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custom, on a little piece of bread resembling a
penny trumpet, and some detestable coffee;
and therefore eagerly replied to the question
of my friend in the affirmative, dreading, however,
rather, to find myself thrust in among
the hot, noisy, detestable assembly of a German
table-d'hôte. My friend, however, is a man of
some importance in the town, being Herr
Deputy-sub-assistant-auditor to Herr Under-secretary
to a local and independent branch
of the railway. He was, indeed, far too
great a man to dine at a table-d'hôte, since the
English have made them dear and unfashionable.
He presented me, therefore, to two of
his colleagues. Who they were, does not
matter; for, to judge of a man's character
from his profession, is to be wilfully misled.
Some of the quietest and steadiest men I
have ever known were consistent supporters
of the opera and the turf, and some of the
flightiest and lightest-hearted, men of letters.
The jolliest person beyond all question I
ever met with was an undertaker; one
of my most cheerful friends was a Presbyterian
clergyman; and the sternest, a comic

Enough, therefore, that the Herr von
Schmidt and his two friends, accompanied by
their beards, their cigars, and myself, adjourned
from the railway to dine at the principal inn.
It goes by the name of the United Germany;
and, on the sign-board, is painted a lively and
appropriate representation of the historical
cats of Kilkenny. Let the reader transport
himself to the first inn of a provincial town in
Englandneither at a watering-place nor in
the immediate neighbourhood of a fashionable
pack of houndsand ask himself calmly what
he would be likely to get for dinner? It is a
question to which I could hardly venture to
reply. In my hunting days it used to be
chops, steaks, and eggs and baconbacon and
eggs, steaks, and chops, and so on, ringing the
changes as often as you like; but, as I have
little inclination for any of these delicacies, I
very seldom found anything that it was
possible for a London appetite to digest, and
I have been haunted with the ghost of a
tough country steak, and an abominable inky
fluid the waiter was pleased to designate as
ketchup, or some such name, for twenty-four
hours after it ought to have been laid for

Let me, as a contrast, transcribe the dinner
provided at half-an-hour's notice under the
sign of the United Germany for our party of
four. We had a clear (strained) soup of
exquisite flavour, accompanied by powdered
cheese for those fond of strong stimulants.
Then craw-fish, and black bread and butter.
Then a fillet of beef (piqué) with a sauce of
truffles and Madeira. Then some red cabbages,
stewed apples, and mashed potatoes; some
cutlets of fresh pork, and some cold tongue;
some eels in asparagus jelly; some hashed
venison, garnished with rice; some young
chickens with Perigord sauce; preserves and
salad; a plum pudding; dessert, and fruit

This dinner cost us just three shillings a
head. We had, moreover, napkins, a spotless
table-cloth, and finger-glasses. I am not
at all vaunting the choice of Herr von
Schmidt's dinner, which is, perhaps, the
worst taste, but only the number, quality,
and price of the dishes.

Let the country solicitor who paid ten
shillings for his dinner yesterday in a dingy
room in Bishopsgate Street, ask himself if he
dined anything like so well as we did for
three? and let any one of the unlucky
diners-out in London condemned to a three-shilling
dinner, compare their bill of fare
with this.

Why it is, or how it is, that everything
should be dearer in England than in the
whole world over, it is not at present our
province to inquire; but the fact, as it undoubtedly
exists, is extremely unreasonable,
since every single article we consumed in the
dominions of His Serene Highness the Prince
of the Towering Taxes, with the sole exception
of the truffles, can, with proper management, be
obtained cheaper in London, from the cheese
(Chester, by the way,) to the ice;—and the
fuel with which our dinner was cooked
is beyond all comparison dearer than in
England. The simple secret was in the judicious
division of the contents of the various
dishes into proper portions, just enough for
the consumption of the people for whom they
were provided, and no more, instead of
giving them an equal quantity of one thing;
the cunning of the cook, and the number of
diners-out having brought the art of
providing small dinners into a state of great
perfection. Many a dozen workmen at the
same factory, who carry their clammy, un-wholesome
dinners in their pocket-handkerchiefs,
and bolt the unsavoury mess with a
pint of beer in the tap-room of a public-house,
might, by merely clubbing the price of their
separate meals, though but a few halfpence,
and dining together, conduce considerably to
their own comfort and the advancement of the
noble science of cookery. There is an excellent
workmans' dinner in Paris, provided for
threepence; and most of the officers' messes
throughout Germany are served according to
contract, and very well served too, at from
fivepence to sixpence a head.


AN old house, very old, so that decay
Made a most visible progress day by day;
The very pigeons from its moss-grown roof,
Full of forebodings, seemed to keep aloof
As even their light weight might serve to bring
Down toppling ornaments, so tottering
As the stone carven vases duly set
At intervals along the parapet.
Yet, on the very summit of the roof,
A group of poppies year by year gave proof