scotland was not 
famous for a lavish hospitality. The old actor gave some 
glorious dinners to the first people in the dty, and his 
preliminary proceedings thereto were intended to be 
highly satirical upon what he considered Scottish parsi- 
mony. Every night, before retiring to bed, he used to 
paper the curls of his wig with Scotch bank-notes, — pro- 
*nissory paper, as he said, of no value. When his cook 



BUTKEB TEAITS. 129 

waited on him at breakfast-time for orders, "Sam" 
gravely -uncurled his locks, flung the papers to the 
attendant, as purchase- money for the necessary provi- 
sions, and sent her to market in a sedan-chair. But the 
old acDor was as eccentric and ostentatious at his own 
table in London, as he was any where. "When the wines 
were placed on the board, he solemnly, and as it were 
with a shade of disgust, inquired, "If any body drank 
port?" As no one dared to answer in the affirmative at 
his table, (though the owner took it " medicinally,") he 
would direct the servant to "take away the ink !" 

If Foote disliked port, Bentley, on the other hand, 
had a contempt for claret, " which," said he, " would be 
port, if it could!" The latter individual was not Hke 
Flood, the Irishman, who used to raise his glass of claret 
aloft, with a cry, " If this be war, may we never have 
peace!" 

Comparatively speaking, claret is a very modem wine. 
Indeed, none of the Bourdeaux wines were fashionable, 
that is, consumed in large quantities out of the province, 
before the reign of Louis XV. That Sovereign is said to 
have asked Richelieu if Bourdeaux wines were " drink- 
able." "From father to son the Bourbon race," says 
Bimgener, in his incomparable work, " Trois Sermons sous 
Louis XIV." ate and drank with relish ; and it was no 
jest that among the three talents attributed by the old 
song to Henri rV., (their ancestor.) was numbered that of a 
" good drinker." " None of them, however, with tiie ex- 
ception of the Eegent, carried it to excess ; but what was 
not excess for them, would have been so for many others. 
Louis XIV., at the simimit of his glory, and Louis XVI., 
surrounded by his jailers, submitted equally to the laws 
of their imperious appetite." 

When Louis XV. asked Richelieu if Bourdeaux wines 
were drinkable, the Duke answered him in terms which I 



130 TABIE TEAITS. 

may cite, because of their correctness. " Sire," lie replied, 
" they have, what they call, 'white Sauterne,' which, though 
far from heing so good as that of Monrachet, or that of 
the little slopes in Burgundy, is still not to be despised. 
There is also a certain wine from Grave, which smacks 
of the flint, like an old carbine. It resembles Moselle 
wine, but keeps better. They have besides, in Medoc and 
Bazadois, two or three sorts of red wine, of which they 
boast a great deal. It is nectar fit for the gods, if one is 
to beheve them. Yet it is certainly not comparable to 
the wine of Upper Burgundy. Its flavour is not bad, 
however, and it has an indescribable sort of duU, satur- 
nine acid, which is not disagreeable. Besides, one can 
drink as much as one wUl. It puts people to sleep, and 
that is all!" "It puts people to sleep," said the King: 
"send for a pipe of it!" This is as just a description of 
good, healthy Bourdeaux, as was that given by Sheridan, 
I believe, of Champagne: "It does not enter," he said, 
" and steal your reason ; it simply makes a run-away 
knock at a man's head, and there's an end of it !" 

But we are indulging in too much wine at dinner. Let 
us return to the solids. Of the self-important personages 
who daily cross our path, perhaps the most important cir- 
cumstance of their life is, that they have dined every day 
of it. But it is a necessity. All men must, or should ; 
and sorrow of the saddest sort is subdued before the 
anguish of appetite. As Jules Janin says, in his " Gaietes 
CJiamp^tres," " Nemorin takes leave of Estelle, and returns 
home, overcome by hunger. Don Kyrie Eleison de Mon- 
tauban, after running, all day long, after Mademoiselle 
Blaisir de-ma-vie, goes and knocks at the door of the 
neighboiuing chateau, and asks to be invited to supper. 
Niobe herself, in the ' IKad,' as afHicted as woman earn be, 
does not forget, when night comes, to take a little refresh- 
ment." If Seneca derided such doings, it was only after 



DDnfEE *EAITS. 131 

dinner, when appetite failed him. Human nature is made 
up of sentiment and hunger; and Hood's sentimentalist 
was not imnatural with his epicurean reminiscences, when 
he said, — 

'"Twas at Christmas, I think, that I met with Miss Chase, — 
Yes, for Morris had ask'd me to dine ; 
And I thought I had never beheld such a face. 
Or so noble a turkey and chine." 

This conglomeration of feeling and feeding is mixed up 
with all the acts of most importance in our hves ; and 
though Bacchus, Cupid, Comus, and Diana he no longer 
the deities or the heati of the earth, the substantial 
worship remains ; and, as M. BrOlat Savarin asserts, 
under the most serious of all beliefs, we celebrate by 
repasts not only births, baptisms, and marriages, but 
even interments. 

The last-named writer fixes the era of dinners from the 
time when men, ceasing to Uve upon fruits, took to flesh ; 
for then the fanuly necessarily assembled to devour what 
had been slain and cooked. They know the pleasures of 
eating, which is the satisfaction of the animal appetite ; 
but the true, refined pleasures of the table date only from 
the time when Prometheus fired the soul with heavenly 
flame, from which sprang intellect, with a host of radiant 
followers in its train. A good dinner sharpens wit, while 
it softens the heart. A hungry man is as slow at a joke 
as he is at a favour. 

Nelson never knew the sensation of "fear," but when 
he was asked to dine with a Mayor. He had a horror of 
great dinners generally : and he was right ; for true intel- 
lectual enjoyment is seldom there. Horace, with his modest 
repasts and fair wine, was something of the same opinion 
as Horatio. Where the wine is indifierent, the guests 
too numerous and ill-assorted, the spirit heavy, the time 
short, and the repast too eagerly consumed, there is no 
K 2 



132 TABLE TBAITS. 

dinner, in the legitimate sense of the word. I never so 
much admired one of the most hospitable of Amphitryons, 
my friend M. Watier, as when he once prefaced one of 
his exquisite dinners by saying, with a solemn smile, 
" 3fes amis, ne nous pressons pas !" I thought of Talley- 
rand and his advice to a too willing Secretary : — " Surtout, 
pas de zele ! " The most accomplished professor of his 
time has laid down, as rules for securing to their utmost 
degree the prandial pleasures of table, that the guests do 
not exceed twelve, so that the conversation be general ; 
that they be of varied occupations, but analogous tastes ; 
that the lighting, cheerful cleanliness, and temperature of 
the dining-room be carefully considered ; that the viands 
be exquisite rather than numerous, and the wines of first 
quality, each in its degree ; the progression of the former 
from the more substantial to the more light; of the 
latter, from the more brilliant to the more perfumed. It 
is further enjoined that there be no accelerated move- 
ment ; all the guests are to consider themselves as fellow- 
travellers, bound to reach one point at the same time. 
The rules for the "after-dinner" in the drawing-room are 
those more commonly observed in this country, with the 
exception that " punch" expired when lemons ceased to be 
dear at the Peace ; but the concluding rule is worth 
noticing : — " That no one withdraw before eleven, and that 
all be asleep by midnight." 

I have spoken of the aids which the French nobility 
have given to table enjoyment. To them may be added 
the innovation introduced by Talleyrand, of offering Par- 
mesan with soup, and presenting after it 'a glass of dry 
Madeira. Talleyrand had one thing in common with St. 
Peter, — he was hungry at the hour of mid-day, the dinner 
time of the Jews ; and he would have also come under 
the anathema in Ecclesiastes which is levelled against 
the Princes who eat in the morning. 



BIirirEE TEAITS. 133 

Plato was rather shocked at those people of Italy who 
made two substantial meals daily ; and Seneca was satis- 
fied with one meal, — a dinner of bread and figs. The 
Roman Priests of Mars dined joUily and sumptuously in a 
secret room of the temple, and they would not be dis- 
turbed. They were Hke BaiUie de Suifren, who, being 
waited on in India by a deputation, just as he was sitting 
down to dine, sent out word that his religion would not 
allow of his interrupting his repast; and the delegates 
retired, profoundly struck by the strictness of his con- 
science. The original dinner hour of the mediseval ages 
was, as I have elsewhere stated, ten o'clock, the dixieme 
Mure ; hence the name. It was not till the reign of Louis 
XIV. that so late an hour as noon was fixed for the 
repast. It is clear, however, that we have not so much 
changed the hours as changed the names of om- meals. 
A French historian shows us how a Dauphia of France 
diued (at ten o'clock) in the fifteenth century : — 

" As an every-day fare, the Dauphin took for his diu- 
ner rice pottage, with leeks or cabbage, a piece of beef, 
another of salt pork, a dish of six hens or twelve pullets, 
divided in two, a piece of roast pork, cheese, and fruit." 
The supper was nearly as plentiful ; but, on particular 
days, the bill of fare was varied. It is added, that the 
Barons of the Court had always the half of the quantity 
of the Dauphin ; the EJoights, the quarter ; and the Equer- 
ries and Chaplaiits, the eighth. " Take pride from Priests, 
and nothing remains," once remarked an Encyclopsedist 
to Voltaire. "Umph!" said Voltaire; "do you, then, 
reckon gluttony for nothing ? " Gluttony, at least, does 
not seem to have characterized the Dauphm's Chaplains, 
in the fifteenth century, seeing that they took an eighth 
where a Baron had half. 

But there was a late Prince of Bourbon, who dined 
after a more singular fashion than that of the Dauphins, 



134l TABLE TEAITS. 

his ancestors. I allude to the Prince mentioned by 
Maurepas, and whose imagination was so sick, that he 
fancied himself a hare, and would not allow a hell to be 
rung, lest it should terrify him into the woods, where he 
might be shot by his own game-keepers, and afterwards 
served up at 'his own table. At another time, he had a 
fancy that he would look well dished up ; and, dreaming 
himself a cauliflower, he stuck his feet in the mould of his 
kitchen-garden, and called upon his people to come and 
water him ! At length, he pronounced himself dead, and 
refused to dine at all, as an insult to his spiritual entity. 
He would have died, had he not been visited by two 
friends,' who introduced themselves as his late father, 
and the deceased Marechal de Luxembourg ; and who 
solemnly invited him to descend with them to the shades, 
and dine with the ghost of Marechal Turenne. The 
melancholy Prince accepted with alacrity, and went down 
with them to a cellar already prepared for the banquet of 
the departed ; and he not only made a hearty meal, but, 
as long as his fancy made of himself a ghost, he insisted 
every day on dining with congenial shadows in the coal- 
cellar! In spite of this monomaniacal fantasy, he was 
excessively shrewd in aU matters of business, especially 
where his own interests were concerned. 

Thus much — ^briefly and imperfectly, I fear — for Dinner 
Traits. In the next chapter we will put something on 
them. And as we have been drawing examples from 
foUy, let us end this section by adding a maxim full of 
wisdom. " Be not made a beggar," says Hcclesiasticus, 
" by banqueting upon borrowing, when thou hast nothing in 
thy purse." If this maxim were generally adopted, there 
might be fewer dinners given, but there would be more 
dinners paid for. But some people are like the ancient 
Belgians, who borrowed, and, indeed, lent, upon promises 
of ■ repayment in the world to come ! Many a dinner- 



DIimEE TEAITS. 135 

giver belongs to the class of the "borrowing Belgians of 
antiquity. After all, there was, perhaps, more intended 
honesty in the compact than we can distinguish. A com- 
pact far less honest was made some years ago by an Irish 
Baronet, who had given so many dinners for which he 
had not paid, that he was compelled to pledge his plate 
in order to raise means to satisfy the most pressing of 
his creditors. Some time subsequently, he induced the 
pawnbroker to lend him the plate for one evening, on hire ; 
the pawnbroker's men were to wait at the dinner in 
livery, and convey the silver back as soon as the repast 
was concluded. The dinner was given and enjoyed, and 
the company made the attendants drunk, helped the 
Baronet to pack up his forks, spoons, ladles, and epergnes, 
with which he set off for Paris, where some of them 
afterwards visited him at the little dinners he used to 
give in the Rue de. Bourbon, and laughed over the matter 
as a very capital jest. 

I win only add here the record of the fact, that sitting 
at table to drink, after dinner was over, was introduced 
by Margaret Atheling, the Saxon Queen of Scotland. 
She was shocked to see the Scottish gentlemen rise from 
table before grace could be said by her Chaplain, Turgot ; 
and she offered a cup of choice wine to all who would 
remain. Thence the fashion of hard drinking following 
the "thanksgiving." 



THE MATERIALS FOR DINING. 



"Ail fIjESH is GEASS;" and grass has been the 
foundation of all feasts, in a double sense. It was not 
only a part of the early repast, in some shape or another, 
by derivation rather than, immediately, but it formed the 
most ancient seats occupied by primitive and pastoral 
guests in very remote times. Dr. Johnson approved of 
asparagus being called " grass." Romulus thought grass 
a sacred emblem, or he would not have suddenly eon- 
verted his twelve lay foster-brothers into a priesthood 
to look after it. When Baber had defeated the Afghans 
of Kohat, they approached him in despair, and, accord- 
ing to their custom when in extremities, with grass 
between their teeth, to signify, as the imperial autobio- 
grapher says, " We are your oxen." Baber treated them 
worse than oxen ; for the amiable savage says, " All that 
were taken alive were beheaded by my order, and at the 
next halting-place we erected a minaret of their skulls." 
And the conqueror dined pleasantly in front of the monu- 
ment. 

My friend, Captain Lionel da Costa, tells me, that on 
accompanying (en amateur) a French force on a razzia 
against an Arab tribe in Algeria, he witnessed the employ- 
ment of grass as an emblem of defiance rather than of 
submission. The French officers had assembled the Arab 
Chiefs, and, telling them that the foreigners had fiUed up 
their wells, carried off their cattle, and burned their 
dwellings, exhorted them to submission, asking them 



THE MATEEIALS TOE DDTING. 137 

what they would do further against a country so powerful 
as France? The Arabs, as if impelled simultaneously, 
stooped to the earth, plucked some scant blades of grass 
there growing, and began chewing the same in angry 
silence : this was' aU their reply, and by it they intimated 
that they would eat what the earth gave, like the beasts 
that are upon it, rather than surrender. Their enemies 
could not refrain from admiring and feeding such adver- 
saries ; their mute eloquence was worth more than any 
thing uttered to tyrants by Power's statue of the Greek 
Slave, which, according to Mrs. Elizabeth Browning, 
" thunders white silenee," — a silence that must have been 
akin to that in the French Tragedy, " silence qui se Jit 
entendre!" 

Soup, as I have remarked, is not a bad preparation for 
the stomach. Some one calls it the " preface of a dinner," 
adding, however, that a good work needs no preface. 
Soup is of very ancient date. Eebecea and Jacob ate of 
a pottage, in which the meat was cut into small bits 
iefore the muscular fibres had cooled and become har- 
dened, and stewed in nulk, thickened with meal and herbs. 
The famous French gastronomist, the Marquis de Cussy, 
was orthodox in his gastronomy, fed well, but heeded the 
church. His favourite soup in Lent was an onion soup, 
composed of a score of small bulbs, weU cleaned, sliced, 
and put into a stew-pan, with a lump of fresh butter and 
a little sugar. They were turned over the fire till they 
became of a fine golden colour, when they were moistened 
with broth, and the necessary quantity of bread added. 
Before the soup was served, its excellence was perfected 
by the addition of two small glasses of very old Cognac 
brandy. This Lent fare was, however, only the preface 
to salmon and asparagus, with which the orthodox epicure 
mortified his appetite. 

The famous Careme did with the soups he discovered, 



138 TABLE TEAITS. 

what tho most famous navigators have done with the 
new territories on. which they were the first to land; 
namely, give them the names of the most illustrious con- 
temporaries then existing. Eoyalty was honoured iu the 
" Fotage Conde ;" music in that of "Boieldieu;" and 
the medical faculty, which Careme generally despised, 
in the " S(ywpes a la Bromsais, Soques, and Segalas ; " 
poetry was illustrated in the " Lamartme ; " history in the 
" Biimesnil;" and philosophy in the " Potage Buffbn." 
The last name he thus hestowed, was to his last culinary 
inspiration just before death, when he conferred on a 
vegetable soup the name of " Victor Hugo." It was after 
reading the " Messeniennes" that he created the " Mate- 
lotte a la Delavigne ; " and he paid the doctor who had 
cured him of an indigestion, by inventing the dish of fish 
which he called " Ferche a la Oaubert." And with this 
record we will put the fish on our own table. 

" It is only the Arabs of the desert that affect to despise 
fish." This eastern proverb is tantamount to the more 
homely one of, " The grapes are sour ;" for the Arabs only 
affect to despise that which they cannot readily obtain. 
The Jews were prohibited from eating fishes without 
scales or fins. The Egyptian Priests cared not for fish 
of any sort, but they generally allowed the people to eat 
■wiih what appetite they chose, of what the priesthood 
decHned to taste. It is said in the legend, that St. Kevin 
lived by the fish he caught in the Lake of Glendaloch ; 
and that when the celebrated beauty tempted him, she 
did it by flattery and suggestion : — 

" ' Ton 're a raxe hand at fisHng,' says Kate, 

' It 's yourself, deai, that knows how to hook them ; 
But, when you have caught them, agrah 1 

Don't you want a young woman to cook them ?'" 

G-atis, Queen of Spain, was something like Mr. Lover's 
"Kate ;" for, if her subjects caught fish well, she it was 



THE MATEEIAIiS TOB DINING. 139 

wlio first taught them how to cook what they caught, 
and how to enjoy what they cooked. 

When philosopljers were occupied with inquiries touch- 
ing the soul of an oyster, fish was probably not a popular 
diet. It certainly was not so in Greece, until a com- 
paratively late period. Then fish became fashionable : the 
legislature secured their freshness by decreeing that no 
seller should sit down until he had sold his entire stock ; 
sages discussed their quaUties, and tragic writers intro- 
duced heroes holding dialogues on the quaUties of fish- 
sauce. There was a Greek society at that day " against 
cruelty to fish," by devouring what also, allegedly, made 
the devourer ferocious and inhuman ; but general society 
did not allow its appetite to be influenced thereby. 

The Romans were enthusiastic for the mullet. It was 
for them the fish, par excellence. It was sometimes served 
up sis pounds iu weight, and such a fish was worth £60 
sterling. It was cooked on the table, for the benefit and 
pleasure of the guests. In a glass vessel filled with brine 
made from water, the blood of the mackerel, and salt, 
the live mullet, stripped of its scales, was enclosed ; and 
as its fine pink colour passed through its dying grada- 
tions, until paleness and death ensued, the convives looked 
on admiringly, and lauded the spectacle. 

The turbot was next in estimation ; but as, occasionally, 
offending slaves were flung into the turbot preserves for 
the fish to feed upon, some gastronomists have affected to 
be horror-stricken at the idea of eating a turbot a la 
Momaine ; quite forgetting that so many of our sea-fish, 
in their own domain, feed largely on the hiunan bodies 
which accident, or what men call by that name, casts 
into the deep. Our own early ancestors in Britain were 
said to have entirely abstained fi-om fish. In later days, 
however, here as in France, the finny tribes were pro- 
tected by royal decrees ; and certain fish were named — ^the 



140 TABLE TEAITS. 

sturgeon was one — as to be caught for the royal table 
alone. In the same days porpoises and seals were devoured 
by the commonalty, and the latter knew not the art of 
the cooks of Louis XIV., who could so dress fish as to 
give it the taste of any flesh they pleased to fix on as an 
object of imitation. By this means, the King in Lent, 
while he obeyed the church, enjoyed the gratification of 
feeling as though he were cheating Heaven, — and with 
impunity, too ! 

The most curious fish of which I have ever read, were 
those of a lake attached to a Burgundian convent, and 
which were always of the same number as the monks. 
If one of these sickened and died, the same circumstance 
occurred with the fish ; and if a new brother appeared in 
the refectory, there was also sure to be found a new 
denizen in the pond. These fish were, of course, piously 
inclined ; but they did not come up, in that respect, to the 
parrot of Cardinal Ascanius, which could not only repeat 
the Creed, but could maintain a thesis ! I believe that the 
Burgundian fish were principally perch; and they are 
an eccentric fish. Arthur Young says, that " about the 
year 1760, perch first appeared in all the lakes of Ireland 
and in the Shannon at the same time." 

As a singularity with respect to the cooking of fish, I 
may mention that observed by the Eomans with the 
sepia, or " cuttle-fish." They invariably took out the eyes 
before boiling it. It is in allusion to this custom that 
Trachalion says, in the Budens,-^ 

"Age nunc jam. 
Jute oculos elidere, itidem ut sepiisfaeiunt eogui." 

I think I have read somewhere, that the cuttle-fish 
was esteemed a fitting sacrifice to the gods ; but I do not 
know if pious people had their pet sepiw, as they had 
their pet lambs and pigs, Q' Sunt domi agni et porci 



THE MATEETAIS FOE Drama. 141 

meres" says the orthodox hushand in the Budens,) 
reared for the purpose of being offered at the altars. 

The sturgeon is at this day, in China, reserved for the 
imperial table. At those of Greece it was introduced by 
sound of trumpet, and it was almost as esteemed a subject 
at those of Eome, until Vespasian condescended not to 
eare for it, and to bring other fish into fashion. " It is 
caviare to the general," is a proverb which Shakspeare 
has popularized. The caviare is the roe of the sturgeon 
dried; that of the larger sturgeon, which produces hundred- 
weights of eggs, and tons of oU, is caviare for the general, 
and is not worth eating. The delicate white caviare is the 
produce of the smaller sturgeon, and it is highly esteemed 
by gastronomists. It forms a great portion of the food 
taken by the Greeks during their long Lent. 

We have heard of an American who tried to tame an 
oyster. The Komans were more successful with their 
sea-eels, which would come when called, and feed from 
the hands of men, who occasionally fattened them upon 
live slaves. Vedius PoUio would have grown sick and 
disgusted, if he had been asked to eat one of these slaves ; 
but he was particularly fond of the fish that had been fed 
upon such fare ; and so he only ate his slaves at second- 
hand ; for their flesh was declared by him to have greatly 
improved the taste of the eel. Epicures with less fero- 
cious appetites preferred the fish that had been fattened 
upon veal steeped in blood. ViteUius put the fish alto- 
gether out of fashion by only eating the roes, which were 
procured for him kt a great expense ; and Heliogabalus 
caused even the roes to cease to be modish, by forcing 
them upon the Mediterranean peasants, who got as sick 
of their repasts as English servants in the Scottish High- 
lands grow weary of the everlasting sameness of their 
dinners consisting of venison and salmon. The Egyp- 
tians placed the seareel in their Pantheon ; and even the 



142 TABLE XBAIXS. 

unortliodox cannot deny that he was as gooa a deity as 
any to be found there ; and we are told that among the 
Sybarites, the fishers and vendors of the eel were exempt 
from taxation ! The origin of these honours is, however, 
unknown. Nearly as great were offered, even in Eome, to 
the fish known as the sea-wolf, which abounded in the most 
filthy parts of the Tiber, and which some epicures distin- 
guished by the appellation of " child of the gods." The 
Eomans paid high prices for it, as they did for the regi- 
cide lamprey, — a fish which killed our first Henry, and 
which Italian cooks used to kiU, as the murderers did 
maudHn Clarence, in his Malmsey butt, by plunging the 
victim, decked for the sacrifice with a nutmeg in his 
mouth, and a clove in either gUl, into a pan of Candian 
wine ; after which, covered with almonds, bread crumbs, 
and spices, he was exposed to a slow fire, and then to the 
jaws that impatiently awaited him. It was once as 
popular as the tunny, — a fish, by the way, which once so 
enriched the city of Sinope, that the coin minted there 
bore the figure of the fish. Where they are found at all, 
it is generally in shoals ; but these are never to the 
extent which Pliny speaks of, when he says that they so 
obstructed the fleet of Alexander, that the pilots of the 
Macedonian madman were compelled to shape a different 
course ; and though they are to be found in something 
like abundance in the Mediterranean, yet tourists who 
resort thither must not expect to see realized the gay 
picture of Vernet. It does not appear, however, that the 
tunny was ever in such favour at ancient tables as the 
eel, which was greedily eaten where it was not devoutly 
worshipped, or where medical ordinances had not been 
directed against it, as unfavourable to the weak of di- 
gestion, and perilous to those affected by pulmonary 
diseases. The pike, emblem of fecmidity and example of 
Lengthened years, was still less popular. The carp, which 



THE MATEEIALS TOE DINING, 143 

even surpasses the pite In fecundity, and is a long liver 
to boot, was, on tte other hand, an especial favourite, but 
it was served up with sauces that would certainly not 
tempt a modem gastronomist to eat a fish which is 
seldom worth eating, and which is almost defiant of diges- 
tion. Carp, reduced to a pulp, and served up with sows' 
paps, and yolk of egg, must have been as nasty as gold 
fish with carrots and myrtle leaves, — ^the delight of the 
Eoman loungers at their " Blackwall," on the Tiber. So 
the Greeks spoiled good cod by eating it with grated 
cheese and vinegar ; ^d the Romans made perch more 
indigestible than it was before, by swallowing Damascus 
plums with it. But the ancients had strangely accom- 
modating stomachs : a sauce of honey could induce them 
to eat cuttle-fish. GarHe and cheese made the sword- 
fish delicacies ; the rhombus floated into Greek stomachs 
on a sauce of wine and brine ; the ladies of Eome ate 
onions with the muzU, and pine-nuts with the pilchard. 
The more refined Greeks, on the other hand, would not 
touch the pilchard ; and the same diiference of taste existed 
with regard to the loach ; while, again, both Eome and 
Greece imited in admiration of the gudgeon. To neither 
of these countries was the herring known. The Scots 
found the fish, and the Dutch bought, pickled, and sold, 
or ate them ; and it is said that Charles V., in 1536, ate a 
herring upon the tomb of Beuckels, the first Salter of that 
fish, and therewith friend of the poor, and enricber of the 
State. The profit realized by Holland exceeded two mil- 
lions and a half sterling, annually. But neither Greece 
nor Eome felt the want of the herring while there was an 
abundant supply of the favourite oyster. This shell-fish 
was easily procured by the Greeks from Pelorus, Abydos, 
and Polarea ; by the Eomans, from Brindes, the Lake of 
Lucrinus, Armorica, and even from Britain. The Eomans 
were hardly worthy of the delicacy, seeing that they 



144 TABLE TEAITS. 

abused it by mineing oysters, muscles, and sea hedge- 
hogs together, stewed the whole with pine-almonds and 
hot condiments, and devoured the mixture scalding! 
Others, however, ate them raw, when they were opened 
at table by a slave ; and the larger the fish, the more the 
Eoman epicures liked them. They were not only eaten 
before a feast to stimulate the appetite, but during a 
banquet, when the appetite began to be palled. They 
excited to fresh exertion, and it was a cleaner custom 
(perhaps) than that imperial one of exoiierating the 
stomach by tickling the throat wi^h a peacock's feather. 
The Bourdeaux oyster was the favourite fish of most of the 
Emperors, It is very inferior to the Whitstahle oyster, 
however, and also to that which goes hy the name of 
" Colchester," and which is not caught there. The pas- 
sion for the savoury fish is well Ulustrated in the epitaph 
which says, — , 

" Tom 

lies buried in these cloisters ; 
If, at the last trump, , 
He does not quickly jump. 

Only cry ' Oysters I ' " 

If the Emperors afiected oysters, the gods themselves 
patronized mussels, a dish of which was contributed by 
Jupiter to the wedding banquet of Hebe. The mytholo- 
gical sanction has, however, failed to render the mussel 
popular^ and for good reasons. It is often extremely 
poisonous, and in certain conditions of the stomach they 
who eat muscles may reckon upon being attacked by 
violent cutaneous disorders, painfully participated in by 
the oppressed intestines. 

It was otherwise with the tortoise, the blood of which 
was reckoned good in cases of ophthalmia, and the flesh of 
which was eagerly devoured. ' The natural history of the 
products of those early times seems to have been written 



THE MATEEiAis FOE miTiira. 145 

by pLilosophers with very poetical imaginations. We 
read of shells of tortoises being converted into roofs of 
cottages, as we are told by PHny of crawfish measuring 
four cubits in length. It was then that men ate lobsters 
au naturel, and crabs converted into sausages. But this 
latter dish was a more dainty one than that afforded by 
the frog, — ^the abhorrence of early gastronomists, but the 
dehght of many French and German epicures, who first 
find delight in angling for these unclean beasts with a 
bait of yellow soap, and then swallowing, with delight 
more intense, the hind-quarters of the animal they have 
caught. But if the moderns swallow frogs, the ancients 
ate the polypus, — and which were the nastiest even I could 
not tell ! The Romans were especially fond of fish ; and 
some " fast" epicures among them not only had preserve 
ponds of fish on the roofs of their houses, but Uttle rivu- 
lets stocked therewith around the dinner-table, whence 
the guests selected their fish, and delivered them to be 
cooked. 

It was once thought that the prawn, or shrimp, was 
somehow necessary to the production of soles, acting, 
it was beheved, as a sort of nurse, or foster-parent, to the 
spawn. But this I suppose to be about as true as that 
soles always swim in pairs, with three-pennyworth of 
shrimps behind them, ready for sauce. 

I remember two anecdotes connected with fish at table, 
which a guest may retail when he is next at that period 
of the repast. Talleyrand was dining, in the year 1805, 
with the Minister of Finance, who did the honours of his 
house in the very best style. A very fine carp was on 
the table opposite to Talleyrand, but the fish was already 
cold. "That is a magnificent carp," said the financier: 
" how do you like it ? It came from my estate of Vir-sur- 
Aisne." " Did it ?" said Talleyrand, " but why did you 
not have it cooked Tiere ?" This reply was not as fatal to 

ii 



146 TABLE TBAITS. 

the utterer of it, as a remark once made by Poodle Byng 
at Bel voir Castle. "Ah, ah!" he exclaimed, as he saw 
the fish uncovered at the Duke of Rutland's board, " my 
old friend Haddock ! I have not seen a haddock, at a 
gentleman's table, since I was a boy." The implication 
shut the gates of Belvoir on the unlucky Poodle from, 
that day forward. He was never again the Duke's 
guest. 

Some French writers have asserted, after tracing the 
" vestiges of creation" according to a fashion of their own, 
that man originally sprang from the ocean ; and that his 
present condition is one of development, the consequence of 
life ashore, and exposure to atmospheric air ! According 
to this theory, I suppose, Venus Anadyomene was the Eve 
of our fishy generation, and mermaids show the transition 
state, when our ancestors were of both land and sea, and 
yet properly of neither ! , 

As judges of fish, the moderns are inferior to the 
ancients. A Greek or Eoman epicure could, at first 
sight, tell in what waters the fish before him had been 
caught. This sort of wisdom is, however, not uncommon 
to oyster-eaters, who swallow so greedily what contains 
little nourishment, but what may be easily digested. It 
was not unusual, some years ago, in France, for a gour- 
mand to prepare for dinner by swallowing a gross, or a 
dozen dozen, of oysters ! Twelve of them, including the 
liquor, wiU weigh four ounces ; and the gross, four pounds 
(Troy) !— a pretty amount of ballast whereupon to take in 
freight. The skin of such a feeder had need be in a good 
condition ; but so, indeed, ought that of every one who 
cares for his digestion. When we remember that a person 
in health, who takes eight pounds of aliment during 
twenty-four hours of his wakefulness, discharges five of 
the eight pounds solely through the pores by perspiration, 
it will at once be seen tl)at to hold the skin clean, and 



THE MATEEIAXS FOB DINING. 147 

keep tjie pores unobstructed, is of first-rate necessity for 
the sake of digestion and comfort. 

There are sea-board populations who live almost exclu- 
sively on fish. They feed their domestic animals upon it, 
and with it manure their ground ; so that the pork they 
may occasionally indulge in, acquires a fish-like flavour, 
and their bread is but a consequence of the plentiful rot- 
tenness of sprats. Such populations are usually lean and 
sallow, but they are strong-muscled and active-Umbed ; 
and altogether they afibrd good testimony in favour of 
the efficacy of a fish diet, when no better is to be had. 
As a diet, fi^h is only so far stimulating that it aug- 
ments the lymph rather than renews the blood. It is a 
puzzle to many gastronomic philosophers that fish was 
so constant a diet of the monkish orders. Its heating 
quality hardly suited men who were required to be ever 
coolly contemplative. But this matter I leave to the 
philosophers to determine. One of them, — that is, a gas- 
tronomic philosopher, — M. Payot, says, that " if you would 
have a dinner composed altogether of fish, the meal 
should consist of "a turbot, a large salmon done in a 
court-bouillon, flanked with aromatic herbs, and coverd 
with a fresh winding-sheet of delicate seasoning. In such 
dinners, sea-fish have, undoubtedly, the fii:st rank ; and 
among them the Cherbourg lobster, the shrimp of Hon- 
fleur, the cray-fish of the Seine, and the smelts of that 
river's mouth, and numerous fresh-water fish mingle 
agreeably. Salmon and turbot should be done briskly; 
drink afterwards a glass of those old wines which give a 
digestive action to the stomach." With M. Fayot, 
the turbot is " the king of fish, especially in Lent, as it is 
then of most majestic size. You may serve up salmon 
with as much ornament as you will-, but a turbot asks for 
nothing but aristocratic simplicity. On the day after he 
makes his first appearance, it is quite another affair. It 
1 2 



148 TABLE TEAITS. 

may be then disguised ; and the best maimer of effecting 
this is, to dress him a la Bechamel, — a preparation thus 
called from the Marquis de Bechamel, who, in the reign 
of Louis XIV., for ever immortalized himself by this one 
ragout." 

The Ahncmach des Gourmands speaks of a Lorraine carp, 
which was fed on bread and wine, and which was twice 
sent to the Paris market, in the care of a courier who 
travelled by the mail. It returned to its native waters in 
default of a purchaser willing to give thirty louis-d'ors 
for the monstrous delicacy. This was when fish dinners 
were much ia vogue in Paris. There was then a tahle- 
d'hdte for a fish repast only, held at a house profanely called, 
" The Name of Jesus." This house stood in the " Cloitre 
St. Jacques de I'Hopital," and every Wednesday and 
Friday it was crowded by the Clergy, who dined mag- 
nificently on maigre fare, for about 2s. a head. It is of 
one of these that Fayot recounts a pleasant story, the 
locality, however, of which was the Rocher de Cancale. 
A certain Abbe dined there so copiously off salmon, that a 
fit of indigestion was the consequence. Some days after- 
wards, T;h€n celebrating Mass, the savoury memories of 
the fish flocked into his mind; and he was heard to 
murmur, not the med cul'pd of the " Gon/iteor," but, as 
he quietly beat his breast, " Ah ! that capital salmon ! 
that capital salmon ! " 

Of the more nutritive species of fish, turbot, cod, 
whitmg, haddock, flounder, and sole, are the least heat- 
ing. Of these, the cod is the least easy of digestion,, 
though turbot is quite as difficult of digestion when 
much lobster sauce is taken with it. The crimping of 
cod facihtates the digesting of the fish. Sole and whiting 
are easily digested. Salmon is nutritive, but it is oUy, 
heating, and not very digestible; far less so than salmon 
trout. The favourite parts of most of these fish 



THE MATEEIALS TOB BIITIITa. 149 

are the least fit for weak stomachs, and the most trying 
to strong ones. Salmon, caught after the spawning season 
has commenced, is almost poisonous ; and eels are objec- 
tionable at all seasons, from their excessive oiUness. Shell- 
fish generally may be put down as "indigestible," parti- 
cularly the under-boiled lobsters of the London market. 
The mussel is especially so ; and these are not rendered 
innocuous by the removal of the beard, which is not 
more hurtful than any other part. SheU-fish, and, indeed, 
fish generally, affects the skin, by sympathy with the 
stomach. The eflPect is, sometimes, as if a poison had been 
generated : at others it very sensibly affects the odour of 
the cutaneous secretions. This effect was thoroughly 
imderstood when the Levitical Priests, like those of Egypt, 
were prohibited from eating, fish. The prohibition was 
based upon a jijst principle. 

The Egyptian and Levitical Priests were more obedient to 
such prohibitions than St. Patrick, who once, overcome by 
hunger, helped himself to pork chops on a fast-day. An 
angel met him with the forbidden cutlets in his hand ; but 
the saint popped then\ into a pail of water, pattered an 
Ave-Mary over them, and our indulgent Lady heeded the 
appeal by turning them into a couple of respectable and 
orthodox-looking trout. The angel looked perplexed, and 
went away, with his index finger on the side of his nose. 
And see what came of it ! In Ireland, meat dipped into 
water, and christened by the name of "St. Patrick's 
Fish," is commonly eaten there even on fast-days, and 
to the great regret of all those who eat greedily enough 
to acquire an indigestion. 

St. Patrick's fish ought to have fetched as high a price 
as the four cod which formed the sole supply in BiUings- 
gate-market on one of the great frost-days in Januarj', 
1809 ; they were sold to one dealer for fourteen guineas. 
During the same month, salmon was sold at a guinea a 



150 TABLE TEAITS. 

pound ! When fish is so high-priced, it is time to have 
done with it. So, enlevez ! and let us to the succeeding 
courses of viands more suhstantial. While the fish is 
being removed, I wiU merely relate that it was the prac- 
tice of Sir Joshua Reynolds, who gave plentiful dinners 
to admirable men, in his house in Leicester-square, always 
to choose his own fish, of which he was a capital judge. 
He was, on those occasions, ever the first visitor to 
the fish-shop stUL existing, in its primitivS simplicity, in 
Coventry-street. He selected the best ; and later in the 
day, his niece, Miss Palmer, used to call, dispute the 
price, and pay for the fish. Sir Joshua's table is said to 
have been too crowded, both as to guests and dishes, 
while there was scant attendance, and a difficulty of 
getting served; but the hilarity compensated for all. 
The guests enjoyed themselves with a vulgar delight that 
would have very much rufiied the dignity of such a pom- 
pous president at repasts as the bewigged, bepatched, and 
bepowdered Sir Peter Lely. 

With the introduction of animal food is dated the 
era of professional cooks ; and that era itself is set down 
by M. Soyer, a competent authority, as having com- 
menced in the year of the world 1656. Other authorities 
give 2412 as the proper date, when Prometheus, or Fore- 
thought, as his name implies, taught men the use of fire, 
and cooked an ox. But I think that both dates and 
mythology are somewhat loose here, and that the period 
is easier of conjecture than of determination. Ceres 
killed the pig that devoured her corn, Bacchus the goat 
that nibbled at the tendrils of the vine, and Jupiter the 
ox that swallowed his sacred cakes ; and the animals 
slain by deities were roasted and eaten by men. Another 
tradition is, that roast meat originally smoked only on 
the altars of the gods, and that the Priests lived on the 
pretended sacrifices, until some lean and greedy heretic, 



THE MATEEIALS FOE DININa. 151 

having wickedly pilfered the sacred viands, so improved 
under the diet, that his example was promptly followed, 
and men took to animal food, in spite of the thunder of 
gods and the anathemas of Priests. I need not say where 
there is hetter authority than all these pretty tales for 
man's suhduing to his use and service the beasts of the 
earth, the birds of the air, and the fishes of the sea. 

A rearer of cattle was, in the olden time, an aristocrat 
in his way. The gods looked after his herds, and the 
law gave its protection where Olympian divinity so often 
proved worthless. Bubona sat the watchful goddess of 
their fattening ; and it was she who blessed the cabbages 
steeped in vinegar, the straw and wheat-bran, and the 
bruised barley, wherewith the oxen were prepared for the 
cattle-show or the market. In the latter, the office of 
the Eoman Prefect fixed the selling price : the breeder 
could neither ask more nor take less than according to 
the official tariff. There was a singular custom at one 
time ia Eome, which proves, however, that the seller had 
a voice in declaring the value of his stock. Purchaser 
and vendor simultaneously closed, and then suddenly 
opened, one of their hands, or some of the fingers. If 
the number of fingers on both sides was even, the vendor 
obtained the price which he had previously asked for his 
meat ; but if the number was uneven, the buyer received 
the viands for the sum he had just before tendered. This 
was as singular a custom as, and a more honest one 
than, that adopted by the first Dutch settlers in America. 
In their trading with the Indians a Dutchman's fist was 
established as the standard of weight, with this under- 
standing, that when a Dutchman was sellhig to an Indian 
his fist weighed a pound, but that it should only be half 
that weight when the Hollander was a purchaser! 

The Koman markets were well supplied, and the pig seems 
to have been the national favourite. The Emperors used 



152 TABLE TEAIT3. 

to distribute thousands of pounds of pork to the poor, 
as on festive occasions we, less magnificently, divide 
among the needy our time-honoured English roast beef. 
There was even an edict against making sausages of any 
thing hut pork, — an edict which is much needed in some 
of our suburbs, where "pork sausages" are made of any 
thing but pig ; — and, after all, they could not be made of 
a dirtier animal. But the grave Romans strangely reve- 
renced this unclean beast. PUny places him only one 
degree below humanity; and certainly the porcine and 
human stomachs are very much alike ! In the East, our 
ancient friend was a Pariah, and his position among the 
unclean was fixed by a Jewish doctor, who said, that if 
ten measures of leprosy were flung into the world, nine 
of them would naturally fall to the execrated pig. There 
is no doubt that the eating of the flesh of the pig in hot 
climates would bring on diseases in the human system 
akin to leprosy ; and this fact may have tended to estabKsh 
the unpopularity of the animal throughout the East, and 
to account also for the prohibition. Galen, however, pre- 
scribed it as good food for people who worked hard ; and 
there are modem practitioners who maintain that it is 
the most easily digested of all meats. It is certainly 
more easy of digestion than that respectable impostor, 
the boiled chicken, which used so cruelly to test, and 
defy, the feeble powers of invalids. 

Pigs were fatted, both in Greece and Rome, until they 
had attained nearly the bulk of the elephant. These 
fetched prices of the most " fancy" description ; and they 
were served up whole, with an entire Noah's-ark collec- 
tion of smaller animals inside, by way of stufiBng. A 
clever cook could so dress this meat as to make it have 
the flavour of any other viand; and the first culinary 
artistes of the day prided themselves on the preparation 
of a ragout composed of young pigs stifled before they 



THE MATEEIALS EOE DINnTO. 153 

were littered. The motlier would have had no difficulty 
in performing this feat herself for her own young, if sows 
generally had been as huge as the one mentioned by 
Varro, and which he says was so fat as to be incapable of 
movement, and to be unconscious that a mouse, with a 
young family, had settled in the folds of her fat, where 
they lived like mites in cheese. 

In another page, I have spoken of what were called " the 
sacred pigs and lambs." Menaechmus, in Plautus, asks 
the price of the "porci sacres, sinceri." " Sacres" was 
applied to all animals intended for immolation. The 
sinceri porci were the white and spotless pigs offered to 
the Lares on behalf of the insane. The merchant who 
gives instruction, in the Pseudolus, to his servant, as to 
the splendid repast that is to be served up on his birthday, 
is very particular on the subject of pork ; and he shows 
us what parts formed a dish that might tempt princes, — 
the ham, and the head : " Pernam, callum, glandium, 
sumen,facito in agud jaceant" 

If men were not, anciently, fonder of beef than of pork, 
the reason, perhaps, was, that the ox was religiously 
reverenced, because of his use to man, whereas the pig 
was really of no value at all but for consumption. The 
excellence of the ox as food was, nevertheless, very early 
ascertained, and acted on by some primitive people. 
The Jews were permitted to eat of that of which Abra- 
ham had offered a portion to angels ; and calf and ox 
were ahke an enjoined food. The Greeks, too, devoured 
both with much complacency, as they also did tripe, 
which was deemed a dainty fit for heroes. Indeed, for 
tripe there was an ancient and long-standing propensity 
among the early nations. It formed the chief dish at 
the banquets of men who met to celebrate the victory of 
mortals and gods over the sacrilegious Titans. 

The lamb and the kid have smoked upon divine altars 



154 TABLE TEAITS. 

and humble tables. The Greeks were especially fond of 
both, and the Romans were like them in this respect ; 
but the Egyptians religiously abstained from the kid; 
and more than one Eastern nation held, as of faith, that 
the lamb was more fitting as an offering to the gods than 
as a dish for men. On the other hand, there were people 
who preferred the flesh of the ass, which was not an 
uncommon dish at Eoman tables, where dogs, too, were 
served as a dainty; for Hippocrates had recommended 
them as a refined food; and the Greeks swallowed the 
diet thus authoritatively described. The Romans, how- 
ever, are said to have eaten the dog out of vengeance. 
The curs of the Capitol were sleeping, when the sacred 
and watchful geese saved it by their cackling; and 
thence arose, it is believed, the avenging appetite with 
which puppies, dressed like hares, were tossed into the 
stomachs of the unforgiving Romans. They were also 
sacrificed to the Dog-star. 

It is worthy of remark, that Mexico was partly con- 
quered by aid of the pig. Cortez was in need of supplies 
of fresh meat on his march, and he took with him a large 
herd of swine, — sows as well as pigs, — "these animals 
being very suitable for a long journey, on account of 
their endurance of fatigue, and because they multiply 
greatly." The Indians, on most occasions, however, 
appear to have been able to have supplied him plenti- 
fully: for we read, that at Campeche, for instance, in 
return for his presents, they placed before him partridges, 
turtle-doves, goslings, cocks, hares, stags, and other ani- 
mals which were good to eat, and bread made from Indian 
corn, and fruits. It was, for all the world, like meeting 
a burglar at your dining-room door, and asking him to 
stay and take breakfast, before he went off with the 
plate ! 

When the uncle of Job entertained his heavenly 



THE MATEEIAX3 TOB DINING. 155 

visitors, the disli he placed hefore them was "roasted 
veal," of a freshly killed calf. It was tender, because the 
muscular fibres had not had time to become stiff; and 
its pleasant accompaniments were melted butter, milk, 
and meal-cakes. Veal is the national dish of Germany, 
where mutton is scarce, and calves abundant. It is poor 
food at any time ; but the German veal is the most taste- 
less of meats. There, indeed, is applicable the smart say- 
ing of that ardent young experimentalist, who declared 
that eating, veal was as insipid an enjoyment as kissing 
one's sister ! Cardinal Zinzendorf used to denounce pork 
quite as strongly. He deemed pigs to have been of no 
use but for their blood, of which he himself used to make 
a bath for his legs, whenever he had the gout. Quixote 
Bowles, on the other hand, held pig, in any form, to be 
the diviuest of meats, and the animal the happiest of all 
created things. With true Apician fervour, he would 
travel any distance to feast on the sight of a fatted 
porker ; and a view of that prize pig of Prince Albert's, 
which was so uniformly huge that, at first sight, it was 
difficult to distinguish the head from the tail, would have 
made him swoon with gentle ecstasy. Bowles was an 
epicure in bacon ; and, whenever he went out to dinner, 
he took a piece of it, of his own curing, in his pocket, and 
requested the cook to dress it. The people of the 
Society Islands carry respect for pigs even beyond the 
compass of Bowles. They believe that there is a distinct 
heaven for the porcine souls ; and this paradise of pigs 
is called by them "Ofatuna." The Polynesian pig is 
certainly a more highly favoured animal than his cousin 
in Ireland; for, in a Polynesian farm household, every 
pig has his proper name, as regularly as every member of 
the family. Perhaps, the strangest cross of pigs ever 
heard of, was that of Mr. Tinney's famous breed for 
porkers, — Chinese, crossed by a half- African boar: the 



156 TABID TEAIT3. 

meat was said to, be delicious. Tinally, with, respect to 
pigs, they are connected with a popular expletive, with 
which they have, in reality, nothing to do. " Please the 
pigs!" is shown, I think by Southey in his " Espriella," 
to be a corruption of "Please the pyx!" The pyx is 
the receptacle which contains the consecrated wafer on 
Eomish altars ; and the exclamation is equal to " Please 
God!" The corruption is as curious a one as that of 
"tawdry," from " 't Audrey," or St. Audrey's fair, 
famous for the sale of frippery, — showy, cheap, and 
worthless. 

They who are half as partictdar about mutton as 
Quixote Bowles was about pork, would do well to remem- 
ber, that sheep continue improving as long as their teeth 
remain sound, which is usually six years ; and that, at all 
events up to this time, the older the mutton, the finer 
the flavour. A spayed ewe, kept five years before she is 
fattened, is superior to any wether mutton. Dr. Paris, 
however, states that wedder mutton is in perfection at 
five years old, and ewe mutton at two years old ; but he 
acknowledges that the older is the more digestible. It 
is the glory of one locality, famous for its sheep, that the 
rot was never known to be caught upon the South Downs. 
It is further said, that a marsh, occasionally overflowed 
with salt water, was never known to rot sheep. A curi- 
ous fact is stated by Young, in his " Survey of Sussex ;" 
namely, that Lord Egremont had, ia his park, three large 
flocks of the Hereford, South-Down, and Dishley breeds ; 
and that these three flocks kept themselves perfectly dis- 
tinct, although each had as much opportunity of mixing 
with the others as they had with themselves. 

I have alluded, in another page, to a circumstance first 
noticed, I believe, by Madame Dacier, — ^that there is no 
mention of boiled meat, as food, throughout Homer's 
Iliad. The fair commentator is right; but "boiling" is, 



THE MATEEIAIS FOE DINHTa. 157 

nevertheless, used by the poet as a simile. When (in 
the twenty-first hook) Neptune apphes his flames to 
check the sweUing fury of Scamander, — 

" The tubbliug waters yield a hissing sound. 
As when the flames beneath a caldron rise. 
To melt the fat of some rich sacrifice. 
Amid the fierce embrace of circling fires 
The waters foam, the heavy smoke aspires : 
So boils th' imprison'd flood, forbid to flow. 
And, choked with vapours, feels his bottom glow ! " 

This is not a very elegant version of the original, it 
must he confessed, albeit the translation is Pope's. It 
is, however, the only reference to boiling to he' found in 
Homer, aud here the fat of the sacrifice boiled down is 
that of a pig. 

I do not know that I can take leave of mutton and the 
meats by doing them greater honour than by mentioning 
that Napoleon ate hastily of mutton before he entered on 
the contest at Leipsic, and he lost the triumph of the 
bloody day through a fit of indigestion. 

Before the era of kitchen gardens, scurvy was one of 
the processes by which the English population wafe kept 
down. Cabbages were not known here until the period 
of Henry VIII. ; and turnips are so comparatively new to 
some parts of England, that their introduction into the 
northern counties is hardly a century old. A diet exclu- 
sively of animal food is too highly stimulant for such a 
climate as ours ; and an exclusively vegetable diet is far 
less injurious in its effects. No meat is so digestible as 
tender mutton. It has just that degree of consistency 
which the stomach reqmres. Beef is not less nutritious, 
but it is rather less easy of digestion, than mutton : much, 
however, depends upon the cooking, which process may, 



158 TABIiE TEAITS. 

really not inaptly, be called the first stage of digestion. 
The comparative indigestibiUty of lamb and veal arises 
from tbe meat being of a more stringy and indivisible 
nature. Old laws ordained that butchers should expose 
no beef for sale, but of an animal that had been baited. 
The nature of the death rendered the flesh more tender. 
A coursed hare is thus more delicious eating than one that 
r has been shot; and pigs whipped till they die, may be 
eaten with relish, even by young ladies who pronounce 
life intolerable. A little vinegar, administered to animals 
about to be killed, is said, also, to render the flesh less 
tough ; and it is not unusual to give a spoonful of this 
acid to poultry, whose life is required for the immediate 
benefit of the consumer. Some carnivorous animals have 
been very expert at fornisliing their own larder. Thus 
we read, that the eagles in Norway exhibit as much cun- 
ning in procuring their beef as can well be imagined ; and 
more, perhaps, than can well be beheved. They dive into 
the sea, we are told, then roU in the sand, and afterwards 
destroy an ox by shaking the sand in his eyes, while they 
attack him. I think the French- eagle tried a similar 
plan with the Enghsh buU, during the wars of the Empire, 
and very ineffectually. It dived into the sea, and rolled 
itself in the sand at Boulogne, and shook abundance of 
it across the Channel ; but the English bull more quietly 
shook it off again from his mane, and the eagle turned to 
an easier quarry in Austria. Animals not carnivorous 
have sometimes been as expert. There have been horses, 
for instance, who have had their peculiar appetite also for 
meat. Some twenty years ago, we heard of one at Brus- 
sels, which, fond of flesh generally, was particularly so of 
raw mutton, which it would greedily devour whenever it 
could get, as it sometimes did, to a butcher's shop. 

The Jews, it is said, never ate poultry under their old 
dispensation ; and French gastronomists assert that this 



THE MATEBIAIS FOE DININa. 159 

species of food was expressly reserved to enricli the ban- 
quets of a more deserving people. About the merits of 
the people the poultry, and winged animals generally, 
would perhaps have an opinion of their own, were they 
capable of entertaining one ; for nowhere, as in Prance, 
have those unfortunate races been so tortured, and merely 
in order to extract out of their anguish a httle more 
exquisite enjoyment for the palled appetites of epicures. 
The ' tmiey has, perhaps, the least suffered at the hands 
of the Gallic experimentalists, though he has not alto- 
gether escaped. The goose has been the most cruelly 
treated, especially in the case of his being kept caged 
before a huge fire, and fed to repletion until he dies, the 
Daniel Lambert of his species, of a diseased Uver, which 
is the most delicious thing possible in a pie. But it is 
ignoble treatment for the only bird which is said to be 
prescient of approaching earthquakes. The goose saved 
Rome, and was eaten in spite of his patriotism. He is 
skilled in natural philosophy, and his science does not 
save him from death and sage-and-onions. Nay, even a 
female Sovereign of England could not hear of the defeat 
of the Spanish Armada without decreeing " death to the 
geese," until the time comes when Mr. Macaulay's Huron 
friend shall be standing on a fragment of Blackfriars' 
Bridge, sketching the ruins of St. Paul's. 

It must be allowed, however, that the scientific ladies 
of farm-yards have improved upon the knowledge of their 
ancestresses. Formerly, of turkeys alone, full one-half 
that pierced the shell perished; but now we rear more 
than fifteen out of twenty. I do not know, however, 
that that fact is at all consolatory to the turkey destined 
to be dined upon. 

Themistocles ordered his victory over Xerxes to be 
yearly commemorated by a cock-fight ; and the bird itself 
was eaten out of honour, as dogs in Rome were for rea- 



IGO TABLE TEAITS. 

sons of vengeance. At E,ome, th.e hen was the favourite 
bu'd; but hens were consumed in such quantities, that 
Pannius, the Consul, issued a decree, prohibiting their 
being slain for food, during a certain period ; and, in the 
mean time, the Komans "invented the capon." The 
duck was devoured medicinally, that is, on medical assur- 
ance that it was good diet for weak stomachs ; and there 
were great sages who not only taught that duck, as a 
food, would maintain men in health, but that, if they 
were ill, the ample feeding thereon would soon restore 
them again. Mithridates, it is alleged, ate it as a 
counter-poison; other people, of other times and places, 
simply because they liked it. The goose was in as much 
favour as the duck with the digestion-gifted stomachs of 
the older races. It was the royal diet in Egypt, where 
the Monarch did not, like Queen Elizabeth, recommend 
it to the people, but selfishly decreed that it was only to 
be served at his own table. Gigantic geese, with ultra- 
gigantic livers, were as much the delight of epicures in 
Home, as the livers, if not the geese, are now the voVwp- 
tas sv/prema of the epicure of France, and of coimtries 
subject to the French code of diet. A Uver weighing as 
much as the rest of the animal without it, was a moroeam, 
in Rome, to make a philosopher's mouth water. This 
was not proof of a more depraved taste than that exhi- 
bited by a. Christian Queen of France, who spent sixteen 
hundred francs in fattening three geese, the dehcate livers 
of which alone Her Majesty intended to dine upon. The 
pigeon and guinea-hen never attained to such popularity 
as the goose and duck ; while the turkey, and especially 
the truffled turkey-hen, has its value sufficiently pointed 
out by the saying of the gastronome, that there must be 
two at the eating of a truffled turkey, — ^the eater and the 
turkey! The turkey, originally from the East, was 
slowly propagated in Europe, and the breed appears to 



THE MATEEIAI/8 FOEDDflNG. 161 

have gradually passed away, like the bustard in England. 
It was brought hither again from America, and its first 
re-appearance is said to have been at the wedding-dinner 
of Chajles IX. of Prance. 

The turkey was not protected, as the peacock was by 
Alexander, by a decree denoimcing death against whom- 
soever should kill this divine bird, with its devilish note. 
The decree did not affect Quintus Hortensius, who had 
one served up at the dinner which celebrated his acces- 
sion to the ofSce of Augur. Tiberius, however, preserved 
the peacock with great jealousy, and it was only rich 
breeders that could exhibit this bird at their banquets. 

A man who passes thi-ough Essex may see whole 
" herds " of geese and ducks in the fields there, fattening 
without thought of the future, and supremely happy in 
their want of reflection. These birds are "foreigners;" 
at least, nearly aU of them are so. They are Irish by 
birth, but they are brought over by steam, in order to be 
perfected by an English education; and when the due 
state of perfection has been attained, they are, like many 
other joxmg people partaking of the "duck" or the 
" goose," transferred to London, and " done for." 

Some gastronomic enthusiasts, unable to wait for their 
favourite birds, have gone in search of them. This was the 
case with the oily Jesuit, Fabi, who so loved beccaficoes. "As 
soon as the cry of the bird was heard in the fields around 
BeUey," says the author of the " Physiologie du Gout" 
" the general cry was, ' The beccaficoes are come, we shall 
soon have Father Fabi among us.' And never did he 
fail to arrive, with a friend, on the 1st of September. 
They came for the express purpose of regaling them- 
selves on beccaficoes, during the period of the passage of 
the bird across the district. To every house they were 
invited in town, and they took their departure again 
about the 23rd." This good Father died in our " glorious 

M 



162 TABIE TEAITS. 

memory " year of 1688 ; and one of his choice bits of 
delirium was, that he had discovered the circulation of 

the blood before Harvey ! 

And now do I not hear that gentleman-like person at 
the lower end of the table remark, that the circulation of 
the blood was a conceived idea long before Harvey? 
You are quite right, my dear Sir ; and your remark is a, 
very appropriate one, both as to time and theme, for the 
circulation of the blood is one of the results of cooking. 
As for preconception of the idea, it is sufficient for Har- 
vey, that he demonstrated the fact. The Doctors of 
ancient Eoman days supposed that the blood came from 
the liver; and that, in passing through the vena cava 
and its branches, a considerable quantity of it turned 
about, and entered into the right cavity of the heart. 
What Harvey demonstrated was, that the blood flows 
from the heart into all parts of the body, by the arteries, 
from whence it is brought back to the heart again, by the 
veins. Well, Sir, I know what you are about to remark, 
— ^that Paolo Sarpi, that pleasantest of table-companions, 
claimed to have made the demonstration before Harvey. 
True, Sarpi used to say, that he did not dare publish his 
discovery, for dread of the Inquisition ; but that he con- 
fided it to brother Pabi da Aqua-pendente, who kept it 
close for the sa,me reason, but told it in confidence to 
Harvey, who published it as his own. Well, Sir, Sir 
George Ent exploded all that, by proving that Sarpi him- 

I self had first learned the fact from Harvey's lips. The 
Italians have the same right in this case, as they have to 
their boast of having produced what old Eitson used to 
style, " that thing you choose to call a poem, ' Paradise 
Lost.' " It was an invention or discovery at second-hand. 
What conceits Cowley has in his verses on Harvey! 
He makes the phUbsophical Doctor pursue coy Nature 
through sap, and catch her at last in the human blood. 



THE MATEEIAIS POB DUnDTG. 163 

He speaks, too, of tlie heart beating tuneful marches to 
its vital heat ; a conceit which Longfellow twisted into 
prettiness, when he said, that our " muffled hearts were 
beating funeral marches to the grave." Tou will remem- 
ber, Sir, that Shakspeare makes Brutus say, that Portia 
was to him " dear as the drops that visit this sad heart." 
Brutus himself would, perhaps, have said "liver;" and, 
by the way, how very much to the same tune is the line 
in Gray's "Bard," wherein we find, — 

" Dear as the light that visits these sad eyes." 

But there is in tuneful Edmund, in our ever-glorious 
friend Spenser, a stanza which contains something that 
may pass for the circulation theory. You remember, in 
the first canto of the Second Book, where the bleeding 
lady is found by the good Sir Guyon : — 

" Out of her gored wouud the crael steel 

He lightly snatch'd, and did the flood-gates stop 
With his faire garment ; then 'gan softly feel 

Her feeble pulse, to prove if any drop 

Of living hlood yet in her veynes did hop ; 
Which vrhen he felt to move, he hoped faire 

To call baxjk life to her forsaken shop. 
So well he did her deadly wounds repaire^ 
That at the last shee °gan to breathe out living aire." 

And now, Sir, I shall be happy to take a glass of wine 
with you, obsolete as that once honoured custom has 
become. And allow me to send you a slice of this 
venison. A little more of the fat ? Certainly ; but, if 
you idU take currant jeUy with it, the sin be upon your 
own head. It has always been the approved plan, you 
say. Ah, my dear Sir! think what the approved plan 
was, for years, in the treatment of small-pox. That was 
not a gastronomic matter, you say ? I am not so sure 
of that ; for the patient, swathed in scarlet cloth, had to 
drink mulled port wine. But, on a question of diet, time 
M 2 



164l TAEIE TEAITS, 

and numbers, yon think, may be taken- for authority. 
Alas, my dear Sir! did you ever try the once popular 
receipt of Apicius for a thick sauce to roasted chicken ? 
Never ! of course you have not ; for, in such case, your 
young widow would abeady have touched that pretty 
life-assurance we wot of. English tastes, you urge ? 
Ah ! in that ease, if old rule be good rule, you must camp 
in Kensington Gardens, and eat acorns. In Germany, 
where venison is a national dish, the idea of currant jeUy 
would ruin the digestion of a whole company. But I see 
you are incorrigible, and William is at your elbow with 
the doubtful sauce. 

Galen could not appreciate venison as the early Patri- 
archs and the Jewish people did, and as the Eoman ladies 
did, who ate of it as a preserver of youth, as well as a 
lengthener of life. A roebuck of Melos would have 
brought tears of dehght into the eyes of Diogenes. The 
deer was preferred to the roebuck at Eome ; but the wild 
boar was also a favourite ; and the Sicilian slave, cMJ 
to' Servilius EuUus, cooked not less than three of differ- 
ent sizes in one. The largest had baskets of dates sus- 
pended to its tusks, and a litter of young ones in pastry 
lying in the same dish. Within the first was a second, 
within the second a third, and within the third some 
small birds. Cicero, who was the guest for whom the 
dinner was got up, was as dehghted with the culinary 
slave, as LucuUus had been a few days before, when he 
had eaten a dish of sows' paps prepared by the same 
artist ; and the enraptured gastronome thought that all 
Olympus was dissolving in his mouth ! 

A wild boar was at marriage feasts what our wedding 
cakes are at those dreadful destroyers of time and diges- 
tion, — ^wedding breakfasts, — an indispensable accompani- 
ment. Caranus, the Macedonian, has the reputation of 
having exceeded all others in his nuptial magnificence ; 



THE MATEEIALS TOE DINING. 165 

for, instead of one boar at his banquet, he had twenty. 
But I have seen more than that at many a breakfast in 
Britain. 

The ancient Britons abstained from the hare, like the 
Jews. Hippocrates held that, as a food, it thickened the 
blood, and kept people from sleep ; but Galen — and such 
instances among the faculty are not imcommon — differed 
from his professional brother. People followed the 
advice of Galen ; and though few, like Alexander Severus, 
could eat a whole hare at every repast, yet many ate as 
plentifully as they well could, accounting such diet 
profitable both to health and good looks. 

Hares were nearly as injuriously abundant in Greece as 
rabbits were in Spain, where the latter animals are said 
to have once • destroyed Tarragona, by undermining it in 
burrowing ! Nay, more : the Balearic Isles were so over- 
run with them, that the inhabitants, afraid of being 
devoured, sent an embassy to Kome ; and Augustus 
dispatched a military force, which not only slaughtered 
the enemy, but ate the half of them ! The more refined 
gluttons of Eome did not dine on the rabbit after this 
fashion. They only picked a Httle of the young taken 
alive from the slaughtered mother, or killed soon after 
birth. They were preferable to the rabbits of the 
Parisian gargottes, where fricassee de Iwpins is invariably 
made of cats. And these, perhaps, are as dainty eating 
as the hunch of the camel, or the feet of the elephant, — 
pettitoes for Brobdignagian lovers to sup upon. 

But we almost as viUanously disguise our poultry. 
The latter, if not now, used — according to Darwin — ^to be 
fed for the London market, by mixing gin, and even 
opium, with their food, and keeping them in the dark ; 
but " they must be killed as soon as they are fattened, 
or they become weak and emaciated, like human 
drunkards," 



166 TASIE TEAITS. 

Game was almost as sacred to the Egyptian Priests, as 
eggs to the sacerdotal gentlemen of some of the modem 
tribes of Africa. Under the head of "game," we no 
longer admit the birds which, according to Belon, 
figm-ed at the gastronomic tables of France in the 
sixteenth century. These were the crane, the crow, and 
the cormorant, the heron, the swan, the stork, and the 
bittern. The last-named bird was ia high estimation, 
although the taste for it was confessedly an " acquired " 
one. The larger birds of prey were not then altogether 
despised by epicures, some of whom could sit down with 
an appetite to roast vulture, whUe they turned with 
loathing from the plump pheasant. 

This eastern bird, however, has, with this exception, 
enjoyed a deserved reputation from the earliest ages. 
The Egyptian Kings kept large numbers of them to 
grace their aviaries and their triumphs. The Greeks 
reared them for the less sentimental gratification of the 
stomach ; and a simple Athenian republican, when giving 
a banquet, prided himself on having on his board as many 
pheasants as there were guests invited. 

Pheasants' brains were among the ingredients of the 
dish that ViteUius invented, and which he designated by 
the name of "Shield of Minerva." They were greedily eaten 
by many" other of the Csesars ; and an offering of them to 
the statue of Caligula was deemed to be propitiatory 
of that very equivocal deity. The Emperors generally 
esteemed them above partridges, which were trained for 
fighting, as well as fattened for eating. Eoman epicures 
fixed on the breast as the most " eatable " portion of the 
gallant bird. The Greeks thought of it as we do of the 
woodcock ; and with them the leg of the partridge was 
the part the most highly esteemed. At a Greek table 
would not have occurred the smart dialogue which is said 
to have taken place at an English dinner. " Shall I send 



THE MATEEIALS FOE BmiirG. 167 

you a leg or a wing?" said a carver to a guest he was 
about to help. " It is a matter of perfect indifference to 
me," was the reply; and it is not a courteous one. "It 
is a matter of equal indifference to me," said the first 
speaker, at the same time resuming his own knife and 
fork, and going on with his dinner. 

Quails are variously said either to have recalled Hercules 
to life, or to have cured him of epilepsy. The Romans, 
however, rather feared them, as tending to cause epileptic 
fits. Galen thought so ; Aristotle took a different view, 
and the Greeks devoured them as readily as though they 
had Aristotle's especial authorization ; and the Romans 
were only slowly converted to the same way of thinking. 
Quails, like partridges and the game-cock, were long reared 
for the arena ; and legislators thought that youth might 
learn courage from contemplating the contests of quails ! 

The thrush was perhaps the most popular bird at deli- 
cate tables in Greece. They were kept from the young, 
lest the taste should give birth to permanent greediness ; 
but when a girl married, she was sure of a brace of 
thrushes, for her especial eating at the wedding-feast. 
They were still more popular in Rome, where patrician 
ladies reared thousands yearly for the market, and made 
a further profit by selling the manure for the land. The 
thrush aviary of Varro's aunt was one of the sights of 
Rome, where men ruined themselves in procuring dishes 
composed of these birds for their guests. Greatly, how- 
ever, as they abounded, there was occasionally a scarcity 
of them ; for when the physician of Pompey prescribed a 
thrush, by way of exciting the wayward stomach of the 
wayward soldier to enjoyment, there was not one to be 
found for sale in all Rome. Lucullus, indeed, had scores 
of them ; but Pompey, like many other obstinate people, 
chose rather to suffer than put himseb' under an obliga- 
tion ; and he contrived to get well on other diet. 



168 TABLE TEAITS. 

The diet was, neverfclieless, held to be exceedingly 
strengthening; and hlackbirds, also, were prescribed as 
fitting food for weak digestions. It was perhaps for this 
reason that the celebrated 

"Four-and-twenty blackbirds baked in a pie," 

were the dainty dish set before the legendary and, pre- 
sumedly, dyspeptic King ! In later times, we have had 
as fooHsh ideas connected with them. The oil in which 
they were cooked was said to be good for sciatica, or hip- 
gout ; and VieUlot says that freckles might be instantane- 
ously removed from the skin, if but ladies would 

never try what VieiUot recommends. 

The blackbird was not imperially patronized. The 
stomachs of the gastronomic Caesars gave more greedy 
welcome to the flamingo. Caligula, ViteUius, and Helio- 
gabalus ruined their digestions by ragouts of this bird, 
the tongues of which were converted into a stimulating 
sauce. Dampier ate the bird, when he could get nothing 
else; and thought the Caesars fools for doing so when 
they could get any thing beside. The ancients, whether 
Greeks or Romans, showed more taste in eating becca- 
fieoes,— that deUcate little bird, all tender and succulent, 
the essence of the juice of the fruits (especially the fig) 
on which it feeds. The only thing to be compared with 
it is the ortolan. Had HeHogabalus confined him- 
self to these more savoury birds, instead of acquiring 
indigestion on ostrich brains and flamingoes, his name 
would have held a more respectable place in the annals of 
gastronomy. But master and people were alike barbarous 
in many of their tastes. Who now would think of killing 
turtle-doves for the sake of eating their legs " devilled ? " 
And yet we eat the lark, that herald of the skies, and 
earliest chorister of the morn. "We eat this ethereal bird 
with as little compunction as we do the savoury, yet 



A LIGHT DINNEE FOE TWO. 169 

unclean, of the earth, earthy, duck. And this thought 
reminds me of a story, for which I am indebted to a 
friend, himself the most amiable of Amphitryons, the 
good things at whose table have ever wit, wisdom, mirth, 
and good-fellowship attendant, as aids to digestion.* 

A LIGHT DESTNEE FOE TWO. 

Mant years ago, when railways were things undreamt 
of, and when the journeys from Oxford to the metropolis 
were inevitably performed on that goodly and pleasant 
high road which is now dreary and forlorn, a gentleman 
and his son, the latter newly flushed with College fame 
and University honours, rode forth over Magdalen Bridge 
and the Cherwell, purposing to reach London in a leisurely 
ride. A groom, their only attendant, carrying their 
scanty baggage with him on a good stout cob, had been 
sent on in advance to order dinner at a weU-known road- 
side hostelry, where Oxford nags baited, and where their 
more adventurous riders frequently caroused, out of reach 
of any supervision by Principals or Pro-Proctors. 

Pleasant is the spot, well approved by past generations 
of Freshmen, picturesque and charming to an eye content 
with rich fields, luxuriant meadows, and pretty streams, 
tributaries of the now adolescent Thames, whose waters 
had not at that date been polluted by barge or lighter at 
that point of its course. The neighbourhood is famous 
for its pliunp larks ; and whether in a savoury pudding, 
swimming with beef-steak gravy, or roasted, a round half- 
dozen together, on an iron skewer or a tiny spit, those 
little warblers famished forth a pretty adjunct on a well- 
spread table, tempting to an appetite somewhat appeased 
by heavier and more substantial viands. Mine host at 
our road-side quarters had a cook who dressed them to a 
nicety; contriving to produce or develope a succulency 
* Henry Holden Prankum, Esq. 



170 TABLE TEAITS. 

and .flavonr which meaner practitioners would scarcely 
have deemed practicable. Now Martin, pursuant to his 
master's instructions for securing a repast of ducks and 
the dainty lark, finding the landlord brought out from his 
shady porch by the clatter of the horse's hoofs on the 
weU-beaten road, announced the approaching arrival, and 
ordered dinner. " My master wishes to find a couple of 
larks, and a dozen of ducks, well roasted, on his arrival at 
four o'clock." "Did I understand you rightly, young 
man?" said Boniface. "0!" said the varlet, pettishly, 
" in Oxford no landlord needs twice telling ;" — and betook 
himself to the stables, looking forward to the enjoyment 
of a tankard of good house-brewed ale, — ^ho brewer's ini- 
quitous mixture, — and the opportunity of shining with 
some lustre in the tap, or the kitchen, before country 
bumpkins, eager to listen to a man like himself, who had 
seen racing at Newmarket and Doncaster, and high life 
at Bath and Cheltenham. Meantime, his masters came 
leisurely along the road, nor thought of applying a spur, 
until the craving bowels of the younger horseman, whose 
digestive organs were imimpaired by College theses and 
examinations, suggested a lack of provender ; and, their 
watches, when consulted, indicating the near approach of 
the dinner hour, they broke off their chat, and soon drew 
rein at their place of temporary sojourn. ' 

Finding the cloth laid, and the busy waiter's prepara- 
tions nearly complete, they glanced with satisfaction at a 
table of somewhat unnecessary dimensions, considering 
the limited extent of the party, which our young 
Hellenist would have described as a " duality." Just as 
our travellers were growing impatient, the landlord, hav- 
ing previously satisfied himself, by obsequious inquiry, 
that his guests were quite ready, re-entered, bearing a 
dish with bright cover, and heading as good a procession 
of domestics, each similarly laden, as the limited resources 



A LIGHT BINNEB TOE TWO. 171 

of his modest establishment admitted. The large number 
of dishes rather surprised the elder of the twain, whose 
miud was less absorbed by the suggestions of appetite ; 
and, having dispatched the sole attendant left for a 
bottle of the best Madeira the cellar could supply, and a 
jug of that malt Hquor for which the house had obtaiaed 
some notoriety, he proceeded to look under the formidable 
range of covers. Seeing under the first a couple of ducks, 
he said, " Come, this is all right ! " but finding the next, 
and the next, and stiU the next, but a repetition of the 
same, either with or without the odour of seasoning, he 
fairly stood aghast, when six couple of goodly ducks stood 
revealed before him. The yoimg coUegian's mirth was 
great, his laugh hearty, at the climax of two pretty little 
chubby larks which closed the liae of dishes. Apple 
sauce and gravy, broccoli and potatoes, stood sentries, 
flanking the array. Upon his ringing the bell with no gen- 
tle hand, the landlord himself stepped in from the passage, 
where he appeared to have awaited a summons ; and, in 
answer to a question the reader may easily anticipate, 
replied that the servant's order was precise, and that it 
was impatiently repeated upon his own hesitation in 
accepting it. The respectabiUty of the landlord, and the 
evident truthfulness of his manner, stayed all further 
questions. But the elder gentleman said firmly, that he 
should not pay for what had been so absurdly provided ; 
alleging, that no two, or even three, persons could be 
found who would do justice to such provisions. The 
landlord, like Othello, "upon that hint spake;" for he 
saw a faint chance of righting a somewhat difficiilt mat- 
ter. " 0, Sir," said he, " I think I could find a man hard 
by, who would not consider the supplies too much for his 
own appetite." "Produce him," said the guest, "and 
settle the point ; for, if you do, I will pay for the whole." 
The anxious landlord said no more ; but, bowing, left in 



172 TABLE TBAITS. 

searoli of a neighbouring cobbler, whose prowess with the 
knife and fork was pre-eminent in the vicinity. Meantime, 
our hungry travellers sat down to dinner with such good 
will, that each of them disposed of one of the regiment ; 
and, in a joint attack, a third fell mutilated, leaving but 
fragmentary reKcs. A lark arpiece was a mere practical 
joke ; and cheese, with celery, left nothing farther wanting 
to appease those cravings which had prompted them to 
action. While these httle matters were in progress, the 
landlord had found the shoemaker, and told his story. 
" Well," said Lapstone, " this is plaguy unlucky, for I 've 
just had a gallon of broth ! Such a famous chance, too ; 
for if there is any thing I am particularly fond of, cer- 
tainly ducks is a weak point. Sir." Boniface, thinking it 
his only chance, urged him to try ; and the man of bris- 
tles, nothing loth, consented. On being duly introduced, 
orders were given for setting-to on the spot, to insure 
fair play, and defeat any supplementary aid, or a deposit 
in any other pocket, save that with which the savage in 
a nude state finds himself provided, — the stomach. While 
the travellers sipped their wine, and trifled with their 
dessert, the voracious cobbler fell heartily to work on the 
row of eight ducks before him: one having been sent 
down for the undeserving groom, whose blunder had 
proved a godsend to the man of leather. Wisely eschew- 
ing vegetables, and eating scantUy of bread, the disjecta 
membra of the doomed ducks rapidly yielded up their 
savoury iateguments. But flesh is weak, and cobblers' 
appetites are not whoUy unappeasable ; so that while the 
fifth victim was under discussion, a stimiilant, in the 
shape of " a little brandy," was requested ; and when the 
sixth was but slowly and more slowly disappearing, poor 
Lapstone, who began to think farther progress impossible, 
was seen whispering to the landlord. The gentleman 
loudly demanded what the fellow was saying. "Sir," 



THE MATEEIAIiS EOB DININff. 173 

said the landlord, promptly and ctmningly, " he says, he 
wishes there were half-a-dozen more ; for he is just begia- 
ning to enjoy them." " Confound the rascal's gluttony," 
cried the travellers ; "not a bit more shall he have. Put 
the remaining couple by for our supper ; for we shall not 
leave your house tdU to-morrow:" — an arrangement 
affording much relief to the shoemaker, and entire satis- 
faction to the umkeeper. 

To return to the lark. It is worthy of notice, that 
London is annually supplied, from the country about 
Dunstable alone, with not less than four thousand dozen 
of these succulent songsters. At Leipsic, the excise on 
larks, for that single city, amounts to nearly £1,000 ster- 
ling yearly. The larks of Dunstable and Leipsic are, I 
presume, "caught napping." They are not, then, like 
the nightingale, who is said to sing all night, to keep 
herself awake, lest the slow-worm should devour her. 

And this reminds me of a remark which I once heard 
made by one who disputed the fact, that every thing had 
its use. Mr. Jordan could not conjecture what use there 
could be in the cimex, that domestic "B flat," which 
may be found in old beds and old parchments. So my 
friend could not divine the utility of a slow-worm, or of 
that unclean parasite, the "louse," which, by the way, 
infects birds as weU as dirtjt humanity, and even reaches 
these same aspiring larks. For the use of the slow-worm 
-I referred him to natural history ; for that of the pedicti- 
hts, I coidd only state that it is swallowed by some 
country-people as a cure for jaundice ! At Hardenberg, 
in Sweden, it held a position of some importance. When 
a Burgomaster had to be chosen, the eligible candidates 
sat with their beards upon the table, in the centre of 
which was placed a louse ; and the one in whose beard he 
took cover was the Magistrate for the ensuing year. 



174 TABLE TEAITS. 

After the ceremony, the company supped upon ducks, 
and sang like larks. 

The household of Job was of a hospitable cast. " His 
sons went and feasted in their houses, every one on his 
day;" (which is explained as being the J«>fA-day ;) "and 
sent and called for their three sisters to eat and drink 
with them." We know what materials the joyous family 
had to make a superb feast ; and doubtless he who pre- 
sided thereat was as proud as the Knight who, by virtue 
of triumphing in the tournament, alone had the right to 
carve the peacock which was placed before him — plumage, 
tail, and all — ^by the fairest "she" to be found in the 
vicinity. After all, the peacock was inferior to the suc- 
culent and sweet-throated thrush. The proper time for 
eating thrushes, and, indeed, much other of the small 
game of the bird species, is towards the end of November. 
The reason assigned by a French epicure is, that, after 
they have been fattened in the fields and vineyards, they 
then give a biting, bitter aroma to their flesh by feeding 
on juniper-berries. The Eomans fed them on a paste 
made up of figs, wheat, and aromatic grains. The Eoman 
epicures were as fond of them as the Marquis de Cussy 
was of red partridges, one of which he ate on the day of 
his death, and after a six months' illness. It was his last 
act ; and, in gastronomic annals, it is recorded, as Nel- 
son's calling for seaUng-waXj^mid the thunders of Copen- 
hagen, or his writing to Horatia before he went to meet 
death at Trafalgar, is noticed by the biographers of our 
naval heroes. Statistics, which are as pleasantly void of 
truth as poetry, generally speaking, set down the enor- 
mous total of nearly fifty-two millions of fi:ancs as the 
■sum expended yearly in France for fowls of all species. 
Taking the amount of population into consideration, this 
would prove that France is a more fowl-consuming nation 
than any other on the face of the globe. 



THE MATEEIALS EOB DINING. 175 

In a dietetic point of view, it would be well for weak 
stomacbs to remember, that wild birds are more nutri- 
tious than tbeir domesticated cousins, and more digesti- 
ble. But tlie white breast or wing of a chicken is less 
heating than the flesh of winged game. Other game — 
such as venison, which is dark-coloured, and contains a 
large proportion of iibrine — produces highly stimulating 
chyle ; and, consequently, the digestion is an easy and 
rapid affair for the stomach. But, though the whiter 
meats be detained longer ia the stomach, furnish less 
stimulating chyle, and be suffered to run into acetous fer- 
mentation, their lesser stimulating quality may recom- 
mend them when the general system is not in want of 
a spur. Meats are wholesome, or otherwise, less with 
reference to themselves than to the consumer. "To 
assert a thing to be wholesome," says Van Swieten, 
" without a knowledge of the condition of the person for 
whom it is intended, is like a sailor pronouncing the wind 
to be fair, without knowing to what port the vessel is 
bound." 

Cardinal Fesch would have made an exception in the 
case of " blackbirds." His dinners at Lyons were reve- 
renced for the excellence and variety of these dishes. 
The birds were sent to him weekly from Corsica; and 
they were said to incense half the archiepiscopal city. 
They were served with great form ; and none who ate 
thereof ever forgot the flavour which melted along his 
palate. The Cardinal used to say that it was like swal- 
lowing paradise, and that the smell alone of his blackbirds 
was enough to revivify half the defunct in his diocese. 

Quite as rich a dish may be found in the pheasant 
which has been suspended by the tail, and which detaches 
himseK from his caudine appendage, by way of intimation 
that he is ready. It is thus, we are told, that a pheasant 
hung up on Shrove Tuesday is susceptible of being spitted 



176 TASIE TBAITS. 

on Easter-day! It is popularly said in France of the 
pheasant, that it only lacks something to be equal to the 
turkey ! A wise saying, indeed ! but, the truth is, the 
two cannot be compared. Our own popular adage regard- 
ing the partridge and woodcock has far better grounds 
for what they assert : — 

If tie partridge had but tlie woodcock's tMgh, 
'T wouid be the best bird that ever did fly. 
If the woodcock had but the partridge's breast, 
'T would be the best bird that ever was dress'd." 

The partridge is much on the ground, the woodcock ever 
on the wing ; and these parts, and the immediate vicinity 
of them, acquire a muscular toughness, not admired by 
epicures. 

The vegetarians may boast of a descent as ancient as 
that claimed by the Freemasons. In ancient days, if, 
indeed, flesh meat was not denounced, unmeasured honour 
was paid to vegetables. Monarchs exchanged them as 
gifts, wise men and warriors supped on them after study 
and battle, Chiefs of the noblest descent prepared them 
with their own hands for their own tables, agricultural 
chymists tended their planting, and pious populations 
raised some of them to the rank of gods. 

The Licinian Law enacted their use, while it restricted 
the consumption of meat; and the greatest families in 
Eome derived their names from them. Fabius was but 
General Becm, Cicero was Vice-Chancellor Pea, and the 
house of Lentulus took its appellation from the slow- 
growing Lentil. 

The kitchen-garden of Henry YIII. was worse supplied 
than that of Charlemagne, who not only raised vegetables, 
but, as Gustavus Vasa's Queen did with her eggs and 
milk, made money by them. He was a royal market- 
gardener, and found more profit in his salads than he did 



THE MATEEIAI.S FOB DINUfG. 177 

in his sons. A salad, by the way, was so scarce an article 
during the early part of the last century, that George I. 
was obliged to send to HoUand to procure a lettuce for 
his Queen; and now lettuces are flung by cart-loads to 
the pigs. Asparagus and artichokes were strangers to us 
until a still later period. 

The bean has, from remote times, held a distinguished 
place. Isidorus asserts that it was the first food used by 
man. Pythagoras held that human life was in it. By 
others the black spot was accoimted typical of death ; and 
the Flamen of Jupiter would neither look upon it nor 
pronounce its name. The Priests of ApoUo, on the other 
hand, banqueted on a dish of beans at one of the festivals 
of their god. Those of iEsculapius taught that the smell 
of beans in blossom was pr^udicial to health ; and far- 
mers' wives, in the days of Baucis and Philemon, main- 
tained that hens reared on beans would never lay eggs. 

The "bean" was once the principal featitte in the 
Twelfth-Night cake; and he to whose share fell the 
piece containing the vegetable was King for the night. 
The last Twelfth Night observed, with ancient strictness, 
at the Tuileries, was when Louis XVIII. was yet reign- 
ing. Among his guests was Louis Philippe, Duke of 
Orleans, who was lucky enough to draw the bean, and 
thereby became Monarch .for the nonce. " My cousia," 
said Louis XVIIL, "is King at last!" "I wiU never 
accept such title," answered the over-modest Duke; 
"I acknowledge no other King in France but your 
Majesty, and will not usurp the name even in jest ! " 
Excellent man! he was at that very moment intriguing 
to tumble from his throne that very King, loyally for 
whom he expressed with so much of unnecessary and 
enforced ceremony. 

The haricot Heme, or white kidney bean, deserves to be 
introduced more generally into ourJdtchens. There are 

s 



178 TABLE TEAITS. 

various methods of dressing them ; hut the best is to 
have them softened ia the gravy of a leg of mutton ; 
they are then a good substitute for potatoes. They are 
nearly as good, dressed with oil or butter ; and Napoleon 
was exceedingly fond of them, dressed as a salad. Of 
course, we aUude here to the bean which, in fuU maturity, 
is taken from the pod, and eaten in winter. In England 
we eat the po'd itself, (in summer,) split, and served with 
roast mutton and venison. The mature bean, however, 
makes an excellent dish. 

And, a-propos to Monarchs, it is to Alexander that 
we are indebted for the Indian " haricot ;" and the vege- 
table had a fashion in Greece and Rome worthy of its 
distinguished introducer. But this fashion was not a 
mere consequence; for grey peas were as universally 
eaten. The people were so fond of these, that political 
aspirants bought votes of electors in exchange for them. 
They formed the principal refreshment of the lower citi- 
zens at the circus and the theatre, where, instead of the 
modem cry of " Oranges, biscuits, porter, and bill of the 
play !" was to be heard that of " Peas ! peas ! ram peas ! 
grey peas ! and a programme of the beasts and actors !" 

Green peas were not known in Prance until the middle 
of the sixteenth century. They were grown, but people 
no more thought of eating them than we do the sweet 
pea. The gardener Michaux was born, and he it was 
who first sent green peas to a Christian table. 

When Alexander, son of Pyrrhus, wished to keep all 
the beans that grew in the Thesprotian Marsh for his 
own eating, the gods dried up the marsh, and beans 
could never be made to grow there again. So, when 
King Antigonus put a tax on the healing spring that 
flowed at Edessa, the waters disappeared ; and the people 
were not, in either case, benefited. "What lumbering 
avengers were those heathen deities ! 



THE MATEEIAIS rOE DINING. 179 

The cabbage has had a singular destiny, — ^ia one 
country an object of worship ; in another, of contempt. 
The Egyptians made of it a god ; and it was the first dish 
they touched at their repasts. The Greeks and Eomans 
took it as a remedy for the languor following inebriation. 
Cato said that ia the cabbage was a panacea for the ills 
of man. Erasistratus recommended it as a specific ia 
paralysis ; Hippocrates accounted it a sovereign remedy, 
boiled with salt, for the cohc; and Athenian medical 
men prescribed it to young nursing-mothers, who wished 
to see lusty babies lying in their arms. DiphUus pre- 
ferred the beet to the cabbage, bpth as food and as medi- 
cine, — ^in the latter case, as a vermifuge. The same phy- 
sician extols mallows, not for fomentation, but as a good 
edible vegetable, appeasing hunger and curing the sore- 
throat at the same time. The asparagus, as we are 
accustomed to see it, has derogated from its ancient mag- 
nificence. The original "grass" was from twelve to 
twenty feet high ; and a dish of them could only have 
been served to the Brobdignagians. Under the Eomans, 
stems of asparagus were raised of three pounds' weight, — 
heavy enough to knock down a slave' in waiting with. 
The Greeks ate them of more moderate dimensions, or 
woidd have eat them, but that the publishing doctors of 
their day denounced asparagus as injurious to the sight. 
But then it was also said, that a slice or two of boiled 
pumpkin would re-invigorate the sight which had been 
deteriorated by asparagus. " Do that as quickly as you 
should asparagus!" is a proverb descended to us from 
Augustus, and illustrative of the mode in which the vege- 
table was prepared for the table. 

The gourd does not figure at our repasts as commonly 

as it did in the east of Europe in mythological times, 

when it was greedily eaten, boiled hot, or preserved in 

pickle. The readers of Athenaeus wiU remember, how 

s2 



180 TAEIE TEAITS. 

a party of philosophers lost their temper, m a disoussion 
as to whether the gourd was round, square, or ohlong, — 
how a coarse-minded doctor interrupted the discussion by 
a very incongruous remark, — and how the venerable sage 
who was in the chair called the rude man to oi-der, and 
then bade the ^sputants proceed with their argument. 

A still more favourite cdsh, at Athens, was turnips, 
from Thebes. Carrots, too, formed a distinguished dish 
at Greek and Eoman tables. Purslain was rather 
honoured as a cure against poisons, whether in the blood 
by wounds, or in the stomach from beverage. I have 
heard it asserted in Erance, that if you briskly rub a 
glass with fingers which have been previously rubbed 
with purslain, or parsley, the glass will Certainly break. 
I have tried the experiment, but only to find that the 
glass resisted the pretended charm. 

Broccoli was the favourite vegetable food of Drusus. 
He ate greedily thereof; and, as his father, Tiberius, was 
as fond off it as he, the master of the Eoman world and 
his illustrious heir were constantly quarrelling, like two 
clowns, when a dish of broccoli stood between them. 
Artichokes grew less rapidly into aristocratic favour ; the 
dictum of Gralen was against them ; and, for a long time, 
they were only used by drinkers, against head-ache, and 
by singers, to strengthen their voice. Pliny pronounced 
artichokes excellent food for poor pebple and donkeys I 
For nobler stomachs he preferred the cucumber, — ih& 
Nemesis of vegetables. But people were at issue touch- 
ing the merits of the cucumber. Not so, regarding the 
lettuce, which has been universally honoured. It was 
the most highly esteemed dish of the beautiful Adonis. 
It was prescribed as provocative to sleep ; and it cured 
Augustus of the malady which sits so heavily on the soul 
of Leopold of Bel^um, — hypochondriasis. Science and 
rank eulogized the lettuce, and philosophy sanctioned the 



THE MATEEIiXS FOB BINIirO; 181 

eulogy in the^ person of Aristoxenus, who not only grew 
lettuces as the pride of his garden, hut irrigated them 
with wine, ia order to increase their flavour. 

But we must not place too much trust ia the stories 
either of sages or apothecaries. These Pagans recom- 
mended the seductive, hut iadigestihle, endive, as good 
against the headache, and young onions and honey as 
admirahle preservers of health, when taken fasting ; but 
this was a prescription for rustic swains and nymphs, — the 
higher classes, in town or country, would hardly venture 
on it. And yet the mother of ApoUo ate raw leeks, and 
loved them of gigantic dimensions. For this reason, 
perhaps, was the leek accounted, not only as saluhrious, hut 
as a heautifier. The love for melons was derived, in 
similar fashion, probahly, from Tiberius, who cared for 
them even more than he did for broccoli. The German 
CsBsars inherited the taste of their Eoman predecessor, 
carrying it, indeed, to excess ; for more than one of them, 
as may be seen in another page, submitted to die after 
eating melons, rather than live by renouncing them. 

I have spoken of gigantic asparagus : the Jews had 
radishes that could vie with them, if it be true that a fox 
and cubs could burrow in the hollow of one, and that it 
was not uncommon to grow them of a hundred poimds in 
weight. It must have been such radishes as these that 
were employed by seditious mobs of old, as weapons, in 
insurrections. In such case, a rebellious people were always 
well victualled, and had peculiar facilities, not only to beat 
their adversaries, but to eat their own arms. The horse- 
radish is, probably, a descendant of this gigantic ancestor. 
It had, at one period, a gigantic reputation. Dipped in 
poison, it rendered the draught innocuous, and, rubbed on 
the hands, it made an encounter with venomed serpents 
mere play. In short, it was celebrated as being a cure 
for every evil in life, — the only exception being, that it 



182 TABLE TEAITS. 

destroyed the teeth. There was far more difference of 
opinion touching garlic, than there was touching the 
radish. The Egyptians deified it, as they did the leek 
and the cahbage ; the Greeks devoted it to Gehenna, — 
and to soldiers, sailors, and cocks that were not "game." 
Medicinally, it was held to be useful in many diseases, 
if the root used were originally sown when the moon 
was below the horizon. No one who had eaten of it, 
however, could presume to enter the Temple of Cybele. 
Alphonso of Castile was as particular as this goddess; 
and a Ejiight of Castile, " detected as being guilty of 
garlic," sufiered banishment from the royal presence 
during an entire month. 

Parsley has fared better, both with gods and men. 
Hercules and Anacreon crowned themselves with it. It 
was worn both at joyous banquets and funeral feasts ; 
and not only horses, but those who bestrode them, ate of 
the herb, in order to find the excitement to daring which 
otherwise lacked. In contrast with parsley stood the 
water-cress, a plant honoured and eaten only by the Per- 
sians. It was, indeed, medically esteemed as curative of 
consumption, and, by placing it in the ears, of tooth-ache. 
But the wits and Plutarch denounced its use in any 
case ; and few cared to affect love for a plant which was 
popularly declared to have the power of twisting the noses 
of those who put it into their mouths ! 

Parsley was as popular in what may be called " classi- 
cal" times, as the asparagus has invariably been with a 
particular class in Prance. This vegetable has ever 
been, I know not wherefore, a favourite vegetable with 
the ofl&cials of the GalHcan Church. One day, Mon- 
seigneur Cburtois de Quincy, Bishop of Belley, was 
informed that an asparagus head had just pierced the soil 
in His Eminence's kitchen-garden, and that it was worth 
looking at. Cardinal and convives rose from table, 



THE MATEEIALS TOE DUTITTG. 183 

visited the spot, and were lost in admiration at what 
they saw. Day hy day the Bishop watched the growth of 
the delicious giant. His mouth watered as he looked 
at it, and happy was he when the day arrived in which 
he might with his own hands take it from the ground. 
When he did so, he found, to his disappointment, that he 
held a wooden counterfeit, admirably turned and painted 
by the Canon Eosset, who was famous for his artistic 
abilities, and also for his practical jokes. The joke on 
this occasion was taken in good part, and the counterfeit 
asparagus was admitted to the honour of lying on the 
Bishop's table. 

I have noticed, that asparagus has been suggested as 
one of the substitutes for coffee. In this case, the seeds 
are taken from the berries, by drying the latter in an 
oven, and rubbing them on a sieve. When ground, the 
seeds make a full-flavoured cofiee, not inferior, it is said, 
— but that is doubtful, — to the best Mocha. 

It was the opinion of PHny, that nature intended aspa- 
ragus to grow wild, in order that all might eat thereof. 
That was esteemed the best which grew naturally on the 
mountain-sides. The famous Eavenna asparagus was 
cultivated with such perfection, that three of them 
weio'hed a pound. Lobster surrounded with asparagus was 
a favourite dish ; and the rapidity with which the latter 
should be cooked, is illustrated, as I have said, by a pro- 
verb : " Veloeius quam asparagi coquuntv/r !" There is 
a story told of an intrusive traveller forcing his company 
at supper on another wayfarer, before whom were placed 
an omelette and some asparagus. The intruder had not 
before seen any "grass," and inquired what it was. " 0, 
it is very well in its way," said the other, " and we wiU 
divide both omelette and asparagus;" and therewith, 
after carving the first, he cut the bunch in two, and gave 
the white ends to the importunate visitor. The greatest 



184 TABIB TKAITS. 

indignation ever experienced by Careme, was once at 
hearing that some guests had eaten asparagus with one 
of his new entrentits, and mixed it in then- months with 
iced champagne. 

There is an opinion current in some parts of England, 
that they who eat of old parsnips that have been long in 
the ground invariably go mad ; and on this account the 
root is called " mad-nip." On some such " insane root," 
it is said, the Indians, named by Garcilasso, whetted 
their appetites before they ate their dead parents. Such 
form of entombment was accounted most dignified and 
dutiful. If the defunct was lean, the children boiled 
their parent ; but obesity was always honoured by roast- 
ing. Fathers ar^d mothers were religiously picked to the 
very bones, and the bones themselves were then eon- 
signed to the earth. This, however, is not an exclusively 
Indian custom. The Indians only devoured their de- 
ceased parents ; but I have seen, in Christian England, ' 
many a son devouring father and mother, too, during 
their lives, swallowing their very substance^ and then, 
like the Indians, committing their bones to the bosom of 
a tender mother, — earth. 

Perhaps there is nothing, in the vegetable way, more 
insipid than parsnips; b«t these are sometimes as mis- 
chievous as insipid persons. This is the case, if the 
above-named tradition be worthy of credit, wherein we are 
told, that old parsnips are called " mad-nips," and that 
the maids who eat of them invariably become more like 
Salmacis than the youth she wooed, and are as much 
given to dancing as though they had been bitten by a 
tarantula. I fear the " mad-nip " is too much eaten in 
many of our rural districts, and perhaps by the acerbm 
mrgo of metropolitan towns and episcopal cities also. 
But let us look at our ancient friend, the potato. 

It has been well said, that the first art in boiling a 



THE MATEEIAIS FOE BININ&. 185 

potato, is to prevent the boiling of the potato. " Upon 
the heat and flame of the distemper sprinkle cool 
patience;" for without patience, care, and attention, — 
extreme vigilance being impUed by the latter, a potato 
will never come out of the pot triumphantly well boiled. 

The potato has been found iu an iadigenous state in 
ChiU, on the mountains near Valparaiso and Mendoza; 
also near Monte Video, Lima, Quito, in Santa Fe da 
Bogota, and on the banks of the Orizaba, in Mexico. 
Cobbett cursed the root as being that of the ruin of Ire- 
laud, where it is said to have been first planted by 
Ealeigh, on his estate at Toughal, near Cork. Its intro- 
duction iato England is described as the effect of acci- 
dent, in consequence of the wrecking of a vessel on the 
coast of Lancashire, which had a quantity of this " fruit" 
on board. 

The common potato (solanum tuberosum) was probably 
first brought to Spain from Quito by the Spaniards, in 
the early part of the sixteenth century. In both of 
those coimtries the tubers are known by the designation 
oijiapas. In passing from Spain into Italy, it naturalized 
itself under the name of " the truffle." In 1598, we hear 
of its arrival at Vienna, and thence spreading over 
Europe. It certainly was not known in North America 
in 1586, the period at which llaleigh's colonists in Vir- 
ginia are- said to have sent it to England ; axid in the 
latter country it was not known until long after its 
introduction, as noticed above, into Ireland. In Gerard's 
Herbal (1597) the Batata Yi/rgmiana, as it is called, to 
distinguish it from the Batata Edulis, or " sweet potato," 
is described ; and the author recommends the root, not 
for common food, but as " a delicate dish." The sweet 
potato was the "delicate dish" at English tables long 
before the introduction of its honest cousin. We im- 
ported it from Spain and the Canaries, and in very consi- 
derable quantities. It enjoyed the reputation of possess- 



186 TABLE TEAITS. 

ing power to restore decayed vigour. This reputation 
tas not escaped Shakspeare, who makes Falstaff exult- 
ingly remark, in a fit of pleasant excitement, that " it 
rains potatoes!" The Eoyal Society of England, ia 
1663, urgently recommended the extensive cultivation of 
the root as a resource against threatened famine ; hut as 
late as the end of that century, a good hundred years 
after its first introduction, the writers on gardening con- 
tinued to treat its merits with a contemptuous indiffer- 
ence ; though one of them does " damn with faint 
praise," by remarking, that " they are much used in Ire- 
land and America as bread, and may be propagated with 
advantage to poor people." As late as 1719, the potato 
was not deemed worthy of being named in the " Com- 
plete Gardener " of Loudon and Wise, and it was not tiU 
the middle of the last centmy that it became generally 
used in Britain and North America. The " conserva- 
tives of gulosity" of that day continued long to dispa- 
ragingly describe it as " a root found in the New World, 
consisting of little knobs, held together by strings: if 
you boil it weU, it cam, be eaten ; it may become an arti- 
cle of food ; it will certainly do for hogs ; and though it is 
rather flatulent and acid in the human stomach, perhaps, 
if you boil it with dates, it may serve to keep soul and 
body together, among those who can find nothing better." 
Some sixty years since, the Dutch introduced the 
potato into Bengal. The produce was sold in Calcutta 
at 5s. a pound. The English tried to raise them, and all 
their plants grew like Jack's bean-stalk, but lacked its 
strength. The Hollanders continually cut the swiftly- 
growing plant, and so compelled it to produce its fruit 
beneath the ground. The secret was as well worth 
knowing as that other touching potatoes during frost. 
The only precaution necessary is, to retain the potato in 
a perfectly dark place, for some days after the thaw has 
commenced. In America, where they are sometimes 



THE MATEEIAIS FOB DIiniTG. 187 

frozen as hard as stones, they rot if thawed in open day ; 
but if thawed in darkness, they do not rot, and lose very 
little of their natural odour and properties. So, at least, 
they assert, who profess to have means of best knowing. 
The potato is said to have been first planted, in England, 
in the county of Lancashire, which was once as famous 
for the plant as Lithuania is for beet-root. It is not 
much more than a century siuce cabbages reached us 
from Holland. They were first planted in Dorsetshire, 
by the Ashleys ; and I may add here what I have omit- 
ted in speaking of it in earher times, namely, that the 
Athenians administered the juice of it iu cases of slow 
parturition. Let me farther add, that such terms as 
" cow-cabbage," " horse-radish," " buU-rush," and the 
like, do not imply any connexion between the article and 
the animal. The animal prefix is simply to signify 
unusual size. The prefix was commonly so applied 
by the ancients : hence the name of Alexander's charger ; 
and a not less familiar illustration is afforded us in the 
case of the "horse-leech." Cabbage used to have said of 
it what Lemery, physician of Louis XIV., more truly said 
of spinach ; namely, that " it stops coughing, allays the 
shai-p humours of the breast, and keeps the body open." 
Spinach, to be truly enjoyed, should never be eaten with- 
out liberal saturation of gravy ; and French epicures say, 
"Do not forget the nutmeg." This vegetable goes excel- 
lently with swine's flesh in every shape, but especially 
ham, the stimulating flavour of which it strongly modifies. 
Eice, as an article of food, has something remarkable in 
it. Its cultivation destroys life ; and when the grain is 
eaten, its value as a supporter of strength is very imcer- 
tain. The cultivation of this production, where it does 
not destroy life, does destroy comfort, and slaves may be 
compelled, but freemen will not go voluntarily, to raise 
the "paddy crop." In India, where the people of many 
districts depend upon it entirely as a chief article of food, 



188 TABLE TEAITS. 

famine is often the result, simply because the failure of 
one crop leaves the unenergetic people without any other 
present resource. 

And now, by way of a concluding word to those who 
read medicinally, I would say, on the best authority, 
first, that of the haricot-bean I have nothing to add to 
what I have already stated. With regard to peas, they 
are, like many other things, most pleasant and wholesome 
when young. Old, they are the fathers of gaseous cohc ; 
and, when swallowed with the additional tenacity of tex- 
ture derived from being made into pudding,— why, then 
the imhappy consumer is a man to be pitied. Potatoes 
are best baked, or roasted Hghtly. In the latter case, 
they are scarcely less nutritious than bread; but the 
potato must be in full health, and the cooking unexception- 
able. There is many a cook who could execute, to a 
charm, the fiiecmdecm invented by Leo X., who has not 
the remotest idea of cooking a potato. When the Flem- 
ings sent us the carrot, in the reign of Elizabeth, it is a 
pity they could not have deprived it of its fibrine texture, 
the drawback to be set against its saccharine nutritive- 
ness. As the Bomans waxed strong upon the turnip, we 
may allow that it has some virtues, and that Charles the 
First's Secretary, Lord Townshend, did good service by 
re-introducing it to his countrymen. Like the Jerusalem 
artichoke, it requires a strong accompaniment of salt and 
pepper, to counteract its watery and flatulent influences. 
As for radishes, he who eats them is tormenting his 
stomach with bad water, woody fibre, and acrid poison ; 
,and if his stomach resents such treatment, why, it most 
emphatically "serves him right." As for cucumber, in 
the days of Evelyn, it was looked upon as only one 
remove from poison, and it had better be eaten and 
enjoyed with that opinion in memory. It is a pity that 
what is pleasant is not always what is proper. Thus the 
cucumber is attractiye, but not nutritive ; while the onions 



THE MATEEIAIS FOE DUrOTG. 189 

at whose very name every man stands witli his hand to 
his month, like a Persian in the act of ad-oration, is 
exceedingly nourishing and wholesome. But I can never 
think of it, without remembering the story of the man 
who, having breakfasted early on bread and onions, entered 
an inn on a bitterly cold morning, with the remark, that 
for the last two hours he had had the wind in his teeth. 
" Had you ?" said the imfortunate person who happened 
to be nearest to him : " then, by Jove, the wind had the 
worst of it !" 

An onion is all very well as an ingredient in a sauce, 
but to make a meal of it ! Well ! it is on record that 
a dinner has been made, at which nothing was served but 
sauces. A dinner of sauces must have been quickly pre- 
pared ; but, for quick preparation, I know nothing that 
can vie with a feat accomplished, on the 18th of March 
of the present year, at the Freemasons' Tavern. The 
" Eound-Catch-and-Canon Club" were to dine there at 
half-past :five P.M. An hour previously, the active Secre- 
tary, Mr. Francis, Vicar-Choral of St. Paul's, arrived, to 
see that " all was right." He found aU wrong. Through 
some mistake, no company was expected ; and, there 
being no other dinners ordered for that day, the weary 
proprietors, and their chief " aids," were enjojdng a little 
relaxation. Not only were the high priestesses of the 
kitchen "out," but the sacred fires of the altars had fol- 
lowed their example. Grreat was the horror of the able 
counter-tenor Secretary ; but the difficulty was trium- 
phantly met by the accomplished officers of the estabUsh- 
ment ; and, at six o'clock precisely, forty-two of us sat 
down to so perfect a banquet, that the shade of Careme 
might have contemplated it with a smUe of unalloyed 
satisfaction. This house may boast of this tour de force 
for ever ! 



SAUCES. 



The donor of the sauce dinner, mentioned in the last 
page, was an eccentric old Major. He invited three persons 
to partake of this unique repast. The soup consisted of 
gravy sauce, and oyster and lobster sauce were handed 
round instead of filet de sole. Then came the sirloin in 
guise of egg sauce, on the ground, I suppose, that an egg 
is proverbially "fuU of meat." There was no pheasant, 
but there was bread sauce, to put his guests in mind of 
the flavour ; and if they had not plum.-pudding, they had 
as much towards it as could be implied by brandy sauce ; 
just as Heyne says, that Munich is the modern Athens in 
this far, — ^that if it has not the philosophers, it has the hem- 
lock, and has Aleibiades' dog, as a preparation towards get- 
ting Alcibiades. The sauce-boatswere emptied by the guests. 
The wine was weU-resorted to after each boat, and a little 
brandy settled the viand that was represented by the 
egg sauce. Half the guests, between excess of lobster 
sauce and Cognac, were all the worse for the banquet ; but 
that proved rather the weakness of their stomachs, than 
the non-excellence of the feast. It is said that the Major, 
when alone in the evening, wound up with a rump-steak 
supper; — a process rather characteristic of the " old 
soldier ;" but I have heard, in a provincial town, of large 
parties to "tea," followed by a snug family party, when 
the guests were all departed, to a hot supper, with the 
usual et cceteras. But let its get back from the supper to 
the matter of seasonings. 



SAUCES. 191 

SeasoniBgs may be said to form an important item in 
the practice and results of cookery. The first, and most 
useful and natural, is salt. The ancients did not allow, at 
one time, of its use in sacrifices ; hut Homer called it 
" divine," and Plutarch speaks of it as acceptable to the 
gods. Its value was not known to men until the 
Phoenicians, Selech and Misor, — so, at least, says an 
ancient legend, — taught mankind the real worth of this 
production as a condiment, and thereby gave to meat 
increased flavour, and to the eaters of it increased health 
and improved digestions. 

The Roman soldiers received their pay in salaritim, or 
" salt-money. ' ' The Mexican rulers punished r ebelUous pro- 
vinces by interdicting the use of salt ; and Holland, some 
years since, cruelly took vengeance on the breakers of the' 
law, by serving them with food, without salt, during the 
term of their imprisonment. The poor wretches were 
almost devoured by worms, in consequence of this inhuman 
proceeding. 

Of course, the salt-money of the soldiery was, like the 
pin-money of a married lady, employed in other ways than 
those warranted by its appeUation. For above three centu- 
ries, soldiers served ffratis, and supported themselves. Then 
came " salt-money," or salariimi, in the shape of a couple 
of oloU daily to the foot, and a drachma to the cavalry. 
This was to the common men. The Tribunes were, how- 
ever, exorbitantly paid, if Juvenal's allusion may be 
trusted, wherein he says that, — 

" alter enim, quantum in legione Tnbuni 
Accipiunt, donat Calvina vel Catienie ;" 

or, as it may be translated, 

" Such sums as a fnU Colonel's coffers swell. 
He flings to Lola, or to Laura Bell 1" 

But this must have been in very late times, previous to 



192 TABM TEAITS. 

wHch frugality, modesty, and indifferent pay were ever 
the Tribune's share of the national virtues and their con- 
sequences, lauded by Livy. The first Caesar doubled the 
saTantm of the army, and decreed that it should never be 
reduced. His successors followed the example of increase. 
Augustus fixed the salt-money at ten asses a day, and by 
the time 0f Domitiaia it was considerably more than 
double that amount. From that period, the soldiery fed 
better, and fought worse, than ever. Up to the time of 
the Empire they had been frugal livers, and were not 
above preparing the rations of corn allowed them with 
their own hands : some ground it in hand-nulls, others 
pounded it between stones, and the hastily-baked cakes 
were eaten contentedly upon the turf, with nothing better 
to wash them down than pure water, or, at best, posca, 
which was water mixed with vinegar, — and a very whole- 
some beverage, too, ia hot weather. 

The Jewish dispensation, unlike that of the early 
Olympian theology, enforced the use of salt in all sacri- 
ficial ceremonies. That of the Dead Sea was abundant ; 
and Galen pronounced it as the most favourable for 
seasoning, and for promoting digestion. The Greeks 
learned to eaU it " divincj" and at last consecrated it to 
their gods. SpUimg salt was accounted as unlucky in 
the days when " young Time counted his birthdays by the 
sun," as in these modern times when the schoolmaster 
is abroad, — sometimes too much abroad. 

Ancus Martins was the first of the Koman Kings who 
levied a duty on salt. He was not visited by the gods 
— as legends sa,}' other Kings were who created such 
imposts — ^by some dire calamity. The bad example of 
Ancus Martius has continued over nearly the whole of 
Europe : and a slave cannot eat salt to his bread without 
paying tribute to the King. 

The word " salt " was often used for life itself. When 



BArcEs. 193 

Dordalus says to Toxilus, in the " Persa" " Eodem mild 
pretio sal prwhibetur quce tibi" — " I get my salt at the 
same price as you do," — he simply means that his man- 
ner of life is as good as that of Toxilus, and that a slave- 
merchant is as respectable as the very best-fed of slaves 
themselves. Catullus employs the word to denote 
beauty ; other poets use it to signify virtues of various 
kinds; and in Terence we find a man without salt to 
mean a man without sense. Plutarch was not wrong 
when he styled salt "the condiment of condiments." I 
do not know that it has ever been used to point a pro- 
verb with a contemptuous meaning, except in Greece, 
where he who had nothing to dine upon was called a 
" salt-Ucker." Rome, where it was of such commercial 
importance, honoured it more by giving to the road 
along which it was conveyed the name of " the Salarian 
Way." 

There were people who never knew its use, as in 
Epeiros ; some who have steadily rejected it, as the 
Bathvirst tribe in Australia. The Peruvians delighted in 
it, and ate it mixed with hot pepper and bitter herbs, as a 
sort of "sweetmeat." How sacred it is in Arabia, we all 
know ; and, in illustration of it, I have heard of an Arab 
burglar accidentally letting his tongue come in contact, as 
he was plundering a house by night, with a piece of salt. 
He instantly deemed he had partaken of the owner's 
hospitality, and he departed without booty. Could 
Christian thieves be so influenced, we should salt our 
plate-baskets and cash-boxes nightly ! 

In Sicily a salt is spoken of that melts only in fire, and 
hardens in water. At TJtica, one of the great salt 
suppliers of the ancient world, it lay about in such huge 
mounds, hardened by the sun and moon, that the pickaxe 
would scarcely penetrate it. In Arabia whole cities were 
once built of it, the blocks of salt being cemented by 

o 



194 TABIB TEAITS. 

water. It is still procured witli most difficulty in 
Abyssinia, where tlie clouds are supposed to deposit 
the crystal ia sandy plains, of heat so furious, that it 
is only during one or two hours of the night that the 
seekers of it dare dash into the locality, and carry off, as 
hastily as possible, what they seek. It is procured far 
more pleasantly in those parts of Chili where it is found 
deposited on the leaves of plants. Off the warmer coasts 
of South America, and the stiU hotter shores of A&ica, 
blocks weighing from one to two hundred weight have 
been picked up. Some writers tell us that lakes are nothing 
more than salt plains in solution ; and others, that salt 
plains are merely lakes congealed. However this may be, 
it is known that generally four gallons of water produce 
one of salt; but there is great difference of result in 
various localities, some water yielding a sixth, other only 
a sixteenth. The deep sea-water is the most highly pro- 
ductive. There are various strange ingredients, too, 
used in different places to make the salt "grain" 
properly. White of egg, butter, ale, and even blood, are 
employed to produce the desired result. In its fossil or 
mineral state it is nowhere seen to such great advan- 
tage as in the mines of Williska, in Poland. I have seen 
those near Salzburg, in southern Austria ; but these are 
mere salt-cellars, compared with the Polish mine, which 
forms a large subterranean city, has its streets, citizens, 
and coteries, and is an undergroimd republic, many of 
the natives of which die without seeing a blade of grass, 
or a gleam of sunlight, upon the bosom of the upper 
earth. 

Finally, salt is the most natural stimulant for the 
digestive organs ; but it should be remembered that too 
much of it is almost as bad as too little. The lowering 
of the price of salt, a consequence of the abolition of the 
duty, was beneficial to the poor, and ruinous to th,e 



SArcES, 195 

worm-doctors. It is a singular production. In small 
quantities it is a stimulating manure ; in large quantities 
it begets sterility. A little of it accelerates putrefaction, 
wMle a large quantity prevents it. Farther, it is to be 
remembered, — and I have mentioned tbe fact in another 
page, — ^that the salt in salted meat is not (whatever it 
may once have been) the table salt, the use of which is so 
favourable to digestion. In the meat it undergoes a 
chymical change, by which it deteriorates itself as weU as 
the object to which it is applied. " Sweet salt " was the 
name once given to sugar ; and in reference to this latter 
production, it may be safely averred, that its introduction, 
worked a considerable change in society. And it appears 
to have been early added to that " significant luxury," 
wheat. In Isaiah xhii. 24 there is an allusion made to 
it in these words : " Thou hast bought me no sweet cane 
with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of 
.sacrifices." And again, in Jeremiah vi. 20: "To what 
purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and 
sweet cane from a far coimtry ?" It would seem, how- 
ever, that though the sweet cane may have been known, 
its nses were not very speedily appreciated, or, if they 
were, that they were for a long time forgotten. Thus, 
as late as the thirteenth century of our era, a writer 
speaks of a novel sort of salt that has been discovered, 
the flavour of which was sweet, and, as he suggests, 
might be found acceptable to sick persons, because of its 
soothing and cooling properties. "Honey out of the 
rock," which was the sweetener most early noticed ia 
Scripture, fell into comparative disuse, aftet sugar had 
become a necessary of Ufe, after being first a medicine, 
and then a luxury. The Spaniards received it from the 
Arabs, and familiarized it in Europe. Its first settlement 
beyond the Continent was in Madeira, and at length it 
found a congenial soil in the islands of the Western 
o 2 



196 TABLE TBAITS. 

■Indies. God gave the gift, but man has discovered how 
to. abuse it to his own destruction ; and, from the sweet 
food offered by an angel, he has distilled the fire-water, 
which slays like the pestilence. But to return, for a 
moment, from the sweets to the salts, and especially to 
the latter in the form of brine. 

The Eomans were fond of brine, — ^water ia which bay- 
salt had been dissolved, — as a seasoning ; and after dinner, 
those who could not guess the riddles that were put to 
them, were punished, like the refractory gentlemen at the 
tNightingale Club, by being compelled to swallow a cup- 
fuU, without drawing breath. Apicius invented a com- 
position made up of salt, pepper, ginger, thyme, celery, 
rocket, and anise-seed, with lamoni, wild marjoram, holy 
thistle, spikenard, parsley, and hyssop, as a specific to be 
taken, after heavy dinners, against indigestion. They 
who could digest the remedy need not have been afraid 
of the dinner. 

That universal seasoning of the classical world, the 
garwm, was originally a shrimp sauce ; but it was subse- 
quently made of the intestines of almost any fish, mace- 
rated in water, saturated with salt ; and when symptoms 
of putrefaction began to appear, a little parsley and 
vinegar were added; and there was the famous garwm, 
of which the inventors were so proud, — and particularly 
of a garvm which was prepared in Spain. Mesh instead 
of fish was occasionally used, with no difference iil the 
process of preparation ; and it would be difficult to say 
which was the nastier. But, pe;rhaps, if we could see 
the witchery of preparing any of our own flavouring 
sauces, we should be reluctant ever to allow a drop of the 
polluted mixture to pass our lips. There is a bhss in 
ignorance. 

Pythagoras showed better taste in the science of 
seasonings, when he took to eating nothing but honey 



SAUCES, 197 

wlierewitii to flavour bis bread, Hybla sounds sweet, 
the very word smells sweet, from its association with 
honey. Aristaeus, who is said to have discovered its use, 
merited the patent of nobiEty, wberdby he was declared 
to have descended from the gods ; and the placing the 
honeycomb and its makers under the protection of Mel- 
lona, expressly made by men for this purpose, was a proof 
of the value in which they were held. Theophrastus 
placed sugar among the honeys, — the honey of reeds, — 
or the "salt of India," as some strangely called it. The 
Greek physicians recommended its use, both as food and 
as flavourer. It was at one time as scarce as cinnamon, 
— that precious bark of which the phoenix made its nest, 
and which the Caesars monopolized. Cumamon and cloves 
were not employed in seasoniug until a comparatively 
modem period. The good people of earUer days pre- 
ferred veijuice, in certain cases prescribed by Galen. 
They seemed to have a taste for acids : hence the admira- 
tion, both in Greece and Eome, for viuegar and pickles. 
Vinegar figured in the army statistics of Eome especially ; 
but it once, at least, figured in a stiU more remarkable 
way in the statistics of the French army, in the time 
of Louis XIII., when the Due de la MeUleraye, Grand 
Master of the Artillery of France, put down £52,000 
as the sum expended by him in cooling cannons. How 
hot the war must have been, and at what a price 
the fever must have been maintained, when the merely 
refrigerating process cost so much ! 

French epicures maintain that the pig was bom to be 
"ringed," and that his mission was to rout at the foot of 
the yoke-ebn trees, and turn up truffles ! Pliny gravely 
looked upon the tmffle as a prodigy sown by the thunder- 
bolt in autumnal storms. However this may be, all 
lovers of good things eat the truffle with a sort of 
devout ecstasy, in spite of the wide differences of opinion 



198 TABLE TBAITS. 

wMeh exist among the faculty of guessers, as to whether 
the truffle be nutritious or poisonous, fit for food, or 
monster sire of indigestion. The ' fact is, that they 
should he delicately dealt with, like mushrooms ; of which 
he who eats little is wise, and he who eats not of them 
at all is safe from blaming them for bringing on indiges- 
tion — as far as he is concerned. 

The truffle is thus elaborately, yet not verbosely, 
described by Archimagirus Soyer : " The truffle is a very 
remarkable vegetable, which, without stems, roots, or 
fibres, grows of itself, isolated in the bosom of the earth, 
absorbing the nutritive juice. Its form is round, more or 
less regular ; its surface is smooth, or tuberculous ; the 
colour, dark brown outside, brown, grey, or white within. 
Its tissue is formed of articulated filaments, between which 
are spheric vesicles, and in the interior are placed repro- 
ductive bodies, small brown spheres, called ' truffinelles.^ 
Truffles vegetate to the depth of five or sis inches in the 
high sandy soils of the south-west of Prance, Piedmont, 
&o. Their mode of vegetation and reproduction is not 
known. (?) Dogs are trained to find them,^ as well as 
pigs, and boars also, who are very fond of them. They 
are eaten cooked under the ashes, or in wine and water. 
They are preserved when prepared in oU, which is soon 
impregnated with their odour. Poultry is stufied with 
them ; also geese's livers, pies, and cooked pork, besides 
numerous ragouts. They possess, as it is said, exciting 
virtues." The latter, we suppose, is a paraphrase for the 
sentiment of " Falstaff," before cited,- " It rains pota- 
toes !" Shell-fish had the same reputation in the olden 
time. " Tene mwFSwpmm," says Italius to Olympio, in 
the Mudens : — 

" Aii aique obsouia propera ; sed lepidi volo 
Molliculas escas, ut ypsa mollicula est." 

As for the mushroom, if it be not in itself deadly, 



BATTCES. 199 

it has been made the veMcle of death. Agrippina poisoned 
Claudius in one, and Nero, his successor, had a respect 
for this production ever after. Tiberius, in Pagan, and 
Clement VII., in Papal, Eome, as weU as Charles VI. of 
Prance, are also said to have been "approximately" 
Idlled by mushrooms. Seneca calls them "voluptuous 
poison," and of this poison his countrymen ate heartily, 
and suffered dreadfully. The mushroom was not ren- 
dered harmless by the process of Meander, — raising them 
under the shadow of a well-irrigated and richly-manured 
fig-tree. 

One of the most perfect illustrations of "sauce," in 
its popular sense, with which I am acquainted, is con 
veyed in the reply once given by a French Cwri to his 
Bishop. It is a regulation made by canonical law, that 
a Priest cannot keep a female servant to manage his 
household, unless she be of the assigned age of, at least, 
forty years. It once happened that a Bishop dined with 
a Gwre, at whose house the Prelate had arrived in the 
course of a visitation torn*. On that occasion he found 
that they were waited on at dinner by two quietly pretty 
female attendants, of some twenty years each. When 
diocesan and subordinate were once more alone, the 
former remarked on the uncanonical condition of the 
household, and asked the Cv/re if he were not aware that, 
by rule of church, he could maintain but one menagere, 
who must have attained, at least, forty years of age? 
" I am quite aware of it, Monseigneur," said the rubicund 
Owrd; " but, as you see, I prefer having my housekeeper 
in two volumes ! " 

With respect to the use of spices, it may be safely said, 
that the less they are used, the better for the stomach. 
A soupqon c£ them in certain preparations is not to be 
objected to; but it must be recollected that in most 
cases, however pleasant they may be to th« palate, the 



200 a?ABLE TEAITS. 

apparent vigour wUcli they give to the stomach is at 
the expense of the liver, and the reaction leaves the 
former in a worse condition than it was in before. 

The world probably never saw a second time such a 
trade in spices as that which was carried on of old 
between Canaan and Egypt. The Dutch and Amboyna 
was a huckstering matter compared with it. Egypt sent 
Canaan her corn, wine, oil, and Hnen ; and Canaan sent, 
in return, her spicery, balm, myrrh, precious woods, and 
minerals. The Ishmaelites were the carrying merchants ; 
and, while each class of them had its especial article of 
commerce, they aU dabbled a little in slave-dealing. 
Thus, the men of the tribe that purchased Joseph dealt 
in spicery only, — a term including bahn and myrrh. The 
Egyptian demand for the article was enormous. At the 
period of the sale of Joseph, spicery was most extensively 
used, not only for the embalming of men, but of sacred 
animals. In after times, this practice ceased to a great 
extent, on account of a large failure in the supply. 

There is something very characteristic of the " ancient 
nation" in the transaction of the brethren with respect 
to Joseph. The general proposal was to slay him ; but 
it was Judah, first of his race, who, with a strong eye to 
business, exclaimed, "What profit to slay our brother, 
and conceal his blood ? Come, let us sell Jiim to the 
Ishmaelites." The opposition to fratricide, on the part 
of Judah, was not on the principle that it was a crime, 
but that it brought nothing. But, no sooner had ihe 
pointed out how they might get rid of the troublesome 
brother, and put money in their purses to boot, than the 
profligate kinsmen adopted the project with alacrity, pre- 
ferring lucrative felony to downright profitless murder, 
— Do I hear you remark. Sir, that it has ever been thus 
with this rebellious Jewish people ? Well, let us not be 
rash in assertions. Judah was a very mercenary fellow, 



SATCBS. 201 

no doubt ; but it was better to sell a live brother into a 
slavery which gave him the chance of sitting at the table 
of Pharaoh Phiops, than to mxirder one for the mere sake 
of making money by the sale of the body, as was done by 
a Christian gentleman of the name of Burke. 

There are some plants used in seasoning which have 
been esteemed for other vii'tues besides lending a fillip to 
the appetite. Others of these seasoning plants have 
acquired an evil reputation. Thus orach was said to 
cause paUor and dropsy. Rocket had a double use : it 
not only was said to remove freckles, but an infusion of it 
in wine rendered the hide of a scourged convict insensible to 
the whip. Pennel was, unlike asparagus, held to be good 
for the sight. Dill, on the other hand, injured the eyes, 
while it strengthened the stomach. Anise-seed was in 
great favour with the medical philosophers, who pre- 
scribed it to be taken, 'fasting, in wine ; and hyssop wine 
was a specific for cutaneous eruptions, brought on by 
drinking wine of a stronger quality. Wild thyme cured 
the bite of serpents, — if the sufferer could only collect it 
in time; and pennyroyal was sovereign for indigestion. 
Rue cured the ear-ache, and nullified poisons ; for which 
latter purpose it was much used by Mithridates. Mint 
was gaily eaten, with many a joke, because it was said to 
have been originally a pretty girl, metamorphosed by 
Proserpine. The Romans, now and then, ate camomile 
at table, just as old country ladies, when tea was first 
introduced, and sent to them as a present, used to boil 
the leaves, and serve them, at dinner, like spinach. 
Capers, in the olden time, were vulgar berries, and left 
for democratic digestion. "I once saw growing in 
Italy," said an Irish traveller, fit to be " own correspond- 
ent" to one of the morning papers, "the finest anchovies 
I ever beheld !" A listener naturally doubted the alleged 
fact ; and the offended Irishman not only called him out, 



202 TABLE TEAITS. 

biit shattered Ms knee-cap by a pistol-shot. As he was 
leaping about with intensity of pain, the Irishman's 
second remarked to his principal, that he had made his 
adversary cut capers, at any rate. " Capers !" exclaimed 
the Hibernian, "capers! 'faith, that *s it. • Sure, Sir," he 
added, advancing to his antagonist, " you were right ; it 
was not anchovies, but capers, that I saw growing. I 
beg pardon: don't think any more about it." Let us 
add, that, if the aristocratic ancients deeply declined 
capers, they were exceedingly fond of assafoetida, as a 
seasoning ingredient. Green ginger was also a popular 
condiment ; and it is commonly eaten in Madagascar at 
this day. I suppose that, in former times, HuU imported 
this production in large quantities, and that therefore one 
of her streets is called "the Land of Green Ginger." 
The Eomans gave wormwood wine to the charioteers, 
perhaps considering that the stomachic beverage would 
secure them from dizziness. 

I have mentioned above that Mithridates patronized 
rue as a nuUifier of poisons. He was in the habit of 
swallowing poisons, as people in the summer swallow 
ices ; and he was famous for inventing antidotes, to 
enable him to take them with impunity. One conse- 
quence is, that he has gained a sort of immortality in our 
pharmacopoeia; and " Mithridate," in pharmacy, is a 
compound medicine, in form of an electuary, serving 
as either a remedy or a preservative against poisons, being 
also accounted a cordial, opiate, sudorific, and alexiphar- 
mic. " Mithridate" is, or rather, I suppose, was, one of 
the capital medicines in the apothecaries' shops. The 
preparation of it, according to the direction of the Col- 
lege, is as follows ; and. I request my readers to peruse it 
attentively, and to get it by heart, in case of necessity 
supervening. Here is the facile recipe : " Take of cinna- 
mon, fourteen drachms ; of myrrh, eleven drachms ; aga- 



SATTCIS. 203 

rick, spikenard, ginger, saffron, seeds of treaele-mustard, 
frankincense, Ohio turpentiae, of eacli ten dracliins; 
camel's hay, costus, Indian leaf, Frencli lavender, long 
pepper, seeds of haitwort, juice of the rape of cistus, 
strained storax, opopanax, strained galhanum, halsam of 
GUead, or, in its stead, expressed oil of nutmegs, Kussian 
castor, of each an ounce ; poly-mountain, water german- 
der, the fruit of the halsam tree, seeds of the carrot of 
Crete, hdellium strained, of each seven drachms ; Celtic 
nard, gentian root, leaves of dittany of Crete, red roses, 
seed of Macedonian parsley, the lesser Cardanum seeds 
freed from their husks, sweet fennel seeds, gum Arahic, 
opium strained, of each five drachms ; root of the sweet 
flag, root of wild valerian, anise-seed, sagapenum strained, 
of each three drachms ; spignel, St. John's wort, juice of 
acacia, the bellies of sciaks, of each two drachms and a 
half; of clarified honey, thrice the weight of aU the rest : 
dissolve the opium first in a little wine, and then mix it 
with the honey made hot. In the mean time, melt toge- 
ther, in another vessel, the galbanum, storax, turpentine, 
and the balsam of Gilead, or the expressed oil of nutmeg," 
(I have no doubt that one will do quite as well as the 
other ; and this must be highly satisfactory for sufferers 
to know,) "continually stirring them round, that they 
may not bum ; and, as soon as these are melted, add to 
them the hot honey, first by spoonsful, and afterwards 
more freely. Lastly, when this mixture is nearly cold, 
add by degrees the rest of the spices reduced to pow- 
der," and, as the French quack used to say of his 

specific for the toothache, if it does you no harm, it will 
certainly do you no good. For my own part, I think the 
remedy worse than the disease ; but a gentleman just 
poisoned may be of another opinion ; and I can only say, 
that if, with prussic acid knocking at his pylorus, he has 
leisure to wait till the above prescription is made up for 



204 TABLE TEAITS. 

Mm, — ^till the bellies of scinks and the camel's hay are 
procured, and till the ingredients are amalgamated " by- 
degrees," — ^he win, if he survive the poison, the waiting, 
and the remedy, have deserved to be called, kot' iloxhv, 
the "patient." But here are the pastry and the fruits; 
and there aeb people who are given to believe that pastry 
and poison are not very wide asunder. 

When Murat wished to instigate the Italians to labour, 
he cut down their olive-trees. The Jews were forbidden 
to destroy fruit-trees, even in an enemy's country ; and it 
used to be a law in Prance, and may be so still, that when 
an individual had received permission to cut down one of 
his trees, it was on condition of his planting two. The 
planters of vineyards enjoyed many privileges nnder the 
Jewish dispensation, and heathen governments placed 
both vineyards and orchards under the protection of the 
most graceful of their deities, and these deities were sup- 
posed to have an especial affection for particular trees. 
The Romans were skilled in forcing their fruits, which 
were produced at the third course, and not, as with the 
Greeks, at the second. 

Minerva is popularly said to have given birth to the 
oUve, which was the emblem of Peace, the latter being 
naturally born of Wisdom. But the poisoned shafts of Her- 
cules were made of the oUve, perhaps to symbolize those 
armed neutraUties which are generally so fatal to powers 
with whom the neutrals affect to be at peace. The Auto- 
crat of Eussia, for instance, has been dealing very largely 
in olive shafts, tipped with death. But the oUve was 
known to the world before Wisdom, taking flesh, sprang 
in her bright panoply from the brain of her sire, and was 
called Minerva. Prom Judea the olive was taken into 
Greece ; it was not planted within the territory of Rome 
until a later period ; and, finally, in Spain it found a soil 
as favourable to cultivation as that of DecapoUs, on holy 



EETJITS. 205 

ground. The Ancona olives were the njost highly 
esteemed by the Eoman Patricians, at whose tables they 
opened and closed the banquet. While the olives were 
greedily swallowed, the expressed oil was distributed by 
way of largess to the people. It was declared to possess, 
if not a vital principle, something that stimulated and 
maintained vitahty. Augustus, who was for ever whiti- 
ingly hoping that he might die easily, and for ever 
chanting the prayer, "Euthanasia!" asked PoUio how 
he might best maintain his health and strength in old 
age. " You have nothing in the world to do," said PoUio, 
" but to drink abundance of wine, and lubricate your impe- 
rial carcase with plenty of oU!" — a prescription which 
does not say much for the medical instruction of PoUio. 
OUve oil was so scarce at one time, in Europe, that 
in 817 the Council of Aix-la-Chapelle authorized the 
priests to manufacture anointing oil from bacon. With 
regard to the fruit itself, it has not even yet undisputed 
possession of the pubUc approval ; and I am very much of 
the opinion of the farmer who, having taken some at his 
landlord's table, expressed his indignation on reaching 
home, that he had been served with gooseberries stewed 
in ^biine. 

The pahn-tree wine of the Hebrews inspired song, 
and thence, perhaps, did the palm itself pass into the 
possession of the mythological Muses. The palm-tree 
deserved to be a popular tree : its wood furnished man 
with a house, its branches with fuel ; its leaves aflfbrded 
hiTn garments, and a bed ; and from them he could manu- 
facture baskets, wherein to carry the fruit, bread, and 
cakes which he could make from its dates. I am only 
astonished that tradition has not made the palm, rather 
than -the beech or the oak, the original tree which first 
fed, clothed, and sheltered man. 

The cherry, compared with the pahn, is but as a rustic 



206 TABLE TBAITS. 

beauty, compared witli Cleopatra. MitLridates and Lu- 
cullus share tte glory of making men acquainted with its 
fruit. Prom Cerasus, in Asia, Lucullus, no doubt, trans- 
planted a cultivated fruit-tree, of a peculiarly fine sort ; 
but the fruit itself was not unknown to the Eomans long 
anterior to the time of Lucullus. It was slow in acquiring 
an esteem in Italy. The most extraordinary species oi 
cherry with which I am acquainted, is the Australian 
cherry, which grows with the stone on the outside. But 
Natiwe, in Australia, is distinguished for her freaks. 
There the pears are made of wood, and salt-water fish 
abound in the fresh-water rivers ! The nastiest species I 
know of, grows in the vicinity of^ and some of them 
within, the cemetery of Pere-la-Chaise, at Paris. They 
are magnificent to the eye, and are not iU-flavoured ; 
but, at the heart of each there is a maggot, as fat as 
one of Eubens's Cupids, and, saving a sUght bitterness, 
with as much of the taste of the cherry in him as a 
citizen of ripe Stilton has of the cheese of which he is so 
lively a part. There is not a bad story told of an old 
and poor Spanish Grandee, who used to put on spectacles 
when he sat down to his modest dinner of bread and 
cherries, in order that the fruit might gain, apparently, 
in magnitude. There was philosophy in this pleasant 
conceit! If the poor nobleman had had a dish of our 
cherries, from Kent, Berks, or Oxfordshire, he would not 
Lave stood in need of his nieiry delusion. 

How grateful to the palate is the Armenian apricot, 
blushing, in its precocity, like a young nymph ; or the 
Persian peach, for a couple cif which the Komans would 
give a score of pounds ! The peach has an evil tradition 
with it. It is said to have been originally poisonous, but 
to have lost its deadhness when it was transplanted. 
Perhaps the peculiarly peachy odour of prussic acid may 
have contributed to give exirrency to a very long-lived, 



TETTITS. 207 

but entirely foundationless, tradition, — except, indeed, 
that poison may be extracted from tbe kernel ; but so may 
arsenic from a Turkey carpet, and, indeed, from apple- 
pips also, as Sir Fitzroy Kelly told the jury, when endea- 
vouring to save from the gallows a man who had mur- 
dered his mistress, in order that he might not put in peril 
his respectability ! Perhaps the plum-tree, whether of 
Africa or Asia, from Egypt or Damascus, has been more 
fatal to health, if not to hfe, than any other of the stone- 
fruits. When Pliny complained of their superabundant 
propagation in Italy, he probably had in view the usual 
consequences of a very plentiful plum season. 

The apricot was not known in France till the eleventh 
century, and then they were accounted dear at a farthing 
each. In the same century cherries used to appear at the 
royal table in May. To effect this, Ume was laid at the 
roots of the tree, which was irrigated with warm water ! 
Louis XIII. was fond of early fruit, and he had strawberries 
in March, and figs in June : this is more than the most 
expert fig-rearers in Sussex ever accomplished ! The fig 
used to be esteemed as only inferior to that compound of 
luscious savours, the pine, — a fruit which, in the seven- 
teenth century, was religiously patronized by the Jesuits. 
The same sort of sanction was given in the East to dates, 
though these were fashionable in Home, after a basket of 
them had been sent from Jericho to Augustus. The 
Tunis dates are the best ; but indulgence in them is said 
to loosen the teeth, and produce scurvy. The Tunisian 
ladies, however, were as fond of them as the French 
ladies were of sweet citrons, before oranges were patron- 
ized by Loms XIV. The ladies used to carry them 
about, and occasionally suck them, the operation being 
considered excellent to produce ruby Ups. The citron was 
hajdly less popular than the Eeiue Claude plum, whicJi 
received its pretty name from the Queen of Francis I., and 



208 TABLE TEAITS. 

daughter of Louis XII. I have noticed the Sussex fig : 
the white fig of the Channel Islands is also highly prized ; 
and there is a tree at Hampton Court renowned for its 
fruit, but they who eat had better not too curiously 
inquire as to where the root of that productive tree pene- 
trates, in order to accomplish its productiveness. In Sicily, 
they acupuncture the tree, and drop into it a little oU, 
and this is said to improve the flavour of the fruit. To 
what I have previously said of the peach, I may add here 
what the Chinese say of it; namely, that it produces 
eternity of life, and prevents corruption until the end of 
the world. This species would be a popular one in 
England. 

Some writers assert that the apple was originally an 
African; but a Negro with a red nose would be an 
anomaly ; and the apple-tree does not look as if it came 
from the country of the children of the sun. Neverthe- 
less, historians assert that it crossed the Mediterranean, 
and reached Normandy through Spain and France. The 
apple has been as productive of similes as of cider ; and 
perhaps the prettiest is that of Jeremy Taylor, who says, 
in his Sermon 'on the "Marriage Ring," that the "celi- 
bate, like the fly in the heart of an apple, dwells in a per- 
petual sweetness ; but sits alone, and is confined, and dies 
in singularity:" — a figure of speech, by the way, not 
highly calculated to frighten a bachelor. But, after all, 
the sentiment of Jeremy Taylor is preferable to that of 
Gregory of Nazianzum, who calls a wife " an acquired evil ; 
and, what is worse, one that cannot be put away." How- 
ever this may be, apples were once productive of matri- 
mony in Wales. When the fruit-dealers there could not 
find a market, they, proclaimed a dance. The revellers 
paid entrance-money, and received apples in return. 
These meetings were called "apple lakings;" and the 
fruit was sauce for many a consequent wedding dinner. 



FETTITa. 209 

The finest used to be kept for accompaniment to the 
roast goose eaten on St. Crispin's Day. Brides, in remote 
times, used to carry a love-apple in their bosoms ; as 
fond thereof as the pitman's wife of Northumberland was 
of the two lambs which she suckled, after their dams had 
been killed in a storm. This was a more creditable affec- 
tion than that of Marc Antony's daughter for a lam- 
prey, which she adorned with ear-riugs, and which she 
exhibited at dinner ; as Lord Erskine did the leeches 
which had cured him of some complaint, and which, 
enclosed in a bottle, he sent round with the wine. He 
called one " Cline" and the other " Home," from the great 
surgeons of those names ; and noble guests, before filling 
their glasses, gravely inspected the leeches, and then duly 
passed on the reptiles and the wine. 

This is what a Frenchman woiild have called a " triste 
plaisanterie, a VAnglaise;" and, by the way, I may 
remark, that TheophHe de Garancieres imputes the alleged 
melancholic nature of Englishmen to the great use which 
we make of sugar. Our sires used to make one curious 
use of sugar, undoubtedly ; namely, when they put it into 
the mouth of the dying, in order that their souls might 
pass away with less bitterness ! 

There is a German proverb which says, that "it is 
tmadvisable to eat cherries with potentates." In English 
ithis might mean, "Do not make too free with your 
betters." Few royal families, however, have given their 
inferiors more frequent opportunities to "eat cherries" 
with them, than that of Prussia. I am reminded of this 
while upon the subject of pine-apple, a slice .of which was 
once given by Frederick William III. to a lad employed 
in the gardens at Sans Souci. "Here," said the Eang, 
pleasantly, " eat, enjoy, and reflect while thou art eating. 
Now, what does it taste like ? " The boy looked puzzled, 
as he munched the pine ; thought of all the most delight- 

p 



210 TJlBIE teaits. 

ful things that had ever passed over his palate and clung 
to his memory, and, at last, with a satisfied expression, 
exclaimed, "I think, — ^yes, it does, — it tastes like sau- 
sage!" The courtiers laughed aloud; and the King, 
philosophizing on the boy's answer, said, "Well, every 
one has his own standard of taste, guiding his feelings 
and judgment, and each one believes himself to be right. 
One fancies he discovers in the pine-apple the flavour of 
the melon ; another, of the pear ; a third, the plum. Yon 
lad, in his sphere of tastes, finds thereia his favourite 
food — the sausage." 

The lad's answer was as much food for mirth at Sans 
Souci, as was that of the Eton boy who was invited by 
Queen Adelaide to dine at Windsor Castle, and who was 
honoured with a seat at Her Majesty's side. The boy 
was bashful, — the Queen encouraging ; and, when the 
sweets were on the table, she kiudly asked him what, he 
would Eke to take. The Etonian's eyes glanced hur- 
riedly and nervously from dish to dish ; pointing to one of 
which, he, in some agitation, exclaimed, " One of those 
twopenny tarts!" His young eye had recognised the 
favourite " tuch " he was in the habit of indulging in at 
tJie shop in Eton, and he asked for it according to the 
local phrase in fashion. Eeverting to the lad who com- 
pared pine-apple to German sausage, I may remark, that 
pine-apple is most to be enjoyed when the weather is of 
that condition which made Sydney Smith once express a 
wish, that he could " slip out of his fat, and sit in his 
bones." 

The quince is a native of Cydon, in Crete ; and first 
Greece, and then Eome, Gaul, and Spain, learned to love 
the fruit, and drink a quince wine, which was said to be 
excellent either as a stomachic or as a counter-poison. 

Galen recommended the pear as an astringent, which is 
more than a modern practitioner wiU. do. St. Francis de 



I'EUITS. 211 

Paul introduced one sort into France when he paid a 
medical visit to Louis XI. The species was named from 
the saint, " le Ion Chretien." 

The apple may lay fair claim to antiquity of birth. 
The fruit has been diversely estimated by divers nations ; 
but the general favour has usually awaited it. In ancient 
times, both ia Greece and Persia, it was the custom for a 
bridegroom at his nuptial feast to partake of a single 
apple, and of nothing else. The origin of the custom is 
said to arise from a decree issued by Solon. It was the 
sight of an apple that always put Vladislas, Xing of 
Poland, iuto fits. It is the best fruit that can be taken 
as an accompaniment to wine ; and the best sorts for 
such a purpose are the Eibstone Pippin and the Coster 
Pearmain. The golden apples stolen by Hercules were 
lemons ; and they are suspected to have been the " Median 
apples " of Theophrastus. The Eomans, at first, employed 
this Asiatic fruit only as a means for keeping moths out 
of garments ; from this household use it passed into the 
ancient pharmacopoeia, and it took rank among the 
counter-poisons. Its acknowledged reputation in scurvy 
and punch, if I may so express myself, was not made 
until a much later period of civilization. The orange 
disputes with the lemon the honour of being the " Hes- 
perides apples," — which is a dispute of a very Hibernian 
character. China was probably its native place; and 
the Portuguese oranges are merely descendants of the 
original "Chinaman." It was not known in France 
imtil introduced there by the Constable de Bourbon. In 
England, an orange, stuck full of cloves, was a fitting 
New Tear's present from a lover, — ^being typical of 
warmth and sweetness. 

The fig-tree appears to have been, like the vine, very- 
early used as a symbol of peace and plenty. It was a 
tree of Eden ; yet the Athenians claimed it as a native 
p 2 



212 TABLE TEAITS. 

tree, asserting, by way of proof, tHat it had been given 
them by Ceres, — ^not reflecting that Ceres may have 
brought it from a region farther east. If it be com- 
monly employed in Scriptm-e as a symbol, so an American 
poet has taken it, with its scriptural allusions, to illus- 
trate worldly marriages, of which he says, that — 



■ they are lite unto 



Jeremiah's figs : 
The good are very good indeed ; 
The bad, not fit for pigs. 

The authorities of Attica were so fond of fkeir figs, that 
they passed a law against the exportation of the fruit. 
The advocates of free trade in figs broke the law when 
they could do so with profit ; and the men who affected 
to be on friendly terms with them, in order to betray 
their proceedings to the Magistrates, were called by a 
name which is now given to all fawning traitors, — ^they 
were styled, sycophants, or "fig-declarers." Even the 
philosophers in Greece became greedy in presence of figs ; 
and "with figs famished armies have been braced anew for 
the fight. The atMetm ate of them before appearing in 
the arena ; and more than one invasion has been traced 
to the taste of the invader for figs. Medical men were 
divided in opinion as to the merits of this fruit. It was 
considered indigestible; but, to remedy that, almonds 
were recommended to be eaten with it ! The Romans, 
perhaps, were wiser, who took pepper with them, as we 
do with melon; and Dr. Madden says that we should 
never €at figs at all, if we could only spend half an hour 
in Smyrna, and see them packed. So, as I have before said, 
a sight of the kitchen, just before dinner, would take away 
appetite ; but as people do not commonly go to Smyrna, 
or sit with their cooks, why, figs and dinners will continue 
to be eaten. Modern professors have resembled ancient 



FETITS. 213 

philosophers in an uncontroUahle appetite for figs. Who 
has not heard of the famous Oxford fig, which, in its 
progress to luscious maturity, was protected hy an inscrip- 
tion appended to it, conveying information to the efiect 
that "this is the Principal's fig!" which a daring 
Undergraduate one day devoured, and added insult to 
injury by changing the old placard for one on which was 
written, "A fig for the Principal?" The felonious fig- 
stealer must have been more rapid in his sacrilege, than 
the poet Thomson was in his method of enjoying his own 
peaches in his garden at Eew. Atthed in the loosest 
and dirtiest of morning-gowns, the author of the " Castle 
of Indolence" used to watch his peaches ripening in the 
sun. When he saw one bursting with liquid promise, he 
was too lazy to take his xmwashed hands from his well- 
worn pockets, and pluck the blushing treasure. No; 
" Jamie " simply sauntered up to it, contemplated it for 
a moment with a yawn, and finished his yawn by biting 
a piece out of the fruit, — leaving the ghastly remains 
on the branch for wasps and birds to divide between 
them. 

As the Athenian rulers kept their figs, so did the Per- 
sian Kings their walnuts, — and more selfishly ; for no one 
but their most sacred Majesties dared eat any ; but one 
would think that even they would find it hard to digest 
all the walnuts that the country could produce. It is 
averred, that walnuts entered largely into the Mithrida- 
tio recipe against poison. The modern recipe, called 
" Mithridate," I have given elsewhere ; but that which 
Pompey is said to have found in the palace of the King 
whom he had overthrown, was as follows : " Pound, with 
care, two walnuts, two dried figs, twenty pounds of rue, and 
a grain of salt." Yes, we should say it must be taken 
cum grano. Howbeit, the royal physician goes on to say, 
" Swallow this mixture, — ^precipitate it with a httle wine, 



214 TABLE TEAITa. 

— and you have nothing to fear from the action of the 
most active poison, for the space of four-and-twenty 
hours." There would, probably, be less to fear after that 
time had elapsed than before. 

Nuts have not had respectability conferred on them, 
even by Nero, who was wont to go incog, to the upper 
gallery of the theatre, and take delight in pelting them 
on the bald head of the Prsetor, who sat below. That 
official knew the offender, and was rewarded for bearing 
the attack good-humouredly ; and thence, perhaps, the 
proverb which characterizes something falling, at once 
sudden and pleasant, by the term, "That 's nuts !" Of 
course, nuts were in fashion; not so chestnuts, — ^these 
were as much disliked by the Patricians as the filbert and 
hazel were said, in France, to be hated by the sun. 
When they were ripening, the inhabitants used to issue 
forth at sunrise, and endeavour to frighten the lumiaary 
out of the firmament, by making a horrid uproar, with 
pots, pans, and kitchen utensils generally. And this was 
done under a Christian dispensation. The people were 
not heathen Chinese, trying to cure an ecKpsed planet 
by attacking the dragon that was supposed to be swallow- 
ing it, with a tintamarre of caldron, kettle, tongs, and 
trivet. 

The Athenians were great hands at dumplings, consist- 
ing of fruit, covered with a light and perfumed paste ; 
and Ehodes, verifying the proverb, that " exti-emes meet," 
was as famous for its gingerbread as for its Colossus. 
The Eoman wedding-cake was a simple mixture of sweet 
wine and flour; and the savilum pie, made of flour, 
cheese, honey, and eggs, 'was a dish to make all sorts of 
guests jubilant. It was, in short, the national pie ; and 
if there were a dish that was more popular, it was the 
artocreas, a huge mince-pie, and the imperial pie of 
Verus, compounded of sow's flank, pheasant, peacock. 



PASTET. 215 

Lam, and wild boar^ all hashed together, and covered with 
crust. If Emperors invented pies, so did philosophers 
create cakes ; and the libuna of Cato was a real cheese- 
cake, that gave as much delight as any of the same 
author's works in literature. Cheese was a favourite 
foundation for many of the Boman cakes ; but he was a 
bold man who added chalk, and so invented the placenta. 
Yet the placenta was eaten as readily as Charles XII. 
swallowed raspherry-tarts, Frederick II. Savoy cakes, or 
Marshal Saxe — ^who loved pastry, pastrycooks, and pastry- 
cooks' daughters — macaroons. 

The Church honoured pastry, — or would so pious a King 
as St. Louis have raised the pastrycooks to the dignity of 
a guild? The Abbey of St. Denis, long before this, 
stipulated with the tenant-farmers, that they should 
deUver a certain quantity of flour, to make pastry with ; 
and, in some cases, in France, portions of the rent for 
lands was to be paid in puff pastry. This was at a time 
when fennel-root tooth-picks used to appear at table, 
thrust into the preserved fruits, and every one was 
expected to help himself. Certainly our refined neigh- 
bours had some questionable customs. See what L'Etoile 
says : (1596 :) " Les confitures secJies et les massepains y 
etaient si pew ^pargn4s que les dames et demoiselles etaient 
eontraintes de s'en decTia/rger sv/r les pages et laquais, 
auxqiiels on les haillait tout entiers." 

Prince George of Denmark, the consort of Queen 
Anne, was never suspected of intermeddling with the 
foreign pohcy of the kingdom ; but he was something 
renowned for his appetite, and for the bent of it towards 
pastry. I think it is Archdeacon Coxe, in his " Life of 
the Duke of Marlborough," who says of this illustrious 
Prince, that he would leave the battle-field, in the very 
heat of action, and come into camp, with the hungry 
inquiry, if it were not yet dinner-time. This was some- 



216 TASIiB TEAMS. 

thing worse than drawing off the hoimcls, or unloading 
the fowling-pieces, because the " Castle hell" was peremp- 
torily ringing to luncheon. Prince George was just the 
sort of man — fond of good living, and able to entertain 
others with the same predilection — who was likely to be 
surrounded by parasites ; and the remembrance of this 
fact suggests that, while the wine is passing round, I 
may venture to give a sketch of that ancient and remark- 
able gentleman, "the Parasite." It is better than 
getting upon controversial subjects, which are productive 
of anything but unanimity. I remember one of the very 
pleasantest of "after-dinners" being marred by a guest, 
who, having slipped into the assertion that the Jews 
were the earliest of created people, was indiscreet enough 
to try to maintain what he had asserted, and weak 
enough to be angry at finding it summarily rejected. 
Why, Father Abraham himself was but a foreign Heathen, 
from Ur of the Chaldees ; and to claim primeval antiquity 
for the Jews is only as absurd as if one were to say, that 
Yankees and mint julep were anterior to Alfred's cakes 
and the Anglo-Saxons. 

But many a hasty assertion has been simply the effect 
of an antagonism between imperfect chymification and 
the oppressed intellect. Mind and matter have much 
influence on each other ; and, for the guidance of those 
interested in such questions, I may, while on the subject 
of dinner, notice, that from Dr. Beaumont's " Table," 
drawn out to show the mean time of digestion in the 
stomach (or chymification) of various articles of food, we 
learn that boiled tripe ranks first in amiable facility, being 
disposed of in about one hour. Venison steak requires 
some half-hour more. Boiled turkey and roast pig are 
classed together, as requiring two hours and twenty -five 
minutes for the process of digestion ; while roast turkey 
and hashed meat demand five minutes more. Pricasseed 



DE. rOEBES WTNSLO'W. 217 

cMeten is not more facile of digestion than boiled salt 
beef, both requiring two hours and three-quarters. 
Boiled mutton, broiled beefsteak, and soft-boUed eggs, 
take three hours ; while roast beef and old strong cheese 
trouble the stomach for some three hours and a half. 
Eoast duck, and fowls, whether boiled or roasted, are 
alike slow of digestion : they require four hours as their 
mean time oi chymification, and are only exceeded by 
boiled cabbage, which requires full half-an-hour more. I 
borrow these details from an article in. the " Journal of 
Psychological Medicine," for January, 1851, a periodical 
edited by Dr. Forbes Winslow. I beUeve I do not err in 
attributing the article in question (" Mental Dietetics") to 
the able pen of the aceompHshed Editor himself, than 
whom no man has a better right to speak ex cathedra 
on the subject in question. It will be seen, by the 
following extract from this article, that diet influences 
the mind as well as the body. " The nutritive particles 
of the food," says' Dr. Winslow, "being in the form 
of chyle, mixed with the blood, and supplying it with the 
elements which enable it to repair the waste of the ani- 
mal system, it is obvious that the health, both of the body 
and of the mind, must depend on the quaUty and quan- 
tity of the vital stream. According to Lecanu, the pro- 
portion of the red globules of the blood may be regarded 
as a measure of vital energy ; for the action of the serum 
and of the globules on the nervous system is very dif- 
ferent. The former scarcely excites it, the latter do so 
powerfully. Now those causes which tend to increase 
the mass of blood, tend also to increase the proportion of red 
globules ; whilst those which tend to diminish the mass 
of blood, tend to diminish the proportion of the globules. 
The result is obvious. A large quantity of stimulating 
animal food, without a proper amount of exercise, aug- 
ments the number of the red globules, and diminishes 



218 TABLE TEAITS. 

the aqueous part of the blood. Hence the nervous sys- 
tem becomes oppressed, the brain frequently congested, 
and the intellectual faculties no longer enjoy their wonted 
activity. In the mean time, the system endeavours to 
relieve itself by throwing a counter-stimulus upon certain 
other organs, the functions of which are morbidly 
increased. The blood, in such cases, becomes pretematu- 
rally thickened, and its coagulum unusually firm. On 
the other hand, if the system be not supplied with the 
requisite amount of nutrition, the blood becomes, by the 
loss of its red corpuscles, impoverished in quality, and, 
in cases of extreme abstinence, diminished in quantity. 
In these cases the powers of the mind soon become 
enfeebled." 

But we will pass from these scientific matters, to seek 
the company of one who, if ignorant of science, was, 
generally, a great man in the profession of his peculiar 
art, — the ancient parasite. 



THE PARASITE. 

" Pity those wlose flanks grow great, 

Swell'd by the lard of others' meat." — Heeeick. 

Paba, "near," and sitos, "corn," pretty well explain 
what the Greeks understood by the word "parasite." 
As the worthless weed among the wheat, so was this 
classical Skimpole in the field of society. As the weed 
hung for support to the substance that promised to yield 
it, so did the parasite cling to the side of those who kept 
good tables, and lacked wit to enliven them. 

The parasite was too delicate a fellow to allow of invi- 
dious distinctions. He supped or dined wherever he was 
invited, and at marriage-feasts waited for no invitation 
at all. There he was in his glory. He was the cracker 
of jokes, and of the heads of those who did not agree 
with every word that fell from the lips of the Amphi- 
tryon of the horn:. He usually, however, got his own skull 
bruised by the watch, when staggering home through the 
dark, "full of the god," and without a slave to direct his 
steps. But it was only with the morning that he 
became conscious at once of pain from the bruises, and 
the necessity of providing, at the cost of others, for his 
own breakfast. 

These professional "livers out" were, however, not 
always unattended. The victims whom they flattered 
sometimes lent them a slave. Their wardrobe seldom 
extended beyond two suits, one for the public, and one 
for wear at home. They looked abroad for dupes, just as 



220 TABLE TEAITS. 

our ring-droppers used to do, and for the same purpose. 
The parasite generally attached himself to the first simple- 
looking personage he encountered, provided he bore with 
him proofs of being a man who could afford to live well. 
Simpleai usually swallowed with complacency all the 
three-piled flattery with which the parasite troubled him ; 
and if he were expecting friends to dinner, the gastro- 
nome, who wanted one, was probably invited. But there 
was always an understanding, that, in return for the 
invitation, he was to maintain, for the diversion of the 
company, a continual fire of jokes. If he proved but a 
sorry jester, he was promptly scourged into the street, 
down which he ran, nothing abashed, to look for hearers 
whom indifferent jests could move to ready laughter. 

The parasite looked upon the fortune and table of 
others as a property which was properly to be held in 
common. Monsieur Prudhon really started a parasitical 
precept, when he tried to establish, that what belonged 
to one man belonged to a great many others besides. 
But if, as regarded his own share in property that was 
not his own, the parasite was so far a Communist, he 
was the most charitable of fellows, his earnest prayer 
being, that none of his patrons might ever fall into such 
distress as to be unable to give good dinners. The 
dinner-table was his arena. If he got but one meal a 
day, he consumed enough thereat to satisfy half-a-dozen 
appetites ; and, as he ate, it was matter of perfect indif- 
ference to him whether he was called upon to find wit for 
the guests, or to be the butt of their own. You might 
buffet him till he were senseless, provided the blows were 
afterwards paid for in brimming glasses. 

He was always first at a feast ; and as he was as com- 
mon an object at a feast as the sauce itself, -so "sauce" 
was the common name for a parasite. There he was not 
only wit, butt, and buUy, but porter also ; and his oflB.ee 



THE PAEASITE. 221 

was not merely to knock down tlie drunken, but to carry 
them out when incapable of performing that office for them- 
selves. The parasites had a dash, too, of the " bravo " in 
their character, and let themselves out for a dozen other 
purposes besides dining. The stronger-bodied and the 
braver-souled let out their strength. " Do you want a 
wrestler ?" says the parasite, in Antiphseus, " here I am, 
an Antseus. If you want a door forced, I have a head 
like a ram to do it ; and I can scale a wall like Capaneus. 
Telamon was not stronger than my wrist ; and I can 
wreathe into the ear of beauty like smoke." Some of 
these Bobadils are even said to have ventured into battle, 
and to have especially distinguished themselves in the 
Commissariat department ! 

Others boasted of their powers of fasting, — always pro- 
vided good pay assured them of compensating banquets 
at the end of their service. " I can live on as little as 
Tithymallus," says one ; and the individual in question is 
said to have supported life on eight lupines a day, — a 
hint to Poor-Law Commissioners. Another makes a 
merit of being as thin as Philippides, who, like Hood's 
Mend, was so thin, that, when he stood side-ways, you 
could not see him ! The merits of a third are summed 
up by him in saying, that he can live on water, like a 
frog; on vegetables, like a caterpillar; can go without 
bathing, Hke Dirtiness herself, if there be such a deity ; 
can live in winter with no roof but the sky, like a bird ; 
can support heat, and sing beneath a noon-day smi, like a 
grasshopper ; do without oil, like the dust ; walk bare- 
footed from break of day, like the crane ; and keep wide 
awake all night, like the owl. 

Of such a profession the parasite was proud, and even 
declared that its origin was divine ; and that Jupiter 
Amicalis {Zebs S tplhtos) was its patron saint ! As Jove 
entered where he chose, ate and drank of what most took 



222 TABLE TEAITS. 

his fancy, and, after creating an atmospliere of enjoyment, 
retired without having any thing to pay ; just so, it was 
argued, was it with the parasite. In Attica, parasites 
were admitted to the commemorative banquets that fol- 
lowed the sacrifices to Hercules ; proof enough that they 
were accounted as heing of the same kidney as heroes. 
In later times came degenerate men and manners ; and 
then, instead of honourahle men sitting with gods and 
heroes, the office of parasite was so degraded, that none 
but the hungry wits exercised it. Flattery to mortals 
then took the place of praise to gods. The pai-asite was 
ready to laud every act of the master of the feast, — 

■ laudare 'paratus 



Si bene rmtavit, si rectum minxit amicus" 

aad to eulogize a great number of other acts besides, as 
may be found noted by those who are very curious, and 
not over-nice, ia the fragments of Diodorus of Sinope. 

The fellows were witty, too, however degraded. When 
Chcerephon had, uninvited, sHpped into a vacant position 
at a wedding-dinner, the gynseconomes, as inspectors of 
the feast, counting the guests, came upon him last, and 
said, " You are the thirty-first : it is against the law ; 
you must withdraw." " I do not dispute the law," said 
the parasite, " but I object to your manner of counting. 
Begin the numbering by me, and your conclusions will 
be indisputable." 

The parasite, Philoxenus, happened to be supping with 
a host who gave his guests nothing but black bread. 
" This is not a loaf, but a spectre," whispered the pro- 
fessional wit : " if we eat any more of it, we shall soon 
be in the shades." 

There was more wit in Bithys, the parasite of the 
avaricious King Lysimachus, who one day, at dinner, 
flung a wooden scorpion at the flatterer. The latter 



THE PAEASITE. 223 

affected great fright, but afterwards remarked, "I will, 
in my turn, terrify you, O King j be good enough to give 
me a talent." 

Clisoplius, another of this strange brotherhood, either 
fooled or flattered King Philip to the very top of his 
bent. The King having lost an eye, Clisophus always 
sat down to dinner in his presence with a bandage over 
one of his own ; and when the Monarch limped, from a 
wound in the leg, Clisophus went "halting at his side ;" 
and if, by chance, an ill odour affected the royal nostrils, 
Clisophus wore, all day long, a grimace upon his features, 
as if he were sick with disgust. However absurd this 
may appear, the parasites of Lotus XIV. flattered him ^s 
grossly as the original practioners did the early and 
heathen Kings. People shaved their heads and wore 
periwigs, because the Monarch, having little hair of his 
own, wore long locks cropped from other heads. So, 
when once at dinner he complained of having lost his 
teeth, a young flatterer who sat next him. swore, with a 
broad smUe which displayed his own incisors, that nobody 
had teeth now-a-days. And again, when the King, on 
his seventieth birth-day, inquired the age of a person 
from whom he had received a petition, the reply was, 
that the person was of everybody's age, — about three- 
score and ten. Nay, the Court preachers flattered the 
Sovereign quite as coarsely as the mere courtiers, and 
would not have received invitations to dinner, if they had 
not done so. "My brethren," said one of these, "all 
men must die ;" and at that very moment he perceived 
the eye of the King glaring uneasily upon him : — " that 
is to say, Sire, almost all men!" and the complaisant 
preaeher was at the royal table that day. The same 
parasitical spirit prevailed at the English Court, especially 
when bolster neckcloths were worn, simply because the 
King was compelled to wear one, in consequence of a 



224 TABXB TEAITS. 

disease in tlie glands of the neck. But, to translate the 
sentiment of the French poet, — 

"IVom royal example slaves have never slirunk : 
When Auguste tippled, Poland soon got drunk. 
When the great Monarch breathed the air of love. 
Hey, presto, pass ! Paris was Venns' grove ! 
But tum'd a Churchman and devout, alas ! 
The courtiers ran and beat their breasts at mass." 

It is said by ancient writers that the species of flattery 
which Clisophus paid Philip, was ohligatory on all the 
guests and officials in the ancient royal Courts of Aiahia. 
There, if the King suffered in any member, every courtier 
was bound to be in pain in the same limb. This species 
of flattery was, in fact, a conclusion logically arrived at ; 
for the Arab lawgivers said that it would be absurd in 
the courtiers to vie with one another for the honour of 
being buried alive with the King defunct, if they did not 
suffer with him in all his bodily pains when living. 

The Celtic King of the Sotians maintained a body of 
men who were called the " Eucholimes," or the " Death 
Volunteers." They amounted to six hundred men ; they 
were lodged, clothed, and tended Kke the King, with 
whom they daily sat at ;neat ; but they were also bound 
to die with their master ; and it is alleged that the 
chance was eagerly incurred, and that no man ever failed, 
when called upon by the King's decease, to accompany 
His Majesty on a visit to his royal cousin, Orcus. 

But your regular parasite preferred to Uve and flatter 
living Monarchs. " See," said Niceas, when he saw 
Alexander troubled by a fly that stung him, " there is 
one that will be King over aU flies ; for he has imbibed 
the blood of him who is King over all men." The flat- 
tery was not more delicate which Chirisophus once paid 
at dinner to Dionysius the Tyrant. Chirisophus, seeing 
the King smile at the other end of the table, burst into 



THE PAEASITB. 225 

a roar of laughter. The King asked, "Wherefore?" 
seeing that the parasite could not have heard the joke. 
"True," said Chirisophus ; "hut I saw that Your 
Majesty had heard something worth laughing at, and I 
laughed in sympathy." This species of parasite is not 
uncommon ia English houses ; hut perhaps they do their 
office more refinedly than Chirisophus. 

The flatterers of the younger Dionysius were far more 
disgusting iu their adulation. They were simply ahsurd, 
when they pretended to he short-sighted, like him, and 
to he imahle to see a dish, unless they thrust their 
noses into it. But they were filthy followers when they 
offered their faces for the King to "void his rhevun" 
upon, and even went to extremes of nastiness at which 
human nature shudders, hut at which Dionysius smiled. 
And yet Dionysius was hailed hy some of them as a god. 
It was the custom, we are told, in Sicily, for every iadi- 
vidual to make sacrifices, iu his own house, hefore the 
figures of the nymphs, to get devoutly drunk before the 
altar, and to dance round it as long as the pious devotee 
could keep upon his legs. It was accounted as an 
exquisite piece of flattery in Damocles, the parasite, that 
he refused to perform such service hefore inanimate 
deities, while he went through the whole duty before 
Dionysius as his god. The Athenians, it wiU be remem- 
bered, were horror-stricken at such impious laudation as 
this. They fined Demades ten talents for having pro- 
posed to award divine honours to Alexander ; and Tima- 
goras, whom they had sent as Ambassador to the King of 
Persia, they put to death for compromising the Athenian 
dignity by prostrating himself before that King. And, 
indeed, let us do justice to Alexander himself He had 
more than misgiving touching his own alleged divinity. 
He had once^" his custom ia the afternoon " — eaten and 
drunk so enormously, that in the evening he was forced 

Q 



226 TABIiB TEATTS. 

to a necessity which compels vei^ mortal people, — ^tate 
physic; He made as many contortions, on swallowing it, 
as a refractory child ; and Philarches, his parasite, 
remarked, with a rascally hypocritical smile, " Ah J what 
must he the sufferings of mortal man under such niedi- 
ciae, if you, who are a divinity, feel it so much!" The 
idea of a deity drawing health out of an apothecary's 
phial, was too much even for Alexander, who declined 
to accept the apotheosis, and called Philarches an ass. 

But Philarches was only giving the King a taste of 
the parasite's professional craft. The noble Mcostratus 
of Argos quite as impiously flattered the Sovereign of 
Persia, when, for the sake of currying favour with that 
majestic, harharian, he every night, in his own house, 
prepared a solemn supper, richly provided, and offered t6 

the genius of the Kingj (tS Bai^tow rod Baa-tKeas,) for no 

hetter reason than that he had learned that such was the 
custom in Persia. Whether he profited or not by this 
delicate attention, Theopompus does not inform us. 

The Anactes or Princes of the royal family of Salamis 
maintained two distinct families, in whom, if I understand 
Athenseus rightly, the office of flatterer (and of spy, I 
may add) was hereditary. These were the Gerginoi and 
the Promalangai. The former did the dirty work of 
circulating among the people, worming themselves into 
their confidence, getting invited to their tables, and then 
reporting to the Promalangai all they had heard. The 
last-named took such portions of the report as were worth 
communicating to the Anactes, with whom they sat at 
table, where such a dish of scandal was daUy served as 
would puzzle the social spies of Paris to set before their 
lord. 

But the -profession was not accounted vile ; and the 
professors themselves gloried in their vocation. They 
extoUed the easiness of their life, compared, for instance. 



THE PAHASITE. 227 

with that of the painter, or the labourer, or, in fact, with 
that of any other individual but those of their own guild. 
"Truly," says one, in a fragment of Antiphanes, "since 
the most important business in life is to play, laugh, 
trifle, and drink, I should like to know where you would 
find a condition more agreeable than ours." 

Once, and once only, a faction of parasites contrived to 
get possession of a kingdom ; and the dinners they gave, 
and the government they maintained, are matters to 
which description can hardly do justice. The faction in 
question was headed by, and almost solely consisted of, 
three men in Erythra, who stood, in regard to Cnopus, 
the King, as " adorers and flatterers" (irp6ffKvpes koI KtSAu/ces). 
They murdered their Sovereign, and, by a colip-d'etat, 
possessed themselves of his authority. Their names were 
Ortyges, Irus, and Echarus ; and they ruled with a triple 
rod of iron, held in very effeminate fingers. They 
silenced all opponents by slaying them ; and, when no 
one dared utter a breath against them, they vaunted their 
universal popularity. They administered a ferociously 
absiu-d sort of justice at the gates of Erythra, where 
they sat decked out in purple and gold. They were 
sandaled like women, wore ornaments only suitable to 
females, and sat down to dinner in diadems that dazzled 
the company. 

The guests were once free citizens, who were now com- 
pelled to bear the litters of their parvenit masters, to 
cleanse the streets, and then, by way of contrast, to 
attend the banquet of the Triumvirs, with their wives 
and daughters. If they objected to drag these latter to 
the scene of splendid infamy, the objection was only made 
at the price of death. The unhappy women were nothing 
the safer from insult by the decease of their natural pro- 
tectors ; and the scenes at the palace were such as only 
the uncleanest of demons could rejoice in. If the autho- 
Q 2 



228 TABLE TEAtTS. 

rities had reason to be grave, tlie whole city was com- 
pelled to affect sorrow ; and duly-appointed officers went 
round, with, hard-thonged whips, to scourge a sense of 
"decent horror" into the countenances of the bewildered 
inhabitants. Things at last reached such a pitch of 
extravagant atrocity, that the people took heart of grace, 
screwed up their coxu'age by Chian wine, and swept their 
oppressors into Hades ; — and, for years afterwards, com- 
memorative banquets celebrated the restoration of the 
people from the oppression of the parasites. 

I would recommend those who would see the parasite 
in action, to study the comedies of Plautus, wherein he 
figures as necessarily as the impertinent valet in a Spanish 
comedy.' Plautus calls the parasites poetcs, as being 
given to lying ; and it is singular that the Gauls called 
their poets "parasites," as being fond of good living, and 
not being always in a condition to procure it. They had 
their "duU season:" it was when the wealthy were at 
their villas ; at whiph time the parasites dined upon 
nothing, in town, with good " Duke Hiimphrey." When 
the city was again resorted to by the rich, then the para- 
site might sometimes be seen purchasing, by order of his 
patron, the provisions for the evening feast. We find 
one of these gentry, in Plautus, boasting that he knows a 
story that will be worth thirty dinners to him. Before 
the era of printing, the parasite, with his jests and histo- 
ries, was a sort of living Circulating Library. Saturion 
(another of Plautus's pictures of the parasite) is at peace 
with himself, because, as he says, he can provide for his 
daughter by bequeathing to her his rich collection of 
jokes and dinner-stories. " They are all sparkling Attic," 
he says ; " and there is not a dull Sicilian anecdote 
among them." 

If the race were, in some sense of the word, "literary," 
they were not at all in love with science, or the improve- 



THE TAEASITB. 229 

ments wrougM by its application. Witness the bitterness 
with wbich Plautus makes one denounce the sun-dial, 
then of recent introduction. Before that tell-tale 
appeared, dinners used to be served when people were 
hungry ; but now even hungry people wait for the 
appointed hour. In short, throughout Ufe, they worked 
but for the sake of the banquet and wine-pot ; and, 
even after death, they longed for Hbations, as appears in 
the epitaph on the parasite, Sergius of Pola, who is made 
to say, from the grave, — 

'"Si urbani perhiberi vuttis 
Arenii meo cineri^ 
Cantharo piaculum mnarium. festinaie" 

" If you 've any regard for this corpse here of mine, 
Be so good as to damp it with hogsheads of wine." 

Finally, these diners-out by profession were essentially 
selfish; and the fire of their attachment blazed up, or 
died away, according to that in the kitchen of the 
Amphitryon by whom they were maintained. 

A good specimen of the parasite of the last century 
may be found in the Captain Cormorant of Anstey's 
"Bath Guide;" but the race is by no means extinct, 
though the individual be more rarely met with ; and, be 
it said as their due, they execute their office with some- 
thing more of decency than did their ancient predecessors. 
Modem flattery, like modem oils, is "double refined." 
Let us see if we can trace the course of this refinement 
through the Table Traits of Utopia and the Golden Age. 



THE TABLES OE UTOPIA AND THE 
GOLDEN AGE. 



The good Archbisliop Fenelon, in Ms " Voyage dans 
Vile des JPlaisirs" cites some charming examples of the 
pleasant way in which people lived in the Utopian Land 
of Coeagne, which he describes from imagination, and 
where the laws were characterized by more good sense 
than distinguishes the legislation of the Utopian authori- 
ties of More. 

The " Voyage" of Fenelon was probably founded on a 
fragment of Teleclides, who has narrated, in rattling 
Greek metres, how the citizens of the world lived and 
banqueted in the golden age of its lusty youth. The 
poet puts the description into the mouth of Saturn, who 
says, " I wiU ^ell you what sort of life I vouchsafed to 
men in the early ages of creation. In the first place, 
peace reigned universally, and was as common as the 
water you wash your hands with. Fear and disease were 
entirely unknown ; and the earth provided spontaneously 
for every human want. The rivers then poured cataracts 
of wine into the valleys ; and cakes disputed with loaves 
to get into the mouth of man, as he walked abroad, sup- 
plicating to be eaten, and giving assurances of excellent 
flavour and quality. The tables were covered with fish 
which floated into the kitchens, and courteously put 
themselves to roast. By the sides of the couches rolled 
streams of sauces, bearing with them joints of ready- 
roasted meat ; while rivulets full of ragouts wer neeai the 



THE TABLES. OF TTOPIA AND THE GOLDEN A&E. 231 

guests, wlio dipped in, and took therefrom, according to 
their fancy. Every one could eat of what he pleased; 
and aU that he ate was sweet and succulent. There were 
countless pomegranate-seeds for seasoning; little fdtts 
ajid grives, done to a turn, insinuated themselves into the 
mouths of the hanqueters ; and tarts got smashed in try- 
ing to force their way into the throat. The children 
played with sow-paps and other delicacies as they would 
with toys ; and the men were gigantic in height, and 
ohese in figure." 

The ahove is a specimen of the classical idea of that 
delicious — 

■ " Land of Cocagne, 

That Elysium of all that is frland and nice. 

Where for hail they have bon-bons, and claret for rain, 
And the skaters, in ■lyinter, show off on cream-ice." 

It is a theme with which modem poets have been as fond 
of dealing as Teleclides and others of the tuneful children 
of song, in the early period when young Time counted his 
birth-days by the sun. It has been well treated by 
Beranger, who thus describes, through my imperfect 
translation, his own impressions of 

A JOrENET TO THE LAND 01' COOAGNE. 
Ho, friends, every one ! 
Let us up, and be gone ; — 
To where care is not known. 

Let us hasten away ! 
Yes ; fired with champagne, 
I reel o'er the plain. 
And see dear Cocagne 

In its sunny array. 

O I land fdl of glee,— 
Here long may I be, 
And laugh merriUe 

At Fate's changeable way. 



232 TABLE TEAITS. 

For here — ^wtat a treat ! — 
I may love, drink, and eat. 
And — ^this makes it more sweet- 
There is nothing to pay 1 

My appetite 's great. 
And I see the huge gate 
Of a tower of state ^ 

At my elbow, handy : 
The tower is a pie ; — 
And tall guards, standing by. 
Carry spears ten feet high. 

All in sugar-candy. 

Ah ! banquet of fan. 
It will please ev'ry one : 
Look, there is not a gun 

But of sugar is made ! 
See the paintings, how grand 
And the statues, they stand, 
AJl wrought by the hand 

Out of sweet marmalade. 

Here the people repair 

In gay crowds to the square, 

Where the jests of a fair 

With loud merriment shine ; 
■Where the fountains -so gay 
Not with water do play. 
But are sparkling away 

With rich, rosy, old wine 1 

Here, the baldng 's begun ; 
There, the baking is done ; — 
See the folks how they run. 

With beef, mutton, and veal. 
Aud the eaters think fit. 
That the man who lacks wit, 
ShaU be made a " turnspit," 

And be bound to the wheel. 



THE TAOJLES Or TITOPIA AND THE GOLDEIT AGE. 233 

To the palace I haste, 
With two Falstaffs I feast, 
(Twenty stone weighs the least,) 

And with them hob and nob. 
And here, too, I 've found. 
Where such good things abound^ 
Shy Yenus quite round. 

And young Cupid a squab. 

No sadness of brow. 
No pedantic vain show. 
No pompous state-bow. 

Can be ever allow'd : — 
But with feasting and song 
We carry night on, 
Drink deep and drink long. 

And toast beauty aloud. 

Now, good-natmed lasses. 
To the music of glasses. 
As the sweet dessert passes. 

Let 's laugh the time by. 
Let fools sigh and snuffle. 
And merriment mufHe, 
But yon, dears, shajl ruffle 

Our pro — priety. 



So, in this joyous way, 
With fresh loves ev'ry day. 
And with no debts to pay, 

We scamper time o'er ; 
While between driukiug deep. 
And hght visions in sleep. 
Our young years will creep 

To a hundred or more. 

Yes, dear old Cocagne, 
It 's with thee, — free from pain, — 
But who checks my strain. 
In an accent so shrill ? 



234 TABLE TEAITS. 

For, while singing, I tliougM, — 
But, my friends, we are caught,— 
'T is the waiter who 's brought 
His confounded long bill. 

The fairy-land of Cocagne is said to derive its name 
from the Latin, coguere, "to cook." Duchat says, that its 
flocks and herds present themselves perfectly cooked, and 
that the larks descend from the skies ready roasted. For 
it is there alone — 

" Where so ready all nature its cookery yields, 
Maccaroni au parmesan grows in the fields ; 
Little birds fly about with the true pheasant taint. 
And the geese are all born with a liver complaint." 

The Utopian hanquets, which are described by More, 
present an imaginary view of society in another extreme. 
The learned Chancellor, amid much' invented nonsense, 
pictures the manners of the citizens of Amaurat after the 
fashion of those of Crete and Lacedsemonia, especially 
vdth regard to their common halls for their repasts, — 
a fashion, by the way, which was partially followed in the 
club-rooms of Attica. Others of the author's ideas have 
been reahzed since he wrote; and, in this respect, his 
Utopia may be said to have done good service ; but there 
is a woful residue of nonsense, nevertheless, which is 
nei,ther amusing nor useful. 

Sir Thomas describes the citizens of Amaurat as pos- 
sessing provision markets abundantly supplied with herbs, 
fruits, bread, fowl, and cattle. The latter were previously 
slain in extra-mural slaughter-houses, well furnished with 
running water, for washing away the filth after killing. The 
butchers were slaves, (for serfdom " was a peculiar insti- 
tution" of this happy republic,) the free citizens not being 
permitted to kill animals, lest such pursuit should harden 
their singularly tender characters. "In every street," 



THE TABLES OE TTTOPIA AUD THE GOLDEN AGE, 235 

we are told by the author, " there are great halls that lie 
at an equal distance from one another, and are marked by 
peeuliair names. The Syphogrants dwell in those, that 
are set over thirty families, fifteen lying on one side of it, 
and as many on the other. In these they do all meet 
and eat. The stawards of every one of them come to the 
market-place at an appointed hour, and, according to the 
number of those that belong to their hall, they carry 
home provisions. But they take more care of their sick 
than of any others After the steward of the hos- 
pitals has taken for them whatever the physician does 
prescribe for them, at the market-place, then the best 
things that remain are distributed equally among the 
halls, in proportion to their numbers ; only, in the first 
place, they serve the Prince, the Chief Priest, the Trani- 
bors, and Ambassadors, and strangers, if there are any, 
which, indeed, falls out but seldom, and for whom there 
are houses weU-fumished, particularly appointed, when 
they come among them. At the hours of dinner and 
supper, the Syphogranty, being called together by sound of 
trumpet, meets and eats together, except only such as are 
in the hospitals, or lie sick at home. Yet, after the halls 
are served, no man is hindered to carry provisions home 
from the market-place, for they know none does that but 
for some good reason ; for, though any that wUl may eat at 
home, yet none does it willingly, since it is both an indecent 
and foolish thing for any to give themselves the trouble to 
make ready an ill dinner at home, when there is a much 
more plentiful one made ready for him so near at hand. All 
the imeasy and sordid services about these halls are done by 
their slaves ; but the dressing and cooking of their meat, 
and ordering of their tables, belong only to the women, 
which goes roimd all the women of every family by turns. 
They sit at three or more tables, according to their num- 
bers ; the men sit towards the wall, and the women sit on 



236 TABLE TEAITS. 

the otter side, that if any of them fall suddenly ill, which 
is ordinary to those expecting to be mothers, she may, 
without disturbing the rest, rise and go to the nurses' 
room, who are there with the suckling children, where 
there is always fire and clean water at hand, and some 
cradles in which they may lay the young children," &c. 
But, to return from this public nursery to the pubHe 
dining-hall, "aJl the children under five years of age 
dined with the nurses : the rest of the younger sort of 
both sexes, till they are fit for marriage, do either serve 
those that sit at table ; or, if they are not strong enough 
for that, they stand by them in great silence, and eat 
that which is given them by those that sit at table, nor 
have they any other formahty of dining." The whole 
formaUty was bad enough, and that last-mentioned was 
a Doric custom prevailing in Crete. As to the personal 
arrangements at these Utopian tables, the infelicitous 
guests stood much upon their order of precedence : the 
Syphogrant and his wife, the gnadige T'rau Syphograntinn, 
presided at the centre of the cross table, at the upper end 
of the hall. After the Magistrates and their mates, came 
the Priests and their ladies, — for More placed the Church 
below the State, and hinted that celibacy in the Clergy 
was not to be commended. Below these, groups of the 
young and gay were placed, between flanking companies 
of the aged and grave, to spoil thteir mirth, and improve 
their manners ; and this Spartan custom was occasionally 
imitated at Athenian feasts, albeit the Athenians looked 
with something like contempt upon the institutions of 
old Laconia. The best dishes were placed before the 
oldest men, and the latter gave of the dainty bits to the 
young, if these merited such favour by their behaviour ; 
if not, they took their chance of what the older gour- 
mands might leave, or were obliged to be content with 
the plainer fare allotted to them. 



THE TABLES OE UTOPIA AlfD THE GOLDEN AGE. 237 

During this delectaUe process, the young could not 
have offended by their gaiety, nor the old have improved 
them by conversation, seeing that a reader was appointed, 
to assist digestion by reading aloud an Essay on Moral- 
ity. The Eomans had the same office performed at some 
of their meals by learned slaves. More expressly says 
that the Utopian lecture was so short, that it was neither 
tedious nor uneasy to those that heard it ; and that after 
it, the elders not only wagged their beards by " pleasant 
enlargements," but encouraged the young to foUow them 
in the same track. This must have been after the supper, 
when it was the law of Utopia, not to "run a mile," but 
to' "rest awhile." The dinners were dispatched quickly, 
because work awaited the diners,' while the supper-eaters 
had nothing to do afterwards but sleep. This must have 
been all terribly dreajy, if it had ever been realized. The 
only pleasant feature in More's Utopian banquets is, that 
wherein he says that there was always music at supper, 
and fruit served up after meat, (which, by the way, was a 
cruel trial for the digestive powers,) and that as the repast 
proceeded, " some bum perfumes, and sprinkle about 
sweet ointments, and sweet waters ; and they are wanting 
in nothing that may cheer up their spirits ; for they give 
themselves a large allowance in that way, and indulge 
themselves in all such pleasures as are attended with no 
inconvenience. Thus," he adds, " do they that are in 
towns eat together ; but in the country, where they live 
at a greater distance, every one eats at home, and no 
family wants any necessary sort of provision; for it is 
from them that provisions are sent in to them that live 
in the towns." 

I have noticed above the slave-readers at Eoman din- 
ners. These were seldom bom slaves ; indeed, of bom 
slaves, among the Greeks or Eomans, the numbers were 
fewer than might be reasonably imagined. Those who 



238 _ TABLE TEAITS. 

became authors or teachers, were the distinguished and 
illustrious of their class ; and it was they who reheved. 
the tedium of a Roman repast by reading livelier sallies 
than Essays on Morality, like the Utopians. If their 
rank in humanity was low, their ability secured for them 
many privileges which even freedmen did not enjoy. Of 
this rank of reading slaves was Andronicus, the inventor 
of dramatic poetry. Plautus, the witty, but coarse, play- 
writer, miller, and Jack of aU trades, was a slave. 
Terence was also a dramatist, and not only a slave, but 
a Negro slave. .3]sop the fabulist, Phaedrus, his imi- 
tator, and the moral philosopher Epictetus, were slaves. 
The latter, who was as low in condition among bondsmen 
as he was exalted in his character of teacher of mankind, 
was the slave of one who had been a slave, — a depth of 
degradation than which there can be none deeper. But 
his mission was a great one ; for he appears to me to have 
been an instrument employed to prepare men's minds 
for a change from the vices of Paganism to the virtues of 
Christianity. His writings are as stepping-stones across 
the dark and rapid stream dividing error from truth. 
They are admirably calculated to enable men to go for- 
ward ; not only to induce them to make the first step out 
of infideUty; but, having made it, rather to make a 
second in advance towards Christ, than go backward 
again in the direction of the dazzling unintelligibUities 
of the Capitoline Jove. 

From slavery, it' we turn our eyes towards mere poverty, 
the next condition to it, we shall see that the poor men 
characteristically paid their addresses to poetry; — and 
they were the "lions" at the dinners and assemblies of 
Eome. Such was Horace, who, if he were not in want, 
was of inferior descent, his father having been a slave, 
and subsequently, on being enfranchised, a tax-gatherer. 
Virgil was of equally mean descent on the paternal side ; 



THE TABLES OE UTOPIA AlfD THE GOLDEN AGE. 239 

but he derived some portioa of nobility from bis mother. 
Juvenal, too, was not only poor and a poet, — a condition 
that could draw upon it only a serf's contempt, — but he 
was, moreover, an exceedingly angry poet. In equal pro- 
portion as he was poor, angry, and satirical in poetry, was 
Lueian poor, angry, and satirical in prose. 

If the dining-out poets were poor, it was much the 
same with the philosophers. The proudest walks of phi- 
losophy were trodden by Demosthenes, the blacksmith. 
Socrates was the ill-featured, but original-minded, son of 
a mason and midwife. Epicurus was only rich in a value- 
less boast of being descended from Ajax ; and Isocrates, 
whose father manufactured the musical ancestry from 
which are descended the modern families of piancJ-forte 
and fiddle, was also one of the immortal race of intellec- 
tual giants Of other writers we may remark, that 

Quintus Curtius, whose "Alexander the Great" is the 
first historical romance that ever was written, and con- 
tains the best description of a Babylonian banquet that 
ever was painted in words, was of an ignoble family. 
Celsus was, at least, not a Eoman citizen, though resident 
at Home; and Plutarch was just "respectable," and 
nothing more ; — though to be worthy of respect, as the 
term imphes, is as high rank as a man need sigh for. 

But though art and science, though the Nine Sisters 
who made Parnassus vocal, were thus worshipped by the 
slave and his cousin the beggar; wealth was by no 
means a synonymous term for either sloth or incapacity. 
The opulent Lucretius, who believed nothing; the two 
Plinies, the soul of one of whom, "with a difference," 
entered into Horace Walpole, and who wrote about his slave 
Zozimus, as Walpole does of his favourite servants ; the 
tender and chivalrous Tibullus, — a Latin Sir PhUip Sid- 
ney; the profligate Sophocles; ^schylus, the bottle- 
drainer; ajad the lofty Euripides: all these mounted 



2i0 TABLE TEAITS. 

Pegasus witli golden spurs, and gave glorious dinners 
to guests with whom they could contend in the battle of 
braias. Some, like Martial, got their mouths fiUed with 
the sugar-candy of imperial recompence. Csesar, the 
Commentator, was the descendant of the Sabiae Xings, 
and the foimder of an empire. In Plato we see the 
double condition of aristocrat and slave. Prom the latter 
condition he was rescued by his noble friends at the cost 
of three thousand drachmas ; more fortunate in this than 
Diogenes, who, being friendless, was left to hug his irons, 
and teach his master's sons to love virtue and liberty. 

And the mention of the name of Plato reminds me of 
a more modern philosopher, who did not lack reverence 
for Mm, — I mean Bacon, — and Bacon naturally brings 
me from my digression to the subject of " Table Traits" 
ia imaginary Utopias. This philosopher, in his "^TTew 
Atlantis," is even more infelicitous than More, both in 
the framing of his fiction, and the extracting from it of a 
moral. The table laws spoken of in Solomon's house, 
have more of a joUy aspect than those drawn by Sir 
Thomas More. For instance, " I will not hold you long 
with recounting of our brewhouses, bakehouses, and 
kitchens, where are made divers drinks, breads, and meats, 
rare and of special eifects. Wines we have of grapes, 
and drinks of other juice, of fruits, of grains, and of roots ; 
and of mixtures with honey, sugar, manna, and fruits 
dried and decocted ; also of the tears and woundings 
of trees, and of the pulp of canes : and these drinks are 
of several ages, some to the age at least of forty years. 
We have drinks also brewed of several herbs or roots, 
and spices, yea, with several fleshes and wine-meats, 
whereof some of the drinks are such as they are in effect 
meat and drink both. So that divers, especially in age, 
do desire to live with them, with little or no meat or 
bread ; and, above all, we strive to have drinks of extreme 



THE TABLES OE UTOPIA AND THE GOLDEN AGE. 241 

thin parts, to insinuate into the body, and yet without 
all hiting sharpness, or fretting; insomuch as some of 
them put upon the back of your hand wiH, with a little' 
stay, pass through to the palm, and yet taste mild to the 
mouth. We have also waters which we ripen in that 
fashion as they become nourishing, so that they are, 
indeed, excellent drink, and many will use no other. 
Breads we have of several grains, roots, and kernels, yea, 
and some of flesh and fish dried, with divers kinds of 
leavenings and seasonings, so that some do extremely 
move appetites ; some do nourish so as divers do live of 
them without any other meat, who live very long. So, 
for meats, we have some of them so beaten and made 
tender and mortified, yet without all corrupting, as a 
weak heat of the stomach wiU turn them into good 
chylus, as well as a strong heat would meat otherwise 
prepared. We have some meats, also, and breads and 
drinks which, taken by some, enable them to fast long 
after; and some other that wiU make the very flesh of 
men's bodies sensibly more hard and tough, and their 
strength far greater than otherwise it would be." 

In this way could philosophy disport itself, and not 
with much attendant profit, beyond amusement. Before 
I conclude this section, I may notice a more graceful 
fiction touching ban(p.ets, than any thing to be met with 
among the philosophers. The inhabitants of the coast of 
Malabar believe that the double cocoas of the Moluccas, 
annually thrown on their shore by the waves, and joy- 
fully welcomed by the expecting inhabitants, are the 
produce of a palm-tree growing in the fathomless recesses 
of the ocean ; and that they arise from among coral-groves 
endowed with supernatural qualities and attributes. For 
a detailed account of this supposed phsenomenon, and a 
very pretty illustration of the theory of seeds transported 
by winds and currents, I refer all curious inquirers to the 



242 TABLE TEAITS. 

"Aimals of My Village," by a Lady. In the mean time, 
I venture to put into verse, the supposed scene which 
occurs at the annual cocoa-banquet in Malabar : — ■ 

'Neath the waves of Mincoy grows a magiciil tree. 

In the sunless retreat of a dark coral-grove, 
Where slumber young sprites, — ^the gay elves of a sea 

Flinging back the bright blue of its heaven above. 
There they sip the sweet fruit of that palm-tree, and leav 

Of its best and its ripest for maidens who stray. 
And laugh away time with their lovers at eve. 

And sing to those elves of the deep by the way. 

O ! to see them at sunset, when down by the shore 

Of their own Malabar in gay clusters they stand, 
like spirits of hght shedding softness aU o 'er 

The broad sea, and its tribute of fruit, from the land ! 
There troops of young girls, in their light-hearted mirth. 
Are laughing at youths who, reclined on the earth. 
Drink the white wine of Kishna ; — ^while some are at play, 

riinging glances and handsfiiU of roses, in showers. 
That their lovers can't tell, as they bend 'ueath the fray, 

"Which are falling the fastest, — ^the glances, or flowers. 

And then on the sands where these young people meet. 

What hushing of songs and suppressing of glee. 
As the waves bring in gently, and waft to their feet. 

The ripe fruit of the palm that lives under the sea I 
There, while, half in earnest, fair Malabar's daughters. 
Half play, dip their white, sandal'd feet in the waters. 
To catch the ripe cocoas, and run back again. 

As the wave washes over their small anklet bells. 
There are some, youths and maidens, who, hnk'din a chain. 

Like pearls strung, and mix'd, here and there, with sea-shells. 
Dash into the flood for the fruit of the palm. 

Which they strive for, and, winning, bring joyously out ; 
Then lean on their lovers, all panting and warm 

With laughter and splashing the waters about. 

O, who would not Hke to pass summer away 
Amid scenes such as this ? 0, who would not love 

With Malabar's daughters, at twilight, to play. 
And taste the ripe fruit of that dark coral-grove ?" 



THE TABLES OP UTOPIA AND THE GOLDEN AGE. 243 

The Malabar palm was not the only tree of its kind 
that used to afiford hoUdays and banquetings to the peo- 
ple of the East, that is, according to the poets. The 
Talipot pahn of Ceylon, or, as the natives somewhat 
immusically call it, " lanha dioipa" was, in the olden time 
of pleasant fiction, one of this gifted species. But the 
banquet it afforded was not of annual occurrence ; for the 
tree never flowers till it is fifty years old, and dies imme- 
diately after producing its fruit. The Kings of Candy 
used to bestow the rich gift of some of its blossoms on the 
favoured fair one whose head rested on the bosom of the 
Sovereign at the feast, and who lifted the bowl to his 
painted Hps. It was, however highly esteemed, not such 
a present as Demetrius Pohorcetes made to Lamia, after 
that accompHshed courtezan had erected at Sicyon a 
portico so superb, that Polemo wrote a book to describe 
it ; and poem and portico became the table-talk of all 
Greece. The gift of Demetrius was a magnificent purse, 
containing two hundred and fifty talents, which, by the 
way, he had compelled the reluctant Athenians to contri- 
bute ; and this he sent to Lamia, saying, that it was 
merely " for soap." The extravagant lady spent it all in 
one single, but consuming, fea§t! How pleasantly, by 
contrast, shines that other courtezan, Le»na, whose wit 
made guests forget that the feast was frugal ; and to 
whom the Athenians erected a bronze lioness, without a 
tongue, in honour of the lady who heroically had bitten 
out her own, that torture might not make her betray the 
accompHces of her protector Harmodius, in the murder of 
her tyrant Hipparchus ! 

We have not found much of the refinement we looked 
for in these remote periods and banquets. Let us see 
what may be discovered in the Table Traits of England 
in Early Times. 

B 2 



TABLE TRAITS OF ENGLAND IN EARLY 
TIMES. 



Wheii Diodorus Siculus wrote an account of the 
aboriginal inhabitants of Britain, some fifty years before 
the Christian era, he described the island as being thickly 
inhabited, ruled by many Kings and Princes, and aU 
living peaceably together, — ^though with war-chariots and 
strong arms, to settle quarrels when they occurred. But 
if our ancestors lived peaceably among themselves, they 
can hardly be said to have lived comfortably. Their 
habitations were of reed, or of wood ; and they gathered 
in the harvest by cutting off the ears of corn. These 
ears they garnered in subterranean repositories, where- 
from they daily culled the ripest grain; and, rudely 
dressing the same, had thence their sustenance. Diodorus 
says that our primitive sires were far removed from the 
cunning and wickedness of the rest of the world ; and 
other writers contrast them favourably with the Irish, 
who are said to have fed on human flesh, to have had enor- 
mous appetites for such food, and to have been given to the 
nasty habit of devouring their deceased fathers ; but it is 
not uncommon for others, as well as for Irish sons, to 
devour, at least, their parents' substance, even at the 
present day. The food of an Irish child was certainly 
illustrative of character, — we should rather say that 
the solemnity of offering the first food to a child was 
characteristic. Caius Julius Sohnus, a writer of the first 



TAILE TEAITS OP ENGIAITD IN EAELX TIMES. 245 

century, says, that "when a Hibernian mother gives 
birth to a male chUd, she puts its first food on the point 
of her husband's sword, and lightly inserts this foretaste 
of meat into the mouth of the infant, on its very tip ; and, 
by family vows, desires that it may never die but under 
arms." In other words, the relations wished that the 
little stranger might never be in want of a row, when 
disposed to distinguish the family name ! 

In the days of Julius Csesar, our stalwart sires sup- 
ported their thews and sinews on milTf and flesh, — ^the diet 
of a pugilist. We see how much progress was made by the 
time of Constantine, — ^the Constantine that was crowned 
in Britain, — "when," says a contemporary writer, "the 
harvests sufficed alike for the gifts of Ceres and Bacchus, 
and the pastures were covered with umumerable multi- 
tudes of tame flocks, distended with milk, or laden with 
fleeces." 

I very much fear, however, notwithstanding the rather 
poetical accounts of certain early writers, that our abori- 
ginal ancestry were very little superior to the New 
Zealanders. They were, perhaps, more imcivilized, and 
quite as ignorant ; and their abstinence from the flesh of 
hares and poultry, and, in the northern parts of the island, 
from fish, bespeaks a race who lacked, at once, industry 
and knowledge. Indeed, it is by ho means certain, that 
we do not wrong the New Zealanders by suggesting their 
possible inferiority to the Britons, seeing that the latter 
are very strongly suspected of being guilty of the most 
revolting cannibalism. 

They were clever enough to brew mead and ale ; but 
wine and civilization were brought to them by their ene- 
mies, the Romans, — ^invaders whom, for some reasons, 
they might have welcomed with a sentiment akin to the 
line in Beranger : — 

" Fiveni noa amis I nos amis, les ennemk I " 



246 TABLE TEAITS. 

They ate but twice a day. The last meal was the more 
important one. Their seats were skins, or bundles of 
hay, flung on the ground. The table was a low stool, 
around which British Chiefs sat, and, even in the locaUty 
occupied by modem Belgravia, tore their food with teeth 
and nails, or hacked at it with a wretched knife, as bad 
as any thing of the sort now in common use in Gaul. 
In short, they committed a thousand solecisms, the very 
idea of which is sufficient to make the Sybarites of 
Belgravia very much ashamed of their descent from the 
savages of Britain. 

It was characteristic of the sort of civilization which 
the Anglo-Saxons brought with them to England, that 
they introduced the rather vulgar custom of taking four 
meals a-day. The custom was| however, one solemnly 
observed by the high-feeding nobility of the Saxons. 
They ate good soUd joints of flesh-meat, boUed, baked, 
or broiled. It would seem, that, in those days, cooks 
were not of such an illustrious guild as that which they 
subsequently formed. A cook among the Anglo-Saxons 
was little mpre accounted of than the calf he cut up into 
collops. The cook, in fact, was a slave ; and was as 
unceremoniously bequeathed by his owner, in the latter' s 
last will and testament, as though the culinary artist had 
been a mere kitchen utensil. At Saxon tables, both sexes 
sat together, — a custom refined in itself, refining in its 
effects, and of such importance, that half-a-dozen nations 
claim the honour of being the inventors of that excellent 
custom. In Europe, Turkey alone has obstinately refused 
to foUow this civilizing example ; and Turkey is falling 
to pieces. It may, therefore, be logically proved, that 
where table rights are not conceded to the ladies, nations 
slowly perish ; and — " serve them right." 

It is a mark of Anglo-Saxon delicacy, that table-cloths 
were features at Anglo-Saxon feasts; but, as the long 



TABLE TEAITS OF ENGLAND IN EAELT TIMES. 247 

ends were -used in place of napkins, the delicacy would be 
of a somewliat dirty hue, if the cloth were made to serve 
at a second feast. There was a rude sort of display upon 
the board; but the order of service was of a quality 
that would strike the " Jeameses " of the age of Victoria 
with inexpressible disgust. The meat was never " dished," 
and "covers" were as yet unknown. The attendants 
brought the viands into the dining hall on the spits, 
knelt to each guest, presented the spit to his considera- 
tion ; and, the guest having helped himself, the attendant 
went through the sanie ceremony with the next guest. 
Hard drinking followed upon these same ceremonies ; and 
even the monasteries were not exempt from the sins of 
• gluttony and drunkenness. Notwithstanding these bad 
habits, the Anglo-Saxons were a cleanly people. The 
warm bath was in general use. Water, for hands and 
feet, was brought to every stranger on entering a house 
whereia he was about to tarry and feed ; and, it is said 
that one of the severest penances of the Church was the 
temporary denial of the bath, and of cutting the hair and 
nails. 

With the Normans came greater grandeur and increased 
discomfort. They neither knew nor tolerated the use of 
table-eloths or plain steel forks ; but their biU of fare 
showed more variety and costliness than the Saxons cared 
for. Their cookery was such an improvement on that of 
their predecessors in the island, that Norman French, and 
Norman dishes, flung the Saxon tongue and table into the 
annihilating position of "vulgarity." The art was so 
much esteemed, that Monarchs even granted estates, on 
condition that the holder thereof should, through his 
cook, prepare a certain dish at stated periods, and set it 
before the King. It was imder the Normans that the 
boar's head had regal honours paid it ; and its progress 
from the kitchen to the banquet was under escort of a 



248 TABLE TEAIT3. 

guard, and behind the deafening salutes of puffy-cheeked 
trumpeters. The crane was then what the goose is now, 
— highly esteemed ; yet labouring under the shadow of a 
suspicion of being " common." The peacock, on the 
other hand, was only seen, tail and all, at the tables ot 
the wealthy. Their beverage was of a very bilious char 
racter, — spicy and cordialed ; namely, hippocras, piment, 
morat, and mead. The drink of the humbler classes 
partook of a more choleraic quaUty. It consisted of cider, 
perry, and ale. The Norman maxim for good living and 
plenty of it, was to " rise at five, dine at nine, sup at five, 
and bed at nine, if you'd live to a hundred all but one." 
Dinner at nine is, however, a contradiction of terms ; for 
dinner, as I have said, is the abbreviation of Modeme heme, 
or "ten o'clock," the time at which aU people sat down 
to a solid repast in the days of the first Williams. 

In the two following centuries, cooks and Kingr 
launched into far greater magnificence than had ever, 
hitherto, been seen ia England. Eichard II. entertained 
ten thousand guests daily at his numerous tables ; and 
the exceedingly fast Earl of Leicester, grandson of the 
equally slow Henry III., is said to have spent twenty-two 
thousand pounds of silver in one year, in eating, alone 
His thirsty household retainers drank no less than three 
hundred and seventy-one pipes of wine, in the same space 
of time. At great banquets, the dishes were reckoned by 
thousands, and Kings in vain dictated decrees denouncing 
such diuners ; for cooks and cowovoes considered them with 
contempt. As a show of moderation, the old four meals 
arday were now reduced to two ; but these two were 
connected by such a savoury chain of intermeats and 
refections, that the board was spread all day long, and 
guests were never weary : — 

" Their life like tlie life of the Germans would be, 
2)» lit i, la table; de la table au lit'' 



TABLE TEAITS OF EN&LAND IN EABIT TIMES. 249 

To have things "brennying like wild-fire," was the cha* 
racteristie of the cookery of the period. Confectionery of 
the richest sorts were the lighter materials of meals, 
which were abundantly irrigated by hippocras, piment, 
or claret, or the simpler and purer wines of France, Spain, 
Syria, and Greece. Thus might a host say : — 

" Ye shall have runrney and malespine, 
Both ypocrasse and vernage wine ; 
Moimtrasse and wyne of Greke, 
Both algrade and despice eke, 
Antioche and bastaide, 
Pyment also and gamarde, 
Wyne of Greke and muscadell. 
Both clary, pyment, and Eochelle." 

Ricobaldi of Ferrara, writing, about the year 1300, of 
the Italian social condition in the age of Frederick II., 
illustrates the former rudeness of the Italian manners, by 
showing that in those days " a man and his wife ate off 
the same plate. There were no wooden-handled knives, 
nor more than one or two drinking-cups in a house. 
Candles of wax or taHow were unknown ; a servant held a 
torch during supper. The clothes of men were of leather 
unlined ; scarcely any gold or silver was seen on their 
dress. The common people ate flesh but three times a 
week, and kept their cold meat for supper. Many did 
not drink wine in summer. A small stock of corn seemed 
riches. The portions of women were small ; their dress, 
even after marriage, was simple. The pride of men was 
to be well provided with arms and horses ; that of the 
nobility to have lofty towers, of which all the cities in 
Italy were full. But now, frugality has been changed for 
sumptuousness ; every thing exquisite is sought after in 
dress, — gold, sUver, pearls, sUks, and rich furs." 

The Household-Book of the Earl of Northumberland 
admirably Ulustrates the iaterior and table life of the 



250 TABLE TEAITS. 

greater nobles of tte period of Henry VII. In this well- 
known and well-kept record, the family is described as 
consisting of one hundred and sixty-six persons, masters 
and servants ; and hospitable reckoning is allowed for 
more than half a hundred strangers who are expected daily 
to partake of the Earl's good cheer. The cost for each indi- 
vidual, for board and fuel, is settled at twopence halfpenny 
daily, about one and sixpence of our present money, if we 
take into account the relative value of money, and the , 
relative prices of provisions. The Earl allots for his 
annual expenditure £1178. I7s. 8d. More than two- 
thirds of this is consumed in meat, drink, and firing; 
namely, £797. lis. 2d. The book carefully states the 
ntimber of pieces which the carver is to cut out of each 
quarter of beef, mutton, veal, pork, nay, even stock-fish 
and salmon ; and supervising clerks were appointed to see 
that this was carried into effect, and to make due entry of 
the same in their registers. An absent servant's share is to 
be accounted for, and not to be divided among the rest. The 
absentee, if he be on "my Lord's " business, received 8d. 
per day, board wages, in winter, and 5d. in summer ; 
with 2d. additional daily for the keep of a horse. A 
little more than a quarter of wheat, estimated at 5s. 8d. 
per quarter^ is allowed for every month throughout the 
year ; with this, 250 quarters of malt, at 4s., (two hogs- 
heads to the quarter,) and producing about a bottle and a 
third of intermediate beer to each person, does not say 
much for the liberality of the Lord, though it may for the 
temperance of his retainers. One hundred and nine fat 
beeves are to be bought at All-Hallow's Tide, at 13s. M. 
each ; a couple of dozen of lean kine, at 8s., are to be 
bought at St. Helen's, to be fattened for service between 
Midsummer and Michaelmas. All the rest of the year, 
nine weary months, the family was on salted provisions, 
to aid the digestion of which, the Earl, so chary of his 



TABLE TEAITS OF ENGLAND IN EAELT TIMES. 251 

liquor, allows the profuse aid of one hundred and sixty - 
six gallons of mustard. 647 sheep at Is. 8d., to be eaten 
salted between Lammas and Michaelmas ; 25 hogs at 2s., 
28 calves at Is. 8d., 40 lambs at lOd. or Is., — are other 
articles which seem to have been reserved rather for the 
upper table than for the servants, whose chief fare was 
salted beef, without vegetables, but with mustard a 
discretion'.' There was great scarcity of linen, and the 
little there was, except that for the chapel, not often 
washed. No mention is made of sheets ; and though 
"my Lord's" table had eight "table-cloths" for the 
year, that of the Knights had but one, and probably 
went uncovered while the cloth was "at the wash." If 
the ale was limited, the wine appears to have been more 
liberally dispensed ; and ten tuns and two hogsheads of 
Gascony wine, at £4. 13s. 4id. per tun, show the bent of 
the Earl's taste. Ninety-one dozens of candles for the 
year, and no fires after Lady-Day, except half-fires in the 
great room and the nursery; twenty-four fires, with a 
peck of coals daily for each, (for the ofiices,) and eighty 
chaldrons of coals, at 4s. lOd., with sixty-four loads of 
wood, at Is. a load, — are the provisions made for lighting • 
and firing. It must have been cold work to Uve in the 
noble Earl's house in Yorkshire, from Lady-Day till the 
warm summer came ; which advent is sometimes put off 
till next year. The famUy rose at six, or before; for 
Mass was especially.ordered at that hour, in order to force 
the household to rise early. The dinner-hour was ten 
A.M. ; four p.M- was the hour for supper ; and at nine the 
bell rang for bed. I have omitted the breakfast, which 
took place at seven, after Mass ; when my Lord and 
Lady sat down to a repast of two pieces of salt-fish, and 
half-a-dozen red herrings, with four fresh ones, or a dish 
of sprats, and a quart of beer, and the same measure of 
wine. This was on meagre days. At other seasons, half 



252 TABLE TEAITS. 

a chine of mutton, or of boiled beef, graced the board of 
the delicate Earl and Countess, who sometimes forgot 
that they had to dine at ten. Capons, at 2cl. each, were 
only on the Lord's table, and plovers, at a penny, (at 
Christmas,) were deemed too good for any digestion that 
was not carried on in a "noble" stomach. Game 
generally is specified, but without intimation as to limit 
of the board. No doubt the fragments were not rejected 
at the servants' table ; but much certainly went in doles 
at the gate. My Lord maiutained between twenty and 
thirty horses for his own use. His mounted servants 
found their own ; but their keep was at. the noble mas- 
ter's cost. Of mounted servants, not less than three 
dozen attended their Lord on a journey ; and when this 
journey was for change of residence from one mansion to 
another, the illustrious Percy carried with him bed and 
bedding, household furniture, pots, pans, and kitchen 
utensils generally. The baggage waggon bore these 
impMimenta; and before and behind them went chiefs 
and serving men, including in the array eleven Priests, — 
two hundred and twenty-three persons in all, — and only 
two cooks to look after their material happiness ! No notice 
is taken of plate ; but the " hiring of pewter vessels " is 
mentioned ; and with these rough elements did the Earl 
construct his imperfect social system, so far taking care 
for his soul as well as his body, inasmuch ps that he 
contributed a groat a year to the shrine of our Lady of 
Walsitgham, and the same magnificent sum to the holy 
blood at Hales, on the express condition of the interest 
of the Virgin for the promotion of the future welfare of 
the Earl in heaven. Such is an outline of a nobleman's 
household in the good old days of Henry VII. 

In the reign of the same Eling, fish was a scarce article, 
and for a singular reason ; namely, people destroyed them 
at an unlawful season, for the purpose of feeding their 



TABLE TEAITS OF ENGLAND IN EAELX TIMES. 253 

pigs or manuring the ground. The favourite wine at 
tahle was Malmsey : it came from Candy ; and there was 
a legal restriction against its costing more than four 
pounds per butt. In this reign our cooks wrought at fires 
made with wood imported from Gascony and Languedoe, 
whence also much wine was brought, but, by law, only in 
English bottoms. The richest man of this reign was Sir 
William Stanley, into whose hands fell nearly all the spoil 
of Bosworth Field ; and therewith he maintained a far 
more princely house and table than his master. 

In Pegge's " Cv/ry" there is an account of the roUs of 
provisions, with their prices, in the time of Henry VIII. ; 
and we find that, at the dinner given at the marriage of 
Gervase Clifton and Mary Nevile, the price of three 
hogsheads of wine (one white, one red, one claret) was 
set down at £5. 5«. 

The dining-rooms — and, indeed, these were the common 
living rooms in the greatest houses — ^were stiU uncom- 
fortable places. The walls were of stone, partially con- 
cealed by tapestry hung upon timber hooks, and taken 
down whenever the family removed, (leaving bare the 
stone walls,) lest the damp should rot it. It was a 
fashion that had lasted for centuries ; but it began to dis- 
appear when mansions ceased to be fortresses. The 
tapestry, it may be observed, was suspended on a wooden 
frame projecting from the wall, between which and the 
hangings there was a passage wide enough to kill a man, 
as Hamlet did Polonius, " behind the arras." It was not 
tiU the reign of Charles I. that houses were built with 
under-ground rooms ; the pantry, cellars, kitchens, and 
store-rooms were, previous to this reign, all on the ground 
floor; and the officials presiding in each took there, 
respectively, their solemn post on great days of state- 
dinners. There were certain days when the contents of 
these several offices, meat and drink, were bountifully 



254 TABLE TEAITS. 

supplied to every applicant. To revert to tapestry : we 
see the time of its change, in the speech of FalstafiF, who 
wishes his hostess to sell her tapestry, and adopt the 
cheaper painted canvas which came from HoUand. 

At this time, and, indeed, long after, our English 
yeomanry and tradesmen were more anxious to invigorate 
their bodies hy a generous diet, than to dwell in well-fur- 
nished houses, or to find comfort in cleanliness and 
elegance. "These EngKsh," said the Spaniards who 
came over with Philip II., " have their houses made of 
sticks and dirt ; hut they fare commonly as well as the 
King." 

Previous to the age of Elizabeth, even the Monarch, 
well as he might fare, and gloriously as he shone in 
pageants, was but simply lodged. The furniture of the 
bed-room of Henry VIII. was of the very simplest ; and 
the magnificent Wolsey was content with deal for the 
material of most of the furniture of his palace. . But the 
community generally was, frotu this period, both boarded 
and bedded more comfortably and refinedly than before. 
The hours for meals were eight, noon, and sis; but 
"after-meats," and "after-suppers," filled up the inter- 
vals. It was chiefly at the "after-supper" that wine 
was used. The dinner, however, had become the princi- 
pal meal of the day. It was abundant ; but the jester 
and harper were no longer tolerated at it, with their 
lively sauce of mirth and music. It was the fashion to 
be sad, and ceremonious dinners were celebrated in stately 
silence, or a dignified sotto voce. Each guest took his 
place according to a properly marshalled order of prece- 
dence ; and, before sitting down to dinner, they washed 
with rose-water and perfumes, like the parochial boards 
of half a century ago, who used also to deduct the 
expenses of both dinners and rose-water from the rates 
levied for the relief of the poor ; this, too, at a time when 



TABLE TEAITS Or ENGLAND IN EAELX TIMES. 255 

men who were not parish authorities were being hanged 
for steaUng to the amount of a few shillings. 

By the reign of Elizabeth, napkins had been added to 
table-cloths. The wealthy ate the manchet, or fine wheaten 
bread ; the middle classes were content with a bread of 
coarser quality called " chete ; " and the ravelled, brown, or 
maslin bread was consumed by those who could afford to 
procure no better. There was a passion for strong wines 
at this time. Of this, France sent more than half a 
hundred different sorts, and thirty-six various kinds were 
imported from other parts of Europe. About 30,000 tuns 
were imported yearly, exclusive of what the nobility 
imported free of duty. The compound wines were in 
great request ; and ladies did not disdain to put their lips 
to distilled liquors, such as rosa-solis and aqua-vitce. Ale 
was brewed stronger than these distillations ; and our 
ancestors drank thereof to an extent that is terrific only 
to think of. Camden ascribes the prevailing drunkenness 
to the long wars in th^ Netherlands, previous to which, 
we had been held, " of aU the northern nations, the most 
commended for sobriety." The barbarous terms formerly 
used in drinking matches, are all of Dutch, German, or 
Danish origin, and this serves to confirm Camden's asser- 
tion. The statutes passed to correct the evil were dis- 
regarded. James I. was particularly desirous to enforce 
these statutes ; but his chief difficulty lay in the fact, that 
he was the first to infringe them. 

In Elizabeth's reign the " watching candles " of Alfred 
(to mark the time) were in use in many houses. This is 
a curious trait of in-door hfe. We have an " exterior " 
one, in the fact that the Vicar of Hurly, who served 
Maidenhead, had an addition of stipend on accoimt of the 
danger he ran, in crossing the thicket, when he passed to 
or from the church — and his inn. It was not a delicate 
period, and if caraways always appeared at dessert, every 



256 TABIE TEAITS. 

one knew that they were there for the kind purpose of 
curing expected flatulence in the guests. 

In James the First's reign, the fashion of Mahnsey had 
passed away, and the Hungarian red wine (Ofener) had 
taken its place. It came by Breslau to Hamburg, where 
it was shipped to England. It is a strong wine, and 
bears some resemblance to port. 

In country-houses in the seventeenth century, the 
Knight or Squire was head of a host of retainers, three- 
fourths of whom consumed the substance of the master 
on whose estate they were bom, without rendering him 
much other service than drinking his ale, eating his beef, 
and wearing his livery. Brief family prayers, and heavy 
family breakfasts, a run with the hounds, and an early 
dinner, followed by long and heavy drinking, till supper- 
time, when more feeding and imbibing went on Tintil each 
man finished his posset, or carried it with him to bed,— 
such was the ordinary course : but it admitted of excep- 
tions where the master was a man of intellect, and then 
the country-house was a temple of hospitality rather than 
of riot ; and good sense and ripe wit took the place of 
the sensuality, obscurity, and ignorance that distinguished 
the boards where the Squire was simply a " brute." 

Of the table traits of this century, the best examples 
are to be found in Pepys and Evelyn. In the Diary of 
the former, may be seen what a jolly tavern Ufe could be 
led by a grave official, and no scandal given. Evelyn takes 
us into better company. We find him at the Spanish 
Ambassador's, when his Excellency, by way of dessert, 
endeavoured to convert him to the Roman Catholic 
Church. We go with him to the feast where the Envoy 
from the Emperor of Morocco figured as so civilized a 
gentleman, whUe the representative of the Czar of Mus- 
covy comported himself like a rude clown ; and we dine 
with him at Lady Simderland's, where the noble hostess 



TABLE TEAITS OP ENStAIfD IN EAELT TIMES. 257 

had engaged, for the amusement of the guests, a man who 
swallowed stones, and who not only performed the feat in 
presence of the company, but convinced them there was 
no cheat, hy making the stones rattle in his stomach. 
But, noiis avons change tout cela, and not only changed in 
taste, but improved in manners. 

Pepys gives a curious account of a Lord Mayor's 
dinner in 1663. It was served in the Guildhall, at one 
o'clock in the day. A bill of fare was placed with every 
salt-cellar, and at the end of each table was a list of " the 
persons proper" there to be seated. Here is a mixture 
of abundance and barbarism. " Many were the tables, 
but none in the haU, but the Mayor's and the Lords' 
of the Privy Council, tliat Jiad napkins or knives, which 
was very strange. I sat at the merchant-.strangers' table, 
where ten good dishes to a mess, with plenty of wine 
of aU sorts ; but it was very unpleasing that we had 
no napkins, nor change of trenchers, and drank out of 
earthen pitchers and wooden dishes. The dinner, it 
seems, is made by the Mayor and two Sheriffs for the 
time being, and the whole is reckoned to come to £700 
or £800 at most." Pepys took his spoon and fork with 
him, as was the custom of those days with guests invited 
-to great entertainments. " Porks" came in with Tom 
Coryat, in the reign of James I. ; but they were not 
"familiar" tUl after the Eestoration. The "laying of 
napkins," as it was called, was a profession of itself. 
Pepys mentions, the da^ before one of his dinner-parties, 
that he went home, and " there found one laying of my 
napkins against to-morrow, in figures of all sorts, Which 
is mighty pretty, and, it seems, is his trade, and he gets 
much money by it." The age of Pepys, we may further 
notice, was the great "supping age." Pepys himself 
supped heartily on venison pasty; but his occasional 
"next-morning" remark was like that of Scrub: "My 

s 



258 TABLE TEAITS. 

head aches eonsumedly ! " The dashing Duchess of Cleve- 
land supped off such substantials as roast chine of beef; 
much more sohd fare than that of the Squires in a suc- 
ceeding reign, who were content, with Sir Roger de 
Coverley, to wind up the day with " good Cheshire cheese, 
best mustard, a golden pippin, and a pipe of John Sly's 
best." 

A few years earlier. Laud had leisure to write anxiously 
to Strafford on the subject of Ulster eels. " Tour Ulster 
eels are the fattest,and fairest that ever I saw, and it 's a 
thousand pities there should be any error in their salting, 
or any thing else about them ; for how the carriage 
should hurt them I do not see, considering that other 
salted eels are brought as far, and retain their goodness ; 
but the dried fish was exceeding good." There was a 
good deal of error in the preserving of other things 
besides eels, if Laud had only known as much. 

It may be mentioned as something of a " Table Trait," 
illustrating the popular appetite in the reign of Charles II., 
that he sent sea stores to the people encamped in Moor- 
fields ; but they were so well provisioned by the liberality 
of the nation, that they turned up their noses at the 
King's biscuits, and sent them back, "not having been 
used to the same." There was some ungrateful imperti- 
nence in this ; but there was less meanness in it than was 
shown by the great ladies of Queen Anne's reign, who 
were curious in old china, and who indulged their passion 
by "swopping" their old clothes for fragile cups and 
saucers, instead of giving the former to the poor. 

Dryden speaks, in the Preface to his "Love Trium- 
phant," of a remarkable trait of the time of William 
III. "It is the usual practice," he says, " of our decayed 
gentry, to look about them for some illustrious family, 
and then endeavour to fix their young darling, where he 
may be both well educated and supported." 



TABLE TEAITS 01' ENGHiAIID IN EAELY TIMES. 259 

Shaftesbury reveals to us an illustration of George the 
First's reign. " In latter days," he says, " it has become 
the fashion to eat with less ceremony and method. 'Every 
one chooses to carve for himself. The learned manner 
of dissection is out of request ; and a certain method of 
cookery has been introduced, by which the anatomical 
science of the table is entirely set aside. Ragouts and 
fricassees are the reigning dishes, in which every thing is 
so dismembered, and thrown out of all order and form, 
that no part of the mess can properly be divided or dis- 
tinguished from another." But we have come to a period 
that demands a chapter to itself; and even with that 
imphed space, we can hardly do justice to the Table 
Traits of the Last Century. 



b2 



TABLE TRAITS OF THE LAST CENTURY. 



When Mr. Chute intimated to Horace Walpole ttat 
Ms "temperance diet and milk" had rendered him stupid, 
Walpole '^otested pleasantly against such an idea. " I 
have such lamentahle proofs," he says, " every day, 6f the 
stupifying qualities of beef, ale, and -wine, that I have 
contracted a most rehgious veneration for your spiritual 
nouriture. Only imagine that I here, (Houghton,) every 
day, see men who are mountains of roast beef, and only 
seem just roughly hewn out into the outlines of human 
form, like the giant rock at Pratolino ! I shudder when 
I see them brandish their knives, in act to carve, and 
look on them as savages that devour one another. I 
should not stare at all more than I do, if yonder Alder- 
man, at the end of the table, was to stick his fork into 
his joUy neighbour's cheek, and cut a brave slice of brown 
and fat. Why, I '11 swear I see no difference between a 
country gentleman and a sirloin: whenever the &st 
laughs, or the latter is cut, there run out just the same 
streams of gravy ! Indeed, the sirloin does not ask quite 
so many questions. I have an aunt here, a family piece 
of goods, an old remnant of inquisitive hospitality and 
economy, who, to all intents and purposes, is as beefy as 
her neighbours." 

Certainly, I think it may be considered that, in diet 
and in principles, we have improved upon the fashion of 
one htmdred and ten years ago; — and, perhaps, the 
improvement in principles is a consequence of that in 



TABLE TRAITS OF THE lAST CENTITET. 261 

diet. There was a profound meaning in the point of 
faith of some old religionists, that the stomach was the 
seat of the soul. However this may be, the "beefy" 
men of Walpole's time had, occasionally, strange ideas 
touching honour. Old Nourse, for instance, challenged 
Lord Windsor, who refused to fight him, either with 
sword or pistols, on the plea that Nourse was too aged a 
man. Thereupon Nourse, iu a fit of vexation and iadi- 
gestion, went home from the cofiee-house and cut his 
throat ! " It was strange, yet very English," says Wal- 
pole. Old Nourse must have had Japanese blood ia him. 
At Jeddo, when a nobleman feels himself slighted, he 
walks home, takes the sharpest knife he can find, and 
rips himself open, firom the v/rribilicus to the trachea ! 

Quite as certainly, strong diet and weak principles 
prevailed among our great-grandsires and their dames. 
Lady Townshend fell in love with the rebel Lord Xil- 
mamoek, from merely seeing him at his trial. She forth- 
with cast off her old lover. Sir Harry Nisbett, and 
became " as yellow as a jonquil" for the new object of her 
versatile affection. She even took a French master, in 
order that she might forget the language of " the bloody 
Enghsh!" She was not so afihcted, but that she could 
bear the company of gay George Selwyn to dine with 
her ; and he, believing that her passion was feigned, joked 
with her, on what was always a favourite topic with 
himselfj^ihe approaching execution. Lady Townshend 
forthwith rushed from the table in rage and tears, and 
Mr . Selwyn finished the bottle with " Mrs. Dorcas, her 
woman," who begged of him to help her to a sight of the 
execution ! Mrs. Dorcas had a friend who had promised 
to protect her, and, added she, " I can lie in the Tower 
the night before !" This is a pretty dining-;:oom interior 
of the last century. As for Greorge Selwyn, that most 
celebrated of the diners-out of a hundred years a^o, he 



262 TABLE TEAITS. 

said the pleasantest thing possible at dessert, after tliS 
execution of Lord Lovat. Some ladies asked him how- 
he could be such a barbarian as to see the head cut off. 
"JSTay," said he, "if that was such a crime, I am sure I 
have made amends ; for I went to see it sewed on again !" 
" George," says Walpole, " never thinks but a la t^ie 
trancMe ; he came to town t' other day to have a tooth 
drawn, and told the man that he would drop his hand- 
kerchief for the signal." 

Selwyn kept his powers bright by keeping good com- 
pany; while Gray the poet was but indifferent society, 
from living reclusely, added to a natural turn for melan- 
choly, and " a little too much dignity." Young, a greater 
poet than Gray, was as brOliant in conversation as Selwyn 
himself, as long as, like Selwyn, he pohshed his wit by 
contact with the world. When he dined with Garrick, 
Quia, and George Anne Bellamy, he was the sprightliest 
of the four ; but when he took to realizing the solitude 
he had epicaUy praised, Young, too, became a proser. 
Quin loved good living as much as he did sparkling con- 
versation ; and Garrick, the other g^est noticed above, has 
perfectly delineated Quin the epicure in the following 
epigram, as he subsequently did Quin, the man and 
brother of men, in his epitaph in Bath Abbey : — 

" A plague on Egypt's art I I say ; 
Embalm the dead, on senseless clay 

Ricli wines and spices waste ! 
Like sturgeon, or like brawn, sbaU I, 
Bound in a precious pickle, lie, 

■Whicb I sbaU never taste ? 

"let me embahn this flesh of mine 
With turtle fat and Bordeaux wine. 

And spoil th' Egyptian trade. 
Than Humphrey's Duke more happy I; 
Embalm'd alive, old Quin shall die, 

A mummy, ready made." 



TiBLE TEAITS OI" THE LAST CENTTIET. 263 

A good many female mummies were prepared during 
tlie last century after a similar receipt. Witness Wal- 
pole's neighbour at Strawberry HQl, " an attorney's wife, 
and much given to the bottle. By the time she has 
finished that and daylight, she grows afraid of thieves, 
and makes her servants fire minute-guns out of the 
garret windows. The divine Asheton," he proceeds, 
" will give you an account of the astonishment we were 
in last night at hearing guns. I began to think that 
the Duke (of Cumberland) had brought some of his 
defeats from Flanders." 

Toung denounces, in his " Satires'," both tea and wine, 
as abused by the fair sex of the last century. In Mem- 
mia he paints Lady Betty Grermain, in the Unes I have 
quoted under the head of " Tea;" and then, hurling his 
shafts of satire at that which another poet has described 
as "cups which cheer, but not inebriate," he adds, — 

" Tea I tow I tremble at thy fatal stream I 
As Lethe, dreadful to the love of fame. 
What devastations on thy hanks are seen ! 
What shades of mighty names which once have heen ! 
A hecatomb of characters snppUes 
Thy painted altar's daily sacrifice. 
Heryey, Pearce, Blonnt, aspersed hy thee, decay. 
As grains of finest sugars melt away. 
And recommend thee more to mortal taste : 
Scandal 's the sweetener of a female feast," 

And then, adverting to the ladies who, Uke Walpole's 
"attorney's wife," were much given to the bottle, the 
poet exclaims, — ■ 

" But this inhnman triumph shall decline. 
And thy revolting Naiads call for wine ; 
Spirits no longer shall serve under thee. 
But reign in thy own cup, exploded Tea ! 
Citronia's nose declares thy ruin nigh ; 
And who dares give Citronia's nose the lie ? 



264 TABLE TRAITS. 

The ladies long at men of drink exclaini'd. 

And what impair'd hoth health and virtue blamed. 

At length, to rescue man, the generous lass 

Stole from her consort the pernicious glass. 

As glorious as the British Queen renown'd. 

Who suck'd the poison from her husband's wound." 

Manners and morals generally go hand in hand ; but 
those of the ladies satirized by Young were not so bad as 
those of the French Princesses of a few years before, 
when they and Duchesses were so addicted to drinking, 
that no one thought it a vice, since royalty and aristo- 
cracy practised it. The Dauphine of Burgundy is indeed 
praised by her biographers as not drinking to any great 
excess dui-ing the three last years of her Ufe. But this 
was exceptional. The Duchess of Bourbon and her 
daughters drank like dragoons ; but the latter were 
unruly in their cups, whereas the old lady carried her 
liquor discreetly. Henrietta, Madame de Montespan, 
and the Princess di Monaco, were all addicted, more or 
less, to tipphng. The Duchess de Bourbon and Her 
Grace of Chartres added smoking to their other boon 
qualities ; and the Dauphin once surprised them with 
pipes which had been cullotes for them by common 
soldiers of the Swiss Guard ! In France, devotion even 
was made a means towards drunkenness. Bungener tells 
us, in his " Trois Sermons sous Louis JTF.," that Mon- 
sieur Basquiat de la House owned a small estate in Gas- 
cony, which produced a wine which no one would buy. 
Being at Eome, as Secretary of an Embassy, he procured 
a body from the catacombs, which he christened by the 
name of a saint venerated in his part of the country. The 
people received it with great pomp. AJete was appointed 
by the Pope, a fair by the Government, and the wine 
was sold by hogsheads ! It was a wine as thin as the 
beverage which Mr. Chute lived on when he had the gout, 



TABLE TEAMS 01' THE LAST CENTUET. 265 

at wMcli time, says Walpole, " lie keeps himself very low, 
and lives upon very thin ink." 

There was a good deal of latitude of observation and 
conversation at the dinner-tables of the last century ; and 
the letter-writer I have jiist cited affords ns ample 
evidence of the fact. John Stanhope, of the Admiralty, 
he informs us, " was sitting by an old Mr. Curzon, a nasty 
wretch, and very covetous ; his nose wanted blowing, and 
continued to want it; at last Mr. Stanhope, with the 
greatest good breeding, said, ' Indeed, Sir, if you don't 
wipe your nose, you will lose that drop.'" 

A hundred years ago, Walpole remarked that Method- 
ism, drinking, and gambling were all on the increase. Of 
the first he sneeringly says, " It increases as fast as any 
religious nonsense did." Of the second he remarks, 
"Drinking is at the highest wine-mark ;" and he speaks 
of the third as being so violent, that " at the last New- 
market meeting, in the rapidity of both gaming and 
drinking, a bank bill was thrown down, and, nobody im- 
mediately claiming it, they agreed to give it to a man 
who was standing by !" 

There was a love of good eating, as well as of deep 
drinking, even among the upper classes of the last cen- 
tury. What a picture of a Duchess is that of her Grace 
of Queensberry, posting down to Parson's Green, to tell 
Lady Sophia Thomas " something of importance ; " 
namely, " Take a couple of beefsteaks, clap them together 
as if they were for a dumpling, and eat them with pep- 
per and salt: it is the best thing you ever tasted! I 
could not help coining to tell you this;" — and then she 
drove l>ack to town. And what a picture of a Magis- 
trate is that of Fielding, seated at supper with a blind 
man, a Drury-Lane Chloris, and three Irishmen, all 
eating cold mutton and ham from one dish, on a very 
dirty cloth, and " his worship " refusing to rise to attend 



266 TABLE TEAITS. 

to the administration of Justices' justice ! It is but 
fair, however, to Fielding to add, that he might have had 
better fare had he been more oppressive touching fees. 
And, besides, great dignitaries set him but an indifferent 
example. Gray, speaking of the Duke of ^Newcastle's 
installation at Oxford, remarks, that " every one was very 
gay and very busy in the morning, and very owlish and 
very tipsy at night. I make no exceptions, from the 
Chancellor to Blewcoat." Lord Pembroke, truly, was 
temperate enough to live upon vegetables ; but the diet 
did not improve either his temper or his morals. Ladies 
— and they were not over delicate a century ago — as 
much dreaded sitting near him at dinner, as their 
daughters and grand-daughters dreaded to be near the 
late Duke of Cumberland, who was pretty sure to say 
something in the course of dinner expressly to embarrass 
them. The vegetarian Lord Pomfret was so blasphemous 
at tennis, that the Primate of Ireland, Dr. George Stone, 
was compelled to leave off playing with him. For Pri- 
mates handled the rackets then, as Pope and Cardinals do 
now the cue. Pio Nono and the expertest of the Sacred 
College play la poule at billiards, after dinner, with the 
view of keeping down the good Pontiff's obesity. This is 
almost as curious a trait as that of Taafe, the Irishman, 
who, conceiving himself to have been insulted at a dinner, 
and not being then able, as a Eoman Catholic, to wear a 
sword, changed his religion, and ran his adversary 
through the body. The confusion of ideas which 
prompted a man to follow a particular faith, in order that 
he might commit murder, was something like that which 
influenced the poor woman who, suddenly becoming 
pious, after hearing a sermon from Eowland HiU, went to 
a book-stall, and stole a Bible. 

I have noticed the love of good eating, and the coarse- 
ness connected with it. There was also a coarse economy 



TABLE TEAITS 01' THE LAST CENTrET. 267 

attendant on it. The Duchess of Devonshire would call 
out to the Duke, when both were presiding at supper 
after one of their assemblies, " Good God, Duke ! don't 
cut the ham ; nobody will eat any ;" and then she would 
relate the circumstances of her private menage to her 
neighbour : " When there 's only my Lord and I, besides 
a pudding, we have always a dish of roast," — no very 
dainty fare for a ducal pair. Indeed, there was much 
want of daintiness, and of dignity, too, in many of those 
with whom both might have been looked for as a pos- 
session. Lord Coventry chased his Lady round the 
dinner-table, and scrubbed the paint off her cheeks with 
a napkin. The Duke and Duchess of Hamilton were 
more contemptible in their pomposity than their Graces 
of Devonshire were in their plainness. At their own 
house they walked in to dinner before their company, sat 
together at the upper end of their own table, ate together 
off one plate, and drank to nobody beneath the rank of 
Eail. It was, indeed, a wonder that they could get any 
one of any rank to dine with them at all. But, in point 
of dinners, people are not " nice " even now. Dukes very 
recently dined with a railway potentate, in hopes of profit- 
ing by the condescension ; and Duchesses heard, without a 
smile, that potentate's lady superbly dismiss them with 
an " av, reservoir ! " — an expression, by the way, which is 
refined, when compared with that taught by our nobility, 
a hundred years ago, to the rich Bohemian Countess 
Chamfelt; namely, "D— n you!" and, "Kiss me!" 
but it was apologetically said of her, that she never used 
the former but upon the miscarriage of the latter. This 
was -at a time when vast assemblies were followed by vast 
suppers, vast suppers by vast drinking, and when nymphs 
and swains reached home at dawn with wigs, like Eanger's 
in the comedy, vastly battered, and not very fit to be seen. 
Pope, in the last century, moralized, with effect, on the 



268 TAEIB TEAITS. 

deaths of tlio dissolute Buckmgliam and the avaricious 
Cutler; and the avarice of Sir John was perhaps more 
detestable than any extravagance that is satirized by 
Pope, or witticized by Walpole. But Sir John Cutler 
was ingenious in his thrift. This rich miser ordinarily 
travelled on horseback and alone, iu order to avoid 
expense. On reaching his inn at night, he feigned indis- 
position, as an excuse for not taking Slipper. He would 
simply order the hostler to bring a little straw to his 
room, to put in his boots. He then had his bed warmed, 
and got into it, but only to get out of it again as soon as 
the servant had left the room. Then, with the straw in 
his boots and the candle at his bed-side, he kindled a 
Httle fire, at which he toasted a herring which he drew 
from his pocket. This, with a bit of bread which he 
carried with him, and a little water from the jug, enabled 
the lord of countless thousands to sup at a very moderate 
cost. 

Well, this sordidness was less culpable perhaps than 
slightly overstepping income by giving assemblies and- 
suppers. At the latter there was, at least, wit, and as 
much of it as was ever to be found at Madame du Def~ 
fand's, where, by the way, the people did not sup. " Last 
night, at my Lady Hervey's," says Walpole, "Mrs. 
Dives was expressing great panic about the French," 
who were said to be preparing to invade England. " My 
Lady Eochford, looking down on her fan, said, with great 
softness, ' I don't know ; I don't think the French are a 
sort of people that women need be afraid of.' " This was 
more commendable wit than that of Madame du Defiand 
herself, who, as I have previously remarked, made a whole 
assembly laugh, at Madame de Marchajs', when her old 
lover was known to be dying, by saying as she entered, 
" He is gone ; and wasn't it lucky ? He died at six, or I 
could not possibly have shown myself here to-night." 



TABLE TBAITS OP THE IiAST OBNTTTET 269 

Our vain lady-witS, however, too often lacked refine- 
ment. " If I drink any more," said Lady Coventry at 
Lord Hertford's tatle, " if I drink any more, I shall be 
'mucMbus.'" "Lord!" said Lady Mary Coke, "what 
is that?" "O," was the reply, "it is Irish for senti- 
mental!" In those days there were no wedding break- 
fasts : the nuptial banquet was a dinner, and bride and 
bridegroom saw it out. Walpole congratulates himself 
that, at the marriage of bis niece Maria, " there was nei- 
ther form nor indecency, both which generally meet on 
such occasions. They were married," he adds, " at my 
brother's in Pall Mali, just before dinner, by Mr. Keppel ; 
the company, my brother, his ' son, Mrs. Keppel and 
Charlotte, Lady Elizabeth Keppel, Lady Betty Walde- 
grave, and I. We dined there; the Earl and new 
Cotmtess got into their post-chaise at eight o'clock, and 
went to Navestock alone, where they stay tiU Saturday 
night." Walpole gives instances enough — and more than 
enough — ^where matters did not go off so becomingly. 
Lords and Ladies were terribly coarse in sentiment and 
expression; and the women were often worse than the 
men. " Miss Pett," says the writer whom I have so 
often quoted, " has dismissed Lord Buckmgham : tant 
inieux poii/r' lui! She damns her eyes that she wiU, 
marry some Captain : tant mieux pour elle." This is a 
sample of Table Traits in 1760 ; and it was long before 
manners and morals improved. The example was not of 
the best soft even in high places. The mistress of Alfieri 
dined at Court, as widow of the Pretender ; and Madame 
du Barry was publicly feasted by our potential Lord 
Mayor. 

Some of the women were not only coarse in speech, but 
furies in act, and often sharpers to boot. Thus, when 
" Jemmy Lumley," in 1761, had a party of ladies at his 
house, with whom, after dinner, he played whist, from six 



270 TABLE TEAITS. 

at night till noon tlie next day, he lost two thousand 
pounds, which, suspecting knavery, he refused to pay. 
His antagonist, Mrs. Mackenzie, subsequently pounced 
upon him in the garden of an inn at Hampstead, where 
he was about to give a dinner to some other ladies. The 
sturdy " Scotchwoman," as Gray calls her, demanded her 
money, and, on meeting with a refusal, she " horsewhipped, 
trampled, bruised," and served him with worse indigni- 
ties still, as may be seen by the curious, in Gray's Letter 
to Warton. Lumley's servants only with difficulty 
rescued their master from the fury, who carried a horse- 
whip beneath her hoop. The gentlemen do not appear 
to have been so generous, in their character of lovers, as 
their French brethren, who ruiued themselves for "leg 
"beaux yeux" of some temporary idol. Miss Ford laughed 
consumedly at Lord Jersey, for sending her (" an odd first 
and only present to a beloved mistress") a boar's head, 
which, she says, " I had often the honour to meet at your 

Lordship's table before and would have eat it, had it 

been eatable." 

The pubUc are pretty familiar with the Household-Book 
of the Earl of Northumberland ; and have learned much 
therefrom touching the Table Traits of the early period 
in which it was written. A later Earl did not inherit 
the spirit of organization which influenced his ancestor. 
" I was to dine at Northumberland House," says Wal- 
pole, in 1765, " and went there a little after hour. There 
I found the Countess, Lady Betty Mackinsy, Lady Strat- 
ford, my Lady Finlater, — who was never out of Scotland 
before, — a tall lad of fifteen, her son. Lord Drogheda, and 
Mr. Worseley. At five" (which is conjectured to have 
been the hour of extreme fashion a century ago) " arrived 
Mr. Mitchell, who said the Lords had commenced to read 
the Poor BiQ, which would take, at least, two hours', and, 
perhaps, would debate it afterwards. We concluded din- 



TABLE TEAITS OF THE LAST CENTUET. 271 

ner would be called for ; it not being very precedented 
for ladies to wait for gentlemen. No such thing ! Sis 
o'clock came, — seven o'clock came, — our coaches came ! 
Well, we sent them away; and excuses were, we were 
engaged. Still, the Countess's heart did not relent, nor 
uttered a syllable of apology. We wore out the wind 
and the weather, the opera and the play, Mrs. Cornely's 
and Almack's, and every topic that would do in a formal 
circle. We hinted, represented — in vain. The clock 
striick eight. My Lady, at last, said she would go and 
order dinner; but it was a good half-hour before it 
appeared. We then sat down to a table of fourteen 
covers ; but, instead of substantials, there was nothing 
but a profusion of plates, striped red, green, and yellow, 
— gUt plate, blacks, and uniforms. My Lady Finlater, 
who never saw those enabroidered dinners, nor dined after 
three, was famished. The first course stayed as long as 
possible, in hopes of the Lords ; so did the second. The 
dessert at last arrived, and the middle dish was actually 
set on, when Lord Finlater and Mr. Mackay arrived! 
Would you believe it ? — ^the dessert was remanded, and 
the whole first course brought back again I Stay — I 
have not done ! Just as this second first course had done 
its duty, Lord Northumberland, Lord Strafford, and 
Mackinsy came in ; and the whole began a third time. 
Then the second course, and the dessert ! I thought 
we should have dropped from our chairs with fatigue 
and fumes. When the clock struck eleven, we were 
asked to return to the drawing-room, and take tea and 
coffee; but I said I was engaged to supper, and came 
home to bed!" This dinner may be contrasted with 
another given, at a later period, by a member of the same 
house. The Nobleman in question was an Earl Percy, who 
was in teland with his regiment, — ^the Fifth Infantry ; 
and who, after much consideration, consented to give a 



272 TABIiE TEAIia. 

dinner to the officers in garrison at Limerick. The gal- 
lant, hut cautious, Earl ordered the repast at a tavern, 
specifying that it' should be for fifty persons, at eighteen- 
pence per head. The officers heard of the arrangement, 
and they ordered the landlord to provide a banquet at a 
guinea per head, promising to pay the difference, in the 
event of their entertainer declining to do so. Wlien the 
banquet was served, there was but one astonished and 
uncomfortable individual at the board; and that was the 
Earl himself, who beheld a feast for the gods, and heard 
himself gratefully complimented upon the excellence 
both of viands and wines. The astonished Earl expe- 
rienced an easily-understood difficulty in returning thanks 
when his health was drunk with an enthusiasm that 
bewildered him ; and, on retiring early, he sought out 
the landlord, in order to have a solution of an enigma 
that sorely puzzled him. Boniface told the unadorned 
and unwelcome truth ; and the inexperienced young Earl, 
acknowledging bis mistake, discharged the bUl with a 
sigh on himself, and a cheque on his banker. 

A host, after all, ma^ appear parsimonious without 
intending to be so. " This -wine," said one of this sort 
to the late Mr. Pocock of Bristol, who had been dimng 
with him, "costs me six shilliags a bottle!" "Does 
it ?" asked the guest, with a quaint look of gay reproof, 
"then pass it round, and ilet me have another six- 
penn'orth !" 

But, to return to our Table Traits of the Last Cen- 
tury. In 1753, on the 4th of June, there was an 
installation of Knights of the Grarter, ,at Windsor Castle, 
followed by Ja grand dinner, and a ball. It would seem as 
if the public claimed the right of seeing the speciacle.foi 
which they had to pay ; for we read that " the populace 
attempted several times to force their way into the hall 
where the Knights were at dinner, against the Guards, 



ta:ble teaits op xni) last CENTrEx. 273 

on wMcli some were cut and wounded, and the Guards 
fired several times on them, with powder, to deter them, 
but without effect, till they had orders to load with hall, 
which made them desist." This is an iU-worded para- 
graph from the papers of the day ; but it is a graphic 
illustration of the manners of the period. 

These few samples of what society was in the last 
century, would suffice alone to show that it was sadly out 
of joiat. What caused it ? Any one who wiU tate the 
trouble to go carefully through the columns of the ill- 
printed newspapers of the early part of the last century, 
wiU find that drunkenness, dissoluteness, and the sword 
hanging on every fool's thigh, ready to do his bidding, 
were the characteristics of the period. People got drunk 
at dinners, and then slew one another, or in some other 
way broke the law. Lord Mohun and Captain HaU 
dined together before they made their attempt to carry 
off Mrs. Bracegirdle ; and when defeated in their Tarquin- 
like endeavour, they slaughtered poor WiU Montford, the 
player, in the pubUe streets, for no better reason than 
that Montford admired the lady, and HaU was jealous of 
the admirer. But neither copious dining, nor copious 
drinking, could make a brave man of Mohun. In proof 
of this, it is only necessary to state that before he fought 
his butchering duel with the Duke of Hamilton, he spent 
the previous night feasting and drinking at the Bagnio, 
which place he left in the morning, with his second, 
Major-General M'Carty, as the "Post-boy" remarks, "seized 
with fear and trembling." " The dog Mohun," as Swift 
styled him, was slain, and so was the Duke ; but it is 
imcertain whether the latter fell by the hand of his adverr 
sary, or the sword of that adversary's second. A few 
years later we read of Fulwood, the lawyer, going to 
the play after dinner, drawing upon Beau Pielding, run- 
ning him through, rushing in triumph to another house, 

T 



274 TABLE TEAITS. 

meeting another antagonist, and getting slain by him, 
without any one caring to interfere. 

In one of the numbers of the " Daily Post" for 1726, 
I find it recorded that a bevy of gallants, having joyously 
dined or supped together, descended from a, hackney- 
coach in PiccacHUy, billjed the coachman, beat him to a 
mummy, and stabbed his horses. Flushed with victory, 
they rushed into a neighbouring public-house, drew upon 
the gallants, terrified the ladies, and laughed at the 
mistress of the establishment, who declared that they 
would bring down ruin upon a place noted for " its, safety 
and secrecy." The succeeding paragraph in the paper 
announces to the public that the Bishop of London will 
preach on the following Sunday in Bow-church, Cheap- 
side, on the necessity for a reformation of manners ! 

The Clubs, and especially the " Sword Clubs," with 
their feastings and fightings, were the chief causes that 
manners were as depraved as they were. After supper, 
these Clubs took possession of the town, and held their 
sword against every man, and found every man's sword 
against them. The " Bold Bucks," and the " Hell-Fires," 
divided the Metropolis between them. The latter, a 
comparatively innocent association, found their simple 
amusement in mutilating watchmen and citizens. The 
"Bold Bucks" took for their devilish device, "Blind and 
Bold Love," and, under it, committed atrocities, the very 
thought of which makes the heart of human nature pal- 
pitate with horror and disgust. No man could become 
a member who did not denounce the claims both of 
nature and God ! They used to assemble every Sunday 
at a tavern, close to the church of St. Mary-le-Strand, 
During divine service, they kept a noisy band of horns 
and drums continually at work ; and, after service, they 
sat down to dinner, the principal dish at which was a 
" Holy-Ghost pie !" Assuredly the sermon of the metro- 



TABLE TEAITS OF THE LAST OENTUET. 275 

politan Prelate was much, needed ; but, when preached, 
reformation did but very slowly follow, especially in high 
places. At the very end of the century we hear of the 
Prince of Wales dining at the Duke of Queensberry's, at 
Richmond, with the last mistress of Louis XV. ; and 
nobody appears to have been scandalized. And this was 
the characteristic of the time : vice was not only general, 
but it did not very seriously offend the few exceptional 
individuals. For the first three quarters of the century the 
epitaph of that time might have been taken from the 
eulogiimi passed by a May-Pair preacher in his Puneral 
Sermon upon Frederick, Prince of Wales : " He bad no 
great parts, but be had great virtues ; indeed, they 
degenerated into vices : he was very generous ; but I 
bear his generosity has ruined a great many people ; and 
then his condescension was such, that he kept very bad 
company." 

I have, elsewhere, spoken of some of the roystering 
Clubs of the last century; but I cannot refrain from 
adding two other instances here, as examples of the 
Table Traits of the same period. The Calves'-Head Club 
established itself in Suffolk-Street, Charing Cross, on the 
anniversary of the martyrdom of King Charles, in the 
year 1735. The gentlemen members had an entertain- 
ment of calves' heads, some of which they showed to the 
mob outside, whom they treated with strong beer. In 
the evening, they caused a bonfire to be made before the 
door, and threw into it, with loud huzzas, a calf's head, 
dressed up in a napkin. They also dipped their napkins 
in red wine, and waVed them from the windows, at the 
same time drinking toasts publicly. The mob huzzaed, 
as well as their fellow brutes of the Club ; but, at length, 
to show their superior refinement, they broke the win- 
dows; and at length became so mischievous, that the 
Guards were called in to prevent further outrage. 
T 2 



276 TABLE TEAITS. 

• The above was, no doubt, ■& demonstration on the part 
of gentlemen of republican principles. Some few years 
later, a different instance occurs. The " Monthly Eeview," 
May, 1757, mentions, that " seven gentlemen dined at a 
house of puhHc entertainment in London, and were sup- 
posed to have run as great lengths in luxury and expense, 
if not greater, than the same number of persons were ever 
known to do before at a private regale. They afterwards 
3)layed a game of cards, to decide which of them should 
pay the bill. It amounted to £81. lis. fid. ; besides a 
turtle, which Was a present to the company." This was 
certainly a heavy bill. A party of the same num- 
ber at the Clarendon, and with turtle charged in the 
bill, would, in our days, find exceeding difficidty in 
spending more than £5 each. Their grandsires ex- 
pended more than twice as much for a dinner not half 
as good. 

It is only with the present century that old customs 
disappeared ; and, with regard to some of them, society is 
all the better for their disappearance. Even plum 
porridge did not survive the first year of this half cen- 
tury ; when the more soHd and stable dynasty of plum- 
pudding was finally established. Brand relates, that on 
Christmas-Day, 1801, he dined at the Chaplain's table, at 
St. James's, " and partook of the first thing served and 
eaten on that festival, at that table, namely, a tureen full 
of rich, luscious plum-porridge. I do not know," he 
■says, " that the custom is any where else retained." The 
great innovation, after this, was in the days of the Eegent, 
when oysters were served as a prelude to dinner. This 
fashion was adopted by the Prince on the recommenda* 
fcion of a gentleman of his household, the elder Mr. 
Watier, who brought it with him from France, and added 
an "experto crede " to his recommendation. This fashion, 
however, like others, has passed away ; and oyster" and 



TABLE TEAITS OF THE LAST CENTTJET. 277 

drams, as overtures to dinner, are things that have fallen 
into the domain of history. 

There is a custom of these later days, much observed 
at Christmas time, which deserves a word of notice. I 
allude to the " Christmas-tree." The custom is one, 
however novel in England, of very ancient observance 
elsewhere. Its birth-place is Egypt. The tree there 
used was the palm ; and the ceremony w^as in full force 
long before the days of Antony and Cleopatra. The 
palm puts forth a fresh shoot every month. Its periodical 
leaves appear as regularly as those of Mr. Bentley's 
" Miscellany." In the time of the winter solstice, when 
parties were given in ancient Misraim, a spray of this 
tree, with, twelve shoots, was suspended, to symboUze the 
completion of another year. The custom passed into 
Italy, where the fir-tree was employed for the purposes of 
celebration ; and its pyramidal tips were decorated with 
burning candles, in honour of Saturn. This festival, the 
Saturnalia, was observed at the winter solstice, from the 
17th to the 21st of December, and, during its continu- 
ance, Davus was as good a man as Chremes. The Sigil- 
laria, days for interchanging presents of figures in wax, 
Hke those on the Christmas-tree, followed ; and, finally, 
the Juvenalia, when men became "boys with boys," 
matrons turned children once again, and young and old 
indulged in the solemn romps with which the festival 
closed, and which med to mark our own .old-fashioned 
festivities at Christmas time. That the Egyptian tree 
passed into Germany, may be seen in the pyramids which 
sometimes there are substituted for the tree. But the 
antique northern mythology has supplied some of the 
observances. The Jiiel Fesi was the mid-winter " "Wheel 
Feast;" and the wheel represented the circling years 
which, end but to begin again. The yule-log, as we call 
it, was the wheel-shaped log; in front of which was 



278 TABLE TEAITS. 

roasted the great boar, — an animal hateful to the god of 
the sun, but the flesh of which was religiously eaten by 
his worshippers. At this festival presents were made, 
which were concealed in wrappers, and flung in at open 
windows, emblematical, we are told, of the good, but as 
yet hidden, things which the opening year had in store. 

The Church generally made selection of the heathen 
festivals for its own holy -days. In the early days, this 
was done chiefly to enable Christians to be merry without 
danger to themselves. It would not have been safe for 
them to eat, drink, and rejoice on days when Pagan 
Governments put on mourning. They were glad, then, 
when these were glad, and feasted with them, but holding 
other celebrations in view. Hence the German tree; 
only, for the sun which crowned the Eoman tree, in 
honour of Apollo, the Germans place a figure of the Son of 
God ; and, for the Phoebus and his flocks at the foot, they 
Substitute " the Good Shepherd." The waxen figures are 
also the sigillctria, but with more holy impress. The 
Eatv/fnalia have a place in the table joys that attend the 
exhibition of the tree, in presence of which joy is sup- 
posed to wither. 

In conclusion, I cannot but notice one other table 
custom, which is of Teutonic origin. I allude to the 
Cabinet dinners given by Ministers previous to the open- 
ing of Parliament, and at which the Eoyal Speech is read, 
before it is declared in the presence of collective wisdom. 
This, at all events, reminds us of the ancient German 
custom, mentioned by Tacitus, who tells us, that the 
Teutonic legislators and warriors consulted twice touch- 
ing every question of importance : once, by night, and 
over the bowl ; and once, by day, when they were per- 
fectly sober. Of course, I would not insinuate that 
Ministers could possibly indulge too fondly over their 
cups, like the Senators of the Hercynian forest; and yet 



TABLE TEAITS OF THE lAST CENTrET. 279 

Viscount Sidmouth's vice, as Lord Holland tells us, " was 
wine ;" and we have heard even of grave Lord-Stewards 
so drunk as to pull down the Monarchs they held by the 
hand, and should have supported. The last unfortunate 
official who so offended, should have craftily qualified 
his wine with water ; and the mention of that subject 
reminds me of the origin of wine and water, of which I 
will say a few words, after adding one or two more traits 
of table manners. 

I have spoken, ia another page, of the unlucky excla- 
mation touching haddock, which caused the perpetual 
exile of Poodle Byng from Belvoir. There was, however, 
no offence meant. How different was the case with that 
impudent coxcomb, Brummell, who managed to be the 
copper-Captain of fashion iu London, when the true Cap- 
tains were fighting their country's battles ! "When Brum- 
mell was living almost on the charity of Mr. Marshall, 
he was one of a dinner party at that gentleman's house, 
whither he took with him, according to his most imperti- 
nent custom, one of his favourite dogs. The " Beau " had, 
during dinner, helped himself to the wing of a roasted 
capon stuffed with truffles. He chose to fancy that the 
wing was tough, and, deUcately seizing the end of it with 
a napkin-covered finger and thumb, he passed it under 
the table to his dog, with the remark, " Here, At out ! try 
if you can get your teeth through this ; for I '11 be d — d 
if I can." Not less ungratefully impudent was this 
gentleman-beggar on another occasion. A French family 
had given a dinner entirely on his account. It was per- 
fect in its way. The ortolans came from Toulouse, the 
salmon was from the waters in the neighbourhood of 
Eouen, and the company most select. A friend, encoun- 
tering him next day, asked how the dinner had gone off. 
Brummell lifted up his hands, shook his head in a depre- 
catory manner, and said, " Don't ask me, my good fel- 
low; hut, poor man! he did his best." 



280 TABLE TEAITS. 

The Wo most recent examples of TaUe Traits of the 
present centiuy, that I have met with, illustrate the two 
extremes of society ; and as they refer to a period of not 
ahove a month ago, they will serve, not inaptly, to close 
this section of my series. The first example is that 
aftbrded hy a dinner given at Boston, in Lincolnshire, to 
twenty aged labourers. At this dinner, one of the gentle- 
men donors of the feast, gave "the Ladies," and called on 
the octogenarian Chairman to return thanks. The old 
President, however, shook his head, with a mixed melan- 
choly and cunning air, as if he too well knew there was 
nothing to return thanks for. The venerable " Vice " 
was then appealed to ; but his reply was, that the least 
said about the subject of the toast would be the soonest 
mended. At length, a sprightly old man of threescore 
and ten was requested to respond, he having a gay look 
about him which seemed warranting gallantry ; but ho 
surprised the toast-giver by answering, that " as for 
t' leddies, he 'd nowt to say ; for his part, he 'd never liked 
'em." This unchivalrous sentiment awoke, at last, the 
spirit of a strip of a lad who was only sixty-five ; and he 
responded to the toast, with a touch of satire, however, in 
his remarks, that left it uncertain whether he were so 
much a champion of the fair sex, as the company had 
expected to find in him. The second "Trait" of the 
customs of this country is presented by the dinner given 
in February of the present year, by Earl Granville, the 
guests at which were Lord Aberdeen, the Bishop of 
Oxford, and Mr. Bright. There were not such startling 
contrasts at the reconciliation dinner which brought 
Wilkes and Johnson together, as at Earl Granville's 
unique banquet. The host and the Premier represented 
— ^the first, smiling courtesy ; the second, the most frigid 
severity of a freezing civility. But the strongest contrast 
was in the persons of the Bishop and the " Friend:" — ^Dr. 
"Wilberforce, highest of Churchmen, briefest of Preachers, 



TAEIiE TEAITS OF THE LAST CEKTrET. 2S1 

and twice as much, curled as tlie son of Clinias himself ; 
■while Mr. Bright, with every hair as if a plummet 
depended at the end of it, hating the Church, hut not 
indifferent to petiis pates a la hraise, must have looked 
like the vinegar of voluntaryism that would not mingle 
with the oil of orthodoxy. To have made this banquet 
complete, there should have been two more guests, — Dr. 
Gumming and Dr. Cahill, with appropriate dishes before 
each : — a plate of sweetbreads in front of the gentle apostle 
of the Kirk ; and a bowl of blood-puddings opposite the 
surpliced Priest who has gained a gloomy notoriety by the 
" glorious idea," to which I have referred, of a massacre 
of English heretic beef-eaters, by the light-dieted holders 
of Catholic and continental bayonets. But Dr. Cahill, 
it may be hoped, is something insane, or would he have 
deliberately recorded, as he did the other day in the 
" Tablet," that it were much better for Eomanists to 
read inmioral works than the English Bible ? TTis excel- 
lent reason is, that " the Church" easily forgives immo- 
rality, but has no mercy for heresy. Well, well ; wo 
should not like to catch a Confessor of this school sitting- 
next our daughter at dinner, and intimating that Holy well- 
street literature was better reading than the English 
version of the Sermon on the Mount. — But let us sweeten 
our imagination with a little Wine and Water. 



WINE AND WATER. 



Eaelt ages, and the oldest poets, confessed, that wine 
was the gift of the gods to men. The latter would 
appear to have ahused the gift, if we may believe Philo- 
nides the physician, who wrote a treatise " On Perfumes 
and Garlands " (Jiepl uipav kol STei^iJcai'). In this treatise 
he asserts, that, when Bacchus brought the vine from 
the Eed Sea into Greece, men drank to such excess, that 
they became as beasts, and incapable of performing 
manly duties. A party of these revellers were once 
drinking by the sea-shore, when a sudden storm drove 
them into a cave for shelter. They do not seem, how- 
ever, to have been inveterate tipplers ; for, according to 
PhUonides, they left their cups on the beach. When the 
shower had passed, they found the wine in them mingled 
with rain-water ; and, very much to their credit, they 
liked the mixture so well, that they solemnly thanked 
the " good genius" who had sent it. Hence, when wine 
was served at Grecian repasts, the guests invoked this 
good genius ; and when the turn came for wine mixed 
with water, they acknowledged the benevolent inventor 
by the name of Jupiter Saviour. I may take this oppor- 
tunity to state, that, at one period, it was the fashion to 
attend these drinking entertainments in a pair of " Alci- 
biades," or boots which had been rendered popular by 
being first worn by the curled son of, Clinias. Thus we 
see, that in our fashion of conferring on boots the authori- 



WINE AND WATEE. 283 

ties of great names, we are doing nothing original ; and 
that men used to call for their " Alcibiades," as they do 
now for their " Wellingtons," " Bluchers," or " Alberts." 
To revert, for a moment, to the question of wine and 
water, I would state, that it has been discussed ia its 
separate divisions by German writers, the substance of 
whose opinions I will venture to give in verse, without 
desiring, however, to be considered as endorsing every 
sentiment in ftill. As French music-books say, it is an 
"Air afceire," 

Do you ask wtat now glows 

In this goblet of mine ? 
Wine ! wine ! wine ! wine ! 

To the stream, do ye ask, 

Shall my cnp-beaier go ? 
No ! no 1 no ! no ! 
Let water its own frigid nature retain ; 
Since water it is, let it water remain ! 
Let it ripple and run in meandering rills. 
And set the wheels going in brook-sided mills. 
In the desert, where streams do bnt scantily run, 
If so much they 're aRoVd by the thirsty old sun. 
There water may be, as it 's quaff'd by each man, 
Productive of fan to a whole caravan. 

But ask what now glows, &c 

Yes, water, and welcome, in billows may rise. 
Till it shiver its feathery crest 'gainst the sides ; 
Or in dashing cascades it may joyously leap, 
Or in silvery lakes lie entranced and asleep ; — 
Or, e'en better stUl, in full showers of hope. 
Let it gaily descend on some rich vineyard's slope. 
That its sides may bear clusters of ripening bliss. 
Which, in Autumn, shall melt into nectar like this, 
I4ke this that now glows, &c. 

Let it bear up the vessel that bringeth us o'er 
Its freight of glad wine from some happier shore. 
Let it run through each land that in ignorance lies : 
It the Heathen wiU do very well to baptize. 



284 TABLE TEAITS. 

Yes, water slaU have ev'ry due praise of mine, 
Whether salt, like the ocean, or fresh, like the Ehine. 
Yes, praised to the echo pure water shall be. 
But wine, wine alone is the nectar for me ! 

Tor 't is that which now glows 

In this goblet of mine. 
Wine! wine! wine! wine! 

No attendant for me 

To the river need go. 
No ! no ! no ! no ! 

The various merits and uses of the respective liquids 
' are fairly allowed in the ahove lines ; hut I may ohserve, 
that wine apologists, generally, are sadly apt to forget, 
that there are such things as conscience and to-morrow 
morning. For their edification and use, I indite the 
following colloquy, to he kept in mind, rather than sung, 
at aU festivities where the "Aqua Fimpagmis" is held 
in ahhorrence : — ' 

See the wine in the bowl. 

How it sparkles to-night I 
Tell us what can compete 

W^ith that red sea of light ; 
Which breathes forth a perfume 

That deadens all sorrow. 
And leaves us bless'd now, 
(Conscience loquitur^ 
" With a headache to-morrow ! ' 

Where are spirits like those 

That we find in the bowl. 
Shedding joy round our brows, 

Breathing peace to the soul ? 
Our tongues feel the magic. 

There our strains, too, we borrow : 
We 're Apollos to-night, 

(Conscience loquitur^ 
" To be songless to-morrow 1 " 



"WTNE AND WATEE. 2S5 

O, this rare inspiration ! 

How gay are the dreams 
Of the thrice triple blest 

■Who may quaff of thy streams 1 
It expels from the heart 

Sulky care, that old horror. 
And tells laughter to-night 

(Conscience, ashamed of the rhyme) 
" To wake sadness to-morrow ! " 

Drink deep, though there be 

Thirstless fools, who may preach 
Of the sins of the bowl, — 

Do they act as they teach ? 
If we 're sinners, what then I 

As we 're not friends to sorrow. 
We 'E he glad ones to-night, 

(Conscience loquitur,) 
" To be sad ones to-morrow ! " 

Ah ! that was old Conscience : 

Sim we 'U drown in the wine I 
Plunge him in ! hold him down 1 

Ah ! he dies ! — now the Nine 
May, to write in his praise. 

Prom our Helicon borrow. 
He 's done talking to-night ; 

(Conscience, from the bowl,) 
" You shall hear me to-morrow 1 " 

Finally, being on Pegasus, and he ambling along 
througli this chapter of Wine and Water, I will take the 
opportunity, as connected with my subject, of doing jus- 
tice to a flower whose " capability," as Mr. Browne used 
very properly to say, has been overlooked, — I mean the 
tulip : — 

Praise they who will the saucy vine, 

With her thousand rings and her curls so fine I 

But I fiU up 

To the tulip-cup, 



286 TiBIE TEAITS. 

AH looking as though it were batted in wine. 
Ah, show me the flower, 
In vale or bower. 
That looks half so well as this bowl of mine ! 
0, who this night wUl fail to fill up. 
Or to sing in praise of the tulip-cup ? 

Praise they who wiU the willow-tree. 

With her drooping neck and her tresses free. 

That bend to the brink 

Of the brook, and drink 
Of a %uid that never wiU do for me ! 

"While the tulip-cup 

Is for ever held up. 
As though she could drink for eternity. 
And that is the very best bowl for me. 
Who hate the sickly wilow-tree ! 

The water-lily praise who will : 

Of water we know that she loves hef fill. 

But what, pray, is she 

To the tulip, that we 
Have loved for so long, and love so well still ? 

Ah I who doth not think her 

A mere water-drinker. 
That quaffs but such wine she can get from the riU ? 
Then fill up to-night to the tulip tall. 
Who holds forth her cups, and can drain them all ! 

See how naturally we drop out of tke subject of " Wine 
and Water," into that of "Wine," to which we now, 
reverently, yet joyously, address ourselves. 



THE BIRTH OF THE YINE, AND WHAT 
HAS COME OF IT. 



The birth of the vine was in this wise. On the day 
of the creation, the trees vied with each other in boasting; 
and each exulted in the enjoyment of his own existence. 
" The Lord himself," said the lofty cedar, " planted me, and 
in me has he united stability and fragrance, strength and 
durability." " Me," said the shade-spreading, palm, " hath 
the beneficence of Jehovah appointed for a blessing, 
joining together in me utHity and beauty." Then the 
apple-tree spoke : "As a bridegroom among youths, so 
am I resplendent among the trees of the woods." " And 
I," said the myrtle, " stand among the lowly bushes, Hke 
a rose among thorns." In this manner boasted they all, 
the oUve and the fig ; yea, the pine even, and the 
fir exulted. 

The vine alone, in silence, stooped to the ground. " It 
seems," said she to herself, " as if every thing were denied 
me, — stem and branch, blossom and fruit ; but, such as I 
am, I will hope and wait. Thus speaking, she sank to 
the earth, and her branches wept. 

But not long did she thus wait and weep ; for, behold, 
cheerful man, the earthly god, drew nigh unto her. He 
saw a weak plant, the plaything of the breeze, sinking 
under its own weight, and pining for assistance. Touched 
with compassionate feeling, he upheld it, and trained the 
delicate tree over his own bower. More freely now 



288 TABLE TEAI.TS, 

sported the air among its branches. The warmth of the 
sun penetrated the hard green berries, preparing therein 
the delicious juice, — a drink for gods and men. Laden 
with clustering grapes, the vine now bowed herself before 
her lord, and the latter tasted of her refreshing sweets, 
and named her his friend, his own grateful favourite. It 
was now that the proud trees envied her, but many of 
them lived on in sterility, whUe she rejoiced, full of gra^ 
titude at her slender growth, and patient humility ; and 
' therefore it is, that it is given to her to make glad the 
heart of sorrowing man, to elevate the cast-down spirit, 
and to cheer the afflicted. 

"Despair not," says Herder, who thus tells the old 
traditionary story of the vine, — " Despair not, O thou 
that art deserted, but endure patiently. Sweet streams 
issue from unlikely sources ; and the feeble vine affords 
the most potent draught in the world.'' 

Let us, however, turn from poetical tradition to prosaic 
reality. The vine is, by birth, a Persian. Its cradle was 
on the sunny slopes of the hiUy regions on the south 
shores of the Caspian Sea. There, ia the Caucasus, and 
in Cashmere, the wild vine stiU climbs and clings to the 
very necks of the most towering trees. Its life-blood 
in those regions is seldom turned to evil purpose. In 
Caubul it is taken less in potions than in powder. The 
Caubulese dry and grind it to dust, and eat thereof, 
finding it a pleasant acid. This is half matter of taste 
and half matter of inedicine, just as over-wearied diges- 
tions in G-ermany drive their wretched owners into vine- 
yards, to abstain from meat, and live, for a whUe, upon 
raisins. Indeed, the vine was never meant entirely for 
enjoyment. It is one of the most perfect of chymists ; 
and if it offers grapes in clusters, its twigs afford car- 
bonate of potash, serviceable for many purposes, and, 
amon^ others, for correcting the acidity brought on by 



BIETH 01' THE TIKE, AND WHAT HAS COME OF IT. 289 

too free indulgence in the fruit, or in its expressed 
liquid. 

In the olden days, when the Patriarchs worshipped 
Heaven in the " cathedral of immensity," Palestine was 
renowned for the gloiy of its grapes. There were none 
other to compare with them upon earth. When the 
desert-treaders were waiting the return of their emis- 
saries, whom they had sent from Kadesh-Bamea to 
spy the Promised Land, their thirsty impatience was 
exchanged for delight at beholding their agents re-appear, 
bearing between them, upon poles, gigantic clusters, — the 
near fountains whence their dried up souls might draw 
new life and vigour. The grapes of Palestine are still 
remarkable for their great size. Clusters are spoken of, 
each of which exceeds a stone in weight ; and vines are 
mentioned, whose stems measured a foot and a half in 
diameter, and whose height reached to thirty feet ; while 
their branches afforded a tabernacle of shade, to the extent 
of thirty feet square. But it could not have been from 
such a vine that the men from Kadesh-Barnea collected 
the grapes which they could scarcely carry. The Welbeck 
grapes which the Duke of Portland sent to the Marquess 
of EocMngham, were of Syrian origin ; and these — on a 
single bunch, weighing nineteen pounds, and measuring 
three-and-twenty inches long, with a maximum diameter 
of nearly twenty inches — ^were borne upon a pole a distance 
of twenty miles, by four labourers ; two to carry, and two 
to reUeve. So that the conveying grapes in this fashion 
may have been more on account of their delicacy than of 
then- weight. The Hampton Court vine, too, produces 
clusters of great weight, and covers a space of not less 
than 2,200 feet. 

The vine has been figuratively employed as an emblem 
01 fruitfulness, of security, and peace ; and no doubt can 
exist of its having been ctdtivated at a very early period. 
Noah planted the vine immediately after the Deluge; 



290 TABLE TEAITS. 

and, from the first thing planted, sin came again into the 
world, bringing with it widely-extending consequences. 
Bread and wine are mentioned in Genesis. Pharaoh's 
chief butler dreamed of a vine with three branches ; and 
the Israelites (in Numbers) complained that Moses and 
Aaron had brought them out of Egypt into a dry and 
barren land, wheare there were neither figs nor vines. So, 
in after-years, the companions of Columbus sailed trem- 
blingly with their calm Captain over trackless seas, and 
murmured at him for bringing them from the olives and 
vines of Spain, to the very confines of creation, where 
terror reigned, and death sat enthroned. 

Jacopo di Bergamo gives a singular account of the 
reason which induced Noah to plant the vine. The 
Patriarch did so, he says, because he saw a, goat in Sicily 
eat some wild grapes, and afterwards fight with such 
courage, that Noah inferred there must have been virtue 
in the fruit. He planted a vine, therefore, and — ^where- 
fore is not told — manured it with the blood of a lion, a 
lamb, a swine, and a monkey, or ape. But this, perhaps, 
only signifies that, by drinking wine, men become bold, 
confiding or meek, filthy or obscene. 

It is stated by Theodoret, that Noah himself, after 
pressing the grapes, became intoxicated through inexpe- 
rience, as he had been a water-drinker for sis centuries ! 
The sin of Lot is supposed to have been committed, not 
merely under the influences of wine, but of a maddening 
and drugged, draught. The evil power of wine is well 
illustrated by the story of the Monk, to whom Satan 
offered a choice of sins, — ^incest, murder, or drunkenness. 
The poor Monk chose the last, as the least of the three; 
and, when he was drunk, he committed the other two. 

Commentators pronounce our rendering under the sin- 
gle word "wine," the thirteen distinct Hebrew terms 
used in the Bible to distinguish between wines of dijffer- 
ent sorts, ages, and condition, as a defect of great magni- 



BIEXH OF THE TIKE, AlTD 'WHAT HAS COMB OF IT. 291 

tude 5 and no doubt it is so. The knowledge of mixing 
wines appears to have been extensively applied by the 
ancient people ; and it is said of the beautiful Helen, that 
she learned in Egypt the composition of the exhilarating, 
or rather, stupefying, ingredients which she mixed in the 
bowl, together with the wine, to raise the spirits of such 
of her guests as were oppressed with grief. I may notice, 
too,, here, that our word shrub, or syrup, is an Eastern 
word. In Turkey, a sMrub-jee is simply a " wine-seUer." 

Yes, despite the Prophet, the Turks drink wine more 
than occasionally, and under various names. Tavemier 
speaks of a particular preparation of the grape drunk by 
the Grand Seignior, ki company with the ladies of the 
seraglio j and a similar beverage, it is conjectured, was 
quaffed by Belshazzar and his concubines out of the holy 
vessels, and was offered in vain to the more scrupulous 
Daniel. It was a rich and royal drink, made strong by 
the addition of drugs; and the object of drinking the 
potent mixture was the same as that which induced Con- 
rad Scriblerus and the daughter of Gaspar Barthius to 
live for a whole year on goat's milk and honey. Either 
mixture was better than that of the Persians, who " for- 
tified" their wines, or syrup of sweet wines, by adding to 
them the very perilous seasoning of nux vomica. But 
none of these were so curious as the "wine-cakes" eaten 
by Mr. Buckingham : these were, I suppose, made of wine 
preserves. But pure wine may be eaten, or rather, be 
rendered harder than any of our common food. Thus we 
hear of Russian troops being compelled, in very hard 
winters, to cut out their rations of wine from the cask 
with a hatchet. 

I think it is the renowned Dissenter, Toplady, who 
remarks, that the only sarcastic passage in Scripture is to 
be found in the cutting speech of Elisha to the Priests of 
Baal : " Is not Baal a god, seeing that he eateth much 
meat?" There is, however, another ironical passage, in 
V 2 



292 TABLE TEAITS. 

reference to wine. " Give Shechar unto tim who is ready 
to perisli," is the satirical speech of Lemuel's mother, 
who warns her royal son against the deceitful influences 
of intoxicating hererages, representing them as especially 
destructive to those who are charged with the govern- 
ment of nations ; and then ironically points to the man 
who fooHshly concludes, that in the sweet or strong drink 
he may hury all memory of the cares and anxieties brought 
upon him by his own profligacy. 

There is, however, a difference of opinion touching the 
spirit in which the last words quoted from Scripture are 
used. The Eabbins interpret the passage as a command 
to administer wine to the individual about to suffer 
death. Thus wine mingled with myrrh was ofiered to 
One of whom the Gospel records, that He refused what 
His enemies presented. 

The custom of offering doomed criminals a last earthly 
draught of refreshment is undoubtedly one of considerable 
antiquity. The right of offering wine to criminals on then- 
passage to the scaffold was often a privilege granted to reli- 
gious communities. In Paris, the privilege was held by the 
convent of PiUes-Dieu, the Nims of which kept wine pre- 
pared for those who were condemned to suffer on the gibbet 
of Montfaucon. The gloomy procession halted before the 
gate of the monastery, the criminal descended from the 
cart, and the Nuns, headed by the Lady Abbess, received 
him on the steps with as much, perhaps more heartfelt 
ceremony than if he had been a King. The poor wretch 
was led to a crucifix near the church door, the feet 
whereof he humbly kissed. He then received, from the 
hands of the Superior, three pieces of bread, (to remind 
him of the Trinity,) and one glass of wine (emblem of 
Unity). The procession then resumed its dread way to 
the scaffold. 

Elie Berthet tells us of a poor wretch, who, on being 
offered the usual refreshment, quietly swallowed the wine, 



BIETH or THE TIITE, AND WHAT HAS COME OF IT. 293 

and coolly put the bread in his pocket. When again in 
the cart, his observant Confessor asked him his reason for 
the act. "I suppose, Father," answered the moribund, 
" that the good sisters furnished me with the bread that 
it may serve me in paradise ; on earth, at all events, it 
can no longer be of use to me." "Be of good cheer," 
said another Confessor, who was encouraging a criminal 
on the Greve ; " be of good cheer. To-night you will sup 
in paradise." " Tenez, mon Fere" answered the poor 
fellow; " allez-y-vous a ma place ; car, pour moi, je n'ai 
pas faim." This incident has been made good use of by 
the "ballad" writers both of England and France. 

"Bowl-yard," St. Giles' s-in-the-Fields, preserves in its 
name the memory of a similar custom in England. This 
yard, or alley, adjacent to the church, is a portion of the 
site of the old Hospital for Lepers, the garden of which 
was a place of execution. Lord Cobham, under Henry V., 
and Babington and his accomphces, for conspiring against 
Elizabeth, were executed here. Stow tells us that, " at 
this hospital, the prisoners conveyed from the city of 
London toward Tyburn, there to be executed for treason, 
felonies, or other trespasses, were presented with a great 
howl of ale, thereof to drink at their pleasure, (?) as to be 
their last refreshment in this life." In later days, the 
criminals were sometimes supplied by their friends from 
the pubUc-houses on the line of road. In one case, a 
convict happily tarried drinking for a longer space of 
time than usual. The rope was just round his neck, 
when the axrival of a reprieve saved him. Had he drunk, 
a glass less, he would have been hanged a mbment 
sooner ; and society would thus have been deprived of his 
valuable services. He was a luckier man than the sad- 
dler in Ireland, who, on his way to the gibbet, refused 
the ale and wine offered him on the road, who was 
accordingly very rapidly dispatched, and for whom a 
reprieve arrived a minute too late for him to profit by it. 



294 TABLE TEAIT3. 

Hence the proverb, applied by those who press reluctant 
people to drink, " Ah, now go away wid you. Ye 're like 
the obs'inate saddler, who was hanged for refusing his 
liquor." It certainly was not a custom with Irish con- 
victs to decline the " thrink," before trial or after. " The 
night before Larry was stretch'd," is a slang lyric, gra- 
phically illustrative of the grace with which Irish crimi- 
nals took leave of life. The most singular thing, how- 
ever, connected with the popular lay in question, is, that 
it was written by a Clergyman. But, at the time of its 
production, such authorship excited no surprise in the 
literary public. The " cloth" was still of the quality of 
that in which Fielding's Newgate Chaplain walked ; and 
he, it wiU be remembered, was a pious gentleman, who 
candidly avowed that he was the rather given to indulge 
in punch, as that was a liquor nowhere spoken against in 
Scripture ! 

But it was not English or Irish Chaplains, of the olden 
time, who stood by themselves in their respect for good 
liquor. If that reverend and rubicund gentleman, Wal- 
ter de Mapes, wrote the Ijest Latin drinking-song that 
Bacchanalian inspiration ever produced, so did a German 
Prelate preach the best sermon on the same text. I 
allude to the Bishop of Triers, or Treves. Here is an 
odour, caught by the way, of the fall bottle pf counsel 
which he poured out to his hearers : — 

" Brethren, to whom the high privilege of repentance 
and penance has been conceded, you feel the sin of abusing 
the gifts of Providence. But, abtigttm non tollit usvm. 
It is written, 'Wine maketh glad the heart of man.' 
It follows, then, that to use wine moderately is our duty. 
Now there is, doubtkss, none of my male hearers who 
cannot drink his four bottles without affecting Ms brain. 
Let him, however, — ^if by the fifth or sixth bottle he no 
longer knoweth his own wife, — ^if he beat and kick his 
children, and look on his dearest friend as an enemy, — 



BIETH OF THE TINIi, ASB 'WHAT HAS OOME OE IT. 295 

refrain from an excess displeasing to God and man, and 
which, renders him contemptible in the eyes of his fel- 
lows. But whoever, after drinking his ten or twelve 
bottles, retains his senses sufficiently to support his tot- 
tering neighbour, or manage his household affairs, or 
execute the commands of his temporal and spiritual supe- 
riors, let him take his share quietly, and be thankful for 
his talent. Still, let him be cautious how he exceed this ; 
for man is weak, and his powers limited. It is but seldom 
that our kind Creator extends to any one the grace to be 
able to drink safely sixteen bottles, of which privilege he 
hath held me, the meanest of his servants, worthy. And 
since no one can say of me that I ever broke out in 
canseless rage, or failed to recognise my household friends 
or relations, or neglected the performance of my spiritual 
duties, I may, with thankfulness and a good conscience, 
use the gift which hath been intrusted to me. And 
you, my pious hearers, each take modestly your allotted 
portion; and, to avoid all excess, follow the precept of 
St. Peter,—' Try all, and stick by the best !' " 

The sermon is not a bad illustration of what was, and 
remains, historical fact. The first Archbishop of May- 
ence was the Englishman Boniface ; and most of his suc- 
cessors might have been characterized by his name. 
They were more powerful than the Emperors, and more 
stately than Moguls. The Canons of the Cathedral, sup- 
ported by its enormous revenues, Uved a jovial life. The 
Pope, indeed, reproved them for their worldly and luxu- 
rious habits ; but they uproariously returned for answer, 
" We have no more wine than is needed for the Mass ; 
and not enough to turn our mills with !" 

Good Hving, as it was erroneously called, was certainly, 
at one time, an imiversal observance in Germany, when 
the sole wish of man was, that he might have short 
sermons and long puddings. When this wish prevailed, 



296 TABLE TBAITS. 

every dining-room had its faulbett, or sot's couch, in one 
corner, for the accommodation of the first couple of guests 
who might chance to be too drunk to he removed. 
Indeed, m German village-inns, the most drunken guests 
were, in former days, by far the best off; for, while they 
had the beds allotted them, as standing in most need of 
the same, the guests of every degree, -whether rich or 
poor, the perfectly sober — wherever such phenomena were 
to be found — and those not so intoxicated but they could 
stagger out of the room, aU lodged with the cows among 
the straw. 

Probably, no country on the earth' presented such 
scenes, arising from excessive drinking, as were witnessed 
in Saxony and Bohemia, a few generations back. These 
scenes were so commonly attended by murder, or followed 
by death, that it was said to be better for a man to fall 
among the thickest of his enemies fighting, than among 
his friends when drinking. There were deadly brawls ia 
taverns, deadly drunken feuds in the family circle, and 
not less deadly contentions in the streets. When the 
city-gates were closed at night, the crowds of drunkards, 
issuing to their homes in the suburbs, were met by as 
dense and drunken a crowd, returning from their revels in 
the country. And then came the insulting motion, the 
provoking word, the hard blow, and the harder stab. 
Then feU the wounded and the dead ; then rose the 
shrieks of women and of children, and, loud above them, 
the imprecations and blasphemies born in the wine-sodden 
brains of men. Suddenly, a shot or two is fired from the 
walls, right into the heaving mass below. And then 
ensue the flying of the people, and the venting of impo- 
tent rage from the rash and resolute. But, gradually, 
the two opposing streams glide through each other, the 
gates are at length closed ; and, by the light of the moon, 
on the almost deserted esplanade, may be observed. 



BIETH OP TKE VIKE, AITD WHAT HAS COME OF IT. 297 

stretched on the ground, some half-dozen human forms. 
Some of these are dead, some are still drunken and help- 
less, and hoth equally imcared for. 

This is no overdrawn picture of an ancient German 
period. It is on record that once, on the hanks of the 
Bohemian Sazawa, a party of husbandmen met for the 
purpose of drinking twelve casks of wine. There were 
ten of them who addressed themselves to this feat ; but 
one of the ten attempting to retire from the contest 
before any of his fellows, the remaining nine seized, 
bound him, and roasted him aUve on a spit. The mur- 
derers were subsequently carried to the palace for judg- 
ment ; but the Duke's funeral was taking place as they 
entered the hall, and the Princes who administered jus- 
tice were aU so intoxicated, that they looked upon the 
matter in the light of a joke that might be compensated 
for by a slight fine. 

There was a joyous revelry at that time in every direc- 
tion. A father would not receive a man for a son-in-law 
who could not drink ; and in Universities the conferring of 
a degree was always followed by a carouse, the length of 
which was fixed, by College rules, as not to exceed eight 
hours' duration. Yet, during this generally dissolute 
period, a strange custom was prevalent at the tables of 
Nuremberg. In all well-regulated households, there 
used to hang a Uttle bell beneath the dining-table ; and 
this bell was struck by the master of the family, if he 
were sober enough, whenever any one uttered an unseemly 
phrase. 

Even so, in public, a voice of indignation was some- 
times raised against the profligacy of the , period. The 
voice to the people at large was as the bell to the guests 
at Nuremberg. Its effects who can tell ? It may have 
induced Luther to be content with dignified VirgU rather 
than with unclean Plautus; it may have driven the 
Monk Schwartz from the refectory to the alembic ; and it 



298 TABIB TEAITS. 

may have called G-atem'berg from the brutalities of the 
camp to the wonders of the printing-press. In the two 
latter cases, the consequences bear a very tipsy appear- 
ance ; for it was a soldier who invented printing, and a 
Monk who first manufactured gunpowder ! 

Let us not hasten to condemn our fellows of the olden 
time and distant land. Manners as fearfully outraging 
prevailed but very recently among young Englishmen. 
M. de Warenne, a French officer in our Indian army, 
describes the manners and customs there prevalent as 
any thing but edifying. In his " Inde-Anglaise," he 
describes himself, on one occasion, as being disinclined 
for study, and consequently joining a party of his com- 
rades who were at the moment occupied in an unreserved 
enjoyment of the pleasures of the table. They were from 
fifteen to twenty in number, married and single, but all 
young, full of hope, good prospects, and gaiety. Deep 
were the libations made by this riotous company, seated 
at a festive board in the open air, looked down upon by a 
brilliant moon, and gently fanned by the evening breeze. 

"While the attendant servant," says the author, 
" poured out, with Indian profusion, fresh supplies of tea, 
coffee, beer, punch, and grog, a dense vapour rose from 
our cigars, and joyous shouts rang from every lip at 
the conclusion of songs, bacchanalian and anacreontic. 
Toasts succeeded each other rapidly, alternately exciting 
the laughter or approbation of the ^arousers. One of 
them caused in me, at the time, a singular impression. 
A young, wild-brained fellow, in pouring out a bumper, 
called on us to fill our glasses, in order to sanction the 
strange wish of a rash ambition,^-' A bloody war, and a 
sickly season!'" 

The blasphemous sentiment, as M. de Warenne rightly 
terms it, was drunk with enthusiasm ; and the gay and 
thoughtless drinkers had yet the cup to their lips, when 
one of them was stricken with the cholera, the presence 



BrETH 01' THE VUTE, AlTD 'WHAT HAS COME OE IT. 299 

of wliich. in camp was hardly known ; — ^the next day 
the funeral salute was fired over his grave. The author 
adds, that the music played on returning from the funeral 
was joyously and daily hummed by the daily diminishing 
survivors. He says that there was a mockery in the 
waltzes they continued to dance ; for death was also daily 
decreasing their orchestra. The stricken^ we are told, 
felt themselves relieved from further anxiety, recovered 
their temporarily shaken self-possession, and died with 
indifference. The strong who lived are described as, for 
the most part, diverting their thoughts, outraging decency, 
and defying God, hy composing or chanting songs whose 
inspiration certainly savours of hell. Here is a specimen 
of one of these devil's canticles, roared over wine, to 
frighten away the cholera : — 

L 
"We meet 'neath the sounding rafter. 
And the walls around are bare ; 
As they shout back onr peals of laughtETj 

It seems as the dead were there. 
Then stand to yOui glasses ! — steady ! 
We drink 'fore our comrades' eyes ; 
One cup to the dead already j 
Hurrah for the next that dies 1 

n. 

"Not here are the goblets glowing, 

Not here is the vintage sweet; 
'T is cold, as our hearts are growing. 

And dark as the doom we meet. 
But stand to your glasses ! — steady ! 

And soon shall our pulses rise ; 
One cup to the dead already ; 

Hurrah for the next that dies I 

m. 

" There 's many a hand that 's shaking. 
And many a cheek that 's sunk; 
But soon, though our hearts are breaking, 
They '11 bran with the wine we 've drunk. 



300 TABLE TEAITS. 

Then stand to your glasses ! — steady ! 

'Tis here the revival lies ; 
Quaff a cup to the dead already ; 

Hurrah for the next that dies ! 

IV. 

" Time was, when we laugh'd at others. 

We thought we were wiser then -. 
Ha! ha! let them think "of their mothers. 

Who hope to see them again. 
No ! stand to your glasses ! — steady 1 

The thoughtless is here the wise ; 
One cup to the dead already ; 

Hurrah for the next that dies ! 

V. 
" Not a sigh for the lot that darkles, 
Not a tear for the friends that sink ; 
We'E fall 'mid the wine-cup's sparkles. 

As mute as the wine we drink. 
Come ! stand to your glasses ! — steady 1 

'T is this that the respite buys ; 
One cup to the dead already ; 
Hurrah for the next that dies ! 

VI. 
" Who dreads to the dust returning ? 
Who shrinks from the sahle shore. 
Where the high and haughty yearning 

Of the soul can sting no more ? 
No ! stand to your glasses ! — steady ! 

This world is a world of lies ! 
One cup to the dead already ; 
Hurrah for the next that dies ! 

VII. 

" Cut off from the land that bore us, 

Betray'd by the land we find. 
When the brightest are gone before us. 

And the dullest are most behind, — 
Stand ! stand ! to your glasses !^ — steady I 

'Tis all we have left to prize ! 
One cup to the dead already ; 

Hurrah for the next that dies 1" 



BIETH OF THE TINE, A2fD -WHAT HAS COME OP IT. 301 

After this, the most rigid examiner of public morals 
in all countries need not exclusively frown on the old 
Germans, nor on their profane canticle, the burthen of 
which is : — 

" Gaudeamiis, igitur, juvenes dam sumus ! 
Post jucundam juventutem. 
Fast molestam senectutem, 
Nos hatelit, nos hatebit, nos haieiit tumulus!" 

There is, however, more reason, and healthy sentiment, 
and pure principle, in such lines as the following, — 
extracted from "Walter Savage Lander's " Last Fruit off 
an Old Tree," — ^than in reams of such fiery invocations to 
quaff deeply as those cited above. Hear the old man : — 

" The chrysolites and mhies Bacchus brings, 

To crown the feast where swells the broad-veiu'd brow, 
Where maidens blnsh at what the minstrel sings. 
They who have courted, may court now. 
" Bring me a cool alcove, the grape uncrush'd. 
The peach of pulpy cheek and down mature : 
Where ev'ry voice, but bird's or child's, is husht. 
And ev'ry thought, like the brook nigh, runs pure." 

There was a Per.sian sage, whose philosophy was of a 
different complexion from that of the eloquent morahst of 
"the old garden near Bath." " In what can I best assist 
thee?" demanded the Minister, Nizam-al-Mulk, as he 
warmly greeted his friend, Omar Keyoomee. " Place me," 
said Omar, enamoured of poetry and ease, "where my 
life may pass without care or annoyance, and where wine, 
in abundance, may inspire my muse." A pension was 
accordingly assigned him in the fertile district of Nisha- 
pour, where Omar lived and died. His tomb still exists, 
and Mr. J. B. Fraser, in his " Persia," informs us that he 
heard Omar's story told over his grave by a brother 
rhymester, and a most congenial spirit. The system of 
Omar was explained by himself, in something after this 
fashion : — 



302 TABLE TEAITS. 

I ask not for much : let the miser seek wealth ; 

Let the proud sigh for titles and fame : — 
All the riches I ask are a fair share of health. 

And the hope of a true poefs name, 
let the flatterer talk of his worth to the Shah,— 

Of his greatness, too, all the day long ;— 
I envy them not, for I love better far 

To pay my poor tribute in song. 

A kaftan of honour ! a gem &om the King 1 

To be gain'd in the field or divan? 
Ah I rather around me the bright, mantle fling 

Of the poets of gay Laristan. 
Let the gems be for those of the glittering crowd, 

"Who would die, the Shah Inshah to please ; 
But I'm not ambitious, I never was proud, 

I sigh but for sherbet and ease. 

Do I wish for command in dark history's page. 

Do I long in fond record to shine ? 
Yes, let me have sway, till the last sigh of age. 

Over cohorts of old Shiraz wine. 
And as for renown, it may be very well. 

Bat Keyoomee the honour wiU wave ; 
Contented, if some brother rhymester will tdl 

Keyoomee's glad life, o'er his grave. 



THE MAKING AND MARRING OF WINE. 



It used to be said of the old learned and liquor-loving 
Germans, tliat they did not care what Latin they spoke, 
so long as it was Latin; nor what sort of wine they 
drank, so long as it was wine. I have read somewhere of 
a feudal German Baron becoming intoxicated upon pious 
principles. He was seated, with his wife at his side, at 
the centre of his own table, presiding at a banquet. He 
had drunk till he had scarcely power left to carry the 
goblet up to his ever thirsty Ups. The Prau Baroninn 
had repeatedly remonstrated, in whispers, with her lord ; 
who repUed, that he must needs drink when toasts were 
given, or his want of faith would be marked by his guests. 
He was about to raise a full goblet to his beard, when his 
lady, overturning, as if by accident, the cluster of lights 
which iQuminated the board, begged of her consort 
to fling his wine away upon the floor; adding, "It is 
dark; nobody will see you." "Nay," said the orthodox 
Baron, solemnly, "God sees me!" and therewith he 
finished his draught, and was soon after conveyed to his 
couch, tmder such benison as the Chaplain could give, 
who congratulated his master upon the flavour of his 
wine, and the strength of his principles ! 

In no country in the world has more wine been drunk 
than in Germany ; and no where has adulteration thereof 
been practised so systematically. " Vaticana libis, hibis 
venenum," says Martial, in the sixth book of his Epi- 
grams. For "Vaticana" read "Germmica;" and the 



304 TABLE TEAITS. 

line had, at one time, as fitting an application. The 
method pursued appears to have been of classical deriva- 
tion; and the Germans, like the Eomans, adulterated 
their wine with lead. It has been a matter of vexation 
to Teutonic scholars, that they have never been able to 
discover the name of the ingenious person who first 
realized the deadly idea of employing lead in the adultera- 
tion of wine. All that they can say of him is, that he 
was very wicked, but decidedly clever. 

The Eoman wine-merchants treated the matter in a 
business-like way. Lead arrested the acetous fermenta- 
tion of wine, did not alter its colour, and did improve its 
taste. This was all that was desirable, as regarded them 
as merchants. If the beverage gave death, by slow or 
speedy means, to those who drank, that was an afiair 
which concerned the imbibers, their medical men, and their 
families. They were ignorant and godless Heathens, of 
course, who committed this crime ; and as nothing like it- 
has ever been known as a characteristic of some of the 
professors of a better dispensation, — ^why, our righteous 
indignation may be intense. One excuse, indeed, may be 
ofiered for the old Eomans. " At lover's perjuries," as they 
were told, "Jove himself condescended to laugh;" and, 
if so, they might feel canonicaUy certain, that Mercury 
would not call them to account, but rather applaud their 
proficiency in cheating. But Galen was more just than 
the gods of either the Greek or Roman mythology, and 
sternly denounces the tricks at which the son of Maia 
would have smiled. 

The same ancients were accustomed to boil new wine 
in metal vessels ; and, when the quantity had been reduced 
by the process, to add sea-water and bad wine, and send 
the mixture to market as something that would make 
the very eyes of Bacchus twinkle with delight. A pro- 
cess not less distasteful, if less deadly, was that of boiling 
lime and plaster of Paris in inferior wine. The former 



THE MAKING AND MAEEING OF WIHTS, 305 

was supposed to add an intoxicating quality to the mix- 
ture, whicli must liave been as detestable as " Masdeu." 
To this day, certain wines of the Mediterranean are 
subjected to a similar process ; and, perhaps, if lime be 
judiciously used, the results may not be very injurious. 
It corrects acidity ; but too much of it would enable the 
drinker to find out, as Falstaff did, that there was " lime 
in the sack." We are wise in our generation, in employ- 
ing carbonate of soda for this purpose, rather than lime, 
slaked or unslaked; and we also do well to reject gypsum, 
— a compound of sulphuric acid and lime, and which is 
seldom procurable ia a sufficiently pure state to authorize 
its being employed. The rejection of plaster of Paris, 
for the purpose of improving wine, is, however, more 
general than universal. After all, it is not worse than 
oalciaed shells, and is innocuous when compared with the 
use of sugar of lead. 

The Roman law was not levelled against the adultera- 
tion of wine; it no more controlled the sale or manu- 
facture, than, in Thevenot's days, the Tunisian Govern- 
ment interfered with the sale of wine at Tunis, which 
was left to slaves, who did with it as they Uked, for their 
own profit, and the destruction of iufidel stomachs. It 
was otherwise in Germany, where Diets were assembled 
to discuss what was, in truth, no unimportant matter; 
the members of which began to think, that if wine was 
worth having, it was worth providing for its purity. 
For centuries Governments made laws, but bad wiae was 
drunk iu spite of them. 

Beokmann gives it as his opinion, that wines cannot 
be poisoned by gypsum; but that is more readily said 
than proved. The ancients clarified thpir wiae with 
it ; but they did so at the expense of a portion of the 
spirituous part. Old ordinances against the adulteration 
of wiae, in Brussels, by vitriol, quicksilver, and lapis 
calatninariSi — and in France, by lead and litharge, — may 

X 



306 TABID TEAITS. 

still be read as curiosities, but they have no present 
application. 

A German Monk, named Martin Bayr, is damned to 
everlasting fame, as the first who adulterated wines 
within the territory of the Kaiser. Pickheimer, the 
friend of Albert Durer, is particularly inveterate against 
Bayr and his followers in evU. The indignation of the 
lover of pure wine is carried to an incredible extent. He 
narrates, in a rapt fury, the consequences of drinking Inju- 
rious wines ; beginning with an assurance, that adulterated 
wine keeps the married childless, and adding, by a sort 
of bathos, that ' it causes certain inward pains, " than 
which none can be more excruciating." He mentions 
many ingredients employed, and adverts to some, "the 
names of which I should be ashamed to mention;" and 
then he calls for vengeance on the offenders, both in this 
world and the next. "You hang the counterfeiters of 
the public coin," says he ; " do not these miscreants, 
whose misdeeds have caused indignant Nature to check 
the growth of our grapes, deserve something worse ? Cast 
their accursed beverage, I say, into the sewers, and them- 
selves into the flames : and so may Martin Bayr and his 
disciples perish in this world, and inherit everlasting 
damnation in the next ! " 

Adulteration, however, stiU went on, until the penalty 
of death, and confiscation of property, was levelled against 
the employment of sulphur and bismuth, — used by the 
most noble of wine-makers to sweeten their spoiled and sour 
commodity. Offenders, however, again grew bold. The 
tribunals treated them leniently. First, fines were levied ; 
then came confiscation of property, imprisonment, and 
hard labour ; next, banishment : and none of these courses 
meeting the evil, the Judges at length cut off the head 
of an incorrigible criminal, Ehrni of Erlingen ; and, for a 
while, terrified the whole brotherhood of wine-spoilers 
into a temporary observance of honesty. 



THE MAKiya AND MAEEING OF WINE. 307 

Tte next struggle which occurred in Germany, was 
between those who applied tests to detect the presence of 
metals, and those who invented processes to defy them. 
It was a scientific struggle between two species of assas- 
sins, — those who swiftly killed by brewing poisonous wine, 
and the physicians who racked their brains to invent 
detective tests, and save their patients for a slower process 
of extinction. This was very rudely said by rude people, 
who looked upon themselves as the victims sought for by 
two contending parties, — the distillers on one side, and 
the doctors on the other. 

The use of milk by the Greeks was, probably, not for 
adulterating, but for refining, their wines. Isinglass is at 
present generally employed for the last-mentioned purpose. 

As it is the tendency of the world to improve, so the 
not inconsiderable world of adulterators in England has 
profited, like philosophers, by the discoveries of those who 
have preceded them. A mixture of strong port, rectified 
spirit. Cognac brandy, and rough cider, can be concocted 
into what is called " fine old crusted port." It costs the 
maker about sixteen shillings a gallon, and is sold retail 
at five shillings a bottle. Sloe-juice is another ingredient, 
and poisonous tinctures give it a seductive hue. Powder 
of catechu does for it what hair-powder does for the indi- 
vidual, — gives a crust of antiquity to secure for it the vene- 
ration of the ignorant. A decoction of Brazil-wood, and 
a little alum, will impart to the corks the requisite air of 
corresponding age ; and these the credulous gaze at and 
believe. 

"Madeira, neat as imported," is the definition of a beve- 
rage cleverly manufactured much nearer Fenohurch-street 
than Funchal. Home-made Madeira is a compound of 
bad port, Vidonia, that African nastiness called " Cape," 
sugar-candy, and bitter almonds ; and the Vidonia, which 
is an ingi-edient in itself, often adulterated with cider and 
rum ; and a little carbonate of soda, " to contumace the 
X 2 



308 TABLE TEAITS. 

appetite's acidities." The lowest and cruellest insult to 
human taste and stomachs is, perhaps, the adulteration of 
Cape. It is had enough in itself ; hut Cape, with some- 
thing worse in it, is only fit for the thirsty hounds of 
Pluto. Gooseherry, passed off as Champagne, is an 
impostor, and even with strawherries in it, to give it ^n 
aristocratic pinkness, it is still a deception ; hut, compared 
with Cape, even in its hest condition, gooseberry may he 
imbibed without very much disgust. 

A fracas between the waiters and their employers at 
the last Lord-Mayor's dinner, betrayed another pleasant 
process regarding wine. The attendants in question 
declared that, after many hours' toU, they had not had a 
glass even out of a dovered bottle. They were as much 
surprised when the Magistrate asked the meaning of 
" dovering," as the sailor was, when he stood before a Lord 
High Chancellor ignorant of the signification of " 'baft 
the binnacle." A complaisant Ganymede enhghtened the 
darkened mind of the metropolitan Cadi: '■^Dovering" 
said he, "is the collecting of three-quarter emptied 
decanters from the dinner-table, and re-decantering the 
same, serving it up as freshly uncorked." Dover has the 
bad reputation of being the locality where this process 
was first invented. 

One of the most ingenious — perhaps we should say, one 
of the most scientific — tricks that we have heard of, in 
connexion with wine-doctoring, proves that the modern 
chymical brewers of superior beverages, which seem what 
they are not, are vastly superior to the mere experiment- 
alists of former days. In the royal cellars of Carlton 
House, there was enshrined, if we may so speak, a small 
quantity of wine which, like the gems worn by the Irish 
lady, was both " rich and rare.'' It was only produced by 
George IV. when he had around him his most select and 
wittiest friends. The precious deposit gradually dimi- 
nished ; year by year, as in the case of the famous sha- 



THE MAKING AND MAEEING OF WINE. 309 

green skin of the Freneli novelist Balzac, it grew less* 
until, at last, a couple of dozen bottles only were left, 
gleaming at the bottom of their bins like gems in a mine, 
and full of liquid promise to those who needed the especial 
comfort which it was their duty to impart. These, how- 
ever, were left so long unasked for, that the gentlemen of 
the King's suite who had the control of the grape depart- 
ment, deemed them forgotten, and at their own mirthful 
table drank them all but two, with infinite delight to 
themselves, and to the better health of their master. 
They soon found, however, that there was " garlic in the 
flowers," as the Turkish proverb has it ; and their embar- 
rassment was not small, when the King, giving his orders 
for a choice dinner on a certain night, intimated his 
desire that a good supply of his favourite wine should 
grace the board. In Courts, " to hear is to obey ;'' and 
the officials who had drunk the wine, at once resorted to 
an eminent firm, well-skUled to give advice in such deli- 
cate wine-cases. The physician asked but for a sample 
bottle, and to be told the exact hour at which the 
favourite draught would be asked for. This was com- 
plied with, and in due time a proper amount of the 
counterfeit wine was forwarded to Carlton House, and 
there broached and drunk with such encomiums, that the 
officers who were in the secret had some difficulty in 
maintaining an official gravity of countenance. The 
brewer of the new wine was certainly a first-rate artist ; 
and if he ever achieved knighthood and a coat-of-arms, I 
would give him a "Bruin" for his crest, and, "The 
drink! the drink ! dear Hamlet!" for his device. This 
anecddte, I may farther notice, has often been told, and 
nearly as often been discredited ; but I am assured by an 
officer of the household, who speaks " avec connaissanee 
de fait" that it is substantially true. 

One of the merits of the wine above mentioned con- 
sisted in its great age. There has, indeed, always been a 



310; TABLE TEAITS. 

sort of mania for wine that bears the load of years. But 
this rage is pronounced by Cyrus Bedding to be one of 
the most ridiculous errors of modern epicurism. The 
"bee's wing," the "thick crust on the bottle," the "loss 
of strength," and so on, — all these are declared by the 
best judges to be nothing more than forbidding manifes- 
tations of decomposition, and the disappearance of the 
very best qualities of the wine. Many years ago, I made 
a "note" on this subject, but am now unable to recollect 
from what work, nor can I say whether the following 
remarks on the qualities of wine were made by the 
author of an original work, or by a reviewer commenting 
thereon. Such as they are, however, they are not without 
value. 

" The age of maturity,'' says the writer, " for exporta- 
tion from Oporto, is said to be the second year after the 
vintage ; probably sometimes not quite so long. Our 
wine-merchants keep it in wood from two to six years 
longer, according to its original strength, &c. Surely 
this must be long enough to do all that can be done by 
keeping it. What crude wine it must be to require even 
this time to ameliorate it ! the necessity for which must 
arise either from some error in the original manufacture, 
or a false taste, which does not relish it till time has 
changed its original characteristics. 

" Port, like all other wines, ripens in a shorter, or longer, 
time, according to its lightness, or its strength, the- 
quality of the grapes, according to the fermentation they 
have undergone, and the portion of brandy that has been 
added to it. Also one cellar wUl forward, wine much 
sooner than another. Sound good port is generally in 
perfection when it has been from three to five years in 
the wood, and from one to three in bottle. ' 

" Ordinary port is a very uncleansed fretful wine ; and 
we have been assured by wine-merchants of good taste, 
accurate observation, and extensive experience, that the 



THE MAKIKO AKD MAEEINQ OF WINE. 311 

test port is rather impoverished than improved by being; 
kept in bottle longer than two years ; that is, supposing it 
to have been previously from two to four years in the cask 
in this country; observing that all that the outrageous 
advocates for vin passe really know about it is that sherry 
is yellow, and port is Hack ; and that if they drink (more 
than) enough of either of them, according to the colours, 
it wiU make them drunk. 

" White wines, especially sherry and Madeira, being 
more perfectly fermented and thoroughly fined before 
they are bottled, if kept in a cellar of uniform tempera- 
ture, are not so rapidly deteriorated by age. 

" The temperature of a good cellar is nearly the same 
throughout the year. Double doors help to preserve 
this. It must be dry, and be kept as clean as possible. 

" The art of preserving wines is to prevent them 
from fretting, which is done by keeping them in the same 
degree of heat and careful working, in a cellar where they 
will not be agitated by the motion of carriages passing. 
If persons wish to preserve the fine flavour of their wines, 
they ought on no account to permit any bacon, chee.^e, 
onions, potatoes, or cider, in the wine-cellars ; for if there 
be any disagreeable stench in the cellar, the wine will 
indubitably imbibe it ; consequently, instead of being 
fragrant, and charming to the nose and palate, it wOl be 
extremely disagreeable. 

" It must be well-known that almost all our home-made 
wines, for public sale, are made, and suffered to cool, in 
leaden vats. Nothing can be more injurious or detri- 
mental to health. Every chymist is aware that any 
vegetable acid that comes in contact with lead, and is 
suffered to remain only a few hours, produces what we 
call ' sugar of lead,' — a most deadly poison. How many 
there are that complain that cider wiU not agree with 
them ! and several who cannot take even a wine-glass 
full without vomiting almost immediately. They know 



312 TABLE TBAIXS. 

not the reason ; and thus many are prevented from 
taking a naost deligMfal beverage in warm weather; 
while others are labouring under its baneful influence. 
Often do we see servants run for vinegar in a pewter or 
publican's pot; and the answer we receive when cor- 
recting them for the same is, — ^they have often done 
the same without any serious consequence. May be so ; 
but if vinegar, or any other vegetable acid, as before said, 
be suffered to remain in such vessels only a short time, 
the health and constitution must suffer from the acid so 
taken ; and we will venture to say that almost aU parar 
lytic affections are caused by persons, predisposed to such 
attacks, drinking water impregnated with lead. For if 
there be any carbonic acid in the water, which there 
most assuredly is in every kind, a carbonate is thus 
formed, just as injurious as the acetate (sugar of lead) ; 
and where shall we find a cistern in London that is 
not made of this pernicious, yet highly useful, material ?" 
The consideration of these subjects, when drinking 
home-made wines, (if, indeed, there he people bold enough 
to venture on such an experiment,) or the other beverages 
mentioned above, might serve the purpose of the custom 
observed among the ancient Egyptians. It was one less 
barbarous than- singular. A skeleton of beautiful work- 
manship, in ivory, and enclosed in a small coffin, was 
carried round at a feast, by a slave, who, holding it up to 
each guest, remarked, " After death you will resemble 
this figure; drink, then, and be happy!" It must have 
encouraged the mirth " consumedly." But there was a 
grave wisdom in the custom, notwithstanding. 



IMrERIAL DRINKERS AND IKCIDENTS IN 
GERMANY. 



The stories of the gigantic drinkers ot antiqtiity are 
startling ; but I think they may be accounted for. 
Natural philosophers inform us, that objects seen through 
a mist are magnified to the senses ; and so it is with the 
feats which we are asked to contemplate throtigh the 
mist of ages : they are probably not so astounding as 
they appear. One may say of each story, so venerable 
and enlarged by age, as the good Dominican did to the 
congregation whom he had affected to tears by the 
warmth of one of his legendary sermons. " Do not cry 
so, my brethren," said the Preacher; "for, after all, 
perhaps it 's not true." 

It must be allowed, however, that the stories of wine- 
bibbers of later times than those when the son of Aristides 
gained his Hving- by singing ballads in the streets of 
Athens, or the heir of Cicero drank draughts longer than 
his sire's orations, lack nothing whatever of the marvel- 
lous. And this reminds me of an incident, quod alibi 
narravi, and which I will narrate here, by way of illustra- 
tion of this portion of my subject. 

AJSr INCIDENT OF TEAVEL. 

It is now some twelve years ago that I was, in com- 
pany with two Norwegians, in Prague, loitering beneath 
the tower of that sacred edifice dedicated to the fearful 
dancer, St. Vitus. The tower was the same which the 
drunken Emperor Wenceslaus had caused to be shortened, 



314 TABLE TBAITS. 

hj some thirty or forty feet, because lie took it into his 
head that it would one day faU, and crush him as he lay 
on his uneasy couch in the Hradschin. I remarked to my ' 
companions, that the empire, in its palmy days, had often 
been well-nigh lost through the mad caprices of tipphng 
Kaisers. 

" There was not a Kaiser of them all," said Lowen- 
skiold, "who permanently injured either himself or his 
country by his devotion to drinking." 

"What!" said I; " not even MaximiHan ? " 
"Not even Maximilian," remarked Kuudtzen. "The 
people, indeed, were occasionally a trifle startled at seeing 
their ruler proceed, either to the camp or council, with as 
much white wine in him , as might serve the universe for 
sauces. They slightly objected, on hearing ; that he 
walked rosy and reeling to confession ; and they were not 
edified at understanding that his private Almoner stirred 
up his punch with a silver crucifix. They even remon- 
strated with Maximilian when he had been . once within 
an ace of destroying TJlm in a -drunken frolic. . And what 
was his reply ? He kept the deputation of remonstrants 
the whole night in his palace, and invited the citizensto 
assemble, at day-break, on whatever spots commanded a 
view of the towers of the cathedral. The Emperor and 
the Committee of Moderates finished two hundred and ten 
bottles of Rhine wine while they waited for sunrise. This, 
among a temperate party of one score and one, was a 
tolerable allowance for each individual. At dawn, all 
Ulm was up, and every eye directed to the cathedral. 
The towers had scarcely flung back the first rays from 
heaven, when a joyous procession issued from the imperial 
residence. The whole party, the Emperor excepted, were 
as drunk as .^schylus. With difiBculty did they follow their 
Lord, who, at the very top of his speed, and carrying a 
heavy waggon- wheel on his shoulder, ran to the cathedral, 
ascended the stairs leading to the summit of one of the 



IMPEEIAL BEISTKEES AJSTD INCIDES-TS IN GEEMANX. 315 

towers, and appeared on the rampart, before his stragglino- 
followers had reached the low-arched door beneath. 
With a light bound, he sprang on one of the highest 
parts of the castellated portion, where there was scarcely 
footing for him. In that position, however, he poised 
the wheel aloft with his right hand, let it gently descend 
on to the foot which he extended above the heads of the 
multitude, and, holding it there for a moment or two, 
ended by hurling it into the air, and catching it again, 
ere it fell on the astounded and admiring crowd below. 

" ' There, you calves ! ' cried the Emperor, as he gazed 
tranquilly down on the sea of heads below; "do you 
dare complain that Niedersteiuer touches your master's 
nerves ? ' 

"'Never again!' exclaimed the dehghted mass. 
'What can we do to testify our affection for Your 
Majesty?' 

" ' Toss those gentlemen into a tub of Selzer-water,' 
said Maximilian, 'and send me half-a-dozen of Hoch- 
heimer, and half-a-dozen blood-puddings, for breakfast.' " 

I could almost believe this tradition ; for I had seen a 
nearly similar feat once performed by a woman on a pro- 
jecting mass of rock ia the Ahr Thai. The rock is, 
doubtless, well known to all who have ascended that 
lovely Ehine-valley, at eve, to eat Forellen, and drink 
Wallportzheimer. They who do so, generally retm-n the 
next morning with an inclination for nothing but the 
cooling mineral waters to be had at Hippingen. 

"Besides," said Knudtzen, " a-propos to cathedrals, 
sober principles have done them more injury than joUy 
Emperors. Do you forget that Carohne Bonaparte razed 
a cathedral in Italy to the ground ?" 

" I remember hearing of the deed as connected with a 
church," said I; "but I have forgotten the reason alleged 
for it." 

" It was a very sufSoient reason for a Bonaparte. Her 



316 



TABLE TEAIIS. 



Higliness lived next door to the cLurch ; and she had it 
destroyed, because the noise of the organ kept her awake, 
and the smell of the incense made her head ache." 

"Eoyal minds," I remarked, "cannot condescend to 
the weaknesses of common people. According to our 
' Philosophical Transactions,' the pigeons at Pisa were as 
destructive as Carohne Bonaparte. Pigeons, for many 
ages, built under the roof of the great church there. 
Their dung spontaneously took fire at last ; and the 
church was consumed. But, to retm-n to the old, defunct 
King of Saxony. He was afflicted with a super-dehcate 
attack of virtue ; and, during the prevalence of the dis- 
order, he issued a decree for the expulsion, from his 
picture-gallery, of aU those master-pieces, the merit of 
which lay in the glory of their flesh-colouring. He had 
grown as modest as the Monk who declared that he had 
never seen any portion of his body save his face and 
hands. He is worthy of going down to posterity arm in 
arm with that old Polish King, who was a cleaner, 
but not a less deUcate, man than the Monk, and who 
boasted to his Confessor that his purity of mind was so 
excessive, that he had never touched his own skin with 
an ungloved hand. In short; the old King of Saxony 
admirably illustrated the saying of Dean Swift, that ' a 
nice man was a man of nasty ideas.' He had not been a 
sparer of the wine-flask. Indeed, he had rather sinned 
that way ; and, in expiation thereof, he undertook to per- 
form a pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre on foot. A 
fever of expectation shook Dresden, all the china in it, 
and the whole line of road, at the idea of again beholding 
a Christian King turning to the neglected shrine. The 
expectation was not altogether fulfilled ; but the Monarch, 
nevertheless, performed the pilgrimage." 

"We never heard of it," exclaimed the travellers, look- 
ing at each other with some manifestation of surprise. 

" That is to say," I resumed, " that his Majesty per- 



IMPEEIAL BEINKEES AlfD ITTCIDEIfTS IN GEEIVLUST. 317 

formed it after a fashion. He inquired tlie distance from 
his own country-house at Filnitz, to the Armenian Con- 
vent at the Holy City ; and, in spite of his education, he 
was nothing less than astonished, to find that it was 
something more serious than a promenade to Tophtz. I 
do not know if he had a vision of boiling his peas, as au 
English pilgrim did, of whom I could tell you something ; 
hut he certainly experienced some unpleasant sensations 
at the idea that, the way being so long, he might chance 
to find himself without peas to boil. He wept at the 
reflection that he might not only be a devout, but a 
hungry. King, while one half of Dresden were solacing 
their appetites on the terrace of Bruhl, and the other, at 
the Baths of Link, or at the Bastei. He thought of the 
dangers ; but he would be devout. The attendant pains 
were great ; but .the resulting pleasures were not to be 
denied. In short, he would not go to Jerusalem ; but he 
would perform the pilgrimage. Accordingly, the exact 
distance having been ascertained, he started from his 
room, and walked the entire number of leagues by pacing 
up and down a long gallery, deducting from the distance 
the amount of water passage, which was but fair. If 
admiration had been great at the commencement, sm-- 
prising fun was excited during the performance. Every 
evening the citizens of Dresden knew how far their reli- 
gious Euler had proceeded on his way, or how far he 
would have proceeded, if he had but set out. Now, he 
was breakfa.sting, in imagifflation, at Breslau; sleeping 
(in fancy) at Olmutz ; and passing, by a pleasant fiction, 
through Buda. During two days that his Majesty suf- 
fered from a real bilious attack, the result, perhaps, of a 
Barmecidal repast at Essek on the Drave, the King rested 
at Belgrade, while confined to his bed in Dresden. But 
his zeal soon re-invigorated his liver ; and, as he glided to 
and fro by his palace windows, the mystified multitude 
below learned that the Monarch was lodging in the 



318 TABLE TEAITS. 

touse of the Saxon Legation at Istamboul. The pilgrim- 
traveller suffered a little from the heat (of the room) 
as he descended from the western coast of Asia Minor ; 
but the inconvenlencies of the route were things beneath 
the thoughts of him who — whether at Bursa, Smyrna, 
or any other locality on his way — could ring his hell in 
the Desert, and order Champagne out of his own cellar. 
The King was puzzled one mid-day, (he had by calcula- 
tion just reached Beyrout,) his progress being checked by 
the unexpected arrival of a portion of the imperial family 
from Vienna. Visitors of such condition must be attended 
to ; nevertheless, his pilgrimage must be continued ; and 
he, Kke the clever and facetious palmer that he was, did 
both. He attended his guests with much politeness, 
during their stay of two days ; and he put down the time 
thus spent, as consumed in a sea voyage from Beyrout to 
Acre. The moment they left, the royal pilgrim went ashore 
again, and happily accomplished the remaining distance 
to Jerusalem, through Nassara and Nablous, without any 
other hinderance or obstruction than his going one night 
to see a French vaudeville, while supposed to be enjoying 
his well-earned repose at Eama or Muddin. And thus 
was accomplished that royal pilgrimage that was never 
performed. The King reached Jerusalem without going 
there ; and the people saw him return who had never 
departed." 

" Well," said Harold Knudtzen, "the Kings of Saxony 
are no longer such simpletons. The present Monarch 
loves, indeed, good wine, ' craftily qualified ;' but he 
also, like Uzziah, King of Judah, loves husbandry. 
Josephine herself had not half so frantic a passion for 
flowers as he ; and not for flowers alone in their beauty, 
— not for botany, either, merely for amusement's sake, 
but for phytology and pharmacy, as connected with it." 

"ile lisped Linnaeus," said Lowenskiold, "before he 
could speak plainly." 



IMPEElAl DEOKEES AlTD INCLDEITTS IN GEEMANT. 319 

"And, by reputation, he knew Toumefort better tban 
he did Knecht Eupert," added Harold. 

"He himself told us, when we met him in Dalmatia," 
continued the latter, "that he could spell Bodecandria 
and Trigynia before he could read Grimm's Story-Book ; 
and that he knew the meanings of monopetalous and cam- 
•paniform before he was acquainted with the languages 
from which the terms were derived. T never saw a man 
so eager in pursuit of apetaloios amentaceous flowers ; and 
as for carryopJiylous" 

"Leave off your abominable phrases!" said I, "and 
begin by telling me how you two very modest fellows 
introduced yourselves to the acquaintance of the Sove- 
reign of Saxony." 

" The Latroduction was effected through a very Kght- 
hearted and intelligent fellow-botanizer, whom we met on 
our way from Zara up to the mountains. We had all 
three lost our way while endeavouring to find an infundi- 
iuliform " 

"Nay," intermpted I, " I care not what you found, if 
you choose to tell it in pentameters." 

" Well," resumed Ejiudtzen, " we were in a wild part of 
the country, — weary, hungry, cold, and in the dark. Wan- 
derers could not well be in a worse plight. We were as 
flute' as Juno's columns near the church of St. Helia; and 
the skeleton doing duty there for that of St. Simeon of 
Judaea, the pride and palladium of the people of Zara, 
looked in far better condition, and in, especially, better 
raiment, than could be boasted of by us humble pedes- 
trians. We had walked many leagues, when we reached 
a sorry inn kept by a Gipsy, where we hoped to find 
rest and refreshment, but were permitted to enjoy 
neither. Our swarthy host stood in 'his door-way, like 
Horatius Codes at the head of the bridge. Beds he 
did not even profess to find for travellers. He had 
not slept in one himself for years, and was none the 



320 TABLE TEAITS. 

worse, lie said, for the privation. Leopold asked for 
wine, 

'"We have three sorts of wine,' said the Gipsy, 
' which travellers Hke yourselves once tasted and paid 
for. I have the very wines which the seven Schwaben 
asked for in the Goldenes Kreutz at Ueherlingen.' 

" 'What! old Sauerampfer ? ' cried Lowenskiold. 

" ' The same,' said our singular host. ' It is not quite 
so sour as vinegar, but it will pierce the marrow of your 
-bones like a sword ; and it will so twist your mouth, that 
you shall never get it straight again.' 

" ' We will try something better than this acid water,' 
said I : ' we wUl' 

" ' Try the Dreimannerswein ? I am sorry there are 
only women in the house ! ' 

" ' What, in the name of all your saints in Zara, have 
your women to do with the refreshment we need p' 

" ' Do ! nothing in the world ! that is precisely it ! 
You will want three . men each of you. For Dreiman- 
nerswein is three times as rough and ten times as sour as 
vinegar ; and he who drinks it must be held fast by two 
men, while a third pours the liquid down his throat !' 

" ' And what of the third of these Olympic beverages ?' 
said I. 

" ' It is called Sachenputzer, and has peculiar quahties 
too. He who lies down to sleep with a flask of it in his 
body, must be aroused every half-hour, and turned over. 
Otherwise a pint of Eachenputzer would eat a hole right 
through his side !' 

" The Gipsy laughed aloud as he uttered these words. 
We ourselves laughed in despite of our vexation ; and, 
somewhat startliagly, a fourth voice took up the cachin- 
natory , affection, and laughed even louder than the ori' 
ginal three. As the new-comer stood in the light of the 
door-way, the landlord touched his cap, withdrew hastUy 
into the passage, and slammed the door in our faces. 



IMPEEIAIi DEITTKEES AlTD INCIDENTS IN GEEMANT. 321 

leaving us in Cimmerian darkness, summer trousers, and 
a drizzling rain. The matter was no longer risible, and 
we were beginning to be seriously annoyed, when the 
mysterious stranger, whom we could but indistinctly see, 
invited us to accompany him we knew not whither, and 
hospitably to partake of we knew not what. We 
accepted, the invitation most gratefully ; and after a full 
half-hour's walk, we found ourselves on the skirts of a 
wood. In less than half that time, we subsequently reached 
a neat little house within the wood itself ; and I do not think 
ten minutes had elapsed, ere we had made such toilette as 
travellers may, and, with some doubts as to the reaUty of 
the circumstance, detected ourselves in the act of eating 
vermicelli soup, and wondering how it had reached us. 

" Before o.ur repast was entirely dispatched, our host, 
in whom we saw a young, well-made, and exceedingly 
amiable personage, informed us that he was on a botaniz- 
ing expedition for the benefit of an estabhshment in 
Northern Germany ; that he had been two months set- 
tled in the house in which we then were, and that he 
had already given temporary shelter to three plant- 
explorers, who had resorted, in their need, to the house 
of Djewitzki, the Gipsy, and who had found to their 
sorrow, that it had nothing of the quality of an inn 
about it, except the sign. 

■ " We talked of flowers that night," continued Knudt- 
zen, " as though they were the foremost as well as the 
fairest things in aU the world. But we were sciolists in 
the science, and, contrasted with us, our host was a sage. 
He knew that agrimony was under Jupiter, and ange- 
lica under the Sun in Leo ; that milfoil was under the 
influence of Venus, and that garden basU was a herb of 
Mars. If evei-y new idea be worth the knowing, why, 
we gained knowledge by the information, that aU the 
dodders are under Saturn. We heard, for the first time, 
the virtues of the plant enchusa." 

X 



322 TABLE TEAITS. 

"But," interrupted Lowenskiold, "we were enabled to 
remind our host of what Dioscorides says about it, — that 
if any who have newly eaten of it do but spit in the 
mouth of a serpent, the reptile instantly dies." 

" True," said Enudtzen, " we have not been at Upsal 
for nothing." 

" We may all aid each other by turns," I remarked to 
my two friends, as we arrived, after descending from the 
cathedral, on the old bridge over the Moldau. A large 
herd of cattle was crossing it at the time ; and some of 
the foremost black oxen of this herd had bunches 
of amara dulds (or, "woody nightshade") hung round 
their necks ; a common custom in Germany, as I told 
the young travellers, and employed as a remedy against 
dizziness in the head. 

"Of the owner or the ox?" said Harold, with a 
laugh. 

" Of him who wears it," I rejoined, " But I want to 
see the entry of your King of Saxony," I continued, " and 
not to listen to the description, uses, and property of 
herbs, plants, and flowers ; maiden-hair, moon-wort, and 
orniikogalum s^ieatmn." 

"So much the worse ! ' ' answered Knudtzen, " or Leopold 
and I had told you what we learned from our entertainer 
of celandine ; and what he told us, from Pliny, of the 
anemone : how he recommended us, should we ever visit 
Naples, never to retire to rest without strewing about 
our bed-chamber some chopped leaves of arse-smart, a 
herb most murderous to the numerous light troops can- 
toned in Neapolitan sleeping-rooms ; how balm was good 
for the bite of scorpions; how Pliny recommends end- 
weed for the quinsy; — and a thousand other matters 
touching leaves, herbs, trees, flowers, roots, and barks. 
But I mil tell you that our Amphitryon was light as 
well as learned, and loved ftm as he did flowers. He 
would discourse upon ballets as well as battles ; knew all 



IMPEEIAI, DEHfEEES AND IITCIBENTS IN GEEMANT. 323 

about logarithms and the new opera ; told anecdotes ; 
remembered sermons ; and, finally, lighted ns to bed, 
with a Latin quotation, and a brass candlestick. By 
daybreak we were all out in the vicinity of the house, 
looking for rare plants, with as much avidity as though 
they equalled diamonds in value. We returned together 
to a breakfast exactly adapted to our tastes and capaci- 
ties ; after which, our knapsacks were once more on our 
shoulders, and, having made due acknowledgment for the 
hospitality received, we begged to be permitted to know 
the name of our entertainer. 

"'Tou might call me,' said he, 'the Dalmatian 
botanist, if I particularly cared about maintaining my 
incognito. But I hope we shall meet again ; and, if you 
ever visit Dresden, come to me, and you shall have better 
fare than I have been able to afford you here. Ask for 
the King of Saxony,' he added, observing our inquiring 
looks ; ' and in the mean time write your names on these 
tablets, and you shall find that in Dresden I have not 
forgotten the night in Dalmatia.' " 

" And did you and the good Frederick Augustus ever 
meet again?" 

"Twice," said Harold. "We saw one another for a 
moment, a month afterwards, in Zai-a. He was accom- 
panying the Emperor of Austria, followed by a brilliant 
staflF, to a review, and he gave us a smile of recognition 
as he passed." 

" The second time we met him," added Leopold, " was 
in the gardens of the Nympheuberg, near Mimich. He 
was alone, amusing himself with feeding the beavers. 
We spent a very agreeable hour with him in exploring 
that pleasant retreat of the Kings of Bavaria ; and, on 
parting, he repeated his wish that we might meet again 
in Dresden, — a circumstance not very unlikely, as we are 
now on our way to the Sachsische Schweitz." 

Y 2 



A FEW ODD GLASSES OF WINE. 



The ancient people wto loved the juice of the grape, 
kept in grateftil remembrance the names of the first 
planters of vines.- Bacchus came from India, through 
Egypt, into Europe; and he and his joyous company 
made vineyards bloom amid many a desert. But the 
introduction of the vine was not unopposed. The Chi- 
ans accepted gratefully the rosy gift from CEnopia ; and 
the brajlch was hailed on its passage through Greece, 
Sicily, and Italy. But in Greece the vines were destroyed 
wherever the order of Lycurgus had force ; and it was in 
Athens that, under King Cranaus, men first diluted the 
potent draught with water. The gods visited Greece 
with an inundation in consequence ; but the Sicilians, 
nothing daunted, adopted the temperance that was not 
sanctioned in Olympus. Domitian did for the vines 
carried into Gaul, from Tuscany, what Lycurgus did for 
those of Lacedsemonia ; but Probus restored them to the 
thirsty Gauls. Numa had taught his people to train the 
vine which Janus had given them ; and, by placing the 
statue of Minerva by the side of that of Bacchus, he 
taught them a lesson which Domitian could not compre- 
hend. He did not know how to be merry and wise. 

It was long before the Egyptians acknowledged, by 
grateful use, the excellence of the vine. The Scythians, 
some of the Persians, and the Cappadocians would not 
drink the delusive draught ~ upon any account ; but then 
these were barbarians. The Cappadocians especially not 
only refused wine, but Uberty, When the latter was 



A TE^W ODD GLASSES OF WIITE. 325 

offered them by the Romans, the reply of the ■water- 
drinkers was, " that they would neither accept liherty 
nor tolerate it !" It is to be remarked, however, that all 
these people tardily attained to a better taste, like the 
great Hippocrates himself, who, after touching on the 
advisability of mixing wine with water, finally decides, 
like the enthusiastic Athenians, that it is much better to 
take the beverage neat. He thinks that, when grief is at 
the heart, pure wine is a specific ; and no doubt Ariadne 
thought so too, or she would not have turned to Bacchus 
after Theseus had abandoned her to a short-Uved incon- 
solabUity. Eome long honoured Bacchus even as Ariadne 
did ; and he who stole a bunch of grapes from a vineyard 
ineiirred the penalty of death. Italy was, indeed, proud 
of her vines and their produce. Of the two hundred 
varieties of wine then known in the world, only fom'seore 
were declared to be "excellent;" and of these fourscore, 
nearly thirty were said to be natives of Italy. The 
Chian wines, however, maintained for ages a marked pre- 
eminence. It was a vase fiUed with wine of Chios that 
the poet Ion gave to eveiy Athenian who was present at 
the representation of a tragedy, for which the poet was 
publicly crowned. '.' Pav^er es, ut solent poette" was 
therefore, evidently, a line that could not be universally 
applied to the poets of Greece. 

They loved old wine, too, did those old people. Wine, 
as old as the years to which ravens are reported to attain, 
— a century, or even two, — ^was served up at Eome. It 
was in consistency something like the clotted cream of 
Devonshire. But there was wine of a more solid con- 
sistency than this. I have elsewhere spoken of wine 
chopped in pieces by an axe, before it could be used. 
This was because of an accident which had happened to 
the wine; but the Eomans had vinous preparations 
which were served up in lumps ; and we hear of wines 
being kept in the chimney like modern bacon, and pre- 



326 TABLE TEAITS. 

sented to the guests " as hard as salt." The ancients are 
also reported to have been able to change red wine into 
white, by means of white of egg and bean-flour, shaken 
together with the red wine in a flagon. It would require 
much shaking before a degenerate modem could effect 
the mutation in question. But if Cato could imitate the 
best Chian by means of his own gooseberries, the other 
feat may hardly be disputed. It is certain that the 
ancients could boldly swallow some questionable mixtures. 
Thus they drank their wine with sea-water, in order to 
stimulate and whip up energies exhausted by being over- 
driven the night before. Myrtle wine, on the other hand, 
was copiously drunk at dawn by those who could not 
sleep, but who could afford to remain in bed, and try to 
court Nature's soft nurse. 

There were Roman ladies who were not born before 
nerves were in fashion. These had their especial drinks, 
sovereign in their effects, to calm a nervous system too 
sorely excited. The most efScacious of these was the 
" Adynamon" or "powerless wine;" that is, powerless 
to intoxicate, but excellent as an invigorator. It con- 
sisted simply of a mixture of water and white-wort ; and 
when Julia or Lalage had tremblingly sipped thereof, her 
nerves were so braced, that she could stand by and look 
on while Geta was flogged for an hour. 

On the point of secret drinking, the early Eomans 
were quite as particular and more merciless regarding 
their wives. When Micennius detected his wife in the act 
of " sucking the monkey," that is, feloniously imbibing 
his wine through a straw at the bung-hole, he then and 
there slew her. Complaint was made by her friends to 
Eomulus ; but that chief and sole magistrate confined 
himself to the remark, that she had been justly served. The 
wine-casks at home were for years afterwards accounted 
sacred by the wives in the absence of their lords. It 
would appear, too, by this incident, that wine was com- 



A EEW ODD GliSSES OF WINE. 327 

monly produced long before Numa introduced the improve- 
ment of training the vine. There were ladies who were 
rendered more cautious, hut not less bold, by the judgment 
prouoimced by Eomulus. We hear of one caught ia the 
fact by some members of her own family, who were so 
disgusted with her immorahty, that to preserve the 
respectability of their house, they starved her to death. 
As years wore on, Judges grew more good-natured, and 
only deprived tippling married women of all right ia 
their marriage portions. The Empire could hardly have 
been inaugurated, before thirsty ladies adopted a custom 
that had been denied them under the Commonwealth. 
Livia, the consort of Augustus, was eighty-two when 
she died ; and it was her boast that wine alone had made 
her an octogenarian. What wine she drank is not stated. 
She may have had a head that could bear old Falernian 
undiluted ; but that was not the case with many of her 
sex. The Roman ladies' wine was, generally speaking, 
little more than a sweet tisane, distilled from asparagus 
or marjoram ; from parsley, mint, rue, wild thyme, or 
pennyroyal. These were sipped at breakfast-time ; and 
the hour and the ingredient would seem rather to point 
to ^sculapius than to Bacchus. They were, in fact, 
medicinal drinks. The strong wines were drunk at other 
hours, and these more innocent draughts were swallowed 
in the morning, with reflections as bitter as the beverage. 
Wormwood wine, too, was a favourite morning stimulant 
with intoxication ; and it cannot be denied, that if modern 
guests were condemned to a "pint of salt and water" 
with their wine, the hilarity after dinner would not be of 
a very joyous aspect. Some of the "sea-wines" of the 
Greeks, however, owed their name and reputation chiefly 
to being immersed, in casks, in the ocean. Our Madeira 
may thus be called a " sea-wine," when it has been to 
the East Indies and back for the benefit of its health. 
" Chambertin" was the favourite wine of Napoleon. 



328 TABLE TEAITS. 

The "vmum dulce" obtained after drying the grapes in 
the sun, during three days, and crushing them beneath 
the feet, ia the hottest hours of the fourth day, was the 
drink for which Commodus had a predilection. It was 
after draughts of this beverage that he used to fight in 
the Circus as the "Eoman Hercules," as proud of his 
performance as Mr. Ducrow, when he used to ride round 
it in the same character. Commodus, too, Uke the great 
equestrian, was an artist in his way ; but he ruined the 
managers by the exorbitant salaries which he wrung 
from them, whenever he condescended to appear in the 



arena 



For the games of the Circus, and for bread after the 
sport was over, the Eomans have been reproachfully 
pointed at as alone earing. Considering the plight into 
which they had been plunged by their Rulers and Priests, 
they seem to me to have been wise in their sentiment. 
One circumstance is clear, — ^that they might dip their 
pennyworth of bread into a deep cup of " sack" at the 
same price. Wine cost but sixpence a gallon, — a suffi- 
cient quantity for half-a-dozen gentlemen just returned 
from the Circus ; or for half-a-dozen ladies, who had 
learned to break through the total-abstinence principle of 
the women of the Eepublic. There was much wine to be 
had for a trifling outlay of money. In Greece, it was 
cheaper stiU. In Athens, wine was dear at fourpence per 
gallon; and ordinarily, Davus, out on a hoUday, might 
get drunk upon four quarts of it, at a halfpenny per 
quart; but Chremes would nearly flay him alive, if he 
caught him before he was sober. 

• I may add, that this was the price of wine, that is, of 
French wine, in England, under John. A tun of EocheUe 
wine cost twenty shillings, and it was retailed at four* 
pence per gallon. But taking the value of money into 
consideration, this was rather a high price. 

When Probus restored the vine to the Gauls, he sent 



A FEW ODD GLASSES OF WIKE. 329 

cuttings of the precious plant Into Britain ; and many 
localities In the south part of the island produced a very 
respectahle heverage, of which the parent stock had no 
reason to be ashamed. " As sure as God is in Glouces- 
tershire!" was a common phrase when that picturesque 
county was covered with monasteries ; and many of the 
monastic gardens were famous for their grapes and the 
liquor distilled from them. The little village of Dur- 
weston, near Blandford, in Dorsetshire, was once as 
remarkable for its peculiar grape and its product, as that 
restricted Ehenish locality, whose grapes produce the 
Lieb Frauenmilch. Of the respective merits of the Enghsh 
grapes, I will say nothing. The merits of French wines 
have, however, occupied the attention of rival medical 
colleges, whose professors have shed much ink, and cracked 
whole legions of bottles, in order to discuss, rather than 
settle, the divers deserts of Burgundy and Champagne. 
The question is yet an undecided one, as is also that 
respecting the devotion of the Gauls to the grapes. 
Arnaud de VUleneuve praises the mediaeval people of 
France, who intoxicated themselves monthly upon hygienic 
principles. While other writers assert, that " in the mid- 
dle ages, and in the sLsteenth centm-y, intoxication was 
severely punished in France." I am the more inclined 
to believe in the latter assertion, as the laws against 
drinking and drinkers, from Charlemagne to Francis I., 
have often been cited ; and they are marked by a severity 
— ^which Eabelais did not care for, a button ! 

Our own wine-trade with France began after the Nor- 
man Conquest, and was very considerable when our 
English Bangs were proprietors of the French wine dis- 
tricts. About the middle of the sixteenth century, the 
masdmum price of wine was fixed at twelve-pence per 
gallon ; but at this time no one was allowed to have in 
his house a measure that would contain above ten gallons, 



330 TABLE TEAITS. 

unless, indeed, he were of noble birth, or could expend a 
hundi-ed marks annually. 

Of all French wines, that of Burgundy is the most 
difficult of carriage. Some Burgundies cannot bear it at 
all; others are transported in bottles covered with a 
cottony paper, or bedded in salt. Pure Burgundy exhila- 
rates without intoxicating ; and there is not a liver com- 
plaint in a hogshead of it. It is the alcohoUe wines that 
massacre the jecw. 

The Burgundy vineyards were originally in connexion 
with the Burgundian monasteries, and there were no 
better vignerons than the monks. The modem quality of 
the wine is inferior to its ancient reputation, simply 
because modern proprietors are not artistical monks, but 
mere money-makers. Napoleon adhered to the whie as 
long as he could ; but at St. Helena he took to Bordeaux, 
— Chambertin would have lost its best qualities in the 
voyage thither. 

The Emperor was, perhaps, the best judge of his 
favourite Chambertin that Trance ever could boast of, 
except, probably, in the case of the good Lindsay, of Bal- 
carras. Bishop of Kildare. This Prelate long resided at 
Tours, and was an excellent connoisseur in wine, though 
he modestly used to say, "Ifl know any thing, it is the 
management of turnip crops and mangel-wurzel." It is 
no disparagement of the episcopal bench to say, that 
many of its members could not justifiably make a similar 
boast. Lord Brougham, I believe, used to say, that " if 
he knew any thing, it was, that claret should always be 
drunk after game." There is an imperial authority in^ 
favour of Champagne. When the Emperor Wenceslaus 
visited France in the fourteenth century, to negotiate 
with Charles VI., it was impossible ever to get him sober 
to a conference. "It was no matter," he said; "they 
might decide as they hked, and he would drink as he 



A PEW ODD GLASSES OF AVINE. 331 

liked; and thus both parties would be on an equality." 
There is something curious in the caprices of Champagne ; 
particularly of the vin mousseux, or efiervescing wine. 
In the same cellar, the same wine, all similarly placed, 
will mousser in some bottles, and not in others. It will 
even, when poured from the same bottle, mousser in some 
glasses into which it is poured, while in others it wiU 
fall as heavily placid as oU. In warm weather, however, a 
great Champagne cellar is a very lively place ; so lively, 
that it is unsafe to walk through the serried hosts of 
bottles, without a wire mask over the face. 

There are one or two sorts of French wine which are 
considered to be improved by letting a small portion of 
the stalk be trodden in with the grape. But, probably, in 
the selection of the grape, there is no where such care 
taken, as in the matter of imperial Tokay. The grapes 
are selected with the greatest care ; sometimes a second 
selection is made from the first selected lot. No grape 
is chosen that is not perfectly sound. The result- 
ing wine is of a highly delicious flavour; but I need 
not add, that the general public know but very little 
about it. To them is vouchsafed the brewage from the 
damaged grape, or the distillation of the refuse of the 
first grape. The product is an acid one, resembling 
moderately good Rhine wine ; but it is not Tokay. 

"Old Wortley Montague" was a great drinker of 
Tokay. He lived to the patriarchal age of eighty -three. 
Gray, writing of him, says, that it was not mere avarice, 
and its companion, abstinence, that kept him alive so 
long. He imported his own wine from Himgary, in 
greater quantity than he coidd use, and he sold the overplus, 
— drinking himself a half-pint every day, — for any price he 
chose to set upon it. It was a fashionable wine with the 
drinkers of the last century. Walpole records its being 
offered at a supper given by Miss Chudleigh to the Duke 
of Kingston, her then "protector." "At supper she 



332 TABLE TEAITS. 

offered him Tokay, and told him she believed he would 
find it good." The entertainment was splendid, and 
mitidy, " The supper was in two rooms, and very fine ; 
and on all the sideboards, and even on the chairs, were 
pyramids and troughs of strawberries and cherries ; you 
would have ihought she was kept by Vertumnus ! " 

Our ancient acquaintance, ''mustard," was originally 
raised to the character of " wine," in common with some 
other of the seeds used at ancient tables. Our warm 
friend mustard was the mustttm ardens, or " hot wine." 
It was held as good for persons of bilious temperament, 
and as being more beneficial in summer than in winter. 
Coriander was used in the same season. It was mixed 
with vinegar, and poured over meat to preserve its fresh- 
ness. There are some men who faint at the smeU of 
linseed. A bread made therefrom was once, however, 
readily eaten by various European and Asiatic people. 
Cakes made of it were placed before the altars of gods, — 
men making willing sacrifice of what they accounted as 
of small value. Similar sacrifices are made daily even 
now ; only they are not in the form of aniseed cakes. 

It is said of the Arabs, that they manufactured an 
intoxicating wine from linseed. This beverage was worthy 
of being served witlj that strange dish at dessert, — ^fried 
hempseed, — a dish that would have been appropriate 
enough at a highwayman's last supper, the night before 
he rode to Tyburn. 

It used to be said of old, that wine was a sympathetic 
liquor ; and this is alluded to by more than one writer. 
Sir Kenelm Digby, in his " Dissertation on the Cure of 
Wounds," makes a singular remark with respect to wine. 
" The wine-merchants observe every where, (where there 
is wine,) that during the season the vines are in the flower, 
the wines in the cellar make a kind of fermentatioii, and 
percolate forth a little white lee (which I think they call 
' the mother of the wine ') upon the surface of the wine, 



A FEW ODD GLASSES OF -WllTE. 333 

■which continues in a kind of disorder till the flower of 
the vines be fallen ; and then, this agitation being ceased, 
all the wine returns to the same state as it was in before." 
It was a custom with the ancients to swallow, to the 
health of their mistresses, as many cups or glasses as 
there were letters in her name. To this custom Martial 
refers : — 

" Neevia sex cyathis, sepiem Justina iiiatur, 
Quinque Iajcos, Lyde gnatuor, Ida triius : 
Orrmis ah infuso numeretur arnica Falerno." 
It became us, as a more mechanical people, to drink upon 
pegs rather than letters : the peg-tankards were said to 
be the invention of King Edgar. The two-gallon mea- 
sure had eight pegs ; and the half piut, from peg to peg, 
was deemed a fitting draught for an honest man ; but as 
the statute, or custom, did not define how often the 
toper might be permitted to indulge iu this measure, 
people of thirsty propensities got rather more inebriated 
than they had dared to be previously. As the half-pint 
was roughly set down as the maximum of their draught, 
it was a point of honour with them never to drink less, — 
and to drink to that extent as often as opportunity 
ofiered. The Council of London (Archbishop Anselm's 
" Canons," a.d. 1102) expressly warned the Clergy against 
the perils of peg-drinking ; but the same CouncU looked 
upon perukes as being quite as perilous as these pegged 
half-pints, and denounced wigs with as much intensity as 
tankards, — and to about as much purpose. Karloman 
understood the Ecclesiastics better ; at least, if traditionary 
history be worthy of any respect. 

Among the legends of the Rhine connected with my 
present subject of wine, there is one which is worth men- 
tioning. The great Karloman, who loved good liquor, 
bequeathed to the brotherhood of Monks at Eheinfeld a 
marvellous and covetable butt of wine, which had not 
only the merit of being of first-rate quality, but which 



334 TABLE TEAITS. 

never decreased, though it was coiitmually ruiming at 
the spigot ! This wine was for the use of the brethren ; 
but the good Emperor also left a sum of money which 
he' desired should he spent in treating visitors to the 
monastery with good Ehenish wine. When a weary 
traveller claimed the hospitality of the Monks, he was 
immediately conducted to an inner apartment. Here he 
was invested with the collar of Karloman, and gravely 
informed that, it being necessary that he should be bap- 
tized, he had only to say whether he preferred that the 
ceremony should be performed with wine or with water. 
If, Uke an honest fellow, he selected wine, he was gently 
constrained to swallow three monster bumpers of Mus- 
catel. He was then crowned with a parcel-gilt coronet, 
and so became installed one of the joUy Knaves of St. 
Groar. There were some privileges attached to this dig- 
nity ; among others, was the right to fish on the summit 
of the.Lurley Berg, where there is no water; and of 
hunting on the sand-banks of the Ehine, where there is 
not safe footing for a sparrow. The poor temperate 
wight, on the other hand, who preferred the modest 
medium of water for the ceremony of his baptism, was 
proclaimed a blind Heathen, and was immediately drenched 
to the skin, from outpouring buckets of water that- were 
showered upon him in all directions. Such was the 
solemnity of the Hansel, as instituted by Karloman. 
This Emperor's affection for the Ehine and its vicinity 
was as strong as that of an old gastronomic Enghsh 
Bishop for his native island. The episcopal attachment 
is exemplified ia the story of the Prelate's last moments, 
when his faithful servant John endeavoxured to encourage 
him. "Be comforted, my Lord," said John: "your 
Lordship is going to a better place." "Ah, John!" said 
the Bishop, "there is no place like old England ! " 

There was a practice among the Eomans with regard 
to wine, which should win the respect of all our Inns of 



A FEW ODD GLASSES OP WIIIE. 335 

Court. All law business was suspended during vintage 
time. " Sane," says Miaucius Felix, " ei ad mndemiam 
f erics judiciorum cur am relaxaverunt ;" and ttis was no 
poor holiday : it was the Long Vacation of the Eoman bar, 
extending, as the Eev. Hubert Ashton Holden remarks, 
in his admirable edition of the " Octavius" from August 
22nd to October 15th. And here let me remark, paren- 
thetically, how much preferable it would be to make a 
school-book of the " Octavius " of Minucius Felix, so rich 
in early Christian information, and so pure in its Latinity, 
rather than pursue the old course of letting boys read 
Ovid and similar authors. The Abbe Gaume, in his 
" Ver Bongev/r," traces all the evils by which society is 
afflicted, to the study of erotic Latin and Greek authors. 
The Abbe rushes from, one extreme into its opposite, and 
wishes to confine our sons to the mawkish Latinity of the 
Lives of the Saints, and the Pastorals (so unlike the 
Eclogues) of Bishops. The work of Minucius Felix just 
occupies the safe medium of the two remote points, — 
erotic Heathenism, and Monkish mendacity, told with 
much violation of grammar. It is a book that ought to 
be on the list of works to be studied in every locality 
devoted to the education of " ingenuous youth." 

It is hardly necessary to write of the effects of wine on 
the bodily economy. They are too famiUarly known. 
There was an old adage that — 

" He who goes to bed, and goes to bed sober, 
I'aUs as the leaves do, and dies in October ; 
But be who goes to bed, and goes to bed mellow. 
Lives as be ought to do, and dies a good fellow." 

This is poor poetry, worse sentiment,- and deadly coun- 
sel. Half the evils that torture men arise from intem- 
perance ; and, next to excess in alcohol, immoderation in 
wine is the most fatal practice to which humanity can 
biad itself slave. An Arab says of his horse, that the 
horse's belly is the measure of its corn. Men are too 



336 TABLE TEAITS. 

apt to allow a similar metage with respect to themselves 
in the matter of wine. It were safer to remember that 
vre cannot drink too little, and that we soon may be 
drinking too much. Panard very justly says, — 
" Se piguer d'etre grand huveur. 
Est nu ahus quije deplore, 
Fwjons ce titre peu flatteur ; 

Cent un honneur qui deshonore. 
Quand on hoit trap, on s'assoupit, 

M Von, toinle en, delire : 
Buvons ponr avoir de I' esprit, * 

Bt non pour le detruire.'' 
Ab good advice, more eloquently delivered, is given by 
our own Herbert, a poet next to Shakespeare for fehcity 
of expression. Our reverend minstrel and monitor says, — 
"Drink not the tiird glass, wHcli tlou canst not tame 
■When once it is within thee, but before 
May'st mle it as thou list ; and pour the shame. 
Which it would pour on thee, upon the floor. 
It is most just to,throw that on the ground, 
Which would throw me there, if I keep the round." 
And again : — 

" If reason move not, gallants, quit the room ; 
(All in a shipwreck shift their several way ;) 
let not a common ruin thee entomb ; 
Be not a beast in courtesy, but stay,' 
Stay at the third cup, or forego the place : 
"Wine, above all things, does God's stamp dpface." 
• This is admirable counsel, logic, and theology. The 
people who least stood in need of such a triad of excel- 
lent aids to good living were the Egyptians, at that par- 
ticular period of their career when they confined them- 
selves to drinking 

" Beer small as comfort, dead as charity." 

And this may naturally lead us to look in, for ai 

moment, on both the ancient and the modern Egyptians, 

■when seated at table. But, previous to doing so, there 

is a little philological matter I would fain settle, as far as 



A TEW ODD G1.ASSES OF WINE. 337 

SO indifferent an authority may presume to do so, and 
wtich may interest, not merely wine-bibbers, but ety- 
mologists, and zealous correspondents to " Notes and 
Queries." It may be very briefly discussed. 

I bave noticed, in another page, the fact that nearly 
all our old-fashioned drinking phrases are but corruptions 
of foreign terms. A " carouse," for instance, is derived 
from "gar aus" " altogether empty," sufficiently indicative 
of what a reveUer was to do with his fuU glass. There is 
one-=-a rather vulgar term — of the origin of which, how- 
ever, I have never heard any account. But I think I 
may have discovered it in a little German poem, by 
Pfarrius, called " Der Trunk aus dem Stiefel," and which, 
thus roughly done into English, may serve to show 

THE ORIGIN OF " BOOSEY." 

In the Khelngraf's hall were of Knights a score, 
And they drained their goblets o'er and o'er, 
And the torches they flving a Inrid glow 
On the Knights who were drinking there hdow. 

" Ho, ho 1 " said the Rheingraf, " Sir Knights, 1 find. 
Our courier has left a boot behind ; 
He who can empty it off at a breath, — 
The Hufflesheim vUlage is his till death." 

Then laughing, he filled the boot to the rim, 
TiU the bright red wine flowed over the brim ; 
And said, as he mark'd their sparkling eyes, — 
• " Good luck to you. Knights — ^you know the prize !" 

Then Johann von Sponheim sat silent by. 
But pushed his neighbour to rise and try ; 
And Meinhart, his neighbour, could nothing do 
But scowl at the boot, and sit silent too. 

Old Horsheim, he nervously stroked his beard ; 
And Kunz von Stromberg spoke never a word ; 
And even the giant Chaplain stared 
At the monster boot, as though he were scared. 



338 TABLE TBAITS. 

Then Boos von Waldeck did loudly call, — 

" Here, hand me that thimhle !" and " Health to all !" 

And then, in one hreath, to the very last drain. 

He dranlc, and fell hack on his seat again, 

And said, " 0, Sir Rheingraf, it were my mind, 
Had the fellow his other boot left behind. 
To empty that, too, at a breath ; and take 
For my prize Norheim village, near the lake." 

Then loud laughed they all at Waldeck's good jest, — 
Of all landless tipplers, tiU then, the best ; 
But the Kheingraf, he kept his knightly word, — 
And Boos of the Boot was Hufflesheim's lord 1 

If therein be not the origin of hoosey," why, let the 
lexicographers look to it. But my readers will have had 
enough of these uncouth names. I have now to intro- 
duce them to hosts with names equally unmusical ; but, 
luckily, we have now to do more with acts than appella- 
tions, and therewith pass we to golden Egypt, and her 
well-spread boards. I will only first add another word 
respecting spirits, as a beverage. AU authorities are 
agreed, that reason has no more deadly foe than alcohol. 
The effects of the latter are well described by Dr. 
Winslow, whom we have previously quoted in the matter 
of mental dietetics, — a gentleman who might, with justice, 
have given a plump denial to the remark of Macbeth, had 
it been addressed to Dr. Winslow, when the royal patient 
uncivilly told his medical adviser, "Thou canst not 
minister to a mind diseased." Dr. Winslow says : 
" The alcoholic elements introduced into the blood, and 
brought into immediate contact with the tissues of differ- 
ent organs, will derange the functions which they are 
severally destined to perform ; and the amount and cha- 
racter of the mischief so produced will correspond with, 
and be modified by, the peculiarities of their individual 
organic structure. With these facts before us, when we 



A FEW ODD GLASSES Or -WIKE. 339 

consider the delicate structure of the brain, as revealed to 
ns by the progress of microscopic anatomy, we must be 
prepared for the physical and mental derangement which 
must arise, either from the alcohol itself, or its elements, 
being brought into direct contact with the vesicular 
neurine or granular matter entering into the composition 
of its white and grey substance. According to our most 
recent physiological views, the vesicular matter is the 
source of nervous power, and associated, as the material 
instrument of the mind, with aU its manifestations, 
whether in the simple exercise of perception, or the more 
comphcated operations of the thinking principle. We 
are then to conceive the simple or organic structure 
dedicated to this high function brought into contact with 
irritating and noxious elements. The result must obvi- 
ously be a disturbance in the manifestations of the mind 
proportioned to the organic derangements so produced; 
and without, therefore, taking a materialistic view of the 
changes which take place, the obhteration of some, and 
the derangement of other of the intellectual facidties, are 
hereby satisfactorily accounted for. It is certain, that 
when the circulation in the grey matter of the convolu- 
tions is retarded by congestion, or accelerated by unwonted 
stimulation, there is a corresponding state of stupor or 
mental activity, amounting even to delirium, produced; 
and, indeed, it has been suggested, by some of our most 
eminent physiologists, that every idea of the mind is 
associated with a corresponding change in some part, or 
parts, of the vesicular surface." And if they who sit 
" amid bumpers brightening," could only hold this truth 
in sober memory, there would be less imbibed at night, 
and more sunshine in their souls on the morrow. And 
inow let us pass to the cradle of wisdom, the ancient 
Misraim, where, despite the national boast, folly was, 
perhaps, as much deified as in any locality upon 
earth. 

z 2 



S40 TABLE TEAIIS. 

Tes, let us now to ancient Egypt, where, as good oH 
Herbert so finely expresses it, — 

"Men did sow 
Gardens of gods, which every year did ^ow 
IPresh and fine deities. They were at great cost 
Who for a god clearly a salLet lost 1 
O, what a thing is man devoid of grace, 
Adoring,garlic with a humhle face 1 
BeggiQg his food of that which he may eat, 
Starving the while he worshippeth his meatt 
Who makes a loot a god, how low is he. 
If God and man be severed infinitely 1 
What wretchedness can give him any room, 
Whose house is foul, while he adores his broom ? " 



THE TABLE OP THE ANCIENT AND 
MODERN EGYPTIANS. 



If neither the grave of the Pharaohs nor physiology 
will, nor Dr. Hincke nor ChevaUer Bunsen can, reveal to 
us the secret of the origin of the Egyptians, we, at all 
events, know that they were majestically-minded with 
respect to the table. The science of living was well 
understood by them ; and the science of k illin g was 
splendidly rewarded; seeing that the soldiery, besides 
liberal pay, allowance of land, and exemption from tribute, 
received daily five poimds of bread, two of meat, and a 
quart of wine. With such rations they ought not to' 
have been beaten by the Persians, when the latter had 
60 degenerated, that their almost sole national boast was, 
that they could drink deeper than any other men, without 
seeming half so drunk. The Egyptians, too, were tole- 
rably stout hands, and heads to boot, at the wine-pot ; and 
there were few among even their Kings who, like the 
King of Castile, would have choked of thirst, because the 
grand butler was not by to hand the cup. 

The pulse and fruits of Egypt, the fish of the Nile, 
the com waving in its fields, which needed neither sun 
nor rain to exhibit productiveness, — aU these were the 
envy, and partly the support, of surrounding nations. 
The com was especially prized ; and a reported threat of 
St. Athanasius to obstruct the importation of Egyptian 
com into Constantinople, threw the Emperor Constau- 
tine into a fit of mingled fright, fever, and fury. 

An Egyptian Squire commonly possessed a hundred or 
two cows and oxen, three hundred rams, four times that 



3i2 TASLE TEAITS. 

number of goats, and five times that number of swine, 
for the supply of his own little household. The apart- 
ments in the mansions of these gentlemen were beauti- 
fully painted, and were furnished with tables, chairs, and 
couches which have supplied models for the upholstery 
of modern times. They were lovers of music, and wil- 
lingly suspended conversation at their feasts, in order to 
listen to the " concord of sweet sounds." 

Cleopatra was but a febrile creature ; but she sat down 
with good appetite, and love in her eyes, to the banquet 
given by Antony, at which fifteen whole boars smoked 
upon the board. But Cleopatra, fraU and fragile, like 
many thin people, ate heartUy; and when she herself 
treated Csesar, it was with such a banquet that slaves 
died to procure it, and the guests who were present won- 
dered at the rarities of which they partook. There was 
every thing there that gastronomy could think of, except 
mutton, — an exception in favour of the divine Ammon 
with the ram-like head. I believe that even roast-beef 
and plum-pudding were not lacking ; for these delicacies 
were popular in Thebes, as was broiled and salted goose, 
with good brown stout, strong barley- wine, to cheer the 
spirits and assist digestion. 

Excessively proud, too, were the old Egyptians of their 
cuhnary ability. When the Egyptians, under their 
King, attacked Ochus, Sovereign of Persia, the former 
were thoroughly beaten, and their Monarch was cap- 
tured. Ochus treated him as courteously as the Black 
Prince did John of France, and invited him to his own 
table, at the simplicity of which the Egyptian laughed 
outright. "Prince," said the uncourteous captive, "if 
you would reaUy like to know how happy Kings should 
feed, just let my cooks — if you have caught the rascals, as 
you have me — ^prepare you a true Egyptian supper." 
Ochus consented, enjoyed; himself amazingly at the ban- 
quet, and then, "turning to his Egyptian prisoner, 



TABLE or THE AlfCIENT AST) MODERN EGXPTIAITS. 343 

punished him hy saying, " Why, \yhat a sorry fool art 
thou, whose ambition has lost thee such repasts, and 
reduced thee to henceforth envy, as thou wUt, the mode- 
rate meals that suffice us honest Persians ! " The implied 
threat was worse than the sentiment. 

The dinner-table of the Egyptians was sometimes 
covered with a Unen cloth imitating palm-leaves, some- 
times left uncovered. Plates and knives, but not forks, 
were in common use. In place of the latter were short- 
handled spoons of gold, silver, ivory, tortoise-shell, or 
alabaster. The dining-table was circular: ornamented 
rolls of wheaten bread were placed before each guest ; 
and supplies of the same were heaped in gay-looking 
baskets on the side-board, where also were kept the wine, 
the water, ewer, ' and napkins, which slaves, fair or 
swarthy, Greek or Negro, were ready to present at the 
bidding of the guests. 

Previous to sitting down to the repast, the company 
put a spur to their appetite, and a cordial to their sto- 
mach, in the shape of pungent vegetables or strong 
liqueurs. Glasses for beer, decanters and goblets for 
wine, appear among the ancient pictorial illustrations of 
Egyptian table-furniture. It would seem, too, from the 
position of those at table, that they rose from their 
chairs to challenge each other to drink, to propose toasts 
or healths, or to inflict speeches upon the vexed ears of 
compulsory hsteners. 

In these " counterfeit presentments " of Egyptian life 
may be seen the entire science of epicureanism, and its 
practical application put into action. The poultry-yard, 
the slaughter-houses, the markets and the kitchen, are so 
graphically depicted, that we see at once, that the art of 
making life comfortable was one most profoundly 
respected by the ancient and mysterious people. The 
selecting, purchasing, and killing are vividly portrayed. 
The cooking is carried on in a large bronze caldron, on 



344 TABLE TEAITS. 

a tripod, over a fire, which is stirred by an under-cook, 
with a poker that may have been bought any day at 
Eippon and Burton's. The butcher is there, too, in 
order decently to dissect the fowls ; and our ancient friend 
carries before him the identical steel for sharpening his 
knife, which may be seen any day hanging from the 
waists of the butchers of London. There is a pastrycook, 
also, in one of these " civil monuments of Egypt," who 
is carrying a tray of tartlets on his head ; and to the 
tray is appended the inscription signifying " one thou- 
sand," which probably means, that this "Birch, Pyramid- 
place, Cairo," drives such a trade, that he makes and 
sells a thousand tarts or a thousand varieties of them 
daily. 

A dinner fresco, in a tomb at Thebes, shows us an 
entertainment given by a naval officer to some of his pro- 
fessional brethren. This fresco is described as being in 
compartments, and, perhaps, the most curious is that in 
which " you see on one side the arrival of an aristocratic 
guest, in his chariot, attended by a train of running foot- 
men, one of whom hastens forward to announce his 
arrival by a knock at the door, sufficient to satisfy the 
critical ear, and rouse the somnolent obesity, of the 
sleepiest and fattest hall-porter in Grosvenor-square. 
The other compartment presents you with a cotip-d'ceil of 
the poultry -yard, shambles, pantry; and kitchen ; and is 
completed by a side view of a novel incident. A grey- 
headed mendicant, attended by his faithful dog, and who 
might pass for Ulysses at his palace-gate, is receiving, 
from the hands of a deformed, but charitable, menial, 
a bull's head, and a draught of that beer, for the inven- 
tion of which we are beholden to the Thebans." 

The story of Mycerinus, the Egyptian King, is grandly 
told by Mr. Arnold, in his popular volume of poems ; and, 
succinctly, by Herodotus. An incident of the story con- 
nects it with our subject, Mycerinus was persecuted by 



TABLE or THE ANCIENT AND MODEEN EGYPTIANS. 345 

the gods for rendering Egypt tappy, instead of oppressing 
it, like liis predecessors, and as the oracles had declared it 
should he oppressed for many years to come. In punish- 
ment for such impious piety, as his offence may he called, 
poor Mycerinus was told hy the oracle at Buto, that he 
should live only six years longer. "When Mycerinus 
heard this, seeing that his sentence was now pronoimced 
against him, he ordered a great numher of lamps to be 
made, and, having lighted them, whenever night came on, 
he drank and enjoyed himself, never ceasing night or day, 
roaming about the marshes and groves, wherever he could 
hear of places most suited for pleasure ; and he had 
recourse to this artifice for the purpose of convicting the 
oracle of falsehood, that by turning the nights into days, 
he might live twelve years instead of six." Poor fool! 
He probably succeeded in his object, but after a sorry 
fashion. It may be good poetry to say that — 

" The test of all ways 

To lengthen onr days 
Is to take a few hours from night, my dear ;" 

but it is bad in principle, and universally unsuccessful in 
practice. 

A recent describer of his travels in Egypt has said, 
that nothing is so easy as to show that the Egyptians 
gave jovial banquets within the sepulchral haU of tombs. 
I think that nothing would be so difiB.cult as to prove 
this. The nearest approach to it would he the case of 
the skeleton that was carried about at Egyptian ban- 
quets, the bearer, at the same time, warning the guests 
that, eat, drink, and laugh as they might, to that "com- 
plexion they must come" at last. The assertion, how- 
ever, was probably made, in part, to excuse a barbarous 
festival, at which the writer was present, in the tombs of 
Eilythyias. The locale was one of the huge halls, whose 
colossal columns serve to support the huger mountain 



346 



TABLE TEAIIS. 



that is above. The dinner, we are told, was laid out 
between the columns, with strings of small lamps sus- 
pended in festoons over head. 

The civilized and Christian ladies and gentlemen who 
were the guests at this feast, broke up the coffins of the 
pagan and barbarian Kings and Queens, in order to pro- 
cure wood to boil their vegetables! They laughed, 
joked, and sang joyous songs, and wondered what the 
buried majesty of Misraim would say, could it burst its 
cerements, and see northern men of unknown tongues 
drinking Champagne at its august feet. And if, for a 
moment, a reflecting guest contrasted the savage revelry 
with the ensigns hung out by the King of Terrors to inti- 
mate his irresistible' dominion over the company, — why, 
reflection was soon banished by the appearance of the 
AwaHm and Grhawazi girls, whom strong coffee and more 
potent brandy had primed for their lascivious dancing. 
" O Father Abraham ! what these Christians are !" 

These tombs are fuU of instruction to those who can 
read them. They show us that the chief butler and cook 
— the " keeper of the drinks," and the Prince (sor) of his 
cooks — were probably Princes of the blood of Pharaoh. 
In all pictorial representations of banquets, it is the eldest 
son who hands the viands to his father, the eldest daugh- 
ter to the mother. The .bill of fare 'of the trimestrial 
banquet of the dead, held in the noble haU of the tomb 
of Nahrai at Benihassan, is still extant. It is as long as 
that of a score of Lord Mayors' ; and hundreds of men 
were fed from what remained. All the retainers of Nah- 
rai, who was a Prince in Egypt a full century before the 
time of Joseph, were buried in the vaults beneath the 
hall ; and every one who could claim kindred with them 
had a right to partake of the feast. The manner of ser- 
vice appears to have been after this fashion : — The 
youngest children of the house received the viands from 
the cooks, and those children passed them on to the elder, 



TABLE OP THE AlfCIEIfT AND MODEEN EGYPTIAN'S. 347 

until they reacted the first-born, who placed the dish at 
the feet of his sire, by whom a portion was cut off, which 
the daughters, according to their agcf transferred from 
one to the other tiU it reached the separate table of their 
mother. All remained standing, at these festival-dinners, 
untn the two seniors of the house had finished the first 
dishes of the repast. Portions from these were then 
served to the children, when the whole party sat down 
together ; the children eating of the remains of the first 
dish, whUe "the governor" and his lady partook of the 
integral second ; and so on, through a long service. On 
the wall of a tomb at Ghizeh, — ^that of Eimei, one of the 
Princes of the Saphis, — the bill of fare directs ninety- 
eight dishes to be placed, at once, on the table, at the 
fortnightly banquets which glad survivors held in honour 
of the departed, who appear to me always to enjoy an 
immense advantage over those whom they leave behind 
them. 

But now let us look in upon the modern Egyptian. 
If he be the master of a house, while he is at ablutions 
and prayers, his wife is making his coffee ; and it is to be 
hoped that she is allowed the privilege alluded to in the 
Augustinian sentiment, orat qui laborat. The cup of 
coffee and pipe, taken early, generally suffice the Egyp- 
tian till noon, at which hour comes the actual breakfast, 
usually consisting of bread, butter, eggs, cheese, clotted 
cream, or curdled milk, with, perhaps, a thin pastry, satu- 
rated with butter, folded like a pancake, and sprinkled 
with sugar. A dish of horse-beans (terrific dish !) some- 
times adorns the table. They have been slowly simmer- 
ing through a whole night in an earthen vessel, buried 
up to the neck in the hot ashes of an oven ; and the sauce 
for this indigestible dish is linseed oil or butter, and, 
perhaps, a little lime-juice. Those to whom butter is 
difficult of procuring, or to whom good dinners are rari- 
ties, often make a meal, and are content, upon dry bread 



848 TABLE TEAITS. 

dipped in a mixture of salt, pepper, wild marjoram, with 
various other herhs, pungent seeds, and a quantity of chick- 
peas. The bread»is dipped into this ragoilt, and so eaten. 
The supper is the principal meal ia Egypt. The cook- 
ing is especially for this repast; and what remains is 
appropriated for the next day's dumer, despite the 
apophthegm of BoUeau, that — 

" XIn diner reahavffe ne vaut jamais rien" 

It is only an amiahle pater jamilias that dines with his 
wives and children ; and, in truth, where the wife appears 
in the plural numher, the husband can hardly expect a 
quiet meal. The washing before eating is almost of uni- 
versal observation. The table is a round tray placed low, 
so that the squatters on the ground may conveniently eat 
thereat. Bread and limes are placed on the tray. The 
bread is round, as among the ancient Egyptians, and 
often serves as a plate. The spoons, too, are of the mate- 
rials I have named in speaking of the older nation. The 
dishes are of tinned copper or china ; and several are put 
upon the table at one time. Among the Tm-ks, only me 
dish appears at a time. Twelve persons, with one knee 
on the groimd and the other (the right) raised, may sit 
roimd a tray three feet in diameter. Each guest tucks 
up his right sleeve, and prepares for his work, after imi- 
tating the master of the house in uttering a low Bis- 
millah, "In the name of God." The host sets the second 
example of commencing to eat ; and the guests again fol- 
low the good precedent. Knives and forks are not used ; 
spoons only for food like soups and rice. The thumb and 
two forefingers are the instruments otherwise employed; 
and they are employed dehcately enough. Generally, a 
piece of bread is taken, doubled together, and dipped into 
the dish, so as to enclose the morsel of meat which the 
guest designs for himself, or, if it be a savoury bit, and 
lie be courteous, intended for presentation to his neigh- 



TABLE 01' THE AlTOrENT AND MODERN EGYPTIANS. 349 

bour. The food is suited to such practices. It consists 
of stewed meats, with vegetables of endless variety, or of 
small morsels of mutton or lamh, roasted on skewers-, 
clarified butter compensates for want of fat in the meat. 
A fowl is summarily torn asunder by two hands, either of 
the same person, or the right hands of two guests. Dex- 
terous fellows, like our first-rate carvers, wiU "joint" a 
fowl with one hand. The Arabs do not use the left hand 
at aU at table, because it is used for unclean purposes. 
The disjointing is easily done ; and even a whole lamb, 
stufied with pistachio nuts, may be pulled to pieces much 
more easily than we divide a chicken. Water-melons, 
sliced, set to cool, and watched, lest serpents should 
approach, and poison the dish by their breath, generally 
form, when in season, a part of an Egyptian meal, — a 
meal which usually closes with a dish of boiled rice, mixed 
with butter, salt, and pepper ; but occasionally this dish 
is followed by a bowl of water, with raisins that have 
been boiled in it, and sugar added, with a little rose- 
water, to give it an odour of refinement. A bottle of 
six-year-old port is preferable. 

As soon as each person has satisfied his appetite, he 
ceases, murmurs, "Praise be to God!" drinks his sweet- 
ened water, rises, and goes his way. They who drink 
wine, do it in private, or with confidential friends, call it 
"rum" to save their orthodoxy; and if a visitor call 
while this process is going on, the ready servant informs 
him that his master is abroad or in the harem. Sweet 
drinks and sherbets, approved by the Law and the Pro- 
phet, axe in common use, and pipes and prayer end " the 
well-spent day." 

Egyptian women have some libtle fancies connected 
with the table that may be mentioned. In order to 
achieve that proportion of obesity which constitutes the 
beautiful, they eat mashed beetles, and they chew frank- 
incense and laudanum, to perfume the breath. The 



350 TABLE TBAITS. 

Egyptian peasantry live upon the very sparest of diets, 
not often being able to procure even rice. They, like the 
Bedouins, are, however, remarkable for strength and 
health ; but an Egyptian or Bedouin diet would not pro- 
duce the same results in an English climate. 

It win have been observed, that in Egypt each man 
says his own " grace," before and after meat, for himself. 
The same custom prevails in Servia. At table, instead of 
one person asking for a blessing on the food, each indi- 
vidual expresses, in Ms own words, (an improvement on the 
Egyptian plan,) his gratitude to the Supreme Being. In 
drinking, the toast or sentiment of the Servian is, " To 
the glory of God ! " and a very excellent sentiment, only 
the Servian is apt to get very drunk over it. The Ser- 
vian qualification for a chairman at a convivial party is, 
that he should be able to deliver an extempore prayer ; 
and a very good qualification, provided it be not a mere 
formality, and that the spirit of prayer be the strongest 
spirit there. The combination, however, of Collects and 
conviviahty reminds me of some strange parties at old- 
fashioned houses in our provincial towns, where comic 
songs are followed by discussions on the Millennium, and 
seed-cake And ginger wine season both. 

I have spoken more of the achievements of Egyptian 
cookery, than of the quality of the cooks. The fact is, 
that it is far more easy to speak decidedly of the former, 
than of the latter. Mr. St. John describes the Aiab 
cooks in Egypt as being great gastronomers, and serving 
up " their dishes in a style which could not have dis- 
pleased Elagabalus himself! " Mr. Lane equally lauds 
their excellence, and the delicacy of the manner of eating. 
Herr Weme, on the other hand, — and he is a man of 
wide experience in this matter, — speaks very differently 
both of Turkish eating and Arab cooking in Egypt. 
Weme, indeed, speaks of the remote district of BeUad 
Sudam, rather than of Cairo and Alexandria; but his 



TABLE OF THE ANCIEUT AlTD MODBEN EGTPTIAHS. 351 

observations have an extensive application, nevertheless. 
He is disgusted with the general want of cleanliness ; 
and he remarks, that " the cooks are dirtier in themselves, 
and more filthy in their dress, than any other class of 
people." The dirty. Arah cook is in a dirty kitchen, a 
dirty pipe ever in his mouth, and with the dirtiest of 
hands maniptdating savoury preparations for the mouths 
of his masters. He knows httle more than how to 
boU or roast meat, boil beans, and prepare vegetable 
dishes. Even the female slaves of the harem, who act 
as cooks to their lords, are remarkable for uncleanli- 
ness. "All the meat to be used for the dinner is 
sodden together iu one huge caldron, and separated 
for arrangement in various dishes, all of which partake 
of general flavovir, having been cooked together, and 
there is but scant nourishment iti any of them." The 
vegetables are described by him as being wretchedly 
cooked, and saturated with bad butter, or the water in 
which they have been boiled. The dishes are not larger 
than our plates ; the plates, when such are used by the 
guests, about the size of our saucers : but " each guest 
at once plunges his hand into any or every dish that 
pleases him, and gropes about tiU he gets hold of the 
best bits, pulls them out, and swallows them. Very 
often a bite is only taken from the piece thus seized 
on, and the rest returned to the dish ; but, ia spite of 
the clean treatment it has undergone, it is again soon 
seized hold of by another, and, perchance, again simi- 
larly handled, tiQ all is finally bolted. The Turks eat incre- 
dibly rapidly, as they bolt eveiy thing, and keep cram- 
ming into the mouth more, ere the former mouthful has 
been swallowed ; whUe a smacking of Hps, and licking oi 
sauce-dripping fingers, succeed, and proclaim their pleasure 
in the meaj. Bread is generally to be found on the table, 
but neither salt, oil, vinegar, nor pepper; although, 
when they dine with Europeans, they show no dislike to 



352 TiBtE TEAITS. 

highly-seasoned dishes or strong drinks. Although these 
dishes are numerous, they contain hut little. If there 
are many courses, or more dishes than the tahle will hold 
at one time, the entertainer is ever busied making signs 
to the attendants which are to be removed; and not 
seldom the guest finds, that the very dish he was about 
to help himseK from is carried off from under his very 
nose. The Pasha used often to amuse himself by playing 
tricks on his guests, by ordering off, with the utmost 
rapidity, those dishes he saw their longing eyes fixed on, 
ere their outstretched hands could convey any portion of 
them into their watering mouths. At first, in spite of 
the pilcm, we never were quick enough to get sufficient to 
eat, not having been brought up to bolt our food ; and 
that the Turks are so quickly satisfied, and by so little, is 
wholly owing to this bolting of their food, is undeniable ; 
and this also produces the repeated eructations they so 
loudly and joyfully give vent to, as proving their high 
health and vigour." 

The Turks and Arabs of Egypt " chaw," carrying 
their quid between the front teeth and upper lip. The 
blacks of Gesira mix tobacco and nitron, dissolving the 
latter in an infusion of the former. This they call 
" bucea ;" and they take a mouthful of it at a time, which 
they keep rinsing over their teeth and gums, for, perhaps, 
a quarter of an hour, before they eject it. They have 
"bucca " parties, as we have tea parties ; and then is the 
circle in the very highest state of enjoyment, — ^imbibing, 
gurgling, gargling, and ejecting, — and not a word uttered, 
except at the close, when the guests return thanks to 
their host "for this very delightful evening I" 

Egypt was the locality wherein the saints of old espe- 
pecially shone with respect to their table arrangements, 
or their contempt for them ; and these gentlemen fairly 
claim a due share of notice at our hands. So, now " for 
the Desert!" 



THE DIET OF SAINTS. 



Feasting, under certain circumstances, at certain seasons, 
and for certain ends, is undoubtedly sanctified by apo- 
stolical recommendation. The earlier fathers, however, say 
little on the subject. Clement of Alexandria mentions 
weekly fasts at Easter; and Tertullian, in an article espe- 
cially recommending the observation, bitterly bewails that 
it has fallen into a general disuse. The Church of Alex- 
andria also ordained a fast on Wednesdays and Fridays ; — 
on Wednesday, because on that day Christ was betrayed ; 
on Friday, because on that day he was crucified. In 
Alexandria too arose the saying, that the aspen-tree shook 
because it was the tree from which the wo6d for the cross 
was taken. The fasting generally consisted in abstaining 
from food until three o'clock in the afternoon, but a reli- 
gious liberty was allowed, connected with its observance, 
until the sixth century, when a Council of Orleans decreed 
excommunication against all who did not fast according to 
the laws of the Church. Nor did the authorities stop at 
this penalty; for, in later times the unlucky wight detected 
in relieving hunger by eating prohibited meats, was punished 
by having all his teeth drawn — the oifending members 
were summarily extracted. The prohibited food in Lent 
was flesh, eggs, cheese, and wine ; subsequently flesh alone 
was prohibited ; and this tenderness of orthodoxy so dis- 
gusted the Greek Church, that it lost its temper, flew ojff 
into schism, and forgot charity in maintaining that the use 
of meat in Lent was damnable . 



354 TABLE TEAITS. 

The Xerophagia, or "dry eatings," were tlie days on 
which nothing was eaten but bread and salt. This was in 
very early times. Innovators added pulse, herbs, and 
fruits — no unpleasant fare in hot countries. The Monta- 
, nists made this fast obligatory, and were very much cen- 
sured in consequence-. The Essenes, who, whether as Jews 
or Jewish Christians in Alexandria, were singularly strict 
observers of the Sabbath, carrying their strictness to a 
point which my readers may find in Jortin, if they are 
curious thereupon, observed also this fast very rigidly, and 
on the stated days ate nothing with their bread but salt 
and hyssop. 

Most of the saints recorded on the canon roll of Komej 
appear to have maintained very indifferent tables, and to 
have considerably marred thereby their strength and 
efl&ciency. Saint Fulgentius abstained from everything 
savoury, aind even drank no wine, says his biographer; 
which looks as if the good men generally did i&ke some for 
their stomach's sake ; and indeed Fulgentius himself took 
a little negus when he was indisposed to plain water; and 
" small blame to him" for so harmless a proceeding. St. 
Eugenius never broke his fast till sunset ; and when a 
bunch of grapes was sent to a sick monk of the desert, he 
forwar;ded it to a second, and a second to a third, and so 
on to a twentieth, until this health-inspiring offering, made 
for man by God, was withered and nasty. These monks 
did not pray like Pope : — 

" The blessings thy free bounty gives 
Let me not cast away, 
For God is paid when man receives, — 
To enjoy is to obey." 

But this is a sentiment in the opposite extreme, or might 
be easily carried in that direction. Palladius says of one 
of these desert monks, St. Macarius, that for years together 



THE DIET OF SAINTS. 355 

he lived only on raw herbs and pulse ; that during three 
consecutive years he existed on four or five ounces of bread 
daily ; and that he consumed but one small measure of oil 
in a twelvemonth — a substitute for the gallons of sack with 
which profaner men washed down their modicum of bread. 
St. Macarius, however, surpassed himself in Lent ; and an 
alderman might be excused for fainting at the idea of 
a human being passing forty days and nights in a standing 
position, with no more substantial support than a few raw 
cabbage-leaves on a Sunday ! St. Genevieve was hardly 
inferior in austerity, and only ate twice in the week, on 
Sundays and Thursdays, and then only beans and bread. 
When she grew old and infirm, and she was prematurely 
both, she indulged in a little fish and milk. Simeon 
StyUtes surpassed both in culpable austerity. He spent 
an entire Lent without allowing anything to pass his lips; 
and at other seasons this slow suicidal saint never ate but 
on Sundays. His chief occupation upon the pillar, which 
looks much more like a column of pride than a monument 
of humility, wasin praying and bowing. An admiring monk, 
who must have had as little of active usefulness to employ 
his time with as poor Simeon, exultingly records, that he 
did not eat once during the day, but that he made one 
thousand two hundred and forty-four bows of adoration in 
that time. Oh, Simeon ! well for thee, poor fellow-mortal, if 
those reverences be not accounted rather as homage to 
thyself, than to Him to whom homage is due. 

It is extremely difficult for the human mind to realize 
the idea of a Bishop of London never breaking his fast till 
the evening, and then being satisfied with a solitary egg, 
an inch of bread, and a cup of milk and water; such, 
however, is said to have been the daily fare of St. Cedd, a 
predecessor of Dr. Blomfield in the metropolitan diocese. 
" How unlike my Beverly !" St. Severinus, an Austrian 
prelate, had a more indifierent table than St. Cedd, espe- 



^55 



TABLE TEAITS. 



cially in Lent, when he ate but once a-week. St. William 
of Bourges iiever tasted meat after he was ordained. St. 
Theodosius, the Cenobiarch, was more frugal still, and bread 
often lacked, -we are told, even for the holy offices of the 
Church. This would seem to intimate, however, that the 
officers of the Church may have eaten it. Be this as it 
may, when bread was needed for the sacrament, a string of 
mules miraculously appeared in the desert, bearing the 
necessary provision. " Necessary provision," may be well 
said, for if the Cenobites consumed little themselves, they 
presided at tables where occasionally sat a hundred hungry 
guests, who must have much needed a dinner, seeing that 
they crossed the desert to obtain it. 

Some of the most self-denying saints, like St. Felix of 
Nola, if they declined wine in its liquid form, took it in 
pills, — swallowing grapes. St. Paul, the first hermit, lived 
on the fruit of a tree which produced a fresh supply daily, 
the bread to temper which was brought every morning by 
a raven. The . diet was sufficiently invigorating to give 
strength to the modest man to bite off his own tongue, and 
spit it in the face of a lady who tried to tempt him, as the 
Irish nymph tempted the uncourteous St. Kevin of Glen- 
dalough. He was, in abstinence, only second to St, 
Isidore, who, when hungry, burst into tears, not because 
God had mercifully provided him wherewith to satisfy 
lawful appetite, but because, sinful man that he was, he 
dared to eat at all ! 

I have spoken of the abstinence of a Bishop of London ; 
there was a Bishop of Worcester, Wulstan, who is worthy 
of being mentioned with him. Wulstan was rather fond 
of savoury viands, but he was one day, during mass, so 
distracted by the smell ()f meat roasting in a kitchen, which 
must have been very close to his church, that he made a 
vow to abstain from meat for ever. But I do not know if 
he kept his vow. St. Euthymius was a more rational man. 



THE DIET OP SAINTS. 357 

for he taught his moiiks that to satisfy hunger was no 
crime, but thu-t to abuse appetite and God's gifts too, was 
an offence. St. Macedonius, the Syrian, did not discover 
this truth until he had so impaired his powers by long 
fasts, that it was impossible to restore them — as he tried 
to do on a diet of dry bread. And yet he was so prema- 
turely gifted, that his own birth is said to have been the 
result of his own prayers ! 

The table kept by St. Publius for his monks was not of 
a hberal character. He allowed them nothing but pulse 
and herbs, coarse bread, and water. Nothing else! He 
prohibited wine, milk, cheese, grapes, and even vinegar — 
which every soiu: brother might have distilled from his own 
ichor. From Easter to Whitsuntide was accounted a holi- 
day time, and during that festive period, the brotherhood 
were allowed to grow hilarious, if they could, upon a gill of 
oil a-piece. St. Paula, "the widow," subjected her nuns 
to the same lively fare, and she moreover fiercely denounced 
all ideas of personal neatness and cleanliness, as an unclean- 
ness of the mind. She accounted herself wise in so doing, 
but her nuns might fairly have put to her the question 
asked by Mizen, in the Fair Quaker of Deal : — " Do'st 
thou think that nastiness gives thee a title to knowledge?" 

St. John Chrysostom was as severe as Paula, and it would 
not have cost Olympias much to defray, as she insisted upon 
doing, the expenses of his table. The table which the saint 
kept for guests was, however, hospitably and delicately 
laden — and perhaps this was an inconsistency in a man who 
censured what he also encouraged. 

They who have made a saint of Charlemagne, aver that 
he broke his fast but once a day, and that after sunset. I 
cannot believe this of a man who dealt so largely in the 
eggs laid by his hens, and in vegetables raised in his garden. 
Nor do I beheve that St. Sulpicius Severus would have 
written so capital a biography of St. Martin, had he lived. 



358 TABLE TEAITS. 

as it is said, on herbs, boiled witb a little vinegar for 
seasoning. Surely, we have heard of the "kitchen" of 
gentlemen like Sutpicius, and if his condensed Scripture 
History be as dry as the bread he ate during the task, his 
letters to Claudia seem to have been written on more 
generous food. Not that he was immoderate. He kept 
one cook, a very "plain cook" indeed, as Sulpioius 
describes him, when he despatched the boy to Bishop 
Paulinus with a letter which commences with a startling bit 
of episcopal history, namely, that " all the cooks in the 
kitchen of Paulinus had left him without warning, because 
the prelate was getting too careless about good living," 
Some commentators say, that the letter was a joke j but 
the reply to it is extant, and therein it may be seen how 
Paulinus did not look upon it as a joke. 

Southey, in his " St. Eomuald," mirthful as the story is, 
has not exceeded the truth, or rather has not departed 
from the narrative told by the good man's biographers : — 

" Then, Sir, to see how he would mortify 
The flesh ! If any one had dainty fare, 
Good man, he would oome there j 
And look at all the delicate things, and .cry, 

Belly ! Belly ! 
You would he gormandizing now, I know ; 

But it shall not he so ! — 
Home, to your bread and water. Home, I tell ye." 

And thus says Alban Butler of him: — " He never 
would admit of the least thing to give a savour to the 
herbs or meal-gruel on which he supported himself. If 
anything was brought him better dressed, he, for the 
greater self-denial, applied it to his nostrils, and said, 
' Oh Gluttony, Gluttony ! thou shalt never taste this ! 
Perpetual war is declared against thee ! ' St. WUliam of 
Maleval was of the same opinion when he cried because he 
ate his dry bread with a relish, and found that what he 



THE DIET OF SAINTS. 359 

called " sensuality " was not inseparable from the coarsest 
food. St. Benedict of Anian, on the other hand, did 
not decline the use of a little wine, when it was given him ■ 
while St. Martinianus, again, lived upon biscuits and 
water, brought to him twice a-year — and very nasty fare 
it must have been towards the end of each six months. 
It must have been worse than that of St. Peter Damian, 
who prided himself on never drinking water fresh, and 
thought there was virtue in having it four-and-tweuty 
hours old. St. Tarasius must have maintained a more 
decent table, for it is said of him that he used to take the 
dishes from it and give of them to the poor ; and honour 
be to his name, because of his good sense and his charity ! 
Our venerable acquaintance of the principality, St. David, 
was not half so wise, however well-intentioned ; but St. 
Charles, Earl of Flanders, followed the better course, and 
not only lived moderately well, but acted better, by daily 
distributing seven hundred loaves to the poor. The 
Welsh saints, generally, kept as austere a table as St. 
David. There was, for instance, the cacophonous Win- 
waloe of Winwaloe, who kept his monks at starving point 
all the week, recalling them to life on Sundays by mi- 
croscopic rations of h^rd cheese and shell-fish. His own 
fare was barley-bread strewn with ashes, and when Lent 
arrived, the quantity of ashes was doubled, in honour of 
the season ! St. Thomas Aquinas was so abstracted that 
he never knew, at dinner, what he was eating, nor could 
remember, after it, if he had dined, which was likely 
enough. St. Frances, Widow, foundress of the Collations, 
was in more full possession of her wits ; as, indeed, the lady 
saints were, generally. She had her little fancies indeed, 
which were " only charming Fanny's way," and her be- 
verage at eve was dirty water, out of a human skull ; but 
she had no mercy for lazy devotees, and invariably told 
sighing wives that they had active duties to perform, and 



360 TABLE TRAITS. 

that they had better keep out of monasteries, at least till 
they were widows. She was a good, humble woman ; and, 
as a commentator says of the abstinence of St. Euphrasia, 
without humility these' facts would be but facts of devils ! 

Another gleam of good sense shines upon us from the 
person of St. Benedict. He drank wine, and so did his 
monks of Vicovara, who liked his wine better than either 
the toast or sentiment with which he passed it round to 
them, and who tried to get rid of him by poisoning his 
glass j but the saint, full of inspired suspicion, made over 
it the sign of the cross, and away went the flask into fifty 
fragments. The taste of the good saint was known after 
he left Vicovara, and a pious soul once sent him a couple 
of bottles of wine by a faithless messenger, who delivered 
but one. " Mind what you are about," said St. Benedict, 
"when you draw the other cork for yourself" The knave 
was, not abashed, but when he did secretly open the other 
bottle for the solace of his own thirsty throat, he found 
nothing therein but a lively serpent, which glided from 
him after casting at him a reproachful look ! 

If St. Benedict was right in the ordering of his table, 
why St. John of Egypt was wrong, for he never drank 
anything but stagnant water, nor ,ate anything cooked 
by fire ; even his bread he complacently swallowed before 
it was baked ; — and what his liver was like, it would puzzle 
any but a physician even to conjecture. 

There was infinitely more sense in the table kept by an 
abbot of the compound Christian and Pagan title and 
name of St. Plato. He never ate anything but what had 
been raised or procured by the labour of his own hands ; 
he was consequently never in debt with respect to his 
household expenses, and if all men so far followed the 
example of St. Plato, who was a better practical philo- 
sopher than his heathen namesake, what a happy world we 
should make of it ! There would be fewer Christmas bill^ 



THE DIET OF SAINTS. 361 

and many more joyous dinners, not only at Christmas, 
but aU the year round ! 

^ St. Plato deserves our respect ; he would not live on 
alms. He was more useful in his generation than the men 
who, like St. Aphraates, were content to exist on the elee- 
mosynary contributions of the faithful, or than those who, 
like Zozimus and his followers, wandered through the 
desert, trusting to chance and calling it providence. What, 
compared with our friend Plato, was that St. Droun, the 
so-called patron of shepherds, who during forty years 
taught them nothing, and lived on the barley-bread which 
they brought him in return for his instruction. 

I have given one or two instances of the spare tables 
kept by a few of our ancient bishops ; I may here add to 
them the name of St. Elphege, some time Bishop of Win- 
chester, and subsequently Archbishop of Canterbury. The 
smell of roast meat was never known in his palace on any 
but " extraordinary occasions." This, however, is a very 
indefinite term, and the table of this primate may have 
been one to make a cardinal give unctuous thanks for 
rich mercies, five days out of the seven. There was cer- 
tainly gastronomic work to do in some of the ancient godly 
households, or St. James of Sclavonia would not have 
passed so many years in one, as he did, in the capacity of 
cook, " improving" the occasion, by drawing ideas of heU 
from his own fires, which were for ever roasting savoury 
joints, like those which strike the visitors with awe and 
appetite in the kitchens at Maynooth. 

If in some houses there were busy kitchens, in others 
there were soft couches, whereon digestion might progress. 
Thus Adalbert, Bishop of Prague, was a Saint and Martyr; 
and it is said, that he had a most comfortable bed in his 
dormitory, but that he never slept upon it ! Then, what 
was the bed for ? It is added, that he fasted in private 
with great severity, — ^but it is no more "of faith" to 



362 TABLE TEAIT3. 

believe this, iliaii it is that he slept every night on the 
floor, under, and not upon, his own excellent feather-bed; 
for what says the old refrain t — 

" A notre coucher 
TJn lit, des draps tlanes, 

Une 

digue daine, ton ! 
Voila la vie que ces moines font ! " 

But he may have been a profane fellow who wrote these 
rude rhymes ; and we will no more implicitly trust him, 
than we will the prose historians of the doings and 
dealings of the saintly men. 

It is not an unusual thing to find wine-bibbers men- 
tioned among the members of holy communities ; where 
wine was generally supposed to be a luxury never em- 
ployed but for the service of the altar, — and perhaps of 
the sick. The venerable Bede tells a story of a " brother," 
whom he had known, and whom he wishes to God he had 
never known, and who was given to worship the spigot. 
Bede does not give his name, but certifies that the too 
jolly Mar lived ignobly in a noble monastery, where he 
was often reproved for his acts of drunkenness, and only 
tolerated because of his gifts, — not spiritual, but as a 
carpenter. He was a terrible tippler, but a hard work- 
man to boot, and would, at any time, rather labour all 
day and all night at his bench than join the brethren in 
chapel. Indeed, when he did go, his thoughts were running 
on something else. He was like the profane Yorkshire 
farmer, who praised the institution of the Sabbath be- 
cause it not only brought roast beef with it as a sacred 
observance, but it authorized him to attend in his pew at 
church, where, said he, " I puts up my legs and thinks 
o' nothing ! " Bede's carpenter was characteristically 
punished for his bibbing; and the story was made much 



THE DIET OF SAINTS. 363 

of, by way of monition to others. It was to this effect : — 
" He, falling sick, and being reduced to extremity, called 
the brethren, and with much lamentation, and like one 
damned, began to tell them that he saw hell open, and 
Satan at the bottom thereof, and also Caiaphas, with 
the others that slew our Lord, by him delivered up to 
avenging flames. ' In whose neighbourhood,' said he, ' I 
see a place of eternal perdition prepared for me, miserable 
wretch that I am ! ' The brothers, hearing these words, 
began seriously to exhort him that he should repent even 
then, while he was in the flesh. He answered in despair, 
— ' I have no time now to change my course of life, when 
I have myself seen my judgment passed.' When he had 
uttered these words, he died, without having received the 
saving maticum; and his body was buried in the remotest 
part of the monastery; nor did any one dare to say 
masses, sing psalms, or even, to pray for him." Which 
seems a very hard case ; for if any one needed such service 
it was he ; and the Church's ability to extricate him 
could not be denied, when ghe was duly pre-paid for the 
service. 

Curiously enough, St. Monica, the mother of St. Au- 
gustin, ranks among the wine-bibbers. Her pious parents 
left their children to be brought up by a servant-maid, 
who had more zeal than discretion, and who would allow 
none of the children to drink, were they ever so thirsty, 
except at meal-times, and then only a drop or two of 
water. " If you cannot restrain your desire to drink 
now," she would say, "what will it be when you have 
wine at command ?" Now, the effect of this speech was 
exactly like that of the confessor to the hostler, when he 
asked the latter, if he never greased the horses' teeth in 
order to prevent them eating their corn. It gave the 
young Monica a new idea. She was accustomed to draw 
the wine for her father's table, and she henceforth began 



364 TABLE TEAITS. 

to drink a portion each time that she went to the cellar 
with her pitcher. And I do not know that Mr. Millais, or 
any other of the pre-Eaphaelite gentlemen, could have a 
better subject for a picture, than that representing the 
scene when the horrified nurse-maid beheld her young 
charge indulging in her cups in the parental wine-vault. 
The lecture she received worked her conversion, we are 
told J. and she married, and became the mother of St. 
Augustin, who so far followed the maternal example 
that, in his earlier years, when, with his eyes upon heaven, 
his heart was with the good things of the earth, his com- 
monest prayer used to be, " Lord, make me religious, but 
not just yet" 

The nurse-maid of Monica deserved to have been the 
wife, — and perhaps she was, — of St. Theodotus, the vintner 
of Ancyra. He was a teetotaller who kept a tavern, and 
who passed the live-long day in leaning over his counter 
and begging his customers not to driuk ! Well, men have 
been canonized for less useful service to their kind ; 
and Theodotus was more worthily employed in keeping 
drunkards from his wine-casks, than St. Pius V. was when, 
every day before dinner, by way of mocking his appetite, 
he resorted to the public hospitals, and kissed the ulcers 
of the patients ! Nay, biographers tell us that an English 
Protestant gentleman was suddenly converted to Eo- 
manism, by observing the condescension and affection 
with which Pius kissed the ulcers on the feet of some 
poor men ! The pope, if he and the convert dined 
together after this nasty ceremony, might have confessed 
that he had been sore put to it for an argument that 
should carry conviction to an English gentleman in search 
of a religion. 

Let us contrast this pope in his pride with a cardinal 
in his fall. " When Wolsey," says Mr. Hunter the anti- 
quary, "was dismissed by his tyrannical master to his 



THE DIET OP SAINTS. 365 

northern diocese, he passed many weeks at Scrooby. It is 
a pleasing picture which his faithful servant, Cavendish, 
gives of him at this period of his life : — ' Ministering 
many deeds of charity, and attending on Sundays at some 
parish church in the neighbourhood; hearing or saying- 
mass himself, and causing some one of his chaplains to 
preach to the people ; and that done, he would dine in 
some honest house of that town, where should be distri- 
buted to the poor a great alms, as well of meat and drink, 
as of money to supply the want of sufficient meat, if the 
number of the poor did so exceed of necessity.' " Wolsey 
was no saint certainly, but he was as honest a man as 
Pius, and a wiser when he fed the poor rather than kiss 
their ulcers. 

But there is no accounting for taste ; the Eussian Boni- 
face used to roll himself among thorns and nettles, in order 
to get an appetite, or to punish himself for indulging 
over much. St. Germanus, on the other hand, commenced 
every repast by putting ashes into his mouth ; — the modem 
custom of beginning with oysters is certainly better both 
for taste and stomach. St. Walthen took vrine, but then 
he put spiders in it. St. Dominic, too, was singular in his 
diet, and he sometimes spent his half-hour before dinner 
in one of the most curious positions that gentlemen could 
possibly fix upon. The Abbot of St. Vincent's one day 
desired his company at dinner, but at the usual hour the 
saint was in church, and had forgotten the invitation. In 
the meantime the turkey and chine were spoiling, and the 
hungry abbot despatched a monk in quest of the loiterer ; 
the messenger hurried to the church, where, to his very 
considerable astonishment, he beheld St. Dominic "ravished 
in an ecstasy," whatever that may mean, " raised several 
cubits above the ground, and without motion." The Saint, 
on being told that dinner was ready, graciously smiled at 
the intelligence, and gently descended to the ground. 



366 TABLE TEAITS. 

St. Laurence would have joked at this, as he did at his 
own grilling. After he had lain for some time extended 
on his gridiron, he calmly said to the executioner, " Will 
you have the kindness to turn me, as I am quite done on 
the under side?" The executioner, a trifle astonished, did 
as he was required, and soon after, the Saint, again speak- 
ing, said, " I shall be obliged if you'll take me up, as I am 
now fit for eating." This story reminds me of the remark 
made by an Irishman, when first told that St. Patrick had 
crossed the ocean on a millstone : — " I can't contradict it ! 
He was a lucky fellow ! " 

We ar6 told of St. Bernard, who used to walk before 
dinner on the banks of the Jjake of Lausanne, that on 
hearing two of his monks speak of the beauty of the lake, 
he declared that no such lake existed, or he had been too 
much absorbed ever to have noticed it. So the Trappists 
used to glory in not knowing where or how they dined, or 
recollecting anything about it ! All this shows less wisdom 
at table than was exhibited by the royal St. Louis, who, 
when a certain friar began to discuss doctrinal subjects 
with the pullets, stopped him with the remark that " all 
things had their time, and joking was good sauce with 
chickens!" 

St. Laurence Justinian, the first patriarch of Venice, was 
far less indulgent than the royal saint- of France. He 
was so little so, that when his thirsty monks sometimes 
asked for a little wine, declaring that their throats felt as 
dry as the high road in summer, he used quite as drily to 
remark, that if they could not bear parched throats now, 
what would they do in the fires of purgatory ? St. John 
the Dwarf, Anchoret of Scete, cared as little for wine as 
St. Laurence, but he was fond of fruit, and he obtained a 
supply from a strange source. An old hermit bade him 
plant his walking-staff in the ground, and he not only did 
so, but he watered it regularly for three years, when it 



THE DIET OP SAINTS. 367 

bore pippins, sweeter than those that grew at Ribstone up 
to the time of the death of the late baronet. Before this 
miraculously-bearing stick the little man used to read 
prayers as devoutly as Sir HoUyoak Goodrick, the present 
Eibstone baronet, does to the villagers in his own parish 
church, and for the same reason each had much to be 
thankful for. It must be confessed that John the Dwarf 
had more taste than his namesake of Cupertino, who not 
only ate nothing but vegetables, but ate no vegetables that 
any other human being could be induced to swallow. It 
was such garbage as only pigs would condescend to. 
Arcades arribo — ^nasty creatures both ! 

St. Francis of Assisium exhibited something more 
of true humility at his table, with a touch of the false 
metal notwithstanding. He ate nothing dressed by fire, 
unless he were very ill, and even then he covered it with 
ashes, or dipped it in cold water. His common daily 
food was dry bread strewn with ashes ; but this founder 
of the Friars' Minors had the good sense not to condemn 
his followers to the rigorous diet he observed himself; 
and " Brother Ass," as he familiarly called that self, was 
in his own opinion worthy of no better fare. 

There was a founder of another community who 
exhibited more singularity than St. Francis, who, despite 
some mistakes, was a man of whom none other dare 
speak but with respect, — St. Ammon, founder of the 
hermitages of Nitria. At the age of twenty-two this 
young Egyptian noble married a fair girl of Memphis ; 
and instead of a nuptial banquet, he treated his bride 
to a reading of a particularly edifying chapter from St. 
Paul, after which he withdrew to solitary meditation. 
During eighteen years he occupied himself in training 
balsam-trees all day, after which he returned home to a 
supper of fruit and herbs ; then came that terrible re- 
iteration of advice from St. Paul, followed by a separate 



368 TABLE TRAITS. 

solitary comment on the part of this exemplary pair. At 
the end of the time above specified, he retired altogether 
from domestic life, and settled alone on Mount Nitria, 
and his biographers naively remark, this was "with his 
wife's consent." This saint was of such a "complexion" 
of virtue, that one day, on accidentally catching sight of an 
uncovered portion of his own body, he was so shocked that 
he fainted away. If he had only read " Erasmus Wilson, 
on the Skin," he would have learned to look oftener at 
his own, and would have been a cleaner man, a better 
husband, a more grateful feeder, and an improved Christian. 

But St. Bruno, the founder of the Carthusians, probably 
exceeded all other originators of communities in the 
"fierceness," so to speak, of his dietetic laws; he never 
spared himself, nor his disciples. A Carthusian is never 
permitted to eat meat under any pretence whatever. In 
addition to this, they fast eight months in the year, and 
I suppose they starve in Lent, for during that season 
they are forbidden to eat what is called " white meats," 
that is, eggs, milk, butter, and cheese. Dry bread with 
water is their Lenten fare; .and a peculiar law con- 
nected with them is, that they can never change into 
another order, because they would thereby profit a little 
in the way of better living ; but a brother of any other 
order may become a Carthusian, as thereby he increases 
his mortifications and diminishes his diet. Of course 
from these remarks the Carthusians of the "Charterhouse" 
are excepted. If the thin spirit of St. Bruno ever scents 
the juicy viands that adorn the well-spread table there, 
it probably melts into thin air by the very force of disgust 
or ghastly envy. 

The table kept by St. Bridget, when she married Ulpho, 
prince of Nericia, in Sweden, was a very modest one for so 
princely a pair, but what was spared thereby was given to 
the poor. Bridget and Ulpho, she sweet sixteen, he two 



THE DIET OF SAINTS. 369 

years more, read every evening the soothing chapter from 
St. Paul, which formed the favourite study of St. Ammon 
and his wife ; but, as it would appear, with indifferent 
success. "They enrolled themselves,'' say their various 
biographers, "in the Third Order of St. Francis, and lived 
in their own house as if it had been a regular and austere 
monastery." The biographers immediately add without 
comment, — " They afterwards had eight children : four 
boys and four girls;" and as the same paragraph goes on 
to state that " all these children were favoured with the 
blessings of divine grace,'' it may be fiiirly concluded that 
a domestic observation of a monastic regularity and 
austerity, is a course that will purchase blessings and olive- 
branches. 

The case of St. Gromer and his wife, the Lady Gwinmary, 
may perhaps be cited as an exception. But this Gwinmary 
was an exacting lady at all times, and when St. Gomer 
betook himself from her to live in the desert on bitterness 
and biscuits, he fared as sumptuously and lived far more 
quietly than he had done at home. He was one of the 
most placid of saints, and it is a positive libel upon him 
for the French Admiralty to have given his name to one 
of the most thundering steamers in the service. Its 
broadsides far more nearly resemble the tongue of Gwin- 
mary than the tones of Gomer. 

In charming contrast with this truculent Gwinmary do 
we meet and greet the gentle St. Elizabeth of Hungary. 
The record of her good deeds would iill a volume, but out 
of them I have only to select an exquisite table trait — to 
register which is also to eulogize it. I do not allude to 
her habitual temperance, to her dry bread and thimble- 
fuU of wine, when she sat at meat with kings and queens, 
her equals in birth ; nor to her small feasts with her two 
maids, in the absence of her consort, Louis the Landgrave ; 
but I allude— and listen, ye Benedicts, with grateful 

B B 



370 TABLE TRAITS. 

rapture — ^to the fact " that the kitchen she kept out of 
her own private purse, not to be the least charge to her 
husband." If celibate priests, who can hardly be supposed 
capable of appreciating such a fact, canonized so rare a 
lady, all married men who love banquets but dislike the 
butchers' bills, will cry "Well done !" and recommend 
their wives to read the instructive life of Elizabeth of 
Hungary. 

Who would expect to hear good of a Borgia? — St. 
Francis Borgia was virtuous enough to save his family 
name from entire infamy. Of no other man or woman of 
his house could it be said that they gave up suppers, in 
order to have more time for prayers. It was not Alexander 
VI., the papal glory of his house and the shame of man- 
kind, that would have been content with one meal a-day, 
and that meal — a mess of leeks, or some pulse, with a piece 
of bread, and a cup of water. At the same time, Francis 
Borgia kept a table becoming a man of his rank, for the 
gratification of his guests of high degree. There, while 
they ate their venison, and quaffed their lachrymce Christi, 
he nibbled his leeks, and sipped his water, " and conversed 
facetiously with them, though at table his discourse 
generally turned on piety." It was very like a Borgia to 
make piety facetious, but if fiin in holiness be of the ingre- 
dients necessary to the making of a saint, Sidney Smith 
has as good a right as Borgia to be on the roll of the 
beati. Our reverend "joker of jokes," indeed, would not 
have smiled at the cook who pat wormwood instead of 
mint into his broth; and I doubt if Peter Plimley ever 
thought of doing what Francis Borgia did, — namely, chew- 
ing his pills, and Swallowing physic slowly, as works of 
meritorious mortification, bearing compound interest to 
the profit of the practitioner. St. Wilfrid, who taught the 
half-starved South Saxons to catch the fish that swam at 
their feet, and thereby live, seems tome to have performed 



THE DIET OF SAINTS. 371 

a far more meritorious work than if he had passed his life 
in gnawing leeks or masticating pills. Our native saint, 
a good man at table, was often better employed than St. 
Theresa, who is so eulogized because when serving at table, 
or carrying the dinner from the kitchen, " she was often 
seen suddenly absorbed in God, with the utensOs or instru- 
ments of her business in her hands." The hungry and 
expectant monks might have quoted against the rapt maid, 
the assertion of the royal sage, that there is a time to eat, 
as well as to fast and pray. But St. Theresa, with all 
her good qualities, was as obstinate as the Polish saint 
Hedwiga, who not only abstained from meat till abstinence 
had nearly proved suicidal, but who refused to save her 
life by eating any, until the Pope's legate had issued a very 
peremptory precept to that effect. St. Peter of Alcantara 
lost aU taste by his nearly total-abstinence principle, and 
when some one gave him warm water with vinegar in it, 
he thought it was his usual dinner of bean broth ! That 
actively good saint, Charles Borromeo, was only wisely 
moderate. " His austerities were discreet," is the phrase 
of one of his biographers ; and his abstemiousness made his 
health rather than marred it. This was so well known, 
that they who dieted themselves in. order to recover or 
preserve health, were said to have adopted the remedy of 
Doctor Borromeo. St. Francis Xavier had something of 
the discretion of Charles Borromeo, — and of the modesty 
too, for he dressed his own dinners, even when he was apo- 
stolio legate ; and that St. Clement of Alexandria belonged 
to the same class of sagely temperate men, is proved by his 
- maintaining that a little wine taken at evening, after the 
labours of the day, was good for the body, and cheering for 
the spirits. So the sainted Archbishop of York had no re- 
pugnance to a slice of roast goose, for, as he truly remarked, 
so good a thing was not designed especially for sinners. 
And this recalls to my mind a comment, similar in spirit. 



372 TABLE THAITS. 

made by St. Thomas S, Beoket. A monk once saw him 
eating the wing of a pheasant with much relish, and the 
Pharisaical fellow thereon affected to be scandalized, saying 
that lie thought Thomas was more of a mortified man. 
" Thou art but a ninny," said the Archbishop ; " knowest 
thou not that a man may be a glutton upon horse-beans; 
while another may enjoy with refinement even the wing of 
a pheasant, and have nature's aid" to digest what Heaven's 
bounty gave ?" 

This was good sense in the Archbishop, who perhaps had 
been reading Epicurus, before he sat down to his repast. 
However thk jnay be, it is certain that the philosopher in 
question says something very like what Becket said to the 
friar. "Is man," he asks, "made to disdain the gifts of 
nature? Is he placed on earth only to gather bitter fruits ? 
For whom then are the flowers that the gods strew at the feet 
of mortals 1. . .We please Providence when we yield to the 
divers inclinations which Providence suggests ; our duties 
have reference to His laws; and our innocent desires are 
born of His inspirations." 



There are few things more common in the Lives of the 
Saints, than to find them, after spare banquets of their own, 
working penal miracles at the banquets of others. St. Eloy 
was gifted with terrible power in this way, and endless are 
the stories of revellers turned to stone by the might of his 
magic right arm. Other saints had equal power in turning 
the tables upon those who slighted them ; and I will take 
this opportunity of narrating one instance, and will set my 
Muse in slippers, to detail what occurred at 

, THE BRIDAL AND BANQUET OF FERQUES, 

Near the marble quarries of Ferques, adjacent to Land- 
recthun le Nord, in the Boulonnais, may be seen a circular 



THE DIET OF SAINTS. 373 

range of stones, bearing a close resemblance in their shape, 
though little in their magnitude, to those at Stonehenge ; 
as also to the Devil's Needles, near Boroughbridge, and to 
the solitary block on the common at Harrogate. Learned 
people recognise the stones at Ferques by the appellation of 
the Mallus, a Druidical name for an altar; but the tra- 
ditionary folks, wiser in their generation, acknowledge no 
other title for these remains of antiquity than Neuches, an 
old provincial word, the corruption, I suppose, of Noces, and 
signifying a bridal, including the banquet which followed 
it. According to them, the stones at Ferques stand there 
as a testimony of divine vengeance, inflicted on a fiddler 
and other individuals belonging to a wedding party who 
refused to kneel before the Host, as it was being borne along 
by a priest to a dying brother. Eabelais says, that a well- 
disposed and sensible man believes all that he is told ; (" Un 
homme de bien, un homme de bon sens, croit toujours ce 
qu'on lui dit, et ce qu'il trouve par 6orit ;") and argal, as the 
logical grave-digger in Samlet has it, this story of a bridal 
and banquet wiU be allowed to pass without question. 

Though around the Weak district there is not a grove 

That can boast of a shade, e'en in summer, for love, 

Nor a walk by the side of a murmuring stream, 

Where somnambulist lovers may talk as they dream ; 

Nor a valley retir'd, nor sweet mossy dell. 

Where young hearts that are aching, their anguish may tell ; 

Nor a wood where a maiden deserted may sigh, 

Or where youths, stripp'd of hope, may with decency die j — 

Though all it can boast be a desolate heath, 

Wtere 'twould puzzle young Cupid to find him a wreath, — 

Yet e'en here the Idalian has furnish'd full work 

Tor the hearts of the youths and the maidens of Ferques. 

Of these there were two in the good days of old. 
When the hard iron heel of the baron so bold 
Ground those to the dust whom the mere chance of birth 
Had deprived of the licence to lord it on earth. 



,374 



TABLE TRAITS. 



The maid was as light' and as shy as the fawn. 

Her eyes dark as night, and her brow like the dawn j 

And her lips, twice as rich and as red as the rose. 

Were more warm than the sky at a summer eve's close ; 

While a music fell from them made only to bless ; 

And her shape — nay ! her shape I must leave you to guess. 

'Twould require the power pictorial of Barke, 

To record how sublime was this beauty of Perques. 

The swain was in manhood's first op'ning bloom. 

In doublet, slash'd hose, martial bonnet, and plume ; 

And he look'd, as he walk'd 'neath the moon's silver light. 

Half hero, half mortal ;^half bourgeois, half knight. 

If upward he gazed into heaven's soft skies. 

He saw nothing there half so soft as her eyes ; 

Or, at least, the young lover thus gallantly swore. 

As he ran the long roll of his soft nonsense o'er. 

And mincingly walk'd by the damosel's side, — 

The latter all fondness, the former all pride ; — • 

With one arm round the maiden, one hand on his dirk, 

Irresistibly fine look'd this gallant of Ferques. 

These walkings, these gazings, the terrible sighing. 

With death, or at least earnest threat'nings of dying ; 

These sinkings of spirit, these meltings away. 

With the watchings by night and the dreamings by day, 

What could such a mixture combustible bring. 

But a state of incendiarism, like Swing? 

When hearts are the haystack, and Love holds the torch, 

'Tis odds but the hay-stack will soon get a scorch. 

And what else could arise from those meetings at eve, 

From those flaming assertions which maidens believe, 

And those vows warmly breath'd ' 'twixt the gloam and the murk,'* 

But a bridal and banquet to gladden all Ferques ? 

Love's eddying current, I say it in sooth, 
Ean, for this young couple, remarkably smooth ; 
For the fathers paternally look'd on each child, 
While the mothers maternally wept as they smiled; 



" 'Twixt the gloaming and the murk. 
When the kye comes hame." — Hoaa. 



THE DIET OF SAINTS. 375 

Fraternally too a whole bevy of brothers ' 

Loot'd on the alliance as fondly as mothers ; 
And, if the young bride had possess'd but a sister, 
These lines would have told how she tenderly kiss'd her. 
Suffice it to say, that there never was seen, 
In valley, dale, hamlet, on moorland or green. 
An assembly so joyous as met at the kirk. 
To view and to envy the lovers of Ferques. 

For, the youthful, the aged, the ugly, the fair. 
The idle, the busy, grave and gay, all were there. 
Maids with prayers on their lips, for the weal of the bride. 
Some who long'd for her looks, some for him by her side, 
And, though last, yet most certain, by no means the least. 
Stood his Hev'rence, who having been bid to the feast, 
Look'd as jocund and joyous, and beaming with smiles. 
As the fair Cytherean, when weaving her wiles.* 
For where is the priest, be he Pagan, Hindoo, 
Yellow BonzE from Japan, olive sage from Loo Choo, 
A Franciscan Friar, an opium-drench'd Turk, 
But loves a fair feast like this banquet at Ferques? 

'Twould be tedious to tell, when the service was done, 
How that of the gallants was warmly begun. 
How, like the old suitors in Livy's old story. 
By ' Cupiditate' (his words) ' et Amore,'t 
The hearts of the damsels they ruthlessly task'd. 
And finally gain'd twice as much as they ask'd. 
Ah, sigh not to think that in Love's stricken field, 
The maidens of Ferques were so ready to yield ; 
For Livy declares that no maid can withstand 
The wooer who comes with such arms in his hand. 
They're pleasant to talk of, but 'neath them doth lurk 
A peril not felt less at Eome than at Ferques. 

The banquet was sped, and the floor being clear'd, 
Terpsichore's summons distinctly was heard. 
In the tuning Cremona that squeak'd forth its call, 
Inviting all those light of foot to the ball. 



* iiKoniieiZ-tis 'AippoS'iTri. Iliad, iii. 414. 

t After "Cupiditate et Amore," Livy ungallantly adds, "quae 
maxime ad muliebre ingenium efflcaces preces sunt." 



376 TABLE TRAITS. 

Lovely dance ! of thy charms how correct was the notion 
Of her who the Poetry, called thee, of Motion !* 
When Beauty her features in smiles deigns to grace. 
What are those same smiles but the dance of the face ? 
And when Dancing and Modesty happily meet. 
What is Dancing just then but the smiles of the feet ?t 
. I'd defy e'en a hermit the summons to shirk, 
Ask'd a measure to tread by the beauties of Ferques. 

When moonlight had risen to silver the scene. 

The party adjoum'd from the hall to the green, 

And their laughter was shaking the stars in the sky, 

When by chance, on the heels of their mirth, there pass'd by 

A Franciscan from Boulogne, Franciscanly shod,J 

Who ask'd them to kneel at the sight of their God, 

Whose presence mysterious he fully reveal'd. 

But the fiddler, he swore, he'd be hang'd if he kneel'd. 

And affirm'd — most irreverent charge 'gainst a' monk — 

That the barefooted priest was decidedly drunk. 

And the party applauded each quip and each quirk 

That fell from this vile Paganini of Ferqnes. 

But, oh, wonder ! those ribalds their scoffs had scarce utter'd, 
When, at a low prayer by the Cordelier mutter'd, 
Their laughter was heard to change into a moan. 
As the priest transform''d each to a figure of stone. 
There motionless still do the revellers stand, 
Misshapen, as tum'd from their sculptor's rough hand ; 
Save one, who when moonlight pours down from above. 
May be seen from the spot vainly trying to move. 
Some affirm 'tis the bridegroom aroused from his trance. 
Some declare 'tis the bride gliding forth to the dance. 
But 'tis only the fiddler endeavouring to jerk 
His bow arm o'er the once magic fiddle of Ferques. 



* Lady Morgan, I think, calls dancing, " the Poetry of Motion." 
t " Qu'est-ce que la danse ? la sourire des jambes. Qu'est-ce que 
la sourire 1 la danse du visage." — Silliophile Jacob, 

X The theatre at Boulogne stands on the site of the old convent 
garden belonging to the Cordeliers, the sea formerly flowed close to 
the spot. When Henry VIII. took Boulogne, he converted the con- 
vent into a marine arsenal. 



THE SUPPORT OP SAINTS OP LATER 
DAYS. 



It may be seen from our last chapter, that the bill of 
fare of those who dined in the desert was neither very long 
nor very varied. It was otherwise with the better-fed, 
but perhaps not better-taught gentlemen of the church of 
later days. Thus, for instance, the Cur6 of Brequier kept 
a very different table from that of the lean Amphitryons 
of the desert. BriEat Savarin once called on the holy 
man just as he had dismissed the soup and beef from the 
table. These were replaced by a leg of mutton d, la royale, 
a fat capon, and a splendid salad. The hour was scarcely 
noon, and the cur6 had sat down to this saint's fare alone. 
He was not selfish, however, and he invited his guest to 
"break bread" with him, but the guest, a prince of "gas- 
tronomers " in his way, declined, and the cur6, like Co- 
riolanus, did it all alone ! He finished the " gigot" to the 
ivory, the capon to the bones, and the salad to the 
polished bottom of the bowl. A colossal cheese was then 
placed before him, in which he made a breach of ninety 
degrees, and having washed down all with a bottle of 
wine, he, like the Irishman, thanked God "for that 
snack,'' and betook himself to digestion and repose. "Le 
pauvre homme !" 

The nuns were in no ways behind the priests. Madame 
d'Arestrel, lady Abbess of the nuns of the Visitation at 
BeUey, (faustum nomen I) once told a secret to a visitor 
who feared she was going to expound a chapter from the 



378 TABLE TEAITS. 

Prophets, " If you want a foretaste of Paradise in the 
guise of good chocolate,'' said she, " be sure to make it 
over-night, in an earthenware coffee-pot. Its standing 
still for a night concentrates it, and gives it a velvety 
taste, which is divine ! And Heaven cannot be angry with 
us for this little luxury, for is not Heaven too divine ?" 
How wide the distance between St. Paula, widow, and 
Madame d'Arestrel, of the convent of the Visitation ! I 
may add, that if the Visitandines made good chocolate, 
the monks of the Feuillants, in Paris, were renowned for 
their ratafie. But they too have superior authority for 
good living. A dainty dish in Italy is commonly called a 
" mouthful for a cardinal." — un boccone di cardinali. 

The canons took the tone from the cardinals. When 
the French canon EoUet became ill through excessive 
drinking, his doctor interdicted all strong beverages, and 
was not a little wroth, on his next visit, at finding the 
dignitary in bed indeed, but at his bed-side a little table, 
neatly laid out with bottles and glasses. The canon met 
the threatened storm by gently remarking : — " Doctor, 
when you forbade me drinking wine, you did not wish to 
deprive me of the pleasure of looking at the bottle !" It 
was such canons who were the best customers of the nuns 
who distilled liqueurs, and of the Ursulines who manu- 
factured the daintiest drops flavoured by the daintiest 
essences ! But in the Archbishop of Paris himself, M. de 
Belley, the clergy of France had example to which they 
might appeal as authority for indulging in good cheer. 
The archiepiscopal face was wreathed in smiles at the 
sight of a good dinner. The prelate lived to be a veteran 
among gastronomers, and was, in other respects, not an 
unworthy archbishop. 

But M. de Belley was at least a gentleman in his gas- 
tronomic propensities. He was not, like a Russo-Greek 
"Papa," a brandy-bibber. The Russo-Greek priests sanctify 



THE SUPPORT OF SAINTS OF LATER DAYS. 379 

drinking, in the minds of the people, by their evil ex- 
ample. Monsieur L6verson Le Due, a French diplo- 
matist in Eussia, tells us that he knows of one parish in 
Muscovy where the people lock up their pastor every Sa- 
turday night, in order that he may not be too muzzy for 
mass on the Sunday. They occasionally find him very 
drunk, nevertheless, when they have forgotten previously 
to examine beneath his robe, under which the sinning sot 
sometimes smuggles his quart of Cognac ! Sir George 
Simpson crossed the Pacific in a Russian vessel. The 
chaplain had been sent in her to sea, because he was al- 
ways too drunk to officiate on land. He was kept sober 
expressly for the hour of service on Sundays, but at other 
times, he appears to have realized the verse in the old 
song of Dibdin's, wherein it is said that 

" 'Tother day as our chaplain was preaching, 

Behind him I curiously slunk ; 
And while he our duty was teaching, 

As how we should never get drunk, 
I show'd him the stuff, and he twigg'd it, 
And it soon set his Eev'rence agog. 

And he swigg'd, and Nick swigg'd. 

And Ben swigg'd, and Dick swigg'd. 

And we all of us swigg'd it, — 
And we swore there was nothing like grog." 

These examples, however, must be understood as occur- 
ring mostly, if not exclusively, among the lower classes 
of the clergy. There was a time when " the Vicar and 
Moses" illustrated the sad doings of a similar class among 
ourselves. 

The Greek clergy in the South of Europe present us 
with something no less curious of aspect. The haU-kitohen 
of the Greek Patriarch, at Constantinople, is crowded with 
inferior clergy, who take their meals there, and his All- 
Holiness himself is served with pipes and sweetmeats by 



380 TABLE TRAITS. 

nothing less than gentlemen in Deacon's orders. Fancy 
our Lord Primate ringing his bell for cheroots for two ! 
and having them brought in on a silver tray by the Curate 
of St. Margaret's ! 

The Greek usages however are classical. The stranger 
who dines with the Patriarch has, previous to falling to, 
water poured over his hands as he holds them over a basin 
with a perforated cover, and the napkins for drying them 
are as delicate as rose-leaves. The guest reclines on a" 
low couch, in ancient fashion, and his repast is placed on a 
low stool at his side. The same custom exists in the con- 
vents, but meat is seldom to be found there by a guest 
who arrives unexpectedly. The monks themselves never 
eat it at all. During half the year they have but one 
meal a-day, and that consists of vegetables and bread. On 
the other days of the year they are permitted the more 
liberal, but sufficiently eremitic fare of cheese, eggs, fish, 
wine, and milk ; but even on these gala days they are 
never allowed more than two meals. Poor fellows ! the 
majority of them pass their remarkably well-spent time, 
when not at table, in tilling the ground or teaching won- 
derful feats to very accomplished tom-cats ! 

A Greek monk's idea of an Englishman is that he is a 
plum-pudding eater. And no wonder, since the English 
are almost the exclusive purchasers of the currant-grapes 
which are cultivated all along the northern shores of the 
Peloponnesus, from Patra to Corinth. As the Chinese 
think that we take their tea that we may live, so the Greek 
monks conclude that we must buy their currants, or die ! 
At the convent of Vestizza, the good fathers trouble their 
heads about nothing but the produce and price of their 
great staple crop. If you ask how many brethren there 
are in the convent, they will answer, " Three hundred ; 
and what was the price of currants in England when you 
left ?" Inquire if their books be in good order, and they 



THE SUPPORT OP SAINTS OF LATER DAYS. 381 

■will reply in the negative, adding an assurance that they 
do their utmost to produce the best currants in the country. 
And they -will give you permission to see their church, if 
you will only promise to recommend their dwarf grapes to 
the English merchants who are catering for plum-pudding 
eaters at home. The grounds of other convents in the 
peninsula are famous for their nuts, in the exportation of 
which the brethren drive no inconsiderable trade. 

These worthy people are said to be a trifle more en- 
lightened and a degree less slothful than they were some 
thirty years ago. There was ample room and verge 
enough for improvement ; for at the period mentioned, the 
Greek priests resisted the introduction of the potato into 
the kitchen-garden, for the very satisfactory reason that 
the pomme de terre was the very identical apple with 
which Satan beguiled Eve out of Paradise! Yes, these 
modern and orthodox saints very generally held that the 
devil tempted Eve with an "ash-leaf kidney !" 

If we cross over to Abyssinia, we shall find that the 
priests and orthodox people there keep as poor tables, at 
least on fast days, as the Greeks. Above eight months in 
the year are assigned by the Abyssinian Cln-istians to 
abstinence ! On these occasions an Abyssinian neither 
eats nor drinks till long after noon. On festival days, 
however, they make up for their moderation by imre- 
straiued excess. Mr. Mansfield Perkyns, a traveller who 
has given us the most recgnt account of life in Abyssinia, 
tells us that, in honour of the festival of the Elevation of 
the Cross, he gave an early breakfast to some dozen 
guests, who were engaged to half-a-dozen other parties in 
the course of the same joyous day, and that these guests 
whetted their appetite for later meals by consuming at 
breakfast a fine fat cow, two large sheep, and endless 
gallons of mead ! On these occasions the mead is pretty 
prolific of murder. The guests get dreadfully drunk in 



383 TABLE TEAITS. 

honour of the day, exactly as many highly civilized 
Christian people in happy England do on the yearly 
recurrence of " merry Christmas." Indeed, a feast of the 
Elevation of the Cross without plenty of quarrelling and 
bloodshed would be as dull as Donnybrook fair now is 
without a row. But the Abyssinian Christian is as clever 
in establishing a casus belli as a Donnybrook Eomanist. 
If the latter sees the fair is likely to end without a fight, 
he simply takes off his hat, draws a white line round it 
with chalk, and declaring that he will break the head of 
the first man who denies that such white line is silver 
lace, he has speedily abundance of active work before him. 
So a pious Abyssinian at an " Elevation" banquet, if he 
finds things dull, merely remarks to his dearest friend and 
next neighbour, " You are a good sort of man, but you 
are not so handsome as I am!" and thereupon out fly the 
knives of the parties and their respective friends, which 
they proceed to clean by plunging them into each other's 
ribs! 

The people are brought up on a food likely to encourage 
such pugnacious propensities. Mr. Perkyns, speaking of 
the slaughtering of oxen for the kitchen, says : — " Almost 
before the death-struggle is over, persons are ready to- 
flay the carcase, and pieces of the raw, meat are cut ofij 
and served up before this operation is completed. In 
fact, as each part presents itself, it is cut off and eaten 
while yet warm and quivering. In this state it is con- 
sidered, and justly so, to be very superior in taste to what 
it is when cold. Raw meat, if kept a little time, gets 
tough; whereas, if oaten fresh and warm, it is far tenderer 
than the most tender joint that has been hung a week iu 
England. The taste is perhaps, in imagination, rather 
disagreeable at first, but far otherwise when one gets 
accustomed to it ; and I can readily believe that raw meat 
would be preferred to cooked meat, by a man who from 



THE SUFPOET OF SAINTS OF LATER DATS. 383 

ohildhood had been accustomed to it." Suet fare, I may 
observe, may not be out of place at the table of a patriarch 
who lives in such a chmate as that of Abyssinia, but we 
suspect that it would as much astonish a dinner party at 
an episcopal palace in England, as Mr. Perkyns himself 
would do were he to sit down to that dinner in his 
ordinary Abyssinian fashion of — a bald head covered with 
butter ! 

I have spoken in another chapter of a Brahmin who 
stuffed himself with sweetmeats until he was nearly suf- 
focated, and who exclaimed, on being recommended to 
swallow a little water, that if he had had room for water he 
would have swallowed more sweetmeats ! It is but justice, 
however, to these saintly gentlemen to confess that they 
can fast when there is anything to be gained by it. 
Among the Mahrattas, when a fast man attempts to cheat 
his creditors, a Brahmin is hired to sit the dhurna, and 
this is the process — a process, by the way, which Monsieur 
Dimanche tried on Don Juan, but unsuccessfully. The 
Brahmin goes to the house or tent of the debtor, some- 
times attended by numerous followers, and he announces 
the dhurna, by which the debtor must not eat until he 
has discharged his liabilities. The clerical bailiff sits at 
his side and is bound to fast also, until the matter is 
arranged. He who holds out longest wins the day, and if 
the debtor be famished he will pay rather than die out- 
right, for eat he dare not until his creditor be satisfied; 
besides, if he were to starve the Brahmin to death, the 
crime would be so heinous, that the debtor himself had 
better have departed to the world of shadows. It 
ensues that sitting dhurna is more successful in certain 
districts than it would be in Belgravia, even though the 
Archbishop of Canterbury himself were to take his seat 
in the middle of the square, with a declaration that he 
would neither move nor eat until every inhabitant in 



384 



TABLE TRAITS. 



the parish had paid his Christmas bills. Poor man ! he 
would have to sit as long as infeUx Theseus. 

The saints of our puritan days were great favourers of 
public fasts; but these fasts were less numerous after they 
had consolidated their power, than before. " In the be- 
ginning of the wars," says Foulis, in his " History of the 
wicked Plots of the pretended Saints," " a public monthly 
fast was appointed for the last Wednesday of every month, 
but no sooner had they got the king upon the scaffold, 
and the nation fully secured to the Kump interest, but 
they thought it needless to abuse and gall the people with 
a multitude of prayers and sermons, and so, by a, par- 
ticular act of their worships (April 23, 1649), nulled the 
proclamation for the observation of the former ; all which 
verifieth the old verses : — ' 

" ' The devil was sick, the deril a monk would be. 
The devil was well, the devil a monk was he." " 

George Fox, the father of the Quakers, remarks in his 
Journal, of the Puritans and their fasts: — ''Both in the 
time of the Long Parliament, and of the Protector, so 
called, and of the Committee of Safety, when they pro- 
claimed fasts, they were commonly like Jezebels, and there 
was some mischief to be done." Taylor, the Water-poet, 
compares their fests to hidden feasts. "They were like the 
holy maid," he says, " that enjoined herself to abstain four 
days from any meat whatsoever; and being locked close 
up in a room, she had nothing but her two books to feed 
upon ; but the two books were two painted boxes, made 
in the form of great Bibles, with clasps and bosses, the 
inside not having one word of God in them ; but the one 
was fiUed with sweetmeats, the other with wine; upon 
which this devout votary did fast with zealous meditation, 
eating up the contents of one book, and drinking as con- 
tentedly the other." Dr. South, in his Sermons, is equally 



THE SUPPORT OF SAINTS OP LATER DAYS. 385 

severe. He observes that " their fasts usually lasted from 
seven in. the morning till seven at night j the pulpit was 
always the emptiest thing in the church ; and there never 
was such a fast kept by them, but their hearers had cause 
to begin a thanksgiving as soon as they had done." Butler, 
in his Hudibras, hints that the work of fasting was to be 
accounted to the faster, righteousness : — 

" For 'tia not now who's stout and bold. 
But who bears hunger best, and cold. 
And he's approved the most deserving. 
Who longest can hold out at starving." 

The fasting of the civilians, however, was made to turn 
to the benefit of the military gentlemen; and, in March, 
1644, an ordinance was passed for the contribution of one 
meal a week towards the charge of the army. There was 
by far a more considerable liberality of spirit among some 
of the clergy of the time of Louis XIV. than in the 
Puritan authorities, inasmuch as they permitted others 
to follow clerical example rather than precept. The 
celebrated preacher. Father Feuillot, for instance, stood by 
while " Monsieur " was enjoying an uncanonical collation 
in the middle of Lent. His Highness held up a macaron, 
and remarked, " This is not breaking fast, is it?" " Nay," 
said Feuillot, " you may eat a calf, if you will only act 
like a Christian." I am afraid that we had not improved 
at home, in the last century. On one of tho fasts of that 
period, Walpole comments after his usual gay fashion. 
" Between the French and the earthquakes," he says, in 
1756, "you have no notion how good we are grown; 
nobody makes a suit of clothes now but of sackcloth, 
turned up with ashes. The fast was kept so devoutly, 
that Dick Edgecumbe, finding 9, very lean hazard at 
White's, said with a sigh, ' Lord ! how the times are de- 
generated! Formerly, a fast woidd have brought every- 
body hither; now it keeps everybody away!' A few 




386 TABLE TRAITS. . 

nigMs before, two men were walking up the Strand, one 
said to t'other, 'Look how red the sky is! Well, thank 
God, there is to be no masquerade 1'" 

An ex-CapUohin has revealed some of the mysteries of 
the house of which he was lately a member, and by this it 
would appear that the Friars of the nineteenth century 
are as little for slender diet as the fine gentlemen of the 
eighteenth. "These Capuchins," he says, "of squalid 
appearance, clothed in serge, with shaven heads and bare 
feet, presenting the very type of hiunility and self-renun- 
ciation, enjoy the luxuries of life with a prodigality un- 
known to you. The poor friars have, with one exception, 
no enjoyment of the things of this world, their only 
worldly comfort is good cheer. The friars have three car- 
nivals in the year, of two or three weeks' duration each. 
These are the only periods at which they can recruit their 
wasted strength, to enable them to resist the mortifications 
of the rest of the year. During these few weeks they have 
seven courses served at dinner, all substantial and choice 
dishes, the most dainty morsels that can be provided. At 
supper they have five coui-ses. By that hour, in spite of 
their plentiful dinner, they have regained their appetites; 
and their digestion is again most active. These courses 
are as substantial as those of the dinner, and are despatched 
with equal facility by these men of iron frame and tranquil 
conscience. . . . Lent is arrived ! Well, you must fast, 
you must mortify the flesh, but you must not die of inani- 
tion. A good table is necessary, or you will sufier too 
much, from contrast with the past few weeks. You need 
double the supply that the secular orders do when they 
fast, for your digestion is twice as active as theirs. Supper 
is now a sadly scanty meal; it consists simply of fish, 
bread, wine, and fruit. A miserable dish! not miserable 
as to quantity or quality, but because it is the solitary 
dish during the forty days of Lent, always excepting bread 



THE SUPPORT OF SAINTS OF LATEE DATS. 387 

and wine ad libittcm. Fortunately, the friars are wise and 
provident; the slender supper is foreseen and provided 
against at dinner, which consists of four dishes. The 
hottle of good wine is valuable now, or they would be over- 
come with weakness." Such is the testimony of a living 
witness, who pledges his reputation for the truth of his 
depositions. 

I do not know that there is much that is exaggerated in 
this, for from M. Saurin we hear that, in France^ well-to- 
do priests mortify the flesh on maigre days by very pretty 
eating. The bill of fare of these saintly men has been 
known to include soup au coulis d'ecrevisse, salmon-trout, 
an omelette an Than, that would have called a dead 
gastronome to life; a salad, the very smell of which 
seemed to give eternal youth; Semonal cheese, fruit, con- 
fectionary, a light wine, and a cup of coffee. By such 
self-denial is heaven gained by modern saints, in orders; 
having fair fortunes, and looks with the same characteristic. 

The Dominicans of Italy are in no degree behind their 
brethren in France. The " late prior and visitor of the 
order," who recently published his dealings with the 
Inquisition, thus describes his ancient brethren. "They do 
nothing," he says, "which they are bound to do by their 
rules, if these are opposed to their inclinations. They 
profess never to eat meat in the refectory, or room for 
their common meals ; but there is another room near it, 
which they call by another name, where they eat meat 
constantly. On Good Friday, they are commanded by 
their rules to eat bread and drink water. At the dinner 
hour they aU go together into the refectory, to eat bread 
and drink water, but having done so for the sake of 
appearance, they go one after another into -another room, 
where a good dinner is prepared for them all. I do not 
blame them for enjoying it ; but I blame them for feign- 
ing an abstinence which none of them intend to keep." 
cc2 



388 TABLE TRAITS. 

These Dominicans, honest fellows ! are more hungry than 
the gods of the old regime of whom it is said, — 

" The Gods require the thighs 
Of beeves for sacrifice ; 
Which roasted, we the steam 
Must sacrifice to them. 
Who, though they do not eat. 
Yet loTe the smell of meat." 

But our poor friend the monk has witnesses in his 
favour, as well as opposed to him. Some men call him a 
living mummy swathed in faith. Another says he is 
" a moral gladiator who wrestles with his passions, and 
either stifles them or is devoured by them." A third, 
describes him picturesquely as a sea-worthy vessel moored 
iu a stagnant dock; and a fourth dismisses him con- 
temptuously as a coward who won't fight. Even allowing 
him to be all these, it does not follow that he is to be 
deprived of his dinner. If he pays homage with his body 
to the saints, he has earned what has been called the 
mind's daily homage to the body. Dinner should be the 
peculiar privilege of the monk, for it is as he is, in some 
sense, "the open friend of poverty, the secret foe of 
riches ;" and if dinner be "the breakfast of the poor and 
the supper of the. rich," it is doubly due to the monk, who 
can claim it by either title. And it must not be sup- 
posed that they do not know how to enjoy pleasure like 
sensible men. The AbbS of St. Sulpice, a Bernardine 
monastery in the south of France, once invited a party of 
merry and musical gentlemen from the neighbouring 
town to come up to the monastery, and give the monks 
a treat of good music on the fUe day of their patron 
saint. A joyous company ascended at early dawn to 
the monastery ; the most remarkable incident connected 
with which is, that it is seated at the edge of a pine 
forest, from which a hurricane swept down, in one night, 



THE SUPPORT OF SAINTS OF LATEE DATS. 389 

thirty-seven thousand trees. The visitors were received by 
the cellarer, the abb€ not being yet risen, who conducted 
them to the refectory, where they found awaiting them 
a pat6 as big as a church; flanked on the north by a 
quarter of cold veal ; on the south by a monster ham ; on 
the east by a monumental pile of butter ; and on the west 
by a bushel of artichokes ct la poivrade. All the ne- 
cessary adjuncts were at hand j and among others, a 
party of lay brethren ready to wait upon the visitors, and 
very much astonished to find themselves out of bed at so 
early an hour. An array of a hundred bottles of wine 
bespoke the fathers' idea of good cheer ; and the cellarer, 
having bidden them fall-to and welcome, deplored his 
inability to join them, not having yet said mass, — and he 
then took his leave to go and sing " matins." 

The breakfast was done ample justice to ; after which 
the visitors retired to take a short repose, subsequently 
repairing to the church, where they performed a musical 
service with the usual zeal and energy of amateurs, and 
received modestly the showers of thanks that descended 
upon them in return. 

Monks and musicians then sat down to a dinner, 
— ample, admirably cooked, excellently served, and 
thoroughly enjoyed. The abundance that marked it may 
be judged of by the fact, that at the second course there 
were not less than fifteen dishes of roasted meats. The 
dessert would have made the eyes of a queen sparkle ; 
the liqueurs were choice, and the coffee redolent of Araby 
the Blest. The enjoyment was long and perfect ; and by 
the end of the repast, there was not man or monk present 
who was not in charity with all the world. The " pious, 
glorious, and immortal memory " of St. Bernard was not 
forgotten among the toasts. 

And then came vespers and more amateur music, — 
probablv more vigorously performed than in the morning. 



390 TABLE TRAITS. 

And after vespers there was a division of pleasures : some 
took to quiet games at cards, some chose a ramble in the 
wood, and a few looked in again upon their friend the 
cellarer. As night came on, all again drew together, but 
the discreet abbot retired, willing to allow the brethren 
full liberty on a festival which only came " once a year." 
And to do the brothers justice, they began to make a 
night of it as soon as the superior had disappeared. Jokes 
and laughter and winged words flew about like vrildfire, 
and the exercise got thereby sharpened the general appe- 
tite for supper, — a repast 'which was discussed with a 
vivacity as if the guests had been fasting up to that very 
hour. Wit and wine, and wisdom and folly, were all 
mingled together ; and the oldest of the fathers present, 
with a flush on the cheek and a light in the eye, joined 
chorus in table songs that were not sung to the tune of 
N'unc dimittis. It was when the fun was flying most fast 
and furious, that a voice exclaimed, " Brother cellarer, 
where is your official dish?" "True!" answered that 
reverend individual; "I am not cellarer for nothing;" 
— and therewith he disappeared, but speedily returned 
accompanied by three servitors, bearing piles of buttered 
toast and bowls of what worldly men would have called 
" punch." If the fun had waxed fast before, it grew fiery now, 
and fervour for the patron saint glowed at the very fiercest 
heat that punch could give it. In the midst of it all, the 
hour of midnight was solemnly toUed out by the convent 
bell, and the revellers, reverend and laic, swang merrily 
to bed, satisfied with the day well spent in honour of 
St. Bernard. 

I have now spoken of the Dominicans, Capuchins, and 
Bernardins. The Franciscans are a not less lively fra- 
ternity. When the author of Eothen was at the Fran- 
ciscan Monastery in Damascus, he asked one of the monks 
to tell what places were best worth seeing, in reference to 



THE SUPPOET OP SAINTS OP LATER DATS. 391 

their association with St, Paul. " There is nothing in all 
Damascus," said the good man, " half so 'well worth seeing 
as our cellars ; " and forthwith he invited the stranger to 
" go and admire the long range of liquid treasures that he 
and his brethren had laid up for themselves upon earth.'' 
And, adds the author, "these I soon found were not as 
the treasures of the miser, that lie in unprofitable disuse ; 
for day by day, and hour by hour, the golden juice 
ascended from the dark recesses of the cellar to the 
uppermost brains of the friars, dear old feUows ! In the 
midst of that solemn land, their Christian laughter rang 
loudly and merrily. Their eyes kept flashing with joyous 
bonfires, and their heavy woollen petticoats could no more 
weigh down the springiness of their paces, than the filmy 
gauze of a danseuse can cloy her bounding step." 

Richard the First, as worthless a human being as ever 
lived, bankrupt in every virtue save that of brute courage, 
in making legacy of his vices, said he would bequeath glut- 
tony to the priests. It was rather a compliment than 
otherwise, for the inference was, that they lacked what he 
was willing to surrender, when he could no longer enjoy 
it. St. Augustin settled this vexed question as to what 
was " good living," when he said, that " the great fast was 
abstinence from vice." And in the true spirit of St. 
Augustin's prose, rings the rich rhyme in Herrick's Noble 
Numbers. " Is this," he says, 

" Is this a fast, to keep 
The larder leane 
And cleane 
From fat of veales and sheep ? 

" Is it to quit the dish 
Of flesh, yet still 
To fill 
The platter high with fish? 



392 TABLE TBAIIS. 

" Is it to faste an houre ? 
Or ragged to go, 
Or show 
A downcast look, and souret 

" No ; 'tis a fast, to dole 
Thy sheaf of wheat. 
And meat, 
TTnto the hungry soulc. 

" It is to fast from strife, 
From old debate. 
And hate ; 
To circumcise thy life. 

" To show a heart grief-rent, 
To starve thy sin, 
Not bin : 
And that's to keep thy Lent." 

This is better philosophy than that given on a similar 
subject by Montesquieu, who only recommends moderation 
on the ground that it lengthens the term of enjoyment. 
" I call moderation," says Pythagoras, " all that does not 
engender pain ;'' and by this maxim of the Hellenized 
Hindoo, Buddha Ghooros, the saints both of the desert and 
the dining-room may, perhaps, in their several ways be 
condemned. 

In treating of the diet of more modem saints than those 
of the days of martyrdom, I might have noticed the fact, 
that in not very remote times, the parsonage-house at Lang- 
dale, in Westmoreland, was licensed as an ale-house, the 
living being too poor to allow the incumbent to make any- 
thing like one upon it for himself. The ale-cask became 
to the priest, what the fruit of the amrite tree was to the 
Tibetians — ^the spring of life. This Westmoreland ale was 
accounted a great strengthener, but so have many less 
likely things. But enough of the " saints," good men and 



THE SUPPORT OF SAINTS OP LATER DATS. 393 

true the majority of them, earning their right to enjoy 
the rich blessings of God, by fairer means, perhaps, than 
many of their censnrers. I know no set of men so well 
to contrast with the saints, as the " Caesars," and we have 
yet time before supper to attend that august company 
to table. 



THE CiESARS AT TABLE. 



It is a well-ascertaiued truth, that the Csesars at table 
by no means generally conducted themselves as though 
they were under the influence of a Roman Chesterfield, 
as regarded their behaviour ; or a Roman Abemethy, as 
regarded their moderation. Perhaps the great JuUus was 
as much of a gentleman in both the above respects as any 
of his imperial successors ; and even he could reform the 
calendar with far more ease than he could reform himself. 

When he was commanding in the Roman provinces, 
beyond the Italian frontier, he kept two distinct tables. 
At one sat his inferior o£S.€ers and the Greeks who were in 
his service. The latter do not appear to have expressed 
any discontent at not ranking with their Roman comrades. 
At the other table sat none but Romans of high state, with 
such native guests of quality as Caesar chose to invite to 
meet them. He would watch his servants as sharply as he 
did the enemy; and on one occasion, having observed that 
his baker had put down to his guests a coarser bread 
than that which he had served to Csesar, he sent the knave 
to prison, there to learn better manners. 

Csesar was as sober as Sir Charles Napier, who used to 
sign himself " Governor of Scinde, because I was always a 
sober man." Cato said of Julius, that he was the only 
sober man who had ever attempted to subvert a government; 
"a cutting sarcasm on all preceding patriots." As for 
■'a.uces, the Duke of Wellington did not inspire FrancateUi, 



THE C^SAES AT TABLE. 395 

with more despair upon that head, than Csesar did his 
cook. It was immaterial to him whether he had sauce to 
his meat, or not ; and as to the quality, he never concerned 
himself about it. He ate, thankfully perhaps, but thought- 
lessly, certainly. His politeness was sometimes ridiculously 
excessive, as when he ate up the ointment which had been 
served instead of sauce, at a table where he was a guest, 
and where he was courteously resolved to find everything 
excellent. But although the great Julius was, according to 
Cato, the only man who came sober to the subversion of his 
country, he had some unsoberly habits about him. Thus, 
when invited to a feast, he used to whet his appetite by 
taking an emetic. This is attested by Cicero, who says, in 
his letters to Atticus, (lib. siii. p. 52,) " Unctus est ; accu- 
buit; EfXETiKijv agebat. Itaque edit et bibit dSeuiE et 
jucunde." Suetonius agrees with Cato, that Csesar was 
moderate with regard to wine : — " Vini parcissimum ne 
quidem inimici negaverunt." 

It is singular that a man who cared so little as he was 
reported to have done for his stomach, should have cared 
so much about the outside of his head. He could eat 
pomatum, and yet be ashamed of the baldness which a 
proper application of the unguent mightperhapshave cured. 

Augustus Csesar, who visited prisoners, like Howard, 
and cut off heads like an Algerine Dey, was moderate in 
his cups, and endeavoured to make the people so. When 
the latter once complained that wine was not only dear, 
but scarce, he gravely proclaimed that his son-in-law 
Agrippa had been looking to the aqueducts, and there was 
no fear of any one dying of thirst. 

There were seasons, however, when he could be more 
than imperially extravagant. Witness the little supper he 
gave to chosen guests, all of whom attended in the attire 
of gods and goddesses ; and at which feast he presided in 
the character of Apollo. The wits of the day, who were 



396 TABLE TRAITS. 

not invited, denounced this supper as an orgy at which 
decent people would not have been present, even if asked. 
Such stupendous iniquity was said there to have been en- 
acted, that the real gods who had at first looked laugh- 
ingly dovm from Olympus, withdrew one by one behind 
their respective clouds. Even Jove himself, who sat gazing 
longest, at length hurried away from the sight of men, who 
were greater beasts than the privileged gods ! 

Like some of the extravagant and unclean banquets at 
Versailles, this entertainment was given when there was a 
famine in the city. On the following day, the people ex- 
claimed in the streets, " It is the gods who have devoured 
the food." The less fearful than these raised an altar to 
Augustus Phoebus, and there paid mock worship to the 
Emperor, under the title of Apollo the Tormentor. 

It was not every one that deemed himself entitled, that 
could find access to the table of Caesar Augustus. He was 
extremely nice with regard to his associates, but he was 
not so nice with respect to keeping his guests waiting for 
his company. It was the maxim of Sir Joshua Reynolds, 
that it was far less courteous on principle to allow hungry 
guests to be kept from table out of respect to one man, 
than it was to go to dinner without him. So also Au- 
gustus thought that the many should not be made to wait 
for one ; and, accordingly, he frequently did not appear at 
table till the repast was half over; and sometimes departed 
even then, after tasting of from three to half-a-dozen dishes, 
before it was concluded. 

He was dignified and condescending, enjoyed the jokes 
of those who were bold enough to make them, and en- 
couraged the reserved to be bold and jocund too. When 
jests lacked from either of those parties, the master of the 
Roman world then laughed, as he sipped his moderate 
draught, at the quips and cranks of the hired jesters, whose 
ofice it was to be cheerful when the guests grew dull. 



THE C^SAES AT TABLE. 397 

It has come down to us that he was a lover of brown 
bread, small fish, green cheese and green figs. He was so 
far intemperate that he would never let his appetite tarry 
till meal-time. He ate when he was hungry, and perhaps 
he was right. And yet it was but an unedifying sight to 
see him passing in his chariot through the public streets, 
returning the greetings of the people with one hand full of 
bread, the other fuU of dates, and his almost sacred mouth 
full of both. He was, in fact, wayward in his attentions 
to his appetite, and woxdd occasionally fast till sunset if 
the caprice took him. As to what is said of him that he 
sometimes rose from the most sumptuous banquets, leav- 
ing the viands untouched, — this was perhaps because the 
edge of his appetite had been altogether destroyed by 
brown bread and indigestible fruit. 

In the day-time he quenched his thirst by eating of 
bread dipped in water, by drinking water itself, or by 
taking a slice of cucumber, lettuce, or unripe apple. His 
moderation in drinking, when he did take up the goblet 
at the evening repast, is much spoken of, but as we hear 
more of the quantity than of the strength of what he 
drank, it is difficult to decide upon this point. Suetonius 
admiringly records that " he never exceeded a quart for 
his share, or if he did, he was sure to throw it up again.'' 
This is but equivocal praise after all. He was a very great 
man, no doubt, but, demi-god as he almost was, he spelt 
after the " cacological" fashion of Lord Duberly ; and he 
was more afraid of lying awake in the dark than any little 
baron or squire in the nurseries of Belgravia and the ad- 
jacent squares. 

Tiberius, like his predecessor, treated his soldiers occa- 
sionally like schoolboys, and when they displeased him, 
he used to pat them on a regimen of barley. Tiberius 
himself was not a profuse eater j he was rather moderate 
than otherwise, and when gastronpmio extravagancy had 



398 tABLE TEAITS. 

reached a high pitch in Eome, he used to dine in puhEc, 
like the kings of France, but, unlike them, upon cold 
meat, as a reproof to the luxury of the times. He was 
not, however, at all moderate in his cups, and the Roman 
wits, who, like those of Paris, used to make merry epigrams 
on the worst of their woes, punningly transformed his 
names of Tiberius Claudius Nero, into Biberius Galdius 
Mero. He had a reverence too for great draughts, and 
he once raised a common fellow to the office of qusestor, 
simply because he could drink off a measure of three 
pints of wine without drawing breath. Most of the 
Csesars must have been very unsatisfactory people to dine 
with, but none more so than Tiberius, who loved discus- 
sion, but if he found himself worsted in it, he invariably 
ordered his opponent to retire — and commit suicide. A 
hot bath and a vein or two opened soon disposed of an 
inconvenient adversary. He used to puzzle his guests 
with all sorts of strange questions, such as would puzzle 
even the editor of Notes and Queries to answer. One of 
these interrogatory puzzles was " the name of the song- 
chanted by the Syrens." He would not speak the 
fashionable Greek at table, but conversed in Latin ; and his 
favourite feat at dessert was to run his forefinger through- 
a hard green apple. 

Caligula must have been a most . unpleasant person to 
dine with. He entertained himself and his guests with 
the sight of mfen tortured on the rack, and he got up 
little private executions on those occasions to enliven the 
scene. We read of Her Majesty's private concerts, and 
how " Mrs. Anderson" presided at the piano. But the 
Romans only heard of their Emperor's killing fun to 
frighten his guests with, and how his Divinity's private 
headsman, Niger Barbatus, performed, as usual, with his 
well-known dexterity. His frolics were really of a frightful 
character. It was after a banquet, when the capital jest 



THE OiESAES AT TABLE. 399 

of slaying had failed to make him as merry as usualj that 
he rushed to the sacrificial altar, attired in the dress of 
a victim-killer, that is, with a linen apron for his sole 
costume. He seized the mallet as though he were about 
to slay the appointed victim, but he turned suddenly 
round on the resident official and butchered him instead. 
And thereat, all who had witnessed the frolicsome deed 
of their master, declared that " 'Fore Jove, 'twas a more 
capital joke than the last !" His answer to the Consuls 
who ventured to ask the cause of a sudden burst of 
laughter in which he indulged at a crowded feast, is well 
known ; " I laugh to think," said the amiable creature, 
" that with one wave of my hand I can sweep all your 
stupid heads off!" His method of loving was equally 
characteristic. He would fling his terrible arm round the 
fair neck he professed to admire, and express his delight 
that he could cut it off when he pleased. There was the 
brilliant Cesonia; "I cannot tell," said her imperial 
lover at a feast, " why it is that I am so fond of that 
girl. rU have her put on the rack for a quarter of an 
hour, that she may be compelled to tell me the reason." 
Blue Beard was the mildest of Quaker gentlemen com- 
pared with this Caligula. A lady might as well have 
been wooed by a boa constrictor. 

Claudius Csesar has hardly had justice done him, as 
regards his general character, but as my office is only to 
show how he looked at table, I must be satisfied with 
making the remark, and pass on to Caesar at meat. He 
was no hero, undoubtedly, for he contemplated suicide, 
for no better reason than having a pain in his stomach 
after a repast. In this, however, he did not show less 
courage than Zeno, the father of the Stoics, who having 
bruised his finger by a fall, went home and hung himself. 

He was largely hospitable, and sometimes entertained 
six hundred guests at a time. He liked on these occasions 



400 TABLE TRAITS. 

to see Ills own children and those of the nobility seated, ac- 
cording to the ancient fashion, at the lower end of the table. 
It is to be hoped that they were out of ear-shot of what 
was being said at the upper end. The jokes were sometimes 
pleasant enough in their way. Thus a Eoman nobleman 
having carried home with him a gold plate from the im- 
perial table, was gently reminded of his theft when, on the 
next occasion of dining with Claudius, he saw a reproach- 
fully vulgar earthenware platter put down before him. 

He was a man of infinite capacity, was the divine 
Claudius, — ^that is, in gastronomic matters. He was ever 
ready to devour, and always did so greedily. He has 
been known to have suddenly jumped down from his seat 
in the forum, allured by the smell of roast meat issuing 
from the priest's table, in the adjacent temple of Mars. 
And he would sit down with the reverend gentleman, 
without waiting for an invitation. It must have surely 
made the common-place spectators of the feat broadly 
smile, just as if the twelve judges in Westminster Hall 
were to leap from their benches, and racing across the 
churchyard, pour into the first house in the cloisters where 
the dinner bell was ringing loudest, and the prandial odour 
was most savoury. 

He ate like Baal, and drank like the beast in Fortu- 
natus. He did both to repletion; but his attendants 
would then tickle his throat with a feather, and so, by 
exonerating his stomach, enable the imperial animal to eat 
and drink again. He contemplated making a decree for 
the benefit of guests at table, which was of a Kabelaisian 
indelicacy, and which probably never presented itself to 
the minds of any other men but Claudius and the Cur6 of 
. Meudon. 

Caligula had more afiection for his horse than for any- 
thing human. He fed him on gilded oats, and the animal 
was not a more beastly consul than many who were 



THE O^SAES AT TABLE. 401 

appointed to that high office. The emperor's dinner parties 
must have presented a strange aspect, when the obsequious 
senators stood, napkin in hemd, to wait upon the guests. 
Fancy the peers of all politics, and the commons of every 
shade of opinion, aU ranged behind the dinner-table at 
Windsor Castle, in the professional uniform of dingy white 
waistcoats and napless black coats, with their thumbs duly 
doubled up in napkins, and all offering anxious service, 
and " dindon k la daube " to ova: Sovereign Lady and her 
guests, — fancy this, I say, and you will have the very 
remotest idea possible of what the sight was like when the 
senators changed the plates of Caesar. The personages 
and their qualities are aU different, but the strangeness 
of one spectacle could only be matched by that of the 
other. 

Nero (who found sport in sitting in an upper gallery at 
the theatre, and flinging down nuts upon the bald head of 
the prsetor below) was a very common-place individual at 
table,, but he assembled guests about him who were ever ^ 
ready to consume his good things and applaud his good 
sayings. Galba, his successor, was at once gouty and 
gluttonous. He commenced eating at early dawn, and 
darkness came over him still with appetite unsatiated. 
He was as mean, however, as he was voracious. He did 
once so far whip up his liberal spirit as to compel him- 
self to give a dinner party ; but when he read the biU of 
fare, he feirly burst into tears at the idea of the extrava- 
gance and the expense. And yet the most costly dish he 
could reprovingly point to, when his steward challenged 
him, was a dish of boiled peas; — but perhaps they were 
out of season, and Galba knew he should be asked for 
them at least a guinea a quart! He would never have 
been guilty of the prodigality of the Emperor Otho, who 
daily wasted more bread and milk in making cosmetic 
poidtices to lay on his own face than would have served to 

D D 



402 TABLE TEAITS. 

keep body and soul together in half-a-dozen families. The 
father of Vitellius more gallantly, when he wished to look 
well at the centre of his table, was wont to besmear him- 
self with a mixture made up of honey and his mistress's 
saliva. He of course deemed it impossible to say which 
was the sweeter of the two ingredients. This was even 
worse than Galba, who was, however, essentially greedy; 
the latter emperor could not eat with pleasure unless he 
had more before him than he could digest. When his 
stomach cried, " Hold, enough !" he used it as the Somer- 
setshire lad did his. "Ah !" exclaimed the lad of Win- 
canton, to certain monitions, — " ye may ake, but, 'vor I ha' 
done, I'U make ye ake worser." Galba, when no longer 
able to eat, lay and gazed at what he hoped to attack 
more successfully after digestion had been accomplished. 

Otho is remembered as being the complaisant gentle- 
man who, when Nero had determined to murder his 
mother, gave an exquisite little supper to both parties by 
way of a pleasant preliminary. But Otho could at least 
behave with outward decency, and of this Vitellius was 
incapable. If he walked through the market-place, he 
snatched the meat roasting at the cooks' stalls, and 
greedily devoured it. He was not more reverent even in 
the temple ; where, taking advantage of his vicinity to 
the altar, he would sweep the latter of the barley that was 
on it, consecrated to the god, and swallow the same, like 
the sacrilegious heathen that he was. When about to fly 
from the enemies who had overturned his throne, he 
selected only his cook and his butler to be the companions 
of his flight, and he took the former dear associate with 
him, in his own covered chair. ' 

The chief table trait which I can call to mind as con- 
nected with Vespasian is, that once a month he went 
without dinner for a day. Such an observance, he said, 
saved at once his health and his purse. He had so much 



THE.C^SAES AT TABLE. 403 

the less to pay to his purveyor ; and in consequence of 
the fast, less also perhaps than if he had feasted, to his 
physician. Both the sons of Vespasian, Titus and Domi- 
tian, were mpdest at the banquet. The former had ceased 
to he a free liver before he put on the imperial mantle ; 
and as for Domitian, he could wash down his Mahan 
apple with a draught of water, and then address himself 
to sleep, as though he were a virtuous anchorite, and not 
the most thirsty drinker of human blood that ever dis- 
graced his race. 



The five succeeding emperors, — Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, 
and the two Antonines, — Antoninus Pius, and Marcus 
Aurelius, — governed the world during the eighty years 
which are said, but questionably I think, to have'been 
■the happiest years of the human race. There is little on 
record as to how these potentates disported themselves at 
table. Trajan, indeed, is known to have been a fearful 
drinker ; but he loved a quiet, unceremonious dinner at 
the house of a friend of modest degree, — for there he 
tippled and talked to his heart's content, and willingly 
forgot that he was Csesar. Hadrian is remembered as the 
first Eoman emperor who wore a beard. He had warts 
on his throat, and he did not like that these should be 
seen by his guests at table. He once gave an entertain- 
ment which cost upwards of two millions sterling, (when 
Verus was made Caesar,) and he was sorry for it through 
the remainder of his life. Many a man of far humbler 
degree has committed the same kind of extravagance, and 
experienced the same enduring repentance. Antoninus 
kept the table of a country gentleman ; and Marcus 
Aurelius dined alone, whUe Commodus, his son, played 
at his knee. The board of that son resembled that of 
ViteUius, and he fell from it one day, full of drugged wine 
dd2 



404 



TABLE TEAITS. 



administered to him by a concubine, and was strangled 
as he lay beneath the table, drunk, and deserving of his 
late. 

The modest Pertinax was less happy as emperor than 
when, as a simple official, he had charge of the provisions 
of Eome. Didius Julianus was deep in the luxuries of 
the table, and not nearly so deep in wisdom, when he 
made a bid for the diadem, a few uneasy dinners in the 
palace, an,d death. Septimius Severus, cared less for the 
splendour of his table than the consolidation of his power, 
but his banquets were choice things, nevertheless. His 
sons, CaraoaUa and Geta, exemplified their fraternal una- 
nimity by keeping different tables. They never sat down 
together at the same board ; and there were two factions 
in the court, something like that of George the Second, 
at St. James's, and the son whom he hated, Frederick, 
Prince of Wales, in Leicester Square. Macrinus was a 
coarse feeder, and in everything he presented a re- 
markable contrast with his successor Heliogabalus. 

Heliogabalus lay on , couches stuffed with hare's down, 
or partridge feathers, .^lius Verus reclined on cushions 
of lily and rose-leaves. The first-named monster had his 
funny moments ; and sometimes he would invite a certain 
number of bald men, or of gouty men, or grey-headed 
men, and he was particularly amused at a company of fat 
men, so crowded together that they could find room only 
to perspire. " One of his favourite diversions consisted 
in filling a leathern table-couch with air instead of wool ;; 
and while the guests were engaged in drinking, a tap, 
concealed under the carpet, was opened, unknown to 
them, — the couch sank, and the drinkers rolled peU-mell 
under the sigma, to the great delight of the beardless 
emperor." He was the first Boman emperor who wore 
garments of pure, unmixed silk. He cared little for 
poets or philosophers; but he gave liberal premiums to 



THE CJBSAES AT TABLE. 405' 

the inventors of new sauces, provided these pleased his 
palate. If he disliked them, the inventor was condemned 
to eat of nothing else, until he had discovered a new 
condiment to win the imperial sanction. Heliogabalus 
and George I. had this in common, that they both 
liked fish a trifle stale. Thus, it is known that George 
never cared for oysters tUl their shells began sponta- 
neously to gape ; and the Oriental master of the Eoman 
empire, who made a barber prsefect of the provisions, 
would never eat sea-fish except at a great distance from 
the sea, when they acquired the taint he loved. His 
delight then was to distribute vast quantities of the rarest 
sorts, brought at an immense expense, to the peasants of 
the inla,nd country. The table of his successor, Alexander 
Severus, was that of a gentleman. Its master was the 
first Roman emperor to whom that title can be incon- 
testably given ; and he loved to have around him ac- 
complished guests of all varieties of opinion ; and this is 
much more than can be said for that huge and hungry 
Goth, Maximin. The Gordians brought back some of the 
elegances of social life, which the unoleanness and severity 
of Maximin had banished ; but at both the private and 
public, the humble and the imperial, tables of Eome, 
there must have been small ceremony and permanent 
fear during the brief and troubled reigns of the foolish 
men who purchased the right of dining in an imperial 
mantle by being speedily enveloped in a bloody shroud. 
Gallienus, alone, shines out upon the list as the very prince 
of cooks ; and if CarSme had possessed half the enthu- 
siasm which he so warmly affected, he would have named 
his son and heir after this imperial inventor of rago4ts, — 
who was also the accelerator of the ruin of Eome. All 
the temperance of the Gothic Claudius could not restore 
the remnant of ancient moderation, which had been de- 
stroyed by that imperial maker of stews, the ever hungry 



406 TABLE TEAITS. 

and cruel Gallienus. Aurelian failed, like Claudius, but 
the emperor Tacitus was more successful, and the de- 
scendant of the great historian, even during his short 
reign, roused the nobles to a sense of dignity, and 
honoured science by inviting its disciples to his well- 
ordered table. 

A subsequent emperor, Carus, was perhaps one of the 
most frugal, by habit and inclination, that ever wore the 
imperial sword upon his thigh. Carus was at once mode- 
rate and mirthful. He was seated on the grass, supping 
on dry bread and grey peas, when the Persian ambassadors 
came to him, suing for peace. "The matter just stands 
thus, gentlemen,'' said the emperor, opening his mouth 
widely, at the same time, to insert a shovel-like spoonful 
of peas ; " if your master does not acknowledge the su- 
periority of Rome, I will render Persia," — and here he 
took off the cap which he wore to conceal his entire 
baldness, — " I will render Persia as destitute of trees as 
my head is of hair." Having said which, he resumed 
swallowing his peas, and left the delegates to digest his 
remark. 

We are accustomed to consider Diocletian dining at 
Salona, on the cabbages he had reared there, as an 
emperor in reduced circumstances; but the truth is, 
that the palace, gardens, and table of the ex-emperor were 
all of a splendid character, and if his table was adorned by 
the cabbages he had tended to a prize perfection, he was 
far too wise an epicure to confine himself to that dish 
alone. 

The great Constantino appears under a double aspect, 
and the least favourable one is offered to us in his 
maturer years, when he surrendered himself more unre- 
servedly than before to good living, for which he had 
peculiar facilities at Byzantium, took to wearing false 
hair, and became altogether a ridiculous old dandy and 



THE CJLSAES AT TABLE. 407 

hon vivant; the ridicule of whom, by his clever and 
unscrupulous nephew, Julian, I am not at all surprised 
at J for what is so eagerly seized upon by affectionate 
nephews as the foibles of their indulgent uncles? Julian 
was possessed just of that scampish sort of nepotism which 
leads the modest young relative to eat an uncle's dinners 
and deride the donor. Juhan's own table would have 
gained the contempt of an editor of the Almanack des 
Gourmands. Its frugality was frigidly parsimonious in 
its chara cter. The philosophic emperor was a vegetarian, 
and even of vegetables he ate sparingly, but swiftly, 
leaping up, as it were, from dining thereon, to hurry to 
his books or the public business, which he quitted re- 
luctantly when the hour of supper summoned him even 
to a more frugal meal than the dinner, which he despatched 
with a celerity not at all admired by those who dined 
with him. Nothing disgusted him so much as a gross 
feeder, and probably nothing ever so greatly surprised 
him as when, on taking possession of Constantinople, he 
found one thousand cooks waiting to prepare the imperial 
dinner ! A thousand cooks for a man who could dine on 
a boiled turnip ! The Constantines had been accustomed 
to dine upon birds from the most distant climates, fish 
from the most remote seasj to have a dessert of fruits 
out of their natural seasons, and to drink foreign wines 
cooled in the summer snows of . the lofty hills. All this 
was as useless to a man who needed but a crust and an 
apple to calm his appetite, as were the golden basins and 
the jewelled combs to an emperor like Julian, who seldom 
washed even his face, and who not only never cleaned his 
hair, but felt the lively liixury of leaving it undisturbed. 
Julian in this respect was like Anthony Pasquin, who 
was said to have died of a cold caught by washing his 
fece. There was a famous Irish member of Parliament, 
who, unlike Julian, was a glutton at dinner, but who was 



408 TABLE TRAITS. 

remarkable for his religious abstinence from all ablution. 
His son was one day standing in the bow-window of 
White's, when the sire was passing down the opposite side 
of the street. I believe it was the noble lord who, when 
Mr. Gunter in the hunting-field remarked that his horse 
was too "hot" to ride comfortably, suggested to the 
equestrian pastrycook that he should ice him. — I believe 
it was the same noble lord who, on the first occasion 

alluded to above, said to "Jack T ," "Jack! what does 

make your father's hands so dirty?" "Well!" said the 
old Colonel's afiectionate son, " I believe it arises from a 
bad habit he has of putting them up to his face! " And 
so of Julian we may say, that if his hands were innocent 
of water, his famous beard was dirtier than his hands, 
and that it was not pleasant to lie near the emperor at 
dinner, unless guardedly ensconced to the leesasd of his 
sacred and dirty person. w-v^^cW-uaA^ 

If Gratian, who was the first Roman emperor who 
refused the pontifical robe, had lived but as became the 
master of an imperial household, his sacrifice would have 
had more merit; but the emperors of these times had 
curious ideas as to duties. Thus the second Valentinian 
delighted in giving splendid dinners, but at these enter- 
tainments he always, himself, fasted; — a most discouraging 
course for the guests, — ^but he thought there was merit in 
the work. But Theodosius was at least as good a man, 
and we know that he enjoyed the sensual and social 
pleasures of the table without excess; and the same taste 
was shown by that emperor Maximus, who is said to 
have espoused Helena, the daughter of a wealthy Caer- 
narvonshire lord, and to have renewed the popularity of 
boiled leeks in Eome; and this was a better taste than 
that of Honorius, who took to feeding poultry and eating 
them, while Stilicho ruled the empire, and the eunuchs 
lived on the very fat of the land. It was decidedly better 



THE C^SABS AT TABLE, 409 

too than the taste which led Valentinian the third, after 
dining with Petronius Maximus and winning his money, 
to carry off his wife ; a Tarquinian insult, which he paid 
for, however, with his life. Avitus could indulge in such 
freaks, however, with impunity; and he not only seduced 
Roman matrons, but invited their husbands to dinner, 
where the slaves smiled at the imperial raillery directed 
against them while the courses were changing! His 
successor, Majorianus, was a man of another stamp, and 
I woidd fain believe the pleasant anecdote which says of 
him that he went to Carthage in the disguise of his own 
ambassador, and dined with Genseric the king, who was 
especially chafed when he afterwards discovered that he 
had entertained, without knowing it, the Emperor of 
the Romans. Anthemius, if he be famous for little else, 
is at least famous for the superb wedding-dinner with 
which he celebrated the nuptials of his daughter with 
Count Ricimer, a wicked son-in-law who devoured the 
dinners of his "beau pere," and robbed him of his 
estate; — ^no uncommon course for sons-in-law to take. 
The count placed on the uneasy and vacant throne the 
epicurean Glycorius, who, having murdered Julius Nepos 
after a banquet, was made Archbishop of Milan, as one of 
the recompenses of the act. And then the empire fell into 
the delicate hands of the weak and beautiful Augustulus, 
who could not find wherewith in the treasury to maintain 
a decent table, and who was glad to accept clemency and 
an annuity from Odoacer, whereby he was enabled, upon 
six thousand pieces of gold annually, to keep such state 
in the Castle of Lucullus in Campania, that the surround- 
ing gentry visited him in shoals, and ate his dinners by 
way of proof that they looked upon him as a man of the 
highest respectability. 

And this was the end of the " twelve vultures," seen by 



410 TABLE TEAITS. 

Eomulus, foreshadowing the " twelve centuries," more or 
less, that were to mark the duration of the dominion which 
he founded; a dominion commenced by a hungry adven- 
turer, and which crumbled to nothing in the hand of that 
Augustulus, who was but too rejoiced to take in exchange 
for it, the bed, board, and six thousand a-year with which 
• he set up as a hospitable country gentleman, in his rustic 
villa, on the slopes' of Campania. 



As for the Ceesars of the Eastern Empire, they were 
rather Oriental despots than either Greek or Roman 
monarchs, just as the Byzantines were ever more Asiatics 
than Europeans. The sovereigns, for the most part, ate 
at golden tables, and were served like gods. Some of 
them, like Romanus, were, respectable cooks, and more 
than one was discussing the merits of a new sauce or 
dish, when the Saracens were knocking, at the frontier 
gates of the empire. The sort of merry humour indulged 
in by others may be judged of by a single trait of Michael 
the Drunkard. This amiable sovereign started up, one 
day, from table, ere the imperial dinner was well over, 
and assuming an episcopal dress, he descended into the 
streets followed by his courtiers. The latter bore the 
vinegar and mustard that had been on the monarch's side- 
board, and mixing the condiments together, they stopped 
aU passers-by, compelled them to kneel, and with horrible 
profanity and mock psalmody, administered the Sacrament 
with the above-named horribly compounded elements. 
Such was one of the Eastern Caesars at and after dinner, 
and the easy Byzantines were not much scandalized thereat. 
Indeed, they troubled themselves very little about the 
affairs of the government, or the doings of the governors; 
and it would never have entered the head of a Byzantine 



THE C^SAES AT TABLE. 411 

subject to say of his son what the American citizen once 
remarked, touching his heir, to Mrs. Trollope, namely, 
that he would much sooner that his son got drunk three 
times a-week than that he shordd refrain from meddling 
with the politics of his times. 

From the palaces of the Caesars, let us now pass into 
the mansions of miscellaneous majesties, and see how the 
first gentlemen of their respective days comported them- 
selves "at meat." Yes, at Tneat; for "la viande du Roi" 
was the consecrated phrase, and guards presented arms, 
and courtiers bowed low, as the king's "meat" was 
solemnly carried to the royal table, or borne to the bed- 
side, where it remained under the name of an en cos, 
"in case" the august appetite should be lively before 
morning. 



THEIR MAJESTIES AT MEAT. 



Theeb was an old custom at Pisa, the origin of which 
may be traced to the anti-judaical days of persecution. On 
a certain day in the year, I believe, Good Friday or Easter 
Sunday, every Jew discovered in the streets, was hunted 
down by the populace. When the game was caught he 
was weighed, and compelled to ransom himself by paying 
his own weight of sweetmeats. It was an advantage, then, 
at Pisa for a Jew to be of a Cassius cast. It was different 
in other days, and climes, with regard to kings. Nations 
used to weigh their monarchs yearly, and if the register 
showed an increase of dignified obesity, great was the 
popular rejoicing thereat. If, on the other hand, the too, 
too solid flesh of the potentate had jdelded to irresistible 
influences, and the, father of his people exhibited a falling 
away in his material greatness, the body of loyal subjects 
went into mourning and tears, and deplored the evil days 
on which they had fallen, when monarchs could not be kept 
up to the old monarchical standard of corpulency. Kings 
who cared for the affections of their people were, accord- 
ingly, disinterestedly solicitous to support their corporeal 
requirements ; for to be fat was to be virtuous, and he was 
really the greatest of monarchs who required the greatest 
circumference of belt. You must understand, however, 
that if kings encouraged their own increase, it was disloyal 
in the people to imitate them. The monarchs of old, in 
this respect, were hke our Henry VIII, who never stinted 



THBIE MAJESTIES AT MEAT. 413 

his o\ra appetite, but who imprisoned the Earl of Surrey 
in Windsor Castle, for daring to touch a lamb chop on a 
Friday. 

The most gigantic of royal feeders placed on the record 
of ancient history, was Thys, king of Paphlagonia, at 
whose table " the entire animal " was served by hundreds. 
When he fell into the power of Persia he exhibited more 
appetite than grief, and banqueted in such a style that 
the courtiers spoke of it wonderingly to their king Arta- 
xerxes. He repUed significantly, "Thys is making the 
most of the shortness of Ufe." 

The kings of Persia were but sorry hosts to dine with. 
Their table was in a Uttle recess divided from the outward 
hall by a low curtain. The king sat alone in his alcove, 
and could behold, without being seen, the guests in the 
outer hall. The latter were of the highest rank; mere 
younger brothers, civilians, and undignified people of that 
sort, sat at meat in the galleries. It was only on two or 
three high days that the king sat at the same table with 
his subjects. The royalty of old Persia had once a repu- 
tation for temperance, but to be " royally drunk '' was no 
imoommon characteristic of his majesty and the princes 
of the blood. He generally made drinking parties of a 
dozen favourites. These sat on the ground, while the 
king lay on a gold couch, and the conclave drank like 
dragoons, and got infinitely more tipsy. 

In the banquets of state there were a few singularities. 
Horses and ostriches appear in the biU of fare, among a 
hundred other delicacies; but no guest did more than just 
taste what was placed before him; and what he did not 
eat, he carried home with him. A dainty bit from the 
king's table was a present meet for lover to make to his 
lady; and a wooer who brought a rump steak of horse- 
flesh in his hand, straight from the regal banquet, was 
scarcely a man to be refused anything. 



414 TABLE TEAITS. 

There was something of grandeur in the banquets of 
Cleopatra, when Antony dined with her. The service was 
in gold, and she made a present of it to her visitor. On 
the following day there was a new service, and it was again 
presented to " the favoured guest." Antony himself ex- 
hibited infinitely less taste at Athens. He erected in the 
public theatre a scene representing the grotto of Bacchus, 
dressed himself like the god, and, with a party of followers 
as worthless as himself, sat down at day-break, in presence 
of an admiring and crowded " house," and got dreadfully 
drunk before breakfast time. And this knave aspired to 
rule in Eome ! 

Alexander, and, as may be seen in another page, Au- 
gustus, was given to this sort of theological masquerading. 
The first-named accepted banquets from his great officers ; 
and these exhibited their taste by having aU the fruit on 
the table covered thickly with gold, which, when the fruit 
itself was presented to the guests, was torn off and flung 
on the ground, for the benefit of the servants. The father 
of Alexander had shown in his time a better example of 
economy. He had but one gold cup, and to prevent that 
from being stolen, he placed it every night under his pil- 
low, and went to sleep upon it. The mad Antiochus, of 
Syria, was of another kidney, for whenever he heard of a 
drinking bout in his own city, he used to order his chariot, 
and taking with him a measure of wine and a goblet, he . 
would rush down to the place and take a seat uninvited. 
He was such indifierent company, however, that the guests 
could not be prevailed upon to tarry, and even the ofier of 
his golden goblet was unable to bribe a man to sit and get 
drunk with a witless king. 

But the most extraordinary meal I have ever heard of 
was that made by Cambes, king of Lydia. He was a 
great eater, a great drinker, and of insatiable voracity. It 
ia told of him that he one night cut up his wife and de- 



THEIE MAJESTIES AT MEAT. , 415 

voured her, and that he awoke the next morning, with one 
of her hands sticking in his mouth. But I have little 
doubt that something of an allegory lies under this royal 
story. Cambes probably had had an argument with his 
consort, — a lady of the sort spoken of by Dr. Young as 
one who 

Shakes the curtain with her good advice. 

His logic " cut up " her assertions, and thereon he ad- 
dressed himself to sleep; but he no sooner awoke in the 
morning than her hand was upon his mouth, to prevent 
his speaking while she reiterated her follies of the previous 
night. Poor Cambes ! he cut his throat in order to escape 
from a too loquacious consort, of whom he is accused of 
being the murderer by the libelling Xanthus. 

I may add to the record of these exemplary persons, the 
name of Dionysius of Heraclea, who, through good living, 
fell into such a condition of obesity and somnolency that 
he could only be made conscious by running fine gold 
needles into his flesh. What a droll tiling it must have 
been for his morning visitors who found the huge mass fast 
asleep at table ! Shaking hands with him, or any other 
equivalent ceremony, would have been useless. They ac- 
cordingly took a gold needle from his girdle and tenderly 
run it into his fat. When it reached a vital point, the un- 
easy monarch snorted and opened one eye ; and this being 
taken as an acknowledgment of their presence, he straight- 
way went to sleep again. Ptolemy, the seventh king of 
Egypt, was in nearly as deplorable a condition, and Magas 
of Gyrene was perhaps even worse. The Ephori, it will be 
remembered, had a horror of the Lacedaemonians getting 
fat, and to prevent this undesirable consummation, the 
youth were obliged to present themselves undraped to the 
magistrates. Woe to the ofienders with prominent sto- 
machs, for they had them punched till the owners hardly 



416 . ■ TABLE TEAITS. 

knew whether they stood on their head or their heels, and 
could not digest a dinner for a month afterwards. 

They were beaten almost as badly as the unlucky official 
who went, in Parthia, by the name of the king's friend. It 
was the duty of this minister to seat himself on the ground 
at the foot of the lofty couch on which the king lay, and 
from which the sovereign flung refuse bits to his "friend." 
If the latter ate too voraciously, his meat was snatched 
from him, and he was beaten with rods till he had hardly 
strength left to thank his majesty for the entertainment. 
Of course, if he ate too slowly, he was subject to similar 
castigation. The moral, perhaps, is, that "fast" or "slow," 
it is safer not to be "friends" with the king — of the 
Parthians. 

But let us turn from the ancient records of how the 
monarchs of old deported themselves at their solemn 
boards, and contemplate a few brief table traits in con- 
nexion with, the sovereigns of more modern times. 

Clovis was a Christian king, but his behaviour at dinner 
was not always so exemplary, as might have been desired. 
But the Chesterfields of his time were not exacting, and 
they probably thought Clovis a gentleman when, on Bishop 
(St. Gerome) taking leave of him after dinner, the monarch 
pulled out a hair and placed it in the bishop's palm; the 
civil ceremony was imitated by the courtiers, and the pre- 
late left the rude palace with more hairs on his hand than 
he had on his head. 

But dismissing the idea of running regularly through 
the " Tables of the Sovereigns of Europe," and elsewhere, 
I will simply relate such incidents as are exemplary of 
royal table life, without pausing to be very nice with re- 
gard to chronological order. Thus it occurs to me that 
Russia, in modem times, exhibits as much barbarism as 
the court of Clovis, .where Christianity and civilization 
were, as yet, hardly known. 



THEIE MAJESTIES AT MEAT. 417 

When Peter the Great and his consort dined together, 
they were waited on by a page and the empress's favourite 
chambermaid. Even at larger dinners, he bore uneasily 
the presence aid service of what he called listening 
lacqueys. His taste was not an imperial one. He loved, 
and most frequently ordered, for his own especial enjoy- 
ment, a soup with four cabbages in it; gruel; pig, with sour 
cream for sauce ; cold roast meat, with pickled cucumbers or 
salad; lemons and lampreys; salt meat, ham, and Limburgh 
cheese. Previously to addressing himself to the "con- 
summation" of this supply, he took a glass of aniseed 
water. At his repast he quaffed quass, a sort of beer, 
which would have disgusted an Egyptian ; and he finished 
with Hungarian or French wine. All this was the repast 
of a man who seemed, like the nation of which he was the 
head, in a transition state, between barbarism and civiliza- 
tion ; beginning dinner with cabbage water, and closing 
the banquet with goblets of Burgundy. 

Peter and his consort had stranger tastes than these. 
This illustrious pair once arrived at Stuthof, in Germany, 
where they claimed not only the hospitality of the table, 
but a refuge for the night. The owner of the country 
house at which they sought to be guests was a Herr 
Schoppenhauer, who readily agreed to give up to them a 
small bed-room, the selection of which had been made by 
the emperor himself. It was a room without stove or 
fire-place, had a brick floor, the walls were bare ; and the 
season being that of rigorous winter, a difficulty arose as 
to warming this chamber. The host soon solved the diffi- 
culty. Several casks of brandy were emptied on the floor, 
the furniture being first removed, and the spirit was then 
set fire to. The czar screamed with dehght as he saw the 
sea of flames, and smelt the odour of the Cognac. The 
fire was no sooner extinguished than the bed was replaced, 
and Peter and Catherine straightway betook themselves to 

B E 



418 TABLE TEAITS. 

their repose, and not only slept profoundly all night in this 
gloomy bower, amid the fumes and steam of burnt brandy, 
but rose in the morning thoroughly refreshed and delighted 
with their couch, and the delicate vapours which had 
curtained their repose. 

The emperor was pleased, because when an emergency 
had presented itself, provision to meet it was there at 
hand. Napoleon loved to be so served at his tables when 
in the field. He was irregular in the hours of his repasts, 
and he ate rapidly and not over delicately. The absolute 
will which he applied to most things, was exercised also 
in matters appertaining to the appetite. As soon as a 
sensation of hunger was experienced, it must be appeased; 
and his table service was so arranged that, in any place 
and at any hour, he had but to give expression to his will, 
and the slaves of his word promptly set before him roast 
fowls, cutlets, and smoking coffee. He dined off mutton 
before risking the battle at Leipsic ; and it is said that he 
lost the day because he was suffering so severely from 
indigestion, that he was unable to arrange, with sufficient 
coolness, the mental calculations which he was accustomed 
to make as helps to victory. 

As Napoleon, the genius of war, was served in the field, 
Louis XV., "the incarnation of selfishness and vice, was 
served in his mistress's bower. That bower, built at 
Choisy for Pompadour, cost millions ; but it was one of 
the wonders of the world. For the royal entertainments, 
there were invented those little tables, called " servants " 
or " waiters ; " they were mechanical contrivances, that 
immortalized the artist Loriot. At Choisy, every guest 
had one of these tables to himself No servant stood by 
to listen, rather than lend aid. Whatever the guest 
desired to have, he had but to write his wish on paper, 
and touch a spring, when the table sunk through the 
flooring at his feet, and speedily re-appeared, laden with 



THEIR MAJESTIES AT MEAT. 419 

fruits, witli pastry, or with wine, according to the order 
given. Nothing had been seen hke this enchantment in 
France before ; and nothing like it, it is hoped, will ever 
be seen there or elsewhere again. The guests thought 
themselves little gods, and were not a jot more reasonable 
than Augustus and his companions, who sat down to 
dinner attired as deities. When kings ape the majesty of 
gods, it is time for the people to shake the majesty of 
kings. 

Perhaps Louis XV. never looked so little like a king as 
when he dined or supped in public, — a peculiar manifesta- 
tion of his kingly character. The Parisians and their 
wives used to hurry down to Versailles on a Sunday, to 
behold the feeding of the beast which it cost them so 
much to keep. On these occasions he always had boiled 
eggs before him. He was uncommonly dexterous in 
decapitating the shell by a single blow from his fork ; and 
this feat he performed weekly at his own table, for the 
sake of the admiration which it excited in the Cockney 
beholders. But an egg broken by the king, or Damiens 
broken alive upon the wheel, and torn asunder by wild 
horses, — each was a sight gazed upon, even by the youthful 
fair, with a sort of admiration for the executioner ! 

The glory of the epicureanism of Louis XV. was his 
"magic table," and the select worthless people especially 
invited to dine with him thereat. In 1 780 the Countess 
of Oberkirch saw this table, eVen then a relic and wreck 
of the past. She and a gay party of great people, who 
yet hoped that God had created the world only for the 
comfort of those whom He had honoured by allowing 
them to be born " noble," paid a visit " to the apartments 
of the late king" in the Tuileries. There, among other 
things, she saw the celebrated magic table, the springs of 
which, she says, "had become rusty from disuse." The 
good lady, who had not the slightest intention in the 
E E 2 



420 TABLE TEAITS. 

world to be satiricalj thus describes the wondrous article, 
at the making of which Pompadour had presided : — " It: 
was placed in the centre of a room, where none were 
allowed to enter but the invited guests of Louis XV. It 
would accommodate thirty persons. In the centre was a 
cylinder of gilt copper, which could be pressed down by 
springs, and would return with its top, which was sur- 
rounded by a band, covered with dishes. Around were 
placed four dumb waiters, on which would be found every- 
thing that was necessary." In 1789 the Countess says, — 
" This table no longer exists, having been long since de- 
stroyed, with everything that could recall the last sad years 
of a monarch, who would have been good if he had not 
been perverted by evil counsels." 

After all, the gastronomic greatness of Louis lXV. was 
small compared with that of his predecessor, Louis XIV. 
The "state" of the latter was, in all things, more "cum- 
bersome." To be helpless was to be dignified ; and to do 
nothing for himself, and to think of nothing but himself, 
was the sole life-business of this very illustrious king. A 
dozen men dressed him ; there was one for every limb that 
had to be covered. Poor wretch ! His breakfast was as 
lumbering a matter as his toilette; and he tasted nothing 
tiU it had passed through the hands of half-a-dozen dukes. 
It took even three noblemen, ending with a prince of the 
blood, to present him a napkin with which to wipe 
his lips, before he addressed himself to the more serious 
business of the day. 

Louis XIV. could not be properly got to the dinner-table, 
entertained there, and removed, without a still more fussy 
world of ceremony, and that of a very Chinese or Ko Tou 
character. The ushers solemnly summoned the guard 
when the cloth was to be laid, and a detachment of men 
under arms were at once spectators and guardians at the' 
dressing of the table. They stood by, exceedingly edified, 



THEIR MAJESTIES AT MEAT. 421 

no doubt, while the appointed officers touched the royal 
napkin, spoon, plate, knife, fork, and tooth-picks, with a 
piece of bread, which they subsequently swallowed. This 
was the "trial" against poisoning. The dishes in the kitchen 
were tried in the same way, and were then carried to table 
escorted by a file of men with drawn swords. As the dishes 
were placed on the table, the loyal officials bowed as though 
some saintly relics were on the platter ! 

If there was ceremony at the coming in of the meat, how 
much more was there at the coming in of him who was 
about to eat it ! Unhappy wretch ! what splendid misery 
enveloped his mutton-chop ! He was looked upon as very 
august, but decidedly helpless. Did he wish to wipe his 
fingers; three dukes and a prince only could present him 
with a damp napkin ; but a dry one might be offered him 
at dinner, without insult, by a simple valet. Philosophical 
distinction ! Changing his plate required as much attendant 
ceremony as would go to the whole crowning of a modern 
constitutional king ; and when he asked for drink, there 
was thunder in heaven, or something like it. The cup- 
bearer solemnly shouted the king's desire to the buffet ; and 
the buffeteers presented goblets and flasks to the cup-bearer, 
who carried them to the thirsty but necessarily patient 
monarch ; and, when he finally received the draught into his 
extended throat, aU loyal men present seemed the better 
for the sight. 

But Louis XIV. was so well-used to this, and much more 
ceremony than I have space to detail, that it interfered in 
nowise with the comfortable indulgence of his appetite. 
He was a very gifted eater. The rough old Duchess of 
Orleans declares in her Memoirs, that she " often saw him 
eat four platesful of different soups, a whole pheasant, a 
partridge, a platefull of salad, mutton hashed with garliok, 
two good-sized slices of ham, a dish of pastry, and after- 
wards fruit and sweetmeats !" At the end of such a repast 



422 TABLE TRAITS. 

as this, this "most Christian" king (very much so, indeed!) 
must have been in something of the condition of the young 
gentleman who went out to dine, and who, after taking 
enough for three boys of his size, and being invited to take 
more, answered that he thought he could, if they would 
allow him to stand ! 

The Duchess of Orleans, however, is by no means 
astonished at the Baal-hke ability of the king. Of her own 
performances in that way she says, "I am not good at 
lying in bed; as soon as I awake, I must get up. I seldom 
breakfast, and then only on bread and butter. I take 
neither chocolate, nor coffee, nor tea, not being able to 
endure those foreign drugs. I am German in all my habits, 
and like nothing in eating or drinking which is not con- 
formable to our old customs. I eat no soup but such as I 
can take with milk, wine, or beer. I cannot bear broth ; 
whenever I eat anything of which it forms a part, I fall 
sick instantly, my body swells, and I am tormented with 
colics. When I take broth alone, I am compelled to vomit 
even to blood, and nothing can restore the tone of my 
stomach but — ham and sausages!" Poor lady ! she reminds 
me of the converted cannibal Carib, who was once sick, and 
who being asked by a missionary what he could eat, an- 
swered sentimentally, that he thought he could pick a bone 
or two of a very delicate hand of a young child ! 

At a later period even than that of the Duchess of 
Orleans above-mentioned, the German taste could hardly 
be said to have improved. For instances of this, I need 
only refer to the Memoirs of the Margravine of Bareuth. 
This lady was the daughter of that Frederic William of 
Prussia, whose portrait is graphically drawn also by his own 
son, and with additional light and shade by Voltaire. The 
Princess Frederica subsequently married the Prince of 
Bareuth — a mesalliance which did not displease her easy 
parents; — ^they were not as proudly vexed at it as Isaac and 



THEIR MAJESTIES AT MEAT. 423 

Eachel were at the marriage of their soa Esau with the 
daughter of Beeri the Hittite, which certainly sounds as it 
Esau's father-in-law had been a pugiHstic publican ; — the 
Princess Frederica, I say, paints a portrait of her father 
in very broad style. He used to compel her and his other 
children to come to his room every morning at nine o'clock, 
whence they were never allowed to depart till nine in the 
evening, " pour quelque raison que ce fut." The time was 
spent by the affectionate sovereign in swearing at them, 
and he added injury to insult by half-famishing them. 
He begrudged them even a wretched soup made of bare 
bones and salt. Occasionally, they were kept fasting the 
whole day ; or, if he graciously allowed them a meal at his 
own table, the royal beast would spit into the dishes from 
which he had helped himself, in order to prevent their 
touching them. At other times he forced them to swallow 
compositions of the most disgusting description — " ce qui 
nous obligeait quelquefois de rendre, en sa presence, tout 
ce que nous avions dans le corps!" He would then throw 
the plates at their heads ; and, as his children rushed by 
him to escape his fury, the paternal brute, whom it is too 
much flattery to himself, and too much injustice to the 
brute creation so to name, would strike fiercely at them 
with his crutch, and was eminently disappointed when he 
failed to crack their little, hard, royal, but very dirty skulls. 
It is known that this madman would have slain his own 
son, "the rascal Fritz," as he, "the great Frederic," 
as the world afterwards was used to call him; and 
little doubt can exist that the great Frederic owed most 
of his great vices, and none of his great qualities, to the 
education which he received at the knees of his infamous 
sire. 

The history of the German courts abounds in traits 
connected with the table, but I am compelled to go little 
beyond the announcement of such a fact. One or two 



424 TABLE TEAITS. 

more, however, I may be permitted to notice before finally 
leaving this section of my multifaced subject. 

Ernest the "Iron'' was, perhaps, the least luxurious of 
his race. He married Cymburga of Poland, the lady who 
brought into the Austrian family the thick lips, which to 
this day form a characteristic feature in the imperial 
physiognomy. Cymburga cracked her nuts with her 
fingers ; and when she trained her fruit-trees, she hammered 
the nails into the wall with her clenched knuckles ! Their 
table was at once copious and simple. Their son Frederic 
had less strength both of body and judgment. At near 
fourscore years of age he suffered amputation of the leg, 
in order to get rid of a cancerous affection. He was " doing 
well" after the operation, when he resolved upon dining 
on melons. He was told that such a diet would be fatal 
to him, as it had already been to one Austrian archduke 
of his house. Frederic reflected that he would probably 
die at all events, and that he had already reigned longer 
than any emperor since the days of Augustus, namely, 
fifty-three years. " I will have melons," said he, " betide 
what may!" He ate unsparingly, and death followed close 
upon the banquet. 

Frederic would neither drink wine himself, nor allow 
his consort to do so, although physicians declared that, 
without it, she was not likely to achieve the honours of 
maternity. She did abstain, and despite what the oracular 
doctors had asserted, she became the mother of Maximilian, 
a prince who drank wine enough to compensate for the 
abstinence of both his parents. His second wife, Bianca of 
Milan, whom Maximilian the "Moneyless" married for her 
dowry, was, like the lady in Young's Satires, by no means 
afi:aid to call things by their very broadest names ; and 
she died of an indigestion, brought on by eating too 
voraciously of snails! They were of the large and lively 
sort, still reared for the market in the field-preserves near 



THEIR MAJESTIES AT MEAT. 425 

Ulm. If my readers should feel sick at tte thouglit, let 
them remember their juvenile days, and "periwinkles," 
and be gentle in their strictures. Leopold the " Angel," 
the second son of the Emperor Ferdinand, surpassed even 
his father in abstinence. He reared the most odoriferous 
of plants, but inflicted on himself the mortification of 
never going near enough to scent them ; and, poor man ! 
he thought that thereby he was adding a step to a ladder 
of good works, by which he hoped to scale heaven ! 

The grandson of Ferdinand, Joseph I., was a somewhat 
free liver, and his intemperate diet was against him when 
he caught the smaU-pox. But the medical men were 
fiercer foes than his way of life ; for when the eruption was 
at its worst, they hermetically closed his apartment, kept 
up a blazing fire in it, gave him strong drinks, swathed 
him in twenty yards of Enghsh scarlet broadcloth, and 
then published, on his dying, that his majesty's decease 
was contrary to all the rules of art. His brother and 
successor, Charles, did for himself what the doctors did for 
Joseph. In 1740 he had the gout, and would go out 
hunting in the wet. He was subsequently seized with 
what would now be called incipient cholera, aud he would 
eat — not melons, hke some of his obstinate and imperial 
predecessors, but that delicate dish for an invalid, mush- 
rooms stewed in oil! He ate voraciously, and the next 
day symptoms ensued which, he was informed, heralded 
death. Charles, like Louis Philippe, would not believe his 
own medical advisers; and there was some reason in this, 
for they stood at his bed-side, disputing as to whether 
mushrooms were a digestible diet or the contrary. The 
emperor dismissed them from his presence, ordered 
his favourite mushrooms, ate the forbidden "fruit" with 
intense gastronomic delight, and died in peace. 

The table of the great Frederic of Prussia was regu- 
lated by himself. There were always from nine to a dozen 



426 



TABLE TRAITS. 



dishes, and these were brought in one at a time. The 
king carved the solitary dish, and helped the company. 
One singular circumstance connected with this table was, 
that each dish was cooked by a different cook, who had a 
kitchen to himself ! There was much consequent expense, 
with little magnificence. Frederic ate and drank, too, 
like a boon companion. His last work, before retiring to 
bed, was to receive from his chief cook the bill of fare for 
the next day; the price of each dish, and of its separate 
ingredients, was marked in the margin. The monarch 
looked it cautiously through, generally made out an im- 
proved edition, cursed all cooks as common thieves, and 
then flung down the money for the next day's expenses. 

The late King of Prussia was a sensible man with respect 
to his table arrangements. On gala days, and when 
it concerned the honour of Prussia that the royal hospi- 
tality should assume an appearance of splendour, his table 
was as glittering and gastronomic as goldsmiths and cooks 
could make it. But in the routine of private and unoffi- 
cial life, it was simply that of an opulent merchant, 
something, perhaps, like that of Sir Balaam after he had 
grown rich. Even then he partook only of the least 
savoury dishes, and it was seldom, indeed, that he exceeded 
a third glass of wine. His example enforced moderation, 
but it did not mar enjoyment, for he loved every man 
around him to be merry and wise. 

His own wisdom he manifested by a characteristic trait 
in 1809. The royal family had returned to Berlin for the 
first time since the war had broken oiit in 1806. The 
court marshal, deeming that the piping times of peace 
were going to endure for ever, waited on Frederic WUliam, 
and asked what amount of champagne he should order for 
the royal cellars. " None," replied the king ; " I will 
drink neither champagne nor any other wine, until all my 
subjects — even the very poorest — can afibrd to drink beer 



THEIB MAJESTIES AT MEAT. 427 

again." The incident was made public, and the king's 
■poor neighbours were especially delighted. Many of them 
testified their gratitude by sending from their gardens or 
little farms various articles for his table. The king ate 
thereof with pleasure, and did not forget the givers. 

I have spoken of his moderation, but here is an ad- 
ditional trait from his table worth mentioning. When he 
came to the crown, the grand marshal proposed a more 
extended list of viands for the royal table. " Marshal," 
said the king in reply, " I do not feel that my stomach 
has become more capacious since I became king. We will 
let well alone, and dine to-day even as we have done 
heretofore." 

In another page I have spoken of Bishop Eglert supping 
with the king. Such a guest was not an unfrequent one 
at the royal dining-table. On one occasion the bishop had 
preached before the court in the morning from Luke 
xiv. 8 — 11: "When thou art bidden of any man to a 
wedding, sit not down in the highest room, lest a more 
honourable man than thou be bidden of him ; and he that 
bade thee and him come and say unto thee, Give this man 
place, and thou begin with shame to take the lower room," 
&c. &c. 

The bishop profited by the opportunity to expatiate on 
the virtues of diffidence and humility, insisting on their 
observance as necessary for the preservation of our happi- 
ness. Now, many dignified officials were present at the 
banquet in question, and the bishop, who had entered the 
saloon last, (which does not say much for the courtesy of 
those who preceded him,) meekly took his place at the 
lower end of the tabl'e. There the king's scrutinizing eye 
fell upon him ; and " Eglert," said Frederic William, " I 
see you are self-applying the text from which you preached 
to us to-day. But, if I remember rightly, it is also written, 
' Friend, go higher.' Come, then, take this chair that is 



428 TABLE TEAITS. 

near to me!" and the simple but highly embarrassed 
prelate walked blushingly to the station appointed him, and 
all in his vicinity began to recognise a man whom the 
king himself delighted to honour. 

This anecdote reminds me, albeit it be "rue with a 
difference," of one told of the second of the seven Dukes 
of Guise, Duke Francis. This celebrated individual was, 
during one part of his bloody career, engaged in the ser- 
vice of the Pope, to fight the battles of. the latter against 
the King of Naples. He was not successful, and his ho- 
liness showered down upon him mordant epigrams and 
invitations to dinner. He had accepted one of the latter, 
and repaired to the sacro-regal board, after a day in the 
course of which he had been engaged serving as acolyte 
in the Papal chapel, and holding up the trains of very 
obese cardinals. In the banqueting-hall of the descendant 
of the poor fisherman, he meekly took the lowest seat. He 
had scarcely done so, than a French lieutenant endea- 
voured to thrust in below him. " How now, friend!" 
said the haughty enough Guise ; " why pushest thou so 
rudely to come where there is no room for thee ? " " Marry ! " 
said the soldier, " for this reason, that it might not be 
said that the representative of a king of France had taken 
the last place at a priest's table ! " It was a bold piece of 
table-talk to so powerful a man as Guise, who recovered, 
and added to his reputation when he subsequently re- 
gained, Calais from the English. Previously to this last 
feat, when the occupation of Calais formed the subject of 
conversation at social boards, there arose the proverbial 
expression applied to the bravest of untried men, and ho- 
nourable to the reputation of our own ancestors, — " He is 
not the sort of man to drive the English out of France ! " 
The proverb died out of French society from the day 
when Guise drove old Lord Wentworth out of Calais, and 
cheated his duchess out of the silks which he found 



THEIR MAJESTIES AT MEAT. 429 

therein, and in which he attired the courtesans whom he 
invited to his ducal but not dignified table. 

It may fairly be asserted that kings may wear as graceful 
an aspect as guests at others' tables, as they do when 
enacting the host at their own. The Prince Kegent, dining 
oif the mutton which he had helped to cook at Colonel 
Hanger's, is indeed no very edifying spectacle. I will in- 
troduce my readers to a royal guest of what Hamlet would 
call " another kidney." 

When the Prussian general Koeckeritz had completed 
his fiftieth year of service in 1809, he was residing in 
modest apartments, becoming his celibate condition, near 
the Neustadt Gate at Potsdam. On the dawn of the day 
of his martial jubilee, he was harmoniously greeted by the 
bands of the garrison ; but the hautboys did not discourse 
such sweet music as was conveyed to him in a letter firom 
the king, full of expressions of gratitude for services ren- 
dered by him during along half-century to the crown. At 
a grand review held in honour of the day, the king em- 
braced him in presence of the army, giving in his person 
the accolade to every other faithf al soldier who had served 
as long ; and when this had been done, Frederic William 
not only declared he would escort the old warrior to his 
plainly furnished lodgings, but requested to be invited to 
the dejeuner d, la fourchette, which he assumed must then 
be wanting. Koeckeritz had the pride of Caleb Balder- 
stone, and he turned pale at the idea of exposing his do- 
mestic economy to the eyes of a king and court. He 
grew eloquent in excuses, protested that he was unworthy 
of the honour designed for him, and piteously muttered an 
apologetical phrase about " old bachelors." " Then why are 
you a bachelor i" asked the monarch ; " I have often coun- 
selled you to marry, and this very day you shall be pu- 
nished for your disobedience." " Well," said the general, 
with a sigh, denoting the resignation of despair, "if it 



430 TABLE TRAITS. 

must be so, I trust your majesty will allow me a few hours 
in order to make fitting preparation." The spirit that 
possessed Caleb Balderstone suggested this petition. " Not 
five minutes !" exclaimed the sovereign ; "you surely have 
a crust of bread and a glass of wine to give to us who are 
your comrades, and we desire no more ! Come along, 
gentlemen !" 

Of course, no further resistance was to be thought of, 
and the gay and brilliant escort led the grave Koeckeritz 
along, looking very much like a criminal who was about to 
be hanged with riotous solemnity at his own gates. 

But, when he reached those gates, his surprise was ex- 
treme. The threshold was covered with flowers, the little 
ha,ll was lined with the royal servants in their state suits, 
and the space in front of the house was partly occupied by 
a score of " trumpets," who no sooner perceived the ap- 
proach of the hero of the day than they received him, as 
our theatrical orchestras do stage kings, with a " flourish.'' 
It is hardly necessary to add, that when the old general 
conducted his guests within, he found there such a banquet 
as Aladdin furnished his widowed mother with by means 
of the lamp. Everything was there, whether in or out of 
season ; and the rare-looking flasks promised pleasure less 
equivocal than that held out by a Calais Boniface upon his 
cards, whereon his English visitors were told, that " the 
wine shall leave you nothing to hope for !" 

" Oh ! oh !" exclaimed the king, " here is bachelor's &re 
with a vengeance ! Let us be seated, and show that our 
appetites can appreciate what our comrade Koeckeritz has 
provided for them." Monarch and servant, honouring and 
honoured, sat side by side; and so gay and so prolonged 
was the festival, that the king surprised all those who knew 
how strictly he lived by rule, by ordering the dinner at 
the palace to be retarded for a couple of hours. At that 
banquet he entertained the veteran, afiecting to do so in 



THEIE MAJESTIES AT MEAT. 431 

return for the hospitality displayed by the latter in the 
morning. The scene was not without its moving incidents, 
for the king had contrived another surprise whereby to 
gratify his old friend and servant. As the monarch led 
him by the hand to the dining-room, there stood before 
him three of the surviving friends of his youth who had 
fought with him in the Seven Years' War, and whom he 
had not seen for years. The king had got them together, 
not without dif&culty ; the general joy that ensued was as 
imaUoyed as humanity could make it, and never did 
monarch sit at meat with more right to feel pleased, than 
Frederic WiUiam on this day of Koeckeritz's jubUee. It 
was a day that Henri IV. of France would have delighted 
in. That king is said never to have dined better than one 
evening previous to the battle of Ivry, when he was so- 
journing in a country house under the name of a French 
officer. There were no provisions there, but the solitary 
lady who was the chatelaine intimated that there was a 
retired tradesman who lived near, who was the possessor 
of a fine turkey, and who would contribute it towards a 
dinner, if he were only invited to partake of it. " Is he a 
jolly companion?" asked the supposed officer. The reply 
being affirmatively, the citizen and turkey were invited to- 
gether, and two merrier guests never sat down with a lady 
to cut up a bird and crush a bottle. Henri was in the 
most radiant of humours ; and it was when he was at his 
brightest, that the bourgeois avowed that he had known him 
from the beginning, and that after dining with a king of 
France, he trusted that the monarch would not object to 
grant him letters of nobility. Henri laughed, which was 
as good as consenting, and asked what arms his countship 
would assume? " I will emblazon the turkey that founded 
my good fortune," answered the aspirant for nobility. 
" Ventre Saint-Gris !" exclaimed the king, laughing more 
immoderately, " then you shall be a gentleman, and bear 



432 TABLE TBAITS. 

your turkey 'en pal' on a shield!" The happy citizen 
purchased a territorial manor near Alengon, and le Comte 
Morel d'Inde was not a conie pour rire. 

The Russian Empress Catherine used to affect the good 
fellowship that was natural to the first of the Bourbon 
kings of France. When she dined with the highly 
honoured officers of the regiment of which she was 
colonel, she used to hand to each a glass of spirits ^before 
the banquet commenced. At her own table the number 
of guests was usually select, generally under a dozen. 
The lord of the bedchamber sat opposite to her, her own 
seat being at the centre of one of the sides, carved one of 
the dishes, and presented it to her. She took once of 
what was so offered, but afterwards dispensed with such 
service. In her days, many of the Russian nobility kept 
open tables. Any one who had been duly introduced, 
and knew not where to dine, had only to call at a house 
where he was known, and to leave word that he intended 
to dine there in the afternoon. He was sure to be 
welcomed. At the present time, the Russians are more 
civilized and less hospitable. 

Jermann describes the imperial kitchen at St. Petersburg 
as good, delicate, and " meagre,"— the latter being a con- 
sequence of the continual eating that is going on, and 
the necessity which follows of providing what is light 
of digestion. The imperial household tables in the days 
of Paul were divided into "stations," an arrangement 
which took its rise from a singular incident. The late 
empress, like our own Queen Adelaide, was given to 
inspect the " domestic accounts,'' and she was puzzled by 
finding among them " a bottle of rum " daily charged to 
the Naslednik, or heir apparent! Her imperial Majesty 
turned over the old "expenses" of the household, to dis- 
cover at what period her son had commenced this reprobate 
coiu'se of daily rum-drinking; and found, if not to her 



THEIE MAJESTIES AT MEAT. 433 ' 

horror, at least to the increase of her perplexity, that it 
dated from the .very day of his birth. The " bottle of 
rum" began with the baby, accompanied the boy, and 
continued to be charged to the man. He was charged as 
drinking upwards of thirty dozen of fine old Jamaica 
yearly ! The imperial mother was anxious to discover if 
any other of the Czarovitch babies had exhibited the 
same alcoholic precocity; and it appears that they were 
all alike ; daily, for upwards of a century back, they stood 
credited in the household books for that terrible " bottle 
of nmi." The empress continued her researches with the 
zeal of an antiquary, and her labours were not unre- 
warded. She at last reached the original entry. Like all 
succeeding ones, it was to the effect of " a bottle of rum 
for the Naslednik:" but a sort of editorial note on the 
margin of the same page intimated the wherefore : " On 
account of violent toothache, a teaspoonful with sugar to 
be given, by order of the physician of the imperial court." 
The teaspoonful for one day had been charged as abottle, 
and the entry once made, it was kept on the books to the 
profit of the unrighteous steward, until discovery checked 
the fraud, — a fraud, more gigantically amusing than that 
of the Uliterate coachman, who set down in his harness- 
room book, " Two penn'orth of whipcord, Gd." The 
empress showed the venerable delinquency to her husband, 
Paul; and Ae, calculating what the temporary toothache of 
the imperial baby Alexander had cost him, was afirighted 
at the outlay, and declared that he would revolutionise 
the kitchen department, and put himself out to board. 
The threat was not idly made, and it was soon seriously 
realized. A gastronomic contractor was found who 
farmed the whole palace, and did his spiriting admirably. 
He divided the imperial household into " stations." The 
first was the monarch's especial table, for the supply of 
which he charged the emperor and empress fifty roubles 



434 TABLE TKAITS. 

each daily; the table of the archdukes and archduchesses 
was supplied at half that price ; the guests of that table, 
of whatever rank, were served at the same cost. The 
ladies and gentlemen of the household had a "station," 
which was exceedingly well provisioned, at twenty roubles 
each. The graduated sliding scale continued to descend 
in proportion to the status of the feeders. The upper 
servants had superior stomachs, which were accounted 
of as being implacable at less than fifteen roubles each. 
Servants in livery, with finer lace but coarser digestions, 
dieted daily at five roubles each; and the grooms and 
scullions were taken altogether at three roubles a-head. 
"A wonderful change,'' says Jermann, "ensued in the 
whole, winter palace. The emperor declared he had 
never dined so well before. The court, tempted by the 
more numerous courses, sat far longer at table. The 
maids of honour got fresh bloom upon their cheeks, and 
the chamberlains and equerries rounder faces; and most 
flourishing of all was the state of the household expenses, 
although these diminished by one-half. In short, every 
one, save cook and butler, was content; and all this was 
the result of ' a bottle of rum,' from which the Emperor 
Alexander, when heir to the crown, had been ordered 
by the physician to take a spoonful for the toothache." 

Herr Jermann, who was manager of the imperial com- 
pany of German actors in St. Petersburg, frequently 
dined at the table of the "second station," or officials' 
table. There were six dishes and a capital dessert. He 
describes the "drinkables" as consisting of one bottle 
of red and one of white wine, two bottles of beer, one of 
kislitsohi, and quass ad libitum. The dinner he speaks 
lightly of, as inferior on the point of cookery to that of the 
best restaurants in the capital. The wine was a light 
Burgundy; the beer heavy and Russian. The kislitschi 
must have been a powerful crusher of the appetite, it 



THEIR MAJESTIES AT MEAT. 435 

being a sour-sweet drink, prepared from honey, water, 
lemon-juice, and a decoction of herbs. Quass is a plain, 
cheap beverage, the better sort of which is extracted from 
malt, while an inferior sort is an extract of bread-crusts. 
It is the national drink of the lower orders. A stranger 
finds it at first detestable ; but he not only soon becomes 
reconciled to it, but generally prefers it to any other 
beverage, especially in the brief scorching summer of St. 
Petersburg, when the cooling properties of quass are its 
great recommendation. 

To talk of the fierceness of a Eussian summer seems 
paradoxical, but it is simple truth ; and probably the 
court of Naples itself, throughout its long season of heat, 
does not consume so much ice as their imperial Muscovite 
majesties do in the course of their slow-to-come, quick-to- 
go, and sharp-while-it-lasts summer. Nay, the whole 
capital eats ice at this season. Ice is thought such a 
"necessary" of life, that the first question in taking a 
house is, probably, touching the quahty and capability of 
the ice-cellar, wherein they pack away as much of the 
Neva as they can in solid blocks. They eat it and drink 
it, surround their larders with it, and mix it with the 
water, beer, quass — ^in short, with whatever they drink. 
Nay, more, when there is a superabundance of the mate- 
rial, they place it under their beds and on their stoves to 
cool their apartments. So tremendous is the dust and 
heat of a Eussian summer, that, for inconvenience, it is only 
the opposite extreme of annoyance to that experienced in 
the wintry visitations of frost. The ice-tubs of the popular 
vendors in the streets are enveloped and covered with wet 
cloths, to protect them from the heat of the sun. I need 
not say that this is not the season at which a visitor should 
resort to the capital. St. Petersburg in January, and 
Naples in July, are the respective times and places to be 
observed by those who can bear the consequences. 
F F 2 



436 



TABLE TRAITS. 



I do not know what may be the case with regard to the 
fruit eaten at the imperial table j but, generally speaking, 
fruit is never eaten by a Russian until it has been blest by 
a priest. Jermann, alluding to this custom, praises it on 
sanitary grounds, for, he says, the fruit has no chance of 
earning a benediction unless it be ripe ; but if it then be 
taken to church, the blessing is granted with much attend- 
ant solemnity. 

■ I do not believe that the czars were ever accustomed to 
dine in such state as the kaisers. The old emperors of 
Germany, on state occasions, were waited on at dinner by 
the two happy feudatory princes of the empire. On one 
of these occasions, we are told that old General Dalzell, 
the terrible enemy of the Scottish Covenanters, was invited 
to dine with the kaiser, and the prince-waiter nearest to 
him in attendance was no less a personage than the 
Prince of Modena, head of the house of Este. Some 
years afterwards, the Duke of York (James II.) invited 
Dalzell to dine with himself and Mary of Modena. That 
proud lady, however, made some show of reluctance to sit 
down en famille with the old general ; but the latter 
lowered her pride by telling her, that he was not unac- 
quainted with the greatness of the princes of Modena, and 
that the last time he had sat at table with the Emperor of 
Germany, a prince of that 'house was standing in attend- 
ance behind the emperor's chair. 

There were other good points about Dalzell's character ; 
in proof of which may be cited his dining with Dundas, 
an old Covenanting Scotch laird, who would not forego 
his long prayers before dinner, and who especially prayed 
that Dalzell and his royal master might have their hard 
hearts softened towards the Covenanting children of the 
Lord. When the prayer was ended, and dinner about to 
begin, Dalzell complimented his host on his courage in 
fearing man less than God. The anecdote reminds me of 



THEIE MAJESTIES AT MEAT. 437 

one in connexion with a dinner given by a gentleman of 
one of our " Protestant denominations," in honour of the 
presence of a new minister and his bride. Prayer preceded 
the repast, and it was given by the host, who^ introducing 
therein the welcomed strangers, said, "We thank thee, 
O Lord, that thou hast conducted hither in safety thy 
servants, our new minister and his wife. It is thou, 
Lord, who preservest both man and beast ! " This was 
more like a kick than a compliment j but it only called 
up a smUe on the pretty features of the minister's lady. 

Let us now cross the Atlantic, with Cortez and his com- 
panions, and contemplate Montezuma in his household and 
at his table. Barbarian as the Spanish invaders accounted 
Mm to be, he was superior in many respects to most of 
his royal contemporaries in Europe. He was not less 
magnificent than Solomon, and he was far more cleanly 
than Louis XIV. 

On the terraced roof of his palace, thirty knights could 
tilt at each other, without complaining of want of space. 
His armouries were filled with weapons almost as destruc- 
tive as any to be found in the arsenals of civilized Christian 
kings. His granaries were furnished with provisions paid 
by tributaries j three hundred servants tended the beauti- 
ful birds of his aviaries ; his menageries were the wonder 
and terror of beholders ; and his dwarfs were more hideous, 
and his ladies more dazzling, than potentate had ever before 
looked upon with contempt or admiration. His palace 
within and without was a marvel of Aztec art. It was 
smrounded by gardens, glad wiih fountains and gay 
flowers. One thousand ladies shared the retirement of 
this splendid locality, with a master more glittering than 
anything by which he was environed, — who changed his 
apparel four times daily, never putting on again a garment 
he had once worn, and who, eating off and drinking from 
gold, (except on state occasions, when his table was covered 



438 TABLE TEAITS. 

with services of Cholulan porcelain,) never used a second 
time the vessels which had once ministered to the in- 
dulgence of his appetite. 

It is said eulogistically of his cooks, that they had thirty 
different ways of preparing meat, — a poor boast, perhaps, 
compared with that of the Parisian chefs, who have six 
hundred and eighty-five ways to dress eggs ! Three 
hundred dishes were daily placed before the monarch; and 
such as were required to be kept hot at table were in 
heated earthenware stands made for the purpose. And it 
is even asserted, that this autocrat occasionally killed time 
before dinner by watching the cooking of his viands, a 
practice in which, according to Peter Pinder, that honest 
old English king used to indulge, who dined off boiled 
mutton at two, and to whom the funniest sight in the world 
was the clown in a pantomime swallowing carrots. 

The ordinary dishes of Montezuma consisted of very 
dainty fare; namely, domestic fowls, geese, partridges, 
quails, venison, Indian hogs, pigeons, hares, rabbits, and 
other productions of his country, including — ^it is alleged 
by some and denied by others — some very choice dairy-fed 
baby, when this choice article happened to be in season ! 
In cold weather enormous torches, that flung forth not 
only light but warmth and aromatiis odours, lent ad- 
ditional splendour to the scene; and to temper at once the 
glare and the heat, screens with deliciously droll devices 
upon them, framed in gold, were placed before the bril- 
liant flame. 

The sovereign sat, like his links, also protected by a 
screen. He was not as barbarous as the most Christian 
kings of France, who fed in public; nor was he personally 
tended like them by awkward Ganymedes of a middle age. 
Four Hebes stood by the low throne and table of their 
master, and these poured water on his hands, and offered 
him the napkin, white as driven snow, or as the cloth on 



THEIR MAJESTIES AT MEAT. 439 

■which the four hundred dishes stood waiting his attention. 
Women as fair presented him with bread ; but even these 
fair ministers retired a few steps, when his sacred majesty 
addressed himself to the common process of eating. Then 
a number of ancient but sprightly nobles took their place. 
With these Montezuma conversed; and, when he was par- 
ticularly pleased with a sage observation or a sprightly 
remark, a plate of pudding bestowed by the royal hand 
made one individual happy, and all his fellows bitterly 
jealous. The pudding, or whatever the dish might be, 
was eaten in silent reverence ; and whiLe an Aztec emperor 
was at meat, no one in the palace dared, at peril of his life, 
speak above his breath. Montezuma is described as being 
but a moderate eater, but fond of finiits, and indulging, 
with constraint upon his appetite, in certain drinks which 
were of a stimulating quality, such as are found in coun- 
tries where civilization and luxury are at their highest. 

" One thing I forgot, and no wonder," says Bernal 
Diaz, "to mention in its place, and that is, during the 
time Montezuma was at dinner, two very beautiful women 
were busily employed making small cakes, with eggs and 
other things mixed therein. These were delicately white, 
and when made, they presented them to him on plates 
covered with napkins. Also, another kind of bread was 
brought to him on long leaves, and plates of cakes re- 
sembling wafers. After he had dined, they presented to 
him three little canes, highly ornamented, containing 
liquid amber, mixed with a herb they call tobacco ; and 
when he had sufficiently viewed and heard the singers, 
dancers, and buffoons, he took a little of the smoke of 
one of those canes, and then laid himself down to sleep. 
The meal of the monarch ended, all his guards and atten- 
dants sat down to dinner, and, as near as I could judge, 
about a thousand plates of those eatables that I have 
mentioned, were laid before them, with vessels of foaming 



440 TABLE TRAITS. 

chocolate, and fruit in immense quantities. For his women 
and various inferior servants, his establishment was of- a 
prodigious expense, and we were astonished, amid such a 
profusion, at the vast regularity that prevailed." 

What a contrast with the meal of this splendid barbarian 
is that of princes of the same complexion, but of different 
race, the Arab ! We may fittingly include among sove- 
reigns those Arab princes whose word, if it be not heeded 
far, is promptly obeyed within the little circle of 'their rule. 
Skins on the ground serve for tablecloths ; the dishes are, 
in their contents, only the reflection of each other, and 
in the centre of the array whole Iambs or sheep lie boiled 
or roasted. The chief and his followers dine in successive 
relays of company. Sometimes the skin is spread before 
the door of the tent, whether in a street or in the plain, and 
the passers-by, even to the beggars, invited with a " Bis- 
raillah," In God's name, fall to; and having eaten, exclaim, 
"Hamdallilah!" God be praised! and go their way. 

Not less may we include, in the roll of Majesty at Meat, 
those Pilgrim Fathers who were the pioneers of civiliza- 
tion and liberty in America. Scant indeed was the table 
of that " sovereign people," until they found security to 
sow seed, and reap the harvest in something like peace. 
The first meal which they enjoyed, after long months of 
labour, disease, and famine, was when they had constructed 
the little fort at Plymouth, behind which they might eat 
in safety and thankfulness. "The captain," says Mr. 
Bartlett, in his "Pilgrim Fathers," "had brought with 
him ' a very fat goose,' and those on shore had ' a fat crane, 
and a mallard,' and 'a dried neat's tongue.' This fare 
was, no doubt, washed down with good English beer and 
strong waters; and thus, notwithstanding the gloom that 
hung over them, the day passed cheerfully and sociably 
away." Such was the first official dinner of the " majesty 
of the people " beyond the Atlantic. 



THEIR JUJJESTIES AT MEAT. 441 

And having got to the "majesty of the people," I am 
reminded of a " popular majesty," the citizen king, Louis 
Philippe. He was a monarch economically minded, and 
kept the most modest yet not worst furnished of tables. 
His family often sate down before he arrived, detained as 
he often was by state affairs. When all rose as he quietly 
entered the dining-room, his stereotyped phrase was, 
" Que personne ne se derange pour moi," and therewith 
ensued as little ceremony as when "William Smith" and 
his household sate down to an uncrowned dinner at the 
little inn at Newhaven. 

They who are curious to see how admirably Louis 
Philippe was constituted for making a poor-law com- 
missioner, or a parochial relieving overseer, should peruse 
the graphic biography of the king written by Alexander 
Dumas. Therein is a list, made out by the monarch, of 
what he thought was sufficient for the table of the princes 
and princesses; and Louis of Orleans condescends to name 
the number of plates of soup, or cups of coffee, that he 
deemed sufficient for the requirement and support of the 
younger branches of his house. It shows that the soul of 
a crafty " gargottier" was in the body of the citizen king. 
But we have not yet contemplated the appearance and 
behaviour of our own sovereigns at table, out of respect 
for whom we now allot a chapter, but a brief one, to 
themselves. 



ENGLISH KINGS AT THEIR TABLES. 



The utilitarians of history have declared that half our 
treasured incidents of story are myths. Rufus was not 
slain by Sir Walter Tyrrell ; Eichard III. was a marvel- 
lously proper man ; and the young princes were not 
smothered in the Tower. They have laid their hands on 
our legends, as Augustus did his on the nose of the dead 
Alexander, and with the same effect, — under the touch it 
crumbled into dust. The infidels refuse even to have 
faith in that table trait of Alfred, which showed him 
making cakes, or rather marring them, in the neat-herd's 
cottage. Mr. Wilkie may have prettily painted the inci- 
dent, bvit its existence, anywhere but on canvas and in 
the poet's brain, they ruthlessly deny. I do not know 
but that they are right. 

We march into the bowels of more trustworthy ground, 
when we pass the frontier of the Eoman period. William 
the Norman we know had a huge appetite for venison ; 
and the Saxon chronicler says, that he loved the "high 
deer " as if he had been their father, which is but an 
equivocal compliment to his paternal affection. His table 
indulgences cost the life of hundreds, arid the ruin of tens 
of hundreds. It brought on corpulency ; his corpulency 
begot a poor joke in Philip of France ; and of this joke 
was born such wrath in the soul of William, that he 
carried fire and sword into that kingdom, and was cut 



ENGLISH KINGS AT THEIR TABLES. 443 

short in his career, ere he had accomplished the full 
measure of his revenge. 

Rufus was as fat as his fether, and as majestic both in 
his oaths and his appetites. To every passion he yielded 
himself a slave j and he feasted, like so many who would 
affect to be disgusted at his dishonesty, without troubling 
himself as to who " suffered." He never paid- a creditor 
whom he could cheat ; and again, like many of the same 
class, he was most affable at table ; his drinking com- 
panions were on an equality with him ; and in such fel- 
lowship, over gross food and huge goblets mantling to the 
brim, he cut unclean jokes on his own unclean deeds, at 
which his servile and drunken hearers roared consumedly, 
and swore he was a god. There was some grandeur in his 
ideas, however, for he built Westminster Hall, as a vesti- 
bule to a palace, wherein he intended to hold high revel 
such as the world had never seen ; and a vestibule it has 
now become, but to a palace wherein sits a different sort 
of dignity to that dreamed of by the low-statured, fat, 
fierce, and huge feeding Rufus. 

All the Norman kings were fearful objects at which to 
fling jokes; and the appetite of Henry I. was ruined, and 
his sanguinary ire aroused, by a derisive passage in a poem 
by Luke de Barrl. The king made the table shake as he 
declared that he would let wretched versifiers know what 
they were to expect if they offended the King of England ; 
and Barrg suffered the loss of his eyes. Henry ate and 
drank none the less joyously for the dead. But Beauclerc 
was a more refined gastronome than his brothers, as 
befitted his name ; and though in many respects his court 
was horribly Ucentious, yet when he went from one 
demesne to another, to consume its revenues upon the 
spot, the feasting there seems to have been attended by as 
much moderation as merriment. 

Stephen had more to do with fighting than feasting, and 



444 TABLE TRAITS. 

•witli keeping castles rather than cooks ; but lie knew ho\j 
to gain allies by the fine science of giving dinners, and 
there was no more courteous host than he. While the 
king and the barons kept high mirth, however, the 
people were in the lowest misery. While the king gave 
political feasts, his subjects were perishing of starvation by 
thousands. 

His successor, the Second Henry, was but a poor patron 
of cooks, as was to be expected of a monarch who had 
continually to defend himself against the rebellions, not 
only of subjects, but of his own children. Of the latter, 
the only one who loved him was his natural son Geoffrey 
It is no wonder that this melancholy king was the first to 
do away with the old custom of having a coronation 
dinner thrice every year, on assembling the States at the 
three great festivals. He was ever in the midst of affrays; 
and once he fell among a body of monks, who checked 
their turbulence to complain to the king ; their complaint 
being that their abbot, the Bishop of Winchester, had 
cut off three dishes from their table. " How many has 
he left you ?" said the king. " Good heavens !" said the 
monks, " he has only left us ten." " Ten ! " said the 
monarch ; " I am content with but three ; and I hope 
your bishop will reduce you to a level with your king." 
They, of course, were highly disgusted at the remark. 

Eiohard Coeur de Lion, that copper monarch, was too 
busy with mischief to have leisure for much banqueting ; 
but he loved one thing, and that was venison, the poor 
stealers of which he punished by the most horrible of 
mutilations. In his reign, an ox and a horse cost four 
shillings each ; a sow was to be bought for a shilling ; 
a sheep with fine wool, for tenpence, and with "coarse 
wool, for sixpence ; so that, taking into account the 
difference in the valuation of money, people who had the 
money to purchase with, could procure mutton and pork 



ENGLISH KINGS AT THEIE TABLES. 445 

at a rate about a dozen times cheaper than the same 
articles can be procured at now. The sovereign did not 
trouble himself aboiit paying anybody j and when he gave 
a banquet, the very last thing he thought of was whether 
it were ever paid for or not. 

Richard had no virtue but courage ; and John resem- 
bled his worthless brother in every thing but courage. 
He had the same love for venison ; and a joke at dinner 
upon a fat haunch, which he said had come from a noble 
beast that had never heard mass, was looked upon by the 
clerical gentlemen present as a reflection upon their 
corpulency. They never forgot it ; and it was, perhaps, 
partly a consequence of their retentive memory, that the 
monks of Swineshead poisoned the dish of which the king 
partook on the occasion of almost his last dinner. He 
certainly never enjoyed another. 

Henry III. was the first of our kings whose reign ex- 
ceeded half-a^centmy in duration. He was a moderate 
man, loved plain fare, and cared more for masses than 
merriment. He was an easy, indolent monarch, with 
troubles enough to have fired him to activity; but he 
would have given half his realm for the privilege of daily 
dining in peace and quietness, a boon seldom vouchsafed 
to him. His subjects must have dined as ill as himself, if 
we may judge by the extraordinary variation in the prices 
(Jf articles of consumption during his reign. Thus the 
price of wheat, for instance, varied from one shilling to a 
pound a quarter. The royal statute upon ale rather dis- 
pleased all citizens of this period, for by it the price was 
fixed at a halfpenny per gallon in cities, while in the 
country the same quantity might be sold for a farthing. 
A gallon of ale for a halfpenny ought, however, to have 
satisfied the most thirsty of drinkers. 

The finigal Edward I. very little patronised either eating 
or drinking, beyond what nature required. He was a very 



446 TABLE TEAITS. 

moderate wine-drinker, but he exceedingly offended those 
who were otherwise, by imposing a duty of two shillings a 
tun on all wine imported, over and above the old existing 
duty. The unlucky Edward II. was to the first Edward, 
what Louis XVI. was to Louis XIV., the scape-goat for 
the crimes of a predecessor and tyrant too powerful to be 
resisted. The banqueting-room of this Edward, however, 
was, as is often the case with such princes, oftener used 
than the council-room, and the favourites feasted with 
their weak lord until rebellion marred the festivity. There 
never was a merrier reign (despite pubhc calamity) closed 
by so terrible a murder as that of this king, whose last 
dinner would have almost disgusted a dog. 

Edward III. was a gorgeous patroniser of the culinary 
art; the cooks and his guests adored him ; and Windsor 
Castle, which he built as a fortress and a pleasaunce, is a 
monument of his power and his taste. But his love for 
good cheer was imitated by his subjects to their ruin ; and 
king and parliament interfered to remedy by penalty, 
what might have been obviated by good example. Ser- 
vants^ were prohibited from eating flesh, meat, or fish, 
above once a-day. By another law, it was ordained that 
no one should be allowed, either for dinner or supper, 
above three dishes in each course, and not above two 
courses ; and it is likewise expressly declared that soused 
meat is to count as one of these dishes. And of 
these laws I will only observe, that if they were obeyed, 
servants and citizens of the days of Edward III. were a 
very different class of people from what they are at 
present. 

When it is stated of Richard II. that two thousand 
cooks and three hundred servitors were employed in the 
royal kitchen, we think we become acquainted with the 
gastronomic. tastes of that unhappy king. But as he was 
one of those whose virtues were his own, and his vices were 



ENGLISH KINGS AT THEIE TABLES. 447 

of others' making, so this Sardanapalian array of cooks was 
kept up by those who ruled from behind the throne, and 
finally left the king to starve, despite his counting cooks 
by thousands. His chief cuisinier is known only by the 
initials C. S. S., under which he wrote a culinary work in 
English, "On the Forme of Cury." In this work, he 
speaks of poor Richard, his royal master, as the " best and 
royaJlest viander of all Christian kynges." 

Henry IV. kept a princely but not a profuse table. 
He was the first king in England whose statutes may be 
said to have acted as a check on the freedom of after- 
dinner conversation upon religious matters; for in his 
reign took place the first execution in England, on 
account of opinions connected with matters of faith. The 
household expenses of this monarch are set down at some- 
thing less than £20,00.0 per annum of the money of the 
time; and this sum, moderate enough, appears to have 
been fairly applied to the purposes for which it was 
intended. A porpoise was a fashionable dish in the time 
-of Henry V., who first had it at the royal table, and thus 
sanctioned its use at tables of lower degree. Loyal folks 
in those days copied the example set them by their 
sovereign, as they did in the later days of George III. 
boiled mutton and caper sauce, when country gentlemen 
" dined like the king, sir, at two o'clock." But Henry V. 
was oppressed with debts, and, like many men in similar 
positions, his banquets were all the more splendid, and his 
prodigality was equal to his liabilities. So extravagant 
a monarch bequeathed but a poor inheritance to Henry VI., 
who was occasionally as hard put to it for a dinner as ever 
the Second Charles was. When Edward IV. jumped into 
poor Henry's seat, he found a host of angry persons who 
disputed his power, and these he took care to conciliate 
by the most powerful, nay irresistible means that were 
ever applied to the solution of a difficulty, or the removal 



448 TABLE TEAITS. 

of ari obstruction. He simply invited them to dinner ; 
and, certainly, up to that time England had never seen 
a king who gave dinners on so extravagantly profuse a 
scale. They were marked, however, by something of a 
barbaric splendour; and the monarch, gay and glittering 
as he was, dazzling in dress, and overwhelmingly exu- 
berant of spirits, was more like William de la Marck than 
any more knightly host. In short, Edward was but a 
coarse beast at table. " In homine tarn corpulento," says 
the Croyland chronicler, "tantis sodalitiis, vanitatibus, 
crapulis, luxuiiis et cupiditatibus dedito," — a sort of testi- 
monial to character which neither monarch nor man could 
be justified in being proud of. The young Edward V. is the 
" petit Dauphin " of English history, but with a less cruel 
destiny, for he was at least not starved to death, amid dirt, 
darkness, and terror, but mercifully, if roughly, murdered, 
and so saved from the long and yet unexpiated assassi- 
nation of the innocent and helpless Louis XVII. His 
murderer sought to make people forget the heinousness 
of his crime, by the double splendour of his coronation 
dinners. The ceremony and the festival took place, not 
only in London, but in York; and Kichard hoped he had 
feasted both the northern and southern provinces into 
sentiments of loyalty. A curious incident preceded the 
first dinner, — ^the anointing of himself and consort at the 
coronation. There is nothing singular in the fact, but 
there is in the manner of it. Eichard and his queen 
stripped themselves naked to the waist, in order that the 
unction might be more liberally poured over them, — and 
in Eichard's own case, perhaps for another reason, that 
the great nobles who were present might see that they 
were not about to sit down to dinner with a sovereign 
who was as deformed in body as his enemies declared 
him to be. 

Almost all young readers of history take their first 



ENGLISH KINGS AT THBIH TABLES. 449 

permanent idea of Henry VII. from that gallant Eioh- 
mondj in Shakspeare's Tragedy, who comes in like an 
avenging angel, at tiie beginning of the fifth act, and has 
it all his own generous way, until he sticks " the bloody 
and devouring bear,'' and sends a note to Elizabeth to 
come and be married. This Elizabeth, by the way, was 
the good mother of Henry VIII., and she was the only 
woman for whom that capricious prince ever felt a spark 
of pure affection. His love and respect for her were 
permanent, and the fact merits to be recorded. But to 
return to Henry VII., and to conduct him to the dinner- 
table, where alone we have present business with him ; I 
do not know that I can find a better " trait " touching 
himself and his times, than one connected with his royal 
visit to York. 

He was received in the city with more than ordinary 
ceremony, and loudly-expressed delight at the sight of 
his " sweet-favoured" face ; " some casting out of obles and 
wafers, and some casting out of comfits in great quantities, 
as it had been hailstones, for joy and rejoicing of the 
king's coming.'' But I must pass over the outward 
show — how Augustans, Franciscans, Carmelites, and 
Dominicans met him at Micklegate, and how these, with 
priors, and friars, and canons of hospitals, and priests, and 
knights, and noble, and gentle, and simple, accompanied 
the monarch to the Minster, and thence to the arch- 
bishop's palace, where Henry resided during his stay in 
the northern capital. The grandest banquet given to 
him during his sojourn, was in this palace, on the eve of 
the festival of St. George : the great hall was divided 
into a centre and two aisles. In each division there were 
two tables, half-a-dozen in all. The king sat at the 
centre table, arrayed in all the pomp and glory of a 
ting j — George and garter, crown, and England's sceptre. 
One individual only was esteemed worthy of being seated 

G G 



450 TABLE TRAITS. 

at the same table, namely, the Archbishop of York, who 
was quite as powerful a man, in his way, as Henry Tudor 
himself. Knights carved the joints, and earls waited 
upon prince and prelate. Lord Scrope, of Bolton, because 
he was a Knight of the Garter, served the king with 
water ; another member of chivalry handed the cup, and 
the sovereign's meat was especially carved for him by a 
Welsh cousin, Sir David Owen. The distribution of the 
other tables exhibited a judicious mixture of priest and 
layman. At the first table in the centre of the hall (the 
cross-table at the top being occupied by the king and the 
archbishop) sat two secular dignitaries, the Lords Chan- 
cellor and Privy Seal, and with them, the Abbots of 
St. Mary and Fountains, with the archbishop's suffragans, 
other prelates, and the royal chaplains ; thus the chief 
members of the clergy were seated in greatest numbers 
near the king. The second table was entirely occupied 
by lay nobility, earls, barons, knights and esquires of the 
king's body. Of the two tables in the right aisle, the 
city clergy and the Minster choir occupied one to them- 
selves. At the upper end of the other table were several 
knights of the garter, all sitting on one side, " and beneath 
them a void space, and then other honest persons filled 
that table." We are glad to fall on the term " other 
honest," or we might have been tempted to believe that a 
distinction was made between honesty and nobility. The 
tables in the left aisle were occupied, one by the municipal 
authorities and other citizen guests; the second by the 
judges, " and beneath them other honest persons," again. 
At the rear of the king's table a stage was erected, on which 
stood the royal of&cer of arms, who cried his " largesse " 
three times, in the usual manner, and doubtless with 
something of the stentorian powers made familiar to us 
by the late Mr. Toole, and the present loud and lively 
Mr. Barker. " The suruape," we are told, " was drawn 



ENGLISH KINGS AT THEIR TABLES. 451 

by Sir John Turberville, the knight-marshal ; and after 
the dinner there was a voide, when the king and his nobles 
put off their robes of state, except such as were knights 
of the garter, who rode to even-song, attired in the habit 
of their order ;'' and a very fitting close to a feast, — and a 
good example is held forth therein to all who rise from a 
festival without any more thought of being thankful for 
it, than is impUed by trying to find out the reflection oi 
their nose in the mahogany. 

The following table story, cited by Southey, furnishes 
another illustration of social, and, indeed, of political, life 
about this time : — 

" Henry (then Richmond), on his march from Milford,, 
lodged one night with his friend David Llwyd, at Matha'- 
fam. David had the reputation of seeing into the future, 
and Richmond, whether in superstition or compliment, 
privately inquired of him, what would be the issue of his 
adventure. Such a question, he was told, was too im- 
portant to be immediately answered, but in the morning 
a reply should be made. The wife of David saw that her 
husband was unusually grave during the evening ; and 
having learnt the cause, she said, ' How can you have any 
difficulty about your answer ? TeU him he wiU succeed 
gloriously. If he does, you will receive honours and 
rewards. But, if it fail, depend upon it, he will never 
come here to reproach you.' " Hence, it is said, a Welsh 
proverb, " A wife's advice without asking it." 

Henry VIII. loved to take a quiet dinner, occasionally, 
with his chancellor, at Chelsea ; and there he would walk 
in the garden, with his arm round that neck which he 
afterwards flung beneath the axe of the executioner. He 
was given to indulgences of all sorts, and with respect to 
those of the appetite and palate, he was well served by 
his incomparable clerk of the kitchen, honest and clever 
WUliam Thynne, who was not a mere clerk of the kitchen, 
G G 2 



452 TABLE TEAITS. 

but a gentleman and scholar to boot ; loving poetry though 
he was no poet, and editing Chaucer with as much zeal as 
that with which he regulated the accounts of his kitchen 
clerkship. Henry ate not wisely, but too well ; and this 
huge feeding brought him at last to such a size, that he 
could not be moved but by aid of *' a machine." In other 
words, I suppose, he could not walk, and was compelled 
to submit to locomotion in a chair. Among the sove- 
reigns who assembled at the Congress of Vienna, and who 
were as strangely there together as the half-dozen kings 
whom Candide met at the table d'Mte in Venice, was that 
monster of a man, the King of Wurtemburg. This 
mountain of flesh dined daily at the imperial table, where 
a semicircular ' piece was cut out of the mahogany, in 
order that the stomach of the monarch might rest com- 
fortably against the table, when engaged in its appropriate 
work. He did not lack wit for abounding in fatness, and 
to him, I believe, is properly attributed the neat saying, 
when he saw Lord Castlereagh in simple civilian's dress, 
without a star, amid the gold lace, gems, jewels, ties, tags, 
and glittering uniforms of the crowd around him. The 
king asked who he was, and on being informed, he 
remarked : " Ma foi ! il est bien distingv^ I " He could not 
have paid the same compliment to the noble Stewart's wife, 
if it be true, as was reported, that at one of the state 
dinners, or state balls, she appeared with her husband's 
jewelled garter, worn as a bandeau, and " Honi soit qui 
mal y pense " burning in diamonds upon her forehead. 

May it not have been the unpleasant effects of Henry's 
gastronomic indulgences that made of him a dabbler in 
medicine? Many of his prescriptions in his own hand- 
writing are still extant, and some of them are in the 
British Museum. He invented a plaister, and was the 
concocter of more than one original ointment for the cure 
of indigestion. He also prepared "a plaister for the Lady 



ENGLISH KINGS AT THEIR TABLES. 453 

Ana of Cleves, to mollify and lessen certain swellings 
proceeding from cold, and to dissipate tlie boils on tlie 
stomach." His majesty in some of Ms after-dinner 
ruminations professed also to have discovered a remedy 
for the plague ; the prescription for which he sent to the 
lord mayor. He was very tender of the health of Wolsey, 
when the cardinal little regarded his own. His majesty, 
on one occasion, counsels his minister, if he would soon 
be relieved from "the sweating,'' to take light suppers, 
and to drink wine very moderately, and to use a certain 
liind of piU. I do .not know if Henry's cookery and 
kitchen at all smelt of unorthodoxy before the Eefor- 
mation, but it is a fact that, when Cardinal Campeggio 
came over here on the business of the divorce of Henry 
and Catherine, he was especially charged by the Pope 
to look into the state of cookery in England generally, 
and in the royal palace in particular. 

The royal table of Elizabeth was a solemnity indeed. 
But it was all a majestically stupendous sham. The 
attendants thrice bent their knee as they approached 
to offer her the different dishes; and when these cere- 
monies had been gone through, the queen rose and retired 
to a private room, where the meats were placed before 
her, and she was left to dine as comfortably as the citizens 
and their wives of Eastcheap and Aldersgate. 

Among the numerous new year's gifts made to Eliza- 
beth, and by which she contrived to maintain a splendid 
wardrobe, gifts of good things for her table were not 
wanting. One of her physicians presented her with 
a box of foreign sweetmeats; another doctor with a 
pot of green ginger; while her apothecaries gave her 
boxes of lozenges, ginger-candy, and other conserves. 
" Mrs. Morgan gave a box of cherries and one of apricots." 
The queen's master-cook and her Serjeant of the pastry 
presented her with various confectionary and preserves. 



454 TABLE TRAITS. 

Elizabetli and her " maids" both dined and breakfasted 
upon very solid principles and materials. Beef and beer 
were consumed at breakfast, — "a repast for a ploughman!" 
it may be said. Alas! ploughmen are content, or seem 
so, to strengthen their sinews as they best may of a 
morning with poor bread and worse tea. Elizabeth made 
a truly royal bird of the goose, — a distinction which her 
sister Mary failed to give to the cygnet, the stork, and the 
crane. These no more suited the national taste than 
that Crimean delicacy, a Eussian oyster, and which all 
Englishmen who have tasted thereof pronounce to be 
a poisonous dab of rancid putty. Yet Russian princes 
are fond thereof, and Eussian sovereigns order them for 
especial favourites; — just as the Prince Eegent, whenever 
Lord Eldon was to dine at Carlton-house, always com- 
manded the chancellor's favourite dish to be placed near 
him, — ^liver and bacon. 

The household expenditure of James I. amounted to 
£100,000 sterling yearly; double the sum required for 
the same purpose by Elizabeth; and if "cock a leekie" 
and "haggis" were dishes to which his national taste 
gave fashion, the more foreign delicacies of snails and 
legs of frogs, dressed in a variety of ways, were readily 
eaten by the very daintiest of feeders. The taste of the 
purveyors was, however, something clumsy. What would 
now be said if a chef sent up to table four huge pigs, 
belted and harnessed with ropes of sausages, and all tied 
together to a monstrous bag-pudding ? 

The court of James I. was uncleanly enough, but it was 
made worse by the example of the Danish king and his 
courtiers, on the royal visit to the Stuart. " The Danish 
custom of drinking healths was scrupulously observed, and 
in a company of even twenty or thirty, every person's 
health was required \o be drunk in rotation; sometimes 
a lady or an absent patron was toasted on the knees, and, 



ENGLISH KINGS AT THEIR TABLES. '455 

as a proof of love or loyalty, the pledger's blood was even 
mingled with the wine." It is well known that the 
ladies of the court, as weU as the gentlemen, got " beastly 
drunk," in honour of the visit of the King of Denmark 
to his sister, the consort of James I. 

James, whose taste in gastronomy was not a very 
delicate one, used to say that if ever he were called upon 
to provide a dinner for the devil, his biU of fare should 
consist of "a pig, a poll of ling and mustard, and a pipe of 
tobacco for digestion." 

There was more temperance under Charles I., and 
increased moderation under the Commonwealth, when 
Cromwell's table was remarkable for its simplicity. The 
civic feasts of those days were also distinguished by their 
decorous sobriety; and it is, perhaps, worth noticing that 
the '■' show" followed, and did not precede the dinner. 

Charles I. was served with a world of old-fashioned cere- 
mony, not unlike that which ought to have made Louis XIV. 
very uncomfortable. The fact, however, is, that both 
monarchs were pleased with the cumbrous solemnities of 
state, and nothing affected our "English king more in his 
fallen fortunes than the rude service which he received at 
the hands of the Puritan servitors of whose masters he 
was the captive. When he was in durance at Windsor, 
his meat was brought to him uncovered, and carried with- 
out any observance of respectful form, by the common 
soldiers. No trial or " say" of the meats was made ; no 
cup presented on the knee. This absence of ceremony 
wounded Charles to the very quick. It chafed him more 
than greater sorrows did subsequently. It was, he observed, 
the refusal to him of a service which was paid, according 
to ancient custom, to many of his subjects; and rather 
than submit to the humiliation, he chose to diminish the 
number of dishes, and to take his meals in strict privacy. 

There are few kings who had such variety of experience 



456 TABLE TEAITS 

in matters of the table as Charles II. The first spoonful 
of medicine that was offered him he resisted with a deter- 
mined aversion which never left him for that sort oipabtt-. 
lum. His table was but siirjple enough during the latter 
years of his father, but it was worse after the fatal day of 
Worcester. He was glad then, at White Lady's, to eat 
"bread and cheese, such as we could get, it being just 
beginning to be day ; " and " bread, cheese, small beer, and 
nothing else," sufficed him in the oak. Bread, butter, ale 
and sack, he swallowed in country inns, and seemed rather 
to look on the masquerade and the meals as a joke. 

When he was lying hid in Spring Coppice, the goodwife 
Yates brought to his most sacred majesty " a mess of milk, 
some butter, and eggs," — ^better fare than the parched peas 
which were found, in after days, in the pocket of the fugi- 
tive Monmouth. The women provided for him as tenderly 
in his hour of hunger and trial, as their ebony sisters did 
for Mungo Park in his African solitude. When Charles 
arrived at the house at Boscobel, he " ate bread and, cheese 
heartily," and (as an extraordinary), WiUiam Penderefl's wife 
made his majesty a posset of fine milk and small beer, and 
got ready some warm water to wash his feet, not only ex- 
tremely dirty, but much galled with travel." The king, in 
return, called the lady " my dame Joan,'' and the conde- 
scension quickened her hospitality ; for shortly after, she 
"provided some chickens for his majesty's supper, a dainty 
he had not lately been acquainted with. But the king 
and his followers not only longed for more substantial fare, 
but were not very scrupulous as to the means of obtaining 
it. Colonel Carlis, for instance, went into the sheepcot of 
a farmer residing near Boscobel, and like an impudent as 
well as a hungry thief " he chose one of the best sheep, 
sticks him with his dagger, then sends WiUiam for the 
mutton, who brings him home on his back." The next 
morning was a Sunday morning, and Charles, having mut- 



ENGLISH KINGS AT THEIR TABLES. 457 

tered his prayers, went eagerly to the parlour to look after 
the stolen mutton. It was hardly cold, but Will Penderell 
" brought a leg of it into the parlour ; his majesty called for 
a knife and a trencher, and cut some of it into collops, 
and pricked them with the knife-point, then called for a 
frying-pan and butter, and fried the ooUops himself, of 
which he ate heartily. Colonel CarHs, the while, being but 
under-cook (and that, honour enough too), made the fire, 
and turned the collops in the pan. When the colonel," 
adds the faithful Blount, who records this table trait, " af- 
terwards attended his majesty in France, his majesty, call- 
ing to remembrance this passage among others, was pleased 
merely to propose it, as a problematical question, whether 
himself or the colonel were the master cook at Boscobel, 
and the supremacy was of right adjudged to his majesty." 
Circumstances which made of the royal adventurer a king 
were the spoiling of an excellent cook. When he was 
secretly sojourning at Trent, his meat was, for the most 
part, to prevent the danger of discovery, dressed in his 
own chamber; " the cookery whereof served him for some 
divertisement of the time." The king better understood 
cookery as a science than the machinery of it. When he 
stood in the kitchen of Mr. Tombs's house at Longmarston, 
disguised as " Will Jackson," the busy cook-maid bade him 
wind up the jack. " Will Jackson " was obedient and 
attempted it, but hit not the right way, which made the 
maid in sotne passion ask, " What countryman are you, 
that you know not how to wind up a jack 1" Will Jackson 
answered very satisfactorily, " I am a poor tenant's son of 
Colonel Lane, in Staffordshire. We seldom have roast meat, 
but when we have, we don't make use of a jack j" which 
in some measure assuaged the maid's indignation. Never 
had the sacredness of majesty been in such peril since the 
period when Alfred marred instead of made the cakes of 
the neatherd's angry wife. But Charles escaped to his 



458 TABLE TEAITS. 

rather hungry exile in France ; — and gee, how sweet are 
the uses of adversity ! When this charming prince was 
restored to the throne, he brought with him two gifts of 
which the nation had heard little for some years; — one 
was the Church Liturgy, and the other, " God d — n ye," — 
a fashionable phrase which has tumbled from the court 
to the alley. 

It can hardly be said that Charles, when king, fulfilled 
the requirement which Lord Chesterfield subsequently laid 
down, when he insisted that a man should be gentleman- 
like even in his vices. When Williani of Orange came to 
England as the suitor of the king's niece, the Princess 
Mary, Charles took an unclean delight in making the 
Dutchman drunk. Evelyn says : — "One night, at a sup- 
per given by the Duke of Buckingham, the king made 
him (William) drink very hard ; the heavy Dutchman was 
naturally averse to it, but being once entered, was the 
most frolicsome of the company ; and now the mind took 
him to break the windows of the chambers of the maids of 
honour ; and he had got into their apartments had they 
not been timely rescued. His mistress, I suppose," adds 
Evelyn, and it is a strange comment for so sensible a man, 
" did not like him the worse for such a notable indication 
of his vigour." The monarch who made his paulo-post 
successor drunk had little difficulty to bring the lord 
mayor of London into the same condition ; and the city 
potentate and his "cousin the king" had that terrible 
"other bottle" together, in which men's reason ordinarily 
makes shipwreck, with their dignity. But his majesty, of 
blessed memory, was a trifle devout after his drink, and 
on the " next morning" he heard anthems in his chapel, 
and, by way of devotion, would lean over his own pew and 
play with the curls of Lady Castlemaine, who occupied the 
next seat to that of " our most religious and gracious king." 
When he was pouring the public money into the lap of 



ENGLISH KINGS AT THEIR TABLES. 459 

that precious lady, lie was leaving his own servants un- 
paid; and, on one oooasion, when these could not obtain 
their salaries, they carried off their royal master's linen, 
and left him without a clean shirt or a table-cloth ! 

The priests with whom Louis XIV. and Louis XV. used 
to transact their religion were wont to excuse all the con- 
jugal infidelities of those anointed reprobates by remarking 
that they ever treated their consorts with the very greatest 
poUteness. The poets of Charles's days went farther, and 
extolled his marital affection. Waller, for instance, con- 
gratulates the poor queen, that if she were ill, Charles was 
by to tend and weep over her : — 

" But, that which may relieve our care 
Is, that you have a help so near 
For all the evil you can prove ; 
The kindness of your Eoyal Love. 
He that -was never known to mourn 
So many kingdoms from him torn. 
His tears reserved for you ; more dear. 
More prized, than all those kingdoms were ! 
For when no healing art prevail'd, 
When cordials and elixirs fail'd. 
On your pale cheek he dropt the shower, 
Eevived you like a dying flower." 

The iUness referred to was a spotted fever; and here is 
Pepys' plain prose on the subject : — "20th October, 1663. 
This evening, at my lord's lodgings, Mrs. Sarah, talking 
with my wife and I, how the queen do, and how the king 
tends her, being so iU. She teUs us that the queen's sick- 
ness is the spotted fever; that she was as fuU of the spots 
as a leopard, which is very strange that it should be no 
more known; but perhaps it is not so; and that the king 
do seem to take it much to heart, for that he hath wept 
before her; but for all that he hath not missed one night 
since she was sick, of supping with my lady Castlemaine ; 
which I believe is true; foi; she says that her husband 



460 TABLE TEAITS. 

hath dressed the suppers every night ; and I confess I saw 
him myself coming through the street, dressing up a great 
supper to-night, which Sarah also says is for the king and 
her, which is a very strange thing." Oh, depth of royal 
grief, that required light suppers and light ladies for its 
solace ! 

The Spectator has preserved for us a pleasant story 
illustrative both of royal and citizen good-fellowship, in the 
reign of Charles II., and in the person of the king and that 
of his jolly lord mayor, Sir Kobert Viner. The merry 
monarch had been dining with the chief magistrate and 
the municipality, at Guildhall, where he had not drunk so 
deeply himself but he was aware that the jollity of his 
entertainers was beginning to render them rather oblivious 
of the respect due to their royal guest. He accordingly, 
with a curt farewell, slipped away down to his coach, 
which was awaiting him in GuildhaU-yard. But the lord 
mayor forthwith pursued the runaway, and overtaking him 
in the yard, seized him by the skirts of his coat, and swore 
roimdly that he should not go till they "had drank t'other 
bottle!" "The airy monarch," says the narrator in the 
Spectator, " looked kindly at him over his shoulder, and 
with a smile and graceful air (for I saw him at the time, 
and do now), repeated this line of the old song : — 

" ' And the man that is drunk is as great as a king I' 

and immediately turned back, and complied with his land- 
lord." This anecdote, however, though it be given on 
the authority of an alleged eye-witness, is probably over- 
coloured with regard to the conduct of his worship the 
mayor. Mr. Peter Cunningham quotes (in his story of 
Nell Gwyn) from Henry Sidney's Diary, a letter addressed 
to Sidney by his sister the Countess Dowager of Suther- 
land, and which refers to the incident of the visit of 
Charles to Guildhall. The letter in question was written 



ENGLISH KINGS AT THEIB TABLES. 461 

five years after the mayoralty of Sir Eobert Viner. " The 
king had supped with the lord mayor, and the aldermen 
on the occasion had drunk the king's health, over and 
over, upon their knees, wishing every one hanged and 
damned that would not serve him with their lives and 
fortunes. But this was not all. As his guards were 
drunk, or said to be so, they would not trust his majesty 
with so insecure an escort, but attended him themselves 
to Whitehall, and, as the lady-writer observes, ' all went 
merry out of the king's cellar.' So much was this acces- 
sibility of manner in the king acceptable to his people, 
that the mayor and his brethren waited next day at White- 
hall, to return thanks to the king and duke for the ho- 
nour they had done them, and the mayor, confirmed by 
this reception, was changed from an iU to a well-afiected 
subject." 

But as this merry mourner lived, so may he almost be 
said to have died. It will be remembered with what dis- 
gust Evelyn records the scene at Whitehall, a week before 
the king's decease : — " I can never forget," he says, " the 
inexpressible luxury and profaneness, gaming and all dis- 
soluteness, and as it were total neglectfulness of God, it 
being Sunday evening, which this day sennight I was wit- 
ness of, the king sitting and toying with his concubines, 
Portsmouth, Cleveland, Mazarine, &c. ; a French boy 
singing love-songs in that glorious gallery ; whilst about 
twenty of the great courtiers and other dissolute persons 
were at basset, round a large table, a bank of at least two 
thousand pounds in gold before them, upon which two 
gentlemen who were with me made reflections in astonish- 
ment. Six days after, all was in the dust." 

There was more meanness, but not more decency, under 
James II., but his queen more deeply resented, and that in 
public, at dinner, the insults levelled at her. When Mrs. 
Sedly, in 1686, was created Countess of Dorchester, the day 



462 TABLE TRAITS. 

on wMoh the nomination passed the Great Seal, and 
indeed on a subsequent occasion, the queen showed how 
she was touched by the honours paid to a brazen concubine. 
"The queen," says Evelyn, "took it very grievously, so 
as for two dinners, standing near her, I observed she 
hardly ate one morsel, nor spake one word to the king, or 
to any about her ; though at other times she used to be 
extremely pleasant, full of discourse and good-humour." 
Such is one of the table traits of the time of James II. 

There is little to be said of William III., save that he 
kept a well-regulated table, and was excessively angry if 
he detected any faults in the service. He is described as 
being kind, cordial, open, even convivial and jocose. He 
would sit at table many hours, and would bear his full 
share in festive conversation. Burnet, I think, some- 
where intimates, but I cannot recoUect the precise words, 
that he was something more than moderately given to 
Hollands. As much, indeed, has been said of Queen 
Anne. But Anne was inclined to indulge in good living, 
and her doctor, Lister, had as many gastronomic pro- 
pensities as herself. Lister entered into the minutiae of 
the kitchen with the exactness of an apothecary weighing 
poison. On the subject of larks, he says, for the benefit 
of the queen, and all who love such dainty food, that if 
twelve larks do not weigh twelve ounces, they are scarcely 
eatable; they are just tolerable if they reach that weight; 
but that if they weigh thirteen ounces, they are fat and 
excellent ! On such table matters did royal physicians 
write, when Anne was queen. 

The table of George, Prince Eegent, was splendidly 
served. The court language was French, as though the 
days of the Normans were come again. But the son of 
George III., whether as prince or as king, and despite his 
character of being the first gentleman in Europe, was not 
naturally refined. He loved to have around him men like 



ENGLISH KINGS AT THEIE TABLES. 463 

Humboldt, who, when his guest, amused him with stories 
as broad as they were long. He himself would tell similar 
stories, even in the presence of his mother and sisters, and 
in spite of a sharp "Fie, George!" and an indignant 
working of her fan on the part of Queen Charlotte. When 
king, the female society which he assembled at the 
Pavilion was very decollete indeed, both as regarded 
person and principles, and the appearance of these brilliant 
looking and light dressed individuals in the day-time gave 
to Brighton an aspect that put Eowland Hill into fits. 
There were joyous evenings then at Virginia Water, on 
" tea and marrow bones,'' and there was everything there 
but refinement. Eefinement, indeed, was not the character- 
istic of any one prince of the house. The Duke of Cumber- 
land revelled in coarse jests, and was delighted when they 
embarrassed the modesty that could not even comprehend 
them. The Duke of Cambridge was perhaps the least 
ofiensive of the family. He was the professional diner 
out of the house ; and in his day very few public dinners 
took place without having the advantage of his presence 
as president. He was, on such occasions^ punctuality 
itself, and could not tolerate being kept waiting. In such 
cases, he sometimes wiled away the time by trying over 
music with the musical gentlemen whose harmony was to 
relieve the toasts and tedium of the evening, but his 
impatience sometimes got the better of his politeness and 
of his reverence for serious things, and we shall not soon 
forget the effect he produced at a " religious public dinner," 
by exclaiming aloud, " Where is the chaplain? d — n him ! 
Why doesn't he say grace?" Before passing to the next 
reign, we may take notice of a fact that is not generally 
known, but which nevertheless cannot be disputed. The 
coronation banquet of George IV. was one of the most 
splendid upon record. But there was a world of "leather 
and pruneJJa" about it, in spite of its reputed splendour. 



464 TABLE TRAITS. 

Thus, for instance, the king's table was one gorgeous 
display of gold plate, but the plates and dishes at all the 
other tables, one only, I believe, excepted, were composed 
of nothing more costly than good, honestpewter. Themetal 
was indeed so splendidly burnished that to the eye no 
silver highly polished coiild have been more dazzling ; 
but the truth remains that the peerage that day dined off 
pewter. But the occasion gave value to the material, and 
the dishes, in their character of relics of the glory of the 
last coronation banquet in Westminster Hall, are as highly 
prized, and as reverently preserved, as though they were 
composed of materials less strange to Potosi than tin, 
antimony, and a trifle of copper. 

Court life, in the reign of William IV., was but of a 
very sombre aspect. The good old king used to indulge 
in giving toasts after dinner, and he made long and some- 
what prosy speeches. Of the latter he was particularly, 
fond, and he made the then young Prince George of 
Cambridge his pupil, by giving the health of his father, 
the Duke, and inducing the son to rise and return thanks 
for the honour conferred. It was no bad discipline for 
one who intended to become a public man. The young 
prince became a very fair speaker under the old king's 
instructions. William detested politics, and he invariably 
fell asleep during the dessert. It would have violated 
etiquette to have awoke him; and the queen and her 
ladies never thought of rising until the royal eyelids began 
again to give symptoms of returning wakefulness. He 
was fond of talking, over the wine, of military details, and 
was proud of two achievements connected therewith j first, 
that he had made Colonel Needham shave off his cherished 
whiskers, according to the new regulations ; and that he 
had succeeded in having all the Waterloo medals worn 
with the king's head outwards. He frequently fell asleep 
during these conversations ; and then the guests quietly 



ENGLISH KINGS AT THEIR TABLES. 4^5 

passed the wine from one to the other, and, as they drank 
off their glasses, bowed to or smiled at the sleeping 
sovereign the while. In the evening, there generally was 
music, during which the Queen Adelaide was as generally 
engaged in worsted work. The king usually honoured 
some one with an invitation to sit by his side on the sofa. 
He then fell asleep again, and the unlucky, honoured in- 
dividual, did not dare leave his "coign of 'vantage" until 
the king awoke and gave the signal. William was a very 
moderate joker, and he loved a joke from others. It is 
reported that, when heir presumptive, he once said to a 
Secretary of the Admiralty who was at the same dinner 

table, "C , when I am king, you shall not be 

Admiralty Secretary! Eh, what do you say to that?" 
" All that I have to say to that, in such a case, is," said 

C , "God save the king!" I have heard it further 

said, that William never laughed so loudly as when he was 
told of a certain parvenu lady, who, dining at Sir John 
Copley's, ventured to express her surprise that there was 
" no pilfered water on the table." 

The dining-tables of deceased monarchs belong to 
history; and, consequently, the limit of this imperfect 
record is to be found here. One further illustration, how- 
ever, of "household" matters may here be not inaptly 
introduced. A few months ago a gentleman, who had 
been in his early years the personal friend of the Duke of 
Kent, was desirous of sending from Sicily a testimonial 
of his respect to the late Duke's daughter, our sovereign 
lady the Queen. His grateful remembrance took the 
shape of some very rare and choice Sicilian wine, the 
proper transmission of which was entrusted to the good 
offices of a friend of the donor. This honorary agent pro- 
ceeded to the proper office for instructions, and there he 
was somewhat surprised at being informed that, as soon as 
the duty had been paid upon the wine, the latter would 

H H 



466 TABLE TEAITS. 

be forwarded to the "household." At this strange intima- 
tion, the friendly agent wrote to his principal for fresh 
instructions, and the principal, who had not the slightest 
intention of showing his respect for the memory of a sire 
by presenting wine to the " household" of that sire's royal 
daughter, at oiice directed the luscious tribute to be 
divided among friends who had households of their own, 
and who could appreciate the present. The rule, with 
regard to offerings like these, was not in former times so 
ungraciously severe. When Mrs. Coutts used to send her 
pleasant tributary haunches of venison to the Pavilion, 
she was not informed that the " household" would conde- 
scend to dine upon the venison : on the contrary, a grace- 
ful autograph note from the royal recipient not only made 
cheerful acknowledgment of the gift, but also gave hearty 
promise that it would be thoroughly enjoyed. There is 
more independence, perhaps, in the present system, which 
discourages all tributes, whatever may be their nature; 
but there is something very ungracious in the method of 
its application. 

Enough, however, of this matter, or we shall have little 
time to discuss, even briefly, two other subjects, touching 
which I would say something, before we are finally -called 
to "supper." The first of these comes under the head of 
" Strange Banquets." 



STRANGE BANQUETS. 



Undeb this title I was half inclined to include the 
records of the achievements of those gastronomic heroes, 
whose Spirit was something Hke that of the boy's who ate 
with two spoons, and cried because he could not swallow 
faster. But, from Milo and his entire bull for dinner, 
down to Dando and his peck of oysters for supper, there 
is a sameness of very gross detail, and perhaps not very 
great truth, in all. The rustic who was victor at an eating 
match, " by a pig and an apple pie,'' was on a level with 
the ancient kings, who were wont to boast that they could 
carry more beneath their belts with impunity than any 
other men. So the ardour of the two villages contemplat- 
ing their respective champions — gluttons employed for the 
honour of their several birth-places — and the exultation 
of one party at finding its favourite a-head "by two turkeys 
and a pound of sausages," gave proof of as much dignity 
of humanity as was given in their case by those nations 
of old who weighed their kings annually, and had a 
general illumination when they found their monarchs 
growing fatter. 

These illustrations of table manners, if indeed they 
deserve to be so called, we leave to the perusal of those 
whose devotion is of that cast that they would have 
reckoned Baal as a god, for no other reason than the suffi- 
cient one given of old, namely, that he ate much meat. 
In more modem times, we have had defunct kings who 
hh2 



468 TABLE TRAITS. 

have been supposed capable of consuming as much as Baal 
himself, or any of his lively followers; for an illustration 
of which fact we must pass over, for a short time, to the 
once kingdom of France. 

The last banquet prepared by the culinary officers of 
Francis I. for that royal personage, was one at which my 
readers would not have cared to sit in fellowship with the 
king, nor was it one which that monarch himself could be 
said to have perfectly enjoyed. He made, indeed, no 
remark or complaint, but that was for the natural reason 
that he was dead when he presided at it ! How this came 
to pass I, will proceed to relate. 

On the 1st day of March, 1546, Francis I. died in the 
Chateau de Eambouillet. The whole of the following day 
his body was in the hands of the surgeon-embalmers, 
who vainly exercised their office to render that sweet when 
dead which had by no means been so when living. During 
sis weeks the corpse was deposited at the neighbouring 
Abbey of Haute-BruySre. It was then transported to the 
house of the Archbishop of Paris at St. Cloud, where there 
was a duplicate " lying in state." The dead king, extended 
on a couch of richly embroidered crimson satin, was sur- 
rounded by a thickly-wedged mass of priests, who, night 
and day, offered up prayers for the repose of his soul. In 
the adjacent chamber was the " counterfeit presentment," 
or effigy of the monarch, made " after nature," reclining 
on a bed of the most gorgeous description, on and about 
which was displayed all that could lend additional solemn 
glory to the scene. The waxen effigy, with hands joined, 
was decked in a crimson silk shirt, covered by a light blue 
tunic powdered with fleurs de lis. The royal mantle, of a 
deep violet, lay across the feet ; and near it were the orders, 
chains, and other "bravery" worn by Francis in his life- 
time. On the head was a violet velvet scull-cap, and 
above that the crown. The legs were thrust into boots of 



STEANGE BANQUETS. 469 

cloth of gold, witli crimson satin soles, — but then they were 
not made for -walking in. In the room, and particularly 
near the bed, there was a blaze of gold and jewellery, such 
as dazzled the sight only to look at it. The upper portion 
of the bed was fashioned like a tent. Sentinels guarded 
it from without, and priests kept watch with much prayer 
within. They were of all grades, from cardinals and 
princes of the Church down to bare-footed friars, who 
wovild have been more thankful for a scarlet hat than for 
a pair of the newest sandals. These were the guests at a 
banquet where the king was the highly honoured host. 

We are told by old Pierre de Chastel, Bishop of Macon, 
that the ordinary etiquette of service was rigorously main- 
tained every day, during eleven days, as if the king had 
been living and laughing in the midst of them. The royal 
dinner-table was laid out at the side of the bed; a cardinal 
blessed the viands ; and a gentleman of various quarterings 
presented to the unconscious image a full ewer, wherewith 
to wash the hands which, folded as they were, seemed like 
those of the father of Miss Kilmansegg, to be already 
washing themselves with invisible soap in imperceptible 
water! 

A second gentleman offered to the representative of the 
defunct king a vase mantling with wine] and a third 
wiped his lips and fingers, as if either could have been 
soiled by not coming in contact with the cates and the 
goblet ! These functions, and others that may very weU 
be passed over, were performed amid a most death-like 
silence, and by the fitful light of funereal torches, — the only 
dinner lamps in use while the dead king was engaged in 
not dining. And such were the clever funeral banquets 
presided over by the waxen similitude of a defunct king. 
And here it should be my office to pass to other subjects 
more immediately connected with Table Traits, but I may 
perhaps, be pardoned if I add, that the royal corpse, after 



470 TABLE TRAITS. 

the copious feeding which its effigy was mocked with, was 
raised with incredible pomp, and borne into Paris with an 
attendant mixture of the sublime and the ridiculous. It 
was preceded by beggars, .nobles, cavaliers, and cooks, 
("officiers de bouche,") pages, surgeons, and valets de 
chambre, grooms, heralds, and archbishops. The followers 
behind the car were of more uniform and exalted rank ; 
and when the procession reached Vaug6rard, it was met by 
the twenty-four town-criers of Paris, who took imnaediate 
precedence of the five hundred beggars. The funeral 
service in the cathedral was conducted with similar mag- 
nificence ; but what is most singular is the fact, that the 
solemn ceremony was no sooner concluded, than it was 
recommenced with all gravity, for the benefit of the waxen 
effigy that had been served for eleven days with an 
" omelette fantastique ! " and more than this, two of the, 
sons of the deceased king, having been previously interred, 
but with maimed rites, a newly organized procession and 
service took place on this occasion, not only for themselves, 
but for their effigies also ! There was an ocean of holy 
water scattered on these exaggerated dolls; the aspersion, 
however, was borne with a calmness worthy of their dig- 
nity ! And at these ceremonies the English ambassador, 
with other Christian representatives, appeared on horse- 
back, each with a prelate mounted also at his side. The 
union represented that which ought to exist between church 
and state everywhere, but which does not even in the 
Duchy of Baden. When the lengthened solemnities had 
come to a conclusion, the merry pages, as hungry as they 
were joyous, scrambled for sweetmeats, and that was the 
last of the feasting or fasting of Francis I. 

All this seems barbarous and antique : it is the former 
rather than the latter. The custom, with some attendant 
exaggerations, is still prevalent in China, where only two 
years ago the defunct aunt of the sun and moon, mother 



STRANGE BANQUETS. 471 

to the reigning monarcli, was feasted witli a solemn parade 
of magnificent nonsense, the details of which make those 
of the banquet of the deceased Francis look extremely poor 
indeed. I believe that the Chinese idea with regard to 
their poor dead princess was, that she, or the immortal 
part in her, could not possibly take flight upon the celes- 
tial dragon waiting to convey her to the pagoda — paradise 
of Cathay — ^until this farewell banquet had been given to 
her by those who had loved her upon earth. 

It is the easiest thing in the world, and perhaps it is the 
most natural, to smile superciliously at these customs, and 
dismiss them with the definite remark, that they were 
heathenish and superstitious. JBut our grandmothers, or 
their mothers rather, saw something very like it in 
England. In the latter case, it was not the consequence 
of a law that ruled in such matters, but a spontaneous act 
of a sublimely ridiculous, or a ridiculously sublime, affec- 
tion. Henrietta, Duchess of Marlborough, we are told, 
demonstrated her afiection for Congreve in a manner 
indicative of absolute insanity. " Common fame reports," 
says Kippis, in the " Biographia Britannica," " that she 
had his figure made in wax, talked to it as if it had been 
alive, placed it at table with her, took great care to help 
it with different sorts of food, had an imaginary sore in its 
leg regularly dressed, and, to complete all, consulted phy- 
sicians with regard to its health.'' 

An invitation from the duchess to dinner, to meet her 
simulative friend, who could hardly be said to have waxed 
wittier after his metempsychosis, would not have been a 
lively thing. I am not sure that I would not rather have 
been in the place of the Hetman of the Zaparogue Cos- 
sacks, who was strangely treated and dieted when he was 
elected to the chief command over his own wild hordes. 
His followers besmeared (and the fashion is not yet obso- 
lete) his face with mud, placed a symbolic baton in his 



472 TABLE TEAITS. 

hand, and a saUoy-looking crane's feather in his bonnet. 
They then gave him a cupful of tar (a process that would 
have delighted Bishop Berkeley), and after pitching great- 
ness into him in this manner, he was allowed a draught of 
mead by way of purifying his palate. When Shakspere 
said, " Take physic, pomp," he was little aware of the 
custom to that effect among the Zaparogues. It was 
sweetened, indeed, by the conclusive draught of mead, 
as Berkeley's dissertation on tar-water was wound up by a 
sermon on the Trinity; but I think I would have pre- 
feri*ed swallowing the tar, with nothing to qualify it but 
the title, rather than have sat down to the most sump- 
tuous of banquets, between the mad duchess and her wax 
lover with an issue in his leg ! 

William Howitt tells of an old countrywoman whom 
he sought to initiate into the simple elements of religion, 
and to whom he presented a Testament. When the latter 
had been read through, the worthy teacher asked her what 
she thought of the solemn record: "Ah, well!" was the grace- 
less comment, " it all happened so long ago, and so far off, 
that I don't believe a word of it !" Some such witticism may, 
perhaps, apply to my stories just told, some of which have 
distant scenes for their locality, and others distant periods 
for their times of actions. But, in the way of barbarous 
banquets, examples may be cited less open to this objection; 
and if the far-off Zaparogue chiefs have a cruelly nasty 
inauguration into greatness, I do not know if the children 
in the Scottish Highlands, to whom the wise women there 
administer a mixture of whisky and earth as their first 
food, have not a nastier inauguration into life. Having 
mentioned Scotland, I may, while on the subject of strange 
banquets, show how they cooked and fed in the days of 
Edward III. "Nor yet had they," says old Joshua 
Barnes, " any cauldrons or pans to dress their meat in ; 
for what beasts they found (as they always had good store 



STEANGS BANQUETS. 473" 

in those northern parts), they would seethe them in their 
own (the beasts' !) skins, stretched out bellying on stakes, 
in the manner of cauldrons ; and having thus sodden their 
meat, they would take out a little plate of metal, which 
they used to truss somewhere in or under their saddles, 
and laying it on the fire, take forth some oatmeal (which 
they carried in Uttle bags behind them for that purpose), 
and having kneaded and tempered it with water; spread 
that thereon. This being thus baked they used for bread, 
to comfort and strengthen their stomachs a little when 
they eat flesh." 

Stomachs that needed no other comforting than this 
must have belonged to men of irresistible arms. They 
devoured the bullocks, and afterwards dressed themselves 
in the cauldrons. They remind lis of those nomadfe people 
of whom the poet asks, — 

" Was ever Tartar fierce or cruel 
Upon the strength of water-gruel 1 
But who shall stand his rage and force. 
If first he rides, then eats his horse !" 

And this metrical allusion to ancient banquets, and 
characteristic prowess connected with them, recals to my 
memory the singular story touching the strangest of facts, 
which has been told in choice verse by Ludwig Uhland. 
The German poet, in narrating it, has condemned himself 
to execute a sort of double hornpipe in fetters, having set 
himself the task to introduce one word, the subject of his 
poem, into every stanza of his rhymed romance. "Done 
into Enghsh," the legend runs thus : — 

THE CASTELLAN OP COTJCY, OR THE HEAET. 

" How deeply young De Coucy sigh'd, 
How sad the feeling that came o'er him. 
And smote his heart, when first he saw 
The Lady of Fayal before him ! 



474 TABLE TEAITS. 

" How suddenly his song assumed 
The strain of love's impassiou'd fire ! 
How every measure clearly told 
His heart vibrated with his lyre ! 

" But vain the sweetness of his song, 
In am'rous cadence softly dying ! 
No hope had he to move the heart 
Of her who heeded not his sighing ! 

" For even, when beyond his wont 
He fell on some inspirM strain, 
The wedded lady's heart scarce moved, — 
It warm'd but to be cold again. 

" Then was the Castellan resolved. 
The cross upon his cuirass'd breast, 
'Mid toils in Palestine to seek 
The tumults of his heart to rest. 

" And there, in many a hot aflfray, 
Where perils threat, and dangers thicken. 
He stands till, — 'spite his coat of mail. 
His noble heart with death is stricken. 

" ' Oh ! hear'st thou me, my page 1 ' he cried, 
'When this fond heart has ceased its beating. 
To the fair Lady of Fayal 
Bear it, with De Coucy's greeting.' , 

" In cold and consecrated earth 
The hero's corpse at length reposes ; 
But o'er his heart, his broken heart, 
Not so the tomb its portal closes. 

" The heart within a golden urn 
Was laid ; the page received the treasure, 
And quickly sped him o'er the main,. 
To do his noble master's pleasure. 

" Now whirlwinds tear, and waters dash, 
Now lightnings rend, and masts are falling; 
All hearts on board are struck with awe, 
One heart alone's beyond appalling ! 

" Now beams the golden sun again ; 
Now, France upon the bow's appearing ; 
All hearts on board with joy are cheer'd ; 
One heart alone 's beyond all cheering 4 



STEANUE BANQUETS. 475 

" And soon, througli Fayal's frowning wood. 

The page and heart their way are making. 

When winding sounds the lusty horn, 

With hunters' cries the stillness breaking. 
" I'hen from the thicket bounds a stag. 

Through his heart an arrow flying, 

Checks his coarse, and strikes him dead,— 

At the page's feet lie's lying. 
" And now the Eitter of Fayal, 

Who first the gallant stag had wounded. 

Gallops up with hunting train. 

Who soon the gentle page surrounded. 
" The golden urn had quickly fall'n 

To the Hitter's knaves a welcome booty. 

Had not the boy stepp'd back a pace, 

And told them of his mournful duty. 
" ' Heart of a knightly Troubadour, 

Here is a warrior's heart, I say, — 

The Castellan of Coucy 's heart ; 

Let pass this heart its peaceful way ! 
" ' Dying, my gallant master cried, 

When this heart has ceased its beating. 

To the fair Lady of Fayal 

Bear it, with De Couc/s greeting.' 
" ' That dame I know full passing well ! ' 

Shouted the knight in deadly passion. 

As from the trembling page he tore 

The urn, in fierce uncourteous passion. 
" And with it, grasp'd beneath his cloak. 

Homeward sped the savage Ritter ; 

The heart close press'd upon his breast, 

Fill'd it with thoughts of vengeance bitter. 
" Scarce at his castle-gate arrived. 

His madden'd thoughts intent on treason, 

Than straight his frighted cooks are charged 

The heart with condiments to season. 
" 'Tis done ! and richly strewn with flow'rs. 

And lain on golden dish withal, 

'Tis placed before the Knight and Dame, 

When seated in their banquet-hall. 



476 TABLE TRAITS. 

" The Knight upon the Lady tended, 
Speaking in terms of feign'd delight — 
' Of all the produce of my chase, 
Thia heart la yours, fair dame, by right !' 

" But scarcely had the Lady tasted 
Of the dainty placed before her, 
When impulse, strong and^trange, to weep, 
Irresistibly came o'er her. 

" On marking which the Eitter cried. 
With wild and savage laugh unholy, 
' Do pigeons' hearts, my faithful Dame, 
GIyc tendency to melancholy 1 

" ' Then how much more, Lady mine, 
Must fare like this such passion raise — 
The Castellan of Coucy's heart, 
Whose lyre was wont to sound thy praise ?' 

" And when the Knight, with stern reproof. 
Had ceased thus sneering to upbraid, he 
Stood ; while hand on heart too, thus 
With solemn action spoke the Lady : — 

" ' Thou'st done me foulest wrong to-day 1 
Ne'er false was I, not e'en in thought. 
Till this poor heart I touoh'd but now. 
Within my own mutation wrought. 

" ' The youthful Poet's passion, told 
With sadden'd heart and anxious brow, 
I scom'd while yet the Poet lived. 
But dead 1 I yield me to it now. 

" ' To death devoted, this weak frame. 
To which De Coucy's heart hath lent 
A brief support, shall never more 
Partake of earthly nourishment. 

" ' May Heav'n its mercy show to all i 

Yes, e'en to thee may Heav'n show it ! ' 

***** 

Such is the story of a heart 

That once inspired a youthful Poet." 



STRANGE BANQUETS. 477 

The above story of the Castellan de Coney is considered 
to be one of Uhland's most remarkable poems, as much 
from its general sweetness, unhappily lost in translation, as 
from the wit with which he continually keeps before the 
reader the one word which forms the principal feature in 
the little romance. The tale is, however, by no means 
new. There are few nations whose story-tellers do not 
celebrate a lady who was forced by a jealous husband to 
eat the heart of her lover. It is common to England, 
Ireland, and Scotland. In France, the story exists nearly 
as Uhland has told it. In Germany, it is to be met with 
in various forms. In one of these, the lady is shown to 
have been more kind and less faithful than the Eitter's 
wife of Fayal. But above all it is, as the mad prince says, 
" extant, and written in very choice Italian," by the at once 
seductive and repulsive Boccaccio. It is one of the least 
filthy of a set of stories, told with a beauty of style, a 
choice of language, a lightness and a grace, which make 
you forget the matter and risk your morals, for the sake 
of improving your Italian. In Boccaccio's narrative, the 
lady is of course very guilty; and the husband also, of 
course, murders the lover iu as brutal and unknightly a 
fashion as can well be imagined. Nothing else could be 
expected from that unequalled story-teller, (unequalled as 
much for the charm of his manner, as for the general 
uncleanness of his details,) who but seldom has a good 
word to say for woman, or an honest testimony to give of 
man. Human nature presented nothing beautiful or 
estimable to him ; and yet it is undeniable that he had an 
acute perception of beauty and honour. The characters 
he describes are scurvy, vicious, heartless, debauched 
wretches; but he dresses them up in such dashing 
bravery of attire, and endows them with such divinity of 
beauty, and he writes of their whereabout with such a 
witchery of pen, that his poor, weak, ensnared readers have 



478 TABLE TRAITS. 

notMng for it but to go on in alternate extremes of 
admiring and condemning. To revert to the German 
prose story of the Heart, I may say that it is merely a bad 
translation from the " Decameron," telling in a very matter- 
of-fact way the history of a Lady von Eoussillon, " welches 
jhres geliebte Herz zu essen erhalt, und sich den Tod 
gibt." 

This strange banquet is not to be set down as positively 
apocryphal, merely because it has fallen into the possession 
of the rhymers and romancers. The old German barons 
were rather inclined to a barbarous species of kitchen — ■ 
something crude and cannibal of character — ^if we may so 
far credit the extravagances of legend as to believe that 
they are foainded on fact. But we need not go to Germany 
and fairy periods for illustmtions of extraordinary banquets. 
or individual dieting. 

Among eccentric gastronomists, I do not recollect one 
more remarkable than Mrs. Jeffreys, the sister of Wilkes. 
At Bath, she slept throughout the year beneath an open 
window, and the snow sometimes lent her bed an addi- 
tional counterpane. She never allowed a fire to be kindled 
in this room, the chief adornment of which was a dozen 
clocks, no two of which struck the hour at the same 
moment. She breakfasted frugally enough on chocolate 
and dry toast, but proceeded daily in a sedan chair, with a 
bottle of Madeira at her side, to a boarding-house to dine. 
She invariably sat between two gentlemen, " men having 
more sinew in mind and body than women," and with these 
she shared her " London Particular." Warner, in his 
"Literary EecoUections," says that some mighty joint that 
was especially well-covered with fat, was always prepared for 
her. She was served with slices of this fat, which she 
swallowed alternately with pieces of chalk, procured for 
her especial enjoyment. Neutralizing the subacid of the 
fat with the alkaline principle of the chalk, she " amalga- 



STRANGE BANQUETS. 479 

mated, diluted, and assimilated the delicious compound 
with half-a-dozen glasses of her delicious wine." The diet 
agreed weU with the old lady, and she maintained that 
such a test authorized use. 

We may contrast with the lady who loved lumps of 

chalk, the people of a less civilized time and place, who 

had a weakness for a species of animal food, which is not 

to be found written down in the menus of modern dinners. 

Keating, in his "Narrative of an Expedition to the Source of 

St. Peter's Eiver," gives some curious details, which may be 

not inappropriately touched upon here, referring as they 

do to a nation of dog-eaters. The custom at first sight 

strikes us as rather revolting ; but the animal in question, 

to say nothing of our stealthy friend the cat, is eaten every 

day in "ragouts,'' that smoke on the boards of the cheap 

gargottes of Paris and the banlieux. After all, custom 

and prejudice have much to do with the subject. "What 

do you do with your dead ?" once asked a member of a 

distant Asiatic tribe of a Eoman. "We bury them," 

answered the latter. "Gracious heaven!" exclaimed the 

"untutored Indian," with disgust, "what filthy and fiendish 

impiety !" " Why so ?" inquired the other. " What do you 

and your people with i/our dead?" " We treat them," 

replied the Indian proudly, " with the decent forms that 

best become the dead ; we eat them ! " To this day the 

nobles of Thibet are honoured after death with a very 

valuable and enviable privilege. They are reverentially 

offered to a body of hounds, maintained for the especial 

purpose of devouring the defunct aristocracy. What 

remains at the end of the process is cared for, like the 

ashes which were taken of old from beneath the pile on 

which a loved corpse had lain. This exclusive honour is 

never vouchsafed to the commonalty ; it is the particular 

vested right of greatness j and had Hamlet known of it 

when he traced great Csesar's clay stopping a bung-hole, 



480 TABLE TEAITS. 

it would have afforded him another illustration of the base 
uses to which mortality may return. Let us return to the 
dog-eaters. Mr. Keating shall tell what he saw among 
them, in his own words : Siia narret Ulysses. 

"As soon as we had taken our seats, the chief (Wanotau) 
passed his pipe round; and while we were engaged in 
smoking, two of the Indians arose, and uncovered the 
large kettles which were standing over the fire. They 
emptied their contents into a dozen of wooden dishes 
which were placed all round the lodge. These consisted 
of buffalo meat boiled with tepsin; also the same vegetable 
boiled without the meat, in buffalo grease; and, finally) 
the much-esteemed dog-meat — all which were dressed 
without salt. In compliance with the established usage 
of travellers to taste of everything, we all partook of the 
latter, with a mixed feeling of curiosity and reluctance. 
Could we have divested ourselves entirely of the pre- 
judices of education, we should, doubtless, unhesitatingly 
have acknowledged this to be one of the best dishes that 
we had ever tasted. It was remarkably fat, — was sweet 
and palatable. It had none of that dry, stringy cha- 
racter which we had expected to find in it ; and it was 
entirely destitute of the strong taste which we had 
apprehended it must possess. It was not an unusual 
appetite, or the want of meat to compare with it, which 
led us to form this favourable opinion of the dog; for 
we had on our dish the best meat which our prairies 
afford. But so strongly rooted are the prejudices of 
education, that though we all unaffectedly admitted the 
excellence of this food, yet few of us could be induced to 
eat much of it. We were warned by our trading Mends, 
that the bones of this animal are treated with great 
respect by the doctors. We therefore took great care to 
replace them in the dishes; and we are informed that 
after such a feast is concluded, the bones are carefully 



STBANGE BANQUETS. 481 

collected, the flesli scraped off them, and that after being 
washed, they are bnrned on the ground ; partly, as it is 
said, to testify to the dog-species that in feasting on one 
of their number, no disrespect was meant to the species 
itself; and partly also from a belief that the bones of 
the animal will arise and reproduce another. The meat 
of this animal, as we saw it, was thought to resemble that 
of the finest Welsh mutton, except that it was of a much 
darker colour. Having so far overcome our repugnance 
as to taste it, we no longer wonder that the dog should be 
considered a dainty dish by those in whom education has 
not created a prejudice against this flesh. In China it 
is said that fatted pups are frequently sold in the market- 
place ; and it appears that an invitation to a feast of dog 
meat is the greatest distinction that can be offered to a 
stranger by any of the Indian nations east of the Rocky 
Mountains. That this is not the case among some of 
the nations on the east of those mountains, appears from 
the fact that Lewis and Clarke were called in derision by 
the Indians of Columbia, 'dog-eaters.'" 

It may be readily believed that the food' above spoken 
of must be more acceptable to the human appetite than 
the snails which are fattened for the public markets in 
the meadows about Ulm. Two Edinburgh doctors did 
indeed pronounce the prejudice against snails to be absurd, 
and they showed the strength of their own convictions by 
sitting down to a charmingly prepared little dish of the 
particular dainty. The courage of each failed him at the 
first taste, but neither liked to confess as much to the 
other. They went on playing with their repast, until one 
ventured to say in a remarkably faint voice, "Don't you 
think, doctor, they are a leetle green?" "D — d green. 
Sir! d—d green!" was the hearty confirmatory rejoinder; 
" they are d — d green ! take them away I " 

But the Australians do not always exhibit this extreme 
I I 



482 TABLE TEAITS. 

nicety. If they cannot, or once could not, eat biscuits, 
they have no such delicate scruples about eating babies^ 
even when those babies are their own. The cannibalism 
of the Australians appears to be not so obsolete as those 
who wish weU to humanity would fain desire. This is 
settled by the testimony of Mr. Westgarth, a member of 
the local parliament, and the latest writer who has touched 
upon the subject. In his " Victoria, late Austraha Felix," 
he says : — " In their natural state, the aborigines stand 
out with a species of rude dignity. The precision and 
acuteness of their observant faculties are not to be sur- 
passed ; and they exhibit a surprising tact in their various 
modes of discovering and securing food. The narrow 
compass of their minds is concentrated in a few lines of 
vocation, in which, as in the exhibitions of a Blind 
Asylum, there are displayed an extraordinary accuracy 
and skill. But to these barbaric excellences, must be 
added the most degrading, superstitious, and revolting 
customs. Civilized nations are still unwilling to believe 
that infanticide and cannibahsm are associated with the 
customs of any race of human beings, or voluntarily 
practised, except in those rare cases of necessity which 
have broken down the barriers of nature alike to the 
white and the black; but nothing is better affirmed than 
that cannibalism is a constant habit with this degraded 
race, who alternately revel in the kidney fat of their 
slain or captured enemies, and in the entire bodies of 
their own friends and relatives. Nor can the infant 
claim any security from the mother who bore it, against 
some ruthless law, or ptactice, or superstition, that on 
frequent occasions consigns the female proportion, and 
sometimes both sexes, to destruction. On authentic 
testimony, bodies have been greedily devoured even in a 
state of obvious and loathsome disease ; and a mother has 
been observed deliberately destroying her youngest child. 



STRANGE BANQUETS. 483 

serving it tip as food, and gathering aronnd her the 
remainder of the family to enjoy the imnatural banquet." 
It is certainly pleasant to turn from such a spectacle as 
this to contemplate the wives of the King of Delhi, who 
pass their time in spoiling, but not kUling, their children, 
and whose chief amusement, after matters of dress, con- 
sists in sitting and cracking nutmegs in presence of the 
Great Mogul! 

But there are worse things than these which necessity 
can render acceptable to the palate. In Australia espe- 
cially does nature appear to indulge in strange freaks. 
Many of our salt-water fish there live in fresh-water 
rivers ; and, indeed, more than one inland river is brackish 
if not salt. Yet of salt itself the natives had never tasted, 
until the arrival among them of Europeans ; they do not 
take kindly to the condiment even to this day. They 
prefer their own unadorned cookery • and they would espe- 
cially have admired the late Dr. Howard, who published 
quarterly his denimciations against the use of salt. In 
Australia, the pears axe made of wood, and the stones of 
the cherries grow on the outside, and not within. The 
aborigines are satisfied with very unsavoury diet. They 
have one fashion, however, in common with the self- 
appointed leaders of civilization, the French; they eat 
frogs. In France it is the pastime of the bourgeois, on a 
summer evening, to resort to some pool with a rod and 
line, and a piece of red rag or bit of soap for bait, and 
there catch the little people who could not agree about 
their king by the dozen. In Australia the native ladies, 
in their usual scantiness of costume, proceed to the 
swamps ; and there, plunging their long arms up to the 
shoulders into the mud, they draw up the astonished frogs 
by handfiils. When caught they are cooked over a slow 
fire of wood-ashes ; the hinder parts only are eaten, as in 
France ; and there are worse dishes ' than the fricasee of 

Ii2 



484: TABLE TRAITS 

the edible frog. Indeed, if the Australians devoured 
nothing more objectionable, their system of diet would 
almost defy reproof But, alas ! I find upon their bills of 
fare — grubs, raw and roasted, snakes, lizards, rats, mice, 
and weazels. The mussel is deeply declined by some of 
the tribes, in consequence of an opinion prevailing that 
the fish in question is the especial property of sorcerers, 
whose amiable propensity it is to destroy mankind by 
means of mussels. If all the world held the same opinion, 
I have no doubt of great profit therefrom resulting. 

One of our earlier captains who visited Australia 
observing a native devouring some indescribable sort of 
food, offered him, in exchange for a portion of it, a sound 
sea-biscuit. The exchange was effected, and then it be- 
came a point of courtesy and honour that each should eat 
what he had acquired by the barter. The trial was a 
severe one for both parties. The Englishman swallowed 
slowly, and with a sickening sense of disgust that cannot 
be told, the odious food of the aboriginal ; while the 
native, nibbling at the biscuit, appeared to grow more 
horror-stricken at each bit which he tried to swallow. 
The tears came into his eyes, he grew sick, faint, enraged ; 
and at length, dashing the biscuit on the ground, he as 
violently seated himself upon it with a bounce that ought 
to have driven it to the very centre of the earth. • The 
Englishman, in the meantime, had flung away the remnant 
of his " piece de resistance," and they remained gazing at 
each other, with the inward conviction that, as regarded 
food, each had tasted that day that which deserved to be 
designated as surjjrisingly beastly. 

Keating's Indians are not the only men of North 
America who have a delicate fancy for the dog : the 
Dacotas are also that way given. Their celebrated " dogi 
dance" is indeed a festival but of rare occurrence, but it 
is held to show that that highly respectable people would 



STHAUGE BANQUETS. 485 

eat tte hearts of their enemies -with as little reluctance 
as the heart of a dog. And this is the manner of the 
feast of "braves;'' they cook the heart and liver of a dog, 
cool them in water, and then hang the dainties on a high 
pole, around which they assemble as grave and silent as 
quakers. The spirit is literally supposed to move them, 
and when one is thus influenced, he begins to bark, and 
jumps towards the pole. Another follows his example. 
The jumping backwards and forwards, and the chorus of 
barking become gradually universal, and the solemn con- 
cert is then at its height. Every one does his best, ac- 
cording as nature has gifted him. The children snap like 
French poodles; the girls yelp like pugs; some snarl, 
others growl; the women "give tongue" as musically as 
the Bramham Park hounds ; and the fathers of the tribe 
run through a scale of sounds that would highly astonish 
Lablache. 

And thus, in the midst of it all, one becomes bolder 
than the rest, looks about him grinningly defiant, and 
making a run and a leap at the canine dainties suspended 
from the pole, he generally touches ground again with a 
piece thereof in his teeth ! This good example is also fol- 
lowed universally, until the tempting prize is all consumed, 
and then there is " a general dance of characters," and the 
drama is done. The Dacotas have an esteem for diminu- 
tive dogs; and, lest my readers should deem the tribe to be 
wholly unacquainted with civilization and its secrets, I 
wiU just mention that these Indians not only drink 
whisky with as much profusion as it is drunken in godly 
Glasgow, but they occasionally administer a little of it to 
their dogs, in order to stunt their growth. Such prayers 
too as they have, are also marked by a modern and civi- 
lized character; for example, they say, "Great Spirit! 
Father ! help us to kill our enemies, and give us plenty of 
com !" This is the very spirit of much of the prayer put 



486 TABLE TRAITS. 

up by the dwellers in the regions of enlightenment. And 
the spirit, -with its proper motives, is not one to be blamed. 
These barbarous Indians do not, at all events, insult their 
Great Spirit, by asking him to give peace in their time, 
because none other fighteth for them but him. This would 
soimd to their ear as though they needed peace, for the 
reason that their defence in war was not to be relied upon; 
and, if it had slipped into their formulary, they would at 
least amend it without" delay. 

But this is getting critical, and so to become reminds us 
of authors. Now to treat of them, in reference to the 
table, is generally speaking to fall upon the discussion of 
their "calamities," and the EncyclopBedia of famished 
writers would be a very heavy work indeed. We have yet 
time, however, before the chapter of " Supper " opens, to 
take a cursory glance at a few of the brotherhood of the 
brain and quill. It can be but of a few, and of that few 
but briefly. " Tanto mecfUo /" says the reader, and I will 
not dispute the propriety of the exclamation. 



AUTHORS AND THEIR DIETETICS. 



It is all very well for Mr. Leigh Hunt to write a poem 
on the " Feast of the Poets," and to show us how Apollo 
stood " pitching his darts," by way of invitation to the 
ethereal banquet. This is all very well in graceful poetry, 
but the account is no more to be received, than the new 
gospel according to ditto is likely to be by the Lord 
Primate and orthodox Christians. It is far more difficult 
to tell the matter in plain prose ; for, where there are few 
dinners, many authors cannot well dine. It is easier to 
tell how they fested than how they fed ; how they died, 
choked at last by the newly-baked roll that came too late 
to be swallowed, than how they lived daily, — for the daily 
life of some would be as impossible of discovery, as the 
door of the " Cathedral of Immensities,'' wherein Mr. 
Carlyle transacts worship. The soid of the poet, says an 
Eastern proverb, passes into the grasshopper, which sings 
till it dies of starvation. An apt Illustration, but our 
English grasshoppers must not be used for the illustrative 
purpose, seeing that they are far too wise to do anything 
of the sort. A British grasshopper no more sings tiU. he 
dies, than a British swan dies singing : these foolish 
habits are left to foreigners and poetry. Let us turn to 
the more reliable register of our ever-juvenile friend, Mr. 
Sylvanus Urban. 

More than a century ago, Mr. Urban, who is the only 
original " oldest inhabitant," gave a " Literary Bill of 



488 TABLE TEAITS. 

Mortality for 1752," showing the casualties among books 
as well as among authors. Touching the respective fates 
of the former, we find the productions of the year set 
down as, " Abortive, 7000 ; still-bom, 3000 ; old age, 0." 
Sudden deaths fell upon 320. Three or four thousand 
perished by trunk-makers, sky-rockets, pastry-cooks, or 
worms; while more than half that number were privily 
disposed of. If such were the fortunes of the works, 
how desperate must have been the diet of the authors ! 
So also was their destiny. As a class, they are fixed, 
in round numbers, at 3000 ; and a third of these are 
registered as dying of lunacy. Some 1200 are entered 
as " starved." Seventeen were disposed of by " the 
hangman," and fifteen by hardly more respectable persons, 
namely themselves t Mad dogs, vipers, and mortification, 
swept off a goodly number. Five pastoral poets, who 
could not live by the oaten pipe, appropriately died of 
" fistula." And, as a contrast to the multitude " starved," 
we find a zero indicating the ascertained quantity of 
authors who had perished by the aldermanic malady of 
« surfeit." 

There is, perhaps, more approximation to truth than 
appears at first sight in this jeu d'esprit. It was only in 
Pagan days that authors could boast of obesity. They 
dined with the tyranni, as Persian poets get their mouths 
Stufied with sugar-candy by the Shah Inshah. And yet 
Pliny speaks of poets feeding sparingly, ut solent poetce. 
Perhaps this was only an exception, like that of Moore, 
who smilingly sat down to a broil at home when not dining 
with " right houourables ■" or contentedly thanked Heaven 
for " salt fish and biscuits" with his mother and sister in 
Abbey Street, the day after he had supped with the 
ducal viceroy of Ireland, and half the peerage of the 
three kingdoms. 

Still, in the old times, authors took more liberty with 



AUTHORS AND THEIB DIETETICS. 489 

their hosts. In Rome they kept more to the proprieties ; 
for a nod of the head of the imperial entertainer was 
sufficient to make their own fly from their shoulders. In 
presence of the Roman emperor of old, an author could only 
have declared that the famous invasion of Britain, which 
was productive of ship-loads of spoil, in the shape of sea- 
sheUs, was a god-like feat. So, at the table of the czar, 
all the lyres of Muscovy sing the ode of eternal sameness, 
to the effect that the dastardly butchery at Sinope was an 
act that made the angels of God jubilant ! The Russian 
lyres dare not sing to any other tune. It was not so of 
yore. Witness what is told us of Philoxenus, the ode 
writer, whose odes, however, are less known than his acts. 
He was the author of the wish that he had a crane's neck, 
in order to have prolonged enjoyment in swallowing. 
This is a poor wish compared with that of Quin, elsewhere 
recorded, that he might have a swallow as long as from 
here to Botany Bay, and palate aU the way ! He was a 
greedy feUow, this same Philoxenus. He accustomed 
himself to hold his iTands in the hottest water, and to 
gargle his throat with it scalding ; and, by this noble 
training, he achieved the noble end of being able to 
swallow the hottest things at table, before the other guests 
could venture on them. He would have conquered the 
most accomplished of our country bumpkins in consuming 
hasty-pudding at a fair. His mouth was as though it was 
paved, and his feUow-guests used to say of him, that he 
was an oven and not a man. He once travelled many 
miles to buy fish at Ephesus ; but, when he reached the 
market-place, he found it aU bespoke for a wedding 
banquet. He was by no means embarrassed ; he went 
uninvited to the feast, kissed the bride, sang an epithala- 
mium that made the guests roar with ecstasy, and afforded 
such delight by his humour, that the bridegroom invited 
him to breakfast with him on the morrow. His wit 



490 



TABLE TRAITS. 



had made amends for his devouring all the best dishes. 
It is a long way from Philoxenus to Dr. Chalmers 
forgetting his repast in the outpouring of his wisdom, 
and entering in his journal the expression of his fear that 
he had been intolerant in argument. What a contrast, 
too, between Philoxenus and Byron, who, when dining 
with a half-score of wits at Rogers's, only opened his 
mouth to ask for biscuits and soda-water, and not finding 
any such articles in the bill of fare, silently dining on 
vegetables and vinegar ! The noble poet's fare in Athens 
was often of the same modest character ; but we know 
what excesses he could commit when his wayward appe- 
tite that way prompted, or when he wished to lash his 
Pegasus into fury, as, after reading the famous, attack on 
his poetry in the Edinburgh Review, when he swallowed 
three bottles of claret, and then addressed himself to the 
tomahawking of his reviewers and rivals. 

Philoxenus, however, had his counterpart in those 
abb6s and poets who used, in the hearing of Louis XV., to 
praise Madame de Pompadour. He was writing a poem 
called " Galatea," in honour of the mistress of Dionysius 
of Sicily, when he was once dining with that tyrant. 
There were a couple of barbels on the royal board, a 
small one near the poet, and a larger near the prince. 
As the latter saw Philoxenus put his diminutive barbel 
to his ear, he asked him wherefore, and the poet replied that 
he was asking news of Nereus, but that he thought the fish 
he held had been caught too young to give him any. " I 
think," said Philoxenus, " that the old fish near your 
sacredness would better suit my purpose." This joke has 
descended to Joe Miller, in whose collection it is to be 
found in a modified form. But the story is altogether 
less neat than the one told of Dominic, the famous 
Italian harlequin and farce writer. He was standing in 
presence of Louia XIV, at dinner, when the Grand 



AUTHORS AUD THEIR DIETETICS. 491 

Monarque observed that his eyes were fixed on a dish of 
partridges. " Take that dish to Dominic," said the king. 
" What !" exclaimed the farceur, " partridges and all ! 
" Well," said the monarch, smiling with gravity, " yes, 
partridges and all ! " This reminds me of another anec- 
dote, the hero of ■which is the Abb6 MoraUet, whom Miss 
Edgeworth in her " Ormond " praises so highly, and 
praises so justly. But Morallet, if he 'loved good deeds, 
loved not less good dinners, and he shone in both. His 
talents as a writer, and his virtues as a man, to say 
nothing of his appetite, made him especially welcome at 
the hospitable table of Monsieur Ansu. The abb! had 
learned to carve expressly that he might appropriate to him- 
self his favourite portions, — a singular instance of selfishness 
in a man who was selfish in nothing else. It was on one of 
these occasions that a magnificent pheasant excited the 
admiration of the guests, and of the abb6 in particular, 
who nevertheless sighed to think that it had not been 
placed close to him. Some dexterity was required so to 
carve it, that each of the guests might partake of the 
oriental bird; and the mistress of the house, remembering 
the abbS's skiU as a carver, directed an attendant to pass 
the pheasant to M. I'Abbe de Morallet. "What!" 
exclaimed the latter, " the whole of it ? how very kind ! " 
" The whole of it V repeated the lady ; " I have no objec- 
tion, if these ladies and gentlemen are wiUing to siurender 
their rights to you." The entire company gave consent, 
by reiterating the words, " the whole of it !" and the man, 
who might have gained the Monthyon prize for virtue, 
really achieved a piece of gluttony which hardly confers 
honour on a hungry clown at a fair. 

La Fontaine at table was seen in a better light than 
the Abb6 Morallet. A fermier-general once invited him 
to a dinner of ceremony, in the persuasion that an author 
who excited such general admiration would create endless 



492 *ABLE TEAITS. 

delight for the select company, to entertain whom he had 
been invited, La Fontaine knew it well, during the whole 
repast ate in silence, and immediately rose, to the conster- 
nation of the convives, to take his departure. He was 
going, he said, to the Academy. The master of the house 
represented to him that it was by far too early, and that 
he would find none of the members assembled. " I know 
that," said the fabulist, with his quiet smile and courteous 
bow; " I know that, but I will go a long way round." If 
this seemed a trifle uncourteous — and it was so more in 
seeming than reality — it was not so much so as in the case 
of Byron, who used to invite a company to dinner, and 
then leave them to themselves to enjoy their repast. 
Noble hosts of the past century used to do something like 
this when they gave masquerades. Fashion compelled 
them to adopt a species of amusement which they detested; 
but they vindicated personal liberty nevertheless, for when 
their rooms were at their fullest, the noble host, quietly 
leaving his guest to the care of his wife, would slip away 
to some neighbouring coffee-house, and over a cool piat of 
claret enjoy the calm which was not to be had at home. 
The late Duke of Norfolk used habitually to dine at one 
of the houses in Covent Garden, out of pure liking to it. 
He was accustomed to order dinner for five, and to duly 
eat what he had deliberately ordered; but, as he one day 
detected a waiter watching him in his gastronomic process, 
he angrily ordered his bill, and never entered the house 
again. 

It was a common practice with Haydn, like his Grace of 
Norfolk, to order a dinner for five or six, and then eat the 
whole himself. He once ordered such a dinner to bei ready 
by a stated hour, at which time he alone appeared, and 
ordered the repast to be served. " But where is the com- 
pany?" respectfully inquired the head' waiter. "Oh!" 
exclaimed Haydn, "/ am de gompany!" But if he ate 



AUTHOES AND THEIR DIETETICS. 493 

all, he also paid for all. Moore and Bowles, in their visits 
together to Bath, used sometimes to dine at the White Hart, 
where, as Moore records, he paid his share of the dinner 
and pint of Madeira, and then Bowles magnificently "stood" 
a bottle of claret, at dessert. And a pleasant dinner the 
two opposite, yet able, poets, made of it ; — far more plea- 
sant than Coleridge's dinner with a party at Eeynolds's, 
when he bowled down the glasses Hke nine-pins, because 
they were too small to drink from copiously ! 

The name of Coleridge reminds me of Dufresny, an 
author of the time of Louis XIV., who was full of sentiment 
and majestic sounds, but who was content to live at the 
cost of other people, and who never achieved anything like 
an independence for himself. After the death of his royal 
patron, he was one day dining with the Eegent Duke of 
Orleans, who expressed a wish to provide for him. Caprice 
inspired the author to say, "Your royal highness had 
better leave me poor, as I am, as a monument of the con- 
dition of France before the regency." He was not dis- 
pleased at having his petition refused. A guest at his side 
did indeed remark, by way of encouragement, that "poverty 
was no vice." " No," answered Dufresny, sharply, " but 
it is something very much worse.'' In act and spirit he 
was not unlike a prince of wits and punsters among our- 
selves, who used to set up bottles of champagne ou his 
little lawn and bowl them down for nine pins ; and who, 
of course, left his wife and children pensioners on the 
charity of the state and the people. 

I have spoken of La Fontaine ; he was as absent at table 
as poor Lord Dudley and Ward, whose first aberrations so 
alarmed Queen Adelaide. La Fontaine was also like Dean 
Ogle, who, at a friend's table, always thought himself at 
his own, and if the dinner were indifferent, he would make 
an apology to the guests, and promise them better treatment 
next time. So La Fontaine was one day at the table of 



494 TABLE TBAITS. 

Despreaux; tlie conversation turned upon St. Augustin, 
and after much serious discourse upon tliat Christian 
teacher, La Fontaine, who had till then been perfectly 
silent, turned to his neighbour, the Abb6 Boileau, one of 
the most pious men of his day, and asked him " if he 
thought that St. Augustin had as much wit as Eabelais?" 
The priest blushed scarlet, and then contented himself with 
remarking, " M. de la Fontaine, you have got on one of 
your stockings the wrong side out j" — which was the fact. 

The poet's query to the priest was no doubt as starliling 
as that put by the son of a renowned reverend joker to 
the then Lord Primate. The anxious parent had informed 
his somewhat "fast" offspring, that as the archbishop was 
to dine with him that day, it would be desirable that the 
young gentleman should eschew sporting subjects, and if 
he spoke at all, speak only on serious subjects. Accordingly, 
at dessert, during a moment of silence, the obedient chUd, 
looking gravely at bis grace, asked him " if he could teU 
him what sort of condition Nebuchadnezzar was in, when 
he was taken up from grass ?" The Lord Primate readily 
rephed that he should be able to answer the question by 
the time he who had made it had found out the name of 
the man whom Samson ordered to tie the torches to the 
foxes' tails, before they were sent in to destroy the corn of 
the Philistines ! 

Moore loved to dine with the great; but there have 
been many authors who could not appreciate the supposed 
advantages of such distinction. Lainez was one of these, 
and there were but few of his countrymen who resembled 
him. One day the Duke of Orleans met him in the park 
at Fontainebleau, and did him the honour of inviting him 
to dinner. "It is really quite impossible," said Lainez; 
"I am engaged to dine at a tavern with half-a-dozen joUy 
companions; and what opinion would your royal highness 
have of me if I were to break my word?" Lainez was iiot 



AUTHORS AND THEIR DIKTETICS. 495 

like Madame de Sevign6, who, after having been asked to 
dance by Louis XIV., declared in her delight that he was 
the greatest monarch in the world. Bussi, who laughed 
at her absurd enthusiasm, affirms that the fair authoress 
of the famous " Letters " was so excited at the supper after 
the dance, that it was with difficulty she could refrain from 
shrieking out " Vive le Eoi ! " 

Had the famous "petit plre Andrg" kept down his 
impulses as successfiilly as Madame de Sevigne did at the 
supper, where, after all, she did not exclaim, " Vive le Eoi," 
it would have been more to his credit, and less to our 
amusement. The good father, hke a better man, St. Vin- 
cent de Paul, was excessively fond of cards, but he did not 
cheat, like the saint, for the sake of winning for the poor. 
He had been playing at piquet, and in one game had won 
a considerable sum by the lucky intervention of a fourth 
king. He was in such ecstasy at his luck, that he declared 
at supper he would introduce his lucky fourth king into 
, his next day's sermon. Bets were laid in consequence of 
this declaration, and the whole company were present when 
the discourse was preached. The promise made at the 
supper was kept in the sermon, though something pro- 
fanely : " My brethren," said the abbS, " there arrived one 
king, two kings, three kings; but what were they? — and 
where should I have been without the fourth king, who 
saved me, and has benefited you? That fourth ting was 
He who lay in the manger, and whom the three royal magi 
came but to worship!" At the dinner which followed, the 
author of the sermon was more eulogised than if he had 
been as grand as Bourdaloue, as touching as Massillon, 
or as winning as Fenelon. 

There was more wit in a cur6 of Basse Bretagne, who 
was the author of his diocesan's pastorals, and who hap- 
pened to hold invitations to dinners for the consecutive 
days of the week. He could not take advantage of them 



496 JABLB TRAITS. 

and perform his duty too, but he hit on a method of 
accomplishing his desire. He gave out at church, an inti- 
mation to this effect : — " In order to avoid confusion, my 
brethren, I have to announce that to-morrow, Monday, I 
will receive at confession, the liars only; on Tuesday, the 
misers; on Wednesday, the slanderers; on Thursday, the 
thieves; Friday, the libertines; and Saturday, the women 
of evil life." It need not be said that the priest was left 
during that week to enjoy himself without let or hindrance. 
And it was at such joyous dinners as he was in the habit 
of attending that most of the sermons, with startling pas- 
sages in them, like those of Father Andr6, were devised. 
Thus, the Cordelier Maillard, the author of various pious 
works, at a dinner of counsellors, announced his intention 
of preaching against the counsellors' ladies, — that is, 
against their wives, or such of them that wore embroidery. 
And well he kept his word, as the following choice flowers 
from the bouquet of his pulpit oratory will show. " You 
say," he exclaimed to the ladies in question, " that you are 
clad according to your conditions; all the devils in heU 
fly away with your conditions, and you too, my ladies! 
You will say to me, perhaps. Our husbands do not give us 
this gorgeous apparel, we earn it by the labours of our 
bodies. Thirty thousand devils fly away with the labours 
of your bodies, and you too, my ladies ! " And, after 
diatribes like these against the ladies in question, the 
Cordeher would dine with their lords, and dine sump- 
tuously too. The dinners of the counsellors of those days 
were not like the Spanish dinner to which an author was 
invited, and which consisted of capon and wine, two excel- 
lent ingredients, but unfortunately, as at the banquet cele- 
brated by Swift, where there was nothing warm but the 
ice, and nothing sweet but the vinegar, so here the capon 
was cold and the wine was hot. Whereupon, the literary 
guest dips the leg of the capon into the flask of wine, and 



AUTHORS AND THEIR DIETETICS. 497 

being asked by his host wherefore he did so, replied, "I am 
warming the capon in the wine, and cooling the wine with 
the capon." 

The host was not such a judge of wine, apparently, as 
the archbishops of Salzbourg, who used not indeed to write 
books, nor indeed read them, but who used to entertain 
those who did, and then preach against literary vanity 
from those double-balcony pulpits which some of my 
readers may recollect in the cathedral of the town where 
Paracelsus was wont to discourse like Solon, and to drink 
like Silenus; and before whose tomb I have seen votaries, 
imploring his aid against maladies, or thanking him for 
having averted them ! It is said of one of these prince 
primates that when, on the occasion of his death, the 
municipal officers went to place the seals on his property, 
they found the library sealed up exactly as it had been 
done many years before at the time of the decease of his 
predecessor. Such, however, was not the case with the» 
wine-ceUars. What the archiepiscopal wine is at Salzbourg, 
I do not know, but if it be half as good as that drank by 
the monks of Molk, on the Danube, why the archbishops 
may stand excused. Besides, they only drank it during 
their leisure hoius, — of which, as Hayne remarks, arch- 
bishops have generally four and twenty daily. 

But to return nearer home, and to our own authors : — 
Dr. Ame may be reckoned among these, and it is of him, 
I think, that a pleasant story is told, showing how he 
wittily procured a dinner in an emergency, which certainly 
did not promise to allow such a consummation. The 
doctor was with a party of composers and musicians in a 
provincial town, where a musical festival was being cele- 
brated, and at which they were prominent performers. 
They proceeded to an inn to dine ; they were accommo- 
dated with a room, but were told that every eatable thing 
in the house was abeady engaged. All despaired in their 

K K 



498 TABLE TEAITS. 

hunger, save the " Mus. Doc." who, cutting off two or 
three ends of catgut, went out upon the stairs, and observ- 
ing a waiter carrying a joint to a company in an adjacent 
room, contrived to drop the bits of catgut on the meat, 
while he addressed two or three questions to the waiter. 
He then returned to his companions, to whom he intimated 
that dinner would soon be ready. They smiled grimly at 
what they thought was a sorry joke, and soon after, some 
confusion being heard in the room to which the joint 
which he had ornamented had been conveyed, he reiterated 
the assurance that dinner was coming, and thereupon he 
left the room. On the stairs he encountered the waiter 
bearing away the joint, with a look of disgust in his face. 
" Whither so fast, friend, with that haunch of mutton 1 " 
was his query. " I am taking it back to the kitchen. Sir; 
the gentlemen cannot touch it. Only look. Sir," said 
William, with his nose in the direction of the bits of cat- 
#gut; "it's enough to turn one's stomach ! " "Wilham," 
said Arne gravely, " fiddlers have very strong stomachs ; 
bring the mutton to our room." The thing was done, 
the haunch was eaten, the hungry guests were delighted, 
but William had ever afterwards a contempt for musical 
people; he classed them with those barbarians whom he 
had heard the company speak of where he waited, who not 
only ate grubs, but declared that they liked them. 

Martial was often as hardly put to it to secure a dinner 
as any of the authors I have hitherto named. He was 
fond of a ffood dinner, ut solent poetce; and he knew 
nothing better than a hare, followed by a dish of thrushes. 
The thrush appears to have been a favourite bird in the 
estimation of the poets. The latter may have loved to 
hear them sing, but they loved them better in a pie. 
Homer wrote a poem on the thrush ; and Horace has said, 
in a line, as much in its favour as the Chian could have 
said in his long and lost poem^ — "nil melius turdo." 



AUTHOES AND THEIR DIETETICS. 499 

Martial was, at all events, a better fed and better weighted 
man than the poet Philetas of Cos, who was so thin that he 
walked abroad with leaden balls to his feet, in order that he 
might not be carried away by the wind. The poet Arche- 
stratus, when he was captured by the enemy, was put in a 
pair of scales, and was found of the weight of an obolus. 
Perhaps this was the value of his poetry ! It was the value 
of nearly aU. that was written by a gastronomic authoress 
in France; I allude to Madame de Genlis, who boasts in 
her Memoirs, that having been courteously received by a 
certain German, she returned the courtesy by teaching 
him how to cook seven diflferent dishes after the French 
fashion. 

The authors of France have exhibited much caprice in 
their gastronomic practice; often professing in one direc- 
tion, and acting in its opposite. Thus Lamartine was a 
vegetarian until he entered his teens. He remains so in 
opinion, but he does violence to his taste, and eats good^ 
dinners for the sake of conforming to the rules of society ! 
This course in ,an author, who is for the moment rigidly 
Republican when all the world around him is Monarchical, 
is singular enough. Lamartine's vegetarian taste was 
fostered by his mother, who took him when a child to 
the shambles, and disgusted him with the sight of butchers 
in activity on slaughtering days. He for a long time led 
about a pet lamb by a ribbon, and went into strong fits 
at a hint from his mother's cook, that it was time to turn 
the said pet into useful purposes, and make iendrons 
d'agneau of him. Lamartine would no more have thought 
of eating his lamb, than Emily Norton would have dreamed 
of breakfasting on coUops cut from her dear white doe of 
Rylston. The poet stiU maintains, that it is cruel and 
sinful to kill one animal in order that another may dine ; 
but, with a sigh for the victim, he can eat heartily of what 
is killed, and even put his fork into the breast of lamb 
kk2 



500 TABLE TRAITS. 

without compunction, — but all for conformity ! He knows 
that if he were to confine himself to turnips, he should 
enjoy better health and have a longer tenure of lifej but 
then he thinks of the usages of society, sacrifices himself 
to custom, and gets an indigestion upon truffled turkey. 

Moore, in his early days in London, iised to dine some- 
where in Marylebone with French refugee priests, for 
something less than a shilling. Dr. Johnson dined still 
cheaper, at the "Pine Apple," in New-street, Covent Gar- 
den — namely, for eightpence. They who drank wine 
paid fourpence more for the luxury, but the lexicographer 
seldom took wine at his own expense ; and sixpenny-worth 
of meat, one of bread, and a penny for the waiter, sufficed 
to purchase viands and comfort for the author of the 
'•' Vanity of Human Wishes.'' Boyce the versifier was of 
quite another kidney; when he lay in bed, not only 
starving, but stark naked, a compassionate Mend gave 
him half-a-guinea, which he spent in truffles and mush- - 
rooms, eating the same in bed under the blankets. There 
was something atrociously sublime about Boyce. Famine 
had pretty well done for him, when some one sent him a 
slice of roast-beef, but Boyce refused to eat it, because 
there was no catchup to render it palatable. 

It must have been a,' sight of gastronomic pleasure to 
have seen Wilkes and Johnson together over a fillet of 
veal, with abundance of butter, gravy, stuffing, and a 
squeeze of lemon. The philosopher and the patriot were 
then on a level with other hungry and appreciating men. 
Shallow with his short-legged hen, and Sir Eoger de 
Coverley over hasty-pudding, are myths ; not so Pope with 
stewed regicide lampreys, Charles Lamb before roast pig, 
or Lord Eldon next to liver and bacon, or Theodore Hook 
bending to vulgar pea-soup. These were rich realities, 
and the principal performers in them had not the slightest 
idea of affecting refinement upon such subjects. Goldsmith, 



ADTHOES AND THEIR DIETETICS. 501 

vrhen he could get it, had a weakness for haunch of 
venison; and Dr. Young was so struck with a broiled 
bladebone on which Pope regaled him, that he concluded 
it was a foreign dish, and anxiously inquired how it was 
prepared. Ben Jonson takes his place among the lovers 
of mutton, while Herrick wandering dinnerless about 
Westminster, Nahum Tate enduring sanctuary and star- 
vation in the Mint, Savage wantonly incurring hunger, 
and Otway strangled by it, introduce us to authors with 
whom " dining with Duke Humphrey," was so frequent a 
process, that each shadowy meal was but as a station 
towards death. 

When Goldsmith " tramped " it in Italy, his flute ceased 
to be his bread-winner as it had been in France ; the 
fellow-countrymen of Palestrina were deaf to "Barbara 
Allen," pierced from memory through the vents of an Irish 
reed. Goldsmith, therefore, dropped his flute, and took up 
philosophy; not as a dignity; he played it as he had done 
his flute, for bread and a pillow. ' He knocked at the gate 
of a college instead of at the door of a cottage, made his 
bow, gave out a thesis, supported it in a Latin which must 
have set on edge the teeth of his hearers, and, having car- 
ried his exhibition to a successful end, was awarded the 
trifling and customary honorarium, with which he pur- 
chased bread and strength for the morrow. No saint in 
the howling wilderness lived a harder life than Goldsmith 
during his struggling years in London ; the table traits, 
even of his days of triumph, were sometimes coloured un- 
pleasingly. I am not sure if Goldsmith was present at 
the supper at Sir Joshua's, when Miss Reynolds, after the 
repast, was called upon as usual to give a toast, and not 
readily remembering one, was asked to give the ugliest 
man of her acquaintance, and thereon she gave " Dr. Gold- 
smith ;" the name was no sooner uttered than Mrs. Chol- 
mondeley rushed across the room, and shook hands with 



502 TABLE TEAITS. 

Reynolds's sister, by way of approval. What a sample of 
the manners of the day, and how characteristic the remark 
of Johnson, who was present, and whose wit, at his friend's 
expense, was rewarded by a roar, that " thus the ancients, 
on the commencement of their friendships, used to sacri- 
fice a beasfbetween them !" Cuzzoni, when found famish- 
ing, spent the guinea given her in charity, in a bottle of 
tokay and a penny roll. So Goldsmith, according to Mrs. 
Thrale^was "drinking himself drunk with Madeira," with 
the guinea sent to rescue him from hunger by Johnson. 
But let us be just to poor Oliver. If he squandered the 
eleemosynary guinea of a friend, he refused roast beef and 
daily pay, offered him by Parson Scott, Lord Sandwich's 
chaplain, if he would write against his conscience, and in 
support of government ; and he could be generous in his 
turn to friends who needed the exercise of generosity. 
When Goldsmith went intp the suburban gardens of Lon- 
don to enjoy his "shoemakers' holiday,'' he generally had 
Peter Barlow with him. Now Peter's utmost limit of 
profligacy was the sum of fifteen-pence for his dinner ; his 
share would sometimes amount to five shillings, but Gold- 
smith always magnificently paid the difference. Perhaps 
there are few of the sons of song who dined so beggarly, 
and achieved such richness of fame, as Butler, Otway, 
Goldsmith, Chatterton, and, in a less degree of reputation, 
but not of suffering, poor Gerald Griffin, who wrestled 
with starvation till he began to despair. Chatterton did 
despair, as he sat without food, hope, and humility; and 
we know what came of it. Butler, the sturdy son of a 
Worcestershire farmer, after he had astonished his con- 
temporaries by his " Hudibras," lived known but to a few, 
and upon the charity or at the tables of them. But he 
did not, like the heartless though sorely-tried Savage, 
slander the good-natured friends at whose tables he drew 
the support of his life. As for Otway, whether he perished 



AUTHORS AND THEIR DIETETICS. 503 

of suffocation by the roll which he devoured too greedily 
after long fasting, or whether he died of the cold draught 
of water, drank when he was overheated, it is certain that 
he died in extreme penury at the " Bull " on Tower Hill, 
— ^the coarse frequenters of the low public-house were in 
noisy revelry round their tables, while the body of the dead 
poet lay, awaiting the grave, in the room adjacent. 

The table life of Peter Pindar was a far more joyous one 
than that of much greater poets. At Truro he was noted 
for his frugal fare, and he never departed from the ob- 
servance of frugality of living throughout his career. He 
would sometimes, we are told, when visiting country 
patients, and when he happened tO be detained, go into the 
kitchen and cook his own beefsteak, in order to show a 
country cook how a steak was done in London, — the only 
place, he said, where it was properly cooked. He laughed 
at the faculty as he did at the king, and set the whole pro- 
fession mad by sanctioning the plentiful use of water, 
declaring that physic was an uncertain thing, and main- 
taining that in most cases all that was required on the 
doctor's part was " to watch nature, and when she was 
going right, to give her a shove behind." He was accus- 
tomed to analyse the drugs which he had prescribed for 
his patients, before he would allow the latter to swallow 
them, and he gave a decided county bias against pork by 
remarking of a certain apothecary that he was too fond of 
bleeding the patients who resorted to him, and too proud 
of his large breed of pigs. The inference was certainly 
not in favour of pork. Peter's practical jokes in connexion 
with the table were no jokes to the chief object of them. 
Thus, when a pompous Cornish meniber of parliament 
issued invitations for as pompous a dinner to personages of 
correspondmg pomposity, "Peter," recollecting that the 
senator had an aunt who was a laundress, sent her an 
invitation in her nephew's name, and the old lady, happy 



504 TABLE TRAITS. 

and proud, excited universal surprise, and very particular 
horror in the bosom of the parliament-man, by making 
her appearance in the august and hungry assembly, who 
welcomed her about as warmly as if she had been a " boule 
asphyxiante " of the new French artillery practice. 

It is going a long way back to ascend from " Pindar" to 
Tasso, but both poets loved roasted chestnuts, — and there 
is the affinity. Peter never drank any thing but old rum ; 
a wine glass, (never beyond a wine glass and a half,) 
served him for a day, after a dinner of the plainest kind. 
The doctor eschewed wine altogether, at least in his latter 
days, as generating acidity. Tasso, however, unlike our 
satirical friend, was a wine-bibber. During the imprison- 
ment which had been the result of his own arrogance, he 
wrote to the physician of the Duke of Ferrara, complain- 
ing of intestinal pains, of sounds of bells in his ears, of 
painful mental images and varying apparitions of inani- 
mate things appearing to him, and of his inability to 
study. The doctor advised him to apply a cautery to his 
leg, abstain from wine, and confine himself to a diet of 
broth and gruels. The poet defended the sacredness of 
his appetite, and declined to abstain from generous wine ; 
but he urged the medico to find a remedy for his ills, 
promising to recompense him for his trouble, by making 
him immortal in song. At a later period of his life, when 
he was the guest of his friend Manco, in his gloomy castle 
of Bisaccio, the illustrious pair were seated together, after 
dinner, over a dessert of Tasso's favourite chestnuts and 
some generous wine ; and there he afirighted his friend by 
maintaining that he was constantly attended by a guardian 
spirit, who was frequently conversing with him, and in 
proof of the same, he invited Manco to listen to their 
dialogue. The host replenished his glass and announced 
himself ready. Tasso fell into a loud rhapsody of mingled 
folly and beauty, occasionally pausing to give his spirit 



AUTHORS AND THEIR DIETETICS. 505 

an opportunity of speaking j but the remarks of this 
agathodeemon were inaudible to all but the ears of the 
poet. The imaginary dialogue went on for an hour j and 
at the end of it, when Tasso asked Manoo what he thought 
of it, Manco, who was the most matter-of-fact man that 
ever lived, replied that, for his part, he thought Tasso had 
■drunk too much wine and eaten too many chestnuts. And 
truly I think so too. 

The greatest of authors are given to the strangest of 
freaks. Thus one of the most popular of the teachers of 
the people presided at a gay tavern supper the night 
before the execution of the Mannings. The feast con- 
cluded, the party (supplied with brandy and biscuits) 
proceeded to the disgusting spectacle, where they occupied 
"reserved seats j" and when all was done, the didactic 
leader of the revellers and sight-seers, thought he com- 
pensated for his want of taste, by pronouncing as " exe- 
crable " the taste of those who, like George Selwyn, could 
find pleasure iu an execution. But there are few men so 
inconsistent as didactic authors. Pope taught, in poetry, 
the excellence of moderation ; but he writes to Congreve 
in 1715, that he sits up till two o'clock over burgundy and 
champagne j and he adds, " I am become so much of a 
rake that I shall be ashamed, in a short time, to b( 
thought to do any sort of business." But Pope's table 
practice, like Swift's, was not always of the same cha- 
racter. The dean, writing to Pope, in the same year that 
the latter tells Congreve (a dissolute man at table, by the 
way) of his sitting over burgundy and champagne till two 
in the morning, speaks of quite another character of life : 
"You are to understand that I live in the corner of a vast 
unfurnished house. My family consists of a steward, a 
groom, a helper in my stable, a footman, and an old maid, 
who are all at board wages ; and when I do not dine 
abroad, or make an entertainment, — which last is very 



506 TABLE TRAITS. 

rare, — I eat a mutton pie, and drink half a pint of wine." 
Pope's habit of sleeping after dinner did not incline him 
to obesity ; and it was a habit that the dean approved. 
Swift told Gay that his wine was bad, and that the cl6rgy 
did not often call at his house ; an admission in which 
Gay detected cause and effect. In the following year to 
that last named, Swift wrote a letter to Pope, in which. 
I find a paragraph affording a table trait of some interest r 
" I remember," he says, " when it grieved your soul to See 
me pay a penny more than my club, at an inn, when you 
had maintained me three months at bed and board ; for 
which, if I had dealt with you in the Smithfield way, it 
would have cost me a hundred pounds, for I live worse 
here (Dublin) upon more. Did you ever consider that 
I am, for life, almost twice as rich as you, and pay no 
rent, and drink French wine twice as cheap as you do 
port, and have neither coach, chair, nor mother?" Pope 
illustrates Bolingbroke's way of living as well as his own 
some years later. The reveller till two in the morning, of 
the year 1715, is sobered down to the most temperate of 
table men, in 1728. "My Lord Bolingbroke's great 
temperance and economy are so signal, that the first is 
fit for my constitution, and the latter would enable you to 
lay up so much money as to buy a bishopric in England. 
As to the return of his health and vigour, were you here, 
you might inquire of his haymakers. But, as to his 
temperance, I can answer that, for one whole day, we have 
had nothing for dinner but mutton broth, beans and 
bacon, and a barn-door fowl ;" after all, no bad fare either, 
for peer or poet ! Swift too, at this period, boasts no 
longer of his " French wines.'' His appetite is affected by 
the appalling fact, that the national debt amounts to the 
unheard-of sum of seven millions sterling ! and thereupon 
he says : "I dine alone on half a dish of meat, mis water 
with my wine, walk ten miles a-day, and read Baronius." 



AUTHOES AND THEIR DIETETICS. /507 

Such was the table and daily life of an author who be- 
gan to despair of his country ! In 1732, however, the 
dean was again full of hope, — we see it in the condition of 
his wine matters : " My stint in company," he writes to 
Gay, " is a pint at noon, and half as much at night ; but 
I often dine at home, like a hermit, and then I drink little 
or none at all." Was it that he despaired again, when 
alone ; or that he only drank copiously at others' cost? 
Of his own cellar arrangements, though, he thus speaks : 
" My one hundred pounds will buy me six hogsheads of 
wine, which will support me a year, provisce fi-ugis in 
annum copia. Horace desired no more ; for I will construe 
frugis to be wine. How a man who drank little or none 
at home, and seldom saw company to help him to con- 
sume the remainder, could contrive to get through six 
hogsheads in a year, is a problem that wiU be solved when 
the philosophers of Laputa have settled their theories." 
Literature is a pleasant thing when its professors have not 
to write in order to live. Such was the case in the last 
century, with poor De Limiers, who was permitted to 
write in periodicals, on the stipulation that he " never 
told anybody." It is said of him that he would have been 
an exceedingly clever person, if he had not always been 
hungry, but that famine spoiled his powers. This was the 
bookseller's fault, not his. The same might nearly be said 
of poor Gerald Griffin; but he kept his ability warm even 
amid cold hunger, and had the courage to write his noble 
tragedy " Gisippus" on scraps of paper picked up by him 
in wretched coifee-shops, where he used to take a late 
breakfast, and cajole himself into the idea that it was 
dinner. 

When Cervantes, with two friends, were travelling from 
Esquivias, famous for its illustrious wines, towards Toledo, 
he was overtaken by a " polite student," who added him- 
self and his mule to the company of " the crippled sound 



508 TABLE TRAITS. 

one'' and his friends, and wlio gave honest Miguel much 
fair advice touching the malady which was then swiftly 
killing him. " This malady is the dropsy," said the stu- 
dent with the neck bands that would.no* keep in their 
place, — "the dropsy, which aU the water in the world 
would not cure, even if it were not salt ; you must drink 
by rule, sir, and eat more, and this will cure you better 
than any medicine." " Many have told me so," was the 
reply of the immortal Miguel, " but I should find it as 
impossible to leave off drinking, as if I had been born for 
no other purpose. My life is weU-nigh ended, and by the 
beatings of my pulse, I think next Sunday, at latest, will 
see the close of my career." The great Spaniard was not 
very incorrect in his prognostic. I introduce this illus- 
trative incident for a double reason ; first, it is " germane 
to the matter" in hand, and secondly, it reminds me of a 
fact with the notice of which I will conclude this section 
of my imperfect narrative: I allude to 

THE LIQUOErLOVING LATJEEATES. 

It is incontrovertible that, with the exception of two or 
three, all our laureates have loved a more pleasant distil- 
lation than that from bay-leaves. In the early days, the 
" versificatores regis," were rewarded, as all the minstrels 
in Teutonic ballads are, with a little money and a full 
bowl. The nightingales in kings' cages piped all the 
better for their cake being soaked in wine. From the 
time of the first patented laureate, Ben Jonson, the rule 
has borne much the same character, and permanent thirsti- 
ness seems generally to have been seated under the laurel. 
Thus, Ben himself was given to joviality, jolly company, 
deep drinking, and late hours. His affection for a parti- 
cular sort of wine acquired for him the nick-name of the 
Canary-bird; and indeed succeeding laureates who, down 
to Pye, enjoyed the tierce of Canary, partly owe it to Ben. 



AUTHORS AND THEIR DIETETICS. 509 

Charles I. added the wine to an increase of pay asked 
for by the bard ; and the spontaneous generosity of one 
king became a rule for those that followed. The next 
laureate, Davenant, a vintner's son, was far more dissolute 
in his drinking, for which he did not compensate by being 
more excellent in his poetry. The third of the patented 
laureates, Dryden, if he loved convivial nights, loved to 
spend them as Jonson did, in " noble society." Speaking 
of the Roman poets of the Augustan age, he says : — 
" They imitated the best way of living, which was, to 
pursue an innocent and inoffensive pleasure ; that which 
one of the ancients called 'eruditam voluptatem.' We 
have, like them, our genial nights, where our discourse is 
neither too serious nor too light, but always pleasant, and 
for the most part instructive ; the raillery neither too 
sharp upon the present, nor too censorious on the absent ; 
and the cups only such as will raise the conversation of 
the night, without disturbing the business of the morrow." 
The genial nights, however, were not always so delightfully 
Elysian and aesthetic. When Rochester suspected Dryden 
of being the author of the " Essay on Satire," which was 
really written by Lord Mulgrave, and which was offensive 
to Rochester, the latter took a very unpoetical revenge. 
As Dryden was returning from his erudita voluptas at 
Wills', and was passing through Rose-street, Covent 
Garden, to his house in Gerrard-street, he was waylaid 
and severely beaten, by ruffians who were believed to be 
in the pay of Rochester. The conversation of that night 
certainly must have disturbed the business of the morrow ! 

And next we come to hasty Shadwell, who may be 
summarily dismissed with the remark that he was ad- 
dicted to sensual indulgence, and to any company that 
promised good wine, and plenty of it. Poor Nahum 
Tate, too, is described as "a free and fuddling com- 
panion j " but the miserable man had gone through more 



510 TABLE TEAITS. 

fiery trials than genial nights. Of Eowe, the contrary 
may be said. He was the great diner-out of his day ; 
always vivacious, dashing, gay, good-humoured, and ha- 
bitually generous, whether drunk or sober. He was but 
a poor poet, but he was succeeded by one who wrote 
worse and drank more — Eusden, of whom Gray writes to 
Mason that he " was a person of great hopes in his youth, 
though at last he turned out a drunken parson." Gibber 
loved the bottle quite as intensely as Eusden did, and he 
was a gambler to boot ; but there- were some good points 
about Golley, although Pope has so bemauled him. Pos- 
terity has used Gibber as his eccentric daughter did when 
he went to her fish-stall to remonstrate with her against 
bringing disgrace upon his family by her adoption of such 
a course : the affectionate Charlotte caught up a stinking 
sole, and smacked her sire's face with it ; but Golley 
wiped his cheek, went home, and got drunk to prove that 
he was a gentleman. With heavy Whitehead we first fall • 
in with indisputable respectability. He sipped his port, a 
pensioner at Lord Jersey's table, and wrote classical tra- 
gedies, for which I heartily forgive him, because they are 
deservedly forgotten. His successor, slovenly Warton, 
exulted over his college wine with the gobble of a turkey^ 
cock ; and then came Pye, with his pleasant conviviality 
and his warlike strains, which "roared like a sucking 
dove," and put to sleep the militia, which it was hoped 
they would have aroused. Pye was of the time of 
" Pindar, Pye, and Parvus Pybus ; " and it was during his 
tenure of of&ce that the tierce of Ganary was discontinued, 
and the 271. substituted. With Southey, a dignity was 
given to the laureateship, which it had, perhaps, never 
before enjoyed; and the poetic mantle fell on worthy 
shoulders, when it covered those of the gentle Words-, 
worth. Not that Wordsworth never was drunk. The 
bard of Eydal Mount was once in his life " full of the 



AUTHORS AND THEIR DIETETICS. 511 

god ; " but he was drunk with strong enthusiasm too, and 
the occasion excused, if it did not sanctify the deed. The 
story is well told by De Quincey, and it runs thus : — 

"For the first time in his life, Wordsworth became 
inebriated at Cambridge. It is but fair to add, that the 
first time was also the last time. But perhaps the strangest 
part of the story is the occasion of this drunkenness, which 
was the celebration of the first visit to the very rooms at 
Christ College once occupied by Milton, — intoxication by 
way of homage to the most temperate of men, and this 
homage offered by one who has turned out himself to the 
full as temperate ! Every man, in the mean time, who is 
not a churl, must grant a privilege and charter of large 
enthusiasm to such an occasion ; and an older man than 
Wordsworth, at that era not fuUy nineteen, and a man 
even without a poet's blood in his veins, might have leave 
to forget his sobriety in such circumstances. Beside which, 
after aU, I have heard from Wordsworth's own lips that he 
was not too far gone to attend chapel decorously during 
the very acme of his elevation ! " 

De Quincey has told how pleasant, and cheerful, and 
conversational was the tea-time at Wordsworth's table; 
and there, no doubt, the poet was far more, so to speak, in 
his element than when in the neighbourhood of wine, 
whose aid was not needed by him to elevate his conversa- 
tion. But Wordsworth, gentle as he was, had nothing in 
him of the sqiiire of dames, whom he generally treated 
with as much indifference as the present laureate, Tenni- 
son, was once said to feel for those very poetical little 
mortals, — children. And here I end the record of a few 
table traits of the patented laureates, adding no more of 
the fourteenth and last, that is, the present vice- Apollo to 
the Queen, than that he has said of his own tastes and 
locality to enjoy them in, in WiU Waterproof's Lyrical 
Monologue, made at the Cock, — 



512 TABLE TEAITS. 

" plump head waiter at ' The Cock/ 
To which I most resort, 
How goes the time? 'Tis five o'clock. 
Go fetch a pint of port. 

" But let it not be such as that 
Tou set before chance-comers, 
But such whose father-grape grew fat 
On Lusitanian summers." 

And now all things must have an end; and the end of 
pleasure is like the end of life, — weariness, satiety, and 
regret; and the end of a weU-spent day is not of that 
complexion, for its name should be "supper," without 
which, however, a man had better go to bed, than with it 
and arise in debt. But, as the moral does not apply to us, 
you and I, Eeader, if you wiU venture further with so in- 
different a companion, will go hand in hand, before we 
finally separate. 



SUPPER. 



The supper was tte only recognised repast in Rome; if, 
indeed, we may call that supper which sometimes took 
place at three in the afternoon. It was then rather a 
dinner, after which properly educated persons woidd not, 
and those who had supped over freely could not, eat again 
on the same day. The early supper hour was favoured 
by those who intended to remain long at table. "Im- 
perat extructos frangere nona toros," says Martial. The 
more frugal, but they must also have been the more 
hungry, supped, like the Queen of Carthage, at sunset ; 
"labente die convivia quserit." All other repasts than 
thip had no allotted hour; each person followed inclination 
or necessity, and there was no difierence in the jenfaculum, 
the prandium, or the merenda, — the breakfast, dinner, or 
collation, — save difference of time. Bread, dried fruits, 
and perhaps honey, were alone eaten at these simple meals; 
whereat too, some, like Marius, drank before supper time, 
" the genial hour for drinking." The hosts were, in 
earlier ages, cooks as well as entertainers. Patroclus was 
famous for his Olla Podrida, and a Roman general received 
the Samnite ambassadors in a room where he was boiling 
turnips for his supper ! 

Sunset, however, was the ordinary supper-time amongst 
the Romans. " De vespere suo vivere," in Plautus, al- 
ludes to this. In the time of Horace, ten o'clock was not 
an unusual hour, and men of business supped even later. 

L L 



514 TABLE TRAITS. 

At the period of the decadence of the empire, it was the 
fashion to go to the baths at eight, and sup at nine. The 
repasts which commenced earlier than this were called 
tempestiva, as lasting a longer time. Those which began 
by daylight — de die — ^had a dissolute reputation; "ad 
amicam de die potare," is a phrase employed in the Asi- 
naria to illustrate the great depravity of him to whom it 
is applied. 

There is no doubt, I think, in spite of what critics say, 
that, however it may have been with the Romans, the 
Greeks certainly had four repasts every day. There was 
the breakfast (aK(^Kancrjua), the dinner (apiorov), the colla- 
tion {kairipwfxa), and the chief of all, despite the term for 
dinner, the supper (^Ciirvov). 

Among the Eomans the Coena adventitia was the name 
given to suppers whereat the return of travellers to their 
homes was celebrated ; the_ Ccena popularis was simply a 
public repast,given to the people by the government; the 
terrestris coena was, as Hegio describes it in the Gaptivei, 
a supper of herbs, multis oleribus. The Greeks called such 
" a bloodless supper." The parasite, in Athenseus, says 
that when he is going to a house to supper, he does not 
trouble himself to gaze at the architectural beauties of the 
mansion, nor the magnificence of the furniture, but at the 
smoke of the chimney. If it ascends in a thick column, 
he knows there is certainty of good cheer; but if it is a 
poor thread of smoke, says he, why then I know that 
there is no blood in the supper that is preparing: to 
Etivvov a\\' ovS' alfxa e)(£i. 

These repasts were gay enough when there was good Chian 
wine, unmixed with sea-water, to set the wit going. The 
banquets of Lais were probably the most brilliant ever seen 
in Greece, for there was abundance of sprightly intellect at 
them. It might be said of them, as Sidney Smith says of 
what used to be in Paris under the ancient regime, when 



SUPPER. 515 

" a few women of brilliant talents violated all the common 
duties of life, and gave very pleasant little suppers.'' 

It is a well-ascertained fact that when the Greeks gave 
great entertainments, and got tipsy thereat, it was for 
pious reasons. They drank deeply in honour of some god. 
They not only drank deeply, but progressively so ; their 
last cup at parting was the largest, and it went by the 
terrible name of the Cup of Necessity. There was a 
headache of twenty-anguish power at the bottom of it. 
Their pic-nic and conversation suppers were not bad 
things. Every guest brought his own rations in a basket ; 
but as the rich and the selfish used to shame and tantalise 
the poorer guests by their savoury displays, Socrates, that 
dreadfully didactic personage, imperious as Beau Nash 
in matters of social discipline, insisted that what each 
guest brought should be common to all. The result was 
less show and more comfort. But I would not have 
liked to have supped where Socrates was in the chair, 
for, in spite of his talents, he was a horrid bore, watching 
what and how each guest ate, and speaking to or at him 
whenever his acute eye discovered a rent in the coat of 
his good manners. If he sometimes said good things, he 
as frequently said sharp ones; and where he was pre- 
sident, the guests were simply at school. 

It is indeed seldom that the sages are desirable asso- 
ciates. " Come and sup with me next Thursday,'' said a 
French Amphitryon to a friend. "You shall meet philo- 
sophers or literary menj take your choice." " My choice 
is soon made," was the reply; "I wiU sup twice with 
you." It was so arranged, and the supper with the literati 
was incomparably the better banquet of the two. 

The supper was the great meal of the Greeks; but 

neither at this, nor at any other repast, does Homer ever 

make mention of boiled meat. The Greeks, then, were 

not like our poor Greenwich pensioners, who, up to the 

ll2 



516 TABLE TKAITS. 

present time, have never been provided with meat cooked 
in any other way. The result is that the men themselves 
look as if they were half-boiled. But a new order of 
things, including ovens and baked joints, has been intro- 
duced into the kitchen and refectory of the hospital, and 
the ancient mariners will soon show the effects of variety 
in diet and cooking, by a healthier and a happier hue on 
their solemn and storm-beaten cheeks. 

And this matter of boiled meat reminds me of the old 
Duke of Grafton, who never ate any thing else at dinner 
or supper, (for it was in the days of double meals,) but 
boiled mutton. Yet every day the cook was solemnly 
summoned to his grace's side, to listen to orders which he 
knew by heart, and instructions which wearied while 
they vexed his spirits. The duke must have been of the 
saddened constitution which would have entitled him to 
sup with that nervous Duke of Marlborough, who always 
joined with his invitation a request that his guest would 
say or do nothing to make him laugh, as his grace could 
not bear excitement. 

At the supper-table the Eomans did not decline the 
flesh of the ass, nor that of the dog ; and they were as fond 
of finely fatted snails as the southern Germans are, who 
have inherited their taste. Macrobius, describing the 
supper given by the epicurean pontiff Lentulus, in honour 
of his reception, says that the first course was composed 
of sea hedgehogs, oysters, and asparagus. After these 
provocatives came a second course, consisting of more 
oysters, and various other shell-fish, fat pullets, becca- 
ficoes, venison, wild-boar, and sea-nettles, — to digest the 
marine hedgehogs, I suppose. The third course assumed 
a more civilized aspect, and the guests were only tempted 
by fish, fowl, game, and cakes from the Ancona marshes. 
There is a supper of Lentulus, as described by Becker. 
The supper was given to Gallus, and the account of it is 



SUPPER. 517 

so little exaggerated as to afford a tolerably correct idea 
of what those banquets were. Nine guests, two of them 
"gentlemen from Perusia," occupied the triclinium. The 
pictures around represented satyrs celebrating the joyous 
vintage; the death of the boar; fruit and provision 
pieces over the door, and similar designs, calculated to 
awaken a relish for the banquet, were suspended between 
the elegant branches occupied by living thrushes. The 
lowest place in the middle sofa was the seat for the most 
honoured guest. As soon as aU were in a reclining 
posture, the attendant slaves took off their sandals, and 
water in silver basins was carried round by good-looking 
youths, and therewith the visitors performed their brief 
ablutions. At a nod from the host, two servants depo- 
sited the tray bearing the dishes of the first course in 
the centre of the table. The chief ornament of this tray, 
which was adorned with tortoiseshell, was a .bronze ass, 
whose panniers were filled with olives, and on whose 
back rode a Silenus, whose pores exuded a sauce which 
fell upon the roast breast of a sow that had never fulfilled 
a mother's duty, below. Sausages on silver gridirons, 
with Syrian plums and pomegranate seeds beneath them 
to simulate fire; and dishes, also of silver, containing 
various vegetables, sheU-fish, snails, and a reptile or two, 
formed the other delicacies of this course. While the 
guests addressed themselves thereto, they were supplied 
with a beverage composed of wines and honey scien- 
tifically commingled. The glory of the first course was, 
however, the carved figure of the brooding hen, which 
was brought in on a separate small tray. The eggs taken 
from beneath her were offered to the guests, who found the 
apparent eggs made of dough, on breaking which with the 
spoon, a fat figpecker was seen lying in the pepper-seasoned 
yolk, and strongly tempting the beholder to eat. This 
delicacy, was, of course, readily eaten, and mulsum, the 



518 TABLE TRAITS. 

mixture of Hymettian honey and Falernian wines, was 
copiously drunk to aid digestion. A good deal of wine 
was imbibed, and numerous witch stories told (a favourite 
supper pastime), between and during the courses, at which 
the dishes were more and more elaborate and fantastic. 
A vast swine succeeded to a wild boar at the supper of 
Lentulus, who affecting to be enraged at his cook for 
forgetting, to disembowel the animal before preparing it 
for the table, that official feigns to tremble with the 
energy of his repentance, and forthwith proceeds to per- 
form the office of gutting the animal in presence of 
the guests. He plunges his knife into its flanks, when 
there immediately issues from the gaping wound string 
after string of little sausages. The conclusion of the 
supper is thus told : — " The eyes of the guest were suddenly 
attracted to the ceiling by a noise overhead; the ceiling 
opened, and a large silver hoop, on which were ointment 
bottles of silver and alabaster, silver garlands with beauti- 
fully chiselled leaves, and circlets and other trifles, 
descended upon the table ; and after the dessert, prepared i 
by the new baker, whom Lentulus purchased for a 
hundred thousand sesterces, had been served up, the party 
rose, to meet again in the brilliant saloon, the intervening 
moments being spent, by some in sauntering along the 
colonnades, and by others in taking a bath." 

In the description of the supper given by Siba to cele- 
brate the return of Nero to Rome, we find that the slaves, 
when they took off the sandals of the guests, supplied them 
with others of a lighter description, which were fastened 
by crossed ribands. Those who did not come in "dress," 
were furnished with variegated woollen vestments to cover 
their togas. Siba's banquet began to the sound of a 
hydraulic organ, which, however, was only in place of 
our dinner-bell. When the lime-wood tables were duly 
covered and flowered, the guests took their places to the 



SUPPER. 519 

sound of flutes and harps, and said a sort oi grace, by in- 
voMng Jupiter; while a modest libation of wine was cast 
on the floor in honour of the household gods. The first 
course consisted of some remarkably strange dishes, but 
the guests reserved their appetite, or provoked it with 
pickled radishes, fried gi-asshoppers, and similar cattle. 
A master of drinking was then chosen, whose duty it was 
to regulate how often the guests should drink ; and the 
latter invariably selected the most confirmed toper. We 
leave this office to the master of the house, and in well- 
regulated families that high official leaves his guests to do 
according to their good pleasure. The garlands having 
been duly encircled round the brows of Siba's friends, the 
trumpets announced the entrance of the second course. 
The second course was duly discussed, its extraordinary 
dishes thoroughly consumed, and the four cups were 
drained to Nero ; being the number of letters in his name ; 
and a good deal of jollity began to abound, which was 
checked a little by the arrival of a present from the em- 
peror, sent to Siba, and which consisted of a silver ske- 
leton. As the guests feared to interpret the meaning of 
the gift they fell to deeper drinking, and then to singing, 
and philosophising; and then resumed their eating; and 
when the force of nature could no further go, they called 
in the jugglers, and tumblers, and buffoons, and puppets, 
and having drawn as much amusement from these as they 
possibly could, they whipped up their flagging sensations 
by looking at the feats of Spanish dancing girls, and these 
were succeeded by ten couple of gladiators, who slew one 
another in the apartment for the pastime of the supremely 
indifierent personages who lay half asleep and half drunk, 
and lazily applauded the murderous play. The company 
were in the very midst of this innocent amusement when 
the fire was lit up in Rome by Nero, and which did not 
spare the mansion of Siba. The struggle to escape was 



520 



TABLB TEAITS, 



not more furious and selfish than that which took place at 
Prince Sohwartzenberg's ball in Paris, at which the de- 
vouring flames had as little respect for some of the guests 
as they had at the terrible supper of Caius Siba. 

It may be said that civilization never afforded such 
examples of deformed appetites as some of those which we 
find in the records of the olden time. But this is not the 
case. They are fewer; but they do exist. We read in 
the modern history of Germany, that a man with an 
uncontrollable appetite for bacon once presented himself 
at the tent where Charles Gustavus was supping, before 
Prague, which he was besieging. The man was a boor, 
and had sought access to the king, to ask permission to 
perform before him a feat which he boasted of being able 
to accomplish, — namely, devour a whole hog. General 
Koenigsmark, who was present, and was very superstitious, 
warned the king not to listen to a being who, if not the 
devil, was probably leagued with him. " I'll teU you 
what it is, and please your Majesty," said the boor, " if you 
will but make that old gentleman take off his sword and 
spurs, I'll eat him before I begin with the hog ! " The 
general was no coward ; but he took to his heels, as 
though the man were serious, and left the king to enjoy 
what pleasure he might from seeing a peasant eat a whole 

pig- 
In Africa, the rustics eat something smaller than pigs 
for supper. When CailM was in that quarter of the world, 
a Bambere woman gave him some yams, and what he 
thought was gambo saiice, to make them palatable. On 
dipping his yams therein, however, he saw some little 
paws, and at once knew that it was the famous mouse- 
sauce ; but he was hungry, and continued his repast. He 
often subsequently saw the women chopping up mice for 
their suppers. When the animals were caught, they were 
singed over a fire, put by for a week, and then cooked. A 



SUPPER. 521 

hungry man might eat thereof -without loathing. We have 
all partaken of far less clean animals. 

It is commonly said that the time of the evening meal 
is the very hour for wit. I do not know how this may 
be, but Souwarow's wit appears to have been uncommonly 
alert at supper-time. When he returned from his Italian 
campaign to St. Petersburg, in 1799, the Emperor Paul 
sent Count Kontaissow to compliment him on his arrival. 
The count had been originally a Circassian slave, and valet 
to Paul, who had successively raised him to the ranks of 
equerry, baron, and count. Tlie Circassian parvenu found 
the old warrior at supper. " Excuse me," said Souwarow, 
pausing in his meal, " I cannot recall the origin of your 
illustrious family. Doubtless your valour in battle pro- 
ciu-ed for you your dignity as count." " Well, no," said 
the ex- valet, " I have never been in battle.'' " Ah ! 
perhaps you have been attached to an embassy ?" " No." 
" To a ministerial office then ?" " That neither." "What 
important post, then, have you occupied?" — "I have been 
valet-de-chambre to the emperor." " Oh, indeed," said 
the veteran leader, laying down his spoon, and calling 
aloud for his own valet, Troschka. " Here, you villain," 
said he, as the latter appeared, " I tell you daily to leave 
off drinking and thieving, and you never listen to me. 
Now, look at this gentleman here. He was a valet Uke 
you; but being neither sot nor thief, he is now grand 
equerry to his majesty, knight of all the Russian orders, 
and count of the empire. Go, sirrah, follow his example, 
and you will have more titles than your master ; who re- 
quires nothing just now, but to be left alone to finish his 
supper !" 

It was at Paris, however, that the evening hour was 
generally accounted as the peculiar season of wit j but 
wit, often too daring at such an hour, sometimes got 
chastised for its over-boldness. 



522 TABLE TEAITS. 

At one of the pitUs soupers of Paris, in this olden time, 
when wit and philosophy had temporarily dethroned re- 
ligion, a little ahbg, who had the air of a full-grown Cupid 
in a semi-clerical disguise, or who was like Rose Pomponne 
in a carnival suit at the Courtille, took upon himself to 
amuse the assembled company with stories intended to 
ridicule the old-fashioned faith, (as the philosophers styled 
Christianity,) and its professors. He was particularly comic 
on the subject of hell and eternal punishments, upon which 
questions he dilated with a fulness that would have scarcely 
edified either Professor Maurice or Dr. Jelf. The whole of 
the amiable society exploded in inextinguishable laughter 
at hearing this villanous abb6 speak of hell itself as his 
"feu de joie !" There was, however, one face there that 
bore upon it no traces of a smile. It was that of an old 
marechal-de-camp, who might have said, like the old beadle 
of St. Mary's, Oxford, " I have held this office, sir, for more 
than thirty years, and, thank heaven, I am a Christian 
yet ! " Well, the old marechal frowned as, looking at the 
infidel abb6, he remarked, "I see very plainly, sir, by your 
uniform, to what regiment you belong, but it seems to me 
that you must be a deserter." " My dear marechal," an- 
swered the profligate priest, with a beaming smile, "it may 
indeed be a little as you say, but then, you see, I do not 
hold in my troop the rank which you enjoy in yours. I 
am not a marechal-de-camp ! " " Parbleu,'' rejoined the 
old soldier, "you never could have reached such a rank, 
for, to judge by your conduct and sentiment, you would 
have been hanged long before your chance came for pro- 
motion." 

At the soupers of Paris, however, there were few men 
who were of the character of our marechal-de-camp. Bun- 
gener, in his " Voltaire et son Temps," illustrates the con- 
fusion into which men's ideas had got upon the subject of 
things spiritual and things temporal, by noticing the affair 



SUPPER. 523 

of tte Chevalier de la Barre, in 1766. Amid the accusations 
brought against him was one, according to which it was 
laid to his charge that he had recited in public a certain 
filthy ode. He was condemned to be broken on the wheel, 
on charges of irreligion, of which this was one. But the 
part of the question that must have made Astrsea weep 
through the bandage with which poets have bound her 
eyes, was this, namely, that the author of the obscene ode 
objected to, Piron, was then in the reception of a pension 
from the court; and this pension had been procured for 
him by Montesquieu, by way of compensation for his 
having lost his seat at the Academy, in consequence of his 
having be^ the author of this very ode. This confusion 
of rewards and penalties was enough to make Justice dash 
her brains out with her own scales. Piron would have 
been in no wise troubled by such a catastrophe; the pension 
from the court enabled him to keep a joyous table, and 
that was enough for him. 

Duclos was a contemporary and a co-disciple with 
Piron, in the temple of philosophy. In 1766, he was at 
Eome, where he gave such charming little suppers, that 
the Sacred College gratefully extended to him the privi- 
leged permission of reading improper books ! The philo- 
sophers were then in possession of considerable influence. 
Marmontel, who was one of them, was sent to the Bastille, 
on a certain Friday, in the year 1760. Soon after his 
arrival, he was supplied with an excellent dinner maigre, 
the which he ate without thinking of complaining. His 
servant was just on the point of addressing himself to the 
scanty remains, when lo ! an admirable but somewhat irre- 
ligious repast, of meat and other things which come under 
the denomination oigras, and are therefore forbidden on fast 
days, was brought in. The unorthodox banquet was intended 
for Marmontel; the more lenten fare was intended for his 
servant. For in those days, although philosophers were 



524 TABLE TRAITS. 

sent to prison, their appetites were left to their heretical 
freedom. 

This liberty was allowed by the state, but it was neither 
sanctioned nor practised by the Church. The authority 
of the latter was great previous to the Revolution. There 
was then a clerical police, which looked into the dishes as 
well as the consciences of the people — of all degrees. 
I have somewhere read of a body of this police coming in 
collision, during Lent, with the officers of the household 
of the Prince of Conti, who were conveying through the 
streets, from a neighbouring rotisseur's to the ducal palace, 
a supper, through the covers of which there penetrated an 
odour which savoured strongly of something succulent and 
sinful, of gravy and gravity. Thereupon the archbishop's 
alguazils bade the prince's men stand and deliver. The fol- ' 
lowers of the house of Conti drew their swords in defence 
of their rights and sauces. Much of the latter on the 
side of Conti, and a little malapert blood on both sides, 
was spilt, to the edification of the standers by. Finally, 
the transgressors of the Church law were dragged to pri- 
son. The damaged repast remained on the pav6, for the 
benefit of poor souls who assumed ecclesiastical licence to 
devour it withoiit fear of damnation ; and the servants of 
Conti were left in damp cells to meditate at their leisure 
upon the argument which Dean Swift at another period 
had thus cast into verse : — 

" Who can declare, with common sense, 
That bacon fried giyes God offence ? 
Or that a herring hath the charm 
Almighty vengeance to disarm? 
Wrapt up in Majesty divine. 
Doth He regard on what we dine?" 

To pass from cooks and church to courtesy and coach- 
men, I may here speak of a certain Girard who was known 
in Paris, during the Terror, for his love of what he called 



SUPPER. 525 

liberty and good living. In his early days he "was a very 
independent coachman, and was just on the point of con- 
cluding an engagement with an aristocratic old countess, 
when he remarked — "Before I finally close with madame, 
I should like to be informed for whom madame's horses 
are to make way in the streets." " For every one," said 
the countess. " On questions of precedence, I am not diffi- 
cult J if it is yielded to me, I take it ; if not, I wait." 
"In that case," said the aristocratic John, "I shall not 
suit, madame, as I myself never draw aside except for the 
princes of the blood !" Now this great personage in livery 
was no other than the Girard who became, in 1793, the 
"public accuser," and who sent to the scaffold those same 
nobles who had not been sufficiently noble for him 
in 1780. 

Upon the matter of what became nobility, however, 
there was always much confusion in the "aristocratic 
idea " of the highest continental families. Thus who, in 
contemplating the famous Princess des Ursins, seated 
among the most honoured at the table of the King of 
Spain, would dream of her writing the following sentence 
in one of her letters to Madame de Maintenon ? " It is I 
who have the honour of taking from his majesty his robe 
de chamhre, when he gets into bed ; and I am there to 
give it to him again, with his slippers, when he rises in 
the morning." 

The flattery paid to royalty in France was never more 
prodigally offered than at the period when "wit and 
philosophy" were beginning to undermine the throne. 
We have an instance of this in what happened when the 
queen of Louis XV. arrived, in 1765, at Fertg-sous- 
Jouarre, where she intended to sup and sleep. She was 
met beneath an avenue of trees, outside the town, by the 
authorities, who offered to her, according to custom, bread 
and wine. The queen took a portion of the bread, broke 



526 TABLE TRAITS. 

it in two, and ate thereof, as well as of some grapes, 
sipping also the wine ; to the delight and edification of 
the admiring multitude. The authorities were so struck 
by the act of condescension on the part of the royal 
personage, that they made record of the fact in the 
register of the town council. And this they did in such 
terms as to cause a commentator to remark, that they 
could hardly have said more, had her majesty been a 
genuine goddess. 

After all, this sort of homage had fallen off, in 1765, 
from what it had been two centuries before. When Louis 
XII. encountered his bride, Mary of England, outside 
Abbeville, he clapped his feeble hands, and wished the 
devil might seize him (and he did die soon after) if she 
were not more beautiful than report had painted her ! At 
the gates of Abbeville, the ill-assorted pair were met by 
the Bishop of Amiens and the municipal magistrates, to 
welcome them to the evening banquet ere they betook 
themselves to repose. The bishop presented the new 
Queen of France with a piece of the Real Cross. " The 
mayeurs offered a gift, the nature of which brings it 
within my subject. The gift was usual whenever king 
and queen appeared at the portals of the old monkish 
city. It consisted of three tuns of wine, three fat oxen, 
and fifteen quarters of oats, three pecks of which were 
presented to the astonished lady on bended knee, and in a 
measure painted light blue, and covered with golden 
fleurs-de-lys. A complimentary address to the king 
crowned all. "Sire," said the chief local magistrate, 
" you may now conclude your marriage in this our good 
city, without any fear of committing sin thereby; for, in 
the year 1409 were reformed, as abuses, those synodal 
statutes by which men in our city were forbidden to live 
with their wives, during three whole mortal days after the 
wedding !" The monarch entered and sat down with his 



SUPPER. 527 

consort to a repast -which rendered both ill for more than 
double the period just mentioned. Louis had well-nigh 
died, like La Matrie, the infidel philosopher at Berlin, of 
an indigestion. Had he done so, it might have been said 
of him, as the infidel Prussian king said of La Matrie : 
" He was a gourmand, but he died like a philosopher ; let 
us have no more anxiety about him." 

Frederic himself loved philosophy more than faith, 
and philosophical though profligate kings, more than he 
did "Most Christian" or "Most Catholic" monarohs. He 
was wont, therefore, to laugh at the story of the famished 
beggar who, standing near the statue of Henri IV. on the 
Pont Neuf, solicited charity of a friend of Voltaire who 
was passing by. " In the name of God," said the mendi- 
cant. The student of philosophy was deaf. "In the 
name of the Holy Virgin !" — " In the name of the saints !" 
The appeal was unheeded. " In the name of Henri IV !" 
exclaimed the petitioner ; and forthwith the Voltairean put 
his hand in his pocket, giving a crown-piece, in the name 
of a philosophical profligate, while he refused a sou when 
asked for in the name of God. But, as Frederic used to 
say, " How divine is philosophy !" In his mouth the ex- 
clamation was like the well-known cry of Marcel, the 
ecstatic dancing-master: "Que de choses dans unminult!" 

There is a story told in connexion with this same great 
Frederic which is a good table trait in its way. Joachim 
von Ziethen was one of the bravest of the generals who 
stood by Frederic the Great in victory or defeat. He 
was the son of a poor gentleman, and had little education 
save what he could pick up in barracks, camps, and battle 
fields, in all of which he figured in early youth. If his 
head was not over-ballasted with learning, his heart was 
well freighted with that love for God, of which some por- 
tion, as the dismissed lecturer on Ecclesiastical History in 
King's College tells us, is in almost every individual with- 



528 TABLE TRAITS. 

out exception, and forms the sheet-anclior which shall 
enable him to ride through the storms which keep him 
from his desired haven of rest. He became the terror of 
the foes of Prussia; but among his comrades, he was 
known only as "good father Ziethen." He was remarkable 
for his swiftness at once of resolve and execution, and in 
remembrance as well as illustration thereof, a sudden 
surprise is spoken of by an astonished Prussian as " falling 
on one like Ziethen from an ambush." 

Now, old Ziethen, after the triumph achieved in the 
Seven Years' War, was always a welcome guest at the 
table of Frederic the Second. His place was ever by the 
side of the royal master whose cause he had more than 
-once saved from ruin; and he only sat lower at table 
when there happened to be present some foreign royal 
mediocrity, illustriously obscure. On one occasion, he re- 
ceived a command to dine with the king on Good Friday. 
Ziethen sent a messenger to his sovereign, stating that it 
was impossible for him to wait on his majesty, inasmuch 
as that he made a point of never omitting to take the 
sacrament on that day, and of always spending the sub- 
sequent portion of the day in private meditation. 

A week elapsed before the scrupulous old soldier was 
again invited to the royal dinner-table. At length he 
appeared in his old place, and merry were the guests, the 
king himself setting an example of uproarious hilarity. 
The fun was running fast and furious, — ^it was at its very- 
loudest, when Frederic, turning to Ziethen, smacked him 
familiarly on the back, and exclaimed, "Well, grave old 
Ziethen ! how did the supper of Good Friday agree with 
your sanctimonious stomach ? Have you properly digested 
the verita,ble body and blood?" At this blasphemy, and 
amid the thunders of pealing laughter, the saluting artil- 
lery of the delighted guests, Ziethen leaped to his feet, and 
after shaking his grey hairs with indignation, and silencing 



SUPPER. 529 

the revellers with a cry, as thougli they had been dogs, he 
turned to the godless master of the realm, and said — 
words, if not precisely these, certainly and exactly to this 
effect : — 

" I shun no danger; — ^your majesty knows it. My life 
has been always ready for sacrifice, when my country and 
the throne required it. What I was, that I am; and my 
head I would place on the block at this moment, if the 
striking of it oflF could purchase happiness for my king. 
But there is One who is greater than I, or any. one here ; 
and He is a greater sovereign than you who mock Him 
here from the throne in Berlin. He it is whose precious 
blood was shed for the salvation of all mankind. On Him, 
that Holy One, my faith reposes : He is my consoler in 
life, my hope in presence of death; and I will not suffer 
His name to be derided and attacked where I am by, and 
have voice to protest against it. Sir, if your soldiers had 
not been firm in this faith, they would not have gained 
victories for you. If you mock this faith, and jeer at those 
who cUng to it, you only lend a hand to bury yourself and 
the state in ruin." After a pause he added, looking the 
while on the mute king : — "What I have spoken is God's 
truth; receive it graciously." 

Frederic was the patron of Voltaire, who had dared 
to say at his own table that what it had taken God and 
twelve Apostles to build up, one man (Voltaire) would 
destroy. But Frederic was now, for the moment, more 
deeply moved by what had been uttered by the unphilo- 
sophical Ziethen than by anything that had ever fallen from 
the briUiant but irreligious Voltaire. He rose, flung his 
left arm over Ziethen's shoulder, ofiered his right hand to 
the brave old Christian general, and exclaimed : — " Ziethen, 
you are a happy man ! Would that I. could be like you ! 
Hold fast by your faith ; and I will respect even where I can- 
not'believe. What has occurred shall never happen agam.'' 

M M 



530 TABLE TRAITS. 

A deep and solemn silence followed, and the dinner was 
spoiled, according to the guests, to whom the king gave 
the signal to disperse long before their appetites had been 
satisfied. Ziethen was preparing to withdraw with the 
rest, but Frederic, taking him by the hand, whispered : — 
" You, my friend, come with me to my cabinet.'' 

This anecdote was told by Bishop von Eylert to 
Frederic William III. That king, who had never heard 
of the incident, pronounced on it a three-piled eulogium of 
"excellent, pleasing, and instructive," adding thereto a 
natural desire to know what passed between the king and 
Ziethen in the cabinet. It were doubtless well worth 
knowing, but I have sought for any notice of it, and all in 
vain. The good bishop, as he deserved, was invited to 
remain at Sans Souci, to supper. " I excused myself," 
says the prelate, in his memoir of the king, " as having 
only a common upper coat on." The king replied, smil- 
ingly, " I know very well that you have got a dollar and 
a dress-coat ; you are the same person in either. I want 
ymi, not your coat ; so, go in." 

The Prussian soldiers, in the days of the great Frederic, 
used to be allowed unlimited liberty in providing them- 
selves with food in an enemy's country. The like per- 
mission, but somewhat enlarged, was given to the Croat 
soldiers, under the name of foraging for "supper;" but 
in that permission they included every meal. They are as 
ready at it as Abyssinians ; they cut a slice out of the 
first beast they fall in with, salt it, put it between the 
saddle and the horse's back, gallop till it gets warm, and 
then eat it with Croat appetite. The sportsmen of Dau- 
phiny eat beccaficoes after much the same fashion ; they 
pluck the bird, sprinkle it with pepper and salt, carry it 
on their hat to dry in the air, and eat it with relish for 
supper, without any further cooking. They declare it is 
far better so than when roasted. 



SUPPER. 531 

Celebrated as the " petits soupers " of the French were 
during the last century, they were equalled in brilliancy, 
and perhaps surpassed in popularity, by those given in 
Paris by the Duchess of Kingston. The adventures of 
that very adventurous lady rendered her a favourite with 
our lively neighbours. When a rustic Devonshire beauty, 
— ^wayward, capricious, ignomnt, and seductive, Elizabeth 
Chudleigh was suddenly transplanted to the court of the 
Princess of Wales, as maid of honour. She there captivated 
the youthful Duke of Hamilton, returned his affection, 
and accepted the offer of his hand. They loved intensely, 
quarrelled furiously, and were reconciled warmly; the 
enemies of both toiled incessantly to prevent the mamage, 
and each was daily told of the alleged infidelities of the 
other. One of these stories excited the ardent beauty to 
such rage that she dismissed her ducal lover, and in the 
whirlwind of her wrath gave her hand to Captain Hervey, 
brother of the Earl of Bristol. She married in haste, and 
repented quite as hastily. She hated her husband before 
they left the church together; and after six months of the 
most active domestic warfare, the ill-assorted pair sepa- 
rated by mutual consent. She went abroad to find solace 
for her disappointment, and was heartily welcomed at the 
courts of St. Petersburg, Prussia, and Saxony; she was 
the favoured guest of Catherine II., and of the great 
Frederic, at Berhn; and no electoral banquet took place 
at Dresden without being enlivened by her presence and 
her wit. When she accepted the invitation to resume her 
place at the English court, the reception she met with was 
enthusiastic: she played whist with the men, and she 
drove four-in-hand as if she had been the born daughter of 
a charioteer, brought up to her father's business. Her 
accomplishments won the heart of the simplest of dukes 
and the gentlest of men, his grace of Kingston, and as an 
ecclesiastical court, iu 1769, pronouuced her marriage with 

M M 2 



532 TABLE TRAITS. 

Captain Hervey (notr Earl of Bristol) null and void, she 
speedily espoused her ducal admirer, while her former 
husband bestowed an earl's coronet on a second wife. The 
duke's property was not entailed, and the duchess spent it 
with such reckless prodigality, that his grace was fairly 
frightened into consumption and death; and in 1773 she 
was a beautiful widow, with the large remnant of the 
duke's fortune in her possession — as long as she did not 
marry again. Away she went to Eome, sailed up the Tiber 
in her own yacht, entertained the pope (Ganganelli) 
Clement XIV. at breakfast, dinner, and supper, and kept 
up such a state that the world had never beheld such ex- 
travagant splendour since the days of the most profuse 
and profligate of queens : the heirs of the duke, seeing 
their inheritance fast melting away, instituted against her 
the famous suit for bigamy, on the ground that the eccle- 
siastical court which broke her first marriage had no power 
to do so. To meet her accusers she hurried to England, where 
she considerably startled the modest among our grand- 
mothers by her Sunday amusements, and the daily display 
afforded by the very lowest of dresses. But as she gave 
most splendid dinners she had no lack of friends, and few 
men could find it in their hearts to abandon a woman in 
distress, whose kitchen fires were never extinguished, who 
gave her guests green peas at Christmas, and whose com- 
monest beverage was imperial tokay. The House of Lords 
judged her case, heard her defence, and pronounced her 
second marriage bigamy, by overthrowing the decree of the 
ecclesiastical court with regard to her first union. To avoid 
the vulgar penalty she immediately fled, crossed the Chan- 
nel in a storm, and proceeded to Munich, where she was 
royaUy entertained, especially as the law could not touch 
the property bequeathed her by the Duke of Kingston. 
The courtesy title of duchess was still allowed her, and the 
Elector of Bavaria added to it that of Countess of Warth. 



SUPPER. 533 

Great nobles gave entertainments in her honour, which 
lasted for days, and ended with a ball, a banquet, and, 
instead of common-place fireworks, the storming of a town 
at midnight. Poor nobles vied with each other for her 
smiles and the life-interest of her possessions j but as she 
had once been nearly entrapped by a Greek Prince Warta, 
who turned out to be the son of an ass-driver in Trebi- 
zond, and who committed suicide in prison, she made and 
kept her resolution to be her own mistress forthe futm-e, 
and not that of either count or kaiser. 

In France, where she ultimately resided, she purchased 
the estate of St. Assize au Port, which had formerly be- 
longed to the Duke of Orleans, the father of " Egalitg." 
She paid down a million and a half of francs for it, and 
sold seven thousand francs' worth of rabbits fi-om it, 
during the first week of her residence there. A fricasee 
of the duchess's rabbits was, for a long time, the chief 
dish at aU the guinguettes round Paris. Her own great 
suppers were famous for their refinement and luxury. She 
was a lover of good living, a gourmet rather than a gour- 
mande; an epicure of taste, but not a glutton; and the 
gastronomic art never could boast of a more liberal pa- 
tronage than that she bestowed upon it, especially in her 
Paris residence, where her table, her wit, her dinners, and 
her diamonds, made of her, for a time, the most remark- 
able personage in the capital. She died suddenly, of the 
rupture of a blood-vessel, in 1788, and was completely 
forgotten before that year had also expired. 

I have mentioned that our eccentric country-woman 
had purchased the property of the Duke of Orleans j and 
that reminds me how fatal the table, and particularly the 
supper-table, has been to the dukes of that house. Thus 
Philippe, the brother, of Louis XIV., quarrelled with the 
latter touching the marriage which the king wished to 
conclude between one of his own natural daughters and 



534 TABLE TRAITS. 

the duke's son. Orleans, fevered and flushed, went to sup 
"with the ladies of St. Cloud." He had not long before 
eaten heavily and drunk deeply at dinner; and at this 
second meal he was fatally stricken with apoplexy. The 
king said he was sorry, and having thus far given way to 
his grief, he sat down with Madame de Maintenon to 
rehearse the overture of an opera. This duke's son and 
successor gave suppers, at which his infamous daughter, 
the Duchess de Berri, presided, and admission to which 
was purchased by the candidate making simple denial of 
his belief in a God ! The fate of both had something retri- 
butive in it. The Duchess de Berri, who had privately 
married a profligate and ugly officer of her guards, named 
De Riou, sought to overcome her father's wrathful refusal 
to acknowledge the union, by giving him a splendid supper 
alfresco on the terrace of Meudon, on the 13th May, 1709. 
The evening proved cold and damp, and the duchess caught 
there a fever brought on by a chill, over feeding, iand 
deep drinking, of -v^^hich she died. Fourteen years after- 
wards, the sire who, at sixteen, had all the experience in 
vice of a man of sixty, was dining with the Duchess of 
Phalaria, his last mistress, when he was taken ill. The 
physician who was summoned enjoined abstinence im- 
mediate and complete. "Wait till to-morrow," said the 
duke, " I will enjoy myself to-night." And accordingly, 
the exemplary pair supped together, and the lady was in 
the act of telling the duke one of her lively stories. As 
■she went on, the glass slid from his hand, and his head 
sank upon her shoulder. She thought he was asleep, and 
went on with her story ; but he to whom she was telling it 
was stone-dead. The son of the regent duke was in every 
respect unlike his father. He ate his last supper with the 
Jansenist fathers of the Genevi&ve,-j-symbol of his geneial 
habits and the society he kept. His son was the father of 
Egalite, and at the time of his death (1785) was popular 



SUPPER. 535 

with the lower classes at Paris for the nightly suppers 
which he distributed to them, and which consisted of bread 
and wine, with medicine for those who needed it. It was 
a distribution made not charitably, but politically. Of 
the last meal of Egaht6, before he went to execution, I 
only know that it was a breakfast, and not a supper, and 
that he both ate and drank heartily. Misfortune quite as 
little disturbed the appetite of the Louis Philippe of our 
own days. During his flight from Paris he never forgot 
the hour of supper or dinner; and when "William Smith" 
landed at Newhaven, the first thing he asked for was — ■ 
something to eat. I notice these table traits, simply 
because the Orleanist historians always speak contemp- 
tuously of Louis XVI. eating, with appetite, in open court 
during his trial. The stomach of Orleans was ever as 
ready as that of BoTirbon. 

The supper has been called the conversational meal, but 
to make it so in perfection it requires a thorough professor 
of the science of conversation — one who knows that its 
very spirit consists less in being a good talker himself than 
in flinging about suggestive matter to induce others to 
converse upon. The host who understands the science wiU 
so do this that his guests will be satisfied with themselves. 
Some French writer has said, in reference to this after- 
supper gossip, that it should be like a game at cards, at 
which each player does his best, — but I do not endorse this 
sentiment to its fullest extent, although I aUow that there 
is something in it. The wise generally, and dyspeptics 
especially, wiU do weU to avoid political subjects after 
supper; and perhaps there is no more comprehensive 
remark to be made on this matter than one advanced by 
a follower of La BruySre, a minor moralist, who has said 
that "la confiance foumit plus a la conversation que 
I'esprit ou I'grudition." 

I recollect once seeing the dullest of evenings made 



536 TABLE TRAITS. 

suddenly bright by an apt query modestly put by one who 
needed not to inquire, but who quietly asked if anyone 
present could name the author of the line : — 
" Fine by degrees, and beautifully less." 

Many a wide guess was fired off prior to the successful 
naming. The general opinion was in favour of Pope, and 
Pope has indeed written a hne very like it : — 
" E'lne by defect, and delicately weak." 

The falling upon such coincidences are the very explosives 

of after-supper discussions : thus, the very familiar line — 

" Rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm," 

may be the text for a pretty dispute. It occurs in Addi- 
son's " Campaign," and also in Pope's " Dunciad." The 
latter poet too has said — 

" Ye little stars, hide your dlminish'd rays ;" 
but Milton, before him, had written — 

" At whose sight all the stars 
Hide tteir diminish'd heads." 

Schiller's " Thekla " warbles melodiously her melancholy 
assurance — 

" Ich habe gelebt und geliebet ;" 

and Byron's " Sardanapalus,'" equally used up, mutters 
with a faint sigh the same words — 

" I have lived and loved." 
We all know who tells us that 

" Gospel light first beam'd from Boleyn's eyes ;'' 

and Horace Walpole harped on the same tune, when he 

said — 

" From Catherine's wrongs a nation's bliss was spread, 
And Luther's light from Henry's lawless bed." 

Gray and Moss, too, afford instances of like coincidences of 



SUPPER. 537 

sound or senliment, or both. The first, in his " Elegy," 
has^- 

" And leaves the world to darkness and to me." 

The second, in his " Beggar's Petition," sings to the same 
air — 

" And left the world to wretchedness and me." 

I have noticed, in a former page, how Gray's line of 
" Dear as the light that visits these sad eyes," 

must necessarily remind one of Shakspeare's words, in the 

liiouth of Brutus — 

" Dear as the drops that visit this sad heart." 

Demosthenes has truly said — 

'AvTJp 6 tpevyatv Ka\ TzaKiv fiax^ir^Tait 

so that Sir John Minnes is not even the original author of 
the Hudibrastically sounding assertion — 

" He who fights and runs away, 
May live to fight another day." 

The lines in Hudibras are as the perfecting and comment 
on the above, remarking as they do — 

" For he that runs may fight again, 
Which he can never do that's slain." 

These coincidences are, no doubt, unintentional. For my 
own part, I do not believe that Shakspeare, when he spoke 
in Hamlet, of 

" The undiseover'd country, from whose bourne 
No traveller returns," 

necessarily had in his mind the 

" Qui nunc it per iter tenebricosum 
lUuc unde negant redire quemquam," 

of Catullus; although the latter lines were quoted by 
Seneca the philosopher, and were as familiar as household 
words among the verse-loving ancients. Dr. Johnson's 
remark on the similarity between Caliban's desire to sleep 



538 TABLE TEAITS. 

again, and the irdXiv ijdeXov KaOevSEiv of Anacreon, may 
apply to nearly all the passages in our national poet which 
appear to have been derived from the ancients. If vre 
judged them by any other rule than that the ideas pre- 
sented themselves naturally to Shakspeare's mind, without 
consideration whether any one before him had sung to the 
self-same tune, we might soon turn Ms, and indeed any 
poet's works, into a thing of shreds and patches. For 
instance, again, when the young Dane describes Osric 
as " spacious in the possession of dirt," we might accuse 
the author, yet wrongfully, perhaps, of having stolen the 
idea from the "multa dives tellure" of Horace. We 
might imagine that the "Id in summa fortuna sequius 
quod validius,'' of Tacitus, gave birth to 

" That in the captain'-s but a choleric word, 
■Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy," 

of Shakspeare, who would have been very much surprised 

had he been told as much. Again, CorneiLIe, because he 

said, 

" Qui commence bien ne fait rien s'il n'achfeve," 

is not to be accused of having written a pendant to the 

assertion of Flacous — 

" Dimidium facti qui coepit habet." 

Neither has Beaumerchais rifled Otway, because " Desirez 
du bien 3, une femme est ce vouloir du mal S, son mari," 
has a close resemblance to — 

" I hope a man may wish his friend's wife well, 
And no harm done." 

If mere close resemblance establish a charge of plagiarism, 
then Chaucer, when in speaking of maidens dark or fair he , 
said — 

" Blake or whit6, 1 toke no kepe," 

stole the thought from the ancient Irish bard, who said — 
" Bohumileen a coolen dhuv no baun ;" 



SUPPER. 539 

a line whioh Chaucer could not have read, though his own 
is a literal translation of it. Examples like these I might 
go on citing ad infinitum. As Rosalind says, " I could quote 
you so eight years together, dinners, and suppers, and 
sleeping hours excepted." But I will conclude with one 
more case in point between a well-known English author 
and the French dramatist Moliere. Thus writes the one — 

" What Tfoful stuff this madrigal would be, 
In some starved, hackuey'd sonneteer, or me ! 
But let a lord once own the happy lines, 
How the wit brightens and the style refines ! " 

And thus sung the other — 

" Tous les discours sont des sottises, 
Partout, d'un homme sans gclat. 
Ce seraient paroles exquises, 
Si c^'tait un grand qui parla." 

If this be digressing, it is because after-supper con- 
versation does take a discursive character. In the last 
century, in Paris, the majestic nonentities were invited to 
dinner ; the talkers, be they who they might, to supper. 
"La Eobe dine; Finance soupe," was another of these 
distinctions; and it was found that the supper was by 
far the most agreeable meal of the day. The Duchess of 
Kingston, as I have said, was especially celebrated for her 
Paris suppers. They were infinitely more splendid than 
her Enghsh breakfasts, so pleasantly sneered at by Horace 
Walpole. The wits assembled round her in gay clusters, 
and they and the poets cudgelled their brains to prove 
one another plagiarists; while the peers stood by, and 
marvelled at the extent and elasticity of the human un- 
derstanding. Nothing could well surpass the hilarity and 
magnificence of these entertainments, where the philoso- 
phers were voted as dull as the nobles, and no aristocracy 
was acknowledged but the aristocracy of intellect. Another 
lady, remarkable for the elegance of the little suppers over 



540 TABLE TEAITS. 

which she presided, was Madame Tronchin : but the Reign 
of Terror came on, and her friends and relatives were daily 
dragged from her to the guillotine j and Madame Tronchin, 
who had a most feeling heart, used to say, that she never 
could have gone through such horrors had it not been for 
her little cup of caf6 a la crSme. The courtiers used to 
joke in like fashion, at the suppers of Versailles, at national 
disgrace. When the Count d'Artois returned from the 
siege of Gibraltar, to which he had gone with much boat- 
ing, and began to talk of his batteries, the courtiers used 
to smile, and to whisper to one another that he meant his 
" batterie de cuisine." 

With regard to the dietetics of supper, it may be taken 
for granted that late, heavy, meals are dangerous, and to 
be avoided. Chymification and sleep may go on tolerably 
well together after it ; but when the time comes for chyli- 
fication and sanguification, feverish wakefulness will ac- 
company the process. Dyspeptic patients, however, are 
authorized to take a light supper before going to bed. It 
is said that the idle man is the devil's man ; and it may 
also be said of the stomach, that if it has nothing to do it 
will be doing mischief. It is especially so with persons of 
weak digestion ; for whom an egg, lightly boiled, or dry 
toast and a little white-wine negus, is a supper selon 
Vordinance. But a wise man will hardly want a guide in 
this matter. Breakfast may be the meal of friendship; 
dinner, of etiquette ; and supper, the feast of wit ; — but, 
generally speaking, he will show most wit who takes the 
least supper. Common sense should teach him the exact 
measure of his capacity. 

A whale swallows at a gulp more shrimps than would 
be required to make sauce for the universe. That gentle 
songster, the canary, is like the celebrated contralto song- 
stress, who eats daily half a peck of saffron salad ; — the 
bird consumes nearly his own bulk weight of food. But 



SUPPER. 541 

lie is delicate compared with the caterpillar, which con- 
sumes five hundred times its own weight before it lies 
down, to rise a butterfly. As for the hysena, he is popu- 
larly said, when hungry, and other food not presenting 
itself, to eat himself; and probably, like Dr. Kitchener, he 
carries his own sauce-box about with him ! But the 
stomach of man is not made to perform such feats as 
those accomplished by the whale, the canary, or the cater- 
pillar. He is especially to remember, that though an 
animal, he is not a beast. 

Man, it must be remembered, began with refinement. 
He was made perfect, upright, and to him was given 
" every herb bearing seed, which is on the face of aU the 
earth, and eveiy tree in which is the fruit of a tree, yield- 
ing seed ; to you it shall be for meat." Here food is used 
as the symbol of celestial blessings; as in the passage, 
" He should have fed them also with the finest of the 
wheat, and with honey out of the rock should I have 
satisfied them." With the fall, civilization and innocence 
also fell, and barbarism was the ofispring of disobedience. 
There was a time when men had sunk so low that they 
were like the Troglodytes described by Pomponius Mela — 
" Troglodytse nullarum opum domini, strident magis quam 
loquuntur, specus subeunt, alunturque serpentibus" — they 
had no property, shrieked rather than spoke, lived in 
caves, and devoured serpents for food. The fine wheat 
and the honey from the rock was not theirs. The Fenns, 
painted by Tacitus, were only a shade less barbarous : 
" Mira feritas," says the graphic Caius Cornelius, " fosda 
paupertas ; non arma, non equi, non penates ; victui herba, 
vestui pelles, cubili humus" — wonderful for their wildness, 
their poverty filthy; they had neither horses, nor gods; 
the grass was their food, skins their raiment, and the 
ground their couch. The Helvetii were progressistas in the 
race for the prize of civilization; and, when planning an 



542 TABLE TEAITS. 

emigration project, they took two years to thoroughly 
perfect the plan, laying up stores of provisions the while. 
Whoever Ceres may have really been, it is clear that in 
her is to be recognised the benefactress of mankind : — 

" Prima Ceres unco glebam dimovit aratro, 
Prima dedit fruges, alimentaque mitia terris. 
Prima dedit leges ; " 

she who taught them the uses of the plough, of agriculture, 
and of fixed laws, and who gave them what God had in- 
tended for civilized and innocent man, "the finest wheat," — 
she must have been the renovator of the earth, and of 
beauty upon it. Man, like the rudest saints of the desert — 
so near may savagery be to undisciplined sanctity — ^had 
been "feeding on ashes;" but now the finest wheat was 
again there to give him strength and delight, — wheat, 
where golden grain had, perhaps, first yielded its abun- 
dance beneath the shade of the primeval tree of know- 
ledge. 

The era of wheat, of the ploughshare, and of iron, was 
the era of the second civilization. Man was no longer 
generallya wild savage, or a cunning hunter. God again 
vouchsafed to him "the finest of the wheat;" and, as 
civilization progressed, so also was widened the circle of 
supply, upon which indeed much of civilization depends. 

The subject of " Man and his Food," with regard to the 
future, has been ably discussed by Dr. Leonard Withington, 
of Newbury, Massachusetts. He has moved the question, 
whether we have reached the terminus of all our stores or 
not? He holds, that the forest, the field, the river, and 
the sea may yield contributions to our table, in addition 
to the known abundance for which our as abundant grati- 
tude is now due. We have not reached the line of our 
last inventions ; and, doubtless, new articles are to be dis- 
covered, which will have an equal influence on virtue and 



STIPPEE. 543 

happiness. "Boundless nature," says Dr. Witliington, "lies 
before us, and undeveloped skill is wrapt up in the human 
breast. The exuberance of our system is not exhausted, — 
her beasts, her birds, her fishes, her plants, her growing 
trees and her copious grasses, her pastures, her valleys, 
her lofty mountains and her rolling streams, are all spread 
out to the hungry world. Nature is an image of God, 
and she echoes, though she does not originate the words, 
'In my Father's house is bread enough, and to spare. 
' Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it ; thou greatly 
enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water ; 
thou preparedst them corn when thou hadst so provided 
for it. Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly ; thou 
settlest the furrows thereof; thou makest it soft with 
showers ; thou blessest the springing thereof.' " 

Dr. Gumming holds, not only that death is the most 
unna tural of conditions, but that when the era of heavenly, 
everlasting life shall be established, the heaven of man will 
be here upon earth. So Dr. Withington thinks that the 
earth will not only be made more heavenly beautiful than 
it now is, before the period of the new paradise, but more 
abundant also. " The manna," he says, " which is here- 
after to be provided, will not be rained down ifrom heaven, 
but will spring up fi'om the earth.'' And there is common 
sense in this last assertion, for in it is implied that abun- 
dance will come by the proper application of knowledge 
and labour, without which the earth, ever wise and pru- 
dent, wUl yield but little. The increasing populations of 
that earth have two objects before them which are of no 
small importance, and which are thus defined by Dr. 
Withington : — " One is, to impart from the open field of 
nature aU those good and wholesome things which our 
Father has laid up for us; and secondly, to train our 
taste and habits for the using of those things which 
are nutritive and sweet, and which may have the best 



544 TABLE TRAITS. 

influence on our moral character and social happiness." 
The training should begin from early childhood, — and early 
childhood requires delicate training. 

An American writer on dietetics is half afraid that 
people will smile if he, in connexion with the subject, 
introduces dainty children; and yet, as he justly remarks, 
"there is a mystery about this subject, on which we may 
well bestow a passing thought." There are children in all 
the various classes of life who are " very difficult about 
their food." " These little connoisseurs," says Dr. With- 
ington, " cannot eat with the rest of the family,, and the 
mother and the son are oft^ at issue in an interminable 
controversy. The mother often says it is all whim and 
caprice; and some severe matrons tell their children that 
they shall not eat a morsel until the given lump is de- 
voured. But the son would say, if he could quote Shak- 
speare, ' You cram these things into mine ear against the 
stomach of my sense. I know I don't love it, I can't eat 
it; it is not fit to be eaten.'" The doctor proceeds to 
inquire if this turn of the appetite be a matter of caprice 
or necessity. He examines whether the mother, or the boy 
be right. He acknowledges the antiquity of a controversy 
which has been carried on for ages, and he has no doubt 
" that Eve had it with Cain and Abel, the first supper she 
gave them after they were weaned. We offer it," he adds, 
" as a profound conjecture, that Cain was a dainty boy, 
and probably doubled up his fist at his mother." With 
regard to the controversy itself, he appears to think that 
it has much of the quality of that which marked the dis- 
pute about the colour of the chameleon, and that "both 
parties are partly wrong." It is likely, as he remarks, 
that much depends on the training and volition, and also 
on original nature and temperament. "There are some ' 
things we were never made for, and they were never made 
for us. There are some kinds of food which, though they 



SUPPER. 545 

may suit the race, were never made for the individual. 
But this Winded appetite, partly natural, partly artificial, 
follows through life." And this is leaving the controversy 
very much where the worthy doctor found it. 

Finally, let them who fancy that man was made merely 
to enjoy, learn truth from contemplating the portrait of 
one whose sole philosophy was gastronomic enjoyment. 
If ever there was a man who had a gay celebrity, and who 
taught in the porch, that life was only life at the tables in 
the " salon," it was the editor of the " Almanach des Gour- 
mands." He taught not that hihere est vivere, but that 
bibere was only the half of vivere, and that to live was 
emphatically to eat and drink. He was a practical philo- 
sopher, it should be observed, and here is the portrait of 
the man, at the end of his philosophical practice: — "The 
author of the Almanack is still in the land of the living. 
He eats, digests, and sleeps, in the charming valley of 
Longpons. . . . But how is he changed ! At eight o'clock, 
he rings for his servants, scolds them, cries Extravagantes ! 
calls for his soupe aux ficules, and swallows it. Digestion 
now commences : the labour of the stomach reacts uj)on 
the brain, the gloomy ideas of the fasting man disappear, 
calmness resumes her sway, he no longer wishes to die. 
He speaks, converses tranquilly, asks for Paris news, and 
inquires for the old goizrmands still living. When digestion 
is finished, he becomes silent, and sleeps for some hours. 
On awaking, complaints recommence ; he weeps, he sighs, 
he becomes angry, he wishes to die, he calls eagerly for 
death. The hour for dinner comes ; he sits himself down to 
table, dinner is served, he eats abundantly of every dish, 
although he says he has no want of anything, as his last 
hour is approaching. At dessert, h|B face becomes ani- 
mated; his eyes, sunk in their orbits, sparkle brightly 
' How is Marquis de Coussy, dear doctor ? ' he exclaims : 
' how long will he last ? They say he has a terrible disease. 



546 TABLE TRAITS. 

Doubtless they have not put him on regimen. ' You 
would never have suffered that, for one must eat to live, — 
ah !' At length, he rises from table. " Behold him in an 
immense arm-chair. He crosses his legs, supports his 
stumps upon his knees (for he has no hands, but something 
resembling the flap of a goose), and continues his conver- 
sation, which always runs on eating. ' The rains have been 
abundant,' he cries, 'we shall have plenty of mushrooms 
this autumn. What a pity, dear doctor, that I cannot 
accompany you in your walks to St. Grenevieve I How 
fine our vines are ! what a delicious perfume !' And then 
he falls asleep, and dreams of what he wiU eat on the fol- 
lowing day!" 

Fancy, if the theory of guardian angels be a beautiful 
truth, what the winged watcher of this animal, staggering 
over the supper of life, must feel at contemplating the 
ward committed to his care. For our own profit such 
examples may be employed, as the ancients showed their 
slaves drunk in presence of their sons, that the latter might 
be disgusted with inebriety. And this taU-piece should be 
engraved at the end of every work professing to teach that 
there is even in this world, a paradise for gourmands. 
The old heathen Socrates knew better, when he said, 
"Beware of such food as persuades a man, though he be not 
hungry, to eat; and those liquors that will prevail with 
a man to drink them when he is not thirsty.'' In the 
same spirit, the pious Dodsley taught, that health sat on 
the brow of him only who had temperance for a companion — 
temperailce, which Sir William Temple styled as "that 
virtue without pride and fortune without envy, which 
gives health of body and tranquillity of mind, the best 
guardian of yout^and support of old age." So Jeremy 
Collier says, "Temperance keeps the senses clear and 
Tinembarrassed, and makes them seize the object with 
more keenness and satisfaction. It appears with life in 



SUPPER. 547 

the fece, and decorum in the person ; it gives you the 
command of your head, secures your health, and preserves 
you in a condition for biisiness." What comment can I 
add to texts of such philosophy, but to bid wise men wel- 
come to the feast of reason, where 

" May good digestion wait on appetite. 
And health on bothi " 



THE END. 



CLAY, PiilSTEB, rilLAD SlRJiiT HILL,