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Harry happen to be the meanest cur that
physical fear of physical consequences ever kept
and guarded, safe and whole-skinned, within
the pale of the law?  I have called my position
anomalous; and without being confidential
over-much, I may assert that the term applies.
My position is anomalous, and I am an anomaly.
The recollection how blindly, how absurdly,
how childishly, passive and ignorant I was,
throughout the whole deuce-begotten process
which landed me in Queer-street, ought, I
know, by all the rules of convention, to cause
me to gnash

My teeth in darkness till returning morn,
Then curse myself till sunset.

But it doesn't.  Quite the contrary, it causes
me to laugh: not "genially,"  or healthily,
perhaps, but still to laugh.  Many matters make
me laugh, nowadays.  Queer-street has taught
me to laugh.  If the brave days of old had
lasted my time, I should have gone to my
place, unaware with what a powerful sense of the
ludicrous I had been by Nature gifted.

Nonsense?  Small matters amuse small
minds?  Very well.  Have it so.  Small matters
amuse my small mind mightily, especially in
these holiday-tides.  "Were you at the Derby?"
"What are you going to do, Monday and Tuesday?"
"Where do you dine to-day?"  I never
saw the humour of these small enquiries, until I
came to Queer-street!  There is a man whose
open door I daily pass when I turn out into the
streets at what we call in our office, and very
facetiously call as far as I am concerned, "The
luncheon hour," and this man, as I pass his
door, invariably and heartily salutes me with:
"May good digestion wait on appetite!"

Ho! ho  He thinks I am going to lunch!
What an overpowering jokein Queer-street!



IF any people ever knew how to cook, and
by cooking to elevate the necessity of eating
into the refined luxury of dining, it was the
Romans under the early emperors. They had
then acquired all the poetical and culinary art
of Greece, and united it to the more solid
learning of Rome.

Those Romans were good livers, huge eaters,
and great spendthrifts.  Vitellius never squandered
less than ten thousand crowns at a meal,
and at one celebrated dinner had on table two
thousand fishes and seven thousand fat birds.  As
for that monster of extravagance, Heliogabalus,
(Gobbleus it ought to be), at one special party
he gave each guest the gold cup from which he
had drunk, and sent each person home in a
carriage presented to him for the purpose.  Albanus,
a Gaulish consul, is said to have devoured at
one supper, one hundred peaches, ten melons,
fifty large green figs, and three hundred oysters.
There is a rumour too that the tyrant Maximus
used to eat forty pounds of meat per day.

The Romans had their jentaculum, or breakfast,
soon after they rose; and this early snack
consisted of bread, raisins, olives, eggs, and
cheese. Their beverage at this meal was milk,
or mulsum (honied wine).  The prandium
was a sort of lunch about noon; but the real
solid repast was the cœna, our dinner, at the
ninth hour, about half past two in summer.
It matters little whether we call it an early
supper or a late dinner, since our own seven
o'clock meal is open to the same doubts.

We all know the ordinary Roman house,
thanks to the pretty revival at Sydenham.
From the centre hall, with its little garden
and cool murmuring fountain, opened the dim
bins which served for sleeping-rooms, each
with its curtained doorway.  The black walls
of the rooms, opening from the hall, and all on
one floor, were painted with little groups of sea
nymphs, and cupids, and triumphs of Bacchus.
The floors were mosaic.  In everything the
Italian climate was taken into consideration,
and there were no stuffy carpets or dusty
mattings to retain the dirt and heat.

We will suppose the ninth hour near at hand,
and the slaves busy in the kitchen preparing
to dish up dinner.  The busts of the ancestors
in the hall have been dusted and rubbed,
and the couches are ready ranged in the
triclinium (or dining-room).  The gold and silver
cups are ranged on the buffets, and all is ready
for the feast, even down to the garlands of
roses which are to be given to the guests at the
close of the banquet.

The couches were so arranged that they
formed three sides of a square, and in the
midst stood the cedar and ivory, or tortoise-shell
and bronze, tables, on which each course
was placed, arranged in trays.  The guests lay
down on the couches in an uncomfortable
Oriental way, three to a couch: each guest,
propped up with cushions, leaning on his left
arm, the right being free to receive food and
to hold his plate.  Silk cushions marked the
place of each guest.  The host pointed out the
special seats to favoured guests, much as your
host does now.

As soon as the guests had taken their
places, slaves came and removed their sandals,
and boys with their loins girded up offered
water in bowls: in which it was the custom
for all to dip their hands.  At a nod of the
host, the first course would appeargenerally
shell-fish, eggs, and vegetablesand with
it a bill of fare to guide the appetite of each
diner.  Every rich man had his own slave at his
back, to hand the dishes or to pass the wine.

We can, by help of a learned German
professor (a distinguished friend of Dreikopf's), and
Petronius, pretty correctly follow a preliminary
"gustatorium," which more resembled the
conclusion than the beginning of an English dinner.
Let us place in the centre of the first tray, which
was inlaid with tortoiseshell, a bronze ass, in
whose silver panniers were piled black and green
olives.  On the back of this ass rode a portly
bronze Silenus, from whose hands ran down a