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wished to philosophise upon four hundred
follow creatures at their meals, I went
upstairs into the gallery, which was partitioned
off into boxes, where there was another
kitchen, though on a smaller scale to the
one below, and where there were perhaps a
hundred and fifty diners more. Sitting down
at one of the little marble tables I made the
astonishing discovery that Eau de Selzthe
French substitute for soda-waterwas laid
on to the premises, like gas, or New River
water. An Eau de Selz pillar, neatly
surmounted with a blue cut-glass knob, and an
Eau de Selz double robinet or tap, came
through the centre of each table; and on
reference to the carte I found that for ten
centimesa pennyyou might have as much
of the Eau de Selz on tap as ever you liked
blow yourself up with aërated water, if you
were disposed so to do. Where was the
reservoir? There, yonder, in one of the
mausoleums. How was it made? What
was it made of? Aye, there was the rub!
I am no chemist; and lest from one of these
metallic taps I should draw forth a solution
of some noxious carbonate, sulphate, acetate,
or phosphate nauseous to the taste, and
inimical to the coats of the stomach, I
refrained from the Eau de Selz at discretion at
once and for ever.

I must say this for the credit of the
Bouillon Bœuf, that the celerity and agility
of its waiters are beyond criticism and
compare. I was no sooner seated than a light-
hearted child of Gaul, with a bright eye, and
a chin-tuft, skipped up to me, brushed the
table spotlessly clean (I did not mind his
whisking the crumbs into my eyes), and
blithely asked me what I would have. Soup
he had already settled in his mind I should
have; and producing a little pencil, attached
by a silken cord to his waistcoat button, had
set down a great black tick against the soup
line in my carte. Bouillon was the word.
Bouilli afterwards of course. How much
wine? half a bottle. Would I have a table-
napkin? certainly. Bread? of course (I
could have brought both myself). Four more
ticks were jotted down on my carte and the
jocund youth went skipping off, twiddling his
pencil like the dancing Faun his flute.

Perhaps he was one of the departed
celebrities of Montesquieu when it was a dancing
hall. But enough. Before I had well begun
to speculate upon him he was back with my
soup, my napkin, and my wine. After the
discussion of the potage, and pending the
arrival of the beef, I studied the carte, and
profited much thereby. I learnt that soup
cost twopence, bouilli twopence-halfpenny,
roast meat and ragouts threepence, vegetables
twopence, bread a penny, a napkin a penny,.
Eau de Selz (as I have already said) a penny,
wine fivepence the half-bottle, though half or
even a quarter of that quantity was obtainable,
and other articles of consumption in
reasonable proportion. Not very Sardanapalian,
these items, certainly; and yet the
company seemed to be not only composed of
the pettier middle class, but of very many
persons in what may be termed easy
circumstances. There were no blouses, but a good
number of plain female caps; but there were
also a fair sprinkling of red ribbons at
button-holes, and of bonnets with artificial
flowers under them. Let me add that in the
motley throng, order, good behaviour, and
good humour reigned unvaryingly.

I think my dinner cost me elevenpence. I
would rather not be questioned about the
beef; but what can you expect for five sous?
The place was very cheap, and very gay, and
exceeding curious for those who liked to look
at men and women in their ways. The waiter's
service was gratuitousostensibly so at least.
You did not pay him the reckoning: but descending
to the contrôle presented your carte to an
elegantly dressed lady who added up the
items, softly but audibly, and told you the
amount. This you paid. Then she stamped
the carte (oh, nation of stampers!) and
delivered your carte again to a checktaker.
All this light and space, all this life and
merriment, all this beef and bouilli, all this
Selzer water at discretion, all this stamping
and restamping, and all for elevenpence.

The next daya red-letter daymy friend,
Pecuniosus, who is wealthy, said, "Come
and breakfast." We breakfasted at that
Alhambra-like café, at the corner of the
Chaussée d' Antin, where millionnaires sup,
where your cup is filled from silver coffee-
pots worth a thousand francs each, and
reckonings are paid in bank notes. We had
the enlivening wine of Thorins. We had
eggs, poached with asparagus tips, we had
jumped kidneys, and we had a Chateaubriand
a steakah, so tender! ah, so exquisitely
done! It was delicious, it was
unapproachable, it melted in the mouth; but
I still adhere to my former assertion. There
is no beef in Paris. I have not ten thousand
a year; Pecuniosus does not ask me
to breakfast every morning; and this was
not eating beef; it was eating gold.

So I am yet open to continue my travels
in search of beef, and expect to be on the
move before long. I have been told that
in Abyssinia they bring the ox to the door,
and you cut your steak off hot from the
living animal, on the cut and come again
principle; but apart from the cruelty of
the thing, a man cannot be too cautious in
receiving statements about Abyssinia. Still,
I yearn for beef; and if any gentleman
hear of palateable ox-flesh down Otaheite
way, I shall be happy to record my notions
of a steak in the South Seas.