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boars were preferred for their special flavour)
with palm twig baskets full of Syrian or Egyptian
dates hung from its tusks.  Around this savoury
monster were sometimes placed litters of sucking
pigs moulded in sweet paste.  These were
distributed as presents among the company.
The scissor or carver sometimes came in dressed
as a hunter, to operate on the wild boar, if
it were served as the piece de resistance.

After this, as a surprise in the nature of a
pleasant practical joke, would be borne in, say
a pig stuffed with live thrushes that flew out
when the cook opened their prison with his

Men like Apicius, of insane appetites, would
construct new dishes of singing birds, or of the
brains of ostriches and nightingales; but these
were exceptional cases, to be matched only
by the crazy prodigality of tyrannical
voluptuaries like Heliogabalus, who would strew his
floors with gold dustordinary people strewing
their mosaic pavements merely with saffron,
and coloured and perfumed sawdust.

It was not uncommon at the close of a Roman
dinner, for the ceiling to open and presents to
descend, fastened to a silver hoop.  In this way
silver and alabaster bottles of ointment, and silver
garlands, were often given to the guests.  When
the dessert appeared, mastick toothpicks were
handed round by the slaves.  In the dessert tray
a statue often occupied the centre, a Flora or
Vertumnus, laden with fruits, sometimes artificial
and full of saffron-coloured juices, that
spirted forth on those who first pressed them.
Among the sweetmeats made by the Romans,
were fish and birds moulded in pastry and filled
with almonds and raisins; they were also fond
of melons cut into shapes, and of quinces stuck
with almonds.

When rich people gave an entertainment
and wished to make up by displays of wealth for
witty and amusing conversation, it was usual
to have rope dancers and posture makers to
exhibit between the courses: while more refined
people would send for flute players or would have
Spanish dancing girls from Cadiz to perform
their semi-Oriental dances.

If the host wished to turn the Cœna into
a revel, the party would then take baths
or saunter along the colonnades, while a new
room was fitted up for them.  Roman furniture
was more portable than ours, and the change
would give the numerous slaves of a rich man
but very little trouble.  We must imagine the
new room panelled with marble, the ceiling inlaid
with gold and ivory; the chairs, tables, and
couches, in the pure Greek taste, simple, and
severely beautiful in shape.  The lamps would
be like the Pompeian lamps, hung by bronze
and silver chains from the ceiling, or suspended
from the cross boughs of bronze pillars.  Greek
taste had shaped every cup and moulded even
the simplest ornaments of the table.  The goblets
of all shapes were ranged on silver or marble
sideboards.  The slaves prepared the vessels full
ot snow, and the urns for the mulled wine.  The
chairman or king of the feast was then chosen
by throw of dice, after the rose and ivy wreaths
and perfumes and ointments had been distributed.
He who threw Venus, or the six, became
king.  The lowest cast was called the dog.  It
was usual, as each one threw, for him to invoke
the name of the woman he loved.  The leader of
the feast decided what quantity of water should
be mixed with the wine, as only avowed
drunkards took pure wine.  This chairman also
fixed what number of cyathi, or ladlesful, each
person should have poured into his glass at a
time.  When a guest proposed a toast, he
mentioned the name of his love and his companions,
and himself then drank as many ladlesful of
negus as there were letters in the lady's name.
But after all, it must be allowed that there
is some justice in Smollett's extraordinarily
humorous caricature (so much in the style of
Gilray) of a dinner after the manner of the
ancients.  The Romans were in some respects
barbaric in their tastes.  They craved for
unnatural things rather than real dainties.  We
certainly should prefer salmon a la Bechamel
to thunny seasoned with (ugh!) asafœtida and
cheese.  They perfumed their wines, which
must have destroyed all refinement of bouquet;
they mingled their courses in a savage manner,
and without respect to the convenances or to
common sense; they were fond of vulgar tricks
and theatrical surprises, which must have
irritated the temper and vexed the digestion;
they neglected soups.  They were ignorant of
liqueurs, and did not know the glory of a
chasse, or the propriety of a "gloria."  They
fretted that poor weak vessel the stomach with
rasping music and pompous trumpetings, and
interrupted the serious attention requisite for
the pure enjoyment of an exquisite dish, by
the unwise introduction of ballet girls and acrobats.
And above alland here we hold them
guilty of the highest treasonthey, as a rule,
excluded ladies from their banquets.  No
wonder that leering Debauchery, crimson-faced
Drunkenness, and other of Circe's chosen
servants, forced their way in at the barred Roman
door, and that where the chaste Venus was
forbidden, Cotytto and her train were welcomed.


PERMIT a veritable soldier to look round the
barrack-room in which he sits, and to describe
its other occupants with fidelity.

Old Soldier is a brave man who has won the
Victoria cross, the Crimean, Turkish, Indian,
and China medals  yet the medal for "long
service and good conduct" he will never win.  He
has one faultrunning through the pages of
the defaulters' book and the courts-martial
recordshabitual drunkenness.  He is a good
soldier in all else; and after years of toil and
trouble he is still tough and hard as the stock
of his own rifle, methodically punctilious as to
his bed and accoutrements, mindful of the
amenities of the barrack-room.  He has a store
of anecdote, and tells with unassuming force