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Title: The Art of Entertaining
Author: Sherwood, M. E. W. (Mary Elizabeth Wilson), 1826-1903
Language: English
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THE ART OF ENTERTAINING

by

M. E. W. SHERWOOD

                               This night
   Beneath my roof my dearest friends I entertain
                                           HOMER



New York
Dodd, Mead and Company
1893

Copyright, 1892,
by Dodd, Mead and Company.

All rights reserved.

University Press:
John Wilson and Son, Cambridge.



     _With a grateful recognition of his services to_
     "The Art of Entertaining,"

     _Both at home and abroad, and with a profound respect for his wit,
     eloquence, and learning, this book is dedicated_

     TO
     THE HON. CHAUNCEY M. DEPEW,

     BY HIS FRIEND, THE AUTHOR.



PREFACE.


In America the art of entertaining as compared with the same art in
England, in France, in Italy and in Germany may be said to be in its
infancy. But if it is, it is a very vigorous infant, perhaps a little
overfed. There is no such prodigality of food anywhere nor a more
genuinely hospitable people in the world than those descendants of the
Pilgrims and the Cavaliers who peopled the North and South of what we
are privileged to call the United States. Exiles from Fatherland
taught the Indians the words "Welcome!" and "What Cheer?"--a beautiful
and a noble prophecy. Well might it be the motto for our national
shield. We, who welcome to our broad garden-lands the hungry and the
needy of an overcrowded old world, can well appropriate the legend.

No stories of that old Biblical world of the patriarchs who lived in
tents have been forgotten in the New World. The Western settler who
placed before his hungry guest the last morsel of jerked meat, or
whose pale, overworked wife broiled the fish or the bird which had
just fallen before his unerring gun,--these people had mastered in
their way the first principle in the art of entertaining. They have
the hospitality of the heart. From that meal to a Newport dinner what
an infinite series of gradations!

Perhaps we may help those on the lower rungs of the ladder to mount
from one to the other. Perhaps we may hint at the poetry, the romance,
the history, the literature of entertaining; perhaps with practical
hints of how to feed our guests we may suggest where meat faileth to
feed the soul, and where intellect, wit, and taste come in.

American dinners are pronounced by foreign critics as overdone. The
great _too much_ is urged against us. We are a wasteful people as to
food; we should learn an elegant and a wise economy. In a French
family, eggs and lumps of sugar are counted. Economy is a part of the
art of entertaining; if judiciously studied it is far from
niggardliness. Such economy leads to judicious selection.

One has but to read the Odes of Horace to learn how much of the mind
can be appropriately devoted to the art of entertaining. Milton does
not disdain, in Paradise Lost, to give us the _menu_ of Eve's dinner
to the Angel. We find in all great poets and historians stories of
great feasts. And with us in the nineteenth century, dinner is not
alone a thing of twelve courses, it is the bright consummate flower of
the day, which brings us all together from our various fields of work.
It is the open sesame of the soul, the hour of repose, of amusement,
of innocent hilarity,--the hour which knits up the ravelled sleeve of
care. The body is carefully apparelled, the mind swept and garnished,
the brain prepared for fresh impress. It is said that no important
political movement was ever inaugurated without a dinner, and we may
fancifully state that no great poem, no novel, no philosophical
treatise, but has been made or marred by a dinner.

There is much entertaining, however, which is not eating. We do not
gorge ourselves, as in the days of Dr. Johnson, until the veins in the
forehead swell to bursting, but perhaps we are just as far from those
banquets which Horace describes,--a glass of Falernian, a kid roasted,
a bunch of grapes, and a rose, with good talk afterward. We have not
mingled enough of the honey of Hymettus with our cookery.

Lady Morgan described years ago a dinner at Baron Rothschild's in
Paris where the fineness of the napery, the beauty of the porcelain
and china, the light, digestible French dishes, seemed to her a great
improvement on the heaviness of an English dinner. That one paper is
said to have altered the whole fabric of English dinner-giving.
English dinners of to-day are superlatively good and agreeable in the
best houses, and although national English cookery is not equal to
that on the other side of the Channel, perhaps we could not have a
better model to follow. We can compass an "all round" mastery of the
art of entertaining if we choose.

It is not alone the wealth of America which can assist us, although
wealth is a good thing. It is our boundless resource, and the
capability, spirit, and generosity of our people. Venice alone at one
imperial moment of her success had such a chance as we have; she was
free, she was industrious, she was commercial, she was rich, she was
artistic. All the world paid her tribute. And we see on her walls
to-day, fixed there by the pencils of Tintoretto and Titian, what was
her idea of the art of entertaining. Poetry, painting, and music were
the hand-maidens of plenty; they wait upon those Godlike men and those
beautiful women. It is a saturnalia of colour, an apotheosis of plenty
with no vulgar excess, with no slumberous repletion. "'Tis but the
fool who loves excess," says our American Horace in his "Ode to an Old
Punch Bowl."

When we read Charles Lamb's "Essay on Roast Pig," Brillat Savarin's
grave and witty "Physiologie du Gout," Thackeray's "Fitz Boodle's
Professions," Sydney Smith's poetical recipe for a salad; when we read
Disraeli's description of dinners, or the immortal recipes for good
cheer which Dickens has scattered through his books, we learn how much
the better part of dinner is that which we do not eat, but only think
about. What a liberal education to hear the late Samuel Ward talk
about good dinners! Variety not vegetables, manners not meat, was his
motto. He invested the whole subject with a sort of classic elegance
and a humorous sense of responsibility. Anacreon and Charles Delmonico
seemed to mingle in his brain, and one would gladly now be able to
dine with him and Longfellow at their yearly Christmas dinner.

Cookery books, receipts, and _menus_ are apt to be of little use to
young housekeepers before they have mastered the great art of
entertaining. Then they are like the system of logarithms to the
mariner. Almost all young housekeepers are at sea without a chart. A
great, turbulent ocean of butchers, bakers and Irish servants swim
before their eyes. How grapple with that important question, "How
shall I give a dinner?" Who can help them? Shall we try?



CONTENTS.


                                                      PAGE

     OUR AMERICAN RESOURCES AND FOREIGN ALLIES          13

     THE HOSTESS                                        22

     BREAKFAST                                          35

     THE LUNCH                                          49

     AFTERNOON TEA                                      59

     THE INTELLECTUAL COMPONENTS OF A DINNER            68

     CONSCIENTIOUS DINERS                               79

     VARIOUS MODES OF GASTRONOMICAL GRATIFICATION       94

     SOUPS                                             105

     FISH                                              113

     SALAD                                             124

     DESSERTS                                          134

     GERMAN EATING AND DRINKING                        143

     THE INFLUENCE OF GOOD CHEER ON AUTHORS
       AND GENIUSES                                    152

     BONBONS                                           162

     FAMOUS MENUS AND RECEIPTS                         176

     COOKERIES AND WINES OF SOUTHERN EUROPE            185

     SOME ODDITIES IN THE ART OF ENTERTAINING          197

     THE SERVANT QUESTION                              206

     SOMETHING ABOUT COOKS                             221

     FURNISHING A COUNTRY HOUSE                        233

     ENTERTAINING IN A COUNTRY HOUSE                   241

     A PICNIC                                          253

     PASTIMES OF LADIES                                260

     PRIVATE THEATRICALS                               271

     HUNTING AND SHOOTING                              280

     GOLF                                              288

     GAMES                                             299

     ARCHERY                                           313

     THE SEASON--BALLS AND RECEPTIONS                  321

     WEDDINGS                                          331

     HOW ROYALTY ENTERTAINS                            340

     ENTERTAINING AT EASTER                            353

     HOW TO ENTERTAIN CHILDREN                         361

     CHRISTMAS AND CHILDREN                            371

     CERTAIN PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS                     381

     THE COMPARATIVE MERITS OF AMERICAN AND
       FOREIGN MODES OF ENTERTAINING                   389



THE ART OF ENTERTAINING.



OUR AMERICAN RESOURCES, AND FOREIGN ALLIES.

     "Let observation, with extensive view,
     Survey mankind from China to Peru."


The amount of game and fish which our great country and extent of
sea-coast give us, the variety of climate from Florida to Maine, from
San Francisco to Boston, which the remarkable net-work of our railway
communication allows us to enjoy,--all this makes the American market
in any great city almost fabulously profuse. Then our steamships bring
us fresh artichokes from Algiers in mid-winter, and figs from the
Mediterranean, while the remarkable climate of California gives us
four crops of delicate fruits a year.

There are those, however, who find the fruits of California less
finely flavoured than those of the Eastern States. The peaches of the
past are almost a lost flavour, even at the North. The peach of Europe
is a different and far inferior fruit. It lacks that essential flavour
which to the American palate tells of the best of fruits.

It may be well, for the purposes of gastronomical history, to narrate
the variety of the larder in the height of the season, of a certain
sea-side club-house, a few years ago:

"The season lasted one hundred and eighty days, during which time from
eighty thousand to ninety thousand game-birds, and eighteen thousand
pounds of fish were consumed, exclusive of domestic poultry, steaks
and chops. On busy days twenty-four kinds of fish, all fit for
epicures, embracing turbot, Spanish mackerel, sea trout; the various
kinds of bass, including that gamest of fish the black bass, bonito
from the Gulf of Mexico, the purple mullet, the weakfish, chicken
halibut, sole, plaice, the frog, the soft crab from the Chesapeake,
were served. Here, packed tier upon tier in glistening ice, were some
thirty kinds of birds in the very ecstasy of prime condition, and all
ready prepared for the cook. Let us enumerate 'this royal fellowship
of game.' There were owls from the North (we might call them by some
more enticing name), chicken grouse from Illinois, chicken partridge,
Lake Erie black and summer ducks and teal, woodcock, upland plover (by
many esteemed as the choicest of morsels), dough-birds, brant, New
Jersey millet, godwit, jack curlew, jacksnipe, sandsnipe, rocksnipe,
humming-birds daintily served in nut-shells, golden plover,
beetle-headed plover, redbreast plover, chicken plover, seckle-bill
curlew, summer and winter yellow-legs, reed-birds and rail from
Delaware (the latter most highly esteemed in Europe, where it is known
as the ortolan), ring-neck snipe, brown backs, grass-bird, and peeps."

Is not this a list to make "the rash gazer wipe his eye"?

And to show our riches and their poverty in the matter of game, let us
give the game statistics of France for one September. There are thirty
thousand communes in France, and in each commune there were killed on
the average on September 1, ten hares,--total, three hundred thousand;
seventeen partridges,--total, five hundred and ten thousand; fourteen
quail,--total, four hundred and twenty thousand; one rail in each
commune,--thirty thousand total as to rails. That was all France could
do for the furnishing of the larder; of course she imports game from
Savoy, Germany, Norway, and England. And oh, how she can cook them!

Woodcock, it is said, should be cooked the day it is shot, or
certainly when fresh. Birds that feed on or near the water should be
eaten fresh; so should snipe and some kinds of duck. The canvasback
alone bears keeping, the others get fishy.

Snipe should be picked by hand, on no account drawn; that is a
practice worthy of an Esquimaux. Nor should any condiment be cooked
with woodcock, save butter or pork. A piece of toast under him, to
catch his fragrant gravy, and the delicious trail should alone be
eaten with the snipe; but a bottle of Chambertin may be drunk to wash
him down.

The plover should be roasted quickly before a hot fire; nor should
even a pork jacket be applied if one wishes the delicious juices of
the bird alone. This bird should be served with water-cresses.

Red wine should be drunk with game,--Chambertin, Clos de Vougeot, or a
sound Lafitte or La Tour claret. Champagne is not the wine to serve
with game; that belongs to the filet. With beef _braisé_ a glass of
good golden sherry is allowable, but not champagne. The deep purple,
full-bodied, velvety wines of the Côte d'Or,--the generous vintages of
Burgundy,--are in order. Indeed these wines always have been in high
renown. They are passed as presents from one royal personage to
another, like a _cordon d'honneur_. Burgundy was the wine of nobles
and churchmen, who always have had enviable palates.

Chambertin is a lighter kind of Volnay and the _vin velouté par
excellence_ of the Côte d'Or. It was a great favourite with Napoleon
I. To considerable body it unites a fine flavour and a _suave bouquet_
of great _finesse_, and does not become thin with age like other
Burgundies. As for the Clos de Vougeot, its characteristics are a rich
ruby colour, velvety softness, a delicate bouquet, which has a slight
suggestion of the raspberry. It is a strong wine, less refined in
flavour than the Chambertin, and with a suggestion of bitterness. It
was so much admired by a certain military commander that while
marching his regiment to the Rhine he commanded his men to halt before
the vineyard and salute it. They presented arms in its honour.

Château Lafitte, renowned for its magnificent colour, exquisite
softness, delicate flavour, and fragrant bouquet, recalling almonds
and violets, is one of the wines of the Gironde, and is supposed of
late to have deteriorated in quality; but it is quite good enough to
command a high price and the attention of _connoisseurs_.

Château La Tour, a grand Médoc claret, derives its name from an
existing ancient, massive, round tower, which the English assailed and
defended by turns during the wars in Guienne. It has a pronounced
flavour, and a powerful bouquet, common to all wines of the Gironde.
It reminds one of the odour of almonds, and of Noyau cordials.

These vineyards were in great repute five centuries ago; and it would
be delightful to pursue the history of the various _crûs_, did time
permit. The Cos d'Estoumet of the famous St. Estephe _crûs_ is still
made by the peasants treading out the grapes, _foule à pied_, to the
accompaniment of pipes and fiddles as in the days of Louis XIV.

We will mention the two _premiers grands crûs_ of the Gironde, the
growth of the ancient vineyards of Leoville and the St. Julian wines,
distinguished by their odour of violets.

Thackeray praises Chambertin in verse more than once:--

     "'Oui, oui, Monsieur,' 's the waiter's answer;
       'Quel vin Monsieur desire-t-il?'
     'Tell me a good one.'--'That I can, sir:
       The Chambertin, with yellow seal.'"

Then again he speaks of dipping his gray beard in the Gascon wine 'ere
Time catches him at it and Death knocks the crimson goblet from his
lips.

In countries where wine is grown there is little or no drunkenness. It
is to be feared that drunkenness is increased by impure wines. It is
shocking to read of the adulterations which first-class wines are
subjected to, or rather the adulterations which are called first-class
wines.

Wilkie Collins has a hit at this in his "No Name," where he makes the
famous Captain Wragge say, "We were engaged at the time in making, in
a small back parlour in Brompton, a fine first-class sherry, sound in
the mouth, tonic in character, and a great favourite with the Court of
Spain."

Our golden sherry, our Chambertin, our Château Lafitte is said often
to come from the vineyards of Jersey City and the generous hillsides
of Brooklyn; and we might perhaps quote from the famous song of "The
Canal":--

     "The tradesmen who in liquor deal,
     Of our Canal good use can make;
     And when they mean their casks to fill,
     They oft its water freely take.

     By this device they render less
     The ills that spring from drunkenness;
     For harmless is the wine, you'll own,
     From vines that in canals is grown."

A large proportion of the so-called foreign wines sold in America are
of American manufacture. The medium grade clarets and so-called
Sauternes are made in California, in great quantities. Our Senator,
Leland Stanford, makes excellent wines. On the islands of Lake Erie,
the lake region of Central New York, and along the banks of the Ohio
and Missouri Rivers, are vineyards producing excellent wines. An
honest American wine is an excellent thing to drink; and yet it
disgusted Commodore McVicker, who was entertained in London as
President of our Yacht Club, to be asked to drink American wines. Yet
the Catawbas, "dulcet, delicious and creamy," are not to be despised;
neither are the sweet and dry California growths.

The indigenous wines which come from Ohio, Iowa, Missouri and
Mississippi are likely to be musty and foxy, and are not pleasant to
an American taste. The Catawbas are pleasant, and are of three
colours,--rose colour, straw colour, and colourless, if that be a
colour. In taste they are like sparkling Moselle, but fuller to the
palate.

The wine produced from the Isabella grape is of a decided raspberry
flavour. The finest American wines are those produced from the vines
known as Norton's Virginia and the Cynthiana. The former produces a
well-blended, full-bodied, deep-coloured, aromatic, and almost
astringent wine; the second,--probably the finer of the two,--is a
darker, less astringent, and more delicate product.

Among the American red wines may be mentioned the product of the
Schuylkill Muscadel, which was the only esteemed growth in the country
previous to the cultivation of the Catawba grape, being in fact
ambitiously compared to the _crûs_ of the Gironde. It was a bitter,
acidulous wine, little suited to the American palate, and invariably
requiring an addition of either sugar or alcohol.

Longfellow sings of the wine of the Mustang grape of Texas and New
Mexico:--

     "The fiery flood
     Of whose purple blood
     Has a dash of Spanish bravado."

The Carolina Scuppernong is detestable, reminding us of the sweet and
bitter medicines of childhood. The Herbemont, a rose-tinted wine is
very like Spanish Manganilla.

Longfellow says of sparkling Catawba, that it "fills the room with a
benison on the giver." It has, indeed, a charming bouquet, as says the
poet.

The name of Nicholas Longworth is intimately connected with the
subject of American wines. To him will ever be given all honour, as
being the father of this industry in the New World; but the superior
excellence of the California wines has driven the New York and Ohio
wines, it is said, to a second place in the market.

In the expositions of 1889 at Paris, and in Melbourne, silver medals
were awarded to the Inglenook wines, which are of the red claret,
burgundy and Médoc type; also white wines,--Sauterne Chasselas, and
Hock, Chablis, Riesling, etc.

The right soil for the cultivation of the grape is a hard thing to
find; but Captain Niebaum, a rich California grower, has hit the
key-note, when he says, "I have no wish to make any money out of my
vineyard by producing a large quantity of wine at a cheap or moderate
price. I am going to make a California wine which, if it can be made,
will be worthily sought for by _connoisseurs_; and I am prepared to
spend all the money needed to accomplish that result." He says frankly
that he has not yet produced the best wine of which California is
capable, but that he has succeeded in producing a better wine than
many of the foreign wines sold in America. He might have added that
hogsheads of California grape-juice are sent annually to Bordeaux to
be doctored, and returned to America as French claret.

The misfortunes of the vine-grower in Europe, the ruin of acres of
grape-producing country by the phyloxera, should be the opportunity
for these new vine-growers in the United States. It is only by travel,
experiment, and by a close study of the methods of the foreign
wine-growers that a Californian can possibly make himself a vineyard
which shall be successful. He must induce Nature to sweeten his wines,
and he can then laugh at the chemist.

Of vegetables we have not only all that Europe can boast, excepting
perhaps the artichoke, but we have some in constant use and of great
excellence which they have not. For instance, sweet corn boiled or
roasted and eaten from the cob with butter and salt is unknown in
Europe. They have not the sweet potato, so delicious when baked. They
have not the pumpkin-pie although they have the pumpkin. They have
egg-plant and cauliflower and beans and peas, but so have we. They
have bananas, but never fried, which is a negro dish, and excellent.
They have not the plantain, good baked, nor the avocado or alligator
pear, which fried in butter or oil is so admirable. They have not the
ochra, of which the negro cooks make such excellent gumbo soup. They
have all the salads, and use sorrel much more than we do. They do not
cook summer squash as we do, nor have they anything to equal it. They
use vegetables always as an _entrée_, not served with the meat, unless
the vegetable is cooked with the meat, like beef stewed in carrots,
turnips, and onions, veal and green peas, veal with spinach, and so
on. The peas are passed as an _entrée_, so is the cauliflower, the
beet-root, and the turnips. They treat all vegetables as we do corn
and asparagus, as a separate course. For asparagus we must give the
French the palm, particularly when they serve it with Hollandaise
sauce; and the Italians cook cauliflower with cheese, _à ravir_.



THE HOSTESS.

     "A creature not too bright or good
     For human nature's daily food;
     For transient sorrow, simple wiles,
     Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles."


The "house-mother,"--the mistress of servants, the wife, the mother,
the hostess,--is the first person in the art of entertaining; and
considering how busy, how hard worked, how occupied, are American men,
she is generally the first person singular. In nine cases out of ten,
American men neither know nor care much about the conduct of the house
if the wife will assume it; they only like to be made comfortable, and
to find a warm, clean home, with a good dinner awaiting them. It is
the wife who must struggle with the problems of domestic defeat or
victory.

When Washington Irving was presented at the Court of Dresden his Saxon
Majesty remarked, "Mr. Irving, with a republic so liberal, you can
have no servants in America."

"Yes, Sire, we have servants, such as they are," said the amiable
author of the "Sketchbook;" "but we do not call them servants, we call
them help."

"I cannot understand that," said the king.

The king's mental position was not illogical; for, with his experience
of the servile position of the domestic in Europe, he could not
reconcile to his mind the declaration of social equality in America.

The American hostess must, it would seem, for many centuries if not
forever, have to struggle against this difficulty. As some writer said
twenty years ago, of this question: "Rich as we are in money, profuse
in spending it to heighten the enjoyment of life, the good servant,
that essential of comfort and luxury, seems beyond our reach.
Superfine houses we have, and superfine furniture, and superfine
ladies, and all the other superfineties to excess, but the skilful
cook, the handy maid, and the trusty nurse we rarely possess."

Thus, afar from the great cities and even in them, we must forge the
instruments with which we work, instead of finding them ready to hand,
as in other countries. That is to say, the mistress of a household
must teach her cook to cook, her waiter to wait, her laundress to get
up fine linen. She is happy if she can get honest people and willing
hands, but trained servants she durst not expect away from the great
centres of life.

Considering what has been expected of the American woman, has she not
done rather well? That she must be first servant-trainer, then
housekeeper, wife, mother, and conversationist, that she must keep up
with the always advancing spirit of the times, read, write, and
cipher, be beautifully dressed, play the piano, make the wilderness to
blossom as the rose, be charitable, thoughtful, and good, put the mind
at its ease, strive to learn how to do all things in the best way, be
a student of good taste and good manners, make a house luxurious,
ornamental, cheerful, and restful, have an inspired sense of the
fitness of things, dress and entertain in perfect accord with her
station, her means, and her husband's ambition, master, unassisted,
all the ins and outs of the noble art of entertaining,--has not this
been something of the nature of a large contract?

She must go to the cooking-lecture, come home and visit the kitchen,
go to the intelligence office, keeping her hand on all three. She must
be the mind, while the Maggies and Bridgets furnish the hands. She
must never be fussy, never grotesque; she must steer her ship through
stormy seas, and she must also learn to enjoy Wagner's music. There is
proverbially no sea so dangerous to swim in as that tumultuous one of
a new and illy regulated prosperity; and in the changeful, uncertain
nature of American fortunes an American woman must be ready to meet
any fate.

Judging from many specimens which we have seen, may we not claim that
the American woman must be stamped with an especial distinction? Has
she not conquered her fate?

Curiously enough, fashion and good taste seem to lackey to the
American woman, no matter where she was born or where educated. In
spite of all drawbacks, and the counter-currents of destiny, she is a
well bred and tasteful woman. No matter what the American woman has to
fight against, poverty or lack of opportunities, she is likely, if she
is called upon to do so, to administer gracefully the hospitalities of
the White House or to fill the difficult _rôle_ of an ambassadress.

Some of them have bad taste perhaps. "What is good taste but an
instantaneous, ready appreciation of the fitness of things?" To most
of us who observe it in others, it seems to be an instinct. We envy
those few who are always well dressed, who never buy unbecoming
stuffs, who have the gift to make their clothes look as if they had
simply blossomed out of their inner consciousness, as a rose blossoms
out of its calyx. Some women always dress their hair becomingly;
others, even if handsome, look like beautiful frights. Some wear their
clothes as if they had been hurled at them by a tornado, and remind
one of the poor husband's remark, "I feel as if I had married a
hurricane." The same exceptions, which only prove the rule, because
you notice them, may extend to the housewives who aim at more than
they can accomplish, who make their house an anguish to look at,
pretentious without beauty, overloaded or incorrect, who have not
tact, who say the awkward thing. Such people exist sometimes, sinning
from ignorance, but they are decidedly in the minority. The American
woman is generally a success. She has fought a hard battle, but she
has won. She has had her defeats, however.

Who does not remember the failure of that first dinner-party?--when
the baby began to cry so loud; when the hostess was not dressed when
the bell rang; when the cook spilled the soup all over the range and
filled the house with a bad odour; when the waitress, usually so cool,
lost all her presence of mind and fell on the basement stairs,
breaking all the plates; when one failure succeeded another until the
husband looked reproachfully at his wife, who, poor creature, had been
working day and night to get up this dinner, who was responsible for
none of the failures, and who had an attack of neuralgia afterward
which lasted all winter.

Who has not read Thackeray's witty descriptions of the dinners, poor
and pretentious, ordered in from the green-grocer's, and
uneatable,--in London? "If they would have a leg of mutton and an
apple pudding and a glass of sherry, they could do well; but they must
shine, they must outdo their neighbours." And that is the first
mistake. People with three thousand a year should not try to emulate
those who have fifty thousand a year.

And Thackeray says again: "But there is no harm done, not as regards
the dinner-givers, though the dinner-eaters may have to suffer. It
only shows that the former are hospitably inclined, and wish to do the
very best in their power. If they do badly, how can they help it? They
know no better."

The first thing at which a young housekeeper must aim is to live well
every day. Her tablecloth must be fresh, her glass and silver clean; a
few flowers must be on her table to make it dainty, a few dishes well
cooked,--such a table as will be well for her children and acceptable
to her husband; and then she has but to add a little more and it is
fit for any guest, and any guest will be glad to join such a
dinner-party.

But here I am met by the almost unanswerable argument that the
simplest dinner is the most difficult to find. Who knows how to cook a
beefsteak, to roast a piece of mutton so that its natural juices are
retained,--to roast it so that the blood shall follow the knife; to
mash potatoes and brown them; to make a perfect rice-pudding that is
said to "deserve that _cordon bleu_ which Vatel, Ude, and Bechamel
craved"?

The young housekeeper of to-day with very modest means has, however,
now to meet a condition of prosperity which even twenty-five years ago
was unknown. All extremes of luxury and every element of profusion is
now fashionable,--one may say expected.

But agreeable young people will be entertained by the man who is worth
fifty thousand dollars a day, and they will wish to return the
civility. Herein lie the difficulties in the art of entertaining; but
let them remember that there is one simple dinner which covers the
whole ground, which the poor gentleman may aspire to give, and to
which he might invite a prince. The essentials of a comfortable dinner
are but few. The beauty of a Grecian vase without ornament is perfect.
You may add cameo and intaglio, vine, acanthus leaf, satyrs, and
fauns, handles of ram's horns and circlet of gems to your vase if you
wish, and are rich enough, but unless the outline is perfect the
splendour and the arabesque but render the vase vulgar. So with the
simple dinner; it is the Grecian vase unadorned.

Remember that rich people, stifled with luxury at home, like to be
asked to these dinners. A lady in England, very much admired for her
witty conversation, said she intended to devote herself to the
amelioration of the condition of the upper classes, as she thought
them the most bored and altogether the least attended to of any
people; and we have heard of the rich man in New York who complained
that he was no longer asked to the little dinners. There is too much
worship and fear of money in our country. In England and on the
Continent there is no shame in acknowledging, "I cannot afford it." I
have been asked to a luncheon in England where a cold joint of mutton,
a few potatoes, and a plate of peaches constituted the whole repast;
and I have heard more delightful conversation and have met more
agreeable people than at more expensive feasts. Who in America would
dare to give such a lunch?

The simple dinner might be characterized, giving the essentials, as a
soup, a fish, a roast, one _entrée_, and a salad, an ice and fruit
(simply the fruit in season), a cup of coffee afterward, with a glass
of sherry, claret, or champagne. Such a dinner is good enough for
anybody, and is possible to the person of moderate means.

From this up to the splendid dinners of millionnaires, served on gold
and silver and priceless Sèvres, Dresden, Japanese, and Chinese
porcelain, with flagons of ruby glass bound in gold, with Benvenuto
Cellini vases, and silver candelabra, the ascent may be gradual. In
the one the tablecloth is of spotless damask; in the other it may be
of duchesse lace over red. The very mats are mirrors, the crystal
drops of the epergne flash like diamonds. It may be served in a
picture-gallery. Each lady has a bouquet, a fan, a ribbon painted with
her name, a basket or _bonbonnière_ to take home with her. The courses
are often sixteen in number, the wines are of fabulous value,
antiquity, and age. Each drop is like the River Pactolus, whose sands
were of gold. The viands may come from Algiers or St. Petersburg;
strawberries and peaches in January, the roses of June in February,
fruit from the Pacific, from the Gulf, artichokes from Marseilles,
oranges and strawberries from Florida, game from Arizona and
Chesapeake Bay, mutton and pheasants from Scotland, luxury from
everywhere. The primal condition of this banquet is, that everything
should be unusual.

But remember that, after all, it is only the Grecian vase heavily
ornamented. No one person can taste half the dishes; it takes a long
time, and the room may be too hot. The limitations of a dinner should
be considered. It is a splendid picture, no doubt, but it need not
appall the young hostess who desires to return the civility.

A vase of flowers or a basket of growing plants can replace the
epergne. Some pretty dinner-cards may be etched by herself, with a
Shakspearean quotation showing a personal thought of each guest. Her
spotless glass and silver, her good soup, her fresh fish, the haunch
of venison roasted before a wood fire, the salad mixed by her own fair
hands, perhaps a dessert over which she has lingered, a bit of cheese,
a cup of coffee, a smiling host, a composed hostess, a congenial
company, and wit withal,--who shall say that the little dinner is not
as amusing as the big dinner? To be composed: yes, that is the first
thing to be remembered on the part of a young hostess. She may be
essentially nervous and anxious, particularly if she is just beginning
to entertain, but here she must resolutely put on a mask of composure,
and assume a virtue if she have it not. Nothing is of much importance,
excepting her own demeanor. A fussy hostess who scolds the servants,
wrinkles her brow, or even forgets to listen to the man who is talking
to her is the ruin of a dinner. The author of "Cecil" tells his niece
that if stewed puppy-dog is brought to the table she must not notice
it. Few hostesses are subjected to so severe an ordeal as this, but
the remark contains a goodly hint.

As, however, it is a great intellectual feat to achieve a perfect
little dinner with a small household and small means, perhaps that
form of entertaining may be postponed a few years. Never attempt
anything which cannot be well done. There is the afternoon tea, the
musical evening, the reception, the luncheon; they are all easier to
give than the dinner. The young hostess ambitious to excel in the art
of entertaining can choose a thousand ways. Let her alone avoid
attempting the impossible; and let her remember that no success which
is not honestly gained is worth a pin. If it is money, it stings; if
it is place and position, it becomes the shirt of Nessus.

But for the well mannered and well behaved American woman what a noble
success, what a perfect present, what a delightful future there is!
She is the founder of the American nobility. All men bow down to her.
She is the queen of the man who loves her; he treats her with every
respect. She is to teach the future citizen honour, loyalty, duty,
respect, politeness, kindness, the law of love. Such a man could read
his Philip Sidney and yet not blush to find himself a follower. An
American woman wields the only rod of empire to which American men
will bow. She should try to be an empress in the best sense of the
word; and to a young woman entering society we should recommend a
certain exclusiveness. Not snobbish exclusiveness; but it is always
well to choose one's friends slowly and with due consideration. We are
not the most perfect beings in all the world; we do not wish to be
intimate with too much imperfection. A broken friendship is a very
painful thing. We should think twice before we give an intimate
friendship to any one. No woman who essays to entertain should ask
everybody to her house. The respect she owes to herself should prevent
this; her house becomes a camp unless she has herself the power of
putting a coarse sieve outside the door.

We have no such inviolable virtue that we can as yet rate Dives and
Lazarus before they are dead. Very rich people are apt to be very good
people; and in the realms of the highest fashion we find the simplest,
best, and purest of characters. It is therefore of no consequence as
to the shade of fashion and the amount of the rent-roll. It must not
be supposed because some leaders of fashion are insolent that all are.
A young hostess must try to find the good, true, honourable, generous,
well bred, well educated member of society, no matter in what
conditions of life. Read character first, and hesitate before drawing
general deductions.

A hostess is the slave of her guests after she has invited them; she
must be all attention, and all suavity. If she has nothing to offer
them but a small house, a cup of tea, and a smile, she is just as much
a hostess as if she were a queen. If she offers them every luxury and
is not polite, she is a snob and a vulgarian. There is no such
detestable use of one's privileges as to be rude on one's ground. "The
man who eats your salt is sacred." To patronize is a great necessity
to some natures. There is little opportunity for it in free, brave
America, but some mistaken hostesses have gone that way. Every one
feels pleasantly toward the woman who invites one to her house; there
is something gracious in the act. But if, after opening her doors, the
hostess refuses the welcome, or treats her guests with various degrees
of cordiality, why did she ask at all? Every young American can become
a model hostess; she can master etiquette, and create for herself a
polite and cordial manner. She should be as serene as a summer's day;
she should keep all her domestic troubles out of sight. If she
entertains, let her do it in her own individual way,--a small way if
necessary. There was much in Touchstone's philosophy,--"a poor thing,
but mine own." She must have the instinct of hospitality, which is to
give pleasure to all one's guests; and it seems unnecessary to say to
any young American hostess, _Noblesse oblige_. She should be more
polite to the shy, ill-dressed visitor from the country--if indeed
there is such a thing left in America, where, as Bret Harte says, "The
fashions travel by telegraph"--than to the sweeping city dame, that
can take care of herself. A kindly greeting to a gawky youth will
never be forgotten; and it is to the humblest that a hostess should
address her kindest attentions.

There are born hostesses, like poets, but a hostess can also be made,
in which she has the advantage of the poets; and to the very wealthy
hostess we should quote this inestimable advice:--

           Si tibi deficiant medici, medici tibi fiant
     Hæc tria: mens hilaris, requies, moderata diæta.
                                               HORACE.

Do not over-feed people. Who is it that says, "If simplicity is
admirable in manners and in literary style, in the matter of dinners
it becomes exalted into one of the cardinal virtues"?

The ambitious housewife would do well to remember this when she
cumbers herself, and thinks too much about her forthcoming banquet. If
she ignores this principle of simplicity and falls into the opposite
extreme of ostentation and pretentiousness, she may bore her guests
rather than entertain them.

It is an incontestable fact that dinners are made elaborate only at a
considerable risk; as they increase in size and importance, their
character is likely to deteriorate. This is true not only with regard
to the number of guests, but with reference to the number of dishes
that go to make up a bill-of-fare.

In fact we, as Americans, generally err on the side of having too much
rather than too little. The terror of running short is agony to the
mind of the conscientious housewife. How much will be enough and no
more? It stands to reason that the fewer the dishes, the more the cook
can concentrate her attention upon them; and here is reason for
reducing the _menu_ to its lowest terms. Then to consult the proper
gradation.

Brillat Savarin recounts a rather cruel joke perpetrated on a man who
was a well-known gourmand. The idea was that he should be induced to
satisfy himself with the more ordinary viands, and that then the
choicest dishes should be presented in vain before his jaded appetite.
This treacherous feast began with a sirloin of beef, a fricandeau of
veal, and a stewed carp with stuffing. Then came a magnificent turkey,
a pike, six _entremets_, and an ample dish of macaroni and Parmesan
cheese. Nor was this all. Another course appeared, composed of
sweetbread, surrounded with shrimps in jelly, soft roes, and partridge
wings, with a thick sauce or _purée_ of mushrooms. Last of all came
the delicacies,--snipes by the dozen, a pheasant in perfect order, and
with them a slice of tunny fish, quite fresh. Naturally, the gourmand
was _hors du combat_. As a joke, it was successful; as an act of
hospitality, it was a cruelty; as pointing a moral and adorning a
tale, it may be useful.

This anecdote has its historical value as showing us that the present
procession of soup, fish, roast, _entrée_, game, and dessert was not
observed one hundred years ago, as a fish was served after beef and
after turkey.

Dr. Johnson describes a dinner at Mrs. Thrales which shows us what was
considered luxurious a hundred years ago. "The dinner was excellent.
First course: soups at head and foot, removed by fish and a saddle of
mutton. Second course: a fowl they call galenan at head, a capon
larger than our Irish turkeys at foot. Third course: four different
ices,--pineapple, grape, raspberry, and a fourth. In each remove four
dishes; the first two courses served on massive plate."

These "gentlemen of England who live at home at ease," these earls by
the king's grace, viceroys of India, clerks and rich commoners, would
laugh at this dinner to-day; so would our clubmen, our diners at
Delmonico's, our millionnaires. Imagine the feelings of that _chef_
who received ten thousand a year, with absolute power of life or
death, with a wine-cellar which is a fortress of which he alone knows
the weakest spot,--what would he say to such a dinner?

But there are dinners where the gradation is perfect, where luxury
stimulates the brain as Château Yquem bathes the throat. It would seem
as if the Golden Age, the age of Leo X. had come back; and our
nineteenth century shows all the virtues of the art of entertaining
since the days of Lucullus, purified of the enormities, including
dining at eleven in the morning, of the intermediate ages.

It must not be forgotten that this simplicity which is so commended
can only be obtained by the most studied, artful care. As Gray's Elegy
reads as the most consummately easy and plain poetry in the world, so
that we feel that we have but to sit down at the writing-desk and
indite one exactly like it, we learn in giving a little, simple,
perfect dinner that its combinations must be faultless. Gray wrote
every verse of his immortal poem over many times. The hostess who
learns enough art to conceal art in her simple dinner has achieved
that perfection in her art which Gray reached. Perfect and simple
cookery are, like perfect beauty, very rare.

However, if the art of entertaining makes hostesses, hostesses must
make the art of entertaining. It is for them to decide the _juste
milieu_ between the _not enough_ and the great _too much_.



BREAKFAST.

         Before breakfast a man feels but queasily,
         And a sinking at the lower abdomen
         Begins the day with indifferent omen.
             BROWNING.--_The Flight of the Duchess._

     And then to breakfast with what appetite you have.
                                             SHAKSPEARE.


Breakfast is a hard thing to manage in America, particularly in a
country-house, as people have different ideas about eating a hearty
meal at nine o'clock or earlier. All who have lived much in Europe are
apt to prefer the Continental fashion of a cup of tea or coffee in
one's room, with perhaps an egg and a roll; then to do one's work or
pleasure, as the case may be, and to take the _déjeûner à la
fourchette_ at eleven or twelve. To most brain-workers this is a
blessed boon, for the heavy American breakfast of chops, steaks, eggs,
forcemeat balls, sausages, broiled chicken, stewed potatoes, baked
beans, and hot cakes, good as it is, is apt to render a person stupid.

It would be better if this meal could be rendered less heavy, and that
a visitor should always be given the alternative of taking a cup of
tea in her room, and not appearing until luncheon.

The breakfast dishes most to be commended may begin with the omelet.
This the French make to perfection. Indeed, Gustav Droz wrote a story
once for the purpose of giving its recipe. The story is of a young
couple lost in a forest, who take refuge in a wood-cutter's hut. They
ask for food, and are told that they can have an omelet:

"The old woman had gone to fetch a frying-pan, and was then throwing a
handful of shavings on the fire.

"In the midst of this strange and rude interior Louise seemed to me so
fine and delicate, so elegant, with her long _gants de Suède_, her
little boots, and her tucked-up skirts. With her two hands stretched
out she sheltered her face from the flames, and from the corner of her
eye, while I was talking with the splitters, she watched the butter
that began to sing in the frying-pan.

"Suddenly she rose, and taking the handle of the frying-pan from the
old woman's hand, 'Let me help you make the omelet,' she said. The
good woman let go the pan with a smile, and Louise found herself alone
in the position of a fisherman at the moment when his float begins to
bob. The fire hardly threw any light; her eyes were fixed on the
liquid butter, her arms outstretched, and she was biting her lips a
little, doubtless to increase her strength.

"'It is a bit heavy for Madame's little hands,' said the old man. 'I
bet that it is the first time you ever made an omelet in a
wood-cutter's hut, is it not, my little lady?'

"Louise made a sign of assent without removing her eyes from the
frying-pan.

"'The eggs! the eggs!' she cried all at once, with such an expression
of alarm that we all burst out laughing. 'The eggs! the butter is
bubbling! quick, quick!'

"The old woman was beating the eggs with animation. 'And the herbs!'
cried the old man. 'And the bacon, and the salt,' said the young man.
Then we all set to work, chopping the herbs and cutting the bacon,
while Louise cried, 'Quick! quick!'

"At last there was a big splash in the frying-pan, and the great act
began. We all stood around the fire watching anxiously, for each
having had a finger in the pie, the result interested us all. The good
old woman, kneeling down by the dish, lifted up with her knife the
corners of the omelet, which was beginning to brown.

"'Now Madame has only to turn it,' said the old woman.

"'A little sharp jerk,' said the old man.

"'Not too strong,' said the young man.

"'One jerk! houp! my dear,' said I.

"'If you all speak at once I shall never dare; besides, it is very
heavy, you know--'

"'One little sharp jerk--'

"'But I cannot--it will all go into the fire--oh!'

"In the heat of the action her hood had fallen; she was red as a
peach, her eyes glistened, and in spite of her anxiety, she burst out
laughing. At last, after a supreme effort, the frying-pan executed a
rapid movement and the omelette rolled, a little heavily I must
confess, on the large plate which the old woman held.

"Never was there a finer-looking omelet."

This is an excellent description of the dish which is made for you at
every little _cabaret_ in France, as well as at the best hotels. That
dexterous turn of the wrist by which the omelet is turned over is,
however, hard to reach. Let any lady try it. I have been taken into
the kitchen in a hotel in the Riviera to see a cook who was so
dexterous as to turn the frying-pan over entirely, without spilling
the omelet.

However, they are innumerable, the omelet family, plain, and with
parsley, the fancy omelet, and the creamy omelet. Learn to make every
sort from any cooking-book, and your family will never starve.

Conquer the art of toasting bacon with a fork; it is a fine relish for
your egg, no matter how cooked. To fry good English bacon in a pan
until it is hard, is to disfigure one of Fortune's best gifts.

Study above all things to learn how to produce good toast; not all the
cooks in the great kingdom or empire or republic of France (whatever
it may be at this minute) can produce a good slice of toast. They call
it _pain rôti_, and well they may; for after the poor bread has been
burned they put it in the oven and roast it. No human being can eat
it. It is taken away and grated up for sawdust.

They make delicious toast in England, and in a few houses in America.
The bread should be a little stale, the slice cut thin, the fire
perfect, a toasting-fork should hold it before coals, which are as
bright as Juno's eyes. It should be a delicate brown, dropped on a hot
plate, fresh butter put on at once, and then, ah! 't would tempt the
dying anchorite to eat. Then conquer cream toast; and there is an
exalted substance called Boston brown bread which is delicious,
toasted and boiled in milk.

Muffins are generally failures in these United States. Why, after
conquering the English, we cannot conquer their muffins, I do not
know. They are well worth repeated efforts. We make up on our hot
biscuits and rolls; and as for our waffles, griddle-cakes, and Sally
Lunns, we distance competition. Do not believe that they are
unhealthy! Nothing that is well cooked is unhealthy to everybody; and
all things which are good are unhealthy to somebody. Every one must
determine for himself what is healthy and unhealthy.

A foreign breakfast in France consists of eggs in some
form,--frequently _au beurre noir_, which is butter melted in a little
vinegar and allowed to brown,--a stew of vegetables and meat, a little
cold meat (tongue, ham, or cold roast beef,) a very good salad, a
small dish of stewed fruit or a little pastry, cheese, fruit, and
coffee, and always red wine.

Or perhaps an omelet or egg _au plat_ (simply dropped on a hot plate),
mutton cutlets, and fried potatoes, perhaps stewed pigeons, with
spinach or green peas, or trout from the lake, followed by a
beefsteak, with highly flavoured Alpine strawberries or fresh apricots
or figs, then all eating is done for the day, until seven o'clock
dinner. This is of course the mid-day _déjeûner à la fourchette_. At
the earlier breakfast a Swiss hotel offers only coffee, rolls, butter,
and honey.

All sorts of stews--kidney, liver, chicken, veal, and beef--are good,
and every sort of little pan-fish. In our happy country we can add the
oyster stew, or the lobster in cream, the familiar sausage, and the
hereditary hash; if any one knows how to make good corned-beef hash
she need not fear to entertain the king.

There are those who know how to broil a chicken, but they are
few,--"Amongst the few, the immortal names which are not born to die."
There are others, also few, who know how to broil ham so that it will
not be hard, and on it to drop the egg so that it be like Saturn,--a
golden ball in a ring of silver.

Amongst the good dishes and cheap dishes which I have seen served in
France for a breakfast I recommend lambs' feet in a white sauce, with
a suspicion of onion.

All sorts of fricassees and warmed over things can be made most
deliciously for breakfast. Many people like a salt mackerel or a
broiled herring for breakfast; these are good _avant goûts_,
stimulating the appetite. The Danes and Swedes have every form of
dried fish, and even some strange fowl served in this way. Dried beef
served up with eggs is comforting to some stomachs. Smoked salmon
appeals to others; and people with an ostrich digestion like toasted
cheese or Welsh rarebits. The fishball of our forefathers is a supreme
delicacy if well made, as is creamed codfish; but warmed over pie, or
warmed over mutton or beef, are detestable. The appetite is in a
parlous state at nine o'clock and needs to be tempted; a bit of
breakfast bacon, a bit of toast, an egg, and a fresh slice of melon or
a cold sliced tomato in summer, _voilà tout!_ as the French say. Begin
with the melon or a plate of strawberries. These early breakfasts at
nine o'clock may be followed by the hot cake, but later on the
_déjeûner à la fourchette_, which with us becomes luncheon, demands
another order of meal, as we have seen, more like a plain dinner.

It is a great comfort to the housekeeper, or to the lady who has been
imprisoned behind the tea and coffee pot that she may serve thence a
large family, to sometimes escape and have both tea and coffee served
from the side tables. Of course, for a small and intimate breakfast
there is nothing like the "steaming urn," and the tea made by the lady
at the table; and the Hon. Thomas H. Benton declared that he "liked to
drink his tea from a cup which had been washed by a lady." Woman is
the genius of the tea-kettle.

To make a good cup of coffee is a rare accomplishment. Perhaps the old
method is as good as any: a small cupful of roasted and ground
coffee, one third Mocha and two thirds Java, a small egg, shell and
all, broken into the pot with the dry coffee. Stir well with a spoon
and then pour on three pints of boiling water; let it boil from five
to ten minutes, counting from the time it begins to boil. Then pour in
a cupful of cold water, and turn a little of the coffee into a cup to
see that the nozzle of the pot is not filled with grounds. Turn this
back, and let the coffee stand a few minutes to settle, taking care
that it does not boil again. The advantages of boiled egg with coffee
is, that the yolk gives a rich flavour and good colour; also the
shells and the white keep the grounds in order, settling them at the
bottom of the pot.

But the most economical and the easiest way of making coffee is by
filtering. The French coffee biggin should be used. It consists of two
cylindrical tin vessels, one fitting into the other, the bottom of the
upper being a fine strainer. Another coarser strainer, with a rod
coming from the centre, is placed on this. Then the coffee, which must
be finely ground, is put in, and another strainer is placed on the top
of the rod. The boiling water is poured on, and the pot set where it
will keep hot, but not boil, until the water has gone through. This
will make a clear, strong coffee with a rich, smooth flavour.

The advantage of the two strainers is, that the one coming next to the
fine strainer prevents the grounds from filling up the fine holes, and
so the coffee is clear,--a grand desideratum. Boiled milk should be
served with coffee for an early breakfast. Clear coffee, _café noir_,
is served after dinner, and in France, always after the twelve o'clock
breakfast.

For a nine o'clock breakfast the hostess should also serve tea, and
perhaps chocolate, if she has a large family of guests, as all cannot
drink coffee for breakfast.

Pigs' feet _à la poulette_ find favour in Paris, and are delicious as
prepared there; also calf's liver _à l'Alsacienne_. Chicken livers are
very nice, and cod's tongues with black butter cannot be surpassed.
Mutton kidneys with bacon are desirable, and all the livers and
kidneys _en brochette_ with bacon, empaled on a spit, are excellent.
Hashed lamb _à la Zingara_ is highly peppered and very good.

Broiled fish, broiled chicken, broiled ham, broiled steak and chops
are always good for breakfast. The gridiron made Saint Lawrence fit
for heaven, and its qualities have been elevating and refining ever
since.

The summer breakfast can be very nice. Crab, clam, lobster,--all are
admirable. Fresh fish should be served whenever one can get it.
Devilled kidneys and broiled bones do for supper, but fresh fish and
easily digested food should replace these heavier dainties for
breakfast.

Stewed fruit is much used on the Continent at an early breakfast. It
is thought to avert dyspepsia. Americans prefer to eat fruit fresh,
and therefore have not learned to stew it. Stewing is, however, a
branch of cookery well worth the attention of a first-class
housekeeper. It makes canned fruit much better to stew it with sugar.
Stewed cherries are delicious and very healthy; and all the berries,
even if a little stale, can be stewed into a good dish, as can the
dried fruits, like prunes, etc.

Stewed pears make an elegant dessert served with whipped cream; but
this is too rich for breakfast. Baked pears with cream are sometimes
offered, and eggs in every form,--scrambled, dropped, boiled, stuffed,
and even boiled hard, sliced and dressed as a salad. "What is so good
as an egg salad for a hungry person?" asked a hostess in the
Adirondacks who had nothing else to offer! Eggs are the staple for
breakfast.

Ham omelet with a little parsley, lamb chops with green peas, tripe _à
la Bourdelaise_, hashed turkey, hashed chicken with cream, and breaded
veal with tomato sauce, calf's brains with a black butter, stewed veal
_à la Chasseur_, broiled shad's roe, broiled soft-shell clams, minced
tenderloin with Lyonnaise potatoes, blue-fish _au gratin_, broiled
steak with water-cress, picked-up codfish, and smoked beef in cream
are of the thousand and one delicacies for the early breakfast,--if
one can eat them.

It is better to eat a saucer of oatmeal and cream at nine o'clock,
take a cup of tea, and do one's work; then at twelve to sit down to as
good a breakfast as possible,--a regular _déjeuner à la fourchette_.
The digestion is then active; the brain after several hours work needs
repose, and at one or two o'clock can go to work again like a giant
refreshed.

An early breakfast with meat is thought by foreign doctors not to
be good for children. But in France they give children wine at
a very early age, which is rarely done in this country. At all
boarding-schools and hospitals wine is given to young children.
Certainly there are fewer drunkards and fewer dyspeptics in France
than in America.

Brillat Savarin says of coffee, "It is beyond doubt that coffee acts
upon the functions of the brain as an excitant." Voltaire and Buffon
drank a great deal of coffee. If it deprives persons of sleep it
should never be taken. It is to many a poison; and hospitals are full
of men made cripples by the immoderate stimulus of coffee. The Spanish
people live and flourish on chocolate; introduced into Spain during
the seventeenth century, it crossed the Pyrenees with Anne of Austria,
daughter of Philip II. and wife of Louis XIII., and at the
commencement of the Regency was more in vogue than coffee.

Many modern writers advise a good cup of chocolate at breakfast as
wholesome and easily digested, and it is good for clergymen, lawyers,
and travellers. In America it is considered heavy and headachy; and
doubtless the climate has something to do with this. Cocoa and the
lighter preparations of chocolate are good at sea, and very comforting
to those who find their nerves too much on the alert to stand coffee
or tea. Every one must consult his own health and taste in this as in
all matters.

The boldest attempts to increase the enjoyments of the palate, or to
tell people what they shall eat or drink, are constantly overthrown by
some subtile enemy in the stomach; and breakfasts should especially be
so light that they can tickle the palate without disturbing the brain.
A red herring is a good appetizer.

     "Meet me at breakfast alone,
     And then I will give you a dish
     Which really deserves to be known,
     Though 'tis not the genteelest of fish.
     You must promise to come, for I said
     A splendid red herring I'd buy.
     Nay, turn not aside your proud head;
     You'll like it, I know, when you try.

     "If moisture the herring betray,
     Drain till from the moisture 'tis free.
     Warm it through in the usual way,
     Then serve it for you and for me.
     A piece of cold butter prepare,
     To rub it when ready it lies;
     Egg sauce and potatoes don't spare,
     And the flavour will cause you surprise."

It is not only the man who has eaten a heavy supper the night before;
it is not only the heavy drinker, although brandy and soda are not the
best of appetite provokers, so they say; but it is also the
brainworker who finds it impossible to eat in the morning. For sleep
has the effect of eating. Who sleeps, eats, says the French proverb;
and we often find healthy children unwilling to eat an early
breakfast. Appetites vary both in individuals and at various seasons
of the year. Nothing can be more unwise than to make children eat when
they do not wish to do so. During the summer months we are all of us
less inclined for food than when sharp set by hard exercise in the
frosty air; and we loathe in July what we like in winter.

The heavy domestic breakfast of steak and mutton-chops in summer is
often repellent to a delicate child. The perfection of good living is
to have what you want exactly when you want it. A slice of fresh
melon, a plate of strawberries, a thin slice of bread and butter may
be much better for breakfast in summer than the baked beans and stewed
codfish of a later season. Do not force a child to eat even a baked
potato if he does not like it.

It is maintained by some that a strong will can keep off sea-sickness
or any other malady. This is a fallacy. No strong will can make a
delicate stomach digest a heavy breakfast at nine o'clock. Therefore
we begin and end with the same idea,--breakfast is a hard thing to
manage in America.

In England, however, it is a very happy-go-lucky meal; and although
the essentials are on the table, people are privileged to rise and
help themselves from the sideboard. I may say that I have never seen a
fashionable English hostess at a nine o'clock breakfast, although the
meal is always ready for those who wish it.

For sending breakfasts to rooms, trays are prepared with teapot,
sugar, and cream, a plate of toast, eggs boiled, with cup, spoon, salt
and pepper, a little pat of butter, and if desired a plate of chops or
chicken, plates, knives, forks, and napkins. For an English
country-house the supply of breakfast trays is like that of a hotel.
The pretty little Satsuma sets of small teapot, cream jug, and
sugar-bowl, are favourites.

When breakfast is served in the dining-room, a white cloth is
generally laid, although some ladies prefer variously coloured linen,
with napkins to match. A vase of flowers or a dish of fruit should be
placed in the centre. The table is then set as for dinner, with
smaller plates and all sorts of pretty china, like an egg dish with a
hen sitting contentedly, a butter plate with a recumbent cow, a
sardine dish with fishes in Majolica,--in fact, any suggestive fancy.
Hot plates for a winter breakfast in a plate-warmer near the table add
much to the comfort.

Finger bowls with napkins under them should be placed on the sideboard
and handed to the guest with the fruit. It is a matter of taste as to
whether fruit precedes or finishes the breakfast; and the servant must
watch the decision of the guest.

A grand breakfast to a distinguished foreigner, or some great home
celebrity at Delmonico's for instance, would be,--

                     A table loaded with flowers.
               Oysters on the half-shell.      Chablis.
     Eggs stuffed.      Eggs in black butter, (_au beurre noir_).
                Chops and green peas.      Champagne.
                         Lyonnaise potatoes.
                      Sweetbreads.      Spinach.
                      Woodcock.      Partridges.
                    Salad of lettuce.      Claret.
                           Cheese _fondu_.
                               DESSERT:
            Charlotte Russe.      Fruit Jelly.      Ices.
                               Liqueurs.
                  Grapes.      Peaches.      Pears.
                               Coffee.

A breakfast even at twelve o'clock is thus made noticeably lighter
than the meal called lunch. It may be introduced by clam juice in
cups, or bouillon, but is often served without either. These
breakfasts are generally prefaced by a short reception, where all the
guests are presented to the foreigner of distinction. There is no
formality about leaving. Indeed, these breakfasts are given in order
to avoid that.

For an ordinary breakfast at nine o'clock in a family of ten, we
should say that the _menu_ should be something as follows: The host
and hostess being present, the lady makes the tea. Oatmeal and cream
would then be offered; after that a broiled chicken would be placed
before the host, which he carves if he can. An omelet is placed before
the lady or passed; stewed potatoes are passed, and toast or muffins.
Hot cakes finish this breakfast, unless fruit is also added. It is
considered a very healthful thing to eat an orange before breakfast.
But who can eat an orange well? One must go to Spain to see that
done. The señorita cuts off the rind with her silver knife. Then
putting her fork into the peeled fruit, she gently detaches small
slices from the pulp, leaving the core and seeds untouched; passing
the fork upward, she detaches every morsel with her pearly teeth,
looking very pretty the while, and contrives to eat the whole orange
without losing a drop of the juice, and lays down the core with the
fork still in it.

It seems hardly necessary to say to an American lady that she should
be neatly dressed at breakfast. The pretty white morning dresses which
are worn in America are rarely seen in Europe, perhaps because of the
difference of climate. In England elderly ladies and young married
women sometimes appear in very smart tea gowns of dark silk over a
colour; but almost always the young ladies come in the yachting or
tennis dresses which they will wear until dinner-time, and almost
always in summer, in hats. In America the variety of morning dresses
is endless, of which the dark jacket over a white vest, the
serviceable merino, the flannel, the dark foulards, are favourites.

In summer, thin lawns, percales, Marseilles suits, calicos, and
ginghams can be so prettily made as to rival all the other costumes
for coquetry and grace.

     "Still to be neat, still to be drest
     As she were going to a feast,"

such should be the breakfast dress of the young matron. It need not be
fine; it need not be expensive; but it should be neat and becoming.
The hair should be carefully arranged, and the feet either in good,
stout shoes for the subsequent walk, or in the natty stocking and well
fitting slipper, which has moved the poet to such feeling verses.



THE LUNCH.

     "A Gothic window, where a damask curtain
     Made the blank daylight shadowy and uncertain;
     A slab of agate on four eagle-talons
     Held trimly up and neatly taught to balance;
     A porcelain dish, o'er which in many a cluster
     Plump grapes hung down, dead ripe, and without lustre;
     A melon cut in thin, delicious slices,
     A cake, that seemed mosaic-work in spices;
     Two china cups, with golden tulips sunny,
     And rich inside, with chocolate like honey;
     And she and I the banquet scene completing
     With dreamy words, and very pleasant eating."


If all lunches could be as poetic and as simple and as luxurious as
this, the hostess would have little trouble in giving a lunch. But,
alas! from the slice of cold ham, or chicken, and bread and butter,
has grown the grand hunt breakfast, and the ladies' lunch, most
delicious of luxurious time-killers. The lunch, therefore, has become
in the house of the opulent as elaborate as the dinner.

Twenty years ago in England I had the pleasure of lunching with Lord
Houghton, and I well remember the simplicity of that meal. A cup of
bouillon, a joint of mutton, roasted, and carved by the host, a tart,
some peaches, very fine hot-house fruit, and a glass of sherry was all
that was served on a very plain table to twenty guests. But what a
company of wits, belles, and beauties we had to eat it! I once lunched
with Browning on a much simpler bill of fare. I have lunched at the
beautiful house of Sir John Millais on what might have been a good
family dinner with us. And I have lunched in Hampton Court, in the
apartments of Mr. Beresford, now dead, who was a friend of George the
Fourth and an old Tory whipper-in, on a slice of cold meat, a cutlet,
a gooseberry tart, and some strawberries as large as tomatoes from the
garden which was once Anne Boleyn's.

What a great difference between these lunches and a ladies' lunch in
New York, which, laid for twenty-eight people, offers every kind of
wine, every luxury of fish, flesh, and fowl, flowers which exhibit the
most overwhelming luxury of an extravagant period, fruits and bonbons
and _bonbonnières_, painted fans to carry home, with ribbons on which
is painted one's monogram, etc.

I have seen summer wild-flowers in winter at a ladies' lunch, as the
last concession to a fancy for what is unusual. The order having been
given in September, the facile gardener raised these flowers for this
especial lunch. Far more expensive than roses at a dollar apiece is
this bringing of May into January. It is impossible to say where
luxury should stop; and, if people can afford it, there is no
necessity for its stopping. It is only to be regretted that luxury
frightens those who might like to give simple lunches.

A lunch-party of ladies should not be crowded, as handsome gowns take
up a great deal of room; and therefore a lunch for ten ladies in a
moderate house is better than a larger number. As ladies always wear
their bonnets the room should not be too hot.

The menu is very much the same as a dinner, excepting the soup. In its
place cups of bouillon or of clam juice, boiled with cream and a bit
of sherry, are placed before each plate. There follows presumably a
plate of lobster croquettes with a rich sauce, _filet de boeuf_
with truffles and mushrooms, sweetbread and green peas, perhaps
asparagus or cauliflower.

Then comes _sorbet_, or Roman punch, much needed to cool the palate
and to invigorate the appetite for further delicacies. The Roman punch
is now often served in very fanciful frozen shapes of ice, resembling
roses, or fruit of various kinds. If a lady is not near a confectioner
she should learn to make this herself. It is very easy, if one only
compounds it at first with care, Maraschino cordial or fine old
Jamaica rum being mixed with water and sugar as for a punch, and well
frozen.

The game follows, and the salad. These two are often served together.
After that the ices and fruit. Cheese is rarely offered at a lady's
lunch, excepting in the form of cheese straws. Château Yquem,
champagne, and claret are the favourite wines. Cordial is offered
afterward with the coffee. A lady's lunch-party is supposed to begin
at one o'clock and end at three.

It is a delightful way of showing all one's pretty things. At a
luncheon in New York I have seen a tablecloth of linen into which has
been inserted duchesse lace worth, doubtless, several hundred dollars,
the napkins all trimmed with duchesse, worth at least twenty dollars
apiece. This elegant drapery was thrown over a woollen broadcloth
underpiece of a pale lilac.

In the middle of the table was a grand epergne of the time of Louis
Seize; the glass and china were superb. At the proper angle stood
silver and gold cups, ornamental pitchers, and claret jugs. At every
lady's plate stood a splendid bouquet tied with a long satin ribbon,
and various small favours, as fans and fanciful _menus_ were given.

As the lunch went on we were treated to new surprises of napery and
of Sèvres plates. The napkins became Russian, embroidered with gold
thread, as the spoons and forks were also of Russian silver and gold,
beautifully enamelled. Then came those embroidered with heraldic
animals,--the lion and the two-headed eagle and griffin,--the monogram
gracefully intertwined.

Plates were used, apparently of solid gold and beautiful workmanship.
The Roman punch was hidden in the heart of a water lily, which looked
uncommonly innocent with its heart of fire. The service of this lunch
was so perfect that we did not see how we were served; it all moved as
if to music. Pleasant chat was the only addition which our hostess
left for us to add to her hospitality. I have lunched at many great
houses all over the world, but I have never seen so luxurious a
picture as this lunch was.

It has been a question whether oysters on the half-shell should be
served at a lady's lunch. For my part I think that they should,
although many ladies prefer to begin with the bouillon. All sorts of
_hors d'oeuvres_, like olives, anchovies, and other relishes, are in
order.

In summer, ladies sometimes serve a cold luncheon, beginning with iced
bouillon, salmon covered with a green sauce, cold birds and salads,
ices and strawberries, or peaches frozen in cream. Cold asparagus
dressed as a salad is very good at this meal.

In English country-houses the luncheon is a very solid meal, beginning
with a stout roast with hot vegetables, while chicken salad, a cold
ham, and various meat pies stand on the sideboard. The gentlemen get
up and help the ladies; the servants, after going about once or twice,
often leave the room that conversation may be more free.

It might well improve the young housekeeper to study the question of
potted meats, the preparation of Melton veal, the various egg salads,
as well as those of potato, of lobster and chicken, so that she may be
prepared with dishes for an improvised lunch. Particularly in the
country should this be done.

The etiquette of invitations for a ladies' lunch is the same as that
of a dinner. They are sent out a fortnight before; they are carefully
engraved, or they are written on note paper.

                           MRS. SOMERVILLE
                       Requests the pleasure of
                          MRS. MONTGOMERY'S
                 Company at lunch on Thursday, 15th,
                            at 1 o'clock.
        R. S. V. P.

This should be answered at once, and the whole engagement treated with
the gravity of a dinner engagement.

These lunch-parties are very convenient for ladies who, from illness
or indisposition to society, cannot go out in the evening. It is also
very convenient if the lady of the house has a husband who does not
like society and who finds a dinner-party a bore.

The usual custom is for ladies to dress in dark street dresses, and
their very best. That with an American lady means much, for an
American husband stops at no expense. Worth says that American women
are the best customers he has,--far better than queens. The latter ask
the price, and occasionally haggle; American women may ask the price,
but the order is, the very best you can do.

Luncheons are very fashionable in England, especially on Sunday. These
lunches, although luxurious, are by no means the costly spreads which
American women indulge in. They are attended by gentlemen as well as
ladies, for in a land where a man does not go to the House of Commons
until five in the afternoon he may well lunch with his family. What
time did our forefathers lunch? In the reign of Francis the First the
polite French rose at five, dined at nine, supped at five, and went to
bed at nine. Froissart speaks of "waiting upon the Duke of Lancaster
at five in the afternoon after he had supped." If our ancestors dined
at nine, when did they lunch?

After some centuries the dinner hour grew to be ten in the morning, by
which time they had besieged a town and burned up a dozen heretics,
probably to give them a good appetite, a sort of _avant goût_. The
later hours now in vogue did not prevail until after the Restoration.

Lunch has remained fastened at one o'clock, for a number of years at
least. In England, curiously enough, they give you no napkins at this
meal, which certainly requires them.

A hunt breakfast in America is, of course, a hearty meal, to which the
men and women are asked who have an idea of riding to hounds. It is
usually served at little tables, and the meal begins with hot
bouillon. It is a heartier meal than a lady's lunch, and as luxurious
as the hostess pleases; but it does not wind up with ices and fruits,
although it may begin with an orange. Much more wine is drunk than at
a lady's lunch, and yet some hunters prefer to begin the day with tea
only. Everything should be offered, and what is not liked can be
refused.

     "What is hit, is History,
     And what is missed is Mystery."

There are famous breakfasts in London which are not the early morning
meal, neither are they called luncheons. It is the constant habit of
the literary world of London to have reunions of scientific and
agreeable people early in the day, and what would be called a party in
the evening, is called a breakfast. We should call it a reception,
except that one is asked at eleven o'clock. But the greatest misnomer
of all is the habit in London of giving a dinner, a ball, and a supper
out of doors at five o'clock, and calling that a "breakfast." Except
that the gentlemen are in morning dress and the ladies in bonnets this
has no resemblance to what we call breakfast.

Breakfast at nine, or earlier, is a solemn process. It has no great
meaning for us, who have our children to send to school, our husbands
to prepare for business, ourselves for a busy day or a long journey.
For the very luxurious it no longer exists.

Luncheon on the contrary is apt to be a lively and exhilarating
occasion. It is the best moment in the day to some people. A thousand
dollars is not an unusual sum to expend on a lady's lunch in New York
for eighteen or twenty-five guests, counting the favours, the flowers,
the wines, and the viands, and even then we have not entered into the
cost of the china, the glass, porcelain, _cloisonné_, Dresden, Sèvres,
and silver, which make the table a picture. The jewelled goblets from
Carlsbad, the knives and forks with crystal handles, set in silver,
from Bohemia, and the endless succession of beautiful plates,--who
shall estimate the cost of all this?

As to the precedence of plates, it is meet that China, oldest of
nations, should suffice for the soup. The oysters have already been
served on shell-like Majolica. England, a maritime nation surrounded
by ocean, must furnish the plates for the fish. For the roast, too,
what plates so good as Doulton, real English, substantial _faïence_?

For the _Bouchers à la Reine_ and all the _entrées_ we must have
Sèvres again.

Japanese will do for the _filet aux champignons_, the venison, the
_pièces de resistance_, as well as English. Japanese plates are
strong. But here we are running into dinner; indeed, these two feasts
do run into each other.

One should not have a roast at ladies' lunch, unless it be a roast
pheasant.

Dresden china plates painted with fruits and flowers should be used
for the dessert. On these choice plates, with perforated edges marked
"A R" on the back, should lie the ices frozen as natural fruits. We
can scarcely tell the frozen banana or peach before us, from the
painted banana on our plate.

For the candied fruit, we must again have Sèvres. Then a gold dish
filled with rose-water must be passed. We dip a bit of the napkin in
it, for in this country we do have napkins with our luncheon, and wipe
our lips and fingers. This is called a _trempoir_.

The cordials at the end of the dinner must be served in cups of
Russian gold filagree supporting glass. There is an analogy between
the rival, luscious richness of the cordial and the cup.

The coffee-cups must be thin as egg-shells, of the most delicate
French or American china. We make most delicate china and porcelain
cups ourselves nowadays, at Newark, Trenton, and a dozen other places.

There is a vast deal of waste in offering so much wine at a ladies'
lunch. American women cannot drink much wine; the climate forbids it.
We have not been brought up on beer, or on anything more stimulating
than ice-water. Foreign physicians say that this is the cause of all
our woes, our dyspepsia, our nervous exhaustion, our rheumatism and
hysteria. I believe that climate and constitution decide these things
for us. We are not prone to over-eat ourselves, to drink too much
wine; and if the absence of these grosser tastes is visible in pale
cheeks and thin arms, is not that better than the other extreme?

All entertaining can go on perfectly well without wine, if people so
decide. It would be impossible, however, to make many poetical
quotations without an allusion to the "ruby," as Dick Swiveller called
it. Since Cleopatra dissolved the pearl, the wine-cup has held the
gems of human fancy.

     _Champagne Cup_: One pint bottle of soda water, one quart dry
     champagne, one wine-glass of brandy, a few fresh strawberries,
     a peach quartered, sugar to taste; cracked ice.

     _Another recipe_: One quart dry champagne, one pint bottle of
     Rhine wine, fruit and ice as above; cracked ice. Mix in a
     large pitcher.

     _Claret Cup_: One bottle of claret, one pint bottle of soda
     water, one wine-glass brandy, half a wine-glass of
     lemon-juice, half a pound of lump sugar, a few slices of fresh
     cucumber; mix in cracked ice.

     _Mint Julep_: Fresh mint, a few drops of orange bitters and
     Maraschino, a small glass of liqueur, brandy or whiskey, put
     in a tumbler half full of broken ice; shake well, and serve
     with fruit on top with straws.

     _Another recipe for Mint Julep_: Half a glass of port wine, a
     few drops of Maraschino, mint, sugar, a thin slice of lemon,
     shake the cracked ice from glass to glass, add strawberry or
     pineapple.

     _Turkish Sherbets_: Extract by pressure or infusion the rich
     juice and fine perfume of any of the odouriferous flowers or
     fruits; mix them in any number or quantity to taste. When
     these essences, extracts, or infusions are prepared they may
     be immediately used by adding a proper proportion of sugar or
     syrup; and water. Some acid fruits, such as lemon or
     pomegranate, are used to raise the flavour, but not to
     overpower the chief perfume. Fill the cup with cracked ice and
     add what wine or spirit is preferred.

     _Claret Cobbler_: One bottle wine, one bottle Apollinaris or
     Seltzer, one lemon, half a pound of sugar; serve with ice.

     _Champagne Cobbler_: One bottle of champagne, one half bottle
     of white wine, much cracked ice, strawberries, peaches or
     sliced oranges.

     _Sherry Cobbler_: Full wine-glass of sherry, very little
     brandy, sugar, sliced lemon, cracked ice. This is but one
     tumblerful.

     _Kümmel_: This liqueur is very good served with shaved ice in
     small green claret-cups.

     _Punch_: One bottle Arrack, one bottle brandy, two quart
     bottles dry champagne, one tumblerful of orange curaçoa, one
     pound of cracked sugar, half a dozen lemons sliced, half a
     dozen oranges sliced. Fill the bowl with large lump of ice and
     add one quart of water.

     _Shandygaff_: London porter and ginger ale, half and half.



AFTERNOON TEA.

     "And while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
     Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
     That cheer but not inebriate wait on each,
     So let us welcome peaceful evening in."


Whatever objections can be urged against all other systems of
entertaining, including the expense, the bore it is to a gentleman to
have his house turned inside out, the fatigue to the lady, the
disorganization of domestic service, nothing can be said against
afternoon tea, unless that it may lead to a new disease, the _delirium
teamens_. There is danger to nervous women in our climate in too great
indulgence in this delicious beverage. It sometimes murders sleep and
impairs digestion. We cannot claim that it is always safer than opium.
It was very much abused in England in 1678, ten years after Lords
Arlington and Ossory brought it over from the meditative Dutchman, who
was the first European to appreciate it. It was then called a "black
water with an acrid taste." It cost, however, in England sixty
shillings a pound, so that it must have been fashionable. Pepys in his
diary records that he sent for a cup of tea, a "China drink which he
had not used before." He did not like it, but then he did not like the
"Midsummer Night's Dream." "The most insipid, ridiculous play I ever
saw in my life," he writes; so we do not care what he thought about a
blessed cup of tea.

In the middle of the sixteenth century, with pasties and ale for
breakfast, with sugared cakes and spiced wines at various hours of the
day, with solid "noonings," and suppers with strong potations of sack
and such possets as were the ordinary refreshments, it is not probable
that tea would have been appreciated. The Dutch were crafty, however;
they saw that there was a common need of a hot, rather stimulating
beverage, which had no intoxicating effects. They exported sage enough
to pay for the tea, and got the better of even the wily Chinaman, who
avowed some time after, in their trade with America, "That spent
tea-leaves, dried again, were good enough for second-chop Englishmen."

Jonas Haunay wrote a treatise against tea-drinking in Johnson's time,
and that vast, insatiable, and shameless tea-drinker took up the
cudgels for tea, settling it as a brain-inspirer for all time, and
wrote Rasselas on the strength of it. Cobbett wrote against its use by
the labouring classes, and the "Edinburgh Review" endorsed his
arguments, stating that a "prohibition absolute and uncompromising of
the noxious beverage was the first step toward insuring health and
strength for the poor," and asserting that when a labourer fancied
himself refreshed with a mess of this stuff, sweetened with the
coarsest brown sugar and diluted by azure-blue milk, it was only the
warmth of the water which consoled him for the moment. Cobbett claimed
that the tea-table cost more to support than would keep two children
at nurse.

The "Quarterly Review" in an article written perhaps by the most
famous chemist of the day, said, however, that "tea relieves the pains
of hunger rather by mechanical distention than by supplying the waste
of nature by adequate sustenance," but claimed for it the power of
calm, placid, and benignant exhilaration, greatly stimulating the
stomach, when fatigued by digestive exertion, and acting as an
appropriate diluent of the chyle. More recent inquiries into the
qualities of the peculiar power of tea have tended to raise it in
popular esteem, although no one has satisfactorily explained _why_ it
has become so universally necessary to the human race.

An agreeable little book called "The Beverages We Indulge In," "The
Herbs Which We Infuse," or some such title, had a great deal to do
with the adoption of tea as a drink for young men who were training
for a boat-race, or who desired to economize their strength for a
mountain climb. But every one, from the tired washerwoman to the
student, the wrestler, the fine lady, and the strong man, demands a
cup of tea.

To the invalid it is the dearest solace, dangerous though it may be.
Tannin, the astringent element in tea, is bad for delicate stomachs
and seems to ruin appetite. Tea, therefore, should never be allowed to
stand. Hot water poured on the leaves and poured off into a cup can
hardly afford the tannin time to get out. Some tea-drinkers even put
the grounds in a silver ball, perforated, and swing this through a cup
of boiling water, and in this way is produced the most delicate cup of
tea.

The famous Chinese lyric which is painted on almost all the teapots of
the Empire is highly poetical. "On a slow fire set a tripod; fill it
with clear rain-water. Boil it as long as it would be needed to turn
fish white and lobsters red. Throw this upon the delicate leaves of
choice tea; let it remain as long as the vapour rises in a cloud. At
your ease drink the pure liquor, which will chase away the five causes
of trouble."

The "tea of the cells of the Dragons," the purest Pekoe from the
leaf-buds of three-year-old plants, no one ever sees in Europe; but we
have secured many brands of tea which are sufficiently good, and the
famous Indian tea brought in by the great Exposition in Paris in 1889
is fast gaining an enviable reputation. It has a perfect bouquet and
flavour. Green tea, beloved by our grandmothers and still a favourite
with some connoisseurs, has proved to have so much theine, the element
of intoxication in tea, that it is forbidden to nervous people. Tea
saves food by its action in preventing various wastes to the system.
It is thus peculiarly acceptable to elderly persons, and to the tired
labouring-woman. Doubtless Mrs. Gamp's famous teapot with which she
entertained Betsy Prig contained green tea.

There is an unusually large amount of nitrogen in theine, and green
tea possesses so large a proportion of it as to be positively
dangerous. In the process of drying and roasting, this volatile oil is
engendered. The Chinese dare not use it for a year after the leaf has
been prepared, and the packer and unpacker of the tea suffer much from
paralysis. The tasters of tea become frequently great invalids, unable
to eat; therefore our favourite herb has its dangers.

More consoling is the legend of the origin of the plant. A drowsy
hermit, after long wrestling with sleep, cut off his eyelids and cast
them on the ground. From them sprang a shrub whose leaves, shaped like
eyelids and bordered with a fringe of lashes, possessed the power of
warding off sleep. This was in the third century, and the plant was
tea.

But what has all this to do with that pleasant visage of a steaming
kettle boiling over a blazing alcohol lamp, the silver tea-caddy, the
padded cozy to keep the teapot warm, the basket of cake, the thin
bread and butter, the pretty girl presiding over the cups, the
delicate china, the more delicate infusion? All these elements go to
make up the afternoon tea. From one or two ladies who stayed at home
one day in the week and offered this refreshment, to the many who came
to find that it was a very easy method of entertaining, grew the
present party in the daytime. The original five o'clock tea arose in
England from the fact that ladies and gentlemen after hunting required
some slight refreshment before dressing for dinner, and liked to meet
for a little chat. It now is used as the method of introducing a
daughter, and an ordinary way of entertaining.

The primal idea was a good one. People who had no money for grand
spreads were enabled to show to their more opulent neighbours that
they too had the spirit of hospitality. The doctors discovered that
tea was healthy. English breakfast tea would keep nobody awake. The
cup of tea and the sandwich at five would spoil nobody's dinner. The
ladies who began these entertainments, receiving modestly in plain
dresses, were not out of tone with their guests who came in
walking-dress.

But then the other side was this,--ladies had to go to nine teas of an
afternoon, perhaps taste something everywhere. Hence the new disease,
_delirium teamens_. It was uncomfortable to assist at a large party in
a heavy winter garment of velvet and fur. The afternoon tea lost its
primitive character and became an evening party in the daytime, with
the hostess and her daughters in full dress, and her guests in
walking-costume.

The sipping of so much tea produces the nervous prostration, the
sleeplessness, the nameless misery of our overwrought women; and thus
a healthful, inexpensive and most agreeable adjunct to the art of
entertaining grew into a thing without a name, and became the large,
gas-lighted ball at five o'clock, where half the ladies were in
_decolleté_ dresses, the others in fur tippets. It was pronounced a
breeder of influenzas, and the high road to a headache.

If a lady can be at home every Thursday during the season, and always
at her position behind the blazing urn, and will have the firmness to
continue this practice, she may create a _salon_ out of her teacups.

In giving a large afternoon tea for which cards have been sent out,
the hostess should stand by the drawing-room door and greet each
guest, who, after a few words, passes on. In the adjoining room,
usually the dining-room, a large table is spread with a white cloth;
and at one end is a tea service with a kettle of water boiling over an
alcohol lamp, while at the other end is a service for chocolate. There
should be flowers on the table, and dishes containing bread and butter
cut as thin as a shaving. Cake and strawberries are always
permissible. One or two servants should be in attendance to carry away
soiled cups and saucers, and to keep the table looking fresh; but for
the pouring of the tea and chocolate there should always be a lady,
who like the hostess should wear a gown closed to the throat; for
nothing is worse form now-a-days than full dress before dinner. The
ladies of the house should not wear bonnets.

When tea is served every afternoon at five o'clock, whether or no
there are visitors, as is often the case in many houses, the
servant--who, if a woman, should always in the afternoon wear a plain
black gown, with a white cap and apron--should place a small, low
table before the lady of the house, and lay over it a pretty white
cloth. She should then bring in a large tray, upon which are the tea
service, and a plate of bread and butter, or cake, or both, place it
upon the table, and retire,--remaining within call, though out of
sight, in case she should be needed. The best rule for making tea is
the old-fashioned one: "one teaspoonful for each person and one for
the pot." The pot should first be rinsed with hot water, then the tea
put in, and upon it should be poured enough water, actually boiling,
to cover the leaves. This decoction should stand for five minutes,
then fill up the pot with more boiling water, and pour it immediately.
Some persons prefer lemon in their tea to cream, and it is a good plan
to have some thin slices, cut for the purpose, placed in a pretty
little dish on the tray. A bowl of cracked ice is also a pleasant
addition in summer, iced tea being a most refreshing drink in hot
weather. Neither plates nor napkins need appear at this informal and
cosey meal. A guest arriving at this time in the afternoon should
always be offered a cup of tea.

Afternoon tea, in small cities or in the country, in villages and
academic towns, can well be made a most agreeable and ideal
entertainment, for the official presentation of a daughter or for the
means of seeing one's friends. In the busy winter season of a large
city it should not be made the excuse for giving up the evening party,
or the dinner, lunch, or ball. It is not all these, it is simply
itself, and it should be a refuge for those women who are tired of
balls, of over dressing, dancing, visiting, and shopping. It is also
very dear to the young who find the convenient tea-table a good arena
for flirtation. It is a form of entertainment which allows one to
dispense with etiquette and to save time.

Five-o'clock teas should be true to their name, nor should any other
refreshment be offered than tea, bread and butter, and little cakes.
If other eatables are offered the tea becomes a reception.

There is a high tea which takes the place of dinner on Sunday evenings
in cities, which is a very pretty entertainment; in small rural
cities, in the country, they take the place of dinners. They were
formerly very fashionable in Philadelphia. It gave an opportunity to
offer hot rolls and butter, escalloped oysters, fried chicken,
delicately sliced cold ham, waffles and hot cakes, preserves--alas!
since the days of canning, who offers the delicious preserves of the
past? The hostess sits behind her silver urn and pours the hot tea or
coffee or chocolate, and presses the guest to take another waffle. It
is a delightful meal, and has no prototype in any country but our own.

It is doubtful, however, whether the high tea will ever be popular in
America, in large cities at least, where the custom of seven-o'clock
dinners prevails. People find in them a violent change of living,
which is always a challenge to indigestion. Some wit has said that he
always liked to eat hot mince-pie just before he went to bed, for then
he always knew what hurt him. If anyone wishes to know what hurts him,
he can take high tea on Sunday evening, after having dined all the
week at seven o'clock. A pain in his chest will tell him that the hot
waffle, the cold tongue, the peach preserve, and that "last cup of
tea" meant mischief.

Oliver Cromwell is said to have been an early tea-drinker; so is Queen
Elizabeth,--elaborate old teapots are sold in London with the cipher
of both; but the report lacks confirmation. We cannot imagine Oliver
drinking anything but verjuice, nor the lion woman as sipping anything
less strong than brown stout. Literature owes much to tea. From Cowper
to Austin Dobson, the poets have had their fling at it. And what could
the modern English novelist do without it? It has been in politics, as
all remember who have seen Boston Harbor, and it goes into all the
battles, and climbs Mt. Blanc and the Matterhorn. The French, who
despised it, are beginning to make a good cup of tea, and Russia
bathes in it. The Samovar cheers the long journeys across those dreary
steppes, and forms again the most luxurious ornament of the palace. On
all the high roads of Europe one can get a cup of tea, except in
Spain. There it is next to impossible; the universal chocolate
supersedes it. If one gets a cup of tea in Spain, there is no cream to
put in it; and to many tea drinkers, tea is ruined without milk or
cream.

In fact, the poor tea drinker is hard to please anywhere. There are to
the critic only one or two houses of one's acquaintance where five
o'clock tea is perfect.



THE INTELLECTUAL COMPONENTS OF DINNER.

     "Lend me your ears."


"It has often perplexed me to imagine," writes Nathaniel Hawthorne,
"how an Englishman will be able to reconcile himself to any future
state of existence from which the earthly institution of dinner is
excluded. The idea of dinner has so imbedded itself among his highest
and deepest characteristics, so illuminated itself with intellect, and
softened itself with the kindest emotions of his heart, so linked
itself with Church and State, and grown so majestic with long
hereditary custom and ceremonies, that by taking it utterly away,
Death, instead of putting the final touch to his perfection, would
leave him infinitely less complete than we have already known him. He
could not be roundly happy. Paradise among all its enjoyments would
lack one daily felicity in greater measure than London in the season."

No dinner would be worth the giving that had not one witty man or one
witty woman to lift the conversation out of the commonplace. As many
more agreeable people as one pleases, but one leader is absolutely
necessary.

Not alone the funny man whom the _enfant terrible_ silenced by asking,
"Mamma would like to know when you are going to begin to be funny,"
but those men who have the rare art of being leaders without seeming
to be, who amuse without your suspecting that you are being amused;
for there never should be anything professional in dinner-table wit.

The dinner giver has often to feel that something has been left out of
the group about the table; they will not talk! She has furnished them
with food and wine, but can she amuse them? Her witty man and her
witty woman are both engaged elsewhere,--they are apt to be,--and her
room is too warm, perhaps. She determines that at the next dinner she
will have some mechanical adjuncts, even an empirical remedy against
dulness. She tries a dinner card with poetical quotations, conundrums,
and so on. The Shakspeare Club of Philadelphia inaugurated this
custom, and some very witty results followed:--

                  "Enter Froth" (before champagne).
   "What is thine age?" (_Romeo and Juliet_) brings in the Madeira.

                            LOBSTER SALAD.
                  "Who hath created this indigest?"

    Pray you bid these unknown friends welcome, for it is a way to
              make us better friends.--_Winter's Tale._

                            ROAST TURKEY.
     See, here he comes swelling like a turkey cock.--_Henry IV._

                              YORK HAMS.
           Sweet stem from York's great stock.--_Henry VI._

                               TONGUE.
        Silence is only commendable in a neat's tongue dried--
                                            _Merchant of Venice._

                        BRAISED LAMB AND BEEF.
    What say you to a piece of lamb and mustard?--a dish that I do
              love to feed upon.--_Taming of the Shrew._

                            LOBSTER SALAD.
             Sallat was born to do me good.--_Henry IV._

And so on. The Bible affords others, well worth quoting:--

                               OYSTERS.
             He brought them up out of the sea.--_Isaiah._
         And his mouth was opened immediately.--_Luke_ i. 64.

                              BEAN SOUP.
            "Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils."

                         FISH, STRIPED BASS.
         We remember the fish we did eat freely.--_Numbers._
               These with many stripes.--_Deuteronomy._

                         STEINBERGER CABINET.
       Thou hast kept the good wine until now.--_John_ ii. 10.

                            BOILED CAPON.
          Accept it always and in all places.--Acts xxiv. 3.

                            PIGEON BRAISE.
             Pigeons such as he could get.--_Leviticus._

                              SUCCOTASH.
               They brought corn and beans.--_Samuel._

                            QUAIL LARDED.
                     Even quail came.--_Exodus._
              Abundantly moistened with fat.--_Isaiah._

                            LETTUCE SALAD.
          A pleasant plant, green before the sun.--_Isaiah._
           Pour oil upon it, pure oil, olive.--_Leviticus._
     Oil and salt, without prescribing how much.--_Ezra_ vii. 22.

                              ICE CREAM.
                     Ice like morsels.--_Psalms._

                               CHEESE.
         Carry these ten cheeses unto the captain.--_Samuel._

                               FRUITS.
                    All kind of fruits.--_Eccles._

                               COFFEE.
                   Last of all.--_Matthew_ xxi. 37.
           They had made an end of eating.--_Amos_ vii. 2.

                               CIGARS.
            Am become like dust and ashes.--_Job_ xxx. 19.

And so on. Written conundrums are good stimulants to conversation, and
dinner cards might be greatly historical, not too learned. A legend of
the day, as Lady Day, or Michaelmas, is not a bad promoter of talk. Or
one might allude to the calendar of dead kings and queens, or other
celebrities, or ask your preferences, or quote something from a
memoir, to find out that it is a birthday of Rossini or Goethe. All
these might be written on a dinner card, and will open the flood gates
of a frozen conversation.

Let each dinner giver weave a net out of the gossamer threads of her
own thoughts. It will be the web of the Lady of Shalott, and will bid
the shadows of pleasant memory to remain, not float "forever adown the
river," even toward "towered Camelot" where they may be lost.

Some opulent dinner giver once made the dinner card the vehicle of a
present, but this became rather burdensome. It was trying and
embarrassing to carry the gifts home, and the poorer entertainer
hesitated at the expense. The outlay had better come out of one's
brain, and the piquing of curiosity with a contradiction like this
take its place:--

     "A lady gave me a gift which she had not,
     And I received the gift, which I took not,
     And if she take it back I grieve not."

But there is something more required to form the intellectual
components of a dinner than these instruments to stimulate curiosity
and give a fillip to thought. We must have variety.

Mrs. Jameson, the accomplished author of the "Legends of the Madonna"
gives the following description of an out-of-door dinner, which should
embolden the young American hostess to go and do likewise:--

"Yesterday we dined _al fresco_ in the Pamfili Gardens, in Rome, and
although our party was rather too large, it was well assorted, and the
day went off admirably. The queen of our feast was in high good humour
and irresistibly charming, Frattino very fascinating, T. caustic and
witty, W. lively and clever, J. mild, intelligent and elegant, V. as
usual quiet, sensible, and self-complacent, L. as absurd and assiduous
as ever.

"Everybody played their part well, each by a tacit convention
sacrificing to the _amour propre_ of his neighbour, each individual
really occupied with his own peculiar _rôle_, but all apparently happy
and mutually pleased. Vanity and selfishness, indifference and _ennui_
were veiled under a general mask of good humour and good breeding, and
the flowery bonds of politeness and gallantry held together those who
knew no common tie of thought or interest.

"Our luxurious dinner, washed down by a competent proportion of
Malvoisie and champagne, was spread upon the grass, which was
literally the flowery turf, being covered with violets, iris, and
anemones of every dye.

"For my own peculiar taste there were too many servants, too many
luxuries, too much fuss; but considering the style and number of our
party, it was all consistently and admirably managed. The grouping of
the company, picturesque because unpremeditated, the scenery around,
the arcades and bowers and columns and fountains had an air altogether
poetical and romantic, and put me in mind of some of Watteau's
beautiful garden pieces."

Now in this exquisite description Mrs. Jameson seems to me to have
given the intellectual components of a dinner. "The hostess,
good-humoured and charming, Frattino very fascinating, T. caustic and
witty, W. lively and clever, J. mild, intelligent, and elegant, V. as
usual quiet, sensible, and self-complacent, L. as absurd and as
assiduous as ever."

There was variety for you, and the three last were undoubtedly
listeners. In the next paragraph she covers more ground, and this is
most important:--

"Each by a tacit convention sacrificing to the _amour propre_ of his
neighbour."

That is an immortal phrase, for there can be no pleasant dinner when
this unselfishness is not shown. It was said by a witty Boston hostess
that she could never invite two well-known diners-out to the same
dinner, for each always silenced the other. You must not have too many
good talkers. The listeners, the receptive listeners, should outnumber
the talkers.

In England, the land of dinners, they have, of course, no end of
public, semi-official, and annual dinners,--as those of the Royal
Literary Fund, the Old Rugbians, the Artists Benevolent Fund, the
Regimental dinners, the banquets at the Liberal and the Cobden Club,
and the nice little dinners at the Star and Garter, winding up with
the annual fish dinner.

Now of all these the most popular and sought after is the annual
dinner of the Royal Academy. Few gratifications are more desired by
mortals than an invitation to this dinner. The president, Sir Frederic
Leighton, is handsome and popular. The dinner is representative in
character; one or more members of the Royal Family are present; the
Church, the Senate, the Bar, Medicine, Literature and Science, the
Army, the Navy, the City,--all these have their representatives in the
company.

Who would not say that this would be the most amusing dinner in
London? Intellect at its highest water mark is present. The _menu_ is
splendid. But I have heard one distinguished guest say that the thing
is over-freighted, the ship is too full, and the crowd of good things
makes a surfeit.

Dinners at the Lord Mayor's are said to be pleasant and fine specimens
of civic cheer, but the grand nights at the Middle Temple and others
of the Inns of Court are occasions of pleasant festivity.

We have nothing to do with these, however, except to read of them, and
to draw our conclusions. I know of no better use to which we can put
them than the same rereading which we gave Mrs. Jameson's
well-considered _menu_: "Each individual really occupied with his own
_rôle_, but all apparently happy and mutually pleased. Variety and
selfishness or indifference or _ennui_ well veiled under a general
mask of good humour and good breeding, and the flowery bands of
politeness and gallantry holding together those who knew no common tie
of thought and interest." It requires very civilized people to veil
their indifference and _ennui_ under a general mask of good humour.

To have unity, one must first have units; and to make an agreeable
dinner-party the hostess should invite agreeable people, and her
husband should be a good host; and here we must again compliment
England. An Englishman is churlish and distant, self-conscious and
prejudiced everywhere else but at his own table. He is a model host,
and a most agreeable guest. He is the most genial of creatures after
the soup and sherry. Indeed the English dinner is the keynote to all
that is best in the English character. An Englishman wishes to eat in
company.

How unlike the Spaniard, who never asks you to dinner. However
courtly and hospitable he may be at other times and other hours of the
day, he likes to drag his bone into a corner and gnaw it by himself.

The Frenchman, elegant, _soigné_, and economical, invites you to the
best-cooked dinner in the world, but there is not much of it. He
prefers to entertain you at a café. Country life in France is
delightful, but there is not that luxurious, open-handed entertaining
which obtains in England.

In Italy one is seldom admitted to the privacy of the family dinner.
It is a patriarchal affair. But when one is admitted one finds much
that is _simpatica_. The cookery is good, the service is perfect, the
dinner is short, the conversation gay and easy.

In making up a dinner with a view to its intellectual components,
avoid those tedious talkers who, having a theme, a system, or a fad to
air, always contrive to drag the conversation around to their view,
with the intention of concentrating the whole attention upon
themselves. One such man, called appropriately the Bore Constrictor of
conversation in a certain city, really drove people away from every
house to which he was invited; for they grew tired of hearing him talk
of that particular science in which he was an expert. Such a talker
could make the planet Jupiter a bore, and if the talker were of the
feminine gender how one would shun her verbosity.

"I called on Mrs. Marjoribanks yesterday," said a free lance once,
"and we had a little gossip about Copernicus." We do not care to have
anything quite so erudite, for if people are really very intimate with
Copernicus they do not mention it at dinner.

It is as impossible to say what makes the model diner-out as to
describe the soil which shall grow the best grapes. We feel it and we
enjoy it, but we can give no receipt for the production of the same.

As history, with exemplary truthfulness, has always painted man as
throwing off all the trouble of giving a dinner on his wife, why have
not our clever women appreciated the power of dinner-giving in
politics? Why are not our women greater politicians? Where is our Lady
Jersey, our Lady Palmerston, our Princess Belgioso? The Princess
Lieven, wife of the Russian Ambassador in London, was said to have
held the peace of Europe in the conduct of her _entrées_; and a
country-woman of our own is to-day supposed to influence the policy of
Germany largely by her dinners. From the polished and versatile
memoirs of the Grammonts, Walpoles, D'Azelios, Sydney Smith, and Lord
Houghton, how many an anecdote hinges on the efficacy of a dinner in
reconciling foes, and in the making of friends. How many a conspiracy
was hatched, no doubt, behind an aspic of plover's eggs or a _vol au
vent de volaille_. How many a budding ministry, according to Lord
Lammington, was brought to full power over a well-ordered table-cloth.
How many a war cloud dispelled by the proper temperature of the
Burgundy. It is related of Lord Lyndhurst that when somebody asked him
how to succeed in life, he answered, "Give good wine." A French
statesman would have answered, "Give good dinners." Talleyrand kept
the most renowned table of his day, quite as much for political as
hygienic reasons. At eighty years of age he still spent an hour every
morning with his _chef_, discussing the dishes to be served at dinner.
The Emperor Napoleon, who was no epicure, nor even a connoisseur, was
nevertheless pleased with Talleyrand's luxurious and refined
hospitality, in consequence of the impression it made on those who
were so fortunate as to partake of it. On the other hand, one
hesitates to contemplate the indigestions and bad English cooking
which must have hatched an Oliver Cromwell, or still earlier that
decadence of Italian cookery which made a Borgia possible.

Social leaders in all ages and countries have thus studied the tastes
and the intellectual aptitudes and capabilities of those whom they
have gathered about their boards; and Mythology would suggest that the
_petits soupers_ on high Olympus, enlivened by the "inextinguishable
laughter of the gods," had much to do with the politics of the Greek
heaven under Jupiter. Reading the Northern Saga in the same
connection, may not the vague and awful conceptions of cookery which
seem to have filled the Northern mind have had something to do with
the opera of Siegfried? Even the music of Wagner seems to have been
inspired by a draught from the skull of his enemy. It has the
fascination of clanging steel, and the mighty rustling of armour. The
wind sighs through the forest, and the ice-blast freezes the hearer.
The chasms of earth seem to open before us. But it has also the terror
of an indigestion, and the brooding horror of a nightmare from
drinking metheglia and eating half-roasted kid. The political aspect
of a Scandinavian heaven was always stormy. Listen to the Trilogy.

In America a hostess sure of her soups and her _entrées_, with such
talkers as she could command, could influence American political
movements--she might influence its music--by her dinners, and become
an enviable Lady Palmerston.

Old people are apt to say that there is a decay in the art of
conversation, that it is one of the lost arts. No doubt this is in a
measure true all over the world. A French _salon_ would be to-day an
impossibility for that very reason. It is no longer the fashion to
tell anecdotes, to try to be amusing. A person is considered a prig
who sits up to amuse the company. All this is bad; it is reactionary
after the drone of the Bore Constrictor. It is going on all over the
world. It is part of that hurry which has made us talk slang, the
jelly of speech, speech condensed and boiled down, easily transported,
and warranted to keep in all climates.

But there is a very pleasant _juste milieu_ between the stately,
perhaps starchy, anecdotist of the past and the easy and witty talker
of to-day, who may occasionally drop into slang, and what is more, may
permit a certain slovenliness of speech. There are certain mistakes in
English, made soberly, advisedly, and without fear of Lindley Murray,
which make one sigh for the proprieties of the past. The trouble is we
have no standard. Writers are always at work at the English language,
and yet many people say that it is at present the most irregular and
least understood of all languages.

The intellectual components of a successful dinner, should, if we may
quote Hawthorne, be illuminated with intellect, and softened by the
kindest emotions of the heart. To quote Mrs. Jameson, they must
combine the caustic and the witty, the lively and the clever, and even
the absurd, and the assiduous above all. Everybody must be unselfish
enough not to yawn, and never seem bored. They must be self-sacrificing,
but all apparently well-pleased. The intellectual components of a
dinner, like the condiments of a salad, must be of the best; and it is
for the hostess to mix them with the unerring tact and fine
discrimination of an American woman.



CONSCIENTIOUS DINERS.

     It is chiefly men of intellect who hold good eating in honour.
     The head is not capable of a mental operation which consists in
     a long sequence of appreciations, and many severe decisions of
     the judgment, which has not a well-fed brain.
                                       BRILLAT SAVARIN.


A good dinner and a pretty hostess,--for there are terms on which
beauty and beef can meet much to the benefit of both,--one wit,
several good talkers, and as many good listeners, or more of the
latter, are said to make a combination which even our greatest
statesmen do not despise. Man wants good dinners. It is woman's
province to provide them; but nature and education must make the
conscientious diner.

It is to be feared that we are too much in a hurry to be truly
conscientious diners. Our men have too many school-tasks
yet,--politics, money-making, science, mental improvement, charities,
psychical research, building railroads, steam monitors, colleges, and
such like gauds,--too many such distractions to devote themselves as
they ought to the question of _entrées_ and _entremets_. They should
endeavour to give the dinner a fitting place. Just see how the noble
language of France, which Racine dignified and Molière amplified,
respectfully puts on its robes of state which are lined with ermine
when it approaches the great subject of dinner!

It is to be feared that we are far off from the fine art of dining,
although many visits to Paris and much patronage of Le Doyon's, the
Café Anglais, and the Café des Ambassadeurs, may have prepared us for
the _entremet_ and the _pièce de résistance_. We are improving in this
respect and no longer bolt our dinners. The improvement is already
manifest in the better tempers and complexions of our people.

But are we as conscientious as the gentleman in "Punch" who rebuked
the giddy girl who would talk to him at dinner? "Do you remember, my
dear, that you are in the house of the best _entrées_ in London? I
wish to eat my dinner."

That was a man to cook for! He had his appropriate calm reserve of
appreciation, for the _suprême de volaille_. He knew how to watch and
wait for the sweetbreads, and green peas. Not thrown away upon him was
that last turn which makes the breast of the partridge become of a
delicate Vandyck brown. How respectful was he to that immortal art for
which the great French cook died, a suicide for a belated turbot.

"Ah," said Parke Godwin once, when in one of his most brilliant
Brillat Savarin moods, "how it ennobles a supper to think that all
these oysters will become ideas!"

But if a dinner is not a cookery book, neither is it a matter of
expense alone, nor a payment of social debts. It is a question of
temperature, of the selection of guests, of the fitness of things, of
a proper variety, and of time. The French make their exquisite dinners
light and short. The English make theirs a trifle long and heavy.

The young hostess, to strike the _juste milieu_, must travel, reflect,
and go to a cooking-school. She must buy and read a library of
cooking-books. And when all is done and said, she must realize that a
cookery-book is not a dinner. There are some natures which can absorb
nothing from a cookery-book. As Lady Galway said that she had put all
her wits into Bradshaw's "Railway Guide" and had never got them out
again, so some amateur cook remarked that she had tested her recipes
with the "cook-book in one hand and the cooking-stove in the other,"
yet the wit had stayed away. All young housekeepers must go through
the discipline--in a land where cooks are as yet scarce--of trying and
failing, of trying and at length succeeding. They must go to _La Belle
France_ to learn how to make a soup, for instance. That is to say,
they must study the best French authorities.

The mere question of sustenance is easy of solution. We can stand by a
cow and drink her milk, or we can put some bread in our pockets and
nibble it as we go along; but dinner as represented by our complicated
civilization is a matter of interest which must always stand high
amongst the questions which belong to social life. It is a very
strange attendant circumstance that having been a matter of profound
concern to mankind for so many years, it is now almost as easy to find
a bad dinner as a good one, even in Paris, that headquarters of
cookery.

There would be no sense in telling a young American housekeeper to
learn to make sauces and to cook like a French _chef_, for it is a
profession requiring years of study and great natural taste and
aptitude. A French _chef_ commands a higher salary than a secretary of
state or than a civil engineer. As well tell a young lady that she
could suddenly be inspired with a knowledge of the art of war or of
navigation. She would only perhaps learn to do very badly what they in
ten years learn to do so well. She would say in her heart, "For my
part I am surfeited with cookery. I cry, something _raw_ if you please
for me,--something that has never been touched by hand except the one
that pulled it off the blooming tree or uprooted it from the honest
ground. Let me be a Timon if you will, and eat green radishes and
cabbages, or a Beau Brummel, asphyxiated in the consumption of a green
pea; but no _ragoût_, _côtelette_, _compote_, _crème_, or any hint or
cooking till the remembrance of all that I have seen has faded and the
smell of it has passed away!"

Thus said one who attended a cooking-school, had gone through the
mysteries of soup-making, had learned what _sauté_ means; had mastered
_entremets_, and _entrées_, and _plats_, and _hors d'oeuvres_; had
learned that _boudins de veau_ are simply veal puddings, something a
little better than a veal croquette made into a little pie; and had
found that all meats if badly cooked are much alike. There is a great
deal of nonsense talked about making good dishes out of nothing. A
French cook is very economical, he uses up odds and ends, but he must
have something to cook with.

Stone broth does not go down with a hungry man, nor bad food, however
disguised with learned sauces. A little learning is a dangerous thing,
and one who attempts too much will fail. But one can read, and
reflect, and get the general outlines of cultivated cookery. As to
cultivated cookery being necessarily extravagant, that is a mistake. A
great, heavy, ill-considered dinner is no doubt costly. Almost all
American housekeeping is wasteful in the extreme, but the modern
vanities which depend on the skill of the cook and the arranging mind
of the housekeeper, all these are the triumphs of the present age, and
worthy of deep thought and consideration. Let the young housekeeper
remember that the pretty _entrées_ made out of yesterday's roast
chicken or turkey will be a great saving as well as a great luxury,
and she will learn to make them.

Amongst a busy people like ourselves, from poorest to the richest,
dinners are intended to be recreations, and recreations of inestimable
value. The delightful contrast which they offer to the labours of the
day, the pleasant, innocent triumph they afford to the hostess, in
which all may partake without jealousy, the holiday air of guests and
of the dining-room, which should be fresh, well aired, filled with
flowers, made bright with glass and silver,--all this refreshes the
tired man of affairs and invigorates every creature. As far as
possible, the discussion of all disagreeable subjects should be kept
from the dinner-table. All that is unpleasant lowers the pulse and
retards digestion. All that is cheerful invigorates the pulse and
helps the human being to live a more brave and useful life. No one
should bring an unbecoming grumpiness to the dinner-table. Be grumpy
next day if you choose, when the terrapin may have disagreed with you,
but not at the feast. Bring the best bit of news and gossip, not
scandal, the choicest critique of the last novel, the cream of your
correspondence. Be sympathetic, amiable, and agreeable at a feast,
else it were better you had stayed away. The last lesson of luxury is
the advice to contribute of our very best to the dinners of our
friends, while we form our own dinners on the plane of the highest
luxury which we can afford, and avoid the great _too much_. Remember
that in all countries the American lavish prodigality of feasting,
and the expensive garniture of hothouse flowers, are always spoken of
as vulgar. How well it will be for us when our splendid array of fish,
flesh, and fowl shall have reached the benediction of good cookery;
when we know how to serve it, not with barbaric magnificence and
repletion, but with a delicate sense of fitness.

Mr. Webster, himself an admirable dinner giver, said of a codfish
salad that it was "fit to eat." He afterwards remarked, more
gravely,--and it made him unpopular,--that a certain nomination was
"not fit to be made."

That led to a discussion of the word "fit." The fitness of things, the
right amount, the thing in the right place, whether it be the
condiment of a salad or the nomination to the presidency,--this is the
thing to consult, to think of in a dinner; let it be "fit to be made."

An American dinner resolves itself into the following formula:--

The oyster is offered first. What can equal the American oyster in all
his salt-sea freshness, raw, on the half-shell, a perpetual stimulant
to appetite,--with a slice of lemon, and a bit of salt and pepper,
added to his own luscious juices, his perfect flavor? The jaded
palate, worn with much abuse, revives, and stands, like Oliver, asking
for more.

The soup follows. To this great subject we might devote a chapter.
What visions of white and brown, clear and thick, fresh beef stock or
the maritime delicacies of cray fish and prawn rise before us,--in
every colour, from pink or cream to the heavy Venetian red of the
mulligatawny or the deep smoke-tints of mock turtle and terrapin! The
subject grows too large for mere mention; we must give a chapter to
soup.

When we speak of fish we realize that the ocean even is inadequate to
hold them all. Have we not trout, salmon, the great fellows from the
Great Lakes, and the exclusive ownership of the Spanish mackerel? Have
we not the fee simple of terrapin and the exclusive excellence of
shad? This subject, again, requires a volume.

The roast! Ah! here we once bowed to our great Mother England, and
thought her roast beef better than ours. There are others who think
that we have caught up on the roasts. Our beef is very good, our
mutton does not equal always the English Southdowns; but we are even
improving in the blacknosed woolly brethren who conceal such delicious
juices under their warm coats.

A roast saddle of mutton with currant jelly--but let us not linger
over this thrilling theme. Our venison is the best in the world.

As for turkeys,--_we discovered them_, and it is fair to say that,
after looking the world over, there is no better bird than a Rhode
Island Turkey, particularly if it is sent to you as a present from a
friend. Hang him a week, with a truffle in him, and stuff him with
chestnuts.

As for chickens--there France has us at a disadvantage. There seems to
be a secret of fowl-feeding, or rearing, in France which we have not
mastered. Still we can get good chickens in America, and noble capons,
but they are very expensive.

The _entrées_--here we must go again to those early missionaries to a
savage shore, the Delmonicos. They were the high priests of the
_entrée_.

The salads--those daughters of luxury, those delicate expressions, in
food, of the art of dress--deserve a separate chapter.

And now the _sorbet_ cools our throats and leads us up to the game.

The American desserts are particularly rich and profuse. Our pies have
been laughed at, but they also are fit to eat, especially mince-pie,
which is first cousin to an English plum-pudding.

Our puddings are like our Western scenery, heavy but magnificent. Our
ices have reached, under our foreign imported artists, the greatest
perfection. Our fruit is abundant and highly flavoured. We have not
yet perhaps known how to draw the line as to desserts. The great _too
much_ prevails.

Do we not make our dinners too long and too heavy? How great an artist
would he be who should so graduate a dinner that there would be no
to-morrow in it! We eat more like Heliogabalus than like that
_gourmet_ who took the _beccafico_ out of the olive which had been
hidden in the pigeon, which had in its turn been warmed in the
chicken, which was cooked in the ox, which was roasted whole for the
birthday of a king. The _gourmet_ discarded the rest, but ate the
_beccafico_.

The first duty of a guest who is asked to one of these dinners is to
be punctual. Who wishes to sit next to Mr. Many-Courses, when he has
been kept waiting for his dinner? Imagine the feelings of an amiable
host and hostess who, after taking the trouble to get up an excellent
dinner, feel that it is being spoiled by the tardiness of one guest!
They are nervously watching Mr. Many-Courses, for hungry animals are
frequently snappish, and sometimes dangerous.

The hostess who knows how to invite her guests and to seat them
afterwards is a power in the State. She helps to refine, elevate, and
purify our great American conglomerate. She has not the Englishman's
Bible, "The Peerage," to help her seat her guests; she must trust to
her own intelligence to do that. Our great American conglomerate
repels all idea of rank, or the precedence idea, which is so well
understood in England.

Hereditary distinction we have not, for although there are some
families which can claim a grandfather, they are few. A grandfather is
of little importance to the men who make themselves. Aristocracy in
America is one of talent or money.

Even those more choice intelligences, which in older countries are put
on glass pedestals, are not so elevated here as to excite jealousy. We
all adore the good diner-out, but somebody would be jealous if he had
always the best seat. Therefore the hostess has to contend with much
that is puzzling in the seating of her guests; but if she says to
herself, "I will place those people near each other who are
sympathetic," she will govern her festive board with the intelligence
of Elizabeth, and the generosity of Queen Margharita.

She must avoid too many highly scented flowers. People are sometimes
weary of the "rapture of roses." Horace says: "Avoid, at an agreeable
entertainment, discordant music, and muddy perfume, and poppies mixed
with Sardinian honey; they give offence." Which is only another way of
saying that some music may be too heavy, and the perfume of flowers
too strong.

Remember, young hostess, or old hostess, that your dinner is to be
made up of people who have to sit two hours chatting with each other,
and that this is of itself a severe ordeal of patience.

Good breeding is said to be the apotheosis of self-restraint, and so
is good feeding. Good breeding puts nature under restraint, controls
the temper, and refines the speech. Good feeding, unless it is as well
governed as it should be, inflames the nose and the temper, and
enlarges the girth most unbecomingly. Good breeding is the guardian
angel of a woman. Good feeding, that is, conscientious dining, must be
the patron saint of a man! A truly well bred and well fed man is quiet
in dress, does not talk slang, is not prosy, is never unbecomingly
silent, nor is he too garrulous. He is always respectful to everybody,
kind to the weak, helpful to the feeble. He may not be an especially
lofty character, but good feeding inducts him into the character and
duties of a gentleman. He simulates a virtue if he has it not,
especially after dinner. _Noblesse oblige_ is his motto, and he feels
what is due to himself.

Can we be a thorough-bred, or a thorough-fed, all by ourselves? It is
easy enough to learn when and where to leave a card, how to behave at
a dinner, how to use a fork, how to receive and how to drop an
acquaintance; but what a varied education is that which leads up to
good feeding, to becoming a conscientious diner. It is not given to
every one, this lofty grace.

A dinner should be a good basis for a mutual understanding. They say
that few great enterprises have been conducted without it. People are
sure to like each other much better after dining together. It is
better to go home from a dinner remembering how clever everybody was,
than to go home merely to wonder at the opulence that could compass
such a pageant.

A dinner should put every one into his best talking condition. The
quips and quirks of excited fancy should come gracefully, for society
well arranged brings about the attrition of wits. If one is
comfortable and well-fed--not gorged--he is in his best condition.

The more civilized the world gets, the more difficult it is to amuse
it. It is the common complaint of the children of luxury that dinners
are dull and society stupid. How can the reformer make society more
amusing and less dangerous? Eliminate scandal and back-biting.

The danger and trials and difficulties of dinner-giving are manifold.
First, whom shall we ask? Will they come? It is often the fate of the
hostess, in the busy season, to invite forty people before she gets
twelve. Having got the twelve, she then has perhaps a few days before
the dinner to receive the unwelcome news that Jones has a cold, Mrs.
Brown has lost a relative, and Miss Malcontent has gone to Washington.
The dinner has to be reconstructed; deprived of its original intention
it becomes a balloon which has lost ballast. It goes drifting about,
and there is no health in it and no purpose. This is especially true
also of those dinners which are conducted on debt-paying principles.

How many hard-worked, rich men in America are bored to death by the
gilded and over-burdened splendour of their wives' dinners and those
to which they are to go. They sit looking at their hands during two or
three courses, poor dyspeptics who cannot eat. To relieve them, to
bring them into communion with their next neighbour, with whom they
have nothing in common, what shall one do? Oh, that depressing cloud
which settles over the jaded senses of even the conscientious diner,
as he fails to make his neighbour on either side say anything but yes
or no!

We must, perhaps, before we give the perfect dinner, renounce the idea
that dinner should be on a commercial basis. Of course our social
debts must be paid. It is a large subject, like the lighting of a
city, the cleaning of the streets, and must be approached carefully,
so that the lesser evil may not swamp the greater good. Do not invite
twelve people to bore them.

The dinner hour differs in different cities,--from seven to half-past
seven, to eight, and eight and a half; all these have their adherents.
In London, many a party does not sit down until nine. Hence the
necessity of a hearty meal at five o'clock tea. The royalties, all
blessed with good appetites, eat eggs on toast, hot scones and other
good things at five o'clock tea, and take often an _avant goût_ also
at seven.

In our country half-past seven is generally the most convenient hour,
unless one is going to the play afterward, when seven is better. A
dinner should not last more than an hour and a half. But it does last
sometimes three hours.

Ladies dress for a large dinner often in low neck and short sleeves,
wear their jewels, and altogether their finest things. But now
Pompadour waists are allowed. For a small dinner, the Pompadour dress,
half-open at the throat, with a few jewels, is in better taste.

Men should be always in full dress,--black coat, waistcoat, and
trousers, and white cravat. There is no variation from this dress at a
dinner, large or small.

For ladies in delicate health who cannot expose throat or arms, there
is always the largest liberty allowed; but the dinner dress must be
handsome.

In leaving the house and ordering the carriage, name the earliest hour
rather than the latest; it is better to keep one's coachman waiting
than to weary one's hostess. It is quite impossible to say when one
will leave, as there may be music, recitations, and so on, after the
dinner. It is now quite the fashion, as in London, to ask people in
after the dinner.

Everybody should go to a dinner intending to be agreeable.

     "E'en at a dinner some will be unblessed,
     However good the viands, and well dressed;
     They always come to table with a scowl,
     Squint with a face of verjuice o'er each dish,
     Fault the poor flesh, and quarrel with the fish,
     Curse cook, and wife, and loathing, eat and growl."

Such men should never be asked twice; yet such were Dr. Johnson, and
later on, Abraham Hayward, the English critic, who were invited out
every night of their lives. It is a poor requital for hospitality, to
allow any personal ill-temper to interfere with the pleasure of the
feast. Some hostesses send around the champagne early to unloose the
tongues; and this has generally a good effect if the party be dull.
Excessive heat in a room is the most benumbing of all overweights. Let
the hostess have plenty of oxygen to begin with.

For a little dinner of eight we might suggest that the hostess
write:--

     DEAR MRS. SULLIVAN,--Will you and Mr. Sullivan dine with us on
     Thursday at half-past seven to meet Mr. and Mrs. Evarts, quite
     informally?

                    Ever yours truly,
                                     MARY MONTGOMERY.

This accepted, which it should be in the first person, cordially, as
it is written, let us see what we would have for dinner--

        Sherry.      Soup.      Sorrel, _à l'essence de veau_.
            Lobsters, _sauté à la Bonnefoy_.      Chablis.
                    Veal Cutlets, _à la Zingara_.
                Fried sweet potatoes.      Champagne.
              Roast Red-Head Ducks.      Currant jelly.
         Claret.      Curled Celery in glasses.      Olives.
                         Cheese.      Salad.
                           Frozen Pudding.
                               Grapes.
                        Coffee.      Liqueurs.

Or, if you please, a brown soup, a white fish or bass, boiled, a
saddle of mutton, a pair of prairie chickens and salad, a plate of
broiled mushrooms, a _sorbet_ of Maraschino, cheese, ice-cream, fruit.
It is not a bad "look-out," is it?

How well the Italians understand the little dinner! They are frugal
but conscientious diners until they get to the dessert.

Their dishes have a relish of the forest and the field. First comes
wild boar, stewed in a delicious condiment called sour-sweet sauce,
composed of almonds, pistachio nuts, and plums. Quails, with a twang
of aromatic herbs, are followed by macaroni flavoured with spiced
livers, cocks' combs, and eggs called _risotto_, then golden _fritto_,
cooked in the purest _cru_ of olive oil, and _quocchi_ cakes, of newly
ground Indian corn, which is all that our roasted green corn is,
without the trouble of gnawing it off the cob,--a process abhorrent to
the conscientious diner unless he is alone. One should first take
monastic vows of extreme austerity before he eats the forbidden fruit,
onion, or the delicious corn. But when we can conquer Italian cooking,
we can eat these two delicious things, nor fear to whisper to our
best friend, nor fear to be seen eating.

The triumphs of the _dolce_ belong also to the Italians. Their sugared
fruits, ices, and pastry are all matchless; and their wines, Chianti,
Broglio, and Vino Santo, a kind of Malaga, as "frankly luscious as the
first grape can make it," are all delicious.



VARIOUS MODES OF GASTRONOMIC GRATIFICATION.

     Phyllis, I have a cask full of Albanian wine upwards of nine
     years old; I have parsley in the garden for the weaving of
     chaplets. The house shines cheerfully with plate; all hands
     are busy.                            HORACE, _Ode XI_.


Some old French wit spoke of an "idea which could be canonized."
Perhaps yet we may have a Saint Table-Cloth. There have been worse
saints than Saint Table-Cloth and clean linen, since the days of Louis
XIII!

We notice in the old pictures of feasting that the table-cloth was of
itself a picture,--lace, in squares, blocks, and stripes, sometimes
only lace over a colour, but generally mixed with linen.

It was the highest ambition of the Dutch housewife to have much double
damask of snowy whiteness in her table-linen chest. That is still the
grand reliable table-linen. No one can go astray who uses it.

Table-linen is now embroidered in coloured cottons, or half of its
threads are drawn out and it is then sewed over into lace-work. It is
then thrown over a colour, generally bright red. But pale lilac is
more refined, and very becoming to the lace-work.

Not a particle of coarse food must go on that table-cloth. Everything
must be brought to each guest from the broad, magnificent buffet; all
must be served _à la Russe_ from behind a grand, impenetrable
screen, which should fence off every dining-room from the butler's
pantry and the kitchen. All that goes on behind that screen is the
butler's business, and not ours. The butler is a portly man,
presumably, with a clean-shaven face, of English parentage. He has the
key of the wine-cellar and of the silver-chest, two heavy
responsibilities; for nowadays, not to go into the question of the
wines, the silver-chest is getting weighty. Silver and silver-gilt
dishes, banished for some years, are now reasserting their pre-eminent
fitness for the dinner-table: The plates may be of solid silver; so
are the high candlesticks and the salt-cellars, of various and
beautiful designs after Benvenuto Cellini.

Old silver is reappearing, and happy the hostess who has a real Queen
Anne teapot. The soup-tureen of silver is again used, and so are the
old beer-mugs. Our Dutch ancestors were much alive to good silver; he
may rejoice who, joking apart, had a Dutch uncle. I, for one, do not
like to eat off a metallic plate, be it of silver or gold. It is
disagreeable to hear the knife scrape on it, even with the delicate
business of cutting a morsel of red canvas-back. Gastronomic
gratification should be so highly refined that it trembles at a
crumpled rose-leaf. Porcelain plates seem to be perfect, if they have
not on them the beautiful head of Lamballe. Nobody at a dinner desires
to cut her head off again, or to be reminded of the French Revolution.
Nor should we hurry. A master says, "I have arrived at such a point
that if the calls of business or pleasure did not interpose, there
would be no fixed date for finding what time might elapse between the
first glass of sherry and the final Maraschino."

However, the pleasures of a dinner may be too prolonged. Men like to
sit longer eating and drinking than women; so when a dinner is of both
sexes it should not continue more than one hour and a half. Horace,
that prince of diners, objected to the long-drawn-out meal. "Then we
drank, each as much as he felt the need," meant no orgy amongst the
Greeks.

But if the talk lingers after the biscuit and cheese the hostess need
not interrupt it.

Talleyrand is said to have introduced into France the custom of taking
Parmesan with the soup, and the Madeira after it.

There are many conflicting opinions about the proper place for the
cheese in order of serving. The old fashion was to serve it last. It
is now served with, or after, the salad. "A dessert without cheese is
like a beautiful woman with one eye," says an old gourmet.

"Eat cheese after fruit, to prepare the palate for fresh wine," says
another.

"After melon, wine is a felon."

If it is true that "an American devours, an Englishman eats, and a
Frenchman dines," then we must take the French fashion and give the
cheese after the salad.

Toasted cheese savouries are very nice. The Roman punch should be
served just before the game. It is a very refreshing interlude. Some
wit called it at Mrs. Hayes' dinners "the life-saving station."

When the ices are removed a dessert-plate of glass, with a
finger-bowl, is placed before each person, with two glasses, one for
sherry, one for claret, or Burgundy; and the grapes, peaches, pears,
and other fruits are then passed.

The hostess makes the sign for retiring to a _salon_ perhaps rich
with magnificent hangings of old gold, with pictures, with vases of
Dresden, of Sèvres, of Kiota, with statuary, and specimens of Capo di
Monti. There coffee may be brought and served by the footmen in cups
which Catherine of Russia might have given to Potemkin. The gentlemen,
in England and America, remain behind to smoke.

There is much exquisite porcelain in use in the opulent houses of
America. It is getting to be a famous fad with us, and nothing adds
more to one's pleasure in a good dinner than to have it served on
pretty plates. And let us learn to say "footman," and not "waiter;"
the latter personage belongs to a club or a hotel. It would prevent
disagreeable mistakes if we would make this correction in our ordinary
conversation.

In the arrangement of a splendid dinner let us see what should be the
bill of fare.

This is hard to answer, as the delicacies vary with the season. But we
will venture on one:--

                      Oysters on the half-shell.
    Sherry.                     Soups:
                    _Crème d'Asperges_, Julienne.
                                Fish:                    Chablis.
                       Fried Smelts, or Salmon.
                           Fresh Cucumbers.
    Champagne.       _Filet de Boeuf_, with Truffles      Claret.
                            and Mushrooms.
                            Fried Potatoes.
                               Entrées:
             _Poulet à la Maréchale_.      _Petits Pois._
                        _Timbale de Macaroni_.
                             Sweetbreads.
                     Vegetables.      Artichokes.
     Sorbet.                 Roman Punch.
     Steinberger.               Game:
             Canvas-back or Wild Duck with Currant Jelly.
                      Quail with Water-Cresses.
               Salad of Lettuce.      Salad of Tomato.
     Rudesheimer.        _Pâté de foie gras._
                             Hot dessert:
                           Cabinet Pudding.
                            Cold dessert:
                   _Crème glacée aux tutti frutti._
         _Marron glacés._      Cakes.      Preserved ginger.
     Madeira.                 Cheese.                       Port.
                         Café.      Cordials.

I apologize to my reader for mixing thus French and English. It is a
vulgar habit, and should be avoided. But it is almost impossible to
avoid it when speaking of a dinner; the cooks being French, the
_menus_ are written in French, and the names of certain dishes are
usually written in French. Now all people understand French, or should
do so. If they do not, it is very easy to learn that the "_vol au vent
de volaille_" is simply chicken pie, that potatoes are still potatoes
under whatever alias they are served, and so on.

No such dinner as this can be well served in a private house unless
the cook is a _chef_, a _cordon bleu_,--here we must use French
again,--and unless the service is perfect this dinner will be a
failure. It is better to order such a dinner from Delmonico's or
Sherry's or from the best man you can command. Do not attempt and
fail.

But the little dinners given by housekeepers whose service is perfect
are apt to be more eatable and palatable than the best dinner from a
restaurant, where all the food is cooked by gas, and tastes alike.

The number of guests is determined by the size of the room. The
etiquette of entering the dining-room is this: the host goes first,
with the most distinguished lady. The hostess follows last, with the
most distinguished gentleman.

Great care and attention must be observed in seating the guests. This
is the province of the hostess, who must consider the subject
carefully. All this must be written out, and a diagram made of the
table. The name of each lady is written on a card and enclosed in an
envelope, on the outside of which is inscribed the name of the
gentleman who has the honour to take her in. This envelope must be
given each man by the servant in the dressing-room, or he must find it
on the hall table. Then, with the dinner-card at each place, the
guests find their own places.

The lady of the house should be dressed and in the drawing-room at
least five minutes before the guests are to arrive, which should be
punctually. How long must a hostess wait for a tardy guest? Only
fifteen minutes.

It is well to say to the butler, "Dinner must be served at half-past
seven," and the guests may be asked at seven. That generally ensures
the arrival of all before the fish is spoiled. Let the company then go
in to dinner, allowing the late-comer to follow. He must come in
alone, blushing for his sins. These facts may help a hostess: No great
dinner in Europe waits for any one; royalty is always punctual. In
seating your guests do not put husband and wife, sisters or relatives
together.

An old courtesy book of 1290 says:--

     "Consider about placing
     Each person in the post that befits him.
     Between relations it behooves
     To place others midway sometimes."

We should respect the _superstitions_ of the dinner-table. No one
should be helped twice to soup; it means an early death. Few are free
from the feeling that thirteen is an unlucky number; so avoid that, as
no one wishes to make a guest uncomfortable. As we have said, Gasthea
is an irritable muse; she must be flattered and pampered. No one must
put salt on another's plate. There is a strong prejudice against
spilling the salt; but evil consequences can be avoided by throwing a
pinch of salt over the left shoulder.

These remarks may seem frivolous to those unhappy persons who have not
the privilege of being superstitious. It gives great zest to life to
have a few harmless superstitions. It is the cheese _fondu_ of the
mental faculties; and we may add that a consideration of these maxims,
handed down from a glorious past of gastronomes, contributes to the
various modes of gastronomic gratification. We must remember that the
tongue of man, by the delicacy of its structure, gives ample evidences
of the high functions to which it is destined. The Roman epicures
cultivated their taste so perfectly that they could tell if a fish
were caught above or below a bridge. Organic perfection, epicureanism,
or the art of good living, belongs to man alone. The pleasure of
eating is the only one, taken in moderation, which is common to every
time, age, and condition, which is enjoyed without fatigue or danger,
which must be repeated two or three times a day. It can combine with
our other pleasures, or console us for their loss.

"_Un bon diner, c'est un consolation pour les illusions perdus._" And
we have an especial satisfaction, when in the act of eating, that we
are prolonging our existence, and enabling ourselves to become good
citizens whilst enjoying ourselves.

Thus the pleasures of the table, the act of dining, the various modes
of gastronomic gratification should receive our most respectful
consideration. "Let the soup be hot, and the wines cool. Let the
coffee be perfect, and the liqueurs chosen with peculiar care. Let the
guests be detained by the social enjoyment, and animated with the hope
that before the evening is over there is still some pleasure in
store."

Our modern hostesses who understand the art of entertaining often have
music, or some recitations, in the drawing-room after the dinner; and
in England it is often made the occasion of an evening party.

Thus gourmandize is that social love of good dinners which combines in
one Athenian elegance, Roman luxury, and Parisian refinement. It
implies discretion to arrange, skill to prepare, and taste to direct.
It cannot be done superficially, and if done well it takes time,
experience, and care. "To be a success, a dinner must be thought out."

"By right divine, man is the king of nature, and all that the earth
produces is for him. It is for him that the quail is fattened, the
grape ripened. For him alone the Mocha possesses so agreeable an
aroma, for him the sugar has such wholesome properties."

He, and he alone, banquets in company, and so far from good living
being hurtful to health, Brillat Savarin declares that the _gourmets_
have a larger dose of vitality than other men. But they have their
sorrows, and the worst of them is a bad dinner,--an ill-considered,
wretchedly composed, over-burdened repast, in which there is little
enjoyment for the brain, and a constant disappointment to the palate.

"Let the dishes be exceedingly choice and but few in number, and the
wines of the best quality. Let the order of serving be from the more
substantial to the lighter." Let the eating proceed without hurry or
bustle, since the dinner is the last business of the day; and let the
guests look upon themselves as travellers about to reach the same
destination together.

A dinner is not, as we see, a matter of butler or _chef_ alone. "It is
the personal trouble which a host and hostess are willing to take; it
is the intimate association of a cultivated nature with the practical
business of entertaining, which makes the perfect dinner.

"Conviviality concerns everything, hence it produces fruits of all
flavours. All the ingenuity of man has been for centuries concentrated
upon increasing and intensifying the pleasures of the table."

The Greeks used flowers to adorn vases and to crown the guests. They
ate under the vault of heaven, in gardens, in groves, in the presence
of all the marvels of nature. To the pleasures of the table were
joined the charms of music and the sound of instruments. Whilst the
court of the king of the Phoenicians were feasting, Phenius, a
minstrel, celebrated the deeds of the warriors of bygone times. Often,
too, dancers and jugglers and comic actors, of both sexes and in every
costume, came to engage the eye, without lessening the pleasures of
the table.

We eat in heated rooms, too much heated perhaps, and brilliantly
lighted, as they should be. The present fancy for shaded lamps, and
easily ignitible shades, leads to impromptu conflagrations which are
apt to injure Saint Table-Cloth. That poor martyr is burned at the
steak quite too often. Our dancers and jugglers are introduced after
dinner, not during dinner; and we have our warriors at the table
amongst the guests. Nor do we hire Phenius, a minstrel, to discourse
of their great deeds.

I copy from a recent paper the following remarks. Mr. Elbridge T.
Gerry, says: "There are in society some newly admitted members who,
with the best intentions imaginable, are never able to do things in
just the proper style. They are persons of wealth, fairly good
breeding and possessed of a desire to entertain. With all the
good-humoured witticisms that the newspapers indulge in on this
subject, it is nevertheless a fact that the art of entertaining
requires deep and careful study, as well as natural aptitude."

Some of the greatest authors have stated this in poetry and prose.

"A typical member of this new class recently gave a dinner to a number
of persons in society. It was a very dull affair. There was
prodigality in everything, but no taste, and no refinement. The fellow
amused me by telling us he had no trouble in getting up a fine dinner;
he had only to tell his butler and _chef_ to get up a meal for so many
persons, and the whole thing was done. There are few persons fortunate
enough to possess _chefs_ and butlers of that kind; he certainly was
not. Of the persons who attended his dinner, nine out of ten were
displeased and will never attend another. It does not take long for
the experienced member of society to know whether a host or hostess is
qualified to entertain, and the climbers soon find it a hard piece of
business to secure guests."

But on the other hand, we can reason that so fond of the various modes
of gastronomic gratification is the human race, that the dinner giver
is a very popular variety of the _genus homo_; nor does the host or
hostess generally find it a hard matter to secure guests. Indeed
there is a vulgar proverb to the effect that if the Devil gives a
ball, all the angels will go to it.

"If you want an animal to love you, feed it." So that the host can
stand a great deal of criticism. We should, however, take a hint from
the Arabs, nor abuse the salt; it is almost worse than spilling it.

Lady Morgan described the cookery of France as being "the standard and
gauge of modern civilization;" and when, during the peace which
followed Waterloo, Brillat Savarin turned his thoughts to the
æsthetics of the dinner-table, he probably added more largely to the
health and happiness of the human race than any other known
philanthropist. We must not forget what had gone before in the
developments and refinements of the reigns of Louis XIV., XV., and the
Regent; we must not forget the honour done to gastronomy by such
statesmen as Colbert, such soldiers as Condé, nor by such a wit and
beauty as Madame de Sevigné.



OF SOUPS.

     "Oh, a splendid soup is the true pea-green,
         I for it often call,
     And up it comes, in a smart tureen,
         When I dine in my banquet hall.
     When a leg of mutton at home is boiled,
         The liquor I always keep,
     And in that liquor, before 't is spoiled,
         A peck of peas I steep;
     When boiled till tender they have been
     I rub through a sieve the peas so green.

     "Though the trouble the indolent may shock,
         I rub with all my power,
     And having returned them to the stock,
         I stew them for an hour;
     Of younger peas I take some more,
         The mixture to improve,
     Thrown in a little time before
         The soup from the fire I move.
     Then seldom a better soup is seen
     Than the old familiar soup pea-green."


The best of this poetical recipe is that it is not only funny, but a
capital formula.

     "The giblet may tire, the gravy pall,
         And the truth may lose its charm;
     But the green pea triumphs over them all
         And does not the slightest harm."

Some of us, however, prefer turtle. It would seem sometimes as if
turtle soup were the synonym for a good dinner, and as if it dated
back to the days of good Queen Bess. But fashion did not set its seal
on turtle soup until about seventy years ago; as an entry in the
"Gentleman's Magazine" mentions calipash and calipee as rarities. It
is now inseparable from the Lord Mayor's dinner. When we notice
ninety-nine recipes for soup in the latest French cookery book, and
when we see the fate of a dinner made or marred by the first dish, we
must concede that it will be a stumbling-block to the young
housekeeper.

Add to that the curious fact that no Irishwoman can make a good soup
until she has been taught by years of experience, and we have the
first problem in the dangerous process of dinner-giving staring us in
the face. A greasy, watery, ill-considered soup will take away the
appetite of even a hungry man; while a delicate white or brown soup,
or the _purées_ of peas and asparagus, may well whet the appetite of
the most pampered _gourmet_.

The subject of soup-making may well be studied. A good soup is at once
economical and healthful, and of the first importance in the
construction of a dinner. Soup should be made the day before it is to
be eaten, by boiling either a knuckle of veal for a white soup, three
or four pounds of beef, with the bone well cracked, for a clear
_consommé_, or by putting the bones of fish, chickens, and meat into
water with salt and pepper, and thus making an economical soup, which
may, however, be very good. The French put everything into the soup
pot,--bones, scraps, pot liquor, the water in which onions have been
boiled, in fact in which all vegetables including beans and potatoes
have been boiled; even as a French writer says "rejected MSS. may be
thrown into the soup pot;" and the result in France is always good. It
is to be observed that every soup should be allowed to cool, and all
the fat should be skimmed off, so that the residuum may be as clear as
wine.

Delicate soups, clear _consommé_, and white soups _à la Reine_, are
great favourites in America, but in England they make a strong,
savoury article, which they call gravy soup. It is well to know how to
prepare this, as it makes a variety.

     Cut two pounds of beef from the neck into dice, and fry until
     brown. Break small two or three pounds of bones, and fry
     lightly. Bones from which streaked bacon has been cut make an
     excellent addition, but too many must not be used, lest the
     soup be salt. Slice and fry brown a pound of onions, put them
     with the meat and bones and three quarts of cold water into
     the soup pot; let it boil up, and having skimmed add two large
     turnips, a carrot cut in slices, a small bundle of sweet
     herbs, and a half a dozen pepper-corns. Let the soup boil
     gently for four or five hours, and about one hour before it is
     finished add a little piece of celery, or celery-seed tied in
     muslin. This is a most delicious flavour. When done, strain
     the soup and set it away for a night to get cold. Remove the
     fat and next day let it boil up, stirring in two spoonfuls of
     corn starch, moistened with cold water. Season with salt and
     pepper to taste, not too salt; add forcemeat balls to the
     soup, and you have a whole dinner in your soup.

An oxtail soup is made like the above, only adding the tail, which is
divided into joints, which are fried brown. Then these joints should
be boiled until the meat comes easily off the bones. When the soup is
ready put in two lumps of sugar, a glass of port wine, and pour all
into the tureen.

The Julienne soup, so delicious in summer, should be a nice clear
stock, with the addition of prepared vegetables. Unless the cook can
buy the excellent compressed vegetables which are to be had at the
Italian warehouses, it is well to follow this order:--

     Wash and scrape a large carrot, cut away all the yellow parts
     from the middle, and slice the red outside. Take an equal
     quantity of turnips and three small onions, cut in a similar
     manner. Put them in a stewpan with two ounces of butter and a
     pinch of powdered sugar, stir over the fire until a nice brown
     colour, then add a quart of clear, well-flavoured stock, and
     let all simmer together gently for three hours. When done,
     skim the fat off very carefully, and ten minutes before
     serving add a lettuce cut in shreds and blanched for a minute
     in boiling water. Simmer for five minutes and the soup will be
     ready. This is a most excellent soup if well made.

Mock-turtle soup is easily made:--

     Boil the bones of the head three hours, add a piece of gravy
     meat cut in dice and fried brown, three onions sliced and
     fried brown, a carrot, a turnip, celery, and a small bundle of
     sweet herbs; boil gently for three hours and take off the fat.
     When it is ready to be served add a glass of sherry and slices
     of lemon. The various parts of a calf's-head can be cooked and
     used as forcemeat balls, and made to look exactly like turtle.
     This soup is found canned and is almost as good as the real
     article.

Dried-pea soup, _crème d'asperge_, and bean soup, in fact all the
_purées_, are very healthful and elegant soups. The _purée_ is the
mashed mass of pea or bean, which is added to the stock.

     Boil a pint of large peas in a quart of water with a sprig of
     parsley or mint, and a dozen or so of green onions. When the
     peas are done strain and rub them through a sieve, put the
     _purée_ back into the liquor the peas were boiled in, add a
     pint of good veal or beef broth, a lump of sugar, and pepper
     and salt to taste. Let the soup get thoroughly hot without
     boiling, stir in an ounce of good butter, and the soup is
     ready.

A plain but quick and delicious soup may be made by using a can of
corn, with a small piece of pork. This warmed up quickly, with a
little milk added, is very good.

As for a _crème d'asperge_, it is better to employ a _chef_ to teach
the new cook.

Mulligatawny soup is a visitor from India. It should not be too strong
of curry powder for the average taste. The stock should be made of
chicken or veal, or the liquor in which chickens have been boiled.

     Slice and fry in butter six large onions, add four sharp, sour
     apples, cored and quartered, but not peeled. Let them boil in
     a little of the stock until quite tender, then mix with them a
     quarter of a pound of flour, and a small teaspoonful of curry
     powder. Take a quart of the stock and when the soup has boiled
     skim it; let it simmer for half an hour, then carefully take
     off all the fat, strain the soup, and rub the onions through a
     sieve. When ready to heat the soup for the dinner-table add
     any pieces of meat or chicken cut into small, delicate shapes.
     When these have been boiled together for ten minutes the soup
     will be ready; salt to taste. Boiled rice should be sent in on
     a separate dish.

Sorrel soup is a great favourite with the French people. We do not
make enough of sorrel in this country; it adds an excellent flavour.

     Carefully wash a pound of sorrel, and having picked, cut it in
     shreds, put it into a stewpan with two ounces of fresh butter
     and stir it over the fire for ten minutes. Stir in an ounce of
     flour, mix well together and add a pint and a half of good
     white stock made as for veal broth. Let it simmer for half an
     hour. Having skimmed the soup, stir in the yolks of three eggs
     beaten up in half a pint of milk or cream. Stir in a little
     pat of butter, and when dissolved pour the whole over thin
     pieces of toasted bread into the tureen.

With the large family of the broths every housewife should become
acquainted. They are invaluable for the sick, especially broths of
chicken and mutton. For veal broth the following is an elaborate, but
excellent recipe:

     Get three or four pounds of scrag, or a knuckle of veal,
     chopped into small pieces, also a ham bone, or slice of ham,
     and cover with water; let it boil up, skim it until no more
     rises. Put in four or five onions, a turnip, and later a bit
     of celery or celery seed tied in muslin, a little salt, and
     white pepper. Let it boil gently for four hours; strain the
     gravy and having taken off all the fat return the residue to
     the pot and let it boil; then slightly thicken with corn
     flour, about one teaspoonful to a quart of soup; let it simmer
     before serving. Three pounds of veal should make two quarts of
     good soup.

A sheep's-head soup is famous all over Scotland and is made as
follows:--

     Get the head of a sheep with the skin on, soak it in tepid
     water, take out the tongue and brains, break all the thin
     bones inside the cheek, and carefully wash it in several
     waters; put it on in a quart of water with a teaspoonful of
     salt and let it boil ten minutes. Pour away this water and put
     two quarts more with one pound of a scrag of mutton; add, cut
     up, six onions, two turnips, two carrots, a sprig of parsley,
     and season with pepper and salt. Let it boil gently for four
     or five hours, when the head and neck will not be too much
     cooked for the family dinner, and may be served either with
     parsley or onion sauce. It is a most savoury morsel. Strain
     the soup, and let it cool so as to remove every particle of
     fat. Rub the vegetables through a sieve to a fine _purée_. Mix
     a tablespoonful of flour in a quarter of a pint of milk; make
     the soup boil up and stir it in with the vegetables.

     Have the tongue boiled until it is very tender, skin and trim
     it, have the brains also well cooked, and chop and pound them
     very fine with the tongue, mix them with an equal weight of
     sifted bread-crumbs, a tablespoonful of chopped green
     parsley, pepper, salt, and egg, and if necessary a small
     quantity of flour to enable you to roll the mixture into
     little balls. Put an ounce of butter into a small frying-pan
     and fry the balls until a nice brown, lay them on paper before
     the fire to drain away all the fat, and put them into the soup
     after it is poured into the tureen. Scald and chop some green
     parsley and serve separately on a plate.

Thackeray thought so much of a boiled sheep's head that he made it the
point of one of his humorous poems.

     "By that grand vow that bound thee
       Forever to my side,
     And by the ring that made thee
       My darling and my bride!
     Thou wilt not fail or falter
       But bend thee to the task--
     A boiled sheep's head on Sunday
       Is all the boon I ask!"

In France, cabbage is much used in soup.

         "Ha, what is this that rises to my touch
         So like a cushion--can it be a cabbage?
         It is, it is, that deeply inspired flower
     Which boys do flout us with, but yet--I love thee,
         Thou giant rose, wrapped in a green surtout.
         Doubtless in Eden thou didst blush as bright
         As these thy puny brethren, and thy breath
           Sweetened the fragrance of her spicy air;
         And now thou seemst like a bankrupt beau
           Stripped of his gaudy hues and essences,
             And growing portly in his sober garments."

The cabbage is without honour in America; and yet if boiled in water
which is thrown away, having absorbed all its grosser essences, and
then boiled again and chopped and dressed with butter and cream, it is
an excellent vegetable. Its disagreeable odour has led to its
expulsion from many a house, but corn-beef and cabbage are not to be
despised.

Cauliflower, which Thackeray calls the "apotheosis of cabbage," is the
most delicate of vegetables; and a _purée_ of cauliflower shall close
our chapter on soups.

     Boil in salted water, using a small piece of butter, two heads
     of cauliflower, drain and pass them through a colander, dilute
     with two quarts of sauce and a quart of chicken broth, season
     with salt, white pepper, and grated nutmeg. Add a teaspoonful
     of fine white sugar, then pass the whole forcibly with a
     wooden presser through a fine sieve,--the finer the sieve the
     better the _purée_. Put the residue in a stewpan, set it on
     the fire, stir all the while till it boils, let it boil for
     ten minutes, strain well, add a mixture made with the yolks of
     six eggs and half a pint of cream, finish with four ounces of
     table butter, and serve with small, fried, square _croûtons_.

A _purée_ of celery is equally excellent; but all these soups require
an intelligent cook. It is better to have one's cook taught to make
soups by an expert, for it is the most difficult of all the dishes, if
thoroughly good. The plain soup, free from grease and well flavoured,
is easy enough after a little training, "but the chief ingredient of
soup is brains," according to a London _chef_. It is, however, a good
practice for an amateur cook to experiment and to try these various
recipes, all of which are practicable.



FISH.

     What is thy diet? Canst thou gulf a shoal
     Of herrings? Or hast thou gorge and room
     To bolt fat porpoises and dolphins whole
     By dozens, e'en as oysters we consume?
                                     PUNCH.

     The world's mine oyster, which I with sword will open.
                                     HOTSPUR.


The Egyptians, strange to say, did not deify fish, that important
article of their food. We read of the enormous yield of Lake Moeris,
which was dammed up by the great Rameses, and whose draught of fishes
brought him so enormous a revenue.

One of the most fascinating of all the Egyptian Queens, Sonivaphra,
received the revenues of one of these fisheries to keep her in
shoe-strings,--probably another name for pin money.

And yet the Egyptians, while mummying the cats and dogs and beetles,
and such small deer, made no gods of the good carp or other fish which
must have stocked the river Nile. They emblazoned the crocodile on
their monuments, but never a fish. It is a singular foreshadowing of
that great vice of the human race, ingratitude.

The Romans were fond of fish, and the records of their gastronomy
abound in fish stories. We read of Licinius Crassus, the orator, that
he lived in a house of great elegance and beauty. This house was
called the "Venus of the Palatine," and was remarkable for its size,
the taste of the furniture, and the beauty of the grounds. It was
adorned with pillars of Hymettian marbles, with expensive vases and
_triclinia_ inlaid with brass; his gardens were provided with
fish-ponds, and noble lotus-trees shaded his walks. Abenobarbus, his
colleague in the censorship, found fault with such luxury, such
"corruption of manners," and complained of his crying for the loss of
a lamprey as if it had been a favourite daughter!

This, however, was a tame lamprey, which used to come to the call of
Crassus and feed out of his hand. Crassus retorted by a public speech
against his colleague, and by his great power of ridicule turned him
into derision, jested upon his name, and to the accusation of weeping
for a lamprey, replied that it was more than Abenobarbus had done for
the loss of any of his three wives!

In the sixteenth century, that golden age of the Vatican, the splendid
court of Leo X. was the centre of artistic and literary life, and the
witty and pleasure-loving Pope made its gardens the scene of his
banquets and concerts, where he listened to the recitations of the
poets who sprung up under his protection. There beneath the shadow of
the ilex and the lauristines, in a circle so refined that ladies were
admitted, Leo himself leaned on the shoulder of the handsome Raphael,
who was allowed to caress and admire the Medicean white hand of his
noble patron. We read that this famous Pope was so fastidious as to
the fish dinners of Lent, that he invented twenty different recipes
for the chowder of that day! Walking in disguise with Raphael through
the fish-market, he espied a boy who, on his knees, was presenting a
fish to a pretty _contadina_. The scene took form and immortality in
the famous _Vierge au Poisson_, in which, conducted by the Angel
Gabriel, the youthful Saint John presents the fish to the Virgin and
child,--a beautiful picture for the church whose patron saint was a
fisherman.

Indeed, that picture of the sea of Galilee, and the sacred meaning
attached to the etymology of the word "fish," has given the finny
wanderer of the seas a peculiar and valuable personality. All this,
with the selection by our Lord of so many of his disciples from
amongst the fishermen, the many poetical associations which form
around this, the cheapest and most delicate form of food with which
the Creator has stocked this world of ours, would, if followed out,
afford a volume of suggestion, quotation, poetry, and romance with
which to embellish the art of entertaining.

Fish is now believed to produce aliment for the brain, and as such is
recommended to all authors and editors, statesmen, poets and lawyers,
clergymen and mathematicians,--all who draw on that finer fibre of the
brain which is used for the production of poetry or prose.

England is famed for its good fish, as why should it not be, with the
ocean around it? The turbot is, _par excellence_, the fish for a Lord
Mayor's dinner, and it is admirable _à la crème_ for anybody's dinner.
Excellent is the whitebait of Richmond, that mysterious little dwarf.
Eaten with slices of brown bread and butter it is a very delicious
morsel, and the whiting, which always comes to the table with his tail
in his mouth, beautifully browned outside, white as snow within, what
so excellent as a whiting, except a _sole au gratin_ with sauce
Tartare?

Fresh herrings in Scotland are delicious, almost equal to the red
mullets which Cæsar once ate at Marseilles. The fresh sardines at
Nice, and all along the Mediterranean, are very delicate, as are the
thousand shell-fish. The langoose, or large lobster of France and the
Mediterranean, is a surprise to the American traveller. Not so
delicate as our American lobster, it still is admirable for a salad.
It is so large that the flesh--if a fish has flesh--can be sliced up
and served like cold roast turkey.

The salmon, king of fish, inspires in his capture, in Scotland rivers,
in Labrador, in Canada, some of the best writing of the day. William
Black, in Scotland, and Dr. Wier Mitchell, of Philadelphia, can tell
stories of salmon-fishing which are as brilliant as Victor Hugo's
description of Waterloo, or of that mysterious jelly-fish in his
novel, "The Toilers of the Sea."

The New York market boasts the red snapper, the sheepshead, the
salmon, the salmon-trout, the Spanish mackerel, most toothsome of
viands, the sea bass, cod, halibut, the shad, the greatest profusion
of excellent oysters and clams, the cheap pan-fish, and endless eels.
The French make many fine dishes of eels, as the Romans did.

To be good, fish must be fresh. It is absolutely indispensable, to
retain certain flavours, that the fish should go from one element to
another, out of the water into the fire, and onto the gridiron or into
the frying pan as soon as possible. Therefore, if the housewife has a
fish seasonable and fresh, and a gridiron, she can make a good dish
for a hungry man.

We shall begin with the cheapest of the products of the water, and
although they may squirm out of our hands, try to bring to the table
the despised eels.

An old proverb said that matrimony was a bag in which there were
ninety-nine snakes and one eel, and the young lady who put her hand
into this agreeable company had small chance at the eel. It would seem
at first blush as if no one would care particularly for the eel. In
old England, eels were exceedingly popular, and the monks dearly loved
to feed upon them. The cellarist of Barking Abbey, Essex, in the
ancient times of monastic foundations, was, amongst other eatables, to
provide stewed eels in Lent and to bake eels on Shrove Tuesday. There
were artificial receptacles made for eels. The cruel custom of salting
eels alive is mentioned by some old writers.

"When the old serpent appeared in the guise of a stewed eel it was
impossible to resist him."

     Eels _en matelote_ should be cut in three-inch pieces, and
     salted; fry an onion brown in a little dripping, add half a
     pint of broth to the brown onion, part of a bay leaf, six
     broken pepper-corns, four whole cloves, and a gill of claret.
     Add the eels to this and simmer until thoroughly cooked.
     Remove the eels, put them on a hot dish, add a teaspoonful of
     brown flour to the sauce, strain and pour over the eels.
     Spatch-cooked eels are good.

     _Fricasseed eels_: Cut three pounds of eels into pieces of
     three inches in length, put them into a stewpan, and cover
     them with Rhine wine, or two thirds water and one third
     vinegar; add fifteen oysters, two pieces of lemon, a bouquet
     of herbs, one onion quartered, six cloves, three stalks of
     celery, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and salt to taste. Stew the
     eels one hour, remove them from the dish, strain the liquor.
     Put it back into the saucepan with a gill of cream and an
     ounce of butter rolled in flour, simmer gently a few minutes,
     pour over the fish, and you have a dish for a king.

Stewed eels are great favourites with _gourmets_, cooked as
follows:--

     Cut into three-inch pieces two pounds of medium-sized cleaned
     eels. Rub the inside of each piece with salt. Let them stand
     half an hour, then parboil them. Boil an onion in a quart of
     milk and remove the onion. Drain the eels from the water and
     add them to the milk. Season with half a teaspoonful of
     chopped parsley, salt and pepper, and the smallest bit of
     mace. Simmer until the flesh falls from the bones.

Fried eels should be slightly salted before cooking. Do not cover them
with batter, but dredge them with just flour enough to absorb all
moisture, then cover them with boiling lard.

As for the thousand and one recipes for cooking an oyster, no one need
tell an American hostess much on that subject. Raw, roasted, boiled,
stewed, scalloped and baked in patties, what so savoury as the oyster?
They should be bought alive, and opened with care by an expert, for
the bits of shell are dangerous. If eaten raw, pieces of lemon should
be served with them. Plates of majolica to hold five or seven oysters
are now to be bought at all the best crockery stores.

To stew oysters well, cream and butter should be added, and the whole
mixture done in a silver dish over an alcohol lamp. Broiled oysters
should be dipped first in melted butter, then in bread crumbs, then
put in a very fine wire gridiron, and broiled over a bright bed of
coals. Scalloped oysters should be carefully dried with a clean
napkin, then laid in a deep dish on a bed of crumbs and fresh butter,
all softened by the liquor of the oyster; a layer of oysters and a
layer of crumbs should follow each other, with little walnuts of
butter put between. The mixture should be put in a very hot oven and
baked a delicate brown, but not dried.

The plain fried oyster is very popular, but it should not be cooked
in small houses just before an entertainment, as the odour is not
appetizing. To dip them in egg batter, then in bread-crumbs, and fry
them in drippings is a common and good fashion. A more elaborate
fashion is to beat up the yolks of four eggs with three tablespoonfuls
of sweet oil, and season them with a teaspoonful of salt, and a
saltspoonful of cayenne pepper. Beat up thoroughly, dip each oyster in
this mixture and then in bread crumbs, and fry in hot oil. The best
and most elegant way of cooking an oyster is, however, "_à la
poulette_."

     Scald the oysters in their own liquor, drain them, and add to
     the liquor, salt, half an ounce of butter, the juice of half a
     lemon, a gill of cream, and a teaspoonful of dissolved flour.
     Beat the yolk of one egg, and add to the sauce, stir until the
     sauce thickens; place the oysters on a hot dish, pour the
     sauce over them, add a little chopped parsley and serve.

A simpler and more primitive but excellent way of cooking oysters is
to clean the shells thoroughly, and place them in the coals in an open
fireplace, or to roast them in hot ashes until the shells snap open.

When the oyster departs then the clam takes his place, and is
delicious as an _avant goût_ or an appetizer at a dinner. If clams are
broiled they must be done quickly, else they become hard and
indigestible.

The soft-shell clam, scalloped, makes a good dish. Clean the shells
well, then put two clams to each shell, with half a teaspoonful of
minced celery. Cut a slice of fat bacon small, add a little to each
shell, put bread crumbs on top and a little pat of butter, bake in the
oven until brown. A clam broth is a delicious and healthful beverage
for sick or well; add cream and a spoonful of sherry to it, and it
becomes a fabulously fine thing. In this mixture the clams must be
strained out before the cream and wine are added.

But if the clam is good what shall we say of crabs. Hard-shell crabs
must be boiled about twelve minutes, drained, and set away to cool.
Eaten with sandwiches and a dressing they are considered a delicacy
for supper. They can be more cooked with chopped eggs, or treated like
a chicken pasty, and cooked in a paste shell they are very good.

Take half an ounce of butter, half an onion minced, half a pound of
minced raw veal, and a small carrot shredded, a chopped crab, a pint
of boiling cream; simmer an hour, then strain into a saucepan, and
what a sauce you have!

The soft-shell crab is an invalid. He is caught when he is helpless,
feverish, and not at all, one would say, healthy. He is killed by the
jarring of the train, by thunder, by some passing noisy cart, and some
say by a fall in stocks, or a sudden change in political circles.

Such sensitive creatures must be cooked as soon as possible. It is
only necessary to remove the feathery substance under the pointed
sides of the shells, rinse them in cold water, drain, season with salt
and pepper, dredge them in flour and fry in hot fat. Crab patties and
crabs cooked in any other way than this fail to please the epicure.
Nothing with so pronounced an individuality as a soft-shelled crab
should be disguised.

A devilled crab is considered good, but it should be cooked by a negro
expert from Maryland.

Scallops are essentially good in stews, or fried, and when, cut in
small pieces, with a pint of milk, a little butter, and a little salt,
they again return to their beautiful shells and are baked as a
scallop, they are delicious. Put in pork fat, and fried, they are also
very fine.

The lobster is now considered very healthful, and as conveying more
phosphorus into the human system than any other fish. Broiled,
devilled, stewed, cooked in a fashion called _Bourdelaise_, it is the
most delicious of dishes, and as a salad what can equal it?

A baked whitefish with Bordeaux sauce is very fine.

     Clean and stuff the fish with bread-crumbs, onions, butter,
     and sweet marjoram. Put it in a baking pan, add a liberal
     quantity of butter previously rolled in flour, put in the pan
     a pint of claret, and bake for an hour. Remove the fish and
     strain the gravy, put in a teaspoonful of brown flour and a
     pinch of cayenne pepper.

Halibut with an egg sauce and a border of parsley is a dish for a
banquet, only the cook must know how to make egg sauce. Supposing we
tell her?

     Put two ounces of butter in a stew-pan; when it melts, add one
     ounce of flour. Stir for one minute or more, but do not brown.
     Then add by degrees two gills of boiling water, stirring until
     smooth, and boiling about two minutes. If not perfectly
     smooth, pass it through a sieve; then add another ounce of
     butter cut in pieces. When the butter is melted, add three
     hard-boiled eggs, chopped not too fine, season with pepper and
     salt, and serve immediately.

This sauce is admirable for cod, and for all boiled fish.

But the "perfectest thing on earth" is a broiled fish, a shad for
instance; and one of the best preventives against burning is to rub
olive oil on the fish before putting it on the gridiron. Charcoal
affords the best fire, and it must be free from all smoke and flame.

A little sweet butter, half a teaspoonful of chopped parsley and the
juice of a lemon should be melted together, and stand ready to be
poured over the broiled fish.

Mr. Lowell, in one of his delightful, witty papers in the Atlantic
Monthly years ago, regretted that he could not find a gridiron near
the St. Lawrence, although its patron saint suffered martyrdom on that
excellent kitchen utensil. It is a lamentable fact that wood fires and
gridirons are giving out. They contain within themselves the merits of
all the kitchen ranges, all the lost juices of that early American
cookery, which one who has tasted it can never forget. Where are the
broils of our childhood?

Codfish is a family stand-by, but a tasteless fish unless covered with
oysters or something very good; but salt-codfish balls are a great
luxury.

Brook trout, boiled, baked, and broiled, are all inferior to the fry.
The frying-pan has to answer for a multitude of sins, but nothing so
base can be found as to deprive it of its great glory in sending us a
fried brook-trout. "Clean and rinse a quarter-of-a-pound trout in cold
water," says one recipe.

Why not a pound-and-a-quarter trout? The recipe begins later on: after
some pork has been fried in the pan, throw in your carefully cleaned
fish, no matter what their weight may be, turn them three times most
carefully. Send to table without adding or detracting from their
flavour.

This is for the sportsman who cooks his trout himself by a wood fire
in the woods; and no other man ever arrives at just that perfect way
of cooking a trout. When the trout has come down from cooling springs
to the hot city, it requires a seasoning of salt, pepper, and
lemon-juice.

Frogs--frogs as cooked in France, _grenouilles à la poulette_--are a
most luxurious delicacy. They are very expensive and are to be bought
at the _marché St. Honoré_. As only the hind legs are eaten, and the
price is fifteen francs a dozen, they are not often seen. We might
have them in this country for the catching. Of their tenderness,
succulence, and delicacy of flavour there can be no question. They are
clean feeders, and undoubtedly wholesome.

Sala, writing in "Breakfasts in Bed" does not praise _bouillabaisse_.
He declares that the cooks plunge a rolling-pin in tallow and then
with it stir that _pot pourri_ of red mullet, tomatoes, red pepper,
red Burgundy, oil, and garlic to which Thackeray has written so
delightful a lyric. "Against fish soups, turtle, terrapin, oyster, and
bisque," he says, "I can offer no objection." The Italians again have
their good _zuppa marinara_, which is not all like the _bouillabaisse_,
and the Russians make a very appetizing fish pottage which is called
_batwina_, the stock of which is composed of _kraus_, or half-brewed
barley beer, and oil. Into this is put the fish known as the sterlet
of the Volga, or the sassina of the Gulf of Finland, together with bay
leaves, pepper, and lumps of ice. _Batwina_ is better than
_bouillabaisse_.



THE SALAD.

     "Epicurean cooks shall sharpen with cloyless sauce the
     appetite."


Of all the vegetables of which a salad can be made, lettuce is the
greatest favourite. That lettuce which is _panachée_, says the
_Almanach des Gourmands_, that is, when it has streaked or variegated
leaves, is truly _une salade de distinction_. We prefer in this
country the fine, crisp, solid little heads, of which the leaves are
bright green. The milky juices of the lettuce are soporific, like
opium seeds, and predispose the eater to sleep, or to repose of temper
and to philosophic thought.

After, or before, lettuce comes the fragrant celery, always an
appetizer. Then the tomato, a noble fruit as sweet in smell as Araby
the blest, which makes an illustrious salad. Its medicinal virtue is
as great as its gastronomical goodness. It is the friend of the well,
for it keeps them well, and the friend of the sick, for it brings them
back to the lost sheep-folds of hygeia.

There are water-cress and dandelion, common mustard, boiled asparagus,
and beet root, potato salad, beloved of the Germans, the cucumber,
most fragrant and delicate of salads, a salad of eggs, of lobsters, of
chickens, sausages, herrings, and sardines. Anything that is edible
can be made into a salad, and a vegetable mixture of cold French
beans, boiled peas, carrots and potato, onion, green peppers, and
cucumber, covered with fresh mayonnaise dressing, is served ice cold
in France, to admiration.

To learn to make a salad is the most important of qualifications for
one who would master the art of entertaining.

Here is a good recipe for the dressing:--

     Two yolks of eggs, a teaspoonful of salt, and three of
     mustard,--it should have been mixed with hot water before
     using,--a little cayenne pepper, a spoonful of vinegar; pound
     the eggs and mix well. Common vinegar is preferred by many,
     but some like tarragon vinegar better. Stir this gently for a
     minute, then add two full spoonfuls of best oil of Lucca.

     "A sage for the mustard, a miser for the vinegar, a
     spendthrift for the oil, and a madman to stir" is the old saw.
     Add a teaspoonful of brown sugar, half a dozen little spring
     onions cut fine, three or four slices of beet root, the white
     of the egg, not cut too small, and then the lettuce itself,
     which should be torn from the head stock by the fingers.

Some French salad dressers say _fatiguez la salade_, which means,
shake it, mix it, and bruise it; but the modern arrangement is to
delicately cover the leaves with the dressing, and not to bruise them.
This is an old-fashioned salad.

An excellent salad of cold boiled potatoes cut into slices about an
inch thick, may be made with thin slices of fresh beet root, and
onions cut very thin, and very little of them, with the same dressing,
minus the sugar.

Francatelli speaks of a Russian salad with lobster, a German salad
with herrings, and an Italian salad with potatoes; but these come more
under the head of the mayonnaises than of the simpler salads.

The cucumber comes next to lettuce, as a purely vegetable salad, and
is most desirable with fish. Dr. Johnson declared that the best thing
you could do with a cucumber, after you had prepared it with much care
and thought, was to throw it out of the window; but Dr. Johnson,
although he could write Rasselas and a dictionary, knew nothing about
the art of entertaining. He was an eater, a glutton, a _gourmand_, not
a _gourmet_. How should he dare to speak against a cucumber salad?

Endive and chiccory should be added to the list of vegetable salads.
Neither of them is good, however.

An old-fashioned French salad is made thus: "Chop three anchovies, an
onion, and some parsley small; put them in a bowl with two
tablespoonfuls of vinegar, one of oil, a little mustard and salt. When
well mixed, add some slices of cold roast beef not exceeding two or
three inches long. Make three hours before eating. Garnish with
parsley." This is by no means a bad way of serving up yesterday's
roast beef.

The etymology of salad is said to be "sal," or something salted.
Shakspeare mentions the salad five or six times. In Henry VI., Jack
Cade, in his extremity of peril when hiding from his pursuers in Ida's
garden, says he has climbed over the wall to see if he could eat
grass, or pick a salad, which he says "will not come amiss to cool a
man's stomach in the hot weather." In Antony and Cleopatra, the
passionate queen speaks of her "salad days" when she was "green in
judgment, cool in blood." This means, however, something raw or
unripe. Hamlet uses the word with the more ancient orthography of
"sallet," and says in his speech to the players, "I remember when
there were no sallets in these times to make them savoury." By this he
meant there was nothing piquant in them, no Attic salt. One author,
not so illustrious, claims that the noblest prerogative of man is
that he is a cooking animal, and a salad eater.

"The lion is generous as a hero, the rat artful as a lawyer, the dove
gentle as a lover, the beaver is a good engineer, the monkey is a
clever actor, but none of them can make a salad. The wisest sheep
never thought of culling and testing his grasses, seasoning them with
thyme or tarragon, softening them with oil, exasperating them with
mustard, sharpening them with vinegar, spiritualizing them with a
suspicion of onions, in that no sheep has made a salad. Their only
sauce is hunger.

"Salads," says this pleasant writer, "were invented by Adam and
Eve,--probably made of pomegranates as to-day in Spain."

Of all salads, lobster is the most picturesque and beautiful. Its very
scarlet is a trumpet tone to appetite. It lies embedded in green
leaves like a magnificent tropical cactus. A good dressing for lobster
is essence of anchovy, mushroom ketchup, hard-boiled eggs, and a
little cream.

Mashed potatoes, rubbed down with cream, or simply mixed with vinegar,
are no bad substitute for eggs, and impart to the salad a new and not
unpleasing flavour. French beans, the most delicate of vegetables,
give the salad eater a new sensation. A dressing can be mixed in the
following proportions: "Four mustard ladles of mustard, four salt
ladles of salt. Three spoonfuls of best Italian oil, twelve of
vinegar, three unboiled eggs. All are to be carefully rubbed
together." This is for those who like sours and not sweets. An old
French _émigré_, who had to make his living in England during the time
of the Regency, a man of taste and refinement, an epicurean Marquis,
carried to noblemen's houses his mahogany box full of essences,
spices, and condiments, and made his salad in this way: he chopped up
three anchovies with a little shallot and some parsley; these he threw
into a bowl with a little mustard and salt, two tablespoonfuls of oil,
and one brimming over with vinegar. When thoroughly merged he added
his lettuce, or celery, or potato, extremely thin, short slices of
best Westphalia ham, or the finest roast beef, which he had steeped in
the vinegar. He garnished with parsley and a few layers of bacon. This
man was called _Le Roi de la salade_.

A cod mayonnaise is a good dish:--

     Boil a large cod in the morning. Let it cool; then remove the
     skin and bones. For sauce put some thick cream in a porcelain
     sauce-pan and thicken it with corn-flour which has been mixed
     with cold water. When it begins to boil stir in the beaten
     yolks of two eggs. As it cools beat it well to prevent it from
     being lumpy, and when nearly cold stir in the juice of two
     lemons, a little tarragon vinegar, a pinch of salt, and a
     _soupçon_ of cayenne pepper. Peel and slice some very ripe
     tomatoes or cold potatoes, steep them in vinegar with cayenne,
     pounded ginger, and plenty of salt. Lay these around the fish
     and cover with cream sauce. The tomatoes and potatoes should
     be carefully drained before they are placed around the fish.

A salmon covered with a green sauce is a famous dish for a ball
supper; indeed, there are thirty or forty salads with a cold fish
foundation.

This art of dressing cold vegetables with pepper, salt, oil, and
vinegar, should be studied. In France they give you these salads to
perfection at the _déjeuner à la fourchette_. Fillippini, of
Delmonico's, in his admirable work, "The Table," adds Swedish salad,
String Bean Salad, Russian Salad, Salad Macédoine, _Escarolle_,
_Doucette_, _Dandelion à la coutoise_, _Baib de Capucine_,
Cauliflower salad, and _Salad a l'Italian_. I advise any young
housekeeper to buy this book of his, as suggestive. It is too
elaborate and learned, however, for practical application to any
household except one in which a French cook is kept.

A mayonnaise dressing is a triumph of art when well made:--

     A tablespoonful of mustard, one teaspoonful of salt, the yolk
     of three uncooked eggs, the juice of half a lemon, a quarter
     of a cupful of butter, a pint of oil, and a cupful of whipped
     cream. Beat the yolks and dry ingredients until they are very
     light, with a wooden spoon or with a wire beater. The bowl in
     which the dressing is being made should be set in a pan of ice
     water. Add oil, a few drops at a time, until the dressing
     becomes thick and rather hard. After it has reached this stage
     the oil can be added more rapidly. When it gets so thick as to
     be difficult to beat add a little vinegar, then add the juice
     of the lemon and the whipped cream, and place on ice until
     desired to be used.

Another dressing can be made more quickly:--

     The yolk of a raw egg, a tablespoonful of mixed mustard, one
     fourth of a teaspoonful of salt, six tablespoonfuls of oil.
     Stir the yolk, mustard, and salt together with a fork until
     they begin to thicken; add the oil gradually, stirring all the
     time.

An excellent salad dressing is also made by using the yolk of
hard-boiled eggs, some cold mashed potatoes well pressed together with
a fork, oil, vinegar, mustard, and salt rubbed in, in the proportions
of two of oil to one of vinegar.

A salad must be fresh and freshly made, to be good. Never serve a
salad the second day; and it is not well to cover a delicate salad
with too much mayonnaise. The very heart of the celery or the
delicate inner leaves of the lettuce are the best for dinners. The
heavy chicken and lobster, cabbage and potato salads, are dishes for
lunches and suppers.

The chief employment of a kitchen maid, in France, where a man cook is
kept, is to wash the vegetables; and you see her swinging the salad in
a wire safe after washing it delicately in fresh water. The care
bestowed on these minor morals of cookery, so often wholly neglected,
adds the finishing touch to the excellence of a French dinner.

For a green mayonnaise dressing, so much admired on salmon, use a
little chopped spinach and finely chopped parsley. The juice from
boiled beets can be used to make a fine red dressing. Two of these
dishes will make a plain, country lunch-table very nice, and will have
an appetizing effect, as has anything that betokens care, forethought,
neatness, and taste.

Some people cannot eat oil. Often the best oil cannot be bought in a
retired and rural neighbourhood. But an excellent substitute is fresh
butter or clarified chicken-fat, very carefully prepared, and icy
cold. The yolks of four raw eggs, one tablespoonful of salt, one of
mustard, the juice of a lemon, and a speck of cayenne pepper should be
used.

Two drops of onion juice, or a bit of onion sliced, will add great
piquancy to salad dressing, if every one likes onion.

I have never tried the following recipe,--I have tried all the
others,--but I have heard that it was very good:

     Four tablespoonfuls of butter, one of flour, one tablespoonful
     of salt, one of sugar, one heaping teaspoonful of mustard, a
     speck of cayenne, one cupful of milk, half a cupful of
     vinegar, three eggs. Let the butter get hot in a saucepan. Add
     the flour and stir until smooth, being careful not to brown.
     Add the milk and boil up. Place the saucepan in another of hot
     water. Beat the eggs, salt, pepper, sugar, and mustard
     together, and add the vinegar. Stir this into the boiling
     mixture and stir until it thickens like soft custard, which
     will be about five minutes. Set away to cool, and when cold,
     bottle and place in the ice-chest. This will keep two weeks.

If one wishes to use prepared mayonnaise it is better to buy that
which is sold at the grocers. It has not the charm of a fresh
dressing, however, but is rather like those elaborated impromptus
which some studied talkers get off.

A very pretty salad can be made of nasturtium-blossoms, buttercups, a
head of lettuce, and a pint of water-cresses. It is to be covered with
the French dressing and eaten immediately.

Asparagus is so good in itself that it seems a shame to dress it as a
salad; yet it is very good eaten with oil, vinegar, and salt.
Cauliflower, cold, is delicious as a salad, and can be made very
ornamental with a garniture of beet root, which is a good ingredient
for a salad of salt codfish, boiled.

Sardine salads are very appetizing for lunch. Arrange a cold salmon or
codfish on a bed of lettuce. Split six sardines, remove the bones, and
mix them into the dressing. Garnish the whole dish with sardines, and
cover with the dressing.

All kinds of cooked fish can be served with salads. Lettuce is the
best green salad to serve with them; but all cooked and cold
vegetables go well with fish. Add capers to the mayonnaise.

A housekeeper who has conquered the salad question can always add to
the plainest dinner a desirable dish. She can feed the hungry, and she
can stimulate the most jaded fancy of the over-fastidious _gourmet_ by
these delicate and consummate luxuries.

Here is Sydney Smith's recipe for a salad:--

    "To make this condiment your poet begs
       The pounded yellow of two hard-boiled eggs;
     Two boiled potatoes, passed through kitchen sieve,
       Smoothness and softness to the salad give.
     Let onion atoms wink within the bowl,
       And half suspected, animate the whole;
     Of mordant mustard, add a single spoon,
       (Distrust the condiment that bites too soon),
     But deem it not, thou man of herbs, a fault,
       To add a double quantity of salt.
     Four times the spoon with oil of Lucca crown,
       And twice with vinegar, procured from town;
     And lastly, o'er the favoured compound toss
       A magic _soupçon_ of anchovy sauce.
     Oh, green and glorious! Oh, herbaceous treat!
       'T would tempt the dying anchorite to eat!
     Back to the world would turn his fleeting soul,
       To plunge his fingers in a salad bowl!
     Serenely full, the epicure would say,
       'Fate cannot harm me,--I have dined to-day.'"

LOBSTER SALAD.

     "Take, take lobsters and lettuces,
       Mind that they send you the fish that you order;
     Take, take a decent sized salad bowl,
       One that's sufficiently deep in the border;
     Cut into many a slice,
       All of the fish that's nice;
     Place in the bowl with due neatness and order;
       Then hard-boiled eggs you may
     Add in a neat array,
       All toward the bowl, just by way of a border.

     "Take from the cellar of salt a proportion,
       Take from the castors both pepper and oil,
     With vinegar too, but a moderate portion,--
       Too much of acid your salad will spoil;
     Mix them together,
       You need not mind whether
     You blend them exactly in apple-pie order,
       But when you've stirred away,
     Mix up the whole you may,
       All but the eggs which are used as a border.

     "Take, take plenty of seasoning;
       A teaspoonful of parsley that's chopped in small pieces
     Though, though, the point will bear reasoning,
       A small taste of onion the flavour increases
     As the sauce curdle may,
       Should it, the process stay.
     Patiently do it again in good order;
       For if you chance to spoil
     Vinegar, eggs, and oil,
       Still to proceed would on lunacy border."

A Spanish salad, _gaspacho_, is a favourite food of the Andalusian
peasant. It is but bread soaked in oil and water, with a large Spanish
onion peeled, and a fresh cucumber.

     Slice three tomatoes, take out the grain and cut up the fruit.
     Arrange carefully all these materials in a shallow earthen
     pan, tier upon tier, salting and peppering each to taste,
     pouring in oil plentifully, and vinegar. Last of all, let the
     salad lie in some cool spot for an hour or two, then sprinkle
     over it two handfuls of bread-crumbs.

In Spanish peasant houses, the big wooden bowl hanging below the eaves
to keep it cool is always ready for attack. The oil in Spain is not to
our taste; but the salad made as above, with good oil, is delicious.
It should have a sprinkling of red pepper.



DESSERTS.

     There is not in the wide world so tempting a sweet
     As that trifle where custard and macaroons meet.
     Oh! the latest sweet tooth from my head must depart
     Ere the taste of that trifle shall not win my heart.

     Yet it is not the sugar that's thrown in between,
     Nor the peel of the lemon so candied and green,
     'T is not the rich cream that's whipped up by a mill,
     Oh, no; it is something more exquisite still!


The great meaning of dessert is to offer "something more exquisite
still." And it is the province of the housekeeper, be she young or
old, to study how this can be done.

Nothing in European dinners can compare with the American custards,
puddings, and pies. We are accused as a nation of having eaten too
many sweets, and of having ruined our teeth thereby; but who that has
languished in England over the insipid desserts at hotels, and the
tooth-sharpeners called "sweets," meaning tarts as sour as an east
wind, has not sighed for an American pie? In Paris the cakes are
pretty to look at, but oh, how they break their promise when you eat
them! Nothing but sweetened white of egg. One thing they surpass us
in,--_omelette soufflé_; and a _gâteau St. Honoré_ is good, but with
that word of praise we dismiss the great French nation.

Just look at our grand list of fruit desserts: apple charlotte,
apricots with rice, banana charlotte, banana fritters, blackberry
short-cake, strawberry short-cake, velvet cream with strawberries,
fresh pine-apples in jelly, frozen bananas, frozen peaches in cream,
orange cocoanut salad, orange salad, peach fritters, peach meringue,
peach short-cake, plum salad, salad of mixed fruits, sliced pears with
whipped cream, stewed pears, plain, and pumpkin pie! But oh! there is
"something more exquisite still," and that is an apple pie.

     "All new dishes fade, the newest oft the fleetest;
     Of all the pies ever made, the apple's still the sweetest.
     Cut and come again, the syrup upward springing,
     While life and taste remain, to thee my heart is clinging.
     Who a pie would make, first his apple slices,
     Then he ought to take some cloves and the best of spices,
     Grate some lemon rind, butter add discreetly,
     Then some sugar mix, but mind,--the pie not made too sweetly.
     If a cook of taste be competent to make it,
     In the finest paste will enclose and bake it."

During years of foreign travel I have never met a dish so perfect as
the American apple pie can be, with cream.

Then look at our puddings; they are richer, sweeter, more varied than
any in the world, the English plum-pudding excepted. That is a
ponderous dainty, which few can eat. It looks well when dressed with
holly and lighted up, but it is not to be eaten every day. Baked bread
pudding, carrot pudding, exceedingly delicate, chocolate pudding, cold
cabinet-pudding, boiled rice-pudding with custard sauce, poor man's
rice-pudding, green-apple pudding, Indian pudding, minute pudding,
tapioca pudding, and all the custards boiled and baked with infinite
variety of flavour,--these are the every-day luxuries, and they are
very great ones, of the American table.

One charming thing about dessert and American dishes is that ladies
can make them. They do not flush the face or derange the white apron.
They are pleasant things to dally with,--milk and eggs, and spice and
sugar. A model kitchen is every lady's delight. In these days of
tiles, and marble pastry-boards, and modern improvements, what pretty
things kitchens are.

The model dairy, too, is a delight, with its upright milk-pans, in
which the cream is marked off by a neat little thermometer, and its
fire-brick floor. How cool and neat it is! Sometimes a stream of fresh
water flows under the floor, as the river runs under the Château of
Chenonceaux, where Diane de Poitiers dressed her golden hair.

In the model kitchen is the exquisite range, with its polished
_batterie de cuisine_. Every brilliant saucepan seems to say, "Come
and cook in me;" every porcelain-lined pan urges upon one the
necessity of stewing nectarines in white sugar; every bright can
suggests the word "conserve," which always makes the mouth water;
every clatter of the skewers says, "Dainty dishes, come and make me."
All this is quite fascinating to an amateur.

No pretty woman, if she did but know it, is ever so pretty as when she
is playing cook, and doing it well. The clean white apron, the short,
clean, cambric gown, the little cap, the white, bare arms,--the
glorified creams and jellies, pies and Charlotte Russe, cakes and
puddings, which fall from such fingers are ambrosial food.

There is a great passion, in the properly regulated woman's heart, for
the cleanly part of the household work. The love of a dairy is, with
many a duchess, part of the business of her rank. In our country,
where ladies are compelled to put a hand, once perhaps too often,
owing to the insufficiency of servants, to the cooking, it is less a
pastime, but a knowledge of it is indispensable. To cook a heavy
dinner in hot weather, to wash the dishes afterward, this is sober
prose, and by a very dull author; but to make the dessert, this is
poetry. In the early morning the hostess should go into her neat dairy
to skim the cream; it will be much thicker if she does. She will
prepare all things for the desserts of the day. She will make her
well-flavoured custard and set it in the ice-chest. She will place her
compote of pears securely on a high shelf, away from that ubiquitous
cat who has, in most families, so remarkable and so irrepressible an
appetite.

Then she should make a visit to the kitchen before dinner, to see to
it that the roast birds are garnished with water-cress, that the
vegetables are properly prepared, that the dishes are without a smear
on their lower surface. All this attention makes good servants and
very good dinners.

In the matter of flavouring, the coloured race has us at a great
disadvantage. Any old coloured cook can distance her white "Missus"
there. This highly gifted race seem to have a sixth sense on the
subject of flavours. The rich tropical nature breaks out in
reminiscences of orange-blossoms, pineapple, guava, cocoanut, and
mandarin orange. Never can the descendants of the poor, half-starved,
frozen exiles of Plymouth Rock hope to achieve such custards and
puddings as these Ethiops pour out. It is as if some luxurious and
beneficent gift had left us when we were made poets, orators,
philosophers, preachers, and authors, when we were given what we
proudly term a higher intelligence. Who would not exchange all the
cold, mathematical, intellectual supremacy of which we boast for that
luscious gift of making pies and puddings _à ravir_?

The making of pastry is so delicate and so varied a task that we can
only say, approach it with cold hands, cold ice-water, roll it on a
marble slab, then bake it in a very hot oven.

Learn to stew well. Stew your fruit in a porcelain stewpan before
putting it in your tarts. It is one of the most wholesome forms of
cookery; a French novelist calls the stewpan the "favourite arm, the
talisman of the cook." A celebrated physician said that the action of
the stewpan was like that of the stomach, and it is a great gain if we
can help that along. Stewing gooseberries, cherries, and even apples
with sugar and lemon-peel before putting them in the tart, ensures a
good pie.

Whipped white of egg is an elegant addition to most dessert dishes,
and every lady should provide herself with wire whisks.

Whipped to a strong froth with sugar, and lemon or vanilla flavouring,
this garnish makes an ordinary into a superior pudding. New-laid eggs
are exceedingly difficult to beat up well. Take those which have been
laid several days. Have a deep bowl with a circular bottom, and in
beating the eggs keep the whisk as much as possible in an upright
position, moving it very rapidly; a little boiling water, a
tablespoonful to two eggs, and a teaspoonful of sifted sugar put to
them before beating is commenced, facilitates the operation.

For _omelette soufflé_ the white of eggs, beaten, should be firm
enough to cut.

An orange-custard pudding is so very good that we must give a
time-honoured recipe:--

     Boil a pint of new milk, pour it upon three eggs lightly
     beaten, mix in the grated peel of an orange, and two ounces of
     loaf sugar; beat all together for ten minutes, then pour the
     custard into a pie dish, set it into another containing a
     little water, and put it in a moderate oven. When the custard
     is set, which generally takes about half an hour, take it out
     and let it get cold. Then sprinkle over rather thickly some
     very fine sugar, and brown with a salamander. This should be
     eaten cold.

Of rice and tapioca puddings the variety is endless, and they are most
healthful. A wife who will give her dyspeptic husband a good pudding
every day may perhaps save his life, his fortunes, and if he is an
author, his literary reputation.

An antiquary of the last century wrote, "Cookery was ever reckoned a
branch of the art medical; the verb _curare_ signifies equally to
dress vegetables and to cure a distemper, and everybody has heard of
Dr. Diet, and kitchen physic."

Indeed that most sacred part of a woman's duty, learning to cook for
the sick, can be studied through desserts. A lady, very ill in Paris
through a long winter, declared that she would have been cured had she
once tasted cream-toast, or tapioca pudding; both were luxuries which
she never encountered.

Then come all the jellies; and it is better to make your own gelatine
from the real calves'-feet than to use patent gelatine. The latter,
however, is very good, and saves time. It also makes excellent
foundation for all the so-called creams.

Some ardent housekeepers put up all their jams, preserves, and
currant jelly; some even make the cordials curaçoa, noyau, peach
brandy, ginger cordial, and cherry brandy, but this is unnecessary.
They can be bought cheaper and better than they can be made.

The history of liqueurs is a curious one. Does any one ever think, as
he tastes Chartreuse, of the gloomy monks who dig their own graves,
and never speak save to say, "Mes frères, il faut mourir," who alone
can make this sparkling and delicate liqueur which figures at every
grand feast?

I have made an expedition to their splendid mountain-bound convent. It
is one of the most glorious drives in Europe, and rises into Alpine
grandeur and solemnity. There, amid winter's cold and summer's heat,
the Chartreuse lives in severe penance, making his hospitable liqueur
which enchants the world, out of the chamomile and other herbs which
grow around his convent.

The best French liqueurs were made formerly at La Côte by the
Visetandine nuns. Kirschwasser is made from the cherries which grow in
the Alpine Tyrol, in one small province which produces nothing else.

Liqueurs were invented for Louis XIV. in his old age. A cordial was
made by mixing brandy with sugar and scents.

In making a mince pie, do not forget the excellent brandy, and the
dash of orange curaçoa, which should be put in by the lady herself.
Else why is it that otherwise the mince pie seems to lack the
inspiriting and hidden fire. We read that there is "many a slip 'twixt
the cup and the lip." Perhaps the cook could tell, but one may be very
sure she will not.

The modern, elegant devices by which strawberries, violets, and
roseleaves, orange blossoms, and indeed all berries can be candied
fresh in sugar, afford a pretty pastime for amateur cooks. But if near
a confectioner in the city these can be bought cheaper than they can
be made. It may amuse an invalid to make them, and the art is easily
learned.

The cheese _fondu_ is a great favourite at foreign desserts. It is of
Swiss origin. It is a healthful, savoury, and appetizing dish, quickly
dressed and good to put at the end of a dinner for unexpected guests.

     Take as many eggs as there are guests, and then about a third
     as much by weight of the best Gruyères cheese, and the half of
     that of butter. Break and beat up well the eggs in a saucepan,
     then add the butter and the cheese, grated or cut in small
     pieces; place the saucepan on the fire, and stir with a wooden
     spoon till it is of a thick and soft consistence; put in salt
     according to the age of the cheese,--fresh cheese requires the
     most,--and a strong dose of pepper, then bake it like macaroni
     and send to table hot.

One pie we have which is national; it is that made of the pumpkin, and
it is notoriously good. Also we may claim the squash pie and the
sweet-potato pie, both of which merit the highest encomiums.

Our fruits are so plentiful and so good that few housekeepers can fail
of having a good dessert of fruits alone. But do not force the
seasons. Take them as they come. When fruits are cheapest then they
are best. Our peaches have more flavour than those of Europe, and our
grapes are unrivalled. Of plums and pears, France has better than we
can boast, but our strawberries are as good and as plentiful as in
England.

In fact, all the wild berries which are now getting to be cultivated
berries, like blackberries, blueberries, huckleberries, and
raspberries, are better than similar fruits abroad. The wild
strawberry of the Alps is, however, delicious in flavour and
sweetness.

A very grand dessert is furnished with ices of every flavour, jellies
holding fruit and flavoured with maraschino, all sorts of bonbons,
nuts in sugar, candied grapes and oranges, fresh fruits in season, and
ending with liqueurs and black coffee.

A simple pudding, or pie followed by grapes and peaches, with the cup
of black coffee afterward, is the national dessert of our United
States. In winter it may be enriched by a Newtown pippin or a King of
Tompkins County apple, some boiled chestnuts and a few other nuts,
some Florida oranges, or those delicious little mandarins, perhaps
raised by the immortal Rip Van Winkle, our own Joe Jefferson, on his
Louisiana estate. He seems to have infused them with the flavour of
his own rare and cheerful genius. He has raised a laugh before this,
as well as the best mandarin oranges. Some dyspeptics declare that to
chew seven roasted almonds after dinner does them good. And the
roasted almonds fitly close the chapter on desserts.



GERMAN EATING AND DRINKING.

     "I wonder if Charlemagne ever drank
     A tankard of Assmanschausen. Nay!
     If he had, his empire never would rank
     As it does with the royalist realms to-day;
     For the goddess that laughs within the cup
     Had wiled and won him from blood and war,
     And shown, as he drained her long draughts up,
     There was something better worth living for
     Than kingcraft keeping his gruff brow sad.
     I wish from my very soul she had."


The deep, dark, swiftly flowing Rhine, its legends, its forests of
silver firs and pines, its mountains crowned with castles, and its
hillsides blushing with the bending vine, the convent's ancient walls,
the glistening spire, the maidens with their plaited hair, and "hands
that offer early flowers," all the bright, beautiful, romantic
landscape, the dancing waves which wash its historic shores, its
donjon keeps and haunted Tenter Rock, its

     "Beetling walls with ivy grown,
     Frowning heights of mossy stone,"--

all this beauty is placed in the land of the sauer-kraut, the herring
salad, the sweet stewed fruit with pork, pig and prune sauce, carp
stewed in beer, raw goose-flesh or Göttingen sausages, potato
sweetened, and cabbage soured,--in a land, in short, whose kitchen is
an abomination to all other nations.

Not that one does not get an excellent dinner at a German hotel in a
great city. But all the cooks are French. The powerful young emperor
has, however, given his orders that all _menus_ shall hereafter be
written in German; the language of Ude, Soyer, Valet, and Francatelli,
Brillat, Savarin, and Béchamel, is to be replaced by German.

But if the viands are not good, the wines are highly praised by the
_gourmet_; and as these wines are often exported, it is said that one
gets a better German wine in New York than at a second-class hotel at
Bonn or Cologne or Düsseldorf,--on the same principle that fish at
Newport is less fresh than at New York, for it is all bought, sent to
New York, and then sent back to Newport. In other words, the exporters
are careful to keep up the reputation of their exported wines.

Assmanschausen is a red Rhine wine of high degree; some _gourmets_
call it the Burgundy of the Rhine. This poetic beverage is found
within the gorge of the Rhine.

The bend which the noble river assumes at the Rheingau is said to have
the effect of concentrating the sun's rays, reflected from the surface
of the water as from a mirror, upon the vine-clad slopes; and it is to
this circumstance, combined with the favourable nature of the soil,
and to the vineyards being completely sheltered from the north winds
by the Taunus range, that the marked superiority of the wines of the
Rheingau is ordinarily attributed.

     "Bacharach has produced another fine wine.
     'He never has been to Heaven and back
     Who has not drunken of Bacharach.'"

And Longfellow says:--

     "At Frankfort on the Maine,
     And at Würtzburg on the Stein,
     At Bacharach on the Rhine,
     Grow the three best kinds of wine."

We know but little of the superior red wines of Walporzheimer,
Ahrweiler, and Bodendorfer, which come from the valley of the Ahr. The
Ahr falls into the Rhine near Sinzig, midway between Coblenz and Bonn.
The wines from its beautiful vineyards are a fine deep red. The taste
is astringent, somewhat like port. There is an agreeable red wine
called Kreutzburger which comes from the neighbourhood of
Ehrenbreitstein. Linz on the Rhine sends us a good red wine known as
Dattenberger. These are all pure wines which know no doctoring.

The Liebfrauenmilch is a Riesling wine with a fine bouquet. It owes
its celebrity rather to its name than its merits. It comes from the
vineyards adjoining the Liebfrauen Kirche near Worms, and was named by
some pious churchman.

No wines have as many poetical tributes as the Rhine wines. One of the
English poets sings:--

     "O for a kingdom rocky-throned,
     Above the brimming Rhine,
     With vassals who should pay their toll
     In many sorts of wine.
     Above me naught but the blue air,
     And all below, the vine,
     I'd plant my throne, where legends say
     In nights of harvest-time
     King Charlemagne, in golden robe,--
     So runs the rustic rhyme,--
     Doth come to bless the mellowing crops
     While bells of Heaven chime."

The Steinbergers, the Hochheimers, Marcobrunners, and Rüdesheimers,
sound like so many noble families. Indeed an American senator, hearing
these fine names, remarked: "I have no doubt, sir, they are all very
nice girls."

There is a famous Hochheimer, no less than a hundred and sixty-seven
years old, the vintage of that year when the Duke of Marlborough
gained the Battle of Ramillies. Let us hope that he and Prince Eugene
moistened their clay and labours with some of this famous wine. These
wines do not last, however. The best age is ten years, and those which
have been stored in the antique vaulted cellar of the Bernardine Abbey
of Eberbach, world-renowned as the Grand-ducal Cabinet wine of the
ruler of Nassau, are now completely run out. Even Rudesheimer of 1872
is no longer good.

It must be remembered, however, that these wines are never fortified.
To put extraneous alcohol into their beloved Rhine wine would rouse
Rudolph of Hapsburg and Conrad of Hotstettin from the sleep of
centuries.

The Steinberger Cabinet of 1862 is the most superb. Of Rhine wines for
bouquet, refined flavour, combined richness and delicacy. We do not
except Schloss Johannisberger, because that is not in the market. A
Marcobrunner and a Rüdesheimer are not to be despised.

Prince Metternich sent to Jules Janin for his autograph, and the witty
poet editor sent a receipt for twelve bottles of Imperial Schloss
Johannisberger. The Prince took the hint and had a dozen of the very
best cabinet wine forwarded, every bottle being sealed and every cork
duly branded with the Prince's crest! The Johannisberger wine is
excessively sweet, singularly soft, and gives forth a delicious
perfume, a rich, limpid, amber-coloured wine, with a faint bitter
flavour; it is as beautiful to look at as it is luscious to the taste,
and it possesses a bouquet which the Empress Eugénie compared to that
of heliotrope, violets, and geranium leaves combined.

The refined pungent flavour of a good Hock, its slight racy
sharpness, with an after almond flavour, make it an admirable
appetizer. The staircase vineyards, in which the grapes grow on the
Rhine, seem to catch all the revivifying influences of sunshine. Their
splendid golden colour is caught from those first beams of the sun as
he greets his bride, the Earth, after he has been separated from her
for twelve dark hours.

Some very good wine comes from the Rochusberg, immediately opposite
Rüdesheim. Goethe heard a sermon here once in which the preacher
glorified God in proportion to the number of bottles of good wine it
was daily vouchsafed to him to stow away under his waistband.

It was here that the rascal lived who drank wine out of a boot,
immortalized by Longfellow. We can hardly, however, abuse the man, for
he had an incurable thirst, and no crystal goblet would have held
enough for him,--not indeed the biggest German beer mug.

Longfellow, in the "Golden Legend," has a chapter devoted to wine. In
this poem the old cellarer muses, as he goes to draw the fine wine for
the fathers, who sit above the salt, and he utters this truth of those
brothers who sit below the salt:--

       "Who cannot tell bad wine from good,
     And are much better off than if they could."

The superior wines of the Rhine, Walporzheimer, Ahrweiler and
Bodendorfer, all deserve notice.

The kind of wine to be served with a dinner must depend on the means
of the host. It is to be feared that, ignorantly or otherwise, many
wines with high-sounding names which are not good are offered to
guests.

Mr. Evarts made a witty remark on this subject. Some one said to him,
"I hear that as a great diner-out you find yourself the worse for
drinking so many different sorts of wine." "Oh no," said Mr. Evarts,
"I do not object to the different wines, it is the indifferent wines
which hurt me!"

Savarin says, sententiously, "Nothing can exceed the treachery of
asking people to dinner under the guise of friendship, and then giving
them to eat or drink of that which may be injurious to health." We
should think so. That was the pleasant hospitality of the Borgias. In
the neighbourhood of Neuwied, the dealers are accused of much
doctoring of wine. During the vintage, at night, when the moon has
gone down, boats glide over the Rhine freighted with a soapy substance
manufactured from potatoes, and called by its owners sugar. This stuff
is thrown into the vats containing the must, water is introduced from
pumps and wells, chemical ferments and artificial heat are applied.
This noble fluid is sent everywhere by land and water, and labelled as
first-class wine. It is not bad to the taste, but does not bear
transportation. This adulteration chiefly affects the wines sold at
German hotels.

Heinrich Heine has left us this picture of a German dinner: "I dined
at the Crown at Clausthal. My repast consisted of spring greens,
parsley soup, violet blue cabbage, a pile of roast veal, which
resembled Chimborazo in miniature, and a sort of smoked herring called
buckings, from their inventor William Buckings, who died in 1447, and
who on account of that invention was so greatly honoured by Charles V.
that the great monarch in 1556 made a journey from Middelburg to
Bierlied, in Zealand, for the express purpose of visiting the grave of
the great fish-dryer. How exquisitely such dishes taste when we are
familiar with their historical associations."

It is impossible in translation to give Heine's intense ridicule and
scorn. He was a Frenchman out of place in Germany. He revolted at
things German, but endeared himself to his people by his wit,
universality of talent, and sincerity. The world has thanked him for
his "Reisebilder." Heine gives us new ideas of the horrors of German
cookery when he talks of Göttingen sausages, Hamburg smoked beef,
Pomeranian goose-breasts, ox-tongues, calf's brains in pastry, gudgeon
cakes, and "a wretched pig's-head in a wretcheder sauce, which has
neither a Grecian nor a Persian flavour, but which tasted like tea and
soft soap."

He cannot leave Göttingen without this description: "The town of
Göttingen, celebrated for its sausages and its university, belongs to
the King of Hanover, and contains nine hundred and ninety-nine
dwellings, divers chambers, an observatory, a prison, a library, and a
council chamber where the beer is excellent."

German sausages are very good. Even the great Goethe, in dying,
remembered to send a sausage to his æsthetic love of a lifetime, the
Frau Von Stein.

Thackeray, who was keenly alive to the horrors of German cookery, says
that whatever is not sour is greasy, and whatever is not greasy is
sour. The curious bill of fare of a middle-class German table is
something like this: They begin with a pudding. They serve sweet
preserved fruit with the meat, generally stewed cherries. They go on
with dreadful dishes of cabbage and preparations of milk, curdled,
soured, and cheesed.

Dr. Lieber, the learned philologist, was eloquent on the subject of
the coarseness of the German appetite. He had early corrected his by a
visit to Italy, and he remarked, with his usual profundity, that it
was "the more incomprehensible as nature had given Germany the finest
wines with which to wash down the worst cookery."

A favourite dish is potato pancakes. The raw potatoes are scraped
fine, mixed with milk, and then treated like flour cakes, served with
apple or plum sauce.

Sauer-kraut is ridiculed, but it is only cabbage cut fine and pickled.
There are two delicious dishes in which it plays an important part:
one is roast pheasant cut fine and cooked with sauer-kraut and
champagne; the other is sauer-kraut cooked in the _croûte_ of a
Strasbourg _pâté de foie gras_.

Favourite Austro-Hungarian dishes are _bachhendl_, baked
spring-chicken,--the chicken rolled into a paste of egg flour and then
baked. It is rather dry to eat, but just the thing with a bottle of
Hungarian wine. Also a beefsteak with plenty of _paprika_, or
Hungarian red pepper, Brinsa cheese, pot cheese, made in the
Carpathian mountains and baked in a hot oven.

Brook trout is never fried, but boiled in water, and then served
surrounded by parsley in melted butter.

In eastern Russia grows a pea, the gray pea, which is boiled and eaten
like peanuts by peeling off the hard skin, or boiled with some sort of
sour-sweet sauce, which softens the skin. This pea is such a favourite
with the Lithuanians that it is made the subject of poetry.

Venison, and hare soup, are deliciously gamey bouillons, which are
made of the soup bone of the roast. The Polish soup _barscz_ is made
of bouillon with the juice of red beets, little _saucissons_, and
specially made pastry, with highly spiced forced-meat balls swimming
in it.

Lettuce salad is prepared in Germany with sour cream.

A favourite drink is warm beer,--beer heated with the yolk of an egg
in it.

     "Fill me once more the foaming pewter up!
     Another board of oysters, ladye mine!
     To-night Lucullus with himself shall sup.
     Those mute inglorious Miltons are divine;
     And as I here in slippered ease recline,
     Quaffing of Perkins's Entire my fill,
     I sigh not for the lymph of Aganippe's rill."

Beer is the amber inspiration of the Germans, and plays its daily,
hourly part in their science of entertaining.

And the pea which can be skinned, which is such a favourite with the
Lithuanians, has also been immortalized by Thackeray:--

     "I give thee all! I can no more,
     Though poor the offering be;
     Stewed duck and peas are all the store
     That I can offer thee!--
     A duck whose tender breast reveals
     Its early youth full well,
     And better still, a pea that peels
     From fresh transparent shell."

But it must not be supposed that rich German citizens of the United
States do not know how to give a good dinner. Cosmopolitan in
everything else, these, the best colonists whom Europe has sent to us,
make good soldiers, good statesmen, and good entertainers. They do not
insist that we shall eat pig and prune sauce. No, they give us the
most affluent bill of fare which the market affords. They give us a
fine dining-room in which to eat it, and they offer as no other men
can "a tankard of Assmanschausen."

They give us, as a nation, a valuable present in mineral water. The
Apollinaris bubbling up near the Rhine seems sent by Heaven to avert
that gout and rheumatism which are the terrible after-dinner penalties
of those who like too well the noble Rhine wines.



THE INFLUENCE OF GOOD CHEER ON AUTHORS AND GENIUSES.

     "The ancient poets and their learned rhymes
     We still admire in these our later times,
     And celebrate their fames. Thus, though they die
     Their names can never taste mortality.
     These had their helps. They wrote of gods and kings,
     Of temples, battles, and such gallant things.
     And now we ask what noble meat and drink
     Can help to make man work, to make him think."

     "Pray, on what meat hath this our Cæsar fed?"


We should have a higher estimate of the value of a knowledge of
cookery and of all the arts of entertaining, did we sufficiently
realize that the style of Carlyle was owing to dyspepsia! At the age
of fifteen he entered Edinburgh University in order to fit himself for
the pulpit. He studied for many months to that end, but his vocation
refused to be clear. The ministry grew alien to his mind. Finally he
shut himself up, and as he himself says, wrestled with the Lord and
all the imps of darkness. Carlyle believed in a personal Devil, not
tasting food or sleeping for three days and nights, and then
terminated the struggle by resolving to pursue literature. What mental
revolution he underwent, he says he never could understand; all that
he knew was that he came out with that "dommed dyspepsia,"--his Scotch
way of pronouncing a stronger word.

Some writer says that this anecdote solves the problem of Carlyle. The
force, earnestness, and eloquence of his writings were born of a fine,
free intellect. Then came despondency, rage, and bitterness, springing
from dyspepsia, which had been his haunting demon from the first,
releasing him at intervals only to assail and torture him the "more
for each surcease."

Most of his works come under the head of the Literature of Dyspepsia,
and can be as plainly traced to it as to the growth of his
understanding or the sincerity of his convictions. Who does not
recognize, in the oddities of the trials and spiritual agonies of Herr
Teufelsdröckh, the author himself under a thin disguise, and the
promotings and promptings, and phenomena of censuring indigestion? All
through the "Sartor Resartus" it is evident that the gastric juices of
the illustrious iconoclast are insufficient; that while he is railing
at humanity he is suffering from gastritis, while he is prophesying
that the race will come to naught but selfishness and stupidity he is
undergoing gastrodynia, or, as it is commonly called, stomachic cramp.

I do not know who wrote that masterly criticism, but evidently some
man who had had a good dinner.

But Carlyle gets better and writes his noble essay on Robert Burns,
the life of John Sterling, Oliver Cromwell's letters and speeches.
Then he is at his best; sees man as a brother, handicapped with
circumstances, riveted to temperament perhaps, but in spite of all
shortcomings and neglected opportunities, still a brother, demanding
respect, deserving of help. How different Carlyle would have been, as
a man and as a writer, with nutritive organs capable of continually
and regularly performing their functions. Dyspepsia was his worst
enemy, as it has been that of many of his readers. Every mouthful he
ate must have been a gastric Nemesis for sins of opinion, and of
heresies against humanity. His very style is the result of
indigestion,--an excess of ill-chosen, ill-prepared German fare in a
British stomach, affording a strange sustenance, which, like some
diseases, keep a man alive, but which pain while they sustain.

What a different genius was Prescott, who had a good dinner every day
of his life, who was brought up from boyhood in a luxurious old Boston
household where was the perfection of cookery!

Sydney Smith sent word to Prescott after he wrote "Ferdinand and
Isabella,"--

"Tell Prescott to come here and we will drown him in turtle soup."

"Say that I can swim in those seas," was Prescott's witty rejoinder.

Mr. Prescott was fifty-three years of age when he visited England; he
was extremely handsome, courteous, and very much a man of the world.

     "We grow like what we eat. Bad food depresses,
     Good food exalts us like an inspiration."

Mr. Prescott had been inspired by good food, as any one can see who
reads that noble work "Ferdinand and Isabella." In England this
accomplished man was received by Lady Lyell, to whom he was much
attached. The account of English hospitality which he gives throws a
rosy light on the history of the art of entertaining:

"I returned last night from the Horners, Lady Lyell's parents and
sisters, a very accomplished and happy family circle. They have a
small house, with a pretty lawn stretching between it and the Thames,
that forms a silver edging to the close-shaven green. The family
gather under the old trees on the little shady carpet, which is sweet
with the perfume of flowery shrubs. And you see sails gliding by and
stately swans, of which there are hundreds on the river. The next
Sunday, after dinner, which we took at four o'clock, we strolled
through Hampton Court and its royal park. The next day we took our
picnic at Box Hill. On Friday to dinner at Sir Robert Peel's and to an
evening party at Lady S----'s. I went at eleven and found myself in a
brilliant saloon filled with people amongst whom I did not recognize a
familiar face. You may go to ten parties in London, be introduced to a
score of persons in each, and on going to the eleventh not see a face
that you have ever seen before, so large is the society of the great
metropolis. I was soon put at my ease, however, by the cordial
reception of Lord and Lady C----, who introduced me to a great number
of persons."

This alone would prove how great was Prescott's popularity, for in
London, people, as a rule, are not introduced.

"In the crowd I saw an old gentleman, nicely made up, stooping a good
deal, covered with orders, and making his way easily along, as all,
young and old, seemed to treat him with deference. It was the Duke of
Wellington, the old Iron Duke. He likes the attention he receives in
this social way. He wore round his neck the order of the Golden
Fleece, on his coat the order of the Garter. He is, in truth, the lion
of England, not to say of all Europe."

This beautiful little _genre_ picture of the Iron Duke was written in
the year 1850. Forty years later General Grant was received at Apsley
House by the son of the great Duke of Wellington, the second Duke,
who opened the famous Waterloo room and toasted the modest American as
the greatest soldier of modern times. Mr. Prescott goes on to say,--

"We had a superb dinner at Sir Robert Peel's, four and twenty guests.
It was served in the long picture-gallery. The windows of the gallery
look out upon the Thames, its beautiful stone bridges with lofty
arches, Westminster Abbey with its towers, and the living panorama on
the water. The opposite windows look on the green gardens behind the
Palace of Whitehall, which were laid out by Cardinal Wolsey, and near
the spot where Charles I. lived, and lost his life on the scaffold.
The gallery is full of masterpieces, especially Dutch and Flemish,
amongst them the famous _Chapeau de Paille_, which cost Sir Robert
over five thousand pounds. In his dining-room were also superb
pictures, the famous one by Wilkie, of John Knox preaching, which did
not come up to the idea I had formed of it from the engraving. There
was a portrait of Dr. Johnson by Reynolds, the portrait owned by Mrs.
Thrale and engraved for the Dictionary; what a bijou!

"We sat at dinner looking out on the moving Thames. We dined at eight,
but the twilight lingers here until half-past nine at this summer
season. Sir Robert was exceedingly courteous to his guests, told some
good stories, showed us his autographs, amongst which was the
celebrated one written by Nelson, in which he says, 'If I die
"Frigate" will be found written on my heart.'"

Mr. Prescott's letter to his daughter points out the strange
difference between the life of a girl in England and a girl here.

"I think on reflection, dear Lizzy, that you did well not to come
with me. Girls of your age [she was then nineteen] make no great
figure in society. One never, or very rarely, meets them at dinner
parties, and they are not so numerous at evening parties as with us,
unless it be at balls. Six out of seven women you meet are over
thirty, and many of them over forty or fifty, not to say sixty; the
older they are, the more they are dressed and diamonded. Young girls
dress less, and wear very little ornament indeed."

What a commentary this is on our American way of doing things,--where
young girls rule society, put their mothers in the background, and
wear too fine clothes.

Dr. Prescott was of course presented at Court, and his account of it
is delightful:--

"Well! the presentation has come off, and I will give you some account
of it before going to dine with Lord Fitzwilliam. This morning I
breakfasted with Mr. Monckton Milnes, where I met Macaulay the third
time this week. We had also Lord Lyttleton, an excellent scholar,
Gladstone, and Lord W. Germains, a sensible and agreeable person, and
two or three others. We had a lively talk, but I left early for the
Court affair. I was at Mr. Abbott Lawrence's at one in my costume,--a
_chapeau_ with gold lace, blue coat, and white trowsers, begilded with
buttons and metal, a sword, and patent-leather-boots. I was a figure
indeed! but I had enough to keep me in countenance. I spent an hour
yesterday with Lady M. getting instructions for demeaning myself. The
greatest danger was that I should be tripped up by my sword. On
reaching St. James Place we passed upstairs through files of the
Guard, beefeaters, and were shown into a large saloon richly hung with
crimson silk, and with some fine portraits of the family of George
III. It was amusing, as we waited there an hour, to see the arrival of
the different persons, diplomatic, military, and courtiers, all men
and women blazing in their stock of princely finery, and such a power
of diamonds, pearls, emeralds, and laces, the trains of the ladies'
dresses several yards in length. Some of the ladies wore coronets of
diamonds, which covered the greater part of the head. I counted on
Lady D----'s head two strings of diamonds rising gradually from the
size of a fourpence to the size of an English shilling, and thick in
proportion. The dress of the Duchess of D---- was studded with
diamonds as large as nutmegs. The young ladies dressed very plainly. I
tell this for Lizzy's especial benefit. The company were permitted to
pass one by one into the presence-chamber, a room of about the same
size as the other, with gorgeous canopy and throne, at the farther end
of which stood the little Queen and her Consort, surrounded by her
Court. She was rather simply dressed, but he was in Field-Marshal's
uniform, and covered, I should think, with all the orders of Europe.
He is a good-looking person, but by no means so good-looking as you
are given to expect from his pictures. The Queen is better looking
than you might expect. I was presented by our minister, by the order
of the Chamberlain, as the historian of Ferdinand and Isabella and
made my profound obeisance to her Majesty who made a dignified
courtesy. I made the same low bow to his Princeship, and then bowed
myself out of the circle without my sword tripping up my heels. As I
was drawing off, Lord Carlisle, who was standing on the outer edge,
called me to him and kept me by his side telling me the names of the
different lords and ladies who, after paying their obeisance to the
Queen, passed out before us."

Mr. Monckton Milnes became Lord Houghton, and I had great pleasure in
knowing him well many years after this. He told me, what our American
historian was too modest to tell, how well Mr. Prescott appeared in
London. Lionized to death, as the English alone can lionize, Mr.
Prescott never lost his modest self-possession. He was everywhere
remarked for his beauty, his fine manner, and his knowledge of the
usages of good society. But then, in 1887 the English went equally
wild, even more so, over Buffalo Bill, and probably preferred him.

Mr. Prescott was entertained at Cuddeston Palace, the residence of
Bishop Wilberforce, the famous "Soapy Sam," from the fact, as he said
himself, that he "was always in hot water, and always came out cleaner
than he went in." This witty and accomplished prelate was very much
pleased with our American scholar, and gave him a hearty welcome. It
will sound curiously enough now, that Mr. Prescott found his Episcopal
views very high, and says, "The service was performed with a ceremony
quite Roman Catholic." The Bishop of Oxford would, were he living now,
be called low church,--so much do terms vary in different ages. Truly
the world moves!

I was in my youth entertained at the house of Mr. Prescott, at Nahant,
and allowed to see his workroom and the machinery with which he wrote.
He gave me, and I have it still, a paper which he wrote for me with
the wired plate which the blind use, for he could scarcely see at all.

He was master of the art of entertaining. How charming he was at
dinner at his own house; how pleasantly he made one forget his
greatness, except that a supreme simplicity seems always to accompany
true greatness. He had a regularity in his habits which would in a
less amiable man have interfered with his agreeability, but with him
it was most fascinating, as it seemed like musical chords set to noble
words.

It would be pleasant to record the triumphs of Mr Webster, Mr. Motley,
Mr. Lowell, Mr. Phelps, Mr. Evarts, Mr. Depew, and many another great
American in England, but that, while a subject for national pride,
scarcely comes within the scope of this little book.

It would seem, however, that our orators, however fed, have compassed
the accomplishment of after-dinner speaking, which is so much
appreciated in England, and it is to be hoped that no "dommed
dyspepsia" from badly cooked food will dim the oratory of the future.

It is quite true that a witty and full talker will be silenced if he
is placed before a bad dinner, one which is palpably pretentious but
not well cooked, and villanously served. It is impossible for the
really conscientious diner-out, who respects his digestion, whose
religion is his dinner, to talk much or laugh much, if his gormandize
is wounded. Even if he wills to talk, in order not to lose his
reputation, his speech will be a "muddy flood of saponaceous blather,"
instead of his usual brilliant flow of anecdote and repartee.

Not all great men have, however, felt the influence of food as an
inspirer. Dr. Johnson was great although he was a horrible feeder; and
at the other extreme was General Grant, so abstemious that he once
told me that he did not know the sensation of hunger; that he could go
three days without food. At the splendid banquets given to him he
rarely ate much, but noticed the people and the surroundings, great
hero that he was.

Thackeray, Disraeli, and Dickens have given us the most appreciative
descriptions of the art of entertaining, and were men deeply sensible
of the charms of a good dinner.

Charles Lamb has been the poet of the homely and the comfortable side
of good eating; he records for us in immortal prose and poetry what
roast pig and tobacco have done for him.

We claim boldly that a part of Webster's greatness, Prescott's charm,
the genius of Motley and of Lowell, the oratory of Depew, the wit of
Parke Godwin and Horace Porter, even the magnificent march of Sherman
to the sea, the great genius of Bryant, the sparkling cup of Anacreon,
O. W. Holmes, the masterly speech of our lawyers, and the unrivalled
eloquence of our pulpit orators, are owing to that earlier style of
domestic American cookery which was, and is, and always shall be,
deserving of the highest praise,--when meats were cooked with all
their juices, before a wood fire, when bread was light and feathery,
when soups were soups, and broils were broils! Oh, vanished
excellence!



BONBONS.

     Do, child, go to it' grandam, child;
     Give grandam kingdom! and it' grandam will
     Give it plumb, a cherry, and a fig.
                             KING JOHN.


They used to call a sugar-plum a plumb in Shakspeare's time. Was it on
account of its weight? Few ladies, on receiving a box of bonbons from
Maillards, go into the great question of their antiquity and their
manufacture. Few, even now, who at a fashionable hotel, receive on
Sundays after dinner a pretty little paper box filled with candied
rose-leaves and violets, remember that they are only following the
fashion of Lucretia Borgia in putting them in their pocket to eat in
their rooms, or at the theatre. There is nothing new under the sun.

In France, in entertaining a lady, or a party of ladies, at theatre or
opera, the gentleman host always carries a box of bonbons, within
which is a little imitation-silver sugar-tongs by which she can help
herself to a chocolate or a _marron déguisé_, without soiling her
fingers. This pampered dame does not consider that France makes
annually sixty million of francs' worth of bonbons; that it exports
only about one fourth of this, leaving an enormous amount for home
consumption.

They send over to England alone, cheap sweets manufactured by steam,
to the amount of three hundred thousand English pounds a year.

The sugar-plum came from Italy, and dates no further back than the
sixteenth century as an article of commerce. But the skilful
confectioners in private houses knew how to manufacture not only those
which were healthful, but those which were very useful in getting rid
of dreaded rivals, unfaithful lovers, and troublesome friends.

The manufacture of the antique sugar-plum, the antediluvian baked
almond, and the nauseous coloured abominations whose paint-poisoned
surface has long been discarded in France, received, as I read in an
old chronicle, its death-blow from the Aboukir almonds, during the
period of Napoleon's invasion of Egypt, which killed more people than
the bullets. Next went down the cracker bonbons, called Cossacks, on
account of the terror with which they inspired the _grandes dames_ on
their first advent in 1814.

These latter, however, have come back, in the harmless detonating
powder-charged bonbons which every one hears at a dinner-party, as the
fringed papers are pulled. Then come the _primaveras_, a variety of
sugared bomb. Then the _marquises_, _orangines_, _marron glacé_, or
sugared chestnut, _cerises pralinée_, burnt cherries, _bowles_,
_ananas_, _dattes au café_, dates delightfully stuffed and covered
with sugar, _diables noirs_, _ganaches_, and an ephemeral but
delicious candy, _bonbons fondants_, with an inscription on the box
that "these must be eaten within twenty-four hours." They are
sometimes fruits with a creamy sugar, raspberries, currants,
strawberries, and are delicious, but quite untransportable, although
transporting merchandise. Their invention made the fortune of the
inventor.

Formerly the preparation of bonbons was a tedious affair. Now it is
almost the work of a day, but they are perishable. If you leave a box
open they will devour themselves. Kept cool and air-tight, they will
last for years. About the first of December the great manufacturers in
the Rue de la Paix, commence their operations for New Year's, when
everybody, from President Carnot down, sends his friend a box of
bonbons. They tell of one confectioner who abandoned his sugar-pots to
turn playwright, about the time that Alphonse Karr forsook literature
to sell bouquets. The principle remains the same. He wished to sweeten
the existence of _les Parisiennes_.

In visiting one of these immense establishments one descends a stone
staircase, and finds one's self in a stifling atmosphere, heavily
laden with the aroma of vanilla and other essences. Around are scores
of workmen, in white-paper caps and aprons, their faces red with heat,
as they plunge particular fruits into large cauldrons, filled with
boiling syrups. More in the shade are other stalwart men, their faces
pale with the heated atmosphere, piling up almonds on huge copper
vessels; and so constant is the sound of metal clashing against metal
that the visitor might imagine himself in an armour smithy, instead of
a sugar factory; rather with Vulcan working for the gods, or some
village blacksmith pounding out horseshoes, than with a party of
French _ouvriers_ making sugar-plums for children to crunch. On all
sides one sees sugar, gallons of liqueurs, syrups, and essences, rum,
aniseed, noyau, maraschino, pineapple, apricot, strawberry, cherry,
vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and tea, with sacks of almonds, and
baskets of chestnuts, pistachio nuts, and filberts being emptied into
machines which bruise their husks, flay them, and blanch them, all
ready to receive their saccharine coating.

Those bonbons which have liqueur in them are much appreciated by
gourmets who find other bonbons disagree with them! A sugar-coated
brandy cherry is relished by the wisest man. Most bonbons are made by
hand; those only which are flat at the bottom are cast in moulds. In
the hand-made bonbons, the sugar paste is rolled into shapes by the
aid of an instrument formed of a stout piece of wire, one end of which
is twisted, and the other fixed into a wooden handle. With this the
paste is taken out of the cauldron, and worked into the desired form
by a rapid _coup de main_. For bonbons of a particular form, such as
those in imitation of various fruits, models are carved in wood.

Liqueur bonbons are formed of a mixture of some given liqueur and
liquid sugar, which is poured into moulds, and then placed in a slow
oven for the day. Long before they are removed a hard crust has formed
on the outside, while the inside remains in its original liquid state.
Bonbons are crystallized by being plunged into a syrup heated to
thirty degrees Reamur; by the time they are dry the crystallization is
complete and acts as a protection against the atmosphere. The bonbons
can then be kept a certain time, although their flavour deteriorates.

I think sugar one of the most remarkable of all the gifts of nature.
It submits itself to all sorts of plastic arts, and to see a
confectioner pouring it through little funnels, to see him make a
flower, even to its stamens, of this excellent juice of the cane or of
the beet,--they use beet sugar almost entirely in France,--is to
comprehend anew how many of the greatest of all curiosities are hidden
in the kitchen.

One must go to Chambéry, in Savoy, to taste some of the most
exquisite _pâtisserie_, to find the most delicious candied fruits; and
at Montpellier, in the south of France, is another most celebrated
manufactory of bonbons.

I received once from Montpellier a box holding six pounds of these
marvellous sweets, which were arranged in layers. Beginning with
chocolates in every form, they passed upward by strata, until they
reached the candied fruit, which was to be eaten at once. I think
there were fifty-five varieties of delicious sweets in that box. Such
lovely colours, such ineffable flavours, such beauties as they were!
The only remarkable part of this anecdote is that I survived to tell
it. I can only account for it by the fact that it was sent me by a
famous physician, who must have hidden his power of healing in the
box. Unlike Pandora's box which sent the troop of evils out into the
world, this famous _cachet_ sent nothing but good-will and pleasure,
barring perhaps a possible danger.

If, however, we speak of the bonbons themselves, what can we say of
the _bonbonnières_! Everything that is beautiful, everything that is
curious, everything that is quaint, everything that is ludicrous,
everything that is timely, is utilized. I received an immense green
satin grasshopper--the last _jour de l'an_, in Paris--filled to his
uttermost _antennæ_ with bonbons. It could be for once said that the
"grasshopper had not become a burden." The _panier Watteau_, formed of
satin, pearls, straw, and flowers, may be made to conceal a
handkerchief worth a thousand francs under the rose-satin lining. The
boxes are painted by artists, and remain a lovely belonging for a
toilet table.

Beautiful metal reproductions of some antique _chef d'oeuvre_ are
made into _bonbonnières_. Some bonbon-boxes have themselves concealed
in huge bouquets of violets, fringed with lace, or hidden under roses,
which are skilfully growing out of white satin; beautiful reticules,
all embroidered, hold the carefully bound up packages, where tinfoil
preserves the silk and satin from contact with the sugar. If France
did nothing else but make _bonbonnières_, she would prove her claim to
being the most ingenious purveyor for the luxury of entertaining in
all the world. If luxury means, "to freight the passing hour with
flying happiness," France does her "possible" as she would say
herself, to help along this fairy packing.

At Easter, when sweetmeats are almost as much in request as at the New
Year,--the French make very little of Christmas,--these bonbon
establishments are filled with Easter eggs of the gayest colours.
There are nests of eggs, baskets of eggs, cradles full of eggs, and
pretty peasants carrying eggs to market; nests of eggs, with birds of
brilliant plumage sitting on the nests or hovering over them, while
their freight of bonbons repose on softest swan's-down, lace, and
satin; or again, the egg itself of satin, with its yolk of orange
creams and its white of marshmallow paste. There is no end to this
felicitous and dulcet strain.

The best candied fruit I have ever eaten, I bought in a railway depot
at Venice. The Italians understand this art to perfection. They hang
the fruit by its natural stem on a long straw; and no better
accompaniment for a long railway journey can be imagined.

The French do not consider bonbons unhealthful. Instead of giving her
boy a piece of bread and butter as he departs for the _Lycée_ the
French mamma gives him two or three chocolate bonbons. The hunter
takes these to the top of the Matterhorn; ladies take them in their
pockets instead of a lunch-basket; and one assured me that two slabs
of chocolate sufficed her for breakfast and supper on the road from
Paris to Rome.

I do not know what Baron Liebig would say to this in his learned
articles on the "Nutritive Value of Certain Kinds of Food," but the
French children seem to be the healthiest in the world,--a tribute to
chocolate of the highest. "By their fruits shall ye know them."

In the times of the Medici, and the St. Bartholomew Massacre, the
French and Italian nobles had a curious custom of always carrying
about with them, in the pockets of their silk doublets, costly little
boxes full of bonbons. Henry IV., Marie de Medici, and all their
friends and foes, carried about with them little gold and Limoges
enamelled boxes, very pretty and desirable articles of _vertu_ now;
and doubtless there was one full of red and white comfits in the
pocket of Mary Queen of Scots, when she fell dead, poor, ill-used,
beautiful woman, at the foot of the block, at Fotheringay. Doubtless
there was one in the pouch of the grisly Duc de Guise, with his
close-cropped bullet head, and long, spidery legs, when he fell, done
to death by treacherous Catherine de Medici, dead and bleeding on the
polished floor of Blois! It was a childish custom, and proved that the
age had a sweet tooth; but it might have been useful for diplomatic
purposes, and highly conducive to flirting. As a Lord Chief Justice
once said that "snuff and snuff-boxes help to develop character," so
the _bonbonnière_ helps to emphasize manners; and I am always pleased
when an old or new friend opens for me a little silver box and offers
me a sugared violet, or a rose leaf conserved in sugar, although I can
eat neither of them.

A witty writer says that dessert should be "the girandole, or cunning
tableau of the dinner." It should "surprise, astonish, dazzle, and
enchant." We may almost decide upon the taste of an age as we read of
its desserts. The tasteless luxury and coarse pleasures of the reign
of Charles II.,--that society where Rochester fluttered and Buckingham
flaunted,--how it is all described in one dessert! At a dinner given
the father (of a great many) of his subjects by Lady Dormer, was built
a large gilded ship of confectionery. Its masts, cabins, portholes,
and lofty poop all smart and glittering, its rigging all taut, its
bunting flying, its figure-head bright as gold leaf could make it. Its
guns were charged with actual powder. Its cargo was two turreted pies,
one full of birds and the other of frogs. When borne in by the gay
pages, to the sound of music, the guns were discharged, the ladies
screamed and fainted, so as to "require to be held up and consoled by
the gallants, who offered them sips of Tokay." Poor little things!
Such was the Court of Charles.

Then, to sweeten the smell of powder, the ladies threw at each other
egg-shells filled with fragrant waters; and "all danger being over,"
they opened the pies. Out of one skipped live frogs; out of the other
flew live birds who put out the lights; so, what with the screams, the
darkness, the frogs, and the smell of powder, we get an idea of sports
at Whitehall, where blackbrowed, swarthy-visaged Charles presided, on
which grave Clarendon condescended to smile, and which the gentle
Evelyn and Waller were condemned to approve.

We have not entirely refrained from such sugar emblems at our own
great feasts; but fortunately, they have rather gone out, excepting
for some emblem-haunted dinners where we do have sugared Monitors,
and chocolate torpedos. I have seen the lovely Venus of Milo in frozen
cream, which gave a wit the opportunity of saying that the home for
such a goddess should be the temple of Isis; and Bartholdi's immortal
Liberty lends herself to chocolate and nougat now and then, but very
rarely at private dinners.

The fashion of our day, with its low dishes for the sweets, is so much
better, that we cannot help congratulating ourselves that we do not
live even in the days of the first George, when, as one witty author
again says, "the House of Brunswick brought over sound protestantism,
but German taste." Horace Walpole, great about trifles, incomparable
decider of the width of a shoe-buckle, keen despiser of all meannesses
but his own, neat and fastidious tripper along a flowery path over
this vulgar planet, derided the new fashion in desserts. The ambitious
confectioners, he says, "aspired to positive statuary, spindle-legged
Venus, dummy Mars, all made of sugar;" and he mentions a confectioner
of Lord Albemarle's who loudly complained that his lordship would not
break up the ceiling of his dining-room to admit the heads,
spear-points and upraised thunderbolts of a middle dish of Olympian
deities eighteen feet high, all made of sugar.

The dishes known in France as _Les Quatres Mendiants_, one of nuts,
one of figs or dried fruit, one of raisins, and another of oranges,
still to be seen on old-fashioned dinner-tables, was, I supposed, so
called because it is seldom touched,--in fact, goes a-begging.

But I have found this pretty little legend, which proves that it was
far more poetical in origin. The name in French for aromatic vinegar
is also connected with it. It is called "The Vinegar of the Four
Thieves." So runs the legend: "Once four thieves of Marseilles,
rubbing themselves with this vinegar during the plague, defied
infection and robbed the dead." Who were these wretches? All that we
know of them is that they dined beneath a tree on stolen walnuts and
grapes, and imagined the repast a feast. We can picture them, Holbein
men with slashed sleeves, as old soldiers of Francis I. who had
wrestled with the Swiss. We can imagine them as beaten about by
Burgundian peasants; and we know that they were grim, brown, scarred
rascals, cutting purses, snatching silken cloaks,--sturdy, resolute,
heartless, merry, desperate, God-forsaken scoundrels, living only for
the moment. We can imagine Callot etching their rags, or Rembrandt
putting in their dark shadows and high lights. We can see Salvator
Rosa admiring them as they sleep under the green oak-tree, their heads
on a dead deer, and the high rock above. Or we may get old Teniers to
draw them for us, gambling with torn and greasy cards for a gold
crucifix or a brass pot, or revelling at the village inn, swaggering,
swearing, drunk, or tipsy, playing at shuffle-board. The only point in
their history worth recording is that they were destined to be asked
to every dinner party for four hundred years!--simply preceding the
bonbons, as we see by the following verses:--

     "Once on a time, in the brave Henry's age,
       Four beggars dining underneath a tree
     Combined their stores; each from his wallet drew
       Handfuls of stolen fruit, and sang for glee.

     "So runs the story,--'_Garçon_, bring the _carte_,
       Soup, cutlets--stay--and mind, a _matelotte_.'
     And 'Charles,--a pint of Burgundy's best Beanne;
       In our deep glasses every joy shall float!'

     "And '_Garçon_, bring me from the woven frail
       That turbaned merchants from fair Smyrna sent,
     The figs with golden seeds, the honeyed fruit,
       That feast the stranger in the Syrian tent.

     "'Go fetch us grapes from all the vintage rows
       Where the brave Spaniards gaily quaff the wine,
     What time the azure ripple of the waves
       Laughs bright beneath the green leaves of the vine!

     "'Nor yet, unmindful of the fabled scrip,
       Forget the nuts from Barcelona's shore,
     Soaked in Iberian oil from olives pressed,
       To the crisp kernels adding one charm more.

     "'The almonds last, plucked from a sunny tree,
       Half way up Lybanus, blanched as snowy white
     As Leila's teeth, and they will fitly crown
       The beggars' four-fold dish for us to-night.

     "'Beggars are happy! then let us be so;
       We've buried care in wine's red-glowing sea.
     There let him soaking lie--he was our foe;
       Joy laughs above his grave--and so will we!'"

It was from that love of contrast, then, was it, which is a part of
all luxury, that the fable of the _Quatre Mendiants_ was made to serve
like the olives at dessert. Perhaps the fillip which walnuts give to
wine suggested it. It was a modern French rendering of the skull made
to do duty as a drinking-cup. It is a part of the five kernels of corn
at a Pilgrim dinner, without that high conscientiousness of New
England. It is a part, perhaps, of the more melancholy refrain, "Be
merry, be merry, for to-morrow ye die!" It is that warmth is warmer
when we remember cold; it is that food is good when we remember the
starving; it is that _bringing in_ of the pleasant vision of the four
beggars under the tree, as a picture perhaps; at any rate there it
is, moral at your pleasure.

The desserts of the middle ages were heavy and cumbrous affairs, and
had no special character. There would be a good deal of Cellini cup
and Limoges plate, and Palissy dish, and golden chased goblet about
it, no doubt. How glad the collectors of to-day would be to get them!
And we picture the heavy indigestible cakes, and poisonous bonbons.
The taste must have been questionable if we can believe Ben Jonson,
who tells of the beribboned dwarf jester who, at a Lord Mayor's
dinner, took a flying header into a dish of custard, to the infinite
sorrow of ladies' dresses; he followed, probably, that dish in which
the dwarf Sir Geoffrey Hudson was concealed, and they both are after
Tom Thumb, who was fishing about in a cup of posset a thousand years
ago.

The dessert is allowed by all French writers to be of Italian origin;
and we read of the _maîtres d'hotel_, before the Italian dessert
arrived, probably introduced by Catherine de Medici and the Guises,
that they gloried in mountains of fruit, and sticky hills of
sweetmeats. The elegance was clumsy and ostentatious; there was no
poetry in it. Paul Veronese's picture of the "Marriage of Cana" will
give some idea of the primeval French dessert. The later fashion was
of those trees and gardens and puppets abused by Horace Walpole; but
Frenchmen delighted in seas of glass, flower-beds formed of coloured
sand, and little sugar men and women promenading in enamelled
bowling-greens. We get some idea of the magnificent fêtes of Louis
XIV. at Versailles from the glowing descriptions of Molière.

Dufoy in 1805 introduced "frizzled muslin into a slice of fairyland;"
that is, he made extraordinary pictures of temples and trees, for the
centre of his dessert. And these palaces and temples were said to have
been of perfect proportions; his trees of frizzled muslin were
admirable. It sounds very much like children's toys just now.

He went further, Dufoy; having ransacked heaven and earth, air and
water, he thrust his hand into the fire, and made harmless rockets
shoot from his sugar temples. Sugar rocks were strewn about with
precipices of nougat, glaciers of vanilla candy, and waterfalls of
spun sugar. A confectioner in 1805 had to keep his wits about him, for
after every victory of Napoleon he was expected to do the whole thing
in sugar. He was decorator, painter, architect, sculptor, and
florist--icer, yes, until after the Russian campaign, and then--they
had had enough of ice. Thus we see that the dessert has always been
more for the eye than for the stomach.

The good things which have been said over the walnuts and the wine!
The pretty books written about claret and olives! One author says that
if all the good things which have been said about the gay and smiling
dessert could be printed, it would make a pleasant anecdotic little
pamphlet of four thousand odd pages!

We must not forget all the absurdities of the dessert. The Prince
Regent, whose tastes inclined to a vulgar and spurious Orientalism, at
one of his costly feasts at Carleton House had a channel of real water
running around the table, and in this swam gold and silver fish. The
water was only let on at dessert.

These fancies may be sometimes parodied in our own time, as the bonbon
makers of Paris now devote their talents to the paper absurdities of
harlequins, Turks, Chinamen, and all the vagaries of a fancy-dress
ball with which the passengers of steamships amuse themselves after
the Captain's dinner. This is not that legitimate dessert at which we
now find ices disguised as natural fruits, or copying a rose. All the
most beautiful forms in the world are now reproduced in the frozen
water or cream, as healthful as it is delicious, in the famous jelly
with maraschino, or the delicate bonbon with the priceless liqueur,
or, better still, that _eau de menthe_ cordial, our own green
peppermint, which, after all, saves as by one mouthful from the
horrors of indigestion and adds that "thing more exquisite still" to
the perfect dessert,--a good night's sleep.



FAMOUS MENUS AND RECIPES.

     Gather up the fragments that remain that nothing be lost.
                                  JOHN vi. 12.


This is not intended to be a cookery book; but in order to help the
young housekeeper we shall give some hints as to _menus_ and a few
rare recipes.

The great line of seacoast from New York to Florida presents us with
some unrivalled delicacies, and the negroes of the State of Maryland,
which was founded by a rich and luxurious Lord Baltimore, knew how to
cook the terrapin, the canvas-back duck, oysters, and the superb wild
turkey,--not to speak of the well-fattened poultry of that rich and
luxurious Lorraine of America, "Maryland, my Maryland," which Oliver
Wendell Holmes calls the "gastronomical centre of the universe."

Here is an old Virginia recipe for cooking terrapin, which is rare and
excellent:--

     Take three large, live, diamond-backed terrapin, plunge them
     in boiling water for three minutes, to take off the skin, wipe
     them clean, cook them in water slightly salted, drain them,
     let them get cold, open and take out everything from the
     shell. In removing the entrails care must be taken not to
     break the gall. Cut off the head, tail, nails, gall, and
     bladder. Cut the meat in even-size pieces, put them in a
     sauce-pan with four ounces of butter, add the terrapin eggs,
     and moisten them with a half pint of Madeira wine. Let the
     mixture cook until the moisture is reduced one-half. Then add
     two spoonfuls of cream sauce. After five minutes add the yolks
     of four raw eggs diluted with a half-cup of cream. Season with
     salt and a pinch of red pepper. The mixture should not boil
     after the yolk of egg is added. Toss in two ounces of butter
     before serving. The heat of the mess will cook egg and butter
     enough. Serve with quartered lemon.

This is, perhaps, if well-cooked, the most excellent of all American
dishes.

A chicken gumbo soup is next:--

     Cut up one chicken, wash and dry it, dip it in flour, salt and
     pepper it, then fry it in hot lard to a delicate brown.

     In a soup kettle place five quarts of water and your chicken,
     let it boil hard for two hours, cut up twenty-four okra pods,
     add them to the soup, and boil the whole another hour. One
     large onion should be put in with the chicken. Add red pepper
     to taste, also salt, not too much, and serve with rice. Dried
     okra can be used, but must be soaked over night.

Another Maryland success was the tomato catsup:--

     Boil one bushel of tomatoes until soft, squeeze through a
     sieve, add to the juice half a gallon of vinegar, 1½ pints
     salt, 3 ounces of whole cloves, 1 ounce of allspice, 2 ounces
     of cayenne pepper, 3 tablespoonfuls of black pepper, 3 heads
     of garlic, skinned and separated; boil three hours or until
     the quantity is reduced one-half, bottle without skimming. The
     spices should be put in a muslin bag, which must be taken out,
     of course, before bottling. If desired 1 peck of onions can be
     boiled, passed through a sieve, and the juice added to the
     tomatoes.

     _Green pepper pickles_: Half a pound of mustard seed soaked
     over night, 1 quart of green pepper chopped, 2 quarts of
     onions chopped, 4 quarts of cucumbers also chopped, 8 quarts
     of green tomatoes chopped, 6 quarts of cabbage chopped; mix
     and measure. To every gallon of this mixture add one teacup of
     salt, let it stand until morning, then squeeze perfectly dry
     with the hands. Then add 8 pounds of sugar, and cover with
     good vinegar and boil five minutes. After boiling, and while
     still hot, squeeze perfectly dry, then add 2 ounces of cloves,
     2 ounces of allspice, 3 ounces of cinnamon and the mustard
     seed.

     The peppers should be soaked in brine thirty-six or
     forty-eight hours. After soaking, wipe dry and stuff, place
     them in glass jars, and cover with fresh vinegar.

This was considered the triumph of the Southern housekeeper.

     _Chicken with spaghetti_: Stir four sliced onions in two
     ounces of butter till very soft, add one quart of peeled
     tomatoes; stew chicken in water until tender, and pick to
     pieces. Add enough of the gravy to make a quart, put with the
     onions and tomatoes. Let it stew fifteen minutes gently. Put
     into boiling water 2½ pounds of spaghetti and a handful of
     salt, boil twenty minutes or until tender; drain this and put
     in a layer on a platter sprinkled with grated cheese, and pour
     the stew on it. Fill the platter with these layers, reserving
     the best of the chicken to lay on top.

The old negro cooks made a delicious confection known as confection
cake. Those who lived to tell of having eaten it declared that it was
a dream. It certainly leads to dreams, and bad ones, but it is worth a
nightmare:--

     1½ cups of sugar, 2½ cups of flour, ½ cup of butter, ½ cup of
     sweet milk, whites of six eggs, 3 small teaspoons of baking
     powder. Bake in two or three layers on a griddle.

     _Filling_: 1 small cocoanut grated, 1 pound almonds blanched,
     and cut up not too fine, 1 teacup of raisins chopped, 1 teacup
     of citron chopped, 4 eggs, whites only, 7 tablespoonfuls of
     pulverized sugar to each egg.

Mix this destructive substance well in the froth of egg, and spread
between the layers of cake when they are hot; set it a few minutes in
the oven, but do not burn it, and you have a delicious and profoundly
indigestible dessert. You will be able to write Sartor Resartus, after
eating of it freely.

     _Walnut Cake_: 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 6 eggs, 4
     cups of flour, 1 cup of milk, 2 teaspoonfuls of yeast powder.

This is also baked in layers, and awaits the dynamite filling which is
to blow you up:--

     _Walnut Filling_: 2 cups of brown sugar, 1 cup of cream, a
     piece of butter the size of an egg. Cook twenty minutes,
     stirring all the time; when ready to take off the stove put in
     one cup of walnut meats. After this has cooked a few minutes
     longer, spread between the layers, and while both cake and
     filling are hot.

Perhaps a few _menus_ may be added here to assist the memory of her
"who does not know what to have for dinner:"--

                            Tomato Soup.
     Golden Sherry.      Whitefish broiled.              Claret.
                          Mashed potatoes.
                       Round of beef _braisé_,          Madeira.
                         with glazed onions.
     Champagne.       Roast plover with cress.    Château Yquem.
                           Chiccory Salad.
                   Custard flavoured with vanilla.
                               Cheese.                 Cordials.
     Chambertin.               Fruit.
                               Coffee.

Or a plain dinner:--

     Sherry.                Oxtail Soup.                 Claret.
                 _Filet_ of lobster _à la Mazarin_.
               Turkey rings with _purée_ of chestnuts.
                      Salad of fresh tomatoes.
         Cream tart with meringue.                Cheese.

This last dinner is perhaps enough for only a small party, but it is
very well composed. A much more elaborate _menu_ follows:--

                      Oysters on the half-shell.
                                Soup:
                          _Consommé royale_.
                                Fish:               Rudesheimer.
                     Fried smelts, sauce Tartare,
                          Duchess potatoes.
     Sherry.                  _Releves_:
                             Boned capon.
                              Roast ham.              Champagne.
     Madeira,                 _Entreés_:
                        Sweetbreads _braisé_.
                               Quails.                   Claret.
                          _Sorbet au kirsch_.
                                Game:
     Port,                 Broiled woodcock,         Chambertin.
                          Canvas-back duck.
                             Vegetables:
             Cauliflower,      Spinach,      French peas,
                           Stewed tomatoes.       Château Yquem.
                               Dessert:
              Frozen pudding,      _Biscuits Diplomats_.
              _Meringues Chantilly_,     Assorted Cake.
                                Fruit.
     Brandy.                   Coffee.                 Cordials.

An excellent bill of fare for eight persons, in the month of October,
is the following:--

                                Soup.
                         Bisque of crayfish.
                                Fish.
                    Baked smelts, _à la Mentone_,
                   Potato balls, _à la Rouenaise_,
            Ribs of beef braised, stewed with vegetables.
                          Brussels sprouts.
                   Roast birds, or quail on toast.
                            Celery salad.

To make a bisque of crayfish is a very delicate operation, but it is
worth trying:--

     Have three dozen live crayfish, wash them well, and take the
     intestines out by pinching the extreme end of the centre fin,
     when with a sudden jerk the gall can be withdrawn. Put in a
     stewpan two ounces of butter, with a carrot, an onion, two
     stalks of celery, two ounces of salted pork, all sliced fine,
     and a bunch of parsley; fry ten minutes, add the crayfish,
     with a pint of French white wine and a quart of veal broth.
     Stir and boil gently for an hour, then drain all in a large
     strainer, take out the bunch of parsley and save the broth;
     pick the shells off the crayfish tails, trim them neatly and
     keep until wanted. Cook separately a pint and a half of rice,
     with three pints of veal broth, pound the rest of the crayfish
     and vegetables, add the rice, pound again, dilute with the
     broth of the crayfish, and add more veal broth if too thick.
     Pass forcibly through a fine sieve with a wooden presser, put
     the residue in a saucepan, warm without boiling, and stir all
     the while with a wooden spoon. Finish with three ounces of
     table butter, a glass of Madeira wine, and a pinch of cayenne
     pepper; serve hot in soup tureen with the crayfish tails.

     _To prepare baked smelts à la Mentone_: Spread in a large and
     narrow baking-dish some fish forcemeat half an inch thick,
     have two dozen large, fresh, well-cleaned smelts, lay them
     down in a row on the forcemeat, season with salt, pepper, and
     grated nutmeg, pour over a thick white Italian sauce, sprinkle
     some bread crumbs on them, put a small pat of butter on each
     one and bake for half an hour in a pretty hot oven, then
     squeeze the juice of a lemon over and serve in a baking-dish.

     _To make potato balls à la Rouenaise_: Boil the potatoes and
     rub them fine, then roll each ball in white of egg, lay them
     on a floured table, roll into shape of a pigeon's egg, dip
     them in melted butter, and fry a light brown in clear hot
     grease. Sprinkle fine salt over and serve in a folded napkin.

     _To prepare braised ribs of beef_: Have a small set of three
     ribs cut short, cook it as _beef à la mode_, that is, stew it
     with spices and vegetables, dish it up with carrots, turnips,
     and onions, pour the reduced gravy over.

     _To prepare Brussels sprouts, demi-glacé_: Trim and wash the
     sprouts, soak them in boiling salted water about thirty
     minutes, cool them in cold water, and drain them. Put six
     ounces of butter in a large frying-pan, melt it and put the
     sprouts in it, season with salt and pepper, fry on a brisk
     fire until thoroughly hot, serve in a dish with a rich
     drawn-butter sauce with chopped parsley.

A diplomatic supper was once served at the White House, of which the
following _menu_ is an accurate report:--

                       Salmon with green sauce.
                   Cold boned turkey, with truffles.
                      _Pâtés_ of game, truffled.
                     Ham cooked in Madeira sauce.
                          Aspic of chicken.
                         _Pâté de foie gras._
     Salads of chicken and lobster in forms, surrounded by jelly.
         Pickled oysters.                      Sandwiches.
                          Scalloped oysters.
                           Stewed terrapin.
                    Chicken and lobster croquettes.
     _Chocolat à la crème._                               Coffee.
                               Dessert:
     Ices.             Fancy meringue baskets filled with cream.
                    Pancakes.           Large cakes.
             Fancy jellies.                Charlotte Russe.
                               Fruits.
     Cake.                     Wafers.                    Nougat.

One could have satisfied an appetite with all this.

General Grant was probably the most _fêted_ American who ever visited
Europe. He was entertained by every monarch and by many most
distinguished citizens. The Duke of Wellington opened the famous
Waterloo Room in Apsley House in his honour, and toasted him as the
first soldier of the age. But it is improbable that he ever had a
better dinner than the following:--

It was given to him in New York, in 1880, at the Hotel Brunswick. It
was for ten people only, in a private parlour, arranged as a
dining-room _en suite_ with the Venetian parlour. The room was in rich
olive and bronze tints. The buffet glittered with crystal, and
Venetian glass. On the side tables were arranged the coffee service
and other accessories. The whole room was filled with flowers, the
chandelier hung with smilax, dotted with carnations. The table was
arranged with roses, heliotrope, and carnations, the deep purple and
green grapes hanging over gold dishes. The dinner service was of white
porcelain with heliotrope border, the glass of iridescent crystal. The
furnishing of the Venetian parlour, the rich carvings, the suits of
armour, the antique chairs were all mediæval; the dinner was modern
and American:--

                               Oysters.
                       Soup, _Consommé Royale_.
                                Fish:
                     Fried smelts, sauce Tartare.
                              _Releves_:
                             Boned capon.
                              _Entrées_:
         Sweetbreads, _braisé_,      Quails, _à la Perigord_.
                         _Sorbet au kirsch_.
                                Game.
               Broiled woodcock,      Canvas-back duck.
                              Terrapin.
                             Vegetables:
     Cauliflower,      Spinach,      Artichokes,      French peas.
                               Dessert:
            _Biscuits Diplomatiques_,      Frozen pudding,
              _Meringue Chantilly_,      Assorted cakes.
                   Fruit.      Coffee.      Cigars.
                              Liqueurs.

Probably the last item interested and amused the General, who was no
_gourmet_, much more than even the terrapin.

This _menu_ for a November dinner cannot be surpassed.



COOKERY AND WINES OF THE SOUTH OF EUROPE.

     Aufidius for his morning beverage used
     Honey in strong Falernian wine infused;
     But here methinks he showed his want of brains:
     Drink less austere best suits the empty veins.

            *       *       *       *       *

     Shell fish afford a lubricating slime!
     But then you must observe both place and time.
     They're caught the finest when the moon is new;
     The Lucrine far excel the Baian too.
     Misenum shines in cray fish; Circe most
     In oysters; scollops let Tarentum boast.
     The culinary critic first should learn
     Each nicer shade of flavour to discern:
     To sweep the fish stalls is mere show at best

            *       *       *       *       *

     Unless you know how each thing should be drest.
     Let boars of Umbrian game replete with mast,
     If game delights you, crown the rich repast.
                               SATIRES OF HORACE.


Italian cookery is excellent at its best. The same drift of talent,
the same due sense of proportion which showed itself in all their art,
which built St. Mark's and the Duomo, the Ducal Palace, the Rialto,
and the churches of Palladio, comes out in their cookery. Their cooks
are Michel Angelo and Leonardo da Vinci in a humbler sphere.

They mingle cheese in cookery, with great effect; nothing can be
better than their cauliflower covered with Parmesan cheese, and
baked. Macaroni in all its forms is of course admirable. They have
mastered the use of sweet oil, which in their cookery never tastes
oily; it is simply a lambent richness.

The great dish, wild boar, treated with a sweet and a sour sauce, with
pine cones, is an excellent dish. Wild boar is a lean pork with a game
flavour. All sorts of birds, especially _becafico_, are well cooked,
they lose no juice or flavour over the fire.

They make a dozen preparations of Indian meal, which are very good for
breakfast. One little round cake, like a muffin, tastes almost of
cocoanut; this is fried in oil, and is most delicious.

The _frittala_ is another well-known dish, and is composed of liver,
bacon, and birds, all pinned on a long stick, or iron pin.

In an Italian palace, if you have the good luck to be asked, the
dinner is handsome. It is served in twelve courses in the Russian
manner, and if national dishes are offered they are disguised as
inelegant. But at an ordinary farmhouse in the hills near Florence, or
at the ordinary hotels, there will be a good soup, trout fresh from
the brooks, fresh butter, macaroni with cheese, a fat capon, and a
delicious omelette, enriched with morsels of kidney or fat bacon, a
_frittala_, a bunch of grapes, a bottle of Pogio secco, or the sweet
Italian straw wine.

The Italians are very frugal, and would consider the luxurious
overflow of American munificent hospitality as vulgar. At parties in
Rome, Naples, and Florence it is not considered proper to offer much
refreshment. At Mr. Story's delightful receptions American hospitality
reigned at afternoon tea, as it did in all houses where the hostess
was American, but at the houses of the Princes nothing was offered but
weak wine and water and little cakes.

Many travellers have urged that the cookery of the common Italian
dinner is too much flavoured with garlic, but in a winter spent in
travelling through Italy I did not find it so. I remember a certain
leg of lamb with beans which had a slight taste of onions, but that is
all. They have learned, as the French have, that the onion is to
cookery what accent is to speech. It should not be _trop prononcée_.
The lamb and pistachio nuts of the Arabian Nights is often served and
is delicious.

They give you in an Italian country house for breakfast, at twelve
o'clock, a sort of thick soup, very savoury, probably made of chicken
with an herb like okra, one dish of meat smothered in beans or
tomatoes, followed by a huge dish of macaroni with cheese, or with
morsels of ham through it. Then a white curd with powdered cinnamon,
sugar, and wine, a bottle of _vino santo_, a cup of coffee or
chocolate, and bread of phenomenal whiteness and lightness.

Alas, for the poor people! They live on the chestnuts, the frogs, or
nothing. The porter at the door of some great house is seen eating a
dish of frogs, which are, however, so well cooked that they send up an
appetizing fragrance more like a stew of crabs than anything else. One
sees sometimes a massive ancient house, towering up in mediæval
grandeur, with shafts of marble, and columns of porphyry, lonely,
desolate, and beautiful, infinitely impressive, infinitely grand. Some
member of a once illustrious family lives within these ruined walls,
on almost nothing. He would have to kill his pet falcon to give you a
dinner, while around his time-honoured house cluster his tenants
shaking with malaria,--pale, unhappy, starved people. It is not a
cheerful sight, but it can be seen in southern Italy.

The prosperous Italians will give you a well-cooked meal, an immense
quantity of bonbons, and the most exquisite candied fruits. Their
_confetti_ are wonderful, their cakes and ices, their candied fruit,
their _tutti frutti_, are beyond all others. They crown every feast
with a Paradise in spun sugar.

But they despise and fear a fire, and foreigners are apt to find the
old Italian palaces dreary, and very cold. A recent traveller writes
from Florence: "I have been within the walls of five Italian houses at
evening parties, at three of them, music and no conversation; all
except one held in cold rooms, the floors black, imperfectly covered
with drugget, and no fire; conversation, to me at least, very dull;
the topics, music, personal slander,--for religion, government, and
literature, were generally excluded from polite society. In only one
house, of which the mistress was a German, was tea handed around;
sometimes not even a cup of water was passed." We learn from the
novels of Marion Crawford that the Italians do not often eat in each
others' houses.

Victor Emmanuel, the mighty hunter, had a mighty appetite. He used to
dine alone, before the hour for the State dinner. Then with sword in
hand, leaning on its jewelled hilt, in full uniform, his breast
covered with orders, the King sat at the head of his table, and talked
with his guests while the really splendid dinner was served.

Royal banquets are said to be dull. The presence of a man so much
above the others in rank has a depressing effect. The guest must
console himself with the glorious past of Italy, and fix his eyes on
the magnificent furniture of the table, the cups of Benvenuto Cellini,
the vases of Capo di Monti, the superb porcelain, and the Venetian
glass, or he must devote himself to the lamb and pistachio nuts, the
_choux fleurs aux Parmesan_, or the truffles, which are nowhere so
large or so fine as at an Italian dinner. Near Rome they are rooted
out of the oak forests by the king's dogs, and are large and full of
flavour.

King Humbert has inherited his father's taste for hunting, and sends
presents of the game he has shot to his courtiers.

The housekeeping at the Quirinal is excellent; a royal supper at a
royal ball is something to remember. And what wines to wash them down
with!--the delicious Lacryma Christi, the Falerno or Capri, the
Chianti, the Sestio Levante or Asti. Asti is a green wine, rich,
strong, and sweet. It makes people ill if they drink it before it is
quite old enough--but perhaps it is not often served at royal
banquets.

Verdeaux was a favourite wine of Frederic the Great, but Victor
Emmanuel's wine was the luscious _Monte Pulciano_.

     "Monte Pulciano d'ogni vino e il Re."

The brilliant purple colour, like an amethyst, of this noble wine is
unlike any other. The aromatic odour is delicious; its sweetness is
tempered by an agreeable sharpness and astringency; it leaves a
flattering flavour on the tongue.

These best Italian wines have a deliciousness which eludes analysis,
like the famous Monte Beni, which old Tommaso produced in a small
straw-covered flask at the visit of Kenyon to Donatello. This
invaluable wine was of a pale golden hue, like other of the rarest
Italian wines, and if carelessly and irreligiously quaffed, might have
been mistaken for a sort of champagne. It was not, however, an
effervescing wine, although its delicate piquancy produced a somewhat
similar effect upon the palate. Sipping, the guest longed to sip
again, but the wine demanded so deliberate a pause in order to detect
the hidden peculiarities, and subtile exquisiteness of its flavour,
that to drink it was more a moral than a physical delight. There was a
deliciousness in it which eluded description, and like whatever else
that is superlatively good was perhaps better appreciated by the
memory than by present consciousness. One of its most ethereal charms
lay in the transitory life of the wine's richest qualities; for while
it required a certain leisure and delay, yet if you lingered too long
in the draught, it became disenchanted both of its fragrance and
flavour. The lustre and colour should not be forgotten among the other
good qualities of the Monte Beni wine, for "as it stood in Kenyon's
glass, a little circle of light glowed on the table around about it as
if it were really so much golden sunshine."

There are few wines worthy of this beautiful eloquence of Hawthorne.
The description bears transportation; the wine did not. The
transportation of even a few miles turned it sour. That is the trouble
with Italian wines. Monte Pulciano and Chianti do bear transportation.
Italy sends much of the latter wine to New York. Italy has, however,
never produced a really good dry wine, with all its vineyards.

The dark Grignolino wine grown in the vineyards of Asterau and
Monferrato possesses the remarkable quality of keeping better if
diluted with fresh water.

The Falernian from the Bay of Naples, is the wine of the poets, nor
need we remind the classical scholar that the hills around Rome were
formerly supposed to produce it.

The loose, volcanic soil about Mount Vesuvius grows the grapes from
which Lacryma Christi is produced. It is sometimes of a rich red
colour, though white and sparkling varieties are produced.

The Italians are supremely fond of _al fresco_ entertainments,--their
fine climate making out-of-door eating very agreeable. How many a
traveller remembers the breakfast or dinner in a vine-covered _loggia_
overhanging some splendid scene! It forms the subject of many a
picture, from those which illustrate the stories of Boccaccio up to
the beautiful sketch of Tasso, at the court of the Duc d'Este. The
dangers of these feasts have been immortalized in verse and prose from
Dante down, and Shakspeare has touched upon them twice. George Eliot
describes one in a "_loggia_ joining on a garden, with all one side of
the room open, and with numerous groups of trees and statues and
avenues of box, high enough to hide an assassin," in her wonderful
novel of Romola. In modern days, since the Borgias are all killed, no
one need fear to eat out-of-doors in Italy.

Not much can be said of the cookery of Spain. In the principal hotels
of Spain one gets all the evils of both Spanish and Gascon cookery.
Garlic is the favourite flavour, and the bad oil expressed from the
olive, skin, seed and all, allowed to stand until it is rancid, is
beloved of the Spanish, but hated by all other nations. I believe,
however, that an _olla podrida_ made in a Spanish house is very good.
It may not be inappropriate here to give two recipes for macaroni. The
first, _macaroni au gratin_ is very rarely found good in an
American house:--

     Break two ounces of best Italian macaroni into a pint of
     highly seasoned stock, let it simmer until very tender. When
     done, toss it up with a small piece of butter, and add pepper
     and salt to taste; put in a large meat dish, sift over it some
     fried bread-crumbs, and serve. It will take about an hour to
     cook, and should be covered with the stock all the time.

            *       *       *       *       *

     _Macaroni with Parmesan cheese_: Boil two ounces of macaroni
     in half a pint of water, with an ounce of butter, until
     perfectly tender. If the water evaporates add a little more,
     taking care that the macaroni does not stick to the stewpan,
     or become broken. When it is done, drain away the water and
     stir in two ounces of good cheese grated, cayenne pepper and
     salt to taste. Keep stirring until the cheese is dissolved.
     Pour on to a hot dish and serve. A little butter may be
     stirred into the macaroni before the cheese, and is an
     improvement.

Through the Riviera, and indeed in the south of France, one meets with
many peculiar dishes. No one who has read Thackeray need be reminded
of _bouillabaise_, that famous fish chowder of Marseilles. It is,
however, only our chowder with much red pepper. A cook can try it if
she chooses, and perhaps achieve it after many failures.

There are so many very good dishes awaiting the efforts of a young
American housewife, that she need not go out of her way to extemporize
or explore. The best cook-book for foreign dishes is still the old
Francatelli.

The presence in our midst of Italian warehouses, adds an infinite
resource to the housewife. Those stimulants to the appetite called
_hors d'oeuvres_, we call them relishes, are much increased by
studying the list of Italian delicacies. Anchovy or caviar, potted
meat, grated tongue, potted cheese, herring salad, the inevitable
olive, and many other delicacies could be mentioned which aid
digestion, and make the plainest table inexpensively luxurious. The
Italians have all sorts of delicate vegetables preserved in bottles,
mixed and ready for use in a _jardinière_ dressing; also the best of
cheeses, _gargonzala_, and of course the truffle, which they know how
to cook so well.

The Italians have conquered the art of cooking in oil, so that you do
not taste the oil. It is something to live for, to eat their fried
things.

Speaking of the south of Europe reminds us of that wonderful bit of
orientalism out of place, which is called Algiers, and which France
has enamelled on her fabulous and many-coloured shield. Algiers has
become not only a winter watering-place, high in favour with the
traveller, but it is a great wine-growing country. The official
statement of Lieut. Col. Sir R. L. Playfair, her Majesty's
consul-general, may be read with interest, dated 1889:

"Viticulture in Algeria, was in 1778 in its infancy; now nearly one
hundred and twenty-five thousand acres are under cultivation with
vines, and during the last year about nine hundred thousand
hectolitres of wine were produced. In 1873 Mr. Eyre Ledyard, an
English cultivator of the vine in Algeria, bought the property of
Chateau Hydra near Algiers. He found on it five acres of old and badly
planted vineyards, which produced about seven hogsheads of wine. He
has extended this vineyard and carried on his work with great
intelligence and industry. He cultivates the following varieties: the
Mourvedie, of a red colour resembling Burgundy, Cariguan, giving a
wine good, dark, and rough, Alicante or Grenache, Petit Bouschet,
Cabernot and Côt, a Burgundy, Perian Lyra, Aramen, and St. Saux.

Chasselas succeeds well; the grapes are exported to France for the
table.

Clairette produces abundantly and makes a good dry wine. Ainin Kelb,
more correctly Ain Kelb, dog's-eye, is an Arab grape which makes a
good strong wine, but which requires keeping. Muscat is a capricious
bearer. From the two last-named varieties, sweet as well as dry wines
are produced by adding large quantities of alcohol to the juice of the
grape, and thus preventing fermentation. The crops yield quantities
varying from seven hundred gallons per acre in rich land to four
hundred on the hillside, except Cariguan which yields more. Aramen
yields as much, but the quality is inferior.

The red wines are sent to Bordeaux and Burgundy, to give strength and
quality to the French clarets, as they are very useful for blending.
The dry, white wine is rather stronger and fuller than that of France
or Germany, and is much used to give additional value to the thinner
qualities of Rhine wine.

The cellars of Château Hydra, are now probably the best in the colony.
They are excavated in the soft rock here incorrectly called tufa, in
reality an aggregation of minutely pulverized shells; it is soft and
sandy, and easily excavated. The surface becomes harder by exposure to
the atmosphere, and it is not subject to crumbling.

Mr. Ledyard has excavated extensive cells in this rock, in which
extreme evenness of temperature is ensured,--a condition most
necessary for the proper manufacture of wine.

Mr. Eyre Ledyard's vineyards and cellars of the Chateau Hydra estate
are now farmed by the _Société Anonyme Viticole et Vinicole d'Hydra_,
of which Mr. Ledyard is chairman. These wines have been so
successfully shipped to England and other countries that the company
now buys grapes largely from the best vineyards, in order to make
sufficient wines to meet the demand. The Hydra Company supplies wine
to all vessels of the Ocean Company going to India and China. A very
carefully prepared quinine white wine is made for invalids, and for
use in countries where there is fever. I especially recommend a trial
of this last excellent wine to Americans, as it is most agreeable as
well as healthful. The postal address is M. Le Gerant, Hydra Caves,
Birmandreis, Algiers.

All the stories of Algiers read like tales of the Arabian Nights, and
none is more poetic than the names and the story of these delicious
wines.

The Greek wines are well spoken of in Europe: Santorin, and Zante, and
St. Elié, and Corinth, and Mount Hymettus, Vino Santo, and Cyprus,
while from Magyar vineyards come Visontaè, Badescony, Dioszeg,
Bakator, Rust, Szamorodni, Oedenburger, Ofner, and Tokay.

The Hungarian wines are very heady. He must be a swashbuckler who
drinks them. They are said to make the drinker grow fat. To this
unhappy class Brillat Savarin gives the following precepts:--

"Drink every summer thirty bottles of seltzer water, a large tumbler
the first thing in the morning, another before lunch, and the same at
bedtime.

"Drink white wines, especially those which are light and acid, and
avoid beer as you would the plague. Ask frequently for radishes,
artichokes with hot sauce, asparagus, celery; choose veal and fowl
rather than beef and mutton, and eat as little of the crumb of bread
as possible.

"Avoid macaroni and pea soup, avoid farinaceous food under whatever
form it assumes, and dispense with all sweets. At breakfast take brown
bread, and chocolate rather than coffee."

Indeed Brillat Savarin seems to have inspired this later poet:--

     "Talk of the nectar that flowed for celestials
     Richer in headaches it was than hilarity!
     Well for us animals, frequently bestials,
     Hebe destroyed the recipe as a charity!
     Once I could empty my glass with the best of 'em,
     Somehow my system has suffered a shock o' late;
     Now I shun spirits, wine, beer, and the rest of 'em,
     Fill me, then fill me, a bumper of chocolate.

     "Once I drank logwood, and quassia and turpentine,
     Liqueurs with coxcubes, aloes, and gentian in,
     Sure, 't is no wonder my path became serpentine,
     Getting a state I should blush now to mention in.
     Farewell to Burgundy, farewell to Sillery,
     I have not tasted a drop e'en of Hock o' late,
     Long live the kettle, my dear old distillery,
     Fill me, oh fill me, a bumper of chocolate."

As we cannot all drink chocolate, I recommend the carefully prepared
white wine, with quinine in it, which comes from Chateau Hydra in
Algiers, or some of the Italian wines, Barolo for instance, or the
excellent native wines which are produced in Savoy.

About Aix les Bains, where the cuisine is the best in Europe, many
wines are manufactured which are honest wines with no headaches in
them.



SOME ODDITIES IN THE ART OF ENTERTAINING.

"Comparisons are odorous."

     I prithee let me bring thee where crabs grow;
       And I with my long nails will dig thee pig nuts;
     Show thee a jay's nest, and instruct thee how
       To snare the nimble marmozet; I'll bring thee
     To clustering filberds, and sometimes I'll get thee
       Young staniels from the rocks. Wilt thou go with me?
                                            THE TEMPEST.


In the lamb roasted whole we have one of the earliest dishes on record
in the history of cookery. Stuffed with pistachio nuts, and served
with pilaf, it illustrates the antiquity of the art, and at the same
time gives an example of the food upon which millions of our fellow
creatures are sustained.

At a dinner of the Acclimatization Society in London, all manner of
strange and new dishes were offered, even the meat of the horse. A
roast monkey filled with chestnuts was declared to be delicious; the
fawn of fallow deer was described as good; buffalo meat was not so
highly commended; a red-deer ham was considered very succulent; a
sirloin of bear was "tough, glutinous, and had, besides, a dreadful,
half-aromatic, half-putrescent flavour, as though it had been rubbed
with assafoetida and then hung for a month in a musk shop."

We will not try bear unless we are put to it. However, at this same
dinner--we read on--haunch of venison, saddle of mutton, roast beef of
old England, which is really the roast beef which is of old Normandy
now, all gave way to a Chinese lamb roasted whole, stuffed with
pistachio nuts, and served with _consousson_, a preparation of wheat
used among the Moors, Africans, and other natives of the north of
Africa littoral, in place of rice. The Moorish young ladies are, it is
said, fattened into beauty by an enforced meal of this strengthening
compound. The _consousson_ is made into balls and stuffed into the
mouths of the marriageable young lady, until she grows as tired of
balls as a young belle of three seasons.

In Spain, in those damp swamps near Valencia, where the poor are old
before forty and die before forty-five, the best rice sells at eleven
farthings, the poorest at eight farthings per pound. This, cooked with
the ground dust of _pimientos_, or capsicums, is the foundation of
every stew in the south of Spain. It is of a rich brick-dust hue, and
is full of fire and flavour. Into this stew the cook puts the
"reptiles of the sea" known as "spotted cats," "toads" and other oily
fish, sold at two pence a pound, or the _vogar_, a silvery fish, or
the _gallina_, a coarse fish, chick peas, garlic, pork, and sausages.
If rich she will make an _olla podrida_ with bacon, fresh meat,
potatoes, cabbages, and she will pour off the soup, calling it
_caldo_, then the lumps of meat and bacon, called _cocida_, will be
served next. Then the cigarette is smoked. If you are a king she will
add a quince and an apple to the stew.

Of puddings and pies they know nothing; but what fruit they
have!--watermelons weighing fifteen pounds apiece; lemon pippins
called _perillons_; crimson, yellow, and purple plums; purple and
green figs; tomatoes by the million; carob beans, on which half the
nation lives; small cucumbers and gourds; large black grapes, very
sweet; white grapes and quinces; peaches in abundance; and all the
chestnuts and filberts in the world. In the summer they eat goat's
flesh; and on All Saints' Day they eat pork and chestnuts and sweet
_babatas_ of Malaga. In exile, in Mexico and Florida, the Spaniard
eats alligator, which could scarcely be called a game bird; but the
flesh of young alligators' tails is very fair, and tastes like chicken
if the tail is cut off immediately after death, and stewed.

The frost fish of the Adirondacks is seldom tasted, except by those
who have spent a winter in the North Woods. They are delicious when
fried. There is a European fish as little known as this, the _Marena_,
caught in Lake Moris in the province of Pomerania, also in one lake in
southern Italy, which is very good.

There are two birds known in Prussia, the bustard, and the kammel, the
former a species of small ostrich, once considered very fine eating,
the latter very tough, except under unusual conditions.

The Chinese enjoy themselves by night. All their feasts and festivals
are kept then, generally by moonlight. When a Chinaman is poor he can
live on a farthing's worth of rice a day; when he gets rich he becomes
the most luxurious of sybarites, indulges freely in the most
_recherché_ delicacies of the table, and becomes, like any Roman
voluptuary, corpulent and phlegmatic. A lady thus describes a Chinese
dinner:--

"The hour was eleven A. M., the _locale_ a boat. Having heard much of
the obnoxious stuff I was to eat, I adopted the prescription of a
friend. 'Eat very little of any dish, and be a long time about it.'

"We commenced with tea, and finished with soup. Some of the
intermediate dishes were shark's-fin; birds' nests brought from
Borneo, costing nearly a guinea a mouthful, fricassee of poodle, a
little dog almost a pig; the fish of the conch-shell, a substance like
wax or india rubber, which you might masticate but never mash;
peacock's liver, very fine and _recherché_; putrid eggs, nevertheless
very good; rice, of course, salted shrimps, baked almonds, cabbage in
a variety of forms, green ginger, stewed fungi, fresh fish of a dozen
kinds, onions _ad libitum_, salt duck cured like ham, and pig in every
form, roast, boiled, and fried, Foo-Chow ham which seemed to me equal
to Wiltshire. In fact, the Chinese excel in pork, though the English
there never touch it, under the supposition that the pigs are fed on
little babies.

"But this is a libel. Of course a pig would eat a baby, as it would a
rattlesnake if it came across one; but the Chinese are very particular
about their swine and keep them penned up, rivalling the Dutch in
their scrubbing and washing. They grow whole fields of taro and herbs
for their pigs. And I do not believe that one porker in a million ever
tastes a baby."

This traveller's sympathies appear to be with the pig.

"About two o'clock we arose from the table, walked about, looked out
of the window. Large brass bowls were brought with water and towels.
Each one proceeded to perform ablutions, the Chinese washing their
heads; after which refreshing operation we resumed our seats and
re-commenced with another description of tea.

"Seven different sorts of Samchou we partook of, made from rice, from
peas, from mangoes, cocoa-nut, all fermented liquors, and the mystery
remained,--I was not inebriated. The Samchou was drunk warm in tiny
cups, during the whole course of the dinner.

"The whole was cooked without salt and tasted very insipid to me. The
bird's-nest seemed like glue or isinglass, but the coxcombs were
palatable. The dog-meat was like some very delicate gizzards
well-stewed, and of a short, close fibre. The dish which I most
fancied turned out to be rat. Upon taking a second help, after the
first taste I got the head, which made me rather sick; but I consoled
myself that when in California we ate ground squirrels which are first
cousins to the flat-tailed rats; and travellers who would know the
world must go in for manners and customs. We had tortoise and
frogs,--a curry of the latter was superior to chicken; we had fowls'
hearts, and the brains of some birds, snipe, I think. We had a
chow-chow of mangoes, rambustan preserved, salted cucumber, sweet
potatoes, yams, taro, all sorts of sweets made of rice sugar, and
cocoa-nuts; and the soup which terminated the entertainment was
certainly boiled tripe or some other internal arrangement; and I
wished I had halted some little time before. The whole was eaten with
chop-sticks or a spoon like a small spade or shovel. The sticks are
made into a kind of fork, being held crosswise between the fingers. It
is not the custom for the sexes to meet at meals; I dined with the
ladies."

This dinner has one suggestion for our hostesses,--it was in a boat,
on a river, by torchlight. We can, however, give a better one on a
yacht at Newport, or at New London, or down on the Florida coast; but
it would be a pretty fancy to give it on our river. It is curious to
see what varieties there are in the art of entertaining; and it is
useful to remember, when in Florida, "that alligators' tails are as
good, when stewed, as chicken."

The eating of the past included, under the Romans, the ass, the dog,
the snail, hedge-hogs, oysters, asparagus, venison, wild-boar,
sea-nettles. In England, in 1272, the hostess offered strange dishes:
mallards, herons, swans, crane, and peacock. The peacock was, of old,
a right royal bird which figured splendidly at the banquets of the
great, and this is how the mediæval cooks dished up the dainty:--

"Flay off the skin, with the feathers, tail, neck, and head thereon.
Then take the skin and all the feathers and lay it on the table,
strewing thereon ground cumin; then take the peacock and roast him,
and baste him with raw yolks of eggs, and when he is roasted take him
off and let him cool awhile. Then sew him in his skin, and gild his
comb, and so send him forth for the last course."

Our Saxon ancestors were very fond, like the Spaniards, of putting
everything into the same pot; and we read of stews that make the blood
boil. Travellers tell us of dining with the Esquimaux, on a field of
ice, when tallow candles were considered delicious, or they found
their plates loaded with liver of the walrus. They vary their dinners
by helping themselves to a lump of whale-meat, red and coarse and
rancid, but very toothsome to an Esquimau, notwithstanding.

If they should sit down to a Greenlander's table they would find it
groaning under a dish of half-putrid whale's tail, which has been
lauded as a savoury matter, not unlike cream cheese; and the liver of
a porpoise makes the mouth water. They may finish their repast with a
slice of reindeer, or roasted rat, and drink to their host in a bumper
of train oil.

In South America the tongue of a sea-lion is esteemed a great
delicacy. Fashion in Siam prescribes a curry of ants' eggs as
necessary to every well-ordered banquet. The eggs are not larger than
grains of pepper, and to an unaccustomed palate have no particular
flavour. Besides being curried, they are brought to table rolled in
green leaves mingled with shreds or very fine slices of pork.

The Mexicans make a species of bread of the eggs of insects which
frequent the fresh water of the lagoons. The natives cultivate in the
lagoon of Chalco a sort of carex called _tonte_, on which the insects
deposit their eggs very freely. This carex is made into bundles and is
soon covered. The eggs are disengaged, beaten, dried, and pounded into
flour.

Penguins' eggs, cormorants' eggs, gulls' eggs, the eggs of the
albatross, turtles' eggs are all made subservient to the table. The
mother turtle deposits her eggs, about a hundred at a time, in the dry
sand, and leaves them to be hatched by the genial sun. The Indian
tribes who live on the banks of the Orinoco procure from them a sweet
and limpid oil which is their substitute for butter. Lizards' eggs are
regarded as a _bonne bouche_ in the South Sea Islands, and the eggs of
the _guana_, a species of lizard, are much favoured by West Indians.
Alligators' eggs are eaten in the Antilles and resemble hens' eggs in
size and shape.

We have spoken of horse-flesh as introduced at the dinner of the
Acclimatization Society, but it is hardly known that the Frenchmen
have tried to make it as common as beef. Isidore St. Helain says of
it, that it has long been regarded as of a sweetish, disagreeable
taste, very tough, and not to be eaten without difficulty; but so
many different facts are opposed to this prejudice that it is
impossible not to perceive the slightness of the foundation. The free
or wild horse is hunted as game in all parts of the world where it
exists,--Asia, Africa, and America, and perhaps even now in Europe.
The domestic horse is itself made use of for alimentary purposes in
all those countries.

"Its flesh is relished by races the most diverse,--Negro, Mongol,
Malay, American, Caucasian. It was much esteemed until the eighth
century amongst the ancestors of some of the greatest nations of
Western Europe, who had it in general use and gave it up with regret.
Soldiers to whom it has been served out and people who have bought it
in markets, have taken it for beef; and many people buy it daily in
Paris for venison."

During the commune many people were glad enough to get horse-flesh for
the roast.

Locusts are eaten by many tribes of North American Indians, and there
is no reason why they should not be very good. The bushmen of Africa
rejoice in roasting spiders; maggots tickle the palates of the
Australian aborigines; and the Chinese feast on the chrysalis of a
silk-worm.

If this is what they ate, what then did they drink? No thin potations,
no half-filled cups for the early English. Wine-bibbers and
beer-bibbers, three-bottle men they were down to one hundred years
ago. Provocatives of drink were called "shoeing horses," "whetters,"
"drawers off and pullers on."

Massinger puts forth a curious test of these provocatives:--

                             "I asked
     Such an unexpected dainty bit for breakfast
     As never yet I cooked; 'tis red _botargo_,
     Fried frogs, potatoes marroned, _cavear_,
     Carps' tongues, the pith of an English chine of beef,
     Now one Italian delicate wild mushroom,
     And yet a drawer on too; and if you show not
     An appetite, and a strong one, I'll not say
     To eat it, but devour it, without grace too,
     For it will not stay a preface. I am shamed,
     And all my past provocatives will be jeered at."

Ben Jonson affords us many a glimpse of the drinking habits of all
classes in his day.

After the Restoration, England seems to have abandoned herself to one
great saturnalia, and men drank deeply, from the king down. The novels
of Fielding and Smollett are full of the wildest debauchery and
drunken extravagance. Statesmen drank deep at their councils, ladies
drank in their boudoirs, the criminal on his way to Tyburn stopped to
drink a parting glass. Hogarth in his wonderful pictures has held the
mirror up to society to show how general was the shame, how terrible
the curse.

In Germany the _Baierisch bier_, drunk out of _biergläschen_
ornamented as they are with engraved wreaths, "_Zum Andenken_," "_Aus
Freundschaft_," and other little bits of national harmless sentiment,
has come down from the remotest antiquity, and has never failed to
provoke quiet and decorous, if sleepy hilarity.

We are afraid that the "Dew of Ben Nevis" is not so peaceful, nor the
juice of the juniper, nor New England rum, nor the _aquadiente_ of the
Mexican, nor the _vodka_ of the Russian. All these have the most
terrible wild madness in them. To the honour of civilization, it is no
longer the fashion to drink to excess. The vice of drunkenness rarely
meets the eye of a refined woman; and let us hope that less and less
may it be the bane of society, the disgrace of the art of
entertaining.



THE SERVANT QUESTION.

                                         Verily
     I swear, 't is better to be lowly born,
     And range with humble livers in content,
     Than to be perked up in a glistering grief
     And wear a golden sorrow.
                                    HENRY VIII.


It is impossible to do much with the art of entertaining without
servants, and where shall we get them? In a country village, not two
hundred miles from New York, I have seen well-to-do citizens going to
a little restaurant in the main street for their dinners during an
entire summer, because they could not get women to stay in their
houses as servants. They are willing to pay high wages, they are
generous livers, but such a thing as domestic service is out of the
question. If any lady comes from the city bringing two or three maids,
they are of far more interest in the village than their mistress, and
are besieged, waited upon, intrigued with, to leave their place, to
come and serve the village lady.

What is the reason? The American farmer's daughter will not go out to
service, will not be called a servant, will not work in another
person's house as she will in her own. The Irish maid prefers the
town, and dislikes the country, where there is no Catholic church.
Such a story repeated all over the land is the story of American
service.

We have, however, every day, ships arriving in New York harbour which
pour out on our shores the poor of all nations. The men seem to take
readily enough to any sort of work. Italians shovel snow and work on
railroads, but their wives and daughters make poor domestic servants.

The best that we can get are the Irish who have been long in the
country. Then come the Germans, who now outnumber the Irish. French,
Swedes, Danes, Norwegians, all come in shoals.

Of all these the French are by far the best. Of course, as cooks they
are unrivalled; as butler, waiter, footman, a well-trained French
serving-man is the very best. He is neat, economical, and respectful.
He knows his value and he is very expensive. But if you can afford
him, take him and keep him.

French maids are admirable as seamstresses, and in all the best and
highest walks of domestic service, but they are difficult as to the
other servants. They make trouble about their food; they do not tell
the truth, as a rule.

A good Irish nurse is the best and most tender, the most to be relied
on. Children love Irish servants; it is the best recommendation we can
give them. They are not good cooks as a rule, and are wanting in head,
management, and neatness; but they are willing; and a wise mistress
can make of them almost anything she desires.

The Germans surpass them very much in thrift and in concentration, but
the Germans are stolid, and very far from being as gentle and willing
as the Irish. If a housekeeper gets a number of German servants in
training and thinks them perfect, she need not be astonished if some
fine morning she rises and finds them gone off to parts unknown.

The Swedes are more reliable up to a certain point; they are never
stupid, they are rather fantastic, and very eccentric. They are also
full of poetry, and indulge in sublime longings. The Swedish language
is made up of eloquence and poetry as soft as the Italian; it has also
something of the flow and the magnificence of the Spanish. It is
freighted with picturesque and brilliant metaphor, and is richer than
ours in its expressions of gentleness, politeness, and courtesy. They
have a great talent for arguing with gentleness and courtesy, and of
protesting with politeness, and they learn our language with singular
ease. I once had a Swedish maid who argued me out of my desire to have
the dining-room swept, in better language than I could use myself. One
must, in hiring servants, take into account all these national
characteristics. The Swedes are full of talent, they can do your work
if they wish to, but ten chances to one they do not wish to.

Gustavus Adolphus and Charles XII. were two types of Swedish
character. The Swedes of to-day, like them, are full of dignity and
lofty aspiration; they love brilliant display; they have audacious and
adventurous spirits; one can imagine them marching to victory; but all
this makes them, in this country, "too smart" to be servants.

They are excellent cooks. A Swedish woman formerly came to my house to
cook for dinner parties, and she was equal to any French _chef_. Her
price was five dollars; she would do all my marketing for me, and
serve the dinner most perfectly,--that is, render it up to the men
waiters. I rarely had any fault to find; if I had, it was I who was in
the wrong. She came often to instruct my Irish cook; but had I
attempted any further intercourse, I felt that it would have been I
who would have had to leave the house, and not my excellent cook. They
have every qualification for service excepting this: they will not
obey,--they are captains.

The Norwegians are very different. We must again remember that at home
they are poor, frugal, religious, and capable of all sacrifice; they
will work patiently here for seven years in order to go back to
Norway, to that poetical land, whose beauty is so unspeakable. These
girls who come from the herds, who have spent the summer on the plains
in a small hut and alone, making butter and cheese, are strong,
patient, handsome, fresh creatures, with voices as sweet as lutes, and
most obedient and good,--their thoughts ever of father and mother and
home. Would there were more of them. If they were a little less
awkward in an American house they would be perfect.

As for the men, they are the best farm-laborers in the world. They
have a high, noble, patient courage, a very slow mind, and are fond of
argument. The Norwegian is the Scotchman of Scandinavia, as the Swede
is the Irishman. There are no better adopted citizens than the
Norwegians, but they live here only to go back to Norway when they
have made enough. Deeply religious, they are neither narrow nor
ignoble. They would be perfect servants if well trained.

The Danes are not so simple; they are a mercantile people, and are
desperately fond of bargaining. They are also, however, most
interesting. Their taste for art is vastly more developed than that of
either the Swedes or the Norwegians. A Danish parlour-maid will
arrange the _bric-à-brac_ and stand and look at it. To go higher in
their home history, they are making great painters. As servants they
are hardly known enough amongst us to be criticised; those I have seen
have been neat, faithful, and far more obedient than their cleverer
Swedish sisters.

Could I have my choice for servants about a country house they should
be Norwegians, in a city house, French.

In Chicago, the ladies speak highly of the German servants, if they do
not happen to be Nihilists, which is a dreadful possibility. At the
South they still have the negro, most excellent when good, most
objectionable when bad. Certainly freedom has not improved him as to
manners, and a coloured coachman in Washington can be far more
disagreeable than an Irishman, or a French cabby during the
Exposition, which is saying a great deal.

The excellence, the superiority, the respectful manners of English
servants at home has induced many ladies to bring over parlour maids,
nurses, cooks, from England, with, however, but small success. I need
but copy the following from the "London Queen," to show how different
is the way of speaking of a servant, and to a servant in London from
that which obtains in New York. It is _verbatim_:--

"The servants should rise at six-thirty, and the cook a little
earlier; she then lights the kitchen fire, opens the house, sweeps the
hall, cleans the steps, prepares upstairs and downstairs breakfast.
Meantime the house parlourmaid does the dining-room, takes up hot
water to bedrooms, lays the table, and so forth, while the housemaid
dusts the day nursery and takes up the children's breakfast. Supposing
the family breakfast is not wanted before eight-thirty, that meal
should be taken, in both kitchen and nursery, before eight o'clock.
As soon as this is over the cook must tidy her kitchen, look over her
stores, contents of pantry, etc., and be ready by nine-thirty to take
her orders for the day. She will answer the kitchen bell at all times,
and perhaps the front door in the morning, and will be answerable
besides for ordinary kitchen work, for the hall, kitchen stairs, all
the basement, and according to arrangement possibly the dining-room.
She must have fixed days for doing the above work, cleaning tins, etc.
The cook also clears away the breakfast. As soon as the housemaid has
taken up the family breakfast, she, the housemaid, must begin the
bedrooms, where the second scullery-maid may help her as soon as she
has done helping the cook. The house parlour-maid will be responsible
for the drawing-room and sitting-room and all the bedrooms, also
stairs and landing, having regular days for cleaning out one of each
weekly, being helped by the second scullery-maid. She should be
dressed in time for lunch, wait on it, and clear away. She will answer
the front door in the afternoon, take up five o'clock tea, lay the
table and wait at dinner. The scullery maid must clear the kitchen
meals and help in all the washing up, take up nursery tea, help the
cook prepare late dinner, carry up the dishes for late dinner, clear
and wash up kitchen supper. The nurse has her dinner in the kitchen.
Servants' meals should be breakfast, before the family, dinner
directly after upstairs lunch, tea at five, supper at nine. They
should go to bed regularly at ten o'clock. Now as to their fare. For
breakfast a little bacon or an egg, or some smoked fish; for dinner,
meat, vegetables, potatoes, and pudding. If a joint has been sent up
for lunch, it is usual for it to go down to the servants' table.

"Allow one pint and a half of beer to each servant who asks for it, or
one bottle. Tea, butter, and sugar are given out to them. The weekly
bills for the servants shall be about two dollars and a half."

The neatness of all this careful housekeeping would be delightful if
it could be carried out with us, or if the servant would accept it.
But imagine a New York mistress achieving it! The independent voter
would revolt, his wife would never accept it. English servants lose
all their good manners when they come over here, and do not appear at
all as they do in London.

American servants are always expected to eat what goes down from the
master's table, and there is no such thing as making one servant wait
upon another in our free and independent country. There are households
in America where many servants are kept in order by a very clever
mistress, but it is rarely an order which lasts for long. It is a
vexed question, and the freedom with which we take a servant, without
knowing much of her character, must explain a great deal of it.
Foreign servants find out soon their legal rights, and their
importance. Here where labour is scarce, it is not so easy to get a
good footman, parlour maid, or cook; the great variety and antipathy
of race comes in. The Irishman will not work on a railroad with the
Italian, and we all know the history of the "Heathen Chinee." That is
repeated in every household.

Mr. Winans, in Scotland, hires a place which reaches from the North
Sea to the Atlantic; he spends two hundred thousand dollars a year on
it. He has perhaps three hundred servants, every one of them perfect.
Imagine his having such a place here! How many good servants could he
find; how long would they stay? How long does a French _chef_, at ten
thousand dollars a year, stay? Only one year. He prefers to return to
France.

Indeed, French servants, poorly paid and very poorly fed at home, are
the hardest to keep in this country; they all wish to go back. It is a
curious fact that they grow impertinent and do not seem to enjoy the
life. They go back to Europe, and resume their good manners as if
nothing had happened. It must be in the air.

It is, however, possible for a lady to get good servants and to keep
them for a while, if she has great executive ability and a natural
leadership; but the whole question is one which has not yet been at
all mastered.

There is no "hook and eye" between the ship loaded down with those who
want work and those who want work done. The great lack of respect in
the manners of servants in hotels is especially noticeable to one
returning from Europe. A woman, a sort of care-taker on a third-story
floor, will sing while a lady is talking to her, not because she
wishes to sing at all, but to establish her independence. In Europe
she would say, "Yes, my Lady," or "No, my Lady" when spoken to.

It is to be feared that the Declaration of Independence is between us
and good service. We must be content if we find one or two amiable
Irish, or old negroes, who will serve us because of the love they bear
us, and for our children's sake, whom they love as if they were their
very own.

This is, however, but taking the seamy side, and the humbler side.
Many opulent people in America employ thirty servants, and their house
goes on with much of European elegance. It is not unusual in a fine
New York house to find a butler and four men in the dining-room; a
_chef_ and his assistants in the kitchen; a head groom and his men in
the stables; a coachman, who is a very important functionary; and
three women in the nursery besides the nursery governess, who acts as
the amanuensis of the lady; the lady's maid, whose sole duty is to
wait on her lady, and perhaps her young lady; a parlour maid or two;
and two chambermaids, a laundress and her assistants.

Of course the men in such a vast establishment do not sleep in the
house, perhaps with one or two exceptions; the valet and the head
footman may be kept at home, as they may be needed in the night, for
errands, etc. But our American houses are not built to accommodate so
many. One lady, the head of such an establishment, said that she had
"never seen her laundress." A different staircase led to the servants'
room; her maid did all the interviewing with this important personage.

If a lady can find a competent housekeeper to direct this large
household, it is all very well, but that is yet almost impossible, and
the life of a fashionable woman in New York, who is the head of such a
house, is apt to be slavery. The housekeeper and the butler are seldom
friends, therefore the hostess has to reconcile these two conflicting
powers before she can give a dinner; the head footman walks off
disgusted and leaves a vacant place, etc.

The households of men of foreign birth, who understand dealing with
different nationalities, are apt to get on very well with thirty
servants; doubtless such men import their own servants.

In a household where one man alone is kept, he is expected to open the
front door and to do all the work of the dining-room, and must have an
assistant in the pantry. The cook, if a woman, generally demands and
needs one; if a man, he demands two, for a _chef_ will not do any of
the menial work of cookery. He is a pampered official.

In England, the housekeeper engages the servants and supervises them.
She has charge of the stores and the house linen, and in general is
responsible for the economical and exact management of all household
details, and for the comfort of guests and the family. She is expected
to see that her employers are not cheated, and this in our country
makes her unpopular. A bad housekeeper is worse than none, as of
course her powers of stealing are endless.

The butler is responsible for the silver and wine. He must be absolute
over the footman. It is he who directs the carving and passing of
dishes, and then stands behind the chair of his mistress. All the
men-servants must be clean shaven; none are permitted to wear a
mustache, that being the privilege of the gentlemen.

A lady's maid is not expected to do her own washing, or make her own
bed in Europe; but in this country, being required to do all that, and
to eat with the other servants, she is apt to complain. A French maid
always complains of the table. She must dress hair, understand
dress-making, and clear starching, be a good packer, and always at
hand to dress her lady and to sit up for her when she returns from
parties. Her wages are very high and she is apt to become a tyrant.

It is very difficult to define for an American household the duties of
servants, which are so well defined in England and on the continent.
Every lady has her own individual ideas on this subject, and servants
have _their_ individual ideas, which they do not have in Europe. I
heard an opulent gentleman who kept four men-servants in his house,
and three in his stable, complain one snowy winter that he had not one
who would shovel snow from his steps, each objecting that it was not
his business; so he wrote a note to a friendly black man, who came
around, and rendered it possible for the master of the house to go
down to business. This was an extreme case, but it illustrates one of
the phases of our curious civilization.

The butler is the important person, and it will be well for the lady
to hold him responsible; he should see to it that the footmen are neat
and clean. Most servants in American houses wear black dress-coats,
and white cravats, but some of our very rich men have now all their
flunkies in livery, a sort of cut-away dress-coat, a waistcoat of
another colour, small clothes, long stockings, and low shoes. Powdered
footmen have not yet appeared.

If we were in England we should say that the head footman is to attend
the door, and in houses where much visiting goes on he could hardly do
anything more. Ladies, however, simplify this process by keeping a
"buttons," a small boy, who has, as Dickens says, "broken out in an
eruption of buttons" on his jacket, who sits the livelong day the
slave of the bell.

The second man seems to do all the work, such as scrubbing silver,
sweeping, arranging the fireplaces, and washing dishes; and what the
third man does, except to black boots, I have never been able to
discover. I think he serves as valet to the gentlemen and the growing
boys, runs with notes, and is "Jeames Yellowplush" generally. I was
once taken over her vast establishment by an English countess, who
was most kind in explaining to me her domestic arrangements; but I did
not think she knew herself what that third man did. I noticed that
there were always several footmen waiting at dinner.

     "They also serve who only stand and wait."

One thing I do remember in the housekeeper's room. There sat a very
grand dame carving, and giving the servants their dinner. She rose and
stood while my lady spoke to her, but at a wave of the hand from the
countess all the others remained seated. The butler was at the other
end of the table looking very sheepish. The dinner was a boiled leg of
mutton, and some sort of meat pie, and a huge Yorkshire pudding,--no
vegetables but potatoes; pitchers of ale, and bread and cheese,
finished this meal. The third footman, I remember, brought in
afternoon tea; perhaps he filled that place which is described in one
of Miss Mulock's novels:--

"Dolly was hired as an off maid, to do everything which the other
servants would not do."

The etiquette of the stable servants was also explained to me in
England. The coachman is as powerful a person in the equine realm as
is the butler in the house. The head groom and his assistants always
raise their finger to their hats when spoken to by master, or
mistress, or the younger members of the family, or visitors, and in
the case of royalty all stand with hats off, the coachman on the box
slightly raising his, until the Prince of Wales, or his peers, are
seated.

In some houses I was told that the upper servants had their meals
prepared by a kitchen maid, and that they had a different table from
the scullery maids.

The nursery governess was a person to be pitied; she was an educated
girl, still the servant of the head nurse. She passed her entire life
with the children, yet ate by herself, unless perhaps with the very
young children. The head governess ate luncheon with the family, and
came in to the parlour with the young ladies in the evening. Generally
this personage was expected to sing and play for the amusement of the
company. Now, imagine a set of servants thus trained, brought to
America. The men soon learn that their vote is as good as the
master's, and if they are Irishmen it is a great deal better. They
soon cease to be respectful. This is the first break in the chain. A
man, a Senator, was asked out to dinner in Albany; the lady of the
house said, "I have a great respect for Senator ----; he used to wait
on this table."

That is a glorious thing for the flag, for the United States, but
there is a missing link in the golden chain of household order. It is
a difficult task to produce here the harmony of an English household.
Our service at home is like our diplomatic service; we have no trained
diplomats, no gradation of service, but in the case of our foreign
ministers, they have risen to be the best in the world. We have plenty
of talent at top; it is the root of the tree which puzzles us.

We may make up our minds that no longer will the American girl go out
to service. It is a thousand pities that she will not. It is not
ignoble to do household work well. The châtelaines of the Middle Ages
cooked and served the meals with their own fair hands. Training-schools
are greatly needed; we should follow the nurses' training-school.

Our dinner-tables in America are generally long and narrow, fitted to
the shape of the dining-room. Once I saw in England, in a great
house, a table so narrow that one could almost have shaken hands with
one's opposite neighbour. The ornaments were high, slender vases
filled with grasses and orchids, far above our heads. One or two
matchless ornaments of Dresden, the gifts of monarchs, alone
ornamented the table. This was a very sociable dinner-table and rather
pleasing. Then came the round table, so vast that the footmen must
have mounted up on it to place the centre piece, like poor distraught
Lady Caroline Lamb, whose husband came in to find her walking up and
down the table, telling the butler to "produce pyramidal effects."
There is also the fine broad parallelogram, suited to a baronial hall;
and this is copied in our best country houses. As no conversation of a
confidential character is ever allowed at an English table until all
the servants have left the room, so it is not considered good-breeding
to allow a servant to talk to the mistress or the young ladies of what
she hears in the servants' hall. The gossip of couriers and maids at a
foreign watering-place reaches American ears, and unluckily gets into
American newspapers sometimes. It is a wise precaution on the part of
the English never to listen to this. As we have conquered everything
else in America, perhaps we shall conquer the servant question, to the
advantage of both parties. We should try to keep our servants a longer
time with us.

There are some houses where the law of change goes on forever, and
there are some where the domestic machine runs without friction. The
hostess may be a person with a talent for governing, and may be
inspired with a sixth sense. If she is she can make her composite
family respectful, helpful, and happy; but it must be confessed that
it is as yet a vexed question, one which gives us trouble and will
give us more. Those people are the happiest who can get on with three
or four servants, and very many families live well and elegantly with
this number, while more live well with two.

To mark the difference in feeling as between those who employ and
those who serve, one little anecdote may apply. At a watering-place in
Europe I once met an English family, of the middle class. The lady
said to her maid, "Bromley, your master wishes you to be in at nine
o'clock this evening."

Bromley said, "Yes, my lady."

An American lady stood near with her maid, who flushed deeply.

"What is the matter, Jane?" asked her lady.

"I never could stand having any one called my master," said the
American.

This intimate nerve of self-love, this egotism, this false idea of
independence affects women more than men, and in a country where both
can go from the humblest position to the highest, it produces a
"glistering grief." The difficulty of getting good servants prevents
many families from keeping house. It brings on us the foreign reproach
that we live in hotels and boarding-houses. It is at this moment the
great unsolved American Question. What shall we do with it?



SOMETHING ABOUT COOKS.

     "Last night I weighed, quite wearied out,
     The question that perplexes still;
     And that sad spirit we call doubt
     Made the good naught beside the ill.

     "This morning, when with rested mind,
     I try again the selfsame theme,
     The whole is altered, and I find
     The balance turned, the good supreme."


What amateur cook has not had these moments of depression and
exaltation as she has weighed the flour and sugar, stoned the raisins,
and mixed the cake, or, even worse in her young novitiate, has
attempted to make a soup and has begun with the formula which so often
turns out badly:--

"Take a shin of beef and put it in a pot with three dozen carrots, a
dozen onions, two dozen pieces of celery, twelve turnips, a fowl, and
two partridges. It must simmer six hours, etc." Yes, and last week and
the week before her husband said, "it was miserable." How willingly
would she allow the claim of that glorious old coxcomb, Louis Eustache
Ude, who had been cook to two French kings and never forgave the world
for not permitting him to call himself an artist.

"Scrapers of catgut," he says, "call themselves artists, and fellows
who jump like a kangaroo claim the title; yet the man who has under
his sole direction the great feasts given by the nobility of England
to the allied sovereigns, and who superintended the grand banquet at
Crockford's on the occasion of the coronation of Victoria, was denied
the title prodigally showered on singers, dancers, and comedians,
whose only quality, not requiring the microscope to discern, is
vanity."

Ude was the most eccentric of cooks. He was _maître d'hôtel_ to the
Duke of York, who delighted in his anecdotes and mimicry. In his book,
which he claims is the only work which gives due dignity to the great
art, he says: "The chief fault in all great peoples' cooks is that
they are too profuse in their preparations. Suppers are after all only
ridiculous proofs of the extravagance and bad taste of the givers." He
mentions great wastes which have seared his already seared conscience
thus:

"I have known balls where the next day, in spite of the pillage of a
pack of footmen, which was enormous, I have seen thirty hams, one
hundred and fifty to two hundred carved fowls, and forty or fifty
tongues given away. Jellies melt on all the tables; pastries, patties,
aspics, and lobster salads are heaped up in the kitchen and strewed
about in the passages; and all this an utter waste, for not even the
footmen would eat this; they do not consider it a legitimate repast to
dine off the remnants of a last night's feast. Footmen are like cats;
they only like what they steal, but are indifferent to what is given
them."

This was written by the cook of the bankrupt Duke of York, noted for
his extravagance; but how well it would apply to-day to the banquet of
many a _nouveau riche_, to how many a hotel, to how much of our
American housekeeping. Ude was a poet and an enthusiast. Colonel Damer
met him walking up and down at Crockford's in a great rage, and asked
what was the matter. "Matter! _Ma foi!_" answered he; "you saw that
man just gone out? Well he ordered red mullet for his dinner. I made
him a delicious little sauce with my own hand. The mullet was marked
on the carte two shillings. I added sixpence for the sauce. He refuses
to pay sixpence for the sauce. The imbecile! He seems to think red
mullets come out of the sea with my sauce in their pockets."

Carême, one of the greatest of French cooks, became eminent by
inventing a sauce for fast-days. He then devoted several years to the
science of roasting in all its branches. He studied design and
elegance under Robert Lainé. His career was one of victory after
victory. He nurtured the Emperor Alexander, kept alive Talleyrand
through "that long disease, his life," fostered Lord Londonderry, and
delighted the Princess Belgratine. A salary of a thousand pounds a
year induced him to become _chef_ to the Regent; but he left Carlton
House, he would return to France. The Regent was inconsolable, but
Carême was implacable. "No," said the true patriot, "my soul is
French, and I can only exist in France." Carême, therefore, overcome
by his feelings, accepted an unprecedented salary from Baron
Rothschild and settled in Paris.

Lady Morgan, dining at the Baron's villa in 1830, has left us a sketch
of a dinner by Carême which is so well done that, although I have
already alluded to it, I will copy _verbatim_: "It was a very sultry
evening, but the Baron's dining-room stood apart from the house and
was shaded by orange trees. In the oblong pavilion of Grecian marble
refreshed by fountains, no gold or silver heated or dazzled the eye,
but porcelain beyond the price of all precious metals. There was no
high-spiced sauce in the dinner, no dark-brown gravy, no flavour of
cayenne and allspice, no tincture of catsup and walnut pickle, no
visible agency of those vulgar elements of cooking of the good old
times, fire and water. Distillations of the most delicate viands had
been extracted in silver, with chemical precision. Every meat
presented its own aroma,"--it was not cooked in a gas stove,--"every
vegetable its own shade of verdure. The mayonnaise was fixed in ice,
like Ninon's description of Sevigné's heart, '_une citronille frité à
la neige_.' The tempered chill of the _plombière_ which held the place
of the eternal _fondus_ and _soufflets_ of our English tables,
anticipated and broke the stronger shock of the exquisite avalanche,
which, with the hue and odour of fresh-gathered nectarines, satisfied
every sense and dissipated every coarser flavour. With less genius
than went to the composition of that dinner, men have written epic
poems."

Comparing Carême with the great Beauvilliers, the greatest restaurant
cook in Paris from 1782 to 1815, a great authority in the matter says:
"There was more _aplomb_ in the touch of Beauvilliers, more curious
felicity in Carême's. Beauvilliers was great in an _entrée_, Carême
sublime in an _entremet_; we should put Beauvilliers against the world
for a _rôti_, but should wish Carême to prepare the sauce were we
under the necessity of eating an elephant or our great grandfather."

Vatel was the great Condé's cook who killed himself because the turbot
did not arrive. Madame de Sevigné relates the event with her usual
clearness. Louis XIV. had long promised a visit to the great Condé at
Chantilly, the very estate which the Duc d'Aumale has so recently
given back to France, but postponed it from time to time fearing to
cause Condé trouble by the sudden influx of a gay and numerous
retinue. The old château had become a trifle dull and a trifle mouldy,
but it got itself brushed up. Vatel was cook, and his first
mortification was that the roast was wanting at several tables. It
seemed to him that his great master the captain would be dishonoured,
but the king had brought a larger retinue than he had promised. "He
had thought of nothing but to make this visit a great success."
Gourville, one of the prince's household, finding Vatel so excited,
asked the prince to reassure him, which he did very kindly, telling
him that the king was delighted with his supper. But Vatel mournfully
answered: "Monseigneur, your kindness overpowers me, but the roast was
wanting at two tables." The next morning he arose at five to
superintend the king's dinner. The purveyor of fish was at the door
with only two baskets. "And is this all?" asked Vatel. "Yes," said the
sleepy man. Vatel waited at the gates an hour; no more fish. Two or
three hundred guests, and only two packages. He whispered to himself,
"The joke in Paris will be that Vatel tried to save the prince the
price of two red mullets a month." His hand fell on his rapier hilt,
he rushed up-stairs, fell on the blade; as he expired the cart loaded
with turbot came into the yard. Voila!

Times have changed. Cooks now prefer living on their masters to dying
for them.

The Prince de Loubise, inventor of a sauce the discovery of which has
made him more glorious than twenty victories, asked his cook to draw
him up a bill of fare, a sort of rough estimate for a supper.
Bertrand's first estimate was fifty hams. "What, Bertrand! Are you
going to feast the whole army of the Rhine? Your brains are surely
turning." Bertrand was blandly contemptuous. "My brains are surely
turning? No, Monseigneur, only one ham will appear on the table, but
the rest are indispensable for my _espagnoles_, my garnishing."

"Bertrand, you are plundering me," stormed the prince. "This article
shall not pass." The blood of the cook was up. "My lord," said he,
sternly, "you do not understand the resources of our art. Give the
word and I will so melt down these hams that they will go into a
little glass bottle no bigger than my thumb." The prince was abashed
by the genius of the spit, and the fifty hams were purchased.

The Duke of Wellington liked a good dinner, and employed an artist
named Felix. Lord Seaforth, finding Felix too expensive, allowed him
to go to the Iron Duke, but Felix came back with tears in his eyes.

"What is the matter," said Lord Seaforth; "has the Duke turned rusty?"

"No, no, my lord! but I serve him a dinner which would make
Francatelli or Ude die of envy, and he say nothing. I go to the
country and leave him to try a dinner cooked by a stupid, dirty
cook-maid, and he say nothing; that is what hurt my feelings."

Felix lived on approbation; he would have been capable of dying like
Vatel.

Going last winter to see _le Bourgeoise Gentilhomme_ at the Comédie
Française, I was struck with the novelty of the dinner served by this
hero of Molière's who is so anxious to get rid of his money. All the
dishes were brought in by little fellows dressed as cooks, who danced
to the minuet.

In a later faithful chronicle I learn that a certain marquis of the
days of Louis XVI. invented a musical spit which caused all the
snowy-garbed cooks to move in rhythmical steps. All was melody and
order. "The fish simmered in six-eight time, the ponderous roasts
circled gravely, the stews blended their essences to solemn anthems.
The ears were gratified as the nose was regaled; this was an idea
worthy of Apecius."

So Molière, true to the spirit of his time, paid this compliment to
the Marquis.

Béchamel was cook to Louis XIV., and invented a famous sauce.

Durand, who was cook to the great Napoleon, has left a curious record
of his tempestuous eating. Francatelli succeeded Ude in England, was
the _chef_ at Chesterfield House, at Lord Kinnaird's, and at the
Melton Club. He held the post of _maître d'hôtel_ for a while but was
dismissed by a cabal.

The gay writer from whose pages we have gathered these desultory facts
winds up with an advice to all who keep French cooks. "Make your
_chef_ your friend. Take care of him. Watch over the health of this
man of genius. Send for the physician when he is ill."

Imagine the descent from these poets to the good plain cook,--you can
depend upon the truth of this description,--with a six weeks'
reference from her last place. Imagine the greasy soups, the mutton
cutlets hard as a board, the few hard green peas, the soggy potatoes.
How awful the recollections of one who came in "a week on trial!"
Whose trial? Those who had to eat her food. It is bad to be without a
cook, but ten times worse to have a bad one.

But if Louis Eustache Ude, the cook _par excellence_ of all this
little study, lamented over the waste in great kitchens, how much more
should he revolt at that wholesale destruction of food which might go
to feed the hungry, nourish and sustain the sick, and perhaps save
many a child's life. What should be done with the broken meats of a
great household? The cook is too apt to toss all into a tub or basket,
to swell her own iniquitous profits. The half-tongues, ends of ham,
roast beef, chicken-legs, the real honest relics of a generous kitchen
would feed four or five poor families a week. What gifts of mercy to
hospitals would be the half of a form of jelly, the pudding, the blanc
mange, which are thrown away by the careless!

In France the Little Sisters of the Poor go about with clean dishes
and clean baskets, to collect these morsels which fall from the rich
man's table. It is a worthy custom.

While studying the names of these great men like Ude and Carême, Vatel
and Francatelli, what shades of dead _pâtissiers_, spirits of extinct
_confiseurs_, rise around us in savoury streams and revive for us the
past of gastronomic pleasure! Many a Frenchman will tell you of the
iced meringues of the Palais Royal and the _salades de fraises au
marasquin_ of the Grand Seize as if they were things of the past. The
French, gayer and lighter handed at the moulding of pastry, are apt to
exceed all nations in this delicate, delicious _entremet_. The _vol au
vent de volaille_, or chicken pie, with its delicate filling of
chicken, mushroom, truffles, and its enveloping pastry, is never
better than at the Grand Hôtel at Aix les Bains, where one finds the
perfection of good eating. "Aix les Bains," says a resident physician,
"lies half-way between Paris and Rome, with its famous curative baths
to correct the good dinners of the one, and the good wines of the
other." Aix adds a temptation of its own.

The French have ever been fond of the playthings of the kitchen,--the
tarts, custards, the frothy nothings which are fashioned out of the
evanescent union of whipped cream and spun sugar. Their politeness,
their brag, their accomplishments, their love of the external, all
lead to such dainties. It was observed even so long ago as 1815, when
the allies were in Paris, that the fifteen thousand _pâtés_ which
Madame Felix sold daily in the _Passage des Panoramas_ were beginning
to affect the foreign bayonets; and no doubt the German invasion may
have been checked by the same dulcet influence.

There is romance and history even about pastry. The _baba_, a species
of savoury biscuit coloured with saffron, was introduced into France
by Stanislaus, the first king of Poland, when that unlucky country was
alternately the scourge and the victim of Russia. The dish was perhaps
oriental in origin. It is made with _brioche_ paste, mixed with
madeira, currants, raisins, and potted cream.

French jellies are rather monotonous as to flavour, but they look very
handsome on a supper-table. A _macédoine_ is a delicious variety of
dainty, and worthy of the French nation. It is wine jelly frozen in a
mould with grapes, strawberries, green-gages, cherries, apricots, or
pineapple, or more economically with slices of pears and apples boiled
in syrup coloured with carmine, saffron, or cochineal, the flavour
aided by angelica or brandied cherries. An invention of Ude and one
which we could copy here is jelly _au miroton de pêche_:--

     Get half a dozen peaches, peel them carefully and boil them,
     with their kernels, a short time in a fine syrup, squeeze six
     lemons into it, and pass it through a bag. Add some clarified
     isinglass and put some of it into a mould in ice; then fill up
     with the jelly and peaches alternately and freeze it.

Fruit cheeses are very pleasant, rich conserves for dessert. They can
be made with apricots, strawberries, pineapple, peaches, or
gooseberries. The fruit is powdered with sugar and rubbed through a
colander; then melted isinglass and thick cream is added, whipped over
ice and put into the mould.

The French prepare the most ornamental ices, both water and cream, but
they do not equal in richness or flavour those made in New York.

Pancakes and fritters, although English dishes, are very popular in
France and very good. Apple fritters with sherry wine and sugar are
very comforting things. The French name is _beignet de pomme_.
Thackeray immortalizes them thus:--

     "Mid fritters and lollypops though we may roam,
     On the whole there is nothing like _beignet de pomme_.
     Of flour half a pound with a glass of milk share,
     A half-pound of butter the mixture will bear.
     _Pomme! Pomme! Beignet de pomme!_
     Of _beignets_ there's none like the _beignet de pomme_!

     "A _beignet de pomme_ you may work at in vain
     If you stir not the mixture again and again.
     Some beer just to thin it may into it fall,
     Stir up that with three whites of eggs added to all.
     _Pomme! Pomme! Beignet de pomme!_
     Of _beignets_ there's nothing like _beignet de pomme_!

     "Six apples when peeled you must carefully slice,
     And cut out the cores if you'll take my advice;
     Then dip them in butter and fry till they foam,
     And you'll have in six minutes your _beignet de pomme_.
     _Pomme! Pomme! Beignet de pomme!_
     Of _beignets_ there's nothing like _beignet de pomme_!"

In the _Almanach de Gourmands_ there appeared a philosophical treatise
on pastry and pastry cooks, probably by the learned Giedeaud de la
Reynière himself. Pastry, he says, is to cooking what rhetorical
metaphors are to oratory,--life and ornament. A speech without
metaphors, a dinner without pastry, are alike insipid; but, in like
manner, as few people are eloquent, so few can make perfect pastry.
Good pastry-cooks are as rare as good orators.

This writer recommends the art of the rolling-pin to beautiful women
as being at once an occupation, a pleasure, and a sure way of
recovering embonpoint and freshness. He says: "This is an art which
will chase _ennui_ from the saddest. It offers varied amusement and
sweet and salutary exercise for the whole body; it restores appetite,
strength, and gayety; it gathers around us friends; it tends to
advance an art known from the most remote antiquity. Woman! lovely and
charming woman, leave the sofas where _ennui_ and hypochondria prey
upon the springtime of your life, unite in the varied moulds sugar,
jasmine, and roses, and form those delicacies that will be more
precious than gold when made by hands so dear to us." What woman could
refuse to make a pudding and any number of pies after that?

There seems to be nothing left to eat after all this perilous sweet
stuff but a devilled biscuit at ten o'clock.

     "'A well devilled biscuit!' said Jenkins, enchanted,
     'I'll have after dinner,--the thought is divine!'
     The biscuit was brought and he now only wanted,
     To fully enjoy it, a glass of good wine.
     He flew to the pepper and sat down before it,
     And at peppering the well-buttered biscuit he went;
     Then some cheese in a paste mixed with mustard spread o'er it,
     And down to the kitchen the devil was sent.

     "'Oh, how!' said the cook, 'can I thus think of grilling?
     When common the pepper, the whole will be flat;
     But here's the cayenne, if my master be willing
     I'll make if he pleases a devil with that.'
     So the footman ran up with the cook's observation
     To Jenkins, who gave him a terrible look;
     'Oh, go to the devil!'--forgetting his station--
     Was the answer that Jenkins sent down to the cook."

A slice of _pâté de foie gras_, olives stuffed with anchovy, broiled
bones, anchovy on toast, Welsh rarebit, devilled biscuit, devilled
turkey-legs, devilled kidneys, _caviare_, devilled crabs, soft-shell
crabs, shrimp salad, sardines on toast, broiled sausages, etc., are
amongst the many appetizers which _gourmets_ seek at ten or twelve
o'clock, to take the taste of the sweets out of their mouths, and to
prepare the pampered palate perhaps for punch, whiskey, or brandy and
soda.



THE FURNISHING OF A COUNTRY HOUSE.


The hostess should, in furnishing her house, provide a number of
bath-tubs. The tin ones, shaped like a hat, are very convenient, as
are also india-rubber portable baths. If there is not a bath-room
belonging to every room, this will enable an Englishman to take his
tub as cold as he pleases, or allow the American to take the warmer
sponge bath which Americans generally prefer.

The house should also be well supplied with lunch-baskets for picnics
and for the railway journey. These can be had for a small sum, and are
well fitted up with drinking-cups, knives, forks, spoons, corkscrews,
sandwich-boxes, etc. These and a great supply of unbreakable cups for
the lawn-tennis ground are very useful.

There should be also any number of painted tin pails, and small
pitchers to carry hot water; several services of plain tea things, and
Japanese waiters, on which to send tea to the bedrooms; and in every
room should be placed a table, thoroughly furnished with
writing-materials, and with all the conveniences for writing and
sealing a letter.

Shakspeare's bequest to his wife of his second-best bed has passed as
a bit of post-mortem ungallantry, which has dimmed his fame as a model
husband; but to-day that second-best bed would be a very handsome
bequest, not only because it was Shakspeare's, but because it was
doubtless a "tester," for which there is a craze. All the old
four-posters, which our grandmothers sent to the garret, are on their
way back again to the model bedroom. With all our rage for ventilation
and fresh air, we no longer fear the bed curtains which a few years
ago were supposed to foster disease and death; because the model
bedroom can now be furnished with a ventilator for admitting the
fresh, and one permitting the egress of the foul air. Each gas bracket
is provided with a pipe placed above it, which pierces the wall and
through which the product of combustion is carried out of the house.
This is a late sanitary improvement in London, and is being introduced
in New York.

As for the bed curtains, they are hung on rods with brass rings, no
canopy on top, so that the curtains can be shaken and dusted freely.
This is a great improvement on the old upholstered top, which recalls
Dickens's description of Mrs. Todger's boarding-house, where at the
top of the stairs "the odour of many generations of dinners had
gathered and had never been dispelled." In like manner the unpleasant
feeling that perhaps whole generations of sleepers had breathed into
the same upholstery overhead, used to haunt the wakeful, in old
English inns, to the murdering of sleep.

There is a growing admiration, unfortunately, for tufted bedsteads.
They are in the long run neither clean nor wholesome, and not easily
kept free from vermin; but they are undeniably handsome, and recall
the imperial beds of state apartments, where kings and queens are
supposed to seek that repose which comes so unwillingly to them, but
so readily to the plough-boy. These upholstered, tufted, satin-covered
bedsteads should be fitted with a canopy, and from this should hang a
baldachin and side curtains. Certain very beautiful specimens of this
regal arrangement, bought in Italy, are in the Vanderbilt palaces in
New York. Opulent purchasers can get copies at the great
furnishing-houses, but it is becoming difficult to get the real
antiques. Travellers in Brittany find the most wonderful carved
bedsteads built into the wall, and are always buying them of the
astonished fisher-folk, who have no idea how valuable is their
smoke-stained, carved oak.

But as to the making up of the bed. There are nowadays cleanly springs
and hair mattresses, in place of the old feather-beds; and as to stiff
white bedcovers, pillowslips and shams, false sheets and valenciennes
trimmings, monogrammed and ruffled fineries, there is a truce. They
were so slippery, so troublesome, and so false withal, that the beds
that have known them shall know them no more forever. They had always
to be unpinned and unhooked before the sleeper could enter his bed;
and they were the torment of the housemaid. They entailed a degree of
washing and ironing which was endless, and yet many a young
housekeeper thought them indispensable. That idea has gone out
completely. The bed now is made up with its fresh linen sheets, its
clean blankets and its Marseilles quilt, with square or long pillow as
the sleeper fancies, with bolster in plain linen sheath. Then over the
whole is thrown a light lace cover lined with Liberty silk. This may
be as expensive or as cheap as the owner pleases. Or the spreads may
be of satin covered with Chinese embroidery, Turkish Smyrniote, or
other rare things, or of the patchwork or decorative art designs now
so fashionable. One light and easily aired drapery succeeds the four
or five pieces of unmanageable linen. If the bed is a tester and the
curtains of silk or chintz, the bed-covering should match in tint. In
a very pretty bedroom the walls should be covered with chintz or silk.

The modern highly glazed tile paper for walls and ceiling is an
admirable covering, as it refuses to harbour dirt, and the housemaid's
brush can keep it sweet and clean. Wall papers are so pretty and so
exquisite in design that it seems hardly necessary to do more than
mention them. Let us hope the exasperating old rectangular patterns,
which have confused so many weary brains and haunted so many a
feverish pillow, are gone forever.

The floors should be of plain painted wood, varnished, than which
nothing can be cleaner; or perhaps of polished or oiled wood of the
natural colour, with parquetried borders. If this is impossible cover
with dark-stained mattings, which are as clean and healthful as
possible. These may remain down all winter, and rugs may be laid over
them at the fireplace and near the bed, sofa, etc. Readily lifted and
shaken, rugs have all the comfort of carpets, and none of their
disadvantages.

Much is said of the unhealthfulness of gas in bedrooms, but if it does
not escape, it is not unhealthful. The prettiest illumination is by
candles in the charming new candlesticks in tin and brass, which are
as nice as Roman lamps.

On the old bedsteads of Cromwell's time we find a shelf running across
the head of the bed, just above the sleeper's head,--placed there for
the posset cup. This is now utilized for a safety lamp, for those who
indulge in the pernicious practice of reading in bed; but it is even
better used as a receptacle for the book, the letter-case, the many
little things which an invalid may need, and it saves calling a
nurse.

All paint used in a model bedroom should be free from poison. The
fireplace should be tiled, and the windows made with a deep beading on
the sill. This is a piece of wood like the rest of the frame, which
comes up two or three inches in front of the lower part of the window.
The object of this is to admit of the lower sash being raised without
causing a draught. The room is thus ventilated by the air which
filters through the slight aperture between the upper and lower
sashes. Above all things have an open fireplace in the bedroom.
Abolish stoves from that sacred precinct. Use wood for fuel if
possible; if not, the softest of cannel-coal.

Have brass rods placed, on which to hang portières in winter.
Portières and curtains may be cheaply made of ingrain carpet
embroidered; or of Turkish or Indian stuffs; splendid Delhi pulgaries,
a mass of gold silk embroidered, with bits of looking-glass worked in;
of velvet; camel's-hair shawls; satin, chintz, or cretonne. Costly thy
portières as thy purse can buy; nothing is so pretty and so
ornamental.

Glazed chintzes may be hung at the windows, without lining, as the
light shines through the flowers, making a good effect. Chenille
curtains of soft rich colours are appropriate for the modern bedroom.
Madras muslin curtains will do for the windows, but are not heavy
enough for portières.

There are hangings made of willow bamboo, which can be looped back, or
left hanging, which give a window a furnished look, without
intercepting the light. Low wooden tables painted red, tables for
writing materials, brackets on the walls for vases, candlesticks, and
photograph screens, a long couch with many pillows, a Shaker
rocking-chair, a row of hanging book-shelves,--these, with bed and
curtains in fresh tints, make a pretty room in a country house.

If possible, people who entertain much should have a suite of bedrooms
for guests, so that no one need be turned out of one's room to make
way for a guest.

Brass beds are to be recommended as cleanly, handsome, and durable.
Many ladies have, however, found fault with them because they show the
under mattress, where the clothes are tucked in over the upper one.
This can be remedied by making a valance which is finished with a
ruffle at the top, which can be fluted, the whole tied on by tapes.
Two or three of these in white will be all that a housekeeper needs,
and if made of pretty coloured merino to match the room, they will
last clean a long time.

Every bedroom should have, if possible, a dressing-room, where the
wash-stand, wardrobe, bath-tub, box for boots and shoes, box for
soiled clothes, and toilet-table, perhaps, can be kept. In the new
sanitary houses in London, the water cistern is placed in view behind
glass in these rooms, so that if anything is the matter with the water
supply, it can be remedied immediately. However, in old fashioned
houses, where dressing-rooms cannot be evoked, screens can be so
placed as to conceal the unornamental objects.

A toilet-table should be ornamental and not hidden, with its curtains,
pockets, looking-glasses, little bows, shelves for bottles, devices
for secret drawers for love letters, and so on. Ivory brushes with the
owner's monogram, all sorts of pretty Japanese boxes, and
dressing-cases, silver-backed brushes and mirrors, buttonhooks,
knives, scissors can be neatly laid out.

A little table for afternoon tea should stand ready, with a tray of
Satsuma or old Worcester, with cups and tea equipage, and a copper
kettle with alcohol lamp should stand on a bracket on the wall. In the
heating of water, a trivet should be attached to the grate, and a
little iron kettle might sing forever on the hob. Ornamental ottomans
in plush covers, which open and disclose a wood box, should stand by
the fireplace. Chameleon glass lamps with king-fisher stems are pretty
on the mantel-piece, which can be upholstered to match the bed; and
there may be vases in amber, primrose, cream-colour, pale blue, and
ruby. No fragrant flowers or growing plants should be allowed in a
bedroom. There should be at least one clock in the room, to strike the
hour with musical reiteration.

As for baths, the guest should be asked if he prefers hot or cold
water, and the hour at which he will have it. If a tin hat-bath, or an
india-rubber tub is used, the maid should enter and arrange it in this
manner: first lay a rubber cloth on the floor and then place the tub
on it. Then bring a large pail of cold water, and a can of hot. Place
near the tub a towel-rack hung with fresh towels, both damask and
Turkish, and if a full-length Turkish towel be added it will be a
great luxury. If the guest be a gentleman, and no man-servant be kept,
this should all be arranged the night before, with the exception of
course of the hot water, which can be left outside the door at any
hour in the morning when it is desired. If it is a stationary tub, of
course the matter is a simple one, and depends on the turn of a couple
of faucets.

Some visitors are very fussy and dislike to be waited on; to such the
option must be given: "Do you prefer to light your own fire, to turn
on your bath, to make your own tea, or shall the maid enter at eight
o'clock and do it for you?" Such questions are often asked in an
English country house. Every facility for doing the work would of
course be supplied to the visitor.

The bedroom being nowadays made so very attractive, the guest should
stay in it as much as possible, if he or she find that the hostess
likes to be alone; in short, absent yourself occasionally. Do your
letter-writing and some reading in your room. Most people prefer this
freedom and like to be let alone in the morning.

At a country house, gentlemen should be very particular to dress for
dinner. If not in the regulation claw-hammer, still with a change of
garment. There is a very good garment called a smokee, which is worn
by gentlemen in the summer, a sort of light jacket of black cloth,
which goes well with either black or white cravat; but with all the
_laisser aller_ of a country visit, inattention to the proprieties of
dress is not included.

A guest must go provided with a lawn-tennis costume, if he plays that
noble game which has become the great consolation of our rising
generation. No doubt the hostess blesses the invention of this great
time killer, as she sees her men and maidens trooping out to the
ground, under the trees. This suggests the subject of out-of-door
refreshment, the claret cup, the champagne cup, the shandy gaff, the
fresh cider, and the thousand and one throat-coolers, for which our
American genius seems to have been inspired to meet the drain of a
very dry climate, and which we shall consider elsewhere.



ENTERTAINING IN A COUNTRY HOUSE.

     We who love the country salute you who love the town. I praise
     the rivulets, the rocks overgrown with moss, and the groves of
     the delightful country. And do you ask why? I live and reign
     as soon as I have quitted those things which you extol to the
     skies with joyful applause, and like a priest's fugitive-slave
     I reject luscious wafers; I desire plain bread, which is more
     agreeable than honied cakes.--HORACE, _Ode_ X.


Poets have been in the habit of praising a country life since the days
of Homer, but Americans have not as a people appreciated its joys. As
soon as a countryman was able to do it, he moved to the largest city
near him, presumably New York, or perhaps Paris. The condition of
opulence, much desired by those who had been bred in poverty,
suggested at once the greater convenience of a town life, and the busy
work-a-day world, to which most Americans are born, necessitates the
nearness to Wall Street, to banks, to people, and to the town.

City people were content formerly to give their children six weeks of
country air, and old New Yorkers did not move out of the then small
city, even in the hot months. The idea of going to the country to live
for pleasure, to find in it a place in which to spend one's money and
to entertain, has been, to the average American mind, a thing of
recent growth. Perhaps our climate has much to do with this. People
bred in the country feared to meet that long cold winter of the
North, which even to the well-to-do was filled with suffering. Who
does not remember the ice in the pitcher of a morning, which must be
broken before even faces were washed?

Therefore the furnace-heated city house, the companionship, the
bustle, the stir, and convenience of a city has been, naturally
enough, preferred to the loneliness of the country. As Hawthorne once
said, Americans were not yet sufficiently civilized to live in the
country. When he went to England, and saw a different order of things,
he understood why.

England, a small place with two thousand years of civilization, with
admirable roads, with landed estates, with a mild winter, with a taste
for sport, with dogs, horses, and well-trained servants, was a very
different place.

It may be years before we make our country life as agreeable as it is
in England. We have to conquer climate first. But the love of country
life is growing in America. Those so fortunate as to be able to live
in a climate like that of southern California can certainly quote
Horace with sympathy. Those who live so near to a great city as to
command at once city conveniences and country air and freedom, are
amongst the fortunate of the earth. And to hundreds, thousands of
such, in our delightfully prosperous new country, the art of
entertaining in a country house assumes a new interest.

No better model for a hostess can be found than an Englishwoman. There
is, when she receives her guests, a quiet cordiality, a sense of
pleasurable expectancy, an inbred ease, grace, suavity, composure, and
respect for her visitors, which seems to come naturally to a
well-bred Englishwoman; that is to say, to the best types of the
highest class. To be sure they have had vast experience in the art of
entertaining; they have learned this useful accomplishment from a long
line of well-trained predecessors. They have no domestic cares to
worry them. At the head of her own house, an Englishwoman is as near
perfection as a human being can be.

There is the great advantage of the English climate, to begin with. It
is less exciting than ours. Nervous women are there almost unknown.
Their ability to take exercise, the moist and soft air they breathe,
their good appetite and healthy digestion give English women a
physical condition almost always denied to an American.

Our climate drives us on by invisible whips; we breathe oxygen more
intoxicating than champagne. The great servant question bothers us
from the cradle to the grave; it has never entered into an English
woman's scheme of annoyance, so that in an English hostess there is a
total absence of fussiness.

English women spend the greater part of the year in travelling, or at
home in the country. Town life is with them a matter of six weeks or
three months at the most. They are fond of nature, of walking, of
riding; they share with the men a more vigorous physique than is given
to any other race. A French or Italian woman dreads a long walk, the
companionship of a dozen dogs, the yachting and the race course, the
hunting-field and the lawn tennis pursued with indefatigable
vigilance; but the fair English girl, with her blushing cheeks, her
dog, her pony, and her hands full of wild flowers, is a character
worth crossing the ocean to see. She is the product of the highest
civilization, and as such is still near the divine model which nature
furnishes. She has the underlying charm of simplicity, she is the
very rose of perfect womanhood. She may seem shy, awkward, and
reserved, but what the world calls pride or coldness may turn out to
be hidden virtue, or reserve, or modesty.

English home education is a seminary of infinite importance; a girl
learns to control her speech, to be always calm and well-bred. She has
been toned down from her youth. She has been carefully taught to
respect the duties of her high position; she has this advantage to
counterbalance the disadvantage which we freeborn citizens think may
come with an overpride of birth,--she has learned the motto _noblesse
oblige_. The English fireside is a beacon light forever to the soldier
in the Crimea, to the colonist in Australia, to the grave official in
India, to the missionary in the South Seas, to the English boy
wherever he may be. It sustains and ennobles the English woman at home
and abroad.

As a hostess, the English woman is sure to mould her house to look
like home. She has soft low couches for those who like them,
high-backed tall chairs for the tall, low chairs for the lowly. She
has her bookcases and pretty china scattered everywhere, she has
work-baskets and writing-tables and flowers, particularly wild ones,
which look as if she had tossed them in the vases herself. Her house
looks cheerful and cultivated.

I use the word advisedly, for all taste must be cultivated. A state
apartment in an old English house can be inexpressibly dreary. High
ceilings, stiff old girandoles, pictures of ancestors, miles of
mirrors, and the Laocoön or other specimens of Grecian art, which no
one cares for except in the Vatican, and the ceramic and historical
horrors of some old collector, who had no taste,--are enough to
frighten a visitor. But when a young or an experienced English
hostess has smiled on such a house, there will be some delightful
lumber strewn around, no end of pretty brackets and baskets and
curtains and screens, and couches piled high with cushions; and then
the quaint carvings, the rather affected niches, the mantelpiece
nearly up to the ceiling, as in Hogarth's picture,--all these become
humanized by her touch. The spirit of a hostess should aim at the
combination of use and beauty. Some finer spirits command both, as
Brunelleschi hung the dome at Florence high in air, and made a thing
of beauty, which is a joy forever, but did not forget to build under
it a convenient church as well. As for the bedrooms in an English
country house, they transcend description, they are the very
apotheosis of comfort.

The dinners are excellent, the breakfast and lunch comfortable,
informal, and easy, the horses are at your disposal, the lawn and
garden are yours for a stroll, the chapel lies near at hand, where you
can study architecture and ancient brass. There are pleasant people in
the house, you are let alone, you are not being entertained. That most
dreadful of sensations, that somebody has you on his mind, and must
show you photographs and lift off your _ennui_ is absent; you seem to
be in Paradise.

English people will tell you that house parties are dull,--not that
all are, but some are. No doubt the jaded senses lose the power of
being pleased. A visit to an English house, to an American who brings
with her a fresh sense of enjoyment, and who remembers the limitations
of a new country, one who loves antiquity, history, old pictures, and
all that time can do, one who is hungry for Old World refinements, to
such an one a visit to an English country house is delightful. To a
worn-out English set whose business it has been for a quarter of a
century to go from one house to another, no doubt it is dull. Some
unusual distraction is craved.

"To relieve the monotony and silence and the dull, depressing cloud
which sometimes settles on the most admirably arranged English
dinner-party, even an American savage would be welcomed," says a
modern novel-writer. How much more welcome then is a pretty young
woman who, with a true enthusiasm and a wild liberty, has found her
opportunity and uses it, plays the banjo, tells fortunes by the hand,
has no fear of rank, is in her set a glacier of freshness with a heart
of fire, like Roman punch.

How much more gladly is a young American woman welcomed, in such a
house, and how soon her head is turned. She is popular until she
carries off the eldest son, and then she is severely criticised, and
by her spoiled caprices becomes a heroine for Ouida to rejoice in, and
the _fond_ of a society novel.

But the glory is departing from many a stately English country house.
Fortune is failing them; they are, many of them, to rent. Rich
Americans are buying their old pictures. The Gainsboroughs, the Joshua
Reynoldses, the Rembrandts, which have been the pride of English
country houses, are coming down, charmed by the silver music of the
almighty dollar; the old fairy tale is coming true,--even the
furniture dances.

We have the money and we have the vivacity, according to even our
severest critics; we have now to cultivate the repose of an English
hostess, if we would make our country houses as agreeable as she does.

We cannot improvise the antiquity, or the old chapel, or the brasses;
we cannot make our roads as fine as those which enable an English
house party to drive sixteen miles to a dinner; in fact we must admit
that they have been nine hundred years making a lawn even. But we must
try to do things our own way, and use our own advantages so that we
can make our guests comfortable.

The American autumn is the most glorious of seasons for entertaining
in a country house. Nature hangs our hillsides then with a tapestry
that has no equal even at Windsor. The weather, that article which in
America is so apt to be good that if it is bad we apologize for it, is
more than apt to be good in October, and makes the duties of a hostess
easy then, for Nature helps to entertain.

It is to be feared that we have not yet learned to be guests. Trusting
to that boundless American hospitality which has been apt to say,
"Come when you please and stay as long as you can," we decline an
invitation for the 6th, saying we can come on the 9th. This cannot be
done when people begin to give house-parties. We must go on the 6th or
not at all.

We should also define the limits of a visit, as in England; one is
asked on Wednesday to arrive at five, to leave at eleven on Saturday.
Then one does not overstay one's welcome. Host and hostess and guest
must thoroughly understand one another on this point, and then
punctuality is the only thing to be considered.

The opulent, who have butler, footman, and French cooks, need read no
further in this chapter, the remainder of which will be directed to
that larger class who have neither, and who have to help themselves.
No lady should attempt to entertain in the country who has not a good
cook, and one or two attendant maids who can wait well and perform
other duties about the house. With these three and with a good deal of
knowledge herself, a hostess can make a country house attractive.

The dining-room should be the most agreeable room in the house, shaded
in the morning and cool in the afternoon,--a large room with a
hard-wood floor and mats, if possible, as these are clean and cool.

Carving should be done by one of the servants at a side table. There
is nothing more depressing on a warm evening than a smoking joint
before one's plate. A light soup only should be served, leaving the
more substantial varieties for cold weather.

Nowadays the china and glass are so very pretty, and so very cheap,
that they can be bought and used and left in the house all winter
without much risk. If people are living in the country all winter a
different style of furnishing, and a different style of entertaining
is no doubt in order.

It is well to have very easy laws about breakfast, and allow a guest
to descend when he wishes. If possible give your guest an opportunity
to breakfast in his room. So many people nowadays want simply a cup of
tea, and to wait until noon before eating a heavy meal; so many desire
to eat steaks, chops, toast, eggs, hot cakes, and coffee at nine
o'clock, that it is difficult for a hostess to know what to do. Her
best plan, perhaps, is to have an elastic hour, and let her people
come down when they feel like it. In England the maid enters the
bedroom with tea, excellent black tea, a toasted muffin, and two
boiled eggs at eight o'clock, a pitcher of hot water for the
wash-stand, and a bath. No one is obliged to appear until luncheon,
nor even then if indisposed so to do. Dinner at whatever hour is a
formal meal, and every one should come freshly dressed and in good
form, as the English say.

The Arab law of hospitality should be printed over every lintel in a
country house: "Welcome the coming, speed the parting guest;" "He who
tastes my salt is sacred; neither I nor my household shall attack him,
nor shall one word be said against him. Bring corn, wine, and fruit
for the passing stranger. Give the one who departs from thy tents the
swiftest horse. Let him who would go from thee take the fleet
dromedary, reserve the lame one for thyself." If these momentous hints
were carried out in America, and if these children of the desert, with
their grave faces, composed manners, and noble creed, could be
literally obeyed, we fear country-house visiting would become almost
too popular.

But if we cannot give them the fleet dromedary, we can drive them to
the fast train, which is much better than any dromedary. We can make
them comfortable, and enable them to do as they like. Unless we can do
that, we should not invite any one.

Unless a guest has been rude, it is the worst taste to criticise him.
He has come at your request. He has entered your house as an altar of
safety, an ark of refuge. He has laid his armour down. Your kind
welcome has unlocked his reserve. He has spoken freely, and felt that
he was in the presence of friends. If in this careless hour you have
discovered his weak spot, be careful how you attack it. The intimate
unreserve of a guest should be respected.

And upon the guest an equal, nay, a superior conscientiousness should
rest, as to any revelation of the secrets he may have found out while
he was a visitor. No person should go from house to house bearing
tales. We do not go to our friend's house to find the skeleton in the
closet. No criticisms of the weaknesses or eccentricities of any
member of the family should ever be heard from the lips of a guest.
"Whose bread I have eaten, he is henceforth my brother," is another
Arab proverb.

Speak well always of your entertainers, but speak little of their
domestic arrangements. Do not violate the sanctity of the fireside, or
wrong the shelter of the roof-tree which has lent you its protection
for even a night.

The decorations for a country ballroom, in a rural neighbourhood, have
called forth many an unknown genius in that art which has become the
well-known profession of interior decoration. The favourite place in
Lenox, and at many a summer resort, has been the large floor of a new
barn. Before the equine tenants begin to champ their oats, the youths
and maids assume the right to trip the light fantastic toe on the
well-laid hard floor. The ornamentations at such a ball at Lenox were
candles put in pine shields, with tin holders, and decorations of corn
and wheat sheaves, tied with scarlet ribbons, surrounding pumpkins
which were laid in improvised brackets, hastily cut out of pine, with
hatchets, by the young men. Magnificent autumn leaves were arranged
with ferns as garlands, and many were the devices for putting candles
and kerosene lamps behind these so as to give almost the effect of
stained glass, without causing a general conflagration.

The effect of a pumpkin surrounded by autumn leaves recalls the
Gardens of the Hesperides. No apple like those golden apples which we
call pumpkins was ever seen there. To be sure they are rather large to
throw to a goddess, and might bowl her down, but they look very
handsome when tranquilly reposing.

A sort of Druidical procession might be improvised to help along this
ball, and the hostess would amuse her company for a week with the
preparations.

First, get a negro fiddler to head it, dressed like Browning's Pied
Piper in gay colours, and playing his fiddle. Then have a procession
of children, dressed in gay costumes; following them, "two milk-white
oxen garlanded" with wreaths of flowers and ribbons, driven by a boy
in Swiss costume; then a goat-cart with the baby driving two goats,
also garlanded; next a lovely Alderney cow, also decorated,
accompanied by a milkmaid, carrying a milking-stool; then another long
line of children, followed by the youths and maids, bearing the
decorations for the ballroom. Let all these parade the village street
and wind up at the ballroom, where the cow can be milked, and a
surprise of ice cream and cake given to the children. This is a
Sunday-school picnic and a ball decoration, all in one, and the
country lady who can give it will have earned the gratitude of
neighbours and friends. It has been done.

In the spring the decorations of a ballroom might be early wild
flowers and the delicate ground-pine, far more beautiful than smilax,
and also ferns, the treasures of the nearest wood.

Wild flowers, ferns, and grasses, the ground-pine, the checkerberry,
and the partridge berry make the most exquisite garlands, and it is
only of late--when a few great geniuses have discovered that the field
daisy is the prettiest of flowers, that the best beauty is that which
is at our hands wherever we are, that the greatest rarity is the grass
in the meadow--that we have reached the true meaning of interior
decoration.

Helen Hunt, in one of her prettiest papers, describes the beauty of
kinnikinick, a lovely vine which grows all over Colorado. Although we
have not that, we can even in winter find the hemlock boughs, the
mistletoe, the holly, for our decorations. Of course, hot-house
flowers and smilax, if they can be obtained, are very beautiful and
desirable, but they are not within the reach of every purse, or of
every country house.

Sheaves of wheat, tied with fine ribbons and placed at intervals
around a room, can be made to have the beauty of an armorial bearing.
These, alternating with banners and hemlock boughs, are very
effective. All these forms which Nature gives us have suggested the
Corinthian capital, the Ionic pillar, the most graceful of Greek
carvings. The acanthus leaf was the inspiration of the architect who
built the Acropolis.

Vine leaves, especially after they begin to turn, are capable of
infinite suggestion, and we all remember the recent worship of the
sunflower. Hop vines and clematis, especially after the last has gone
to seed, remain long as ornaments.

As for the refreshments to be served,--the oyster stew, the ice cream,
the good home-made cake, coffee, and tea are within the reach of every
country housekeeper, and are in their way unrivalled. Of course, if
she wishes she can add chicken salad, boned turkey, _pâté de foie
gras_, and punch, hot or cold.

If it is in winter, the coachmen outside must not be forgotten. Some
hot coffee and oysters should be sent to these patient sufferers, for
our coachmen are not dressed as are the Russians, in fur from head to
foot. If possible, there should be a good fire in the kitchen, to
which these attendants on our pleasure could be admitted to thaw out.



A PICNIC.

     "Come hither, come hither, the broom was in blossom all over
         yon rise,
     There went a wild murmur of brown bees about it with songs from
         the wood.
     We shall never be younger, O Love! let us forth to the world
         'neath our eyes--
     Ay! the world is made young, e'en as we, and right fair is her
         youth, and right good."


Appetites flourish in the free air of hills and meadows, and after
drinking in the ozone of the sea, one feels like drinking something
else. There is a very good story of a reverend bishop who with a
friend went a-fishing, like Peter, and being very thirsty essayed to
draw the cork of a claret bottle. In his zeal he struck his bottle
against a stone, and the claret oozed out to refresh the thirsty
earth, instead of that precious porcelain of human clay of which the
bishop was made. His remark to his friend was, "James, you are a
layman, why don't you say something?"

Now to avoid having our layman or our reverend wish to say something,
let us try to suggest what they should eat and what they should drink.

There are many kinds of picnics,--fashionable ones at Newport and
other watering-places, where the French waiters of the period are told
to get up a repast as if at the Casino; there are clam-bakes which are
ideal, and there are picnics at Lenox and at Sharon, where the hotel
keeper will help to fill the baskets.

But the real picnic, which calls for talent and executive ability,
should emanate from some country house, where two or three other
country houses co-operate and help. Then what jolly drives in the
brakes, what queer old family horses and antediluvian wagons, what
noble dog-carts, and what prim pony phaetons can join in the
procession. The day should be fine, and the place selected a hillside
with trees, commanding a fine view. This is at least desirable. The
necessity for a short walk, a short scramble after leaving the horses,
should not be disregarded.

The night before the picnic, which presumably starts early, the lady
of the house should see to it that a boiled ham of perfect flavour is
in readiness, and she may flank it with a boiled tongue, four roasted
chickens, a game pie, and any amount of stale bread to cut into
sandwiches.

Now a sandwich can be at once the best and the worst thing in the
world, but to make it the best the bread should be cut very thin, the
butter, which must be as fresh as a cowslip, should be spread with
deft fingers, then a slice of ham as thin as a wafer with not too much
fat must be laid between, with a _soupçon_ of mustard. The prepared
ham which comes in cans is excellent for making sandwiches. Cheese
sandwiches, substituting a thin slice of American fresh cheese for the
ham, are delicious, and some rollicking good-livers toast the cheese.

Tongue, cold beef, and even cold sausages make excellent varieties of
sandwich. To prevent their becoming the "sand which is under your
feet" cover them over night with a damp napkin.

Chicken can be eaten for itself alone, but it should be cut into very
convenient fragments, judiciously salted and wrapped in a very white
napkin.

The game or veal pie must be in a strong earthen dish, and having been
baked the day before, its pieces will have amalgamated with the crust,
and it will cut into easily handled slices.

All must be packed in luncheon baskets with little twisted cornucopias
holding pepper and salt, hard-boiled eggs, the patty by itself,
croquettes, if they happen to be made, cold fried oysters, excellent
if in batter and well-drained after cooking; no article must be
allowed to touch another.

If cake and pastry be taken, each should have a separate basket. Fruit
also should be carefully packed by itself, for if food gets mixed and
mussy, even a mountain appetite will shun it.

A bottle of olives is a welcome addition, and pickles and other
relishes may be included. Sardines are also in order.

Now what to drink? Cold tea and iced coffee prepared the night before,
the cream and sugar put in just before starting, should always be
provided. They are capital things to climb on, to knit up the
"ravelled sleeve of care," and if somewhat exciting to the nerves,
will be found the best thirst-quenchers.

These beverages should be carefully bottled and firmly corked,--and
don't forget the corkscrew. Plenty of tin cups, or those strong glass
beer-mugs which you can throw across the room without breaking, should
also be taken.

Claret is the favourite wine for picnics, as being light and
refreshing. Ginger ale is excellent and cheap and compact.
"Champagne," says Walter Besant in his novel "By Celia's Arbour" is a
wine as Catholic as the Athanasian Creed, because it goes well with
chicken and with the more elaborate _pâté de foie gras_.

Some men prefer sherry with their lunch, some take beer. If you have
room and a plentiful cellar, take all these things. But tea and coffee
and ginger ale will do for any one, anywhere.

It has been suggested by those who have suffered losses from
mischievous friends, that a composite basket containing everything
should be put in each carriage, but this is refining the matter.

Arrived at the picnic-ground, the whole force should be employed by
the hostess as an amiable body of waiters. The ladies should set the
tables, and the men bring water from the spring. The less ceremony the
better.

Things have not been served in order, they never are at a picnic, and
the cunning hostess now produces some claret cup. She has made it
herself since they reached the top of the mountain. Two bottles of
claret to one of soda water, two lemons, a glass of sherry, a cucumber
sliced in to give it the most perfect flavour, plenty of sugar and
ice; and where had she hidden that immense pitcher, a regular brown
toby, in which she has brewed it?

"I know," said an _enfant terrible_; "I saw her hiding it under the
back seat."

There it is, filled with claret cup, the most refreshing drink for a
warm afternoon. Various young persons of opposite sexes, who have been
looking at each other more than at the game pie, now prepare to
disappear in the neighbouring paths, under a pretence but feebly made
of plucking blackberries,--artless dissemblers!

Mamma shouts, "Mary, Caroline, Jane, Tom, Harry, be back before five,
for we must start for home." May she get them, even at half-past six.
From a group of peasants over a bunch of sticks in the Black Forest,
to a queen who delighted to picnic in Fontainebleau, these _al fresco_
entertainments are ever delicious. We cannot put our ears too close to
the confessional of Nature. She has always a new secret to tell us,
and from the most artificial society to that which is primitive and
rustic, they always carry the same charm. It is the Antæus trying to
get back to Mother Earth, who strengthens him.

In packing a lunch for a fisherman, or a hunter, the hostess often has
to explain that brevity is the soul of wit. She must often compress a
few eatables into the side pocket, and the bottle of claret into the
fishing-basket. If not, she can palm off on the man one of those tin
cases which poor little boys carry to school, which look like books
and have suggestive titles, such as "Essays of Bacon," "Crabbe's
Tales," or "News from Turkey," on the back. If the fisherman will take
one of these his sandwiches will arrive in better order.

The Western hunter takes a few beans and some slices of pork, some say
in his hat, when he goes off on the warpath. The modern hunter or
fisher, if he drive to the meet or the burn, can be trusted with an
orthodox lunch-basket, which should hold cold tea, cold game-pie, a
few olives, and a bit of cheese, and a large reserve of sandwiches.
When we grow more celestial, when we achieve the physical theory of
another life, we may know how to concentrate good eating in a more
portable form than that of the sandwich, but we do not know it yet.

Take an egg sandwich,--hard-boiled eggs chopped, and laid between the
bread and butter. Can anything be more like the sonnet?--complete in
only fourteen lines, and yet perfection! Only indefinite chicken,
wheaten flour, the milk of the cow, all that goes to make up our daily
food in one little compact rectangle! Egg sandwich! It is immense in
its concentration.

Some people like to take salads and apple pies to picnics. There are
great moral objections to thus exposing these two delicacies to the
rough experiences of a picnic. A salad, however well dressed, is an
oily and slippery enjoyment. Like all great joys, it is apt to escape
us, especially in a lunch basket. Apple pie, most delicate of pasties,
will exude, and you are apt to find the crust on the top of the
basket, and the apple in the bottom of the carriage.

If you will take salad, and will not be taught by experience, make a
perfect _jardinière_ of all the cold vegetables, green peas, beans,
and cauliflower, green peppers, cucumbers, and cold potatoes, and take
this mixture dry to the picnic. Have your mayonnaise in a bottle, and
dress the salad with it after sitting down, on a very slippery, ferny
rock, at the table. Truth compels the historian to observe, that this
is delicious with the ham, and you will not mind in the least, until
the next day, the large grease-spot on the side breadth of your gown.

As for the apple pie, that is taken at the risk of the owner. It had
better be left at home for tea.

Of course, _pâté de foie gras_, sandwiches, boned turkey, jellied
tongue, the various cold birds, as partridges, quails, pheasant, and
chicken, and raw oysters, can be taken to a very elaborate picnic near
a large town. Salmon dressed with green sauce, lobster salad, every
kind of salad, is in order if you can only get it there, and
"_caviare_ to the general." Cold terrapin is not to be despised; eaten
on a bit of bread it is an excellent dainty, and so is the cold fried
oyster.

Public picnics, like Sunday-school picnics, fed with ice cream and
strawberries; or the clam bake, a unique and enjoyable affair by the
sea, are in the hands of experts, and need no description here. The
French people picnic every day in the _Bois de Boulogne_, the woods of
Versailles, and even on their asphalt, eating out of doors when they
can. It is a very strange thing that we do not improve our fine
climate by eating our dinners and breakfasts with the full draught of
an unrivalled ozone.



PASTIMES OF LADIES.

     Her feet beneath her petticoat,
       Like little mice, stole in and out,
     As if they feared the light;
       But oh, she dances such a way!
       No sun upon an Easter day
         Is half so fine a sight.
                        SIR JOHN SUCKLING.


The "London Times" says that the present season has seen "driving jump
to a great height of favour amongst fashionable women."

It is a curious expression, but enlightens us as to the liberty which
even so great an authority takes with our common language. There is no
doubt of the fact that the pony phaeton and the pair of ponies are
becoming a great necessity to an energetic woman. The little pony and
the Ralli cart, as a ladies' pastime, is a familiar figure in the
season at Newport, at a thousand country places, at the seaside, in
our own Central Park, and all through the West and South.

It has been much more the custom for ladies in the West and South to
drive themselves, than for those at the North; consequently they drive
better. Only those who know how to drive well ought ever to attempt
it, for they not only endanger their own lives, but a dozen other
lives. Whoever has seen a runaway carriage strike another vehicle, and
has beheld the breaking up, can realize for the first time the
tremendous force of an object in motion. The little Ralli cart can
become a battering-ram of prodigious force.

No form of recreation is so useful and so becoming as horseback
exercise. No English woman looks so well as when turned out for
out-of-door exercise. And our American women, who buy their habits and
hats in London, are getting to have the same _chic_. Indeed, so
immensely superior is the London habit considered, that the French
circus-women who ride in the Bois, making so great a sensation, go
over to London to have their habits made, and thus return the
compliment which English ladies pay to Paris, in having all their
dinner gowns and tea gowns made there. Perhaps disliking this sort of
copy, the Englishwomen are becoming careless of their appearance on
horseback, and are coming out in a straw hat, a covert coat, and a
cotton skirt.

The soft felt hat has long been a favourite on the Continent, at
watering-places for the English; and it is much easier for the head.
Still, in case of a fall it does not save the head like a hard,
masculine hat.

We have not yet, as a nation, taken to cycling for women; but many
Englishwomen go all over the globe on a tricycle. A husband and wife
are often seen on a tricycle near London, and women who lead sedentary
lives, in offices and schools, enjoy many of their Saturday afternoons
in this way.

Boating needs to be cultivated in America. It is a superb exercise for
developing a good figure; and to manage a punt has become a common
accomplishment for the riverside girls. Ladies have regattas on the
Thames.

Fencing, which many actresses learn, is a very admirable process for
developing the figure. The young Princesses of Wales are adepts in
this. It requires an outfit consisting of a dainty tunic reaching to
the knees, a fencing-jacket of soft leather with tight sleeves,
gauntlet gloves, a mask, a pair of foils, and costing about fifteen
dollars.

American women as a rule are not fond of walking. There must be
something in the nature of an attraction or a duty to rouse our
delicate girls to walk. They will not do it for their health alone.
Gymnastic teaching is, however, giving them more strength, and it
would be well if in every family of daughters there were some
calisthenic training, to develop the muscles, and to induce a more
graceful walk.

To teach a girl to swim is almost a duty, and such splendid physical
exercises will have a great influence over that nervous distress which
our climate produces with its over-fulness of oxygen.

If girls do not like to walk, they all like to dance, and it is not
intended as a pun when we mention that "a great jump" has been made
back to the old-fashioned dancing, in which freedom of movement is
allowed. Those who saw Mary Anderson's matchless grace in the Winter's
Tale all tried to go and dance like her, and to see Ellen Terry's
spring, as the pretty Olivia, teaches one how entirely beautiful is
this strong command of one's muscles. From the German cotillion, back
to the Virginia reel, is indeed a bound.

Our grandfathers knew how to dance. We are fast getting back to them.
The traditions of Taglioni still lingered fifty years ago. The
earliest dancing-masters were Frenchmen, and our ancestors were taught
to _pirouette_ as did Vestris when he was so obliging as to say after
a royal command, "The house of Vestris has always danced for that of
Bourbon."

The galop has, during the long langour of the dance, alone held its
own, in the matter of jollity. The glide waltz, the redowa, the
stately minuet, give only the slow and graceful motions. The galop has
always been a great favourite with the Swedes, Danes, and Russians,
while the redowa reminds one of the graceful Viennese who dance it so
well. The mazourka, danced to wild Polish music, is a poetical and
active affair.

The introduction of Hungarian bands and Hungarian music is another
reason why dancing has become a "hop, skip and a bound," without
losing dignity or grace. Activity need not be vulgar.

The German cotillion, born many years ago at Vienna to meet the
requirements of court etiquette, is still the fashionable dance with
which the ball closes. Its favours, beginning with flowers and ribbons
and bits of tinsel, have now ripened into fans, bracelets, gold
scarf-pins and pencil-cases, and many things more expensive. Favours
may cost five thousand dollars for a fashionable ball, or dance, as
they say in London.

The German is a dance of infinite variety, and to lead it requires a
man of head. One such leader, who can construct new figures, becomes a
power in society. The waltz, galop, redowa, and polka step can all be
utilized in it. There is a slow walk in the quadrille figure, a
stately march, the bows and courtesies of the old minuet, and above
all, the _tour de valse_, which is the means of locomotion from place
to place. The changeful exigencies of the various figures lead the
forty or fifty, or the two hundred to meet, exchange greetings, dance
with each other, and change their geographical position many times.
Indeed no army goes through more evolutions.

A pretty figure is _La Corbeille, l'Anneau, et la Fleur_. The first
couple performs a _tour de valse_, after which the gentleman presents
the lady with a basket, containing a ring and a flower, then resumes
his seat. The lady presents the ring to one gentleman, the flower to
another, and the basket to the third. The gentleman to whom she
presents the ring selects a partner for himself, the gentleman who
receives the flower dances with the lady who presents it, while the
other gentleman holds the basket in his hand and dances alone.

The kaleidoscope is one of the prettiest figures. The four couples
perform a _tour de valse_, then form as for a quadrille; the next four
couples in order take positions behind the first four couples, each of
the latter couples facing the same as the couples in front. At a
signal from the leader, the ladies of the inner couples cross right
hands, move entirely round and turn into places by giving left hands
to their partners. At the same time the outer couples waltz half round
to opposite places. At another signal the inner couples waltz entirely
round, and finish facing outward. At the same time the outer couples
_chassent croisé_ and turn at corners with right hands, then
_dechassent_ and turn partners with left hands. Valse _générale_ with
_vis à vis_.

_La Cavalier Trompé_ is another favourite figure. Five or six couples
perform a _tour de valse_. They afterwards place themselves in ranks
of two, one couple behind the other. The lady of the first gentleman
leaves him and seeks a gentleman of another column. While this is
going on the first gentleman must not look behind him. The first lady
and the gentleman whom she has selected separate and advance on
tip-toe on each side of the column, in order to deceive the gentleman
at the head, and endeavour to join each other for a waltz. If the
first gentleman is fortunate enough to seize his lady, he leads off in
a waltz; if not, he must remain at his post until he is able to take a
lady. The last gentleman remaining dances with the last lady.

To give a German in a private house, a lady has all the furniture
removed from her parlours, the floor covered with crash over the
carpet, and a set of folding-chairs for the couples to sit in. A bare
wooden floor is preferable to the carpet and crash.

It is considered that all taking part in a German are introduced to
one another, and on no condition whatever must a lady, so long as she
remains in the German, refuse to speak or to dance with any gentleman
whom she may chance to receive as a partner. Every American should
learn that he can speak to any one whom he meets at a friend's house.
The roof is an introduction, and, for the purpose of making his
hostess comfortable, the guest should, at dinner-party and dance,
speak to his next neighbour.

The laws of the German are so strict, and to many so tiresome, that a
good many parties have abjured it, and merely dance the round dances,
the lancers and quadrilles, winding up with the Sir Roger de Coverley
or the Virginia Reel.

The leader of the German must have a comprehensive glance, a quick ear
and eye, and a great belief in himself. General Edward Ferrero, who
made a good general, declared that he owed all his success in war to
his training as a dancing-master. With all other qualities, the leader
of the German must have tact. It is no easy matter to get two hundred
people into all sorts of combinations and mazes and then to get them
out again, to offend nobody, and to produce that elegant kaleidoscope
called the German.

The term _tour de valse_ is used technically, meaning that the couple
or couples performing it execute the round dance designated by the
leader once round the room. Should the room be small, they make a
second tour. After the introductory _tour de valse_ care must be taken
by those who perform it not to select ladies and gentlemen who are on
the floor, but from among those who are seated. When the leader claps
his hands to warn those who are prolonging the valse, they must
immediately cease dancing.

The favours for the German are often fans, and this time-honoured,
historic article grows in beauty and expense every day. And what
various memories come in with the fan! It was created in primeval
ages. The Egyptian ladies had fans of lotus leaves; and lately a
breakfast was given all in Egyptian fashion, except the eating. The
Roman ladies carried immense fans of peacocks' feathers. They did not
open and shut like ours, opening and shutting being a modern
invention. The _flabilliferaor_ or fan-bearer, was some young
attendant, generally female, whose common business it was to carry her
mistress's fan. There is a Pompeian painting of Cupid as the
fan-bearer of Ariadne, lamenting her desertion by Theseus. In Queen
Elizabeth's day the fan was usually made of feathers, like that still
used in the East. The handle was richly ornamented and set with
stones. A fashionable lady was never without her fan, which was held
to her girdle by a jewelled chain. That fashion, with the large
feathers, has returned in our day. Queen Elizabeth dropped a
silver-handled fan into the moat at Arnstead Hall, which occasioned
many madrigals. Sir Francis Drake presented to his royal mistress a
fan of feathers, white and red, enamelled with a half-moon of
mother-of-pearl. Poor Leicester gave her, as his New Year's gift in
1574, a fan of white feathers set in a handle of gold, adorned on one
side with two very fair emeralds, and fully garnished with rubies and
diamonds, and on each side a white bear,--his cognizance,--and two
pearls hanging, a lion rampant and a white, muzzled bear at his foot.
Just before Christmas in 1595 Elizabeth went to Kew, and dined at my
Lord Keeper's house, and there was handed her a fine fan with a handle
garnished with diamonds.

Fans in Shakspeare's time seem to have been composed of ostrich and
other feathers, fastened to handles. Gentlemen carried fans in those
days, and in one of the later figures of the German they now carry
fans. According to an old manuscript in the Ashmolean Museum, Sir
Edward Cole rode the circuit with a prodigious fan, which had a long
stick with which he corrected his daughters. Let us hope that that
custom will not be reintroduced.

The vellum fans painted by Watteau, and the lovely fans of Spain
enriched with jewels are rather too expensive for favours for the
German; one very rich entertainer gave away tortoise-shell fans with
jewelled sticks, two years ago, at Delmonico's. Fans of silk,
egg-shaped, and painted with birds, were used for an Easter German.

Ribbons were used for a cotillon dinner with very good effect. "From
the chandelier in the centre of the dining room," we read, "depended
twenty scarfs of grosgrain ribbon, each three and a half yards long
and nine inches wide, heavily fringed and richly adorned at both ends
with paintings of flowers and foliage. These scarfs were so arranged
that an end of each came down to the place one of the ladies was to
occupy at the table, and care was taken in their selection to have
colours harmonizing with the ladies' dress and complexion."

These cotillion dinners have been a pretty fashion for two or three
winters, as they enable four or five young hostesses to each give a
dinner, the whole four to meet with their guests at one house for a
small German, after the dinner. Each hostess compares her list with
that of her neighbour, that there shall be no confusion. It is
believed that this device was the invention of the incomparable Mr.
McAllister, to whom society owes a great deal. Fashionable society
like the German must have a leader, some one who will take trouble,
and think out these elaborate details. Nowhere in Europe is so much
pains taken about such details as with us.

The _menus_ of these cotillion dinners are often water-colour
paintings, worthy of preservation; sometimes a scene from one of
Shakspeare's plays, sometimes a copy of some famous French
picture,--in either case something delightfully artistic.

For a supper after a dance the dishes are placed on the table, and it
is served _en buffet_; but for a sit-down supper, served at little
tables, the service should be exactly like a dinner except that there
is no soup or fish.

The manner of using flowers in America at such entertainments is
simply bewildering. A climbing rose will seem to be going everywhere
over an invisible trellis; delicate green vines will depend from the
chandelier, dropping roses; roses cover the entire table-cloth; or
perhaps the flowers are massed, all of yellow, or of white, or red, or
pink.

Nothing could exceed the magnificence of the great baskets of white
and yellow chrysanthemums, roses, violets, and carnations, at a
breakfast given to the Comte de Paris, at Delmonico's on October 20th,
and at the subsequent dinner given him by his brother officers of the
Army of the Potomac. His royal arms were in white flowers, the _fleur
de lis_ of Joan of Arc, on a blue ground of flowers. Jacqueminot Roses
went up and down the table, with the words "Grand Army of the Potomac"
in white flowers.

The orchid, that most regal and expensive of all flowers, a single
specimen often costing many dollars, was used by a lady to make an
imitation fire, the wood, the flames, and all consisting of flowers
placed in a most artistic chimney-piece.

Indeed, the cost of the cut flowers used in New York in one winter for
entertaining is said to be five millions of dollars. Orchids have this
advantage over other flowers--they have no scent; and that in a mixed
company and a hot room is an advantage, for some people cannot bear
even the perfume of a rose.

A large lump of ice, with flowers trained over it, is a delightfully
refreshing adornment for a hot ballroom. In grand party decorations,
like one given by the Prince of Wales to the Czarina of Russia, ten
tons of ice were used as an ornamental rockery. In smaller rooms the
glacier can be cut out and its base hidden in a tub, lights put behind
it and flowers and green vines draped over it. The effect is magical.
The flowers are kept fresh, the white column looks always well, and
the coolness it diffuses is delicious. It might, by way of contrast
to the Dark Continent, be a complimentary decoration for a supper to
be given to Mr. Stanley, to ornament the ballroom with Arctic
bowlders, around which should be hung the tropical flowers and vines
of Africa.



PRIVATE THEATRICALS.

     A poor thing, my masters, not the real thing at all, a base
     imitation, but still a good enough mock-orange, if you cannot
     have the real thing.--OLD PLAY.


Some of our opulent citizens in the West, particularly in that
wondrous city Chicago, which is nearer to Aladdin's Lamp than anything
else I have seen, have built private theatres in their palaces. This
is taking time by the forelock, and arranging for a whole family of
coming histrionic geniuses.

When all the arrangements for private theatricals must be
improvised,--and, indeed, it is a greater achievement to play in a
barn than on the best stage,--the following hints may prove
serviceable.

Wherever the amateur actor elects to play, he must consider the
extraneous space behind the acting arena necessary for his exits and
entrances, and his theatrical properties. In an ordinary house the
back parlour, with two doors opening into the dining-room, makes an
ideal theatre, for the exits can be masked and the space is especially
useful. At least one door opening into another room is absolutely
necessary, if no better arrangement can be made. The best stage, of
course, is like that of a theatre, raised, with space at the back and
sides, for the players to retire to, and issue from. But if nothing
better can be managed, a pair of screens and a curtain will do.

It is hardly necessary to say that all these arrangements depend on
the requirements of the play and its legitimate business, which may
demand a table, a bureau, a piano, or a bed. That very funny piece
"Box and Cox" needs nothing but a bed, a table, and a fireplace. And
here we would say to the youthful actor, Select your play at first
with a view to its requiring little change of scene, and not much
furniture. A young actor needs space. He is embarrassed by too many
chairs and tables. Then choose a play which has so much varied
incident that it will play itself.

The first thing is to build the stage. Any carpenter will lay a few
stout boards on end pieces, which are simply squared joists, and for
very little money will take away the boards and joists afterwards, so
that a satisfactory stage can be built for a few dollars. Sometimes,
ingenious boys build their own stage with a few boxes, but this is apt
to be dangerous. Very few families are without an old carpet which
will serve for a stage covering; and if this is lacking, green baize
is very cheap. A whole stage fitting, curtains and all, can be made of
green baize.

Footlights may be made of tin, with bits of candle put in; or a row of
old bottles of equal height, with candles stuck in the mouth, make a
most admirable and cheap set of footlights.

The curtain is always difficult to arrange, especially in a parlour. A
light wooden frame should be made by the carpenter,--firm at the
joints, and as high as the room allows. Attached to the stage, at the
foot, this frame forms three sides of a square. The curtain must be
firmly nailed to the top piece. A stiff wire should be run along the
lower edge of the curtain, and a number of rings attached to the back
of it, in squares,--three rows, of four rings each, extending from top
to bottom. Three cords are now fastened to the wire, and passing
through the rings are run over three pulleys on the upper piece of the
frame. It is well for all young managers of garret theatres to get up
one of these curtains, even with the help of an upholsterer, as the
other draw-curtain never works so securely, and often hurts the
_dénouement_ of the play. When the drop curtain above described is
used, one person holds all the strings, and it pulls together.

Now for the stage properties. They are easily made. A boy who can
paint a little will indicate a scene, with black paint, on a white
ground; tinsel paper, red flannel, and old finery will supply the
fancy dresses.

A stage manager who is a natural born leader is indispensable. Certain
ambitious amateurs performed the opera of "Patience" in New York. It
would have been a failure but for the musical talent of the two who
took the title _rôles_, and the diligent six weeks' training which the
players received at the hand of the principal actor in the real
operetta. This seems very dear for the whistle, when one can go and
hear the real tune. It is in places where the real play cannot be
heard, that amateur theatricals are of importance.

Young men at college get up the best of all amateur plays, because
they are realistic, and stop at nothing to make strong outlines and
deep shadows. They, too, buy many properties like wigs and dresses,
and give study and observation to the make-up of the character.

If they need a comic face they have an artist from the theatre put it
on with a camel's-hair pencil. An old man's face, or a brigand's is
only a bit of water-colour. A pretty girl can be made out of a heavy
young man by rouge, chalk, and a blond wig. For a drunkard or a
villain, a few purple spots are painted on chin, cheek, forehead and
nose, judiciously.

Young girls are apt, in essaying private theatricals, to sacrifice too
much to prettiness. This is a fatal mistake; one must even sacrifice
native bloom if the part requires it, or put on rouge, if necessary.

As amusement is the object, the plays had better be comedy than
tragedy; and no such delicate wordy duels as the "Scrap of Paper,"
should be attempted, as that requires the highest skill of two great
actors.

After reading the part and committing the lines to memory, young
actors must submit to many and long rehearsals. After many of these
and much study, they must not be discouraged if they grow worse
instead of better. Perseverance conquers all things, and at last they
reach the dress rehearsal. This is generally a disappointment, and
time should be allowed for two dress rehearsals. It is a most
excellent and advantageous discouragement, if it leads the actors to
more study.

The stage manager has a difficult _rôle_ to play, for he may discover
that his actors must change parts. This nearly always excites a
wounded self-love, and ill-feeling. But each one should bear in mind
that he is only a part of a perfect whole, and be willing to sacrifice
himself.

If, however, plays are not successful and cease to amuse, the amateur
stage can be utilized for _tableaux vivants_, which are always pretty,
and may be made very artistic. The principle of a picture, the
pyramidal form, should be closely observed in a tableau.

There should be a square of black tarletan or gauze nailed before the
picture, between the players and the footlights. The drop curtain
must be outside of this, and go up and down very carefully, at a
concerted signal.

Although the pure white light of candles, or lime light, is the best
for such pictures, very pretty effects can be easily made by the
introduction of coloured lights, such as are produced by the use of
nitrate of strontia, chlorate of potash, sulphuret of antimony,
sulphur, oxymuriate of potassa, metallic arsenic, and pulverized
charcoal. Muriate of ammonia makes a bluish-green fire, and many
colours can be obtained by a little study of chemistry.

To make a red fire, take five ounces of nitrate of strontia dry, and
one and a half ounces finely powdered sulphur; also five drachms
chlorate of potash, and four drachms sulphuret of antimony. Powder the
last two separately in a mortar, then mix them on paper and having
mixed the other ingredients, previously powdered, add these last and
rub the whole together on paper. To use, mix a little spirits of wine
with the powder, and burn in a flat iron plate or pan; the effect is
excellent on the picture.

Sulphate of copper when dissolved in water turns it a beautiful blue.
The common red cabbage gives three colours. Slice the cabbage and pour
boiling water on it. When cold add a small quantity of alum, and you
have purple. Potash dissolved in the water will give a brilliant
green. A few drops of muriatic acid will turn the cabbage water into
crimson. Put these various coloured waters in globes, and with candles
behind them they will throw the light on the picture.

Again, if a ghastly look be required, and a ghost scene be in order,
mix common salt with spirits of wine in a metal cup, and set it upon
a wire frame over a spirit lamp. When the cup becomes heated, and the
spirits of wine ignites, the other lights in the room should be
extinguished, and that of the spirit lamp hidden from the observer. A
light will be produced that will make the players seem like the
witches in Macbeth, "that look not like the inhabitants of the earth,
but yet are of it."

The burning of common salt produces a very weird effect; for salt has
properties other than the conservative, preserving, hospitable
qualities which legend and the daily needs of mankind have ascribed to
it.

A very pretty effect for Christmas Eve may be made by throwing these
lights on the highly decorated tree. A set of Christmas tableaux can
be arranged, giving groups of the early Christians going into the
Catacombs as the Pagans are going out, with a white shaft of light
making a cross between them. A picture representing the Christmas of
each nationality can be made, as for instance the Russian, the
Norwegian, the Dane, the Swede, the German, the English of three
hundred years ago. These are all possible to a family in which are
artistic boys and girls.

The grotesque is lost in a tableau where there seems to be an æsthetic
need of the heroic, the refined, and the historic. A double action may
be represented with good effect, and here can be used the coloured
lights. Angels above, for instance, can well be in another colour than
sleeping children below.

To return for a moment to the first use of the stage, the play. It is
a curious thing to see the plays which amateurs act well. The "Rivals"
is one of these, and so is "Everybody's Friend." "The Follies of a
Night" plays itself, and "The Happy Pair" goes very well. "A Regular
Fix," one of Sothern's plays, is exceptionally funny, as is "The
Liar," in which poor Lester Wallack was so very good. "Woodcock's
Little Game," too, is excellent.

Cheap and unsophisticated theatricals, such as schoolboys and girls
can get up in the garret or the basement, are those which give the
most pleasure. But so strong is the underlying love of the drama that
youth and maid will attempt the hard and sometimes discouraging work,
even in cities where professional work is so very much better.

The private amateur player should study to be accurate as to costume.
Pink-satin Marie Antoinette slippers must not be worn with a Greek
dress; classic sandals are easily made.

It is an admirable practice to get up a play in French. It helps to
conquer the _délicatesse_ of the language. The French _répertoire_ is
very rich in easily acted plays, which any French teacher can
recommend.

Imitation Negro minstrels are funny, and apt to be better than the
original. A funny man, a mimic, one who can talk in various dialects,
is a precious boon to an amateur company. Many of Dion Boucicault's
Irish characters can be admirably imitated.

In this connection, why not call in the transcendent attraction of
music? Now that we have lady orchestras, why not have them on the
stage, or let them be asked to play occasional music between the acts,
or while the tableaux are on? It adds a great charm.

The family circle in which the brothers have learned the key bugle,
cornet, trombone, and violoncello, and the sisters the piano and harp,
and the family that can sing part songs are to be envied. What a
blessing in the family is the man who can sing comic songs, and who
does not sing them too often.

A small operetta is often very nicely done by amateurs. We need not
refer to the lamented "Pinafore," but that sort of thing. Would that
Sir Arthur would write another "Pinafore!" but, alas! there was never
but one.

A private theatre is a great addition to a large country house, and it
can be made cheaply and well by a modern architect. It can be used as
a ballroom on off evenings, as a dining-room, or for any other
gathering.

Nothing can be more improving for young people than to study a play.
Observe the expressions of the Oberammergau peasants, their
intellectual and happy faces, "informed with thought," and contrast
them with the faces of the German and Bavarian peasants about them.
Their old pastor, Deisenberg, by training them in poetry and
declamation, by founding his well-written play on their old
traditions, by giving them this highly improving recreation for their
otherwise starved lives, made another set of human beings of them.
They have a motive in life besides the mere gathering in of a
livelihood.

So it would be in any country neighbourhood, however rustic and
remote, if some bright woman would assemble the young people at her
house and train them to read and recite, lifting their young souls
above vulgar gossip, and helping them to understand the older
dramatists, to even attempt Shakspeare. Funny plays might be thrown in
to enliven the scene, but there should be a good deal of earnest work
inculcated as well. Music, that most divine of all the arts, should be
assiduously cultivated. All the Oberammergau school-masters must be
musicians, and all the peasants learn how to sing. What a good thing
it would be if our district school-teachers should learn how to teach
their scholars part songs.

When the art of entertaining has reached its apotheosis, we feel
certain that we can have this influence emanating from every opulent
country house, and that there will be no more complaint of dulness.



HUNTING AND SHOOTING.

     My love shall hear the music of my hounds:
     Uncouple in the western valley; let them go,--
     Dispatch, I say, and find the Forester.
     We will, fair Queen, up to the mountain's top.
                           MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.


Fashion is at her best when she makes men and women love horses, dogs,
boating, swimming, and all out-of-door games,--when she preaches
physical culture. It is a good thing to see a man play lawn-tennis
under a hot sun for hours; you feel that such a man could storm a
battery. Nothing is more encouraging to the lover of all physical
culture than the hunting, shooting, boating, and driving mania in the
United States.

"Hunting" and "shooting" are sometimes used as synonymous terms in
America; in England they mean quite different things. Hunting is
riding to hounds without firearms, letting the dogs kill the fox;
while shooting is to tramp over field, mountain, and through forest
with dogs and gun, to kill deer, grouse, or partridge. The 12th of
August is the momentous day, the first of the grouse shooting. Every
one who can afford it, or who has a friend who can afford it, is off
for the moors on the 11th, hoping to fill his bag. The 1st of
September, partridge, and the 1st of October, pheasant shooting, are
gala days, and the man is little thought of who cannot handle a gun.

In August inveterate fox-hunters meet at four or five o'clock in the
morning for cub-hunting, which amusement is over by eleven or twelve.
As the winter comes on the real hunting begins, and lasts until late
in March. In the midland counties it is the special sport. Melton, in
Leicestershire, is a noted hunting rendezvous. People, many Americans
among them, take boxes there for the season, with large stables, and
beguile the evenings with dinners, dancing, and card-parties. It is a
sort of winter watering-place without any water, where the wine flows
in streams every night, and where the brandy flask is filled every
morning, "in case of accidents" while out with the hounds. An
enthusiast in riding can be in the saddle ten or twelve hours out of
every day, except Sunday, which is a dull day at Melton.

All the houses within such a neighbourhood are successively made the
rendezvous or meet of the hunt. People come from great distances and
send their horses by rail; others drive or ride in, and send their
valuable hunters by a groom, who walks them the whole way. The show of
"pink" is generally good. "Pink" means the scarlet hunting-coat worn
by the gentlemen, the whippers-in, etc. The weather fades these coats
to a pale pink very much esteemed by the older men. They suggest the
scars of a veteran warrior, hence the name. Some men hunt in black,
but always in top boots. These boots are a cardinal point in a
sportsman's dandyism.

Once or twice during the season a hunt breakfast is given in the house
where the meet takes place. This is a pretty scene. All sorts of neat
broughams, dog-carts, and old family chariots bring the ladies, who
wear as much scarlet as good taste will allow.

Ladies, with their children, come to these breakfasts, which are
sumptuous affairs. Great rounds of cold beef, game patties, and salads
are spread out. All sorts of drinks, from beer up to champagne, are
offered. One of the ladies of the house sits at the head of the table,
with a large antique silver urn before her, and with tea and coffee
ready for those who wish these beverages.

Some girls come on horseback, and look very pretty in their habits.
These Dianas cut slices of beef and make impromptu sandwiches for
their friends outside who have not dismounted. The daughters of the
house stand on the steps while liveried servants hand around cake and
wine, and others carry foaming tankards of ale, and liberal slices of
cheese, among the farmers and attendants of the kennel.

It is an in-door and an out-door feast. The hounds are gathered in a
group, the huntsman standing in the centre cracking his whip, and
calling each hound by his name. Two or three masters of neighbouring
packs are talking to the master of the hounds, a prominent gentleman
of the county, who holds fox-hunting as something sacred, and the
killing of a fox otherwise than in a legitimate manner as one of the
seven deadly sins.

Twelve o'clock strikes, and every one begins to move. Generally the
throw off is at eleven, but in honour of this breakfast a delay has
been allowed. The huntsman mounts his horse and blows his horn; the
hounds gather around him, and the whole field starts out. They are
going to draw the covers at some large plantation above the park. The
earths, or fox-holes, have been stopped for miles around, so that the
fox once started has no refuge to make for, and is compelled to give
the horses a run. It is a fine, manly sport, for with all the odds
against him, the fox often gets away.

It is a pretty sight. The hounds go first, with nose to the ground,
searching for the scent. The hunters and whippers-in, professional
sportsmen, in scarlet coats and velvet jockey caps, ride immediately
next to them, followed by the field. In a little while a confusion of
rumours and cries is heard in the wood, various calls are blown on the
horn, and the frequent cracking of high whips, which sound is used to
keep the hounds in order, has all the effect of a succession of pistol
shots. Hark! the fox has broken cover, and a repeated cry of "Tally
Ho!" bursts from the wood. Away go the hounds, full cry, and what
sportsmen call their music, something between a bay and a yelp, is
indeed a pleasant sound, heard as it always is under circumstances
calculated to give it a romantic character. Many ladies and small boys
are amongst the followers of the chase. As soon as a boy can sit on
his pony he begins to follow the hounds. A fox has no tail and no feet
in hunting parlance, he has only a brush and pads. The lady who is in
at the death receives the brush, and the man the pads, as a rule.

The hunt is a privileged institution in England, and can make gaps in
hedges and break down walls with impunity. The farmer never complains
if his wheat and turnip fields are ruined by the sport, nor does a
lady complain if her flower garden and ornamental arbour be laid in
ruins. The wily fox who has made such a skilful run must be followed
at any cost.

Shooting is, however, the favourite sport of all Englishmen. Both
pheasants and partridges are first carefully reared; the eggs
generally purchased in large quantities, hatched by hens, and the
birds fed through the summer with meal and other appropriate food. The
gamekeepers take the greatest pride in the rearing of these birds.
The pheasant is to the Englishman what the ibis was to the Egyptian.

They are let loose in the woods only when nearly full-grown. When the
covers are full, and a good bag is to be expected, the first of
October is a regular feast-day; a large party is asked, and a variety
of costumes makes the scene picturesque. Red or purple stockings,
knickerbockers of stout cloth or velveteen, a shooting-jacket of rough
heavy material, and stout shoes make up the costume. The ladies
collect after breakfast to see the party start out, a rendezvous is
agreed upon, and luncheon or tea brings them together at either two or
five o'clock, under a sheltering hedge on the side of a wood. The
materials for an ample meal are brought to the appointed place, and a
gay picnic ensues.

Though shooting is a sport in which more real personal work is done by
those who join in it, and in which skill is a real ingredient, still
it is neither so characteristic nor so picturesque as fox-hunting.
There, a firm seat in the saddle, a good horse, and a determination to
ride straight across country, are all that is needed for the majority
of the field. In shooting much patience is required, besides accuracy
of aim, and a judicious knowledge of when and how to shoot.

When we consider that hunting is the fashion which Americans are
trying to follow, in a country without foxes, we must concede that
success must be the result of considerable hard study. The fox is an
anise-seed bag, but stone walls and high rail fences often make a
stiffer country to ride over than any to be found abroad. In England
there are no fences.

As an addition to the art of entertaining, hunting is a very great
boon, and a hunt breakfast at the Westchester Hunting Club is as
pretty a sight as possible.

In America, the sport began in Virginia in the last century, and no
doubt in our great West and South it will some day become as
recognized an institution as in England. We have room enough for it,
too much perhaps. Shooting should become, from the Adirondacks to the
Mississippi, a recognized sport, as it was once a necessity. If
Americans could devote five months of the year to sport, as the
Englishmen do, they might rival Great Britain. Unfortunately,
Americans are bringing down other kinds of game. We cannot help
thinking, however, that shooting a buck in the Adirondacks is a more
manly sport than shooting one in England.

No one who has ever had the privilege will forget his first drive
through the delights of an English park. The herds of fallow deer that
haunt the ferny glades beneath the old oaks and beeches, are kept both
for show and for the table; for park-fed venison is a more delicious
morsel than the flesh of the Scotch red deer, that runs wild on the
moor. White, brown, and mottled, with branching antlers which serve
admirably for offensive and defensive weapons, the deer browse in
groups; the does and fawns generally keeping apart from the more
lordly bucks. The park-keeper knows them all, and when one is shot,
the hides, hoofs, and antlers become his perquisites.

The method of shooting a buck is, however, this: The keeper's
assistant drives the herd in a certain direction previously agreed
upon. The sight is a very pretty one. The keeper stations himself,
rifle in hand, in the fork of some convenient tree along the route. He
takes aim at the intended victim, and at the ominous report the
scared herd scampers away faster than ever, leaving their comrade to
the knives of the keeper. It is very much like going out to shoot a
cow. There is occasionally an attempt to renew the scenes of Robin
Hood and Sherwood Forest, and the hounds are let out, but it is a sham
after all, as they are trained not to kill the deer. The stag in this
instance is given a start, being carried bound in a cart to a certain
point, whence he is released and the chase commences. Thus the same
stag may be hunted a number of times and be none the worse for
it,--which is not the way they do it in the Adirondacks.

American venison is a higher flavoured meat than English, and should
be only partly roasted before the fire, then cut in slices half-raw,
placed on a chafing-dish with jelly and gravy, and warmed and cooked
before the guest to ensure perfection.

A Polish officer of distinction has sent me the following account of
hunting in his province:--

"We do not hunt the fox as in England. He is shot when met in a drive,
or worried out of his subterranean castle by a special breed of dogs,
the Dachshund, or Texel; or if young cubs are suspected to be in the
hole the exits so far as known are closed, a shaft sunk to the centre,
and the whole brood extinguished.

"We ride to hounds after hare, and the speed of a fox-hunt is nothing
when compared with a cruise of the hare; for the greyhound, used for
the latter, can beat any fox hound in racing. No one would ever think
of water-killing deer as is done in the Adirondacks, and woe unto him
who kills a doe!

"The old-fashioned way to kill the wild boar is to let him run at you,
then kneel on one knee holding a hunting knife, or cutlass,
double-edged. The boar infuriated by the dogs rushes at you. If well
directed, the knife enters his breast and heart; if it does not, then
look out. This is what is called pig-sticking in India. Old Emperor
William hunted the boar in the Royal Forests near Berlin, and King
Humbert does the same in the mountains near Rome.

"Bird hunting, that of snipe, woodcock, partridge, quail, and
waterfowl, is done in the same way as here, excepting the use of duck
batteries.

"There is very little big game to be found in Europe, that is, in the
civilized parts of it, but in some forests belonging to royalty and
that ilk, the elk, the stag, the bear, and the wild boar, present
themselves as a target, and bison are to be found in Russia. The elk
is purely royal game in Prussia.

"Southern or Upper Silesia is called the Prussian Ireland, and was
famous for hunting-parties; ladies would join, and we would drive home
with lighted torches attached to our sleighs."

These accounts of hunting-parties are introduced into the Art of
Entertaining as they each and all contain hints which may be of use to
the future American entertainer.



THE GAME OF GOLF.


As an addition to one's power of entertaining one's self, "golf
affords a wide field of observation for the philosopher and the
student of human nature. To play it aright requires nerve, endurance,
and self-control, qualities which are essential to success in all
great vocations; on the other hand, golf is peculiarly trying to the
temper, although it must be said that when the golfer forgets himself
his outbursts are usually directed against inanimate objects, or
showered upon his own head." How it may take possession of one is well
described in this little poem from the "St. James Gazette:"--

     "Would you like to see a city given over,
       Soul and body, to a tyrannizing game?
     If you would, there's little need to be a rover,
       For St. Andrews is that abject city's name.

     "It is surely quite superfluous to mention,
       To a person who has been here half an hour,
     That Golf is what engrosses the attention
       Of the people, with an all-absorbing power.

     "Rich and poor alike are smitten with the fever;
       'Tis their business and religion both to play;
     And a man is scarcely deemed a true believer
       Unless he goes at least a round a day.

     "The city boasts an old and learned college,
       Where you'd think the leading industry was Greek;
     Even there the favoured instruments of knowledge
       Are a driver, and a putter, and a cleek.

     "All the natives and the residents are patrons
       Of this royal, ancient, irritating game;
     All the old men, all the young men, maids and matrons,
       With this passion burn in hard and gem-like flame.

     "In the morning, as the light grows strong and stronger,
       You may see the players going out in shoals;
     And when night forbids their playing any longer,
       They will tell you how they did the different holes.

     "Golf, golf, golf, and golf again, is all the story!
       Till despair my overburdened spirit sinks;
     Till I wish that every golfer was in glory,
       And I pray the sea may overflow the links.

     "Still a slender, struggling ray of consolation
       Comes to cheer me, very feeble though it be;
     There are two who still escape infatuation,
       One's my bosom friend McFoozle, t'other's me.

     "As I write the words McFoozle enters blushing,
       With a brassy and an iron in his hand;
     And this blow, so unexpected and so crushing,
       Is more than I am able to withstand.

     "So now it but remains for me to die, sir.
       Stay! There is another course I may pursue.
     And perhaps, upon the whole, it would be wiser,
       I will yield to fate and be a golfer, too!"

"The game of golf," says Andrew Lang, its gifted poet and its
historian, "has been described as putting little balls into holes
difficult to find, with instruments which are sadly inadequate and
illy adapted to the purpose." Its learned home is St. Andrews, in
Scotland, although its advocates give it several classic
starting-points. Learned antiquarians seem to think that the name
comes from a Celtic word, meaning club. It is certainly an ancient
game, and some variation of it was known on the Continent under
various names.

The game requires room. A golf-course of nine holes should be at least
a mile and a half long, and a hundred and twenty feet wide. It is
usual to so lay out the course that the player ends where he began.
All sorts of obstructions are left, or made artificially,--running
water, railway embankments, bushes, ditches, etc.

The game is played with a gutta-percha ball, about an inch and a
quarter in diameter, and a variety of clubs, with wooden or iron
heads, whose individual use depends on the position in which the ball
lies. It is usual for each player to be followed by a boy, who carries
his clubs and watches his ball, marking it down as it falls. Games are
either singles,--that is, when two persons play against one another,
each having a ball,--or fours, when there are two on each side,
partners playing alternately on one ball.

The start is made near the club house at a place called the tee. Down
the course, anywhere from two hundred and fifty to five hundred yards
distant, is a level space, fifty feet square, called a putting-green,
and in its centre is a hole about four and a half inches in diameter
and of the same depth. This is the first hole, and the contestant who
puts his ball into it in the fewest number of strokes wins the hole.
As the score is kept by strokes, the ball that is behind is played
first. In this way the players are always together.

For his first shot from the tee, the player uses a club called the
driver. It has a wooden head and a long, springy, hickory handle. With
this an expert will drive a ball for two hundred yards. It is needless
to say that the beginner is not so successful. After the first shot a
cleek is used; or if the ball is in a bad hole, a mashie; if it is
necessary to loft it, an iron, and so on,--the particular club
depending, as we have said, on the position in which the ball lies.

The first hole won, the contestants start from a teeing-ground close
by it, and fight for the second hole, and so on around the
course,--the one who has won the most holes being the winner.

"A fine day, a good match, and a clear green" is the paradise of the
golfer, but it still can be played all the year and even, by the use
of a red ball, when snow is on the ground. In Scotland and athletic
England it is a game for players of all ages, though in nearly all
clubs children are not allowed. It can be played by both sexes.

A beginner's inclination is to grasp a golf club as he would a cricket
bat, more firmly with the right hand than with the left, or at times
equally firm with both hands. Now in golf, in making a full drive, the
club when brought back must be held firmly with the left hand and more
loosely with the right, because when the club is raised above the
shoulder, and brought round the back of the neck, the grasp of one
hand or the other must relax, and the hand to give way must be the
right hand and not the left. The force of the club must be brought
squarely against the ball.

The keeping of one's balance is another difficulty. In preparing to
strike, the player bends forward a little. In drawing back his club he
raises, or should raise, his left heel from the ground, and at the end
of the upward swing stands poised on his right foot and the toe or
ball of the left foot. At this point there is danger of his losing his
balance, and as he brings the club down, falling either forward or
backward, and consequently either heeling or toeing the ball, instead
of hitting it with the middle of the face. Accuracy of hitting
depends greatly on keeping a firm and steady hold of the ground with
the toe of the left foot, and not bending the left knee too much.

To "keep your eye on the ball" sounds an injunction easy to be obeyed,
but it is not always so. In making any considerable stroke, the
player's body makes or should make a quarter turn, and the difficulty
is to keep the head steady and the eye fixed upon the ball while doing
this.

Like all other games, golf has its technical terms; the
"teeing-ground," "putting," the "high-lofting stroke," the "approach
shot," "hammer-hurling," "topping," "slicing," "hooking," "skidding,"
and "foozling" mean little to the uninitiated, but everything to the
golfer.

Let us copy _verbatim_ the following description of the Links of St.
Andrews, the Elysium of the braw Scots:

"The Links occupy a crook-necked stretch of land bordered on the east
by the sea and on the left by the railway and by the wide estuary of
the Eden. The course, out and in, is some two miles and a half in
length, allowing for the pursuit of balls not driven quite straight.
Few pieces of land have given so much inexpensive pleasure for
centuries. The first hole is to some extent carpeted by grass rather
longer and rougher than the rest of the links. On the left lie some
new houses and a big hotel; they can only be 'hazards' on the outward
tack to a very wild driver indeed."

These "hazards" mean, dear reader, that if you and I are stopping at
that big hotel, we may have our eyes put out by a passing ball; small
grief would that be to a golfer!

"On the right it is just possible to 'heel' the ball over heaps of
rubbish into the sea sand. The natural and orthodox hazards are few.
Everybody should clear the road from the tee; if he does not the ruts
are tenacious. The second shot should either cross or fall short of
the celebrated Swilcan Burn. This tributary of ocean is extremely
shallow, and meanders through stone embankments, hither and thither,
between the tee and the hole. The number of balls that run into it, or
jump in from the opposite bank, or off the old stone footbridge is
enormous! People 'funk' the burn, top their iron shots, and are
engulfed. Once you cross it, the hole whether to right or left is
easily approached.

"The second hole, when the course is on the left, is guarded near the
tee by the 'Scholar's Bunker,' a sand face which swallows a topped
ball. On the right of the course are whins, much scantier now than of
old; on the left you may get into long grass, and thence into a very
sandy road under a wall, a nasty lie. The hole is sentinelled by two
bunkers and many an approach lights in one or the other. The
putting-green is nubbly and difficult.

"Driving to the third hole, on the left you may alight in the railway,
or a straight hit may tumble into one of three little bunkers, in a
knoll styled 'the Principal's Nose.' There are more bunkers lying in
wait close to the putting-green.

"The driver to the fourth hole has to 'carry' some low hills and
mounds; then comes a bunker that yawns almost across the course, with
a small outpost named Sutherlands, which Englishmen profanely desired
to fill up. This is impious.

"The long bunker has a buttress, a disagreeable round knoll; from
this to the hole is open country if you keep to the right, but it is
whinny. On the left, bunkers and broken ground stretch, and there is a
convenient sepulchre of hope here, and another beyond the hole.

"As you drive to the fifth hole you may have to clear 'hell,' but
'hell' is not what it was. The first shot should carry you to the
broken spurs of a table land, the Elysian fields, in which there yawn
the Beardies, deep, narrow, greedy bunkers. Beyond the table land
there is a gorge, and beyond it again a beautiful stretch of land and
the putting-green. To the right is plenty of deep bent grass and
gorse. This is a long hole and full of difficulties, the left side
near the hole being guarded by irregular and dangerous bunkers.

"The sixth or heathery hole has lost most of its heather, but is a
teaser. A heeled ball from the tee drops into the worst whins of the
course in a chaos of steep, difficult hills. A straight ball topped
falls into 'Walkinshaw's Grave,' or if very badly topped into a little
spiteful pitfall; it is the usual receptacle of a well-hit second ball
on its return journey. Escaping 'Walkinshaw's Grave' you have a
stretch of very rugged and broken country, bunkers on the left, bent
grass on the right, before you reach the sixth hole.

"The next, the high hole, is often shifted. It is usually placed
between a network of bunkers with rough grass immediately beyond it.
The first shot should open the hole and let you see the uncomfortable
district into which you have to play. You may approach from the left,
running the ball up a narrow causeway between the bunkers, but it is
usually attempted from the front. Grief, in any case, is almost
unavoidable."

It is evident the Scotch pleasure in "contradeectin'" is emphasized in
golf.

One gets a wholesome sense of invigorating sea air, healthy exercise,
and that delightful smell of the short, fresh grass. One sees "the
beauty of the wild aerial landscape, the delicate tints of sand, and
low, far-off hills, the distant crest of Lochnager, the gleaming
estuary, and the black cluster of ruined towers above the bay, which
make the charm of St. Andrews Links."

Golf has come to our country, and is becoming a passion. There is a
club at Yonkers and one at Cedarhurst, but that on the Shinnecock
Hills, on Long Island, will probably be the great headquarters of golf
in the United States, as this club owns eighty acres beautifully
adapted to the uses of the game, and has a large club-house, designed
by Stanford White.

So we may expect an American historian to write an account of this
fine vigorous game, in some future Badminton Library of sports and
pastimes; and we shall have our own dear "fifth hole, which offers
every possible facility to the erratic driver for coming to grief," if
we can be as "contradeectin'" as a Scot. You never hear one word about
victory; this golf literature is all written in the minor key,--but it
is a gay thing to look at.

The regular golf uniform is a red jacket, which adds much to the
gayety of a green, and has its obvious advantages.

"Ladies' links should be laid out on the model, though on a smaller
scale, of the long round, containing some short putting-holes, some
larger holes admitting of a drive or two of seventy or eighty yards,
and a few suitable hazards. We venture to suggest seventy or eighty
yards as the average limit of a drive, advisedly not because we doubt
a lady's power to make a longer drive, but because that cannot be well
done without raising the club above the shoulder. Now we do not
presume to dictate, but we must observe that the posture and gestures
requisite for a full swing are not particularly graceful when the
player is clad in female dress.

"Most ladies put well, and all the better because they play boldly for
the hole, without considering too much the lay of the ground; and
there is no reason why they should not practise and excel in wrist
shots with a lofting-iron or cleek. Their right to play, or rather the
expediency of their playing, the long round is much more doubtful. If
they choose to play at times when the male golfers are feeding or
resting, no one can object; but at other times, must we say it? they
are in the way, just because gallantry forbids to treat them exactly
as men. The tender mercies of the golfer are cruel. He cannot afford
to be merciful, because, if he forbears to drive into the party in
front he is promptly driven into from behind. It is a hard lot to
follow a party of ladies with a powerful driver behind you, if you are
troubled with a spark of chivalry or shyness.

"As to the ladies playing the long round with men as their partners,
it may be sufficient to say, in the words of a promising young player
who found it hard to decide between flirtation and playing the game,
'It is mighty pleasant, but it is not business.'"

To learn this difficult game requires months of practice, and great
nerve and talent for it. I shall not attempt to define what is meant
by "dormy," "divot," "foozle," "gobble," "grip," or "gully." "_Mashy_,
a straight-faced niblich," is one of these definitions.

Horace G. Hutchinson's book on golf is a most entertaining work,--if
for no other reason than that its humour, the pleasant out-of-door
atmosphere, the true enthusiasm for the game, and the illustrations,
which are very well drawn, all make it an addition to one's knowledge
of athletic sports.

That golf has taken its place amongst the arts of entertaining, we
have no better proof than the very nice description of it in Norris's
novel of "Marcia." This clever writer introduces a scene where "Lady
Evelyn backs the winner" in the following sprightly manner:--

"Not many years ago all golfers who dwelt south of the Tweed were
compelled, when speaking of their favourite relaxation, to take up an
apologetic tone; they had to explain with humility, and with the
chilling certainty of being disbelieved, that an immense amount of
experience, dexterity, and self-command are requisite in order to make
sure of hitting a little ball across five hundred yards of broken
ground, and depositing it in a small hole in four or five strokes; but
now that golf links have been established all over England there is no
longer any need to make excuses for one of the finest games that human
ingenuity or the accident of circumstances have ever called into
existence. The theory of the game is simplicity itself,--you have only
to put your ball into a hole in one or less strokes than your
opponent; but the practice is full of difficulty, and what is better
still, full of endless variety, so that you may go on playing golf
from the age of eight to that of eighty, and yet never grow tired of
it. Indeed, the circumstance that gray-haired enthusiasts are to be
seen enjoying themselves thoroughly, and losing their tempers
ludicrously, wherever 'the royal and ancient sport' has taken root,
has caused certain ignorant persons to describe golf contemptuously as
the old gentleman's game. Such criticisms, however, come only from
those who have not attempted to acquire the game."

We advise all incipient golfers to read "Marcia," and to see how well
golf and love-making can go together.

Golf has its poetic and humoristic literature; and as we began with
its poetic side we may end with its broadest, latest joke:--

Two well-known professional golfers were playing a match. We will call
them Sandy and Jock. On one side of the golf course was a railway,
over which Jock drove his ball, landing it in some long grass. They
both hunted for a long while for the missing ball. Sandy wanted Jock
to give in and say that the ball was lost; but Jock would not consent,
as a lost ball meant a lost hole. They continued to look round, and
Jock slyly dropped another ball, and then came back and cried, "I've
found the ba', Sandy."

"Ye're a leear," said Sandy, "for here it's in ma pooch."

We commend also "Famous Golf Links," by Hutchinson as clear and
agreeable reading.



OF GAMES.

     Come, thou complaisant cards, and cheat me
     Of a bad night, and miserable dreams.
                                    SHAKSPEARE.

     'Tis pleasant, through the loopholes of retreat,
     To peep at such a world,--to see the stir
     Of the great Babel, and not feel the crowd.
                                         COWPER.


There is no amusement for a town or country-house, where people like
to stay at home, so perfectly innocent and amusing as games which
require a little brain.

It is a delightful feature of our modern civilization that books are
cheap, and that the poets are read by every one. That would be a
barren house where we did not find Scott, Byron, Goldsmith,
Longfellow, Tennyson, Browning, Bret Harte, and Jean Ingelow.

Therefore, there would be little embarrassment should we ask the
members of the circle around the evening lamp to write a parody on
"Evangeline," "Lady Clara Vere de Vere," "Hervé Riel," or "The Heathen
Chinee." The result is amusing.

Amongst games requiring memory and attention, we may mention Cross
Purposes, The Horned Ambassador, I Love my Love with an A, the Game of
the Ring, which is arithmetical, The Deaf Man, The Goose's History,
Story Play, which consists in putting a word into a narrative so
cleverly that it will not readily be guessed, although several may
tell different stories with the word repeated. The best way to play
this is to have some word which is not the word, like "ambassador," if
the word be "banana" for instance, so by thus repeating "ambassador"
the listener maybe baffled. The Dutch Conceit, My Lady's Toilette,
Scheherazade's Ransom are also very good. This last deserves a
description. Three of the company sustain the parts of the Sultan, the
Vizier, and the Princess. The Sultan takes his seat at the end of the
room, and the Vizier then leads the Princess before him with her hands
bound behind her. The Vizier then makes an absurd proclamation that
the Princess, having exhausted all her stories is about to be
punished, unless a sufficient ransom be offered. All the rest of the
company then advance in turn, and propose enigmas which must be solved
by the Sultan or Vizier; sing the first verse of a song, to which the
Vizier must answer with the second verse; or recite any well-known
piece of poetry in alternate lines with the Vizier. Forfeits must be
paid, either by the company when successfully encountered by the
Sultan and Vizier, or by the Vizier when unable to respond to his
opponents; and the game goes on till the forfeits amount to any
specified number on either side. Should the company be victorious and
obtain the greater number of forfeits, the Princess is released and
the Vizier has to execute all the penalties that may be imposed upon
him. If otherwise, the Princess is led to execution. For this purpose
she is seated on a low stool. The penalties for the forfeits, which
should be previously prepared, are written on slips of paper and put
in a basket, which she holds in her hands, tied behind her. The owners
of the forfeits advance, and draw each a slip of paper. As each
person comes forward the Princess guesses who it is, and if right, the
person must pay an additional forfeit, the penalty for which is to be
exacted by the Princess herself. When all the penalties have been
distributed, the hands and eyes of the Princess are released, and she
then superintends the execution of the various punishments that have
been allotted to the company.

Another very good game is to send one of the company out, and as he
comes in again to address him in the supposed character of General
Scott, the Duke of Wellington, or of some Shakspearean hero. This,
amongst bright people, can be very amusing. The hero thus addressed
must find out who he is himself,--a difficult task for any one to
discover, even with leading questions.

The Echo is another nice little game. It is played by reciting some
story, which Echo is supposed to interrupt whenever the narrator
pronounces certain words which recur frequently in his narrative.
These words relate to the profession or trade of him who is the
subject of the story. If, for example, the story is about a soldier
the words which would recur most frequently would naturally be
uniform, gaiters, _chapeau bras_, musket, plume, pouch, sword, sabre,
gun, knapsack, belt, sash, cap, powder-flask, accoutrements, and so
on. Each one of the company, with the exception of the person who
tells the story, takes the name of soldier, powder-flask, etc., except
the name accoutrements. When the speaker pronounces one of these
words, he who has taken it for his name, ought, if the word has been
said only once, to pronounce it twice; if it has been said twice, to
pronounce it once. When the word "accoutrements" is uttered the
players, all except the soldier, ought to repeat the word
"accoutrements" either once or twice.

These games are amusing, as showing how defective a thing is memory,
how apt it is to desert us under fire. It is very interesting to mark
the difference of character exhibited by the players.

Another very funny game is Confession by a Die, played with cards and
dice. It would look at first like a parody on Mother Church, but it
does not so offend. A person takes some blank cards, and counting the
company, writes down a sin for each. The unlucky sinner when called
upon must not only confess, but, by throwing the dice, also confess as
many sins as they indicate, and do penance for them all. These can,
with a witty leader, be made very amusing.

The Secretary is another good game. The players sit at a table with
square pieces of paper and pencils, and each one writes his own name,
handing the paper, carefully folded down, to the secretary, who
distributes them, saying, "Character." Then each one writes out an
imaginary character, hands it to the secretary, who says, "Future."
The papers are again distributed, and the writers forecast the future.
Of course the secretary throws in all sorts of other questions, and
when the game is through, the papers are read. They form a curious and
heterogeneous piece of reading; sometimes such curious bits of
character-reading crop out that one suspects complicity. But if
honestly played it is amusing.

The Traveller's Tour is interesting. One of the party announces
himself as the traveller. He is given an empty bag, and counters, with
numbers on, are distributed amongst the players. Thus if twelve
persons are playing the numbers must count up to twelve,--a set of
ones to be given to one, twos to two, and so on. Then the traveller
asks for information about the places to which he is going. The first
person gives it if he can; if not, the second, and so on. If the
traveller considers it correct information or worthy of notice he
takes from the person one of his counters as a pledge of the
obligation he is under to him. The next person in order takes up the
next question, and so on. After the traveller reaches his destination
he empties his bag and sees to whom he has been indebted for the
greatest amount of information. He then makes him the next traveller.
Of course this opens the door for all sorts of witty rejoinders,
according as the players choose to exaggerate the claims of certain
hotels, and to invent hits at certain watering-places.

The rhyming game is amusing. "I have a word that rhymes with game."

_Interlocutor._--"Is it something statesmen crave?"

_Speaker._--"No, it is not fame."

_Interlocutor._--"Is it something that goes halt?"

_Speaker._--"No, it is not lame."

_Interlocutor._--"Is it something tigers need?"

_Speaker._--"No, it is not to tame."

_Interlocutor._--"Is it something we all would like?"

_Speaker._--"No, it is not a good name."

_Interlocutor._--"Is it to shoot at duck?"

_Speaker._--"Yes, and that duck to maim." Such words as "nut,"
"thing," "fall," etc., which rhyme easily, are good choices. The two
who play it must be quick-witted.

The game of Crambo, in which each player has to write a noun on one
piece of paper, and a question on another, is curious. As, for
instance, the drawer gets the word "Africa" and the question "Have you
an invitation to my wedding?" He must write a poem in which he answers
the question and brings in the other word.

The game of Preferences has had a long and successful career. It is a
very good addition to the furniture of a country parlour to possess a
blank-book which is left lying on the table, in which each guest
should be asked to write out answers to the following questions:

Who is your favourite hero in history?

Who is your favourite heroine?

Who is your favourite king?

Who is your favourite queen?

What is your favourite Christian name for a man?

What is your favourite Christian name for a woman? etc.

The game of Authors, especially when created by the persons who wish
to play it, is very interesting. The game can be bought and is a very
common one, as perhaps every one knows, but it can be rendered
uncommon by the preparation of the cards among the members of the
family. There are sixty-four cards to be prepared, each bearing the
name of a favourite author and any three of his works. The entire set
is numbered from one to sixty-four. Any four cards containing the name
and works of the same author form a book.

Or the names of kings and queens and the learned men of their reigns
may be used, instead of authors; it is a very good way to study
history. The popes can be utilized, with their attendant great men,
and after playing the game for a season one has no difficulty in
fixing the environment of the history of an epoch.

As the numbers affixed to the cards may be purely arbitrary, the
count at the end will fluctuate with great impartiality. The Dickens
cards may count but one, while Tupper will be named sixteen. Carlyle
will only count two, while Artemas Ward will be sixty. King Henry
VIII., who set no small store by himself, may be No. I in the kingly
game, while Edward IV. will be allowed a higher numeral than he was
allotted in life.

Now we come to a game which interests old and young. None are so
apathetic but they relish a peep behind the dark curtain. The
apple-paring in the fire, the roasted chestnut and the raisin, the
fire-back and the stars, have been interrogated since time began. The
pack of cards, the teacup, the dream-book, the board with mystic
numbers, the Bible and key, have been consulted from time immemorial.
The makers of games have given in their statistics, and they declare
there are no games so popular as those which foretell the future.

Now this tampering with gruesome things which may lead to bad dreams
is not recommended, but so long as it is done for fun and an evening's
amusement it is not at all dangerous. The riches which are hidden in a
pack of fortune-telling cards are very comforting while they last.
They are endless, they are not taxed, they have few really trying
responsibilities attached, they bring no beggars. They buy all we
want, they are gained without headache or backache, they are inherited
without stain, and lost without regret. Of what other fortune can we
say so much?

Who is not glad to find a four-leaved clover, to see the moon over his
right shoulder, to have a black cat come to the house? She is sure to
bring good fortune!

The French have, however, tabularized fortune-telling for us. Their
peculiar ability in arranging ceremonials and _fêtes_, and their
undoubted genius for tactics and strategy, show that they might be
able to foresee events. Their ingenuity, in all technical
contrivances, is an additional testimony in the right direction, and
we are not surprised that they have here, as is their wont, given us
the practical help which we need in fortune-telling.

Mademoiselle Lenormand, the sorceress who foretold Napoleon's
greatness and to many of the great people of France their downfall and
misfortunes, has left us thirty-six cards in which we can read the
decrees of fate. Lenormand was a clever sybil. She knew how to mix
things, and throw in the inevitable bad and the possible good so as at
least to amuse those who consulted her.

In this game, which can be bought at any bookstore, the _cavalier_,
for instance, is a messenger of good fortune, the clover leaf a
harbinger of good news, but if surrounded by clouds it indicates great
pain, but if No. 2 lies near No. 26 or 28 the pain will be of short
duration, and so on.

Thus Mlle. Lenormand tells fortunes still, although she has gone to
the land of certainty, and has herself found out whether her symbols
and emblems and her combinations really did draw aside the curtain of
the future with invisible strings. Amateur sybils playing this game
can be sure that they add to the art of entertaining.

The cup of tea, and the mysterious wanderings of the grounds around
the cup, is used for divination by the old crone in an English
farmhouse, while the Spanish gypsy uses chocolate grounds for the same
purpose. That most interesting of tragic sybils, Norna of the Fitful
Head, used molten lead.

Cards from the earliest antiquity have been used to tell fortunes.
Fortuna, courted by all nations, was in Greek Tyche, or the goddess of
chance. She differed from Destiny, or Fate, in so far as that she
worked without law, giving or taking at her own good pleasure. Her
symbols were those of mutability, a ball, a wheel, a pair of wings, a
rudder. The Romans affirmed that when she entered their city she threw
off her wings and shoes, determined to live with them forever. She
seems to have thought better of it, however. She was the sister of the
Parcae, or Fates, those three who spin the thread of life, measure it,
and cut it off. The power to tell fortunes by the hand is easily
learned from Desbarolles' book, is a very popular accomplishment, and
never fails to amuse the company and interest the individual.

It must not be made, however, of too much importance. It never amuses
people to be warned that they may expect an early and violent death.

Then comes Merelles, or Blind Men's Morris, which can be played on a
board or on the ground, but which now finds itself reduced to a
parlour game. This takes two players. American Bagatelle can be played
alone or with an antagonist. Chinese puzzles, which are infinitely
amusing, and all the great family of the Sphinx, known as puzzles, are
of infinite service to the retired, the invalid, and weary people for
whom the active business of life is at an end.

We may describe one of these games as an example. It is called The
Blind Abbot and his Monks. It is played with counters. Arrange eight
external cells of a square so that there may be always nine in each
row, though the whole number may vary from eighteen to thirty-six. A
convent in which there were nine cells was occupied by a blind abbot
and twenty-four monks, the abbot lodging in the centre cell and the
monks in the side cells, three in each, giving a row of nine persons
on each side of the building. The abbot suspecting the fidelity of his
brethren often went out at night and counted them. When he found nine
in each row, the old man counted his beads, said an _Ave_, and went to
bed contented. The monks, taking advantage of his failing sight,
contrived to deceive him, so that four could go out at night, yet have
nine in a row. How did they do it?

The next night, emboldened by success, the monks returned with four
visitors, and then arranged them nine in a row. The next night they
brought in four more belated brethren, and again arranged them nine in
a row, and again four more. Finally, when the twelve clandestine monks
had departed, and six monks with them, the remainder deceived the
abbot again by presenting a row of nine. Try it with the counters, and
see how they so abused the privileges of conventual seclusion!

Then try quibbles: "How can I get the wine out of a bottle if I have
no corkscrew and must not break the glass or make a hole in it or the
cork?"

The _raconteur_, or story-teller, is a potent force. Any one who can
memorize the stories of Grimm, or Hans Christian Anderson, or
Browning's "Pied Piper," or Ouida's "Dog of Flanders," or Dr. Holmes'
delightful "Punch Bowl," and tell these in a natural sort of way is a
blessing. But this talent should never be abused. The man who, in cold
blood, fires off a long poetical quotation at a dinner, or makes a
speech when he is not asked, in defiance of the goose-flesh which is
creeping down his neighbours' backs, is a traitor to honour and
religion, and should be dragged to execution with his back to the
horses, like a Nihilist. It is only when these extempore talents can
be used without alarming people that they are useful or endurable.

Perhaps we might make our Christmas Holidays a little more gay. There
are old English and German customs beyond the mistletoe, and the tree,
and the rather faded legend of Santa Claus. There are worlds of
legendary lore. We might bring back the Leprechaun, the little
fairy-man in red, who if you catch him will make you happy forever
after, and who has such a strange relationship to humanity that at
birth and death the Leprechaun must be tended by a mortal. To follow
up the Banshee and the Brownie, to light the Yule log, to invoke the
Lord of Misrule, above all to bring back the waits or singing-boys who
come under the window with an old carol, and the universal study of
symbolism,--all this is useful at Christmastide, when the art of
entertaining is ennobled by the song "Glory to God in the highest, and
on earth peace, good-will toward men."

The supper-table has unfortunately fallen into desuetude, probably on
account of our exceedingly late dinners. We sup out, we sup at a ball,
but rarely have that informal and delightful meal which once wound up
every evening.

Mrs. Elizabeth Montague, in her delightful letters, talks about the
"Whisk, and the Quadrille parties, with a light supper," which amused
the ladies of her day. We still have the "Whisk," but what has become
of _lansquenet_, quadrille basset, piquet, those pretty and courtly
games?

Whist! Who shall pretend to describe its attractions? What a relief to
the tired man of affairs, to the woman who has no longer any part in
the pageant of society! What pleasure in its regulating, shifting
fortunes. We have seen, in its parody on life, that holding the best
cards, even the highest ones, does not always give us the game. We
have noticed that with a poor hand, somebody wins fame, success, and
happiness. We have all felt the injustice of the long suit, which has
baffled our best endeavours. We play our own experience over again,
with its faithless kings and queens. The knave is apt to trip us up,
on the green cloth as on the street.

So long as cards do not lead to gambling, they are innocent enough.
The great passion for gambling is behind the game of boaston, played
appropriately for beans. We all like to accumulate, to believe that we
are fortune's favourite. What matter if it be only a few more beans
than one's neighbour?

That is a poorly furnished parlour which has not a chess table in one
corner, a whist table properly stocked, and a little solitaire table
for Grandma. Cribbage and backgammon boards, cards of every variety,
bezique counters and packs, and the red and white champions for the
hard-fought battle-field of chess, should be at hand.

Playing cards made their way through Arabia from India to Europe,
where they first arrived about the year 1370. They carried with them
the two rival arts, engraving and painting. They were the _avants
couriers_ of engraving on wood and metal, and of the art of printing.

Cards, begun as the luxuries of kings and queens, became the necessity
of the gambler, the solace of all who like games. They have been one
of the worst curses and one of the greatest blessings of poor human
nature.

     "When failing health, or cross event,
     Or dull monotony of days,
     Has brought us into discontent
     Which darkens round us like a haze"--
then the arithmetical progression of a game has sometimes saved the
reason. They are a priceless boon to failing eyesight.

Piquet, a courtly game, was invented by Etienne Vignoles, called La
Hire, one of the most active soldiers of the reign of Charles VII.
This brave soldier was an accomplished cavalier, deeply imbued with a
reverence for the manners and customs of chivalry. Cards continued
from his day to follow the whim of the court, and to assume the
character of the period, through the regency of Marie de Medicis, the
time of Anne of Austria and of Louis XIV. The Germans were the first
people to make a pack of cards assume the form of a scholastic
treatise; the king, queen, knight, and knave tell of English customs,
manners, and nomenclature.

The highly intellectual game of Twenty Questions can be played by
three or four people or by a hundred. It is an unfailing delight by
the wood fire in the remote house in the wood, or by the open window
looking out on the lordly Hudson of a summer's night. It only needs
that one bright mind shall throw the ball, and half a dozen may catch.
Mr. Lowell once said there was no subject so erudite, no quotation so
little known, that it could not be reached in twenty questions.

But we are not all as bright as James Russell Lowell. We can, however,
all ask questions and we can all guess; it is our Yankee privilege.
The game of Twenty Questions has led to the writing of several books.
The best way to begin is, however, to choose a subject. Two persons
should be in the secret. The questioner begins: Is it animal,
vegetable or mineral? Is it a manufactured object? Ancient or modern?
What is its shape, size and colour? What is its use? Where is it now?
The object of the answerer is of course to baffle, to excite
curiosity; it is a mental battledore and shuttlecock.

It is strange that the pretty game of croquet has gone out of favour.
It is still, however, to be seen on some handsome lawns. Twenty years
ago it inspired the following lines:--

CROQUET.

     "A painter must that poet be
     And lay with brightest hues his palette
     Who'd be the bard of Croquet'rie
     And sing the joys of hoop and mallet.

     "Given a level lawn in June
     And six or eight, enthusiastic,
     Who never miss their hoops, or spoon,
     And are on duffers most sarcastic;

     "Given the girl whom you adore--
     And given, too, that she's your side on,
     Given a game that's not soon o'er,
     And ne'er a bore the lawn espied on;

     "Given a claret cup as cool
     As simple Wenham Ice can make it,
     Given a code whose every rule
     Is so defined that none can break it;

     "Given a very fragrant weed--
     Given she doesn't mind your smoking,
     Given the players take no heed
     And most discreetly keep from joking;

     "Given all these, and I proclaim,
     Be fortune friendly or capricious,
     Whether you win or lose the game,
     You'll find that croquet is delicious."



ARCHERY.

     "The stranger he made no muckle ado,
     But he bent a right good bow,
     And the fattest of all the herds he slew
     Forty good yards him fro:
     'Well shot! well shot!' quoth Robin Hood."

     "Aim at the moon, if you ambitious are,
     And failing that, you may bring down a star."


Fashion has brought us again this pretty and romantic pastime, which
has filled the early ballads with many a picturesque figure. Now on
many a lawn may be seen the target and the group in Lincoln green.
Indeed, it looks as if archery were to prove a very formidable rival
to lawn tennis.

The requirements of archery are these: First, a bow; secondly, arrows;
thirdly, a quiver, pouch, and belt; fourthly, a grease pot, an
arm-guard or brace, a shooting-glove, a target and a scoring-card.

The bow is the most important article in archery, and also the most
expensive. It is usually from five to six feet in length, made of a
simple piece of yew or of lance-wood and hickory glued together back
to back. The former is better for gentlemen, the latter for ladies, as
it is adapted for the short, sharp, pull of the feminine arm. The wood
is gradually tapered, and at each end is a tip of horn; the one from
the upper end being longer than the other or lower end. The strength
of bows is marked in pounds, varying from twenty-five to forty pounds
in strength for ladies, for gentlemen from fifty to eighty pounds. One
side of the bow is flat, called the back, the other, called the belly,
is rounded. Nearly in the middle, where the hand should take hold, it
is lapped round with velvet, and that part is called the handle. In
each of the tips of the horns is a notch for the string, called the
nock.

Bow strings are made of hemp or flax, the former being the better
material, for though at first they stretch more, yet they wear longer
and stand a harder pull, and are, as well, more elastic in the
shooting. In applying a fresh string to a bow, be careful in opening
it not to break the composition that is on it. Cut the tie, take hold
of the eye which will be found ready worked at one end, let the other
part hang down, and pass the eye over the upper end of the bow. If for
a lady, it may be held from two to two and a half inches below the
nock; if for a gentleman, half an inch lower, varying it according to
the length and strength of the bow. Then run your hand along the side
of the bow and string to the bottom nock. Turn it around that and fix
it by the noose, called the timber noose, taking care not to untwist
the string in making it. This noose is simply a turn back and twist,
without a knot. When strung a lady's bow will have the string about
five inches from the belly, and a gentleman's about half an inch more.
The part opposite the handle is bound round with waxed silk in order
to prevent its being frayed by the arrow. As soon as a string becomes
too soft and the fibres too straight, rub it with beeswax and give it
a few turns in the proper direction, so as to shorten it, and twist
its strands a little tighter. A spare string should always be provided
by the shooter.

Arrows are differently shaped by various makers; some being of uniform
thickness throughout, while others are protuberant in the middle; some
again are larger at the point than at the feather end. They are
generally made of white deal, with joints of iron or brass riveted on,
and have a piece of heavy wood spliced to the deal, between it and the
point, by which their flight is improved. At the other end a piece of
horn is inserted, in which is a notch for the string. They are armed
with three feathers glued on, one of which is a different colour from
the others, and is intended to mark the proper position of the arrow
when placed on the string, this one always pointing from the bow.
These feathers, properly applied, give a rotary motion to the arrow,
which causes its flight to be straight. They are generally from the
wing of the turkey or the goose. The length and weight of the arrows
vary, the latter in England being marked in sterling silver coin and
stamped in the arrow in plain figures. It is usual to paint a crest or
a monogram or distinguishing rings on the arrow, just between the
feathers by which they may be known in shooting at the target.

The quiver is merely a tin case painted green, intended for the
security of the arrows when not in use. The pouch and belt are worn
round the waist, the latter containing those arrows which are actually
being shot. A pot to hold grease for touching the glove and string,
and a tassel to wipe the arrows are hung at the belt. The grease is
composed of beef suet and wax melted together. The arm is protected
from the blow of the string by the brace, a broad guard of strong
leather buckled on by two straps. A shooting-glove, also of thin tubes
of leather, is attached to the wrist by three flat pieces, ending in
a circular strap buckled around it. This glove prevents the soreness
of the fingers, which soon comes after using the bow without it.

The target consists of a circular mat of straw, covered with canvas
painted in a series of circles. It is usually from three feet six
inches to four feet in diameter, the centre is gilt, and called the
gold; the ring about it is called the red, after which comes the inner
white, then the black, and finally the outer white. These targets are
mounted on triangular stands, from fifty to a hundred yards apart;
sixty being the usual shooting distance.

A scoring-card is provided with columns for each colour, which are
marked with a pin. The usual score for a gold hit, or the bull's-eye,
is 9, the red 7, inner white 5, black 3, and outer white, 1.

To string the bow properly it should be taken by the handle in the
right hand. Place one end on the ground, resting in the hollow of the
right foot, keeping the flat side of the bow, called the back, toward
your person. The left foot should be advanced a little, and the right
placed so that the bow cannot slip sideways. Place the heel of the
left hand upon the upper limb of the bow, below the eye of the string.
Now while the fingers and thumb of the left hand slide the eye towards
the notch in the horn, and the heel pushes the limb away from the
body, the right hand pulls the handle toward the person and thus
resists the action of the left, by which the bow is bent, and at the
same time the string is slipped into the nock, as the notch is termed.
Take care to keep the three outer fingers free from the string, for if
the bow should slip from the hand, and the string catch them, they
will be severely pinched. In shooting in frosty weather, warm the bow
before the fire or by friction with a woollen cloth. If the bow has
been lying by for a long time, it should be well rubbed with boiled
linseed oil before using it.

To unstring the bow hold it as in stringing, then press down the upper
limb exactly as before, and as if you wished to place the eye of the
string in a higher notch. This will loose the string and liberate the
eye, when it must be lifted out of the notch by the forefinger, and
suffered to slip down the limb.

Before using the bow hold it in a perpendicular direction, with the
string toward you, and see if the line of the string cuts the middle
of the bow. If not, shift the eye and noose of the string to either
side, so as to make the two lines coincide. This precaution prevents a
very common cause of defective shooting, which is the result of an
uneven string throwing the arrow on one side. After using it unstring
it, and at a large shooting-party unloose your bow after every round.
Some bows get bent into very unmanageable shapes.

The general management of the bow should be on the principle that damp
injures it, and that any loose floating ends interfere with its
shooting. It should therefore be kept well varnished, and in a
waterproof case, and it should be carefully dried after shooting in
damp weather. If there are any ends hanging from the string cut them
off close, and see that the whipping, in the middle of the string, is
close and well-fitting. The case should be hung up against a dry,
internal wall, not too near the fire. In selecting your bow be careful
that it is not too strong for your power, and that you can draw the
arrow to its head without any trembling of the hand. If this cannot be
done after a little practice, the bow should be changed for a weaker
one; for no arrow will go true, if it is discharged by a trembling
hand. If an arrow has been shot into the target on the ground, be
particularly careful to withdraw it by laying hold close to its head,
and by twisting it around as it is withdrawn, in the direction of its
axis. Without this precaution it may be easily bent or broken.

In shooting at the target the first thing is to nock the arrow, that
is, to place it properly on the string. In order to effect this, take
the bow in the left hand, with the string toward you, the upper limb
being toward the right. Hold it horizontally while you take the arrow
by the middle; pass it on the under side of the string and the upper
side of the bow, till the head reaches two or three inches past the
left hand. Hold it there with the forefinger or thumb, while you
remove the right hand down to the neck; turn the arrow till the cock
feather comes uppermost, then pass it down the bow, and fix it on the
working part of the string. In doing this all contact with the
feathers should be avoided, unless they are rubbed out of place, when
they may be smoothed down by passing them through the hand.

The body should be at right angles with the target, but the face must
be turned over the left shoulder, so as to be opposed to it. The feet
must be flat on the ground, with the heels a little apart, the left
foot turned toward the mark. The head and chest inclined a little
forward so as to present a full bust, but not bent at all below the
waist. Draw the arrow to the full length of the arm, till the hand
touches the shoulder, then take aim. The loosing should be quick, and
the string must leave the fingers smartly and steadily. The bow-head
must be as firm as a vise, no trembling allowed.

The rules of an Archery Club are usually that a Lady Paramount be
annually elected; that there be a President, Secretary, and Treasurer;
that all members intending to shoot shall appear in the uniform of the
club, and that a fine shall be imposed for non-attendance.

The Secretary sends out cards at least a week before each day of
meeting, acquainting members with the place and hour.

There are generally four prizes for each meeting, two for each sex,
the first for numbers, the second for hits. No person is allowed to
take both on the same day. A certain sum of money is voted to the Lady
Paramount, for prizes for each meeting.

In case of a tie for hits, numbers decide, and in case of a tie for
numbers, hits decide. The decision of the Lady Paramount is final.

There is also a challenge prize, and a commemorative ornament is
presented to the winner of this prize.

The distance for shooting is sixty or one hundred yards, and five-feet
targets are used.

The dress or uniform of the club is decided by the Lady Paramount.

The expenses of archery are not great, about the same as lawn tennis,
although a great many arrows are lost in the course of the season.
Bows and other paraphernalia last a long time. The lady archers are
apt to feel a little lame after the first two or three essays, but
they should practise a short time every morning, and always in a loose
waist or jacket. It will be found a very healthy and strengthening
practice and pastime.

We must not judge of the merits of ancient bowmen from the practice of
archery in the present day. There are no such distances now assigned
for the marks as we find mentioned in old histories or poetic legends,
nor such precision, even at short lengths, in the direction of the
arrow. Few, if any, modern archers in long shooting reach four hundred
yards; or in shooting at a mark exceed eighty or a hundred. Archery
has been since the invention of gunpowder followed as a pastime only.
It is decidedly the most graceful game that can be practised, and the
legends of Sherwood Forest, of Maid Marion, Little John, Friar Tuck,
and the Abbot carry us back into the fragrant heart of the forest, and
bring back memories which are agreeable to all who have in them a drop
of Saxon blood.

The usual dress is the Lincoln green of Robin Hood and his merry men,
and at Auburn in New York they have a famous club and shooting ground,
over the gate of which is painted this motto:--

     "What is hit is history,
     And what is missed is mystery."

The traveller still sees in the Alpine Tyrol, and in some parts of
Switzerland, bands of archers who depend on the bow and arrow for
their game. But there is not that skill or that poetry attached to the
sport which made Locksley try conclusions with Hubert, in the presence
of Prince John, as we read in the immortal pages of Ivanhoe.

The prize was to be a bugle horn mounted with silver, a silken baldric
richly ornamented, having on it a medallion of Saint Hubert, the
patron of sylvan sport. Had Robin Hood been beaten he would have
yielded up bow, baldric, and quiver to the provost of the sports; as
it was, however, he let fly his arrow, and it lighted upon that of his
competitor, which it split to shivers.



THE SEASON, BALLS, AND RECEPTIONS.

     "Good-night to the season! the dances,
       The fillings of hot little rooms,
     The glancings of rapturous glances,
       The flarings of fancy costumes,
     The pleasures which fashion makes duties,
       The phrasings of fiddles and flutes,
     The luxury of looking at beauties,
       The tedium of talking to mutes,
     The female diplomatists, planners
       Of matches for Laura and Jane,
     The ice of her Ladyship's manners!
       The ice of his Lordship's champagne."


The season in London extends from May to August, often longer if
Parliament is in session. In Paris it is from May to the _Grand Prix_,
when it is supposed to end, about the 20th of June. In New York and
Washington it is all winter, from November 1st to Lent, with good
Episcopalians, and from November to May with the rest of mankind.

It then begins again in July, with the people who go to Newport and to
Bar Harbor, and keeps up until September, when comes in Tuxedo and the
gayety of Long Island, and the Hudson. Indeed, with the gayety of
country-house life, hunting, lawn tennis and driving, it is hard to
say when the American season ends.

There is one sort of entertainment which is a favourite everywhere and
very convenient. It is the afternoon reception or party by daylight.
The gas is lighted, the day excluded, the hostess and her guests are
in beautiful toilets; their friends come in street dresses and
bonnets; their male friends in frock coats. This is one of the
anomalies of fashion. These entertainments are very large, and a
splendid collation is served. The form of invitation is simply--

                        MRS. BROWNTON at home
                        Thursday, from 3 to 6.

and unless an R. S. V. P. is appended, no reply is expected. These
receptions are favourites with housekeepers, as they avoid the
necessity of keeping the servants up at night.

The drawback to this reception is that, in our busy world of America,
very few men can spare the time to call in the daytime, so the
attendance is largely feminine.

On entering, the guest places a card on the table, or, if she cannot
be present, she should send a card in an envelope.

After these entertainments, which are really parties, a lady should
call. They are different things entirely from afternoon tea, after
which no call is expected. If the reception is given to some
distinguished person, the lady stands beside her guest to present all
the company to him or her.

If on the card the word "Music" is added, the guests should be
punctual, as, doubtless, they are to be seated, and that takes time.
No lady who gives a _musicale_ should invite more than she can seat
comfortably; and she should have her rooms cool, and her lights soft
and shaded.

People with weak eyes suffer dreadfully from a glare of gas, and when
music is going on they cannot move to relieve themselves. The hostess
should think of all this. Who can endure the mingled misery of a hot
room, an uncomfortable seat, a glare of gas, and a pianoforte solo?

A very sensible reformation is now in progress in regard to the
sending of invitations and the answering of the same. The post is now
freely used as a safe and convenient medium, and no one feels offended
if an invitation arrives with a two-cent stamp on the envelope. There
is no loss of caste in sending an invitation by post.

Then comes the ball, or, as they always say in Europe, the dance,
which is the gayest of all things for the _débutante_. The popular
form for an invitation to an evening party is as follows:--

                             MRS. HAMMOND
                       Requests the pleasure of
                    MR. and MRS. NORTON'S company
            on Tuesday evening, December 23, at 9 o'clock.
     R. S. V. P.                                         Dancing.

The card of the _débutante_, if the ball is given for one, is
enclosed.

If a hostess gives her ball at some public place, like Delmonico's,
she has but little trouble. The compliment is not the same as if she
gave it in her own house, however. If there is room, a ball in a
private house is much more agreeable, and a greater honour to the
guest.

Gentlemen who have not an acquaintance should be presented to the
young dancing set; but first, of course, to the _chaperon_. As,
however, the hostess cannot leave her post while receiving, she should
have two or three friends to help her. Great care should be taken that
there be no wall-flowers, no neglected girls. The non-dancers in an
American ball are like the non-Catholics in a highly doctrinal sermon:
they are nowhere, pushed into a corner where there is perhaps a
draught, and the smell of fried oysters. Such is the limbo of the
woman of forty or over, who in Europe would be the belle, the person
just beginning to have a career. For it is too true that the woman who
has learned something, who is still beautiful, the woman who has
maturity and experience, is pushed to the wall in America, while in
Europe she is courted and admired. Society holds out all its
attractive distractions and comforts to such a woman in Europe; in
America it keeps everything, even its comforts, for the very young.

The fact that American ballrooms, or rather the parlours of our
ordinary houses, are wholly disproportioned to the needs of society,
has led to the giving of balls at Delmonico's and other public places.
If these are under proper patronage there is no reason why they should
not be as entertaining, as exclusive, and as respectable as a ball at
home. Any hostess or group of managers should, if they give up a ball
at home and use the large accommodations of Delmonico or the Assembly
Rooms, certainly consider the claims of chaperons and mammas who must
wearily sit through the German. It is to be feared that attention to
the mamma is not yet a grace in which even her daughter excels. Young
men who wish to marry mademoiselle had better pay her mother the
compliment of getting her a seat, and social leaders should also show
her the greatest attention, not alone from the selfish reason which
the poet commemorates:--

     "Philosophy has got a charm,--
       I thought of Martin Tupper,--
     And offering mamma my arm,
       I took her down to supper.

     "I gave her Pommery, _Côte d'Or_,
       Which seethed in rosy bubbles;
     I called this fleeting life a bore,
       The world a sea of troubles."

It is to be feared that the life of a _chaperon_ in America is not a
bed of roses, even if softened by all these attentions.

Kept up late, pushed into a corner, the mother of a society girl
becomes only a sort of head-chambermaid. Were she in Europe, she would
be the person who would receive the compliments and the attention and
be asked to dance in the German.

A competent critic of our manners spoke of this in the following
sensible words:--

"The evils arising from the excessive liberty permitted to American
girls cannot be cured by laws. If we ever root them out we must begin
with the family life, which must be reformed. For young people,
parental authority is the only sure guide. Coleridge well said that he
who was not able to govern himself must be governed by others; and
experience has shown us that the children of civilized parents are as
little able to govern themselves as the children of savages. The
liberty or license of our youth will have to be curtailed, as our
society is becoming more complex and artificial, like older societies
in Europe. The children will have to approximate to them in status,
and parents will have to waken to a sense of their responsibilities,
and subordinate their ambitions and their pleasures to their duties."
Mothers should go out more with their daughters, join in their
pleasures, and never permit themselves to be shelved.

Society is in a transition state in America. In one or more cities of
the West and South it is considered proper for a young man to call for
a young girl, and drive with her alone to a ball. In Northern cities
this is considered very bad form. In Europe it would be considered a
vulgar madness, and a girl's character compromised. Therefore it is
better for the mother to keep her rightful place as guardian,
_chaperon_, friend, no matter how she is treated.

Women are gifted with so much tact and so intuitive a faculty, that in
the conduct of fashionable life they need but few hints.

The art of entertaining should be founded first, on good sense, a
quiet considerateness, a good heart, a spirit of friendliness; next, a
consideration of what is due to others and what is due to one's self.
There is always a social conscience in one's organization, which will
point aright; but the outward performance of conventional rules can
never be thoroughly learned, unless the heart is well-bred.

Many ladies are now introducing dancing at crowded day receptions and
teas. Where people are coming and going this is objectionable, as the
hostess is expected to do too much, and the guests being in street
dress, while the hostess and her dancers are in low evening dress, the
appearance of the party is not ornamental.

Evening parties are far more formal, and require the most elaborate
dress. Every lady who can wear a low-necked dress should do so. The
great drawback in New York is now the ridiculous lateness of the
hour--eleven or twelve--at which the guests arrive.

If a card is written,--

     MRS. BROWN at home Tuesday evening,

some sticklers for etiquette say that she should not put R. S. V. P.
on her card.

If she wishes an answer, she should say,--

                              MRS. BROWN
                       requests the pleasure of
                   MR. and MRS. CAMPBELL'S company.
        R. S. V. P.

Perhaps the latter is better form. It is more respectful. The "At
Home" can be used for large and informal receptions, where an
individual acceptance is not required.

Garden parties are becoming very fashionable at watering-places, in
rural cities, and at country houses which are accessible to a town. No
doubt the garden party is a troublesome affair in a climate so
capricious as ours. The hostess has to be prepared for a sudden
shower, and to have two tables of refreshments. The effort to give the
out-of-door plays in this country, as in England, has often been
frustrated by a sudden shower, as at Mrs. Stevens' palace at Castle
Point. It is curious that they can and do give them in England, where
it always rains. However, these entertainments and hunting remain
rather as visitors than as old and recognized institutions.

Americans all dance well, and are always glad to dance. Whether it be
assembly, hunt ball, or private party, the German cotillion finishes
the bail. It is an allegory of society in its complicated and
bewildering complications, its winding and unwinding of the tangled
chain.

In every large city a set arises whose aim is to be exclusive.
Sometimes this privilege seems to be pushed too far. Often one is
astonished at the black sheep who leap into the well-defended
enclosures. In London, formerly, an autocratic set of ladies, well
known as Almacks, turned out the Duke of Wellington because he came in
a black cravat. In our republican country perpetual Almacks arise,
offensive and defensive,--a state of things which has its advantages
and disadvantages. It keeps up an interest in society. It is like the
fire in the engine: it makes the train move, even if it sends out
smoke and cinders which get into people's eyes and make them weep. It
is a part of the inevitable friction which accompanies the best
machinery; and if they have patience, those who are left out one
winter will be the inside aristocrats of the next, and can leave
somebody else out.

Quadrilles, the Lancers, and occasionally a Virginia Reel, are
introduced to make the modern ball more interesting, and enable people
who cannot bear the whirl of the waltz to dance. The elderly can dance
a quadrille without loss of breath or dignity. Indeed, the Americans
are the only people who relegate the dance to the young alone. In
Europe the old gray-head, the old mustache, leads the German.
Ambassadors and generals, princes and potentates, go spinning around
with gray-haired ladies until they are seventy. Grandmothers dance
with their grandsons. Socrates learned to dance. In Europe it is the
elderly woman who receives the most flattering invitations to lead
the German. An ambassadress of fifty would be very much astonished if
the prince did not ask her to dance.

The saltatory art is like the flight of a butterfly,--hard to
describe, impossible to follow. The _valse à deux temps_ keeps its
precedence in Europe as the favourite measure, varied with galop,
polka, and polka mazourka. We add, in America, Dancing in the Barn,
which is really a Spanish dance.

The _Pavanne_ is worthy of study, and the _Minuet de la Cour_ is a
stately and beautiful thing, quite worthy of being learned, if it only
teaches our women how to make a courtesy.

Each leader of the German is a potentate; he leads his troops through
new evolutions, and into combinations so vast, varied, and changeful
that it is impossible to do more than hint at them.

The proper name for a private ball is "a dance." In London one never
talks of balls; it is always "a dance." Although supper is served
generally at a buffet, yet some leaders, with large houses, are
introducing little tables, which are more agreeable, but infinitely
inconvenient. The comfort, however, of being able to sit while eating,
and the fact that a party of four or six may enjoy their supper
together would certainly determine the question as to its
agreeableness. This is a London fashion, one set succeeding another at
the same table. It can only be carried out, however, in a very large
house or public place. The ball suppers in New York--indeed, all over
America--are very "gorgeous feeds" compared with those one sees in
Europe. The profusion of flowers, the hot oysters, boned turkey,
terrapin, and canvas-back duck, the salmon, the game patties, salads,
ices, jellies, and creams, all crowded in, sweetbreads and green peas,
_filet de boeuf_, constant cups of _bouillon_,--one feels Carlyle's
internal rat gnawing as one reads of them,--the champagne, the punch,
the fine glass, choice china, the drapery of German looms, the Queen
Anne silver, the porcelain of Sèvres and Dresden, the beauty of the
women, the smart dressing, make the ball supper an elegant, an
amazing, a princely sort of sight, saving that princes do not give
such feasts,--only Americans.



WEDDINGS.

     "Rice and slippers, slippers and rice!
     Quaint old symbols of all that's nice
     In a world made up of sugar and spice,
         With a honeymoon always shining;
     A world where the birds keep house by twos,
     And the ring-dove calls, and the stock-dove coos,
     And maids are many, and men may choose,
         And never shall love go pining!"


If there were no weddings, there would be no art of entertaining. It
is the key-note, the initial letter, the "open sesame," of the great
business of society. Therefore certain general and very, perhaps,
unnecessary hints as to the conduct of weddings in all countries may
not be out of place here.

In London a wedding in high life--or, as the French call it,
"higlif"--is a very sweeping affair. If we were to read the
descriptions in the "Court Journal" of one wedding trousseau alone,
furnished to a royal princess, or to Lady Gertrude Somebody, we should
say with Fielding that "dress is the principal accomplishment of men
and women." As for the wedding-cake which is built at Gunter's, it is
a sight to see,--almost as big as Mont Blanc.

The importance of Gunter is assured by the "Epicure's Almanac,"
published in 1815; and for many years this firm supplied the royal
family. When George III. was king, the royal dukes stopped to eat
Gunter's pies, in gratitude for the sweet repasts furnished them in
childhood; but now the Buzzards, of 197 Oxford Street, also are
specialists in wedding-cakes.

Leigh Hunt, in one of his essays, described one Trumbull Walker as
"the artist who confined himself to that denomination," meaning
wedding-cake. His mantle fell on the Buzzards.

This enormous cake, and the equally enormous bouquet are the chief
distinctive marks in which a London wedding differs from ours. To be
legal, unless by special license, weddings in England must be
celebrated before twelve o'clock. The reason given for this law is
that before 1820 gentlemen were supposed to be drunk after that hour,
and not responsible for what they promised at the altar.

In France, a singular difference of dress on the part of the groom
exists. He always wears a dress-coat and white cravat, as do all his
ushers and immediate friends. It looks very strange to English and
American eyes.

How does a wedding begin? As for the premonitory symptoms, they are in
the air for several weeks. It is whispered about amongst the
bridesmaids; it gets into the papers. It would be easy to write a
volume, and it would be a useful volume if it brought conviction to
the hearts of the offenders, of the wrong done to young ladies by the
newspapers who assume, without authority, to publish the news of an
engagement. Many a match has been broken off by such a premature
surmise, and the happiness of one or more persons injured for life.

Young people like to approach this most important event of their lives
in a mutual confidence and secrecy; consequently society newspapers
should be very careful how they either report an engagement, or
declare that it is off. Sometimes rumors prejudicial to the gentleman
are circulated without sufficient reason, and of course much
ill-feeling is engendered.

The first intimation of an engagement should come from the bride's
mother, and the young bride fixes the day of her wedding herself. Then
the father and mother, or guardians, of the young lady issue cards,
naming the day and hour of the wedding.

Brides often give the attendant maidens their dresses; or if they do
not choose to do this, they suggest what they shall wear.

Six ushers generally precede the party into the church, after having
seated the guests. These are generally followed by six bridesmaids,
who walk two and two. No one wears a veil but the bride herself, who
enters on her father's arm. Widows who marry again must not wear
white, or veils. The fact that the bride is in white satin, and often
with low neck and short sleeves, and the groom in full morning
costume, is much criticised in France.

If the wedding occurs in the evening, the groom must wear a dress-coat
and white tie.

The invitations to the wedding are very simple and explicit:--

                      GENERAL AND MRS. BROUNLOW
                 Request the pleasure of your company
                  at the marriage of their daughter
                             EXCLAIRMONDE
                                  to
                        MR. GERALD FITZGERALD,
                on Thursday, June 16th, at 12 o'clock,
                         St. Peter's Church.

In asking a young lady to be her bridesmaid, the bride is supposed to
be prompted by claims of relationship or friendship, although fashion
and wealth and other considerations often influence these invitations.
As for the ushers, they must be unmarried men, and are expected to
manage all matters at the church.

Music should play softly during the entrance of the family, before the
service. The mother of the bride, and her nearest relatives, precede
her into the church, and are seated before she enters, unless the
mother be a widow and gives the bride away. The ceremony should be
conducted with great dignity and composure on all sides; for
exhibitions of feeling in public are in the worst possible taste. At
the reception, the bride's mother yields her place as hostess for the
nonce, and is addressed after the bride.

After two hours of receiving her friends, the young wife goes upstairs
to put on her dress for the journey, which may be of any colour but
black. Perhaps this is the time for a few tears, as she kisses mamma
good-by. She comes down, with her mother and sisters, meets the groom
in the hall, and dispenses the flowers of her bouquet to the smiling
maidens, each of whom struggles for a flower.

The parents of the bride send announcement cards to persons not
invited to the wedding.

Dinners to the young pair succeed each other in rapid succession. For
the first three months the art of entertaining is stretched to its
uttermost.

A widow, in marrying again, should not use the name or initials of her
late husband. If she was Mary Steward, and had married Mr. Hamilton,
and being his widow, wishes to marry James Constable, her cards should
read:

                         MR. AND MRS. STEWARD
                 Request the pleasure of your company
                  at the marriage of their daughter
                        MARY STEWARD-HAMILTON
                                  to
                         MR. JAMES CONSTABLE.

If she is alone, she can invite in her own name as Mrs. Mary Steward
Hamilton; or better still, a friend sends out the cards in her own
name, with simply the cards of Mrs. Mary Steward Hamilton, and of the
gentleman whom she is to marry.

The custom of giving bridal presents has grown into an outrageous
abuse of a good thing. There has grown up a rivalry between families;
and the publicity of the whole thing, its notoriety and extravagance,
ought to be well rebuked.

At the wedding refreshment-table, the bride sometimes cuts the cake
and allows the young people to search for a ring, but this is rather
bad for the gloves.

At a country wedding, if the day is fine, little tables are set out on
the lawn. The ladies seat themselves, the gentlemen carry refreshments
to them. The piazzas can be decorated with autumn boughs, evergreens,
and flowers; the whole thing becomes a garden-party, and even the
family dogs should have a wreath of white flowers around their necks.

Much ill feeling is apt to be engendered by the distinction which is
inevitably made in leaving out the friends who feel that they were
entitled to an invitation to the house. It is better to offend no one
on so important an occasion.

Wedding-cards and wedding stationery should be simple, white without
glaze, and with no attempt at ornamentation.

It is proper for the bride to have her left hand bare as she walks to
the altar, as it saves her the trouble of taking off a long glove.

Child bridesmaids are very pretty and very much in favour. These
charming children, covered with flowers and looking very grave and
solemn, are the sweetest of heralds for a wedding procession.

There is not, however, much difficulty except when Protestant marries
Catholic. Such a marriage cannot be celebrated at the High Altar; it
leads to a house wedding which is in the minds of many much more
agreeable, as saving the bride the journey to church. In this matter,
one of individual preference of course, the large and liberal American
mind can have a very wide choice.

In France the couple must go to the _Mairie_, where an official in a
tricolour scarf, looking like Marat, marries them. This is especially
the case if husband or wife is a divorced person, the Catholic church
refusing to marry such. It is a curious fact, that in Catholic Italy a
civil marriage is the only legal marriage; therefore good Catholics
are all married twice. A mixed marriage in Catholic countries is very
difficult; but in our country, alas! the wedding knot can be untied as
easily as it is tied.

"This train waits twenty minutes for divorces" is a joke founded on
fact.

"What do _divorcées_ do with their wedding presents?" has been a
favourite conundrum of late, especially with those sent by the friends
of the husband.

If an evening wedding takes place in a church those who are asked to
the house afterwards should go without bonnets. Catholic ladies,
however, must always cover their heads in church; so they throw a
light lace or mantilla over the head.

It is not often that the bride dances at her own wedding, but there is
no reason why she should not.

"'Tis custom that makes cowards of us all." One brave girl was married
on a Saturday in May, thus violating all the old saws and
superstitions. She has been happy ever afterwards. Marriages in May
used to be said to lead to poverty. It is the month of Mary, the
Virgin, therefore Catholics object.

One still braver bride chose Friday; this is hangman's day, and also
the day of the crucifixion, therefore considered unlucky by the larger
portion of the human race.

However, marriage is lucky or unlucky as the blind goddess pleases; no
foresight of ours can make it a certainty. Sometimes two very doubtful
characters make each other better, and live happily; again two very
fine characters but help to sublimate each other's misery. Perhaps no
more hopeless picture of this failure was ever painted than the misery
of Caroline and Robert Elsmere, in that masterly novel which led you
nowhere.

There is a capital description of a French _bourgeoise_ wedding in one
of Daudet's novels:--

"The least details of this important day were forever engraved on
Risler's mind.

"He saw himself at daybreak pacing his bachelor chamber, already
shaved and dressed, with two pairs of white gloves in his pocket. Then
came the gala carriages, and in the first one, the one with white
horses, white reins, and a lining of yellow satin, his bride's veil
floated like a cloud.

"Then the entrance to the church, two by two, with this white cloud
always at their head, floating, light, gleaming; the organ, the
verger, the sermon of the _curé_, the tapers twinkling like jewels,
the spring toilets, and all the world in the sacristie--the little
white cloud lost, engulfed, surrounded, embraced, while the groom
shook hands with the representatives of the great Parisian firms
assembled in his honour; and the grand swell of the organ at the end,
more solemn because the doors of the church were wide open so that the
whole quarter took part in the family ceremony; the noises of the
street as the cortège passed out, the exclamations of the
lookers-on,--a burnisher in a lustring apron crying aloud, 'The groom
is not handsome, but the bride is stunning,'--all this is what makes
one proud when he is a bridegroom.

"Then the breakfast at the works, in a room ornamented with hangings
and flowers; the stroll in the Bois, a concession to the bride's
mother, Madame Chèbe, who in her position as a Parisian _bourgeoise_
would not have considered her daughter married without the round of
the lake and a visit to the cascade; then the return for dinner just
as the lights were appearing on the Boulevard, where every one turned
to see the wedding party, a true, well-appointed party, as it passed
in a procession of liveried carriages to the very steps of the Café
Vefour.

"It was all like a dream.

"Now, dulled by fatigue and happiness, the worthy Risler looked
dreamily at the great table of twenty-five covers, with a horseshoe at
each end. Around it were well-known, smiling faces in whose eyes he
seemed to see his own happiness reflected. Little waves of
conversation from the different groups drifted across the table; faces
were turned toward one another. You could see here the white cuffs of
a black suit behind a basket of asclepias, here the laughing face of a
girl above a dish of confections. The faces of the guests were half
hidden behind the flowers and the dessert; all around the board were
gayety, light, and colour.

"Yes, Risler was happy.

"Aside from his brother Franz, all whom he loved were there. First and
foremost, facing him, was Sidonie,--yesterday the little Sidonie,
to-day his wife. She had laid aside her veil for dinner, she had
emerged from the white cloud.

"Now in her silken gown, white and simple, her charming face seemed
more clear and sweet under the carefully arranged bridal wreath.

"By the side of Risler sat Madame Chèbe, the mother of the bride, who
shone and glistened in a dress of green satin gleaming like a shield.
Since morning all the thoughts of the good woman had been as brilliant
as her robe. Every moment she had said to herself, 'My daughter is
marrying Fremont and Risler,'--because in her mind it was not Risler
whom her daughter married, but the whole establishment.

"All at once came that little movement among the guests that announces
their leaving the table,--the rustle of silks, the noise of chairs,
the last words of talk, laughter broken off. Then they all passed into
the grand _salon_, where those invited were arriving in crowds, and,
while the orchestra tuned their instruments, the men with glass in eye
paraded before the young girls all dressed in white and impatient to
begin."



HOW ROYALTY ENTERTAINS.

     Stand back, and let the King go by.--OLD PLAY.

     "Thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, powers."


When we approach the subject of royal entertainments, we cannot but
feel that the best of us are at a disadvantage. Princes have palaces
and retainers furnished for them. They have a purse which knows no
end. They are either by the divine right, or by lucky chance, the
personages of the hour! It is only when one of them loses his head, or
is forced to abdicate, or falls by the assassin's dagger, that they
approach at all our common humanity.

Doubtless to them, entertaining, being a perfunctory affair, becomes
very tedious. Pomp is not an amusing circumstance and they get so
tired of it all that when off duty kings and queens are usually the
most plainly dressed and the most simple of mortals. The "age of
strut" has passed away. No one cares to assume the puffiness of Louis
XIV. or George IV.

Royal entertainments, however, have this advantage, they open to the
observer the historical palace, and the pictures, gems of art, and
interesting collections of which palaces are the great conservators.

It would seem that Louis XIV., called _le Grand Monarque_, Louis the
Magnificent, was a master of the art of entertaining. Under him the
science of giving banquets received, in common with the other
sciences, a great progressive impulse. There still remains some memory
of those festivals, which all Europe went to see, and those
tournaments, where for the last time shone lances and knightly suits
of armour. The festivals always ended with a sumptuous banquet, where
were displayed huge centre-pieces of gold and silver, painting,
sculpture, and enamel, all laudatory of the hero of the occasion.

This fashion made the fame of Benvenuto Cellini in the previous
century. To-day, monarchs content themselves with having these
centre-pieces made of cake, sugar, or ices. There will be no record of
their great feasts for future ages.

Toward the end of the reign of Louis XIV., the cook, the _cordon
bleu_, received favourable notice; his name was written beside that of
his patron; he was called in after dinner. It is mentioned in some of
the English memoirs that this fashion was not unknown so lately as
fifty years ago in great houses in England, where the cook was called
in, in his white cap and apron, publicly thanked for his efforts, and
a glass of wine offered him by his master, all the company drinking
his health. This must have had an excellent effect on the art of
gastronomy.

Madame de Maintenon, whose gloomy sway over the old king reduced the
gay court to the loneliness of an empty cathedral, threw a wet napkin
on the science of good eating, and put out the kitchen fires for a
season.

Queen Anne, however, was fond of good cheer, and consulted with her
cook. Many cookery books have the qualification "after Queen Anne's
fashion."

Under the Regent Orléans, a princely prince in spite of his faults,
the art of good eating and entertaining was revived; and he has left a
reputation for _piqués_ of superlative delicacy, _matelots_ of
tempting quality, and turkeys superbly stuffed.

The reign of Louis XV. was equally favourable to the art of
entertaining. Eighteen years of peace had made France rich, and a
spirit of conviviality was diffused amongst all classes. The proper
setting of the table, and order, neatness, and elegance, as essentials
of a well-appointed meal, date from this reign. It is from this period
that the history of the _petit soupers de Choisy_ begins. We need
hardly go in to that history of all that was reckless, witty, gay, and
dissolute in the art of entertaining; but as one item, a floor was
constructed so that the table and sideboard sank into the lower story
after each course, to be immediately replaced by others which rose
covered with a fresh course. From this we may imagine its luxury and
detail.

Louis XV. was a proficient in the art of cookery; he also worked
tapestry with his own hand. We should linger over his feasts with more
pleasure had they not led on to the French Revolution, as a horrible
dessert. His carving-knives later on became the guillotine.

Under Louis XVI. there was a constant improvement in all the
"occupations which are required in the preparation of food" by cooks,
_traiteurs_, pastry cooks, and confectioners. The art of preserving
food, so that one could have the fruits of summer in the midst of
winter, really began then, although the art of canning may safely be
said to belong to our own much later time.

In the year 1740 a dinner was served in this order: Soup, followed by
the _bouilli_, an _entrée_ of veal cooked in its own gravy, as a side
dish. Second course: A turkey, a dish of vegetables, a salad, and
sometimes a cream. Dessert: Cheese, fruit and sweets. Plates were
changed only thrice: after the soup, at the second course, and at
dessert. Coffee was rarely served, but cherry brandy or some liqueur
was passed.

Louis XVIII., who grew to be an immensely fat man, was a remarkable
gastronome. Let any one read Victor Hugo's "Les Misérables," and an
account of his reign, to get an idea of this magnificent entertainer.
His most famous _maître d'hôtel_ was the Duc d'Escars. When he and his
royal master were closeted together to meditate a dish, the ministers
of state were kept waiting in the antechamber, and the next day an
official announcement was made, "Monsieur le Duc d'Escars a travaillé
dans le cabinet."

How strangely would it affect the American people if President
Harrison kept them waiting for his signature because he was discussing
terrapin and Madeira sauce with his _chef_.

The king had invented the _truffles à la purée d'ortolans_, and
invariably prepared it himself, assisted by the duke. On one occasion
they jointly composed a dish of more than ordinary dimensions, and
duly consumed the whole of it. In the night the duke was seized with a
fit of indigestion, and his case was declared hopeless. Loyal to the
last, he ordered an attendant to awake and inform the king, who might
be exposed to a similar attack. His majesty was roused accordingly,
and told that D'Escars was dying of his invention.

"Dying!" exclaimed the king: "well, I always said I had the better
stomach of the two."

So much for the gratitude of kings. The Parisian restaurants, those
world-renowned Edens of the gastronomer, were formed and founded on
the theories of these cookery-loving kings. But political disturbances
were to intervene in the year 1770. After the glorious days of Louis
XIV. and the wild dissipation of the Regency, after the long
tranquillity under the ministry of Fleury, travellers arriving in
Paris found its resources very poor as to good cheer. But that soon
mended itself.

It was not until about 1814 that the parent of Parisian restaurants,
Beauvilliers, made himself a cosmopolitan reputation by feeding the
allied armies. He learned to speak English, and in that way became
most popular. He had a prodigious memory, and would recognize and
welcome men who had dined at his house twenty years before. In this he
was like General Grant and the Prince of Wales. It is a very popular
faculty.

Beauvilliers, Méot, Robert, Rose Legacque, the Brothers Very,
Hennevan, and Baleine, are the noble army of argonauts in discovering
the Parisian restaurant; or rather, they founded it.

The Brothers Very, and the Trois Frères Prevenceaux, both in the
Palais Royal, are still great names to compete with. When the allied
monarchs held Paris, in 1814, the Brothers Very supplied their table
for a daily charge of one hundred and twenty pounds, not including
wine, and in Père-la-Chaise a magnificent monument is erected to one
of them, declaring that his "whole life was consecrated to the useful
arts," as it doubtless was.

From that day until 1890, what an advance there has been. There is now
a restaurant in nearly every street in Paris, where one can get a good
dinner. What a crowd of them in the Champs Élysées and out near the
Bois.

A Parisian dinner is thoroughly cosmopolitan, and the best in the
world, when it is good. Parisian cookery has declined of late in the
matter of meats. They are not as good as they ought to be. But the
sauces are so many and so fine that they have given rise to many
proverbs. "The sauce is the ambassador of a king." "With such a sauce,
a man could eat his grandfather."

Leaving France for other shores, for France has no monarch to
entertain us now, let us see how two reigning monarchs entertain.

A presentation at the Court of St. James is a picturesque affair and
worth seeing, although it is a fatiguing process. A lady must be
dressed at eleven in the morning, in full court dress, which means low
neck and short sleeves, with a train four yards long and three wide.
She must wear a white veil and have three feathers in her hair so that
they can be seen in front. White gloves are also _de rigueur_, and as
they are seldom worn now, except at weddings, a lady must remember to
buy a pair. The carriages approach Buckingham Palace in a long queue,
and the lady waits an hour or more in line, exposed to the jeers of
the populace, who look in at the carriage windows and make comments,
laugh, and amuse themselves. One hopes that this may do these
ragamuffins some good, for they look miserable enough.

Arriving in the noble quadrangle of Buckingham Palace, the music of
the Guard's band enlivens one, and the silent, splendid figures of the
household troops, the handsomest men in the world, sit like statues on
their horses. No matter if the rain is pouring, as it generally is,
neither man nor horse stirs.

Once inside the palace, the card of entrance is taken by one of the
Queen's pages, some other official takes her cloak, and the lady
wends her way up a magnificent staircase into another gallery, out of
which open many fine rooms. Gentlemen of the Household in glittering
uniforms, and with orders, stand about in picturesque groups.

The last room is filled with chairs, and is soon crowded with ladies
and gentlemen, waiting for the summons to move on. The gentlemen are
all in black velvet suits, with knee breeches and sword, silk
stockings and low shoes.

A slight commotion at the little turnstile tells you to take your
turn; you pass on with the others, your name is loudly called, you
make three little courtesies to her Majesty, the Prince and Princess
of Wales, you see a glittering line of royalties, you hear the words,
"Your train, Madame," it is thrown over your arm by some cavalier
behind, and all is over; except that you are amongst your friends, and
see a glittering room full of people, and realize that nothing is so
bad as you had feared. After about an hour, you find your carriage and
drive home, or to your minister's for a cup of tea.

Then you receive, if you are fortunate, a great card from the Lord
Chamberlain, with the Queen's command that you should be invited to a
ball at Buckingham Palace. This ball is a sight to see, so splendid is
the ball-room, so grand the elevated red sofas, with the duchesses and
their jewels. Royalty enters about eleven o'clock, followed by all the
ambassadors.

Of late years the Queen has relegated her place as hostess to the
Princess of Wales, but during the jubilee year she kept it, and it was
a beautiful sight to see the little woman all covered with jewels,
with her royal brood around her.

The royal family go in to supper through a lane of guests. The
supper-room is adorned with the gold plate bought by George IV., and
many very fine pieces of plate given by other monarchs. The eatables
and drinkables are what they would be at any great ball.

The prettiest entertainment of the jubilee year was, however, the
Queen's garden-party. No one had seen that lovely park behind
Buckingham Palace for eighteen years; then it was used for the
garden-party given to the Khedive of Egypt. Now it was filled by a
most picturesque group. The Indian princes with all their jewels,
their turbans, their robes, their dark, handsome faces, stood at the
foot of a grand staircase which runs from the palace to the green
turf. Every other man was a king, a prince, a nobleman, a great
soldier, a statesman, a diplomate, a somebody.

The women were all, of course, beautifully dressed in summer costume;
and the grounds, full of ancient trees and fountains, artificial lakes
with swans, marquees with refreshments, were as pretty as only a royal
English park can be.

Presently we heard the sound of the bagpipes, and a procession headed
by some dancing Scotchmen came along. It was the Queen, with all her
children and grandchildren, ladies-in-waiting, and many monarchs,
amongst whom marched Queen Kapiolani of the Sandwich Islands. The
Queen walked with a cane, the Prince of Wales by her side. They all
stopped repeatedly and spoke to their guests on either side; then the
younger members of the family led the way to the refreshment tents,
where a truly regal buffet was spread.

There was much talk, much music, much laughter, no stiffness. It was
real hospitality. In one of the windows of the palace stood looking
out the Crown Prince of Germany, later on to be the noble Emperor
Frederic, even then feeling the pressure of that malady which in
another year was to kill him. He who had been, in the procession of
Princes on the great day, so important and so handsome a figure, was
on this day a silent observer. The Queen after this gave an evening
party to all the royalties, and the ambassadors, and many invited
guests.

The hospitality of the Queen is, of course, regal, but her dinners
must of a necessity be formal. General Grant mentioned his
disappointment that he did not sit next her, when she invited him to
Windsor, but she had one of her children on either side, and he came
next to the Princess Beatrice.

The entertainments at Marlborough House are much less formal. The
Prince of Wales, the most genial and hospitable of men, cannot always
pen up his delightful cordiality behind the barriers of rank.

As for the King and Queen of Italy, they do not try to restrain their
cordiality. The Court of Italy is most easy-going, democratic, and
agreeable, in spite of its thousand years of grandeur. The favoured
guest who is to be presented receives a card to the _cercle_, on a
certain Monday evening. The card prescribes low-necked dress, and any
colour but black. To drive to the Quirinal Palace on a moonlight night
in Rome is not unpleasant.

The grand staircase, all covered with scarlet carpet, was lined with
gigantic cuirassiers in scarlet, who stood as motionless as statues.
We entered a grand hall frescoed by Domenichino. How small we felt
under these giant figures. We passed on to another _salon_, frescoed
by Julio Romano, so on to another where a handsome cavalier, the
Prince Vicovara, received our cards, and opening a door, presented us
to the Marchesa Villamarina, the Queen's dearest friend and favourite
lady-in-waiting. We were arranged in rows around a long and handsome
room. Presently a little movement at the door, and the deep courtesies
of the Princess Brancaccio and the Princess Vicovara, both Americans,
told us that the Queen had entered.

Truly she is a royal beauty, a wonder on a throne. An accomplished
scholar, a thoughtful woman, Marguerite of Savoy is the rose of the
nineteenth century; her smile keeps Italy together. She is the
sweetest, the most beautiful of all the queens, and as she walks about
accompanied by her ladies, who introduce every one, she speaks to each
person in his or her own language; she is mistress of ten languages.
After she had said a few gracious words, the Queen disappeared, and
the Marchesa Villamarina asked us to take some refreshments, saying,
"I hope we shall see you on Thursday."

The next day came an invitation to the grand court-ball. This is a
very fine sight. The King and Queen enter and take their places on a
high estrade covered with a crimson velvet baldaquin. Then the ladies
and gentlemen of the household and the ambassadors enter.

The Count Gianotti, a very handsome Piedmontese, the favourite friend
of the King, the prefect of the palace and master of ceremonies,
declared the ball opened, and the Queen danced with the Baron Kendall.
The royal quadrille over, dancing became general. The King stood about
looking soldier-like, bored and silent; a patriot and brave man, he
hates society. The Queen does all the social work, and she does it
admirably.

What a company that was,--all the Roman nobility, the diplomatic
corps, the visitors to Rome, S. P. Q. R., the senate and the Roman
people. After the dancing, supper was announced. Royalty does not sup
in public in Rome, as in England. The difference in etiquette is
curious. The King and Queen retired. We went in as we pleased at ten
o'clock, had seats, and supped gloriously; the excellent Italian
cookery, of which we have spoken previously, was served admirably. The
housekeeping at the Quirinal is excellent.

The Queen of Italy moves about amongst the ambassadors' wives, and
summons any stranger to whom she may wish to speak, to her side. A
presentation to her is more personal and gracious than a like honour
at any other court.

A presentation at court resolves itself into two advantages. One sees
the paraphernalia of royalty, always amusing and interesting to
American eyes. Americans see its poetry, its almost vanished meaning,
better than others. Power, even when it descends for a day on fresh
Republican shoulders, is awe-inspiring. The boy who is a leader at
school is more important than the boy who walks behind him. "A captain
of thousands" was an old Greek term for leadership, dignity, and
honour. Therefore it is not snobbery to desire to see these people on
whom have fallen the ermine of power. It is snobbery to bow down
before some unworthy bearer of a title; but when, as in the case of
Marguerite of Savoy, there is a very good, a very gifted, a very
wonderful woman behind it all, we are glad that she has been born to
wear all these jewels.

We have in our minds one more scene, and a very picturesque one. In
September, 1888, the Duc d'Aosta, brother to King Humbert, married his
niece, Letitia Bonaparte, daughter of the Princess Clotilde and Prince
Jerome Bonaparte. This marriage occurred at Turin. A fine week of
autumn weather was devoted to this ceremony. It was a great gathering
of all the family of Victor Emmanuel. The Pope had granted an especial
dispensation to the nearly related couple. The degree of consanguinity
so repellent to us, is not considered, however, as prejudicial to
marriage in Spain, Italy, or Germany.

The King of Italy made this occasion of his brother's marriage, an
open door for returning to the old Italian customs of past centuries,
in the art of entertaining. The city of Turin was _en fête_ for the
week. At booths, in the open air, strolling companies were playing
opera, tragedy, burlesque, and farce. At the King's charge, the
streets were lined with gay decorations of pink and white silk,
banners and escutcheons; music was heard everywhere, and at evening
brilliant illuminations followed the river.

When the royal cortège appeared on their way to a public square they
were preceded by six hundred young cavaliers in the dress of Prince
Eugene, powdered hair, bright red and blue coats, each detachment
escorting a royal carriage. First came the King and Queen, then the
bridal pair.

They mounted a superb thing, like a basket of flowers, in the Piazza
Vittorio Emmanuel, where all the royalties sat around the bride. Music
and flags saluted them. The vast crowd sat and looked at them for two
hours. A gayly decorated balloon, covered with roses, floated over
the Queen's head, and finally, as the rosy light faded away, a gun
from the fortress sounded the hour of departure. The glittering
cavalcade drove back to the palace, and we foreigners knew that we had
seen a real, mediæval Italian festa.



ENTERTAINING AT EASTER.

     "There is a tender hue that tips the first young leaves of spring,
     A trembling beauty in their notes when young birds learn to sing
     A purer look when first on earth the gushing brook appears,
     A liquid depth in infant eyes that fades with summer years."


In the early days of ecumenical councils it was a mooted point when
Easter should be celebrated. The Christian Jews kept the feast on the
same day as their Passover, the fourteenth of Nisan, the month
corresponding to our March or April; but the Gentile church observed
the first Sunday following this, because Christ rose from the dead on
that day. It was not until the fourth century that the Council of Nice
decided upon the first Sunday after the full moon which follows the
twenty-first of March. The contest was waged long and heavily, but the
Western churches were victorious; a vote settled it.

Perhaps this victory decided the later and more splendid religious
ceremonials of Easter, which are much more observed in Rome and in all
Catholic countries than those of Christmas. Constantine gratified his
love of display by causing Easter to be celebrated with unusual pomp
and parade. Vigils and night watches were instituted, people remaining
all night in the churches in Rome, and carrying high wax tapers
through the streets in processions.

People in the North, glad of an escape from four months of darkness,
watch to see the sun dawn on an Easter morning. They have a
superstitious feeling about this observance, which came originally
from Egypt, and is akin to the legend that the statue of Memnon sings
when the first ray of the sun touches it.

It is the queen of feasts in all Catholic churches, the world over. In
early days, the fasting of Lent was restricted to one day, the Friday
of Passion Week, Good Friday; then it extended to forty hours, then to
forty days,--showing how much fashion, even in churchly affairs, has
to do with these matters. One witty author says that, "people who do
not believe in anything will observe Lent, for it is the fashion."

Certainly, the little dinners of Lent, in fashionable society, are
amongst the most agreeable of all entertainments. The _crème
d'écrevisse_, the oyster and clam soups, the newly arrived shad, the
codfish _à la royale_ and other tempting dainties are very good, and
the dinner being small, and at eight o'clock, there is before it a
long twilight for the drive in the Park.

A pope of Rome once offered a prize to the man who would invent one
thousand ways of cooking eggs, for eggs can always be eaten in Lent,
and let us hope that he found them. The greatest coxcomb of all cooks,
Louis Ude, who was prone to demand a carriage and five thousand a
year, was famous for his little Lenten _menus_, and could cook fish
and eggs marvellously. The amusements of Lent have left one joke in
New York. Roller skates were once a very fashionable amusement for
Lenten afternoons, though now gone out, and a club had rented Irving
Hall for their playground and chosen _Festina lente_, "Make haste
slowly," for their motto. It was a very witty motto, but some wise
Malaprop remarked, "What a very happy selection, 'Festivals of Lent!'"

However, Lent once passed, with its sewing circles and small
whist-parties, then comes the brilliant Easter, with its splendid
dinners, its weddings, its christenings and caudle parties, its
ladies' lunches, its Meadow Brook hunt, its asparagus parties, and the
chickens of gayety which are hatched out of Easter eggs. It is a great
day for the confectioner. In Paris, that city full of gold and misery,
the splendour and luxury of the Easter egg _bonbonnière_ is fabulous.
A few years since a Paris house furnished an Easter egg for a Spanish
infanta, which cost eight hundred pounds sterling.

Easter dinners can be made delightful. They are simple, less heavy,
hot, and stuffy, than those of mid-winter. That enemy of the feminine
complexion, the furnace, is put out. It no longer sends up its direful
sirocco behind one's back. Spring lamb and mint sauce, asparagus and
fresh dandelion salad, replace the heavy joint and the canned
vegetables. A foreigner said of us that we have everything canned,
even the canvas-back duck and the American opera. Everything should be
fresh. The ice-cream man devises allegorical allusions in his forms,
and there are white dinners for young brides, and roseate dinners for
_débutantes_.

For a gorgeous ladies' lunch, behold a _menu_. This is for Easter
Monday:--

                          Little Neck clams.
     Chablis.       Beef tea or _consommé_ in cups.
       _Côtelettes de cervelles à la cardinal._      Cucumbers.
                  Little ducks with fresh mushrooms.
     Champagne.              Artichokes.
                     Sweetbread _à la Richelieu_.
                    Asparagus, Hollandaise sauce.
     Claret.                 Roman punch.
                         _Pâté de foie gras._
                             Roast snipe.
                        Tomato salad, lettuce.
     Liqueur.                Ice-creams,
                   in form of nightingales' nests.
              Strawberries, sugared fruit, nougat cakes.
                               Coffee.

Of course, a season of such rejoicing, when "Christians stand praying,
each in an exalted attitude, with outstretched hands and uplifted
faces, expressing joy and gladness," is thought to be very propitious
for marriage. There is generally a wedding every day, excepting
Friday, during Easter week. A favourite spring travelling-dress for an
Easter bride is fawn coloured cashmere, with a little round hat and
bunch of primroses.

For a number of choir boys to sing an epithalamium, walking up the
aisle before the bride, is a new and very beautiful Easter fashion.

A favourite entertainment for Easter is a christening. Christening
parties are becoming very important functions in the art of
entertaining. Many Roman Catholics are so anxious for the salvation of
the little new soul, that they have their children baptized as soon as
possible, but others put off this important ceremony until mamma can
go to church, when little master is five weeks old. Then friends are
invited to the ceremony very much in this fashion:--

     Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton request the pleasure of your company at
     the baptism of their infant daughter at the Cathedral, Monday,
     March 30, at 12 o'clock. At home, after the ceremony, 14 W.
     Ellicott Square.

Many wealthy Roman Catholics have private chapels where the ceremony
may be performed earlier.

Presents are sent to the mamma, of flowers and bonbonnières shaped
like an altar, a cradle, a powder-box; and there may be gold
tea-scoops, pap-spoons and a caudle-cup. Gifts of old Dutch silver and
the inevitable posy or couplet are very favourite gifts for the baby
and mamma on these auspicious occasions.

Caudle is a very succulent porridge made of oatmeal, raisins, spices,
and rum, all boiled together for several days until it becomes a jelly
gruel. It is very much sweetened, and is served hot in cups. The
caudle-cup designed by Albrecht Dürer for some member of the family of
Maximilian is still shown. Caudle cards are very often stamped with a
cameo resemblance of these cups, and the invitation reads:--

                         MRS. JAMES HAMILTON,
                               at Home,
                Thursday, March 30, from three to six.
         Caudle.

These do not require an answer.

Very pretty tea-gowns are worn by mamma and the ladies of her family
for this entertainment, but the guests come in bonnets and street
dresses. There is no objection to having the afternoon tea-table with
its silver tea-kettle, alcohol-lamp, pretty silver tea-set, plates of
bread and butter, and little cakes ready for those ladies who prefer
tea. Caudle is sometimes added to the teas of a winter afternoon, by
the remnants of old Dutch families, even when there is no little
master as a _raison d'être_, and delicious it is.

There is a pretty account of the marriage of Marguerite of Austria
with Philibert, the handsome Duke of Savoy. It is called _Mariage aux
oeufs_. She had come to the Castle of Brae, in the charming district
of Bresse lying on the western slopes of the Alps. Here the rich
princess kept open house, and Philibert, who was hunting in the
neighbourhood, came to pay his court to her. It was Easter Monday, and
high and low danced together on the green. The old men drew their bows
on a barrel filled with wine, and when one succeeded in planting his
arrow firmly in it he was privileged to drink as much as he pleased
_jusqu'à merci_.

A hundred eggs were scattered in a level place, covered with sand, and
a lad and lass, holding each other by the hand, came forward to
execute a dance of the country. According to the ancient custom, if
they succeeded in finishing the _branle_ without breaking a single egg
they became affianced, and even the will of their parents might not
avail to break their union. Three couples had already tried it
unsuccessfully and shouts of laughter derided their attempts, when the
sound of a horn was heard, and Philibert of Savoy, radiant with youth
and happiness, appeared on the scene. He bent his knees before the
noble _châtelaine_ and besought her hospitality. He proposed to her to
try the egg fortune. She accepted. Their grace and beauty charmed the
lookers-on and they succeeded, without a single crash, in treading the
perilous maze.

"Savoy and Austria!" shouted the crowd. And she said, "Let us adopt
the custom of Bresse."

They were married, and enjoyed a few years of exquisite happiness;
then the beloved husband died. Marguerite survived him long, but never
forgot him. She built in his memory a beautiful church. Travellers go
to-day to see their magnificent tomb.

The egg has been in all ages and in all countries the subject of
infinite mystery, legend, and history. The ancient Finns believed that
a mystic bird laid an egg in the lap of Vaimainon, who hatched it in
his bosom. He let it fall in the water, and it broke. The lower
portion of the shell formed the earth, the upper the sky, the liquid
white became the sun, the yolk the moon, while little bits of
egg-shells became the stars.

Old English and Irish nurses instruct the children, when they have
eaten a boiled egg, to push the spoon through the bottom of the shell
to hinder the witches from making a boat of it.

It is difficult to ascertain the precise origin of the custom of
offering eggs at the festival of Easter. The Persians, the Russians,
and the Jews all follow it.

Amongst the Romans the year began at Easter, as it did amongst the
Franks under the Capets. Many presents are exchanged, and as an egg is
the beginning of all things, nothing better could be found as an
offering. Its symbolic meaning is striking. We offer our friends all
the blessings contained under that fragile shell, whose fragility
represents that of happiness here below. The Romans commenced their
repasts with an egg; hence the proverbial phrase, "_ab ovo usque ad
mala_," or, as we still say, "beginning _ab ovo_."

Another reason given for the Easter egg is that, about the fourth
century, the Church forbade the use of eggs in Lent. But as the
heretical hens would go on laying, the eggs accumulated to such a
degree that they were boiled hard and given away. They were given to
the children for playthings, and they dyed them of gay colours. In
certain churches in Belgium the priests, at the beginning of a glad
anthem, threw the eggs at the choristers who threw them back again,
dancing to the music whilst catching the frail eggs that they might
not break.

In Germany, where means are more limited than in France, the Easter
egg _bonbonnière_ is rare. There are none of the eight-hundred-pound
kind, which was made of enamel, and which on its inside had engraved
the gospel for the day, while by an ingenious mechanism a little bird,
lodged in this pretty cage, sang twelve airs from as many operas.

But in Germany, to make up for this poverty, they have transformed the
hare into an oviparous animal, and in the pastry cook's windows one
sees this species of hen sitting upright in a nest surrounded by eggs.
I have often wondered if that inexplicable saying "a mare's nest,"
might not have been "a hare's nest." As a _lucus a non lucendo_ it
would have done as well. When a German child, at any season of the
year, sees a hare run across the field, he says, "Hare, good little
hare, lay plenty of eggs for me on Easter day." It is the custom of
German families, on Easter eve, to place sugar-eggs and real eggs, the
former filled with sugar plums, in a nest, and then to conceal it with
dried leaves in the garden that the joyous children may hunt for them
on Easter morning.

It is a superstition all over the world that we should wear new
clothes on Easter Day. Bad luck will follow if there is not at least
one article which is new.



HOW TO ENTERTAIN CHILDREN.

     From the realms of old-world story
       There beckons a lily hand,
     That calls up the sweetness, the glory,
       The sounds of a magic land.

     Ah, many a time in my dreaming
       Through that blessed region I roam!
     Then the morning sun comes with its beaming
       And scatters it all like foam!
                                      HEINE.


In the life of Madame Swetchine we read the following account of the
amusements of a clever child:--

"The occupation of a courtier did not prevent Monsieur Soymonof from
bestowing the most assiduous care on the education of a daughter, who
for six years was his only child. He was struck by the progress of her
young intellect. She showed an aptitude for languages, music, and
drawing, while she developed firmness of character,--a rare quality in
a child.

"She desired a watch with an ardour which transpired in all her
movements, and her father had promised her one. The watch came and was
worn with the keenest enjoyment; but suddenly a new thought seized
upon the little Sophia. She reflected that there was something better
than a watch. To relinquish it of her own accord, she hurried to her
father and restored to him the object of her passionate desires,
acknowledging the motive. Her father looked at her, took the watch,
shut it up in a bureau drawer, and said no more about it.

"M. Soymonof's rooms were adorned with bronzes, medals, and costly
marbles. Sophia was on terms of intimacy with these personages of
fable and history; but she felt an unconquerable repugnance to a
cabinet full of mummies. The poor child blushed for her weakness, and
one day, when alone, opened the terrible door, ran straight to the
nearest mummy, took it up, and embraced it till her strength and
courage gave away, and she fell down in a swoon. At the noise of her
fall, her father hastened in, raised her in his arms, and obtained
from her, not without difficulty, an avowal of the terrors which she
had hitherto concealed from him. But this supreme effort was as good
for her as a victory. From that day the mummies were to her only
common objects of interest and curiosity.

"Studious as was her education, M. Soymonof did not banish dolls. His
daughter loved them as friends and preserved this taste beyond her
childish years, but elevated it by the admixture of an intellectual
and often dramatic interest. Her dolls were generally of the largest
size. She gave them each a name and part to act, established connected
relations between the different individuals, and kept up animated
dialogues which occupied her imagination vividly, and became a means
of instruction. Playing dolls was for her an introduction to ethics
and a knowledge of the world.

"Catherine's court was a succession of continual _fêtes_. The fairy
pantomimes performed at the Hermitage were the first to strike the
imagination of the child, who as yet could not relish the tragedies of
Voltaire. She composed a _ballet_ which she called 'The Faithful
Shepherdess and the Fickle Shepherdess.' She writes in her sixtieth
year: 'One of the liveliest pleasures of my childhood was to compose
festive decorations which I loved to light up and arrange upon the
white marble chimney-piece of my schoolroom. The ardour which I threw
into designing, cutting out, and painting transparencies, and finding
emblems and mottoes for them was something incredible. My heart beat
high while the preparations were in progress but the moment my
illumination began to fade an ineffable devouring melancholy seized
me.'"

This extract is invaluable not only for its historic importance, but
for the keynote which it sounds to a child's nature. The noble little
Russian girl at the court of Catherine of Russia found only those
pleasures lasting which came from herself, and when she could invest
the fairy pantomime with her own personality.

A fairy pantomime is possible to the poorest child if some superior
intelligence, an older sister or aunt, will lend her help. The fairies
can all be of pasteboard, with strings as the motive power. There can
be no cheaper _corps de ballet_, nor any so amusing.

"You have done much for your child" is an expression we often hear.
"You have had a nurse, a nursery governess, a fine pony for your boy,
you take your children often to the play and give them dancing
parties, and yet they are not happy." It is the sincere regret of many
a mamma that she cannot make her children happy. Yet in a large town,
in a house shut up from our cold winter blasts, what can she do? A
good dog and a kind-hearted set of servants will solve the problem
better than all the intellect in the world. Grandmamma brings a doll
to the little girl, who looks it over and says: "The dolly cannot be
undressed, I do not want it." It is the dressing and the undressing
which are the delights of her heart.

A boy wants to make a noise, first of all things. Let him have a large
upper room, a drum, a tambourine, a ball, and there he should be
allowed to kick out the effervescence of early manhood. Do not follow
him with all manner of prohibitions. Constant nagging and
fault-finding is an offence against a child's paradise. Put him in a
room for certain hours of the day where no one need say, "Get down!
don't do that! don't make so much noise!" Let him roar, and shout, and
climb over chairs and tables, and tear his gown, and work off his
exuberance, and then he will be very glad to have his hands and face
washed and listen to a story, or come down to meet papa with a smiling
countenance.

Children should be allowed to have pet birds, kittens, dogs, and as
much live stock as the house will hold; it develops their sympathies.
When a bird dies, and the floodgates of the poor little heart are
opened, sympathize with it. It is cruel to laugh at childish woe.
Never refuse a child sympathy in joy or sorrow. This lack of sympathy
has made more criminals than anything else.

Children should never be deceived either in the taking of medicine or
the administration of knowledge. One witty writer a few years ago
spoke of the bad influence of good books. He declared that reading
"that Tommy was a good boy and kept his pinafore clean and rose to
affluence, while Harry flung stones and told fibs and was carried off
by robbers," developed his sympathies for Harry; and that although he
was naturally a good boy he went, for pure hatred of the virtuous
Tommy, to the river's brink and helped a bad boy to drown his aunt's
cat, and then went home and wrote a prize composition called "Frank
the Friendless, or Honesty is Best." All this was because the boy saw
that Tommy was a prig, that his virtue was of that kind mentioned in
Jane Eyre, in which the charity child was asked whether she would
rather learn a hymn or receive a cake; she said "Learn a hymn,"
whereupon she received "two cakes as a reward for her infant piety."
Children cannot be humbugged; they can be made into hypocrites,
however, by too many good books.

The best entertainment for children is to let them play at being
useful. Let the little girl get papa's slippers, brush his hat, even
if the wrong way, find his walking stick, hold the yarn for grandma's
knitting, or rock her brother's cradle, and she will be happy. Give
the boy a printing-press or some safe tools, let him make a garden,
feed his chickens, or clean out the cage of his pet robin, and he will
be happy. Try to make them think and decide for themselves. A little
girl says, "I don't know which dress to put on my dolly, Mamma, which
shall I?" The mamma will be wise if she says, "You must decide, you
know dolly best."

When a child is ill or nervous, the great hour of despair comes to the
mamma. A person without nerves, generally a good coloured mammy, is
the best playmate, and a dog is invaluable. It is touching to see the
smile come to the poor bloodless lips in a hospital ward, as a great,
big, kindly dog puts his cold nose out to reach a little feverish
hand. There is a sympathy in nature which intellect loses.

Madame Swetchine's fear of the mummies has another lesson in it.
Children are born with pet aversions, as well as with that terrible
fear which is so much bigger than they are. The first of their rights
to be respected is that they shall not be frightened, and shall not be
too seriously blamed for their aversions. Buffalo Bill, who knows more
about horses than most people, says that no horse is born bad; that he
is made a bucking horse, a skittish horse, or a stumbling horse by
being badly trained,--misunderstood when he was young. How true this
is of human nature! How many villains are developed by an unhappy
childhood! How many scoundrels does the boys' hall turn out! We must
try to find these skeletons in the closet, this imprisoned spectre
which haunts the imaginative child, and lay the ghost by sympathy and
by common-sense. Cultivating the imagination, not over-feeding it or
starving it, would seem to be the right way.

Perhaps there are no better ways of entertaining children than by a
juggler, the magic lantern, and simple scientific experiments. We use
the term advisedly. Jugglery was the oldest of the sciences. Aaron and
Moses tried it. One of the most valuable solaces for an invalid
child--one with a broken leg, or some complaint which necessitates bed
and quiet--is an experiment in natural magic.

One of these simple tricks is called "The Balanced Coin." Procure a
bottle, cork it, and in the cork place a needle. Take another cork,
and cut a slit in it, so that the edge of a dollar will fit into it;
then put two forks into the upper cork. Place the edge of the coin,
which holds the upper cork and forks, on the point of the needle, and
it will revolve without falling. This will amuse an imprisoned boy all
the afternoon.

The revolving image is a most amusing gentleman. Let poor Harry make
this himself. Cut a little man out of a thin bit of wood, making him
end in one leg, like a peg-top, instead of in two. Give him a pair of
long arms, shaped like oars. Then place him on the tip of your finger,
and blow; he will stand there and rotate, like an undecided
politician.

The Spanish dancer is another nice experiment. Cut a figure out of
pasteboard, and gum one foot on the inverted side of a watch-glass;
then place the watch-glass on a Japan waiter or a clean plate. Hold
the plate slanting, and they will slide down; but drop a little water
on the waiter or plate, and instead of the watch-glass sliding, it
will begin to revolve, and continue to revolve with increased velocity
as the experimentalist chooses. This is in consequence of the cohesion
of water to the two surfaces, by which a new force is introduced.
These experiments are endless, and will serve a variety of purposes,
the principal being that of entertaining.

To take children to the pantomime at Christmas is the universal law in
England. We have seldom the pantomime here. We have the circus, the
menagerie, and the play. A real play is better for children than a
burlesque, and it is astonishing to see how soon a child can
understand even Hamlet.

To allow children to play themselves in a fairy tale, such as
"Cinderella," is a doubtful practice. The exposure, the excitement,
the late hours, the rehearsals, are all bad for young nerves; but they
can play at home if it is in the daytime.

When boys and girls get old enough for dancing-parties, nothing can be
more amusing than the sight of the youthful followers of Terpsichore.
It is a healthy amusement, and if kept within proper hours, and
followed by a light supper only, is the most fitting of all
children's amusements. Do not, however, make little men and women of
them too soon. That is lamentable.

As for ruses and catch-games like "The Slave Despoiled," "The Pigeon
Flies," "The Sorcerer behind the Screen," "The Knight of the Whistle,"
"The Witch," "The Tombola," one should buy one of the cheap manuals of
games found at any bookstore, and a clever boy should read up, and put
himself in touch with this very easy way of passing an evening.

The games requiring wit and intelligence are many; as "The Bouquet,"
"The Fool's Discourse," which has a resemblance to "Cross Questions,"
"The Secretary," "The Culprit's Seat." All these need a good memory
and a ready wit. All mistakes are to be redeemed by forfeit.

Of the games to be played with pencil and paper, none is funnier than
"The Narrative," in which the leader decides on the title, and gives
it out to the company. It may be called "The Fortunate and Unfortunate
Adventures of Miss Palmer." The words to be used may be "history,"
"reading," "railway accident," "nourishment," "pleasures,"
"four-in-hand," etc. The paper has a line written, and is folded and
handed thus to the next,--each writer giving Miss Palmer whatever
adventures he pleases, only bringing in the desired word. The result
is incoherent, but amusing, and Miss Palmer becomes a heroine of
romance.

There are some children, as there are some grown people, who have a
natural talent for games. It is a great help in entertaining children
to get hold of a born leader.

The game called "The Language of Animals" is one for philosophers.
Each player takes his pencil and paper, and describes the feelings,
emotions, and passions of an animal as if he were one. As, for
instance, the dog would say: "I feel anger, like a human being. I am
sometimes vindictive, but generally forgiving. I suffer terribly from
jealousy. My envy leads me to eat more than I want, because I do not
wish Tray to get it. Gluttony is my easily besetting sin, but I never
got drunk in my life. I love my master better than any one; and if he
dies, I mourn him till death. My worst sorrow is being lost; but my
delights are never chilled by expectation, so I never lose the edge of
my enjoyments by over-raised hopes. I want to run twenty miles a day,
but I like to be with my master in the evening. I love children
dearly, and would die for any boy: I would save him from drowning. I
cannot wag my tongue, but I can wag my tail to express my emotion."

The cat says: "I am a natural diplomatist, and I carry on a great
secret service so that nobody knows anything about it. I do not care
for my master or mistress, but for the house and the hearth-rug. I am
very frugal, and have very little appetite. I kill mice because I
dislike them, not that I like them for food. Oh, no! give me the
cream-jug for that. I am always ready to do any mischief on the sly;
and so if any one else does anything, always say, 'It was the cat.' I
have no heart, by which I escape much misery. I have a great advantage
over the dog, as he lives but a few years and has but one life. I have
a long life, and nine of them; but why the number nine is always
connected with me, I do not know. Why 'cat-o-nine-tails?' Why 'A cat
has nine lives,' etc.?"

Thus, for children's entertaining we have the same necessities as for
grown people. Some one must begin; some one must suggest; some one
must tell how. All society needs a leader. It may be for that reason
our own grown-up society is a little chaotic.

Perhaps the story of Madame Swetchine and her watch conveys a needed
moral. Do not deluge children with costly gifts. Do not thus deprive
them of the pleasures of hope. Anticipation is the dearest part of a
child's life, and an overfed child, suffering from the pangs of
dyspepsia, is no more to be pitied than the poor little gorged,
overburdened child, who has more books than he can read and more toys
than he can ever play with. Remember, too, "Dr. Blimber's Young
Gentlemen," and their longing jealousy of the boy in the gutter.



CHRISTMAS AND CHILDREN.

     "Then I stooped for a bunch of holly
     Which had fallen on the floor,
     And there fell to the ground as I lifted it
     A berry--or something more;
     And after it fell my eyes could see
     More clearly than before!
     But oh! for the red Christingle
     That never was missing of yore,
     And oh! for the red Christingle
     That I miss forever more!"


Christingles are not much known in this country. They are made by
piercing a hole in an orange, putting a piece of quill three or four
inches long, set upright, in the hole, and usually a second piece
inside this. Each quill is divided into several slips, each one of
which is loaded with a raisin. The weight of the raisins bends down
the little boughs, giving two circles of pendants. A coloured taper is
placed in the upper quill and lighted on Christmas Eve. The custom is
a German one.

The harbinger of Christmas, in Holland, is a Star of Bethlehem carried
along through the cities by the young men who pick up alms for the
poor. They gather much money, for all come to welcome this symbol of
peace. They then betake themselves to the head burgomaster of the
town, who is bound to give them a good meal.

The little Russian, amid the snows, looks for the red candle and the
Christmas Tree, and the ice is all alight with gay illuminations. The
little Roman boy watches with delight the preparation for the
_Beffana_ in the public squares of Rome. For the _Beffana_ is the
witch who rides on a broomstick; she is a female Santa Claus, who
brings presents to a good child and a bunch of rods to a bad one. Her
worship is celebrated on Christmas Eve to the sound of trumpets and
all manner of unearthly noises. Then the boy goes to the Church of the
Augustins, to see the little Jesus Child lying in the lap of his Holy
Mother. He hears the most charming music, and singing choristers swing
the censer before the Host. Above his head Saint Michael fights with
the dragon. He sees the splendid procession of the cardinals in their
gorgeous red and white robes, and as he goes down the broad marble
steps, on each side of which beautiful statues stand in niches, his
mother, poor Dominica, peasant of the Campagna, kneels and makes the
sign of the cross, and tells her boy that this is Christmas, the day
on which the Jesus Child was born to take his sins away. Again he
wanders with her through the market-place; every one gives him
playthings, fruits, and cakes; a rich foreigner tosses him a coin. The
little Antonio asks why, and his mother tells him it is Christmas, but
not so gay as when she was a little girl, for then the _pifferari_,
the shepherds from the mountains, came, in their short cloaks with
ribbons around their pointed hats, to play on their bagpipes before
every image of the Virgin. Then they go again to the Church, the
beautiful Church of Ara Coeli, to hear the angel girls make Christmas
speeches to welcome the little Christ-child, and as he looks at the
image of the Madonna, all hung with jewels, he wishes it were
Christmas all the year round.

The Christmas tree dates back to the Druids, but seems to have
disappeared from England for several centuries. Meantime, it blossomed
in Germany, where, under the tender and soft Scandinavian influence
which has such an admirable and ameliorating effect on homely German
life, it has continued to bear its fruit for six hundred years. It
came back to England in the days of Queen Charlotte, who, true to her
German associations, had a tree dressed at Kew Palace in the rooms of
her German attendant. It was hung, writes the Hon. Amelia Murray, with
gifts for the children, "who were invited to see it; and I remember,"
she says, "what a pleasure it was to hunt for one's name."

The "Mayflower," which brought much else that was good, forgot the
Christmas tree. It was not until the beginning of the present century
that one could be seen near Plymouth Rock. Men and women now living
can remember when Washington Irving's "Sketch-book" told to them the
first story of an English Christmas, and some brave women determined
to hang a few boughs and red berries around the cold, barren church.

Then the tree began to bud and burgeon with gifts, and the rare
glories of colour crept in upon the snows of winter. The red fire on
the hearth, the red berries on the mantel, brought in the light which
grew pale in winter, the hospitality and the cheer of the turkey and
plum-pudding went around, and Christmas carols began to be sung by men
of Puritan antecedents. Old Christmas, frightened away at first by a
few fanatics, came at last to America to stay, and the mistletoe,
prettiest, most weird, most artistic of parasites, was removed from
dreary Druidical associations, and no longer assists at human
sacrifices,--unless some misogynist may so consider the getting of
husbands.

The English Christmas is the typical one in the art of entertaining.
In every country neighbourhood, public county balls are conducted with
great pomp during the twelve days of Christmas. From all the great
houses within ten or fifteen miles come large parties, dressed in the
latest London fashions, among them the most distinguished lights of
the London world. Country residents are also conspicuous, and for
people who live altogether in the country this is the chosen occasion
for the first introduction of a daughter into society. The town hall
or any other convenient building is beautifully dressed with holly and
mistletoe. The band is at the upper end and the different sets form
exclusive groups about the room, seldom mixing even in the Virginia
Reel and other country dances.

The private festivities of Christmas consist of a dinner to the
tenantry and a large one to the family, all of whose members are
expected. The mistletoe is hung conspicuously from the great lantern
in the hall, or over the stag's head at the door. The rooms are
wreathed with holly, each picture is framed in it, and the ladies put
the red berries in their hair and all over their dresses. The
customary turkey, a mighty bird, enters, making an event at the
dinner, while later on, a plum-pudding, all ablaze, with a sprig of
holly in the midst, makes another sensation. Mince-pies are set on
fire with the aid of a little alcohol, which is poured over them from
a small silver ladle. After the dinner, is passed the loving cup, a
silver cup with two handles, containing a hot, spiced, sweetened ale.
It has two mouths, and as it is lifted its weight requires both hands.

In England, Christmas and New Year's still keep some of the mediæval
village customs. Men go about in motley, imitating quacks and
fortune-tellers, and there is much noise and tooting of horns. These
mummers are sent to the servants' hall, where a plentiful supper and
horns of ale await them. The waits, or carol singers, are another
remnant of old Christmas. In remote parts of England the stables are
lighted, to prove that man has not forgotten the Child born and laid
in a manger. As for the parish festivities, in which the hall has so
prominent a part, the school feasts, the blankets for the poor, the
clothing-club meetings at Martinmas, all has been told us in novels,
which have also given us many a picture of comfortable and stately
English life.

The modern English squire does not, however, eat, drink, and make
merry for twelve days, as he used. The wassail-bowl is broken at the
fountain, and mince-pies and goose-pies and yule-cakes are thought to
be heavy for modern digestion. But the good cheer remains.

The noblest as well as the humblest of all English houses, especially
in Yorkshire, keep up the old superstition of lighting the Yule log,
"the ponderous ashen fagot from the yard," and great ill-luck is
foretold if its flame dies out before Twelfth Night. Frumenty, which
is a porridge boiled with milk, sugar, wine, spices, and raisins, is
served. It was in a cup of frumenty, as every conscientious reader of
fairy stories will remember, that Tom Thumb was dropped by his
careless nurse. The Christmas pie of Yorkshire, is a "brae goose-pie"
which Herrick in one of his delightful verses thus defends:

     "Come guard this night the Christmas pie,
     That the thiefe, though ne'er so slie,
     With his fleshhooks, don't come nie
                           To catch it.

     "From him who all alone sits there,
     Having his eyes still in his eare,
     And a deale of nightly feare
                           To watch it."

In America, the young people are utilizing Christmas day as they do in
England, if there is no frost, to go a-hunting. Afternoon tea, under
the mistletoe in the hall of a country house, is generally taken in a
riding habit.

In most families it is a purely domestic festival; although, as the
tree has been enjoyed the night before, when Santa Claus, the great
German sprite, has held his revels, there is no reason why a grand
dinner to one's friends should not be given. And let us plead that the
turkey, our great national bird, may not be cooked by gas. He is so
much better roasted before a wood fire.

There are some difficulties in giving a Christmas dinner in a large
city, as nearly all the waiters are sure to be drunk, and the cook has
also, perhaps, been at the frumenty. Being a religious as well as a
social festival, it is apt to bring about a confusion of ideas. But,
everything else apart, it is Children's Day; it is the day when, as
Dickens says, we should remember the time when its great Founder was a
child Himself. It is especially the day for the friendless young, the
children in hospitals, the lame, the sick, the weary, the blind. No
child should be left alone on Christmas Day, for loneliness with
children means brooding. A child growing up with no child friend is
not a child at all, but a premature man or woman.

The best Christmas present to a boy is a box of tools, the best to a
girl any number of dolls. After dressing and undressing them, giving
them a bath, taking them through a fit of sickness, punishing them,
and giving them an airing in the park,--for little maidens begin to
imitate mamma at a very early age,--the next best amusement is to
manufacture a doll's house. The brother must plane the box,--an old
wine box will do,--and fit in it four compartments, each of which must
be elaborately papered. Then a "real carpet" must be nailed down and
pictures hung on the wall. These bits, framed with gold paper, usually
require mamma's help. The kitchen must be fitted up with tins, which
perhaps had better be bought, but after the _batterie de cuisine_ is
finished, then the chairs and beds should be made at home. Cardboard
boxes can be cut into excellent doll's beds. Pillows, bolsters,
mattress, sheets, pillow-cases, will keep little fingers busy for many
days.

When they get older, and can write letters, a post-office is a
delightful boon. These are to be bought, but they are far more amusing
if made at home. Any good-sized card-box will do for this purpose. The
lid should be fastened to it so that when it stands up it will open
like a door. A slit must be cut out about an inch wide, and from five
to six inches long, so as to allow the postage of small parcels, yet
not large enough even to admit the smallest hand. Children should
learn to respect the inviolate character of the post from the earliest
age.

On the door should be written the times of the post. Most children are
fond of writing letters to one another, and this will of course give
rise to a grand manufacture of note paper, envelopes, and post-cards,
and will call forth ingenuity in designing and colouring monograms and
crests, for their note paper and envelopes. An envelope must be taken
carefully to pieces, to form a flat pattern. Then those cut from it
have to be folded, gummed together, a touch of gum put on the flap
and the monogram made to correspond. It is wonderful what occupation
this gives for weeks. A paint-box should be also amongst the Christmas
gifts.

Capital scrap-books can be made by children. Old railway guides may be
the foundation, and every illustrated paper the magazine of art. A
paste-pot, next to a paint-box, is a most serviceable toy.

Children like to imitate their elders. A little boy of two years
enjoys smoking a pipe as he sees grandpapa smoke, and knocks out
imaginary ashes, as he does, against the door.

Hobby horses are profitable steeds, and can be made to go through any
amount of paces. But mechanical toys are more amusing to his elders
than to the child, who wishes to do his own mechanism. A boy can be
amused by turning him out of the house, giving him a ball or a kite,
or letting him dig in the ground for the unhappy mole. Little girls,
who must be kept in, on a rainy day, or invalid children, are very
hard to amuse and recourse must be had to story-telling, to the dear
delightful thousand and one books now written for children, of which
"Alice in Wonderland" is the flower and perfection.

For communities of children, as in asylums and schools, there is
nothing like music, songs, and marches; anything to keep them in time
and tune. It removes for a moment that institutionized look which has
so unhappy an effect.

Happy is the child who has inherited a garret full of old trunks, old
furniture, old pictures, any kind of old things. It is a precious
inheritance. Given the dramatic instinct and a garret, and a family of
quick-witted boys and girls will have amusement long after the
Christmas holidays are passed.

It would be a great amusement for weeks before Christmas, if children
were taught to make the ornaments for the tree, as is done in
economical Germany. Here the ideas of secrecy and mystery are so
associated with Santa Claus that such an idea would be rejected. But a
thing is twice as interesting if we put ourselves into it.

At Christmas time let us invoke the fairies. They, the gentry, the wee
people, the good people, are very dear to the real little wee people,
who see the fun and do not believe too much in them. The fairies who
make their homes under old trees and resort to toadstools for shelter,
and who make invisible excursions into farmhouses have afforded the
Irish nurse no end of legends. An old nurse once held a magnificent
position in the nursery because she had seen a fairy.

The Christmas green was once the home of the peace-loving wood-sprite.
Christmas evergreens and red berries make the most effective interior
decorations, their delightful fragrance, their splendid colour renders
the palace more beautiful, and the humble house attractive. Before
Twelfth Night, January 6, they must all be taken down. The festivities
of this great day were much celebrated in mediæval times, and the
picture by Rubens, "The King Drinks," recalls the splendour of these
feasts. It is called Kings' Day to commemorate the three kings of
Orient, who paid their visit to the humble manger, bringing those
first Christmas gifts of which we have any account.

The negroes from Africa, who were brought as slaves to the West Indian
Islands, always celebrate this day with queer and fetich rites. It is
in honour of the black king Melchior whom we see in the pictures "from
Afric's sunny fountains."

The Twelfth-Night cake, crowned with candles, is cut and eaten with
many ceremonies on this occasion. The universality of Christmas is its
most remarkable feature. Trace it as one will to the ancient
Saturnalia, this universality is still inexplicable. It long antedates
the Christian era. The distinctly modern customs are the giving of
gifts, and the good eating, which, if followed back, we find to have
been gluttony among the Norsemen.

To the older members of the family the day is a sad one. The little
verse at the head of the chapter recalls the fact that for every child
gone back to heaven, there is one Christingle less. But if it will
bring the rich to the poor, if it will not forget a single legend or
grace, if the holly and evergreen will breathe the sweetest and
highest significance, if we can remember that every simple festival at
Christmas which makes the hearth-stone brighter is a tribute to the
highest wisdom, if we connect Christmas and humanity, then shall we
keep it aright. For the world unlocks its heart on every Christmas Day
as it has done for eighteen Christian centuries. The cairn of
Christmas memories rises higher and higher as the dear procession of
children, those constantly arriving, precious pilgrims from the
unknown world, halts by the majestic mountain to receive gifts, giving
more than they take. For what would Christmas be without the children?



CERTAIN PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS.


The rules laid down in books of etiquette may seem preposterously
elaborate and absurd to the denizens of cities, and to those who have
had the manual of society at their fingers' ends from childhood, but
they may be like the grammar of an unknown tongue to the youth or
maiden whose life has been spent in seclusion or a rustic
neighbourhood. As it is the aim of this unpretending volume to assist
such young people, a few hints to young men coming fresh from life on
the plains, or from an Eastern or Western college, from any life which
has separated them from the society of ladies, may not be considered
impertinent.

A young man on coming into a great city, or into a new place where he
is not known, should try to bring a few letters of introduction. If he
can bring such a letter to any lady of good social position, he has
nothing further to do but deliver it, and if she takes him up and
introduces him, his social position is made. But this good fortune
cannot always be commanded. Young men often pass through a lonely life
in a great city, never finding that desired opportunity.

To some it comes through a friendship on the tennis ground, at the
clubs, or through business. If a friend says to some ladies that
Tilden is a good fellow, Tilden will be sought out and invited. It is
hardly creditable to any young man to live in a great city without
knowing the best ladies' society. He should seek to do so, and
perhaps the simplest way would be for him to ask some friend to take
him about and to introduce him. Once introduced, Tilden should be
particular not to transcend the delicate outlines of social suffrance.
He must not immediately rush into an intimacy.

A call should never be too long. A woman of the world says that one
hour is all that should be granted to a caller. This rule is a good
one for an evening visit. It is much better to have one's hostess
wishing for a longer visit than to have her sigh that you should go.
In a first visit, a gentleman should always send in his card. After
that he may dispense with that ceremony.

A gentleman, for an evening visit, should always be in evening dress,
black cloth dress-coat, waistcoat, and trousers, faultless linen and
white cravat, silk stockings, and polished low shoes. A black cravat
is permissible, but it is not full dress. He should carry a crush hat
in his hand, and a cane if he likes. For a dinner-party a white cravat
is indispensable; a man must wear it then. No jewelry of any kind is
fashionable, excepting rings. Men hide their watch chains, in evening
dress.

The hands should be especially cared for, the nails carefully cut and
trimmed. No matter how big or how red the hand is, the more masculine
the better. Women like men to look manly, as if they could drive, row,
play ball, cricket, perhaps even handle the gloves.

A gentleman's dress should be so quiet and so perfect that it will not
excite remark or attention. Thackeray used to advise that a
watering-pot should be applied to a new hat to take off the gloss. The
suspicion of being dressed up defeats an otherwise good toilet.

We will suppose that Tilden becomes sufficiently well acquainted to
be asked to join a theatre party. He must be punctual at the
rendezvous, and take as a partner whomever the hostess may assign him,
but in the East he must not offer to send a carriage; that must come
from the giver of the party. In this, Eastern and Western etiquette
are at variance, for in certain cities in the West and South a
gentleman is expected to call in a carriage, and take a young lady to
a party. To do this would be social ruin in Europe, nor is it allowed
in Boston or New York. If, however, Tilden wishes to give a theatre
party, he must furnish everything. He first asks a lady to _chaperon_
his party. He must arrange that all meet at his room, or a friend's
house. He must charter an omnibus or send carriages for the whole
party; he must buy the tickets. He is then expected to invite his
party to sup with him after the theatre, making the feast as handsome
as his means allow. This is a favourite and proper manner for a young
man to return the civilities offered him. It is indispensable that he
should have the mother of one of the young ladies present. The custom
of having such a party with only a very young _chaperon_ has fallen,
properly, into disrepute. And it seems almost unnecessary to say so,
except that the offence has been committed.

A man should never force himself into any society, or go anywhere
unasked. Of course, if he be taken by a lady, she assumes the
responsibility, and it is an understood thing that a leader of society
can take a young man anywhere. She is his sponsor.

In the early morning a young man should wear the heavy, loosely
fitting English clothes now so fashionable, but for an afternoon
promenade with a lady, or for a reception, a frock coat tightly
buttoned, gray trousers, a neat tie, and plain gold pin is very good
form. This dress is allowed at a small dinner in the country, or for a
Sunday tea.

If men are in the Adirondacks, if flannel is the only wear, there is
no dressing for dinner; but in a country house, where there are
guests, it is better to make a full evening toilet, unless the hostess
gives absolution. There should always be some change, and clean linen,
a fresh coat, fresh shoes, etc., donned even in the quiet retirement
of one's own home. Neatness, a cold bath every morning, and much
exercise in the open air are among the admirable customs of young
gentlemen of the present day. If every one of them, no matter how
busy, how hard-worked, could come home and dress for dinner, it would
be a good habit. Indeed, if all American men, like all English men,
would show this attention to their wives, society would be far more
elegant. A man always expects his wife to dress for him; why should he
not dress for her? He is then ready for evening visits, operas,
parties, theatres, wherever he may wish to go. No man should sit down
to a seven o'clock dinner unless freshly dressed.

If Tilden can afford to keep a tilbury, or a dog-cart, and fine
horses, so much the better for him. He can take a young girl to drive,
if her mamma consents; but a servant should sit behind; that is
indispensable. The livery and the whole turnout should be elegant, but
not flashy, if Tilden would succeed. As true refinement comes from
within, let him read the noble description of Thackeray:--

"What is it to be a gentleman? Is it to be honest, to be gentle, to be
generous, to be true, to be brave, to be wise, and possessing all
these qualities to exercise them in the most gentle manner? Ought a
gentleman to be a loyal son, a true husband, and honest father? Ought
his life to be decent, his bills to be paid, his tastes to be high and
elegant? Yes, a thousand times yes!"

Young men who come to a great city to live are sometimes led astray by
the success of gaudy adventurers who do not fall within the lines of
the above description, men who get on by means of enormous impudence,
self-assurance, audacity, and plausible ways. But if they have
patience and hold to the right, the gentleman will succeed, and the
adventurer will fail. No such man lasts long. Give him rope enough,
and he will soon hang himself.

It is not necessary here to refer to the etiquette of clubs. They are
self-protecting. A man soon learns their rules and limitations. A man
of honesty and character seldom gets into difficulty at his club. If
his club rejects or pronounces against him, however, it is a social
stigma which it is hard to wipe out.

A young man should lose no opportunity of improving himself. Works of
art are a fine means of instruction. He should read and study in his
leisure hours, and frequent picture galleries and museums. A young man
becomes the most agreeable of companions if he brings a keen fresh
intelligence, refined tastes, and a desire to be agreeable into
society. Success in society is like electricity,--it makes itself
felt, and yet is unseen and indescribable.

It is a nice thing if a man has some accomplishment, such as music or
elocution, and to be a good dancer is almost indispensable. Yet many a
man gets on without any of these.

It is a work-a-day world that we live in, and the whole formation of
our society betrays it. Then dress plainly, simply, and without
display. A gentleman's servants often dress better than their master,
and yet nothing is so distinctive as the dress of a gentleman. It is
as much a costume of nobility as if it were the velvet coat which Sir
Walter Raleigh threw down before Queen Elizabeth.

It may not be inappropriate here to say a word or two on minor points.
In addressing a note to a lady, whom he does not know well, Tilden
should use the third person, as follows:--

     Mr. Tilden presents his compliments to Mrs. Montgomery and
     begs to know if she and Miss Montgomery will honor him with
     their company at a theatre party in the evening of April 3d,
     at the Chestnut Street Theatre.
     R. S. V. P.                         117 South Market Place.

This note should be sealed with wax, impressed with the writer's coat
of arms or some favourite device, and delivered by a private messenger
who should wait for an answer. In addressing a letter to a gentleman,
the full title should be used,--"Walter Tilden, Esq.," or, first name
not known, "---- Tilden, Esq.," never, "Mr. Walter Tilden." If it be
an invitation, it is not etiquette to say "Mister."

In writing in the first person, Tilden must not be too familiar. He
must make no elisions or contractions, but fill out every word and
line, as if it were a pleasure.

It is urged against us by foreigners, that the manners of men toward
women partake of the freedom of the age; that they are not
sufficiently respectful. But, if careless in manner, American men are
the most chivalrous at heart.

At a ball a young man can ask a friend to present him to a lady who is
chaperoning a young girl, and through her he can be presented to the
young girl. No man should, however, introduce another man without
permission. If he is presented and asks the girl to dance, a short
walk is permitted before he returns his partner to the side of the
_chaperon_. But it is bad manners for the young couple to disappear
for a long time. No man should go into a supper-room alone, or help
himself while ladies remain unhelped.

To get on in society involves so much that can never be written down
that any manual is of course imperfect; for no one can predict who
will succeed and who will fail. Bold and arrogant people--"cheeky"
people--succeed at first, modest ones in the long run. It is a
melancholy fact that the most objectionable persons do get into
fashionable society. It is to be feared that the possession of wealth
is more desired than the possession of any other attribute; that much
is forgiven in the rich man which would be rank heresy in the poor
one.

We would not, however, advise Tilden to choose his friends from the
worldly point simply, either of fashion or wealth. He should try to
find those who are well bred, good, true, honourable, and generous.
Wherever they are, such people are always good society.

In the ranks of society we find sometimes the ideal gentleman. Society
may not have produced so good a crop as it should have done; yet its
false aims have not yet dazzled all men out of the true, the ideal
breeding. There are many clubs; but there are some admirable
Crichtons,--men who can think, read, study, work, and still be
fashionable.

A man should go through the fierce fires of social competition, and
yet not be scorched. All men have not had that fine, repressive
training, which makes our navy and army men such gentlemen. The
breeding of the young men of fashion is not what their grandfathers
would have called good. They sometimes have a severe and bored
expression when called on to give up a selfish pleasure. One asks,
"Where are their manners?"

Breeding, cultivation, manners, must start from the heart. The old
saying that it takes three generations to make a gentleman makes us
ask, How many does it take to unmake one? Some young and well-born men
seem to be undoing the work of the three generations, and to have
inherited nothing of a great ancestor but his bad manners. An American
should have the best manners. He has had nothing to crush him; he is
unacquainted with patronage, which in its way makes snobs, and no one
loves a snob, least of all the man whom the snob cultivates.

The word "gentleman" although one of the best in the language, should
not be used too much. Be a gentleman, but talk about a man. A man
avoids display and cultivates simplicity, neatness, and fitness of
things, if he is both a man and a gentleman.



COMPARATIVE MERITS OF AMERICAN AND FOREIGN MODES OF ENTERTAINING.


There is no better old saw in existence than that comparisons are
odious; they are not only odious, but they are nearly if not quite
impossible. For instance, if we compare a dinner in London with a
dinner in New York, we must say, Whose dinner? What dinner? If we
compare New York with Paris, we must say, What Paris? Shall we take
the old Catholic aristocracy of the Faubourg St. Germain, or the
upstart social spheres of the Faubourg St. Honoré and the Chaussée
d'Antin? Or shall we take _Tout Paris_, with its thousand
ramifications, with its literary and artistic salons, the _Tout Paris
mondain_, the _Tout Paris artiste_, the _Tout Paris des Premières_,
and all the rest of that heterogeneous crowd, any fragment of which
could swallow up the "four hundred," and all its works?

Shall we attempt to compare New York or Washington with London, with
its four millions, its Prince of Wales set, its old and sober
aristocracy of cultivated people, whose ideas of refinement, culture,
and of all the traditions of good society date back a thousand years?
Would it be fair, either, to attempt to say which part of this vast
congeries should be taken as the sample end, and which part of America
with its new civilization should be compared with any or all of
these?

Therefore any thoughts which follow must be merely apologized for, as
the rapid observations of a traveller, who, in seeing many countries,
has loved her own the best, and who puts down these fleeting
impressions, merely with a hope to benefit her own, even if sometimes
criticising it.

Twenty years ago, Justin McCarthy, than whom there has been no better
international critic, wrote an immortal paper called, "English and
American Women Compared." It was perhaps the most complimentary, and
we are therefore bound to say the fairest, description of our women
ever given to the world. It came at a time when the American girl was
being served up by Ouida, the American senator by Anthony Trollope,
and the American _divorcée_ by Victorien Sardou, in "L'Oncle Sam."
There was never a moment when the American needed a friend more.

In that gentle, yet pungent paper, Mr. McCarthy refers to our
extravagance, our love of display, our superficial criticisms of the
merits of English literary women, judged from the standpoint of dress,
and of a singular underlying snobbery which he observed in a few, who
wished that the days of titles and of aristocratic customs could come
back to the land where Thomas Jefferson tied his horse to the Capitol
palings, when he went up to take the Presidential oath. Since that
paper was written what a flood of prosperity has deluged the land;
what a stride has been made in all the arts of entertaining! What
houses we possess; what dinners we give!

What would Horace Walpole say, could he see the collections of some of
our really poor people, not to mention those of our billionnaires?
Should he go out to dinner in New York, the master of Strawberry Hill
and the first great collector could see more curious old furniture,
more hawthorn vases, more antique teapots, more rare silver, and more
_chiffons_ than he had ever dreamed of; he could see the power which a
young, vigorous nation possesses when it takes a kangaroo trick of
leaping backward into antiquity, or forward into strange countries,
and what it can bring home from its constant globe-trotting, in
exchange for some of its own silver and gold. He would also see the
power which art has possessed over a nation so suddenly rich that one
reads with alarm the axiom of Taine, "When a nation has reached its
highest point of prosperity, and begins to decay, then blossoms the
consummate flower of art."

We need not go so far back as Horace Walpole; it even astonishes the
collector of last year to find that he must come to New York to buy
back his Japanese bronzes, and his Capo di Monte, his Majolica and
peach-blow vase. We may say that we have the oldest of arts, that of
entertaining, wrested from the hands of the oldest of nations, and
placed almost recklessly in the hands of the youngest,--as one would
take a delicate musical instrument from the hands of a master and put
it in the hands of a child. What wonder if in the first essay some
chords are missed, some discords struck? Then we must remember that
modern life is passing, slowly but decidedly, through a great
revolution, now nearly achieved. The relation of equality is gradually
eclipsing every other,--that of inequality, where it does survive,
taking on its least noble form, as most things do in their decay. In
Europe there is still deference to title, although the real power of
feudalism was broken by Louis XI. Its shadow remains even in
republican France, where if a man has not a title he is apt to buy or
to steal one. On this side of the Atlantic there is a deference paid
to wealth, however obtained. This is a much greater strain upon
character, a more vulgar form of snobbery than the reverence for
title; for a title means that sometime, no matter how long ago, some
one lived nobly and won his spurs.

We may therefore assume that the great necromancer Prosperity, with
his wand, luxury, has suddenly placed our new nation, if not on a
footing with the old, certainly as a new knight in the field, whose
prowess deserves that he should be mentioned. Or, to change the
metaphor, we can imagine some spread-eagle orator comparing us to a
David who with his smooth stones from the brook, dug up in California
and Nevada, is giving all modern Goliaths a crack in the forehead.
When we come to make a comparison, however, let us narrow this down to
the giving of a dinner in London, in distinction to giving a dinner in
any city in America, and see what our giant can do.

London possesses a regular system of society, a social citadel, around
which rally those whose birth, title, and character are all
well-known. It is conscious of an identity of interest, which compacts
its members, with the force of cement, into a single corporation.

The queen and her drawing-room, the Prince of Wales and his set, the
royal family, the nobility and gentry, what is called the aristocracy
form a core to this apple, and this central idea goes through all its
juices.

Think what it must mean to a man to read that he is descended from
Harry Hotspur, Bolingbroke, Clarendon, Sidney, Spenser, Cecil. Imagine
what it must have been to have known the men who daily gathered around
the tables of the famous dinner-givers. Imagine what the dinners at
Holland House were, and then compare such a dinner with one which any
American could give. And yet, improbable as it may seem, the American
dinner might be the more amusing. The American dinner would have far
more flowers; it would be in a brighter room; it would be more
"talky," perhaps,--but it could not be so well worth going to. In
England, in the greater as well as in the simpler houses, there is a
respect for intellect, for intelligence, that we have not. It is the
fashion to invite the man or the woman who has done something to meet
the most worshipful company, and the young countess just beginning to
entertain would receive from her grandmother, who entertained Lord
Byron, this advice, "My dear, always have a literary man, or an artist
in your set."

The humblest literary man who has done anything well is immediately
sought out and is asked to dinner; and the artist of merit, in music,
painting, architecture, literature, is sure of recognition in London.
One is almost always sure to see, at a grand dinner in London, some
quiet elderly woman, who receives the attention of the most
distinguished guests, and one learns that she is Mrs. So-and-So, who
has written a story, or a few hymns.

In this respect for the best part of us, our brains, the London
dinner-giver has shown his thousand years of civilization; he is
playing the harp like a master.

To return for a moment to the criticism of Justin McCarthy. He says in
it, that while he admired the American taste in dress, he could not
admire a certain confusion of mind, by which an otherwise kindly and
well-informed American woman misjudged a person who preferred to go
plain, or shabby, if you will. In fact, he stood up for the right
which every English woman will claim as her own, "to be dowdy," if she
will. The Queen has taught her this. While the Princess of Wales, the
younger daughters of the Queen, and much of the fashion of London
dresses itself in Paris, and is consequently very smart, there is
still a class who look down on clothes and consider them a small
matter. Perhaps that is the reason why such stringent regulations are
laid down for the court dress.

Magnificent, stately, and well-ordered, are the dinners of London,--a
countess at the head of the table, a footman behind each chair, in
great houses a very fine dinner, and splendid pieces of plate, some
old china, pictures on the wall from the pencils of Rembrandt, Rubens,
Van Dyck, Gainsborough, and Sir Joshua. Sweet, low-voiced, and
well-bred are the women, with beautiful necks, and shoulders, and fine
heads. The men are they who are doing the work of the world in the
House of Lords, the House of Commons, in India, in Egypt, in the
Soudan; there is a multiplicity of topics of conversation. No English
stiffness exists at the dinner, and there is always present some
literary man or woman, some famous artist as the _pièce de
resistance_; such are the dinners of London.

The luncheons are simpler, and here one is sure to meet men advanced
in thought, and women of ideas, and there is no question as to the
rent-roll. Wealth has absolutely nothing to do with society success in
London.

We might mention many a literary and artistic _salon_, over which
charming and fascinating, young and fashionable women preside with the
mingled grace, which adds a beauty and a meaning to Emerson's famous
_mot_ that "fashion is funded politeness." We might mention many a
literary or artistic man or woman of London, who is the favoured
friend of these great ladies, who would, if an American, never be
asked to a luncheon at Newport, or admitted to a ball at Delmonico's,
because he was not fashionable. It would not occur to the gay
entertainers to think that such a person would be desirable.

Paris, as the land of the _mot_ and the epigram, has always had a
great attraction for literary people. Carlyle said of England that it
was composed of sixty millions of people, mostly fools. His own
experience as a favoured guest at Lady Ashburton's, and other great
houses, ought to have modified his decision. In America, the Carlyles
would have been called "queer," and probably left out. In England, it
is a recommendation to be "queer," original, thoughtful. In that
bubble which rises to the top, to which Mr. McAllister has given the
name "the four hundred," it is not a recommendation to be queer,
original, or thoughtful.

That some men and women of genius have commanded success in society
only proves the rule; that some people of fashion have become writers,
and painters, and poets, and have still kept their foothold, is only
the exception.

Charles Astor Bristed, born to fortune and fashion, declared that what
he gained in prestige in England by becoming an author, he lost in
America. What woman of fashion goes out of her way to find the man of
letters who writes the striking editorials in a morning paper in New
York? In London, a dozen coroneted notes await such a lucky fellow.
Perhaps the most curious instance of the awkward handling of that rare
and valuable instrument, which we call the art of entertaining in
America, is the deliberate ignoring of the best element of a dinner
party,--the hitherto unknown, or the well-known man of brains. This
distinguishes our entertaining from that of foreigners.

The best society we have in America is that at Washington; the
President's house is the palace. He and his ministers, and the judges
of the Supreme Court, the officers of the army and navy, are our
aristocracy,--a simple, unpretending one, but as real in its social
laws and organization as any in the world. And there intellect reigns.
The dinners at Washington, having a kind of precedence, reinforced by
intelligence, independent of wealth, and regardless of the arbitrary
rules of a self-elected leadership, are the most agreeable in this
country, if not in the world. We have said there are many sorts of
Paris, and so there are many sorts of America. It must not be supposed
that clever people do not get together, and that there are not dinners
of the brightest and the best. Outside the "four hundred" there is a
group of fifty thousand or more, who have travelled, thought, and
read, experienced, and learned how to give a good dinner,--a witty
dinner.

I use the term "four hundred" as a convenient alias for that for which
Americans have no other name; that is, the particular reigning set in
every city, every small village. In Paris, republic as it is, there is
still a very decided aristocracy. There is the Duchesse Rochefaucauld
Bisaccia, and the eccentric Duchesse d'Uzes, and so on, who are
decidedly the four hundred. There are the very wealthy Jews, like the
Rothschilds, who are much to be commended for their recognition of the
supremacy of art and letters. They have become the protectors of these
classes commercially, and their intelligent wives have made their
_salons_ delightful, by bringing in men of culture and talent. On
Sundays the Comtesse Potocka, who wears the best pearls in Paris,
tries to revive the traditions of the Hotel Rambouillet, in her
beautiful hôtel in the Avenue Friedland. Her guests are De Maupassant,
Ratisbonne, Coquelin, the painter Bérand, and other men of wit. The
Baroness de Poilly has a tendency to refine Bohemianism and is an
indefatigable pleasure seeker. The only people she will not receive
are the financiers and the heavy-witted. The Comtesse de Beaumont says
that the key to her house is "wit and intellect without regard to
party, caste, or school." Carolus Duran, Alphonse Daudet, the
painters, whoever is at the head of music, literature, or the dramatic
art, is welcomed there.

The princes of the House of Orléans, are most prominent in their
attentions to people of talent. The Princesse Mathilde has a house in
the Rue de Berri full of exquisite pictures by the old masters, and a
few of the modern school. Her _salon_ is a model of comfort and
refined elegance, and at her Sunday receptions, where one meets the
world, are men distinguished in diplomacy, art, and letters.

But what simple dinners, as to meat and drink, do any of these great
people give, compared to the dinners which are given constantly in New
York,--dinners which are banquets, but to which the young
_littérateur_ or painter would not be invited! That is to say, in
London and in Paris the fashionable woman who would make her party
more fashionable, courts the literary and artistic guild; as a guild,
the fashionable woman in America does not court them.

It may be said that this is an unfair presentation of the case,
because in London there may be patronage on one side, while in America
there is perfect equality, and the literary man is a greater
aristocrat than the fashionable woman who gives the party. This is in
one sense true, for the professions have all the honour here. The
journalists are often the men who give the party. The witty lawyer is
the most honoured guest everywhere; so are certain _littérateurs_.

People who have become rich suddenly, who wish to be leaders, to have
gay, young, well-dressed guests at their dinners, do not desire the
company of any but their own kind. Yet they try to emulate the dinners
of London, and are surprised when some English critic finds their
entertainments dull, flat, and unprofitable, overloaded and vulgar.
The same young, gay, rich dancing set in London would have asked
Robert Browning to the dinner, merely as a matter of fashion. And it
is this fashion which is commendable. It improves society.

The social recognition of the dramatic profession is not here what it
is in England or France. There is no Lady Burdett Coutts to take Mr.
Irving off on her yacht. No actor here has the social position which
Mr. Irving has in London. Who ever heard of society running after Mr.
John Gilbert, one of the most respectable men of his profession, as
well as a consummate actor?

In London, duchesses and countesses run after Mr. Toole; he is a
darling of society. Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft have done much to help their
profession and themselves by taking the initiative, and giving
delightful little evenings. But it is vastly more common, to see many
of the leading actors and actresses in society in London than in New
York. Indeed, it is the custom abroad to ask, "what has he done, what
can he do?" rather than, "how much is he worth?" The actor is valued
for what he is doing. Perhaps our system of equality is somewhat to
blame for this, and the woman of fashion may wait for the dramatic
artist to take the initiative and call on her. But we know that any
one who should urge this would be talking nonsense. In our system of
entertaining in a gay city, it is the richest who reigns, and although
there are some people who can still boast a grandfather, it is the
new-comer who is the arbiter of fashion. Such a person could, in
London or Paris or Rome, merely as a fashionable fad, invite the
artist or the writer to make her party complete. In America she would
not do it, unless the man of genius were a lion, a foreigner, a
novelty. Then she would do so, and perhaps run after him too much.

And now, as we have been treating of a very small, unimportant, and to
the great American world, unknown quantity, the reigning set in any
city, let us look at the matter from within. Have we individually
considered the merits of the festive plenty which crowns our table,
relatively to the selection of the company which is gathered around
it?

Have we in any of our cities those _déjeuners d'esprit_, as in Paris,
where certain witty women invite other witty women to come and talk of
the last new novel? Have we counted on that possible Utopia where men
and women meet and talk, to contribute of their best thought to the
entertaining? Have we many houses to which we are asked to a banquet
of wit? Are there many opulent people who can say, The key to my house
is wit and intellect, and character, without regard to party, caste or
school? If such a house can be found, its owner has, all other things
being equal, conquered the art of entertaining.

Now, all people of talent are not personages of society. To be that,
one must have good manners, know how to dress one's self and respect
the usages of society. We should not like to meet Dr. Johnson at a
ball, but it is very rare to find people nowadays, however learned,
however retired, however gifted, who have discarded as he did, the
decencies of deportment. The far greater evil of depriving society of
its backbone should be balanced against this lesser danger.

There are literary and artistic and academic _salons_ in Paris, which
are the most interesting places to the foreigner, which might be
copied in every university town of America, to the infinite advantage
of society. A fashionable young woman of Paris never misses these, or
the lectures, or her Thursday at the Comédie Française where she hears
the classic plays of Molière and even Shakspeare. It makes her a very
agreeable talker, although her culture may not be very deep. She is
not a bit less particular as to the number of buttons on her gloves,
or the becomingness of her dress, because she has given a few hours to
her mental development. In America, we have thoughtful women, gifted
women, brilliant women, but we rarely have the combination which we
see in France, of all this with fashion.

When this young and fashionable hostess gives a dinner, or an evening,
she invites Coquelin and some of his witty compeers, and she talks
over Molière with the men who understand him best.

It is possible that French _littérateurs_ care more for society than
their American brothers. They go into it more, and at splendid dinners
in Paris I remember the writers for the "Figaro," as most desirable
guests. The presence of members of the French Academy, for instance,
is much courted, and as feminine influence plays a considerable _rôle_
in the Academy elections, it is advisable for playwrights, novelists,
and aspiring writers generally to cultivate influential relations with
a view to the future. However this may be, literature and art are more
highly honoured socially in Paris than in America, and men of letters
lead a very joyous existence, dining and being dined, and making a
dinner delightfully brilliant.

The artists of Paris have become such magnates, living in sumptuous
houses and giving splendid fêtes, that it is hardly possible to speak
of their being left out; they are mostly agreeable men,--Carolus Duran
and Bonnat especially. But painters, especially portrait painters, are
always favourites in all fashionable society.

The French women talk much about being in the "movement" which to the
American ear may be translated the "swim." They follow every picture
exhibition, can quote from the "Figaro" what is going on, they
criticise the last play, the last new novel, they do much hard work,
but they seek out and honour the man of brains, known or unknown, who
has made a fine play or novel.

Every woman in America may take a lesson in entertaining from the old
world, and strive to combine this respect for both conditions, the
luxury which feeds, and the brain which illuminates. A house should be
at once a pleasure and a force,--a force to sustain the struggling, as
well as a pleasure to the prosperous.

A merely sumptuous buffet, a check sent to Delmonico for a "heavy
feed" does not master that great art, which has illuminated the
noblest chapters in the history of our race, and led to the most
complete improvement in the continuous development of mankind. Without
each other we become savages, with the conquering of the art of
entertaining we reach the highest triumphs of civilization.

It is a progressive art, while those that we have worshipped stand
still. No architect of our day, even when revealing the inner conceit
which cynics say possesses all minds, would hope to surpass the
builders of the Parthenon, no carver of marble hopes to reach Phidias,
no painter dares to measure his brush with Raphael, Titian, or
Velasquez. "In Asia art has been declining for ages; the Moor of Fez
would hardly recognize what his race did in Granada; the Indian
Mussulman gazes at the Pearl Mosque as if the genii had built it; the
Persians buy their own old carpets; and the Japanese confess, with a
sigh, that their own old ceramic work cannot be equalled now." In all
art there is "despair of advance," except in the art of entertaining.

That is always new and always progressive; there is no end to the
originality which may be brought to bear upon it. This rule should be
constantly enforced. A hostess must take pains and trouble to give her
house a colour, an originality, and a type of its own. She must put
brains into her entertaining.

We have begun this little book, somewhat bumptiously perhaps, with an
account of our physical resources. Let us pursue the same strain as to
our mental wealth. We have not only witty after-dinner speakers--in
that, let no country hope to rival us--amongst our lawyers,
journalists, and literary men, but we have our clergy. It would be
difficult to find any hamlet in the United States where there is not
one agreeable clergyman, more often three or four.

The best addition to a company is an accomplished divine, who knows
that his mission is for two worlds. He need not be any the less the
ambassador to the next, of which we know so little, because he is a
pleasant resident and improver of this world, of which many of us feel
that we know quite enough. The position of a popular clergyman is a
peculiar and a dangerous one, for he is expected to be merry with one,
and sad with another, at all hours of the day. Next to the doctor, we
confide in him, and the call on his sympathies might well make a man
doubtful whether any of his emotions are his own.

But the scholarship, the communing with high ideas, the relationship
to his flock, all tend to the formation of that type of man which we
call the agreeable, and America is extremely rich in this eminent aid
to the art of entertaining. As a Roman Catholic bishop once observed,
"As a part of my duty, I must make myself agreeable in society;" and
so must every clergyman.

And to say truth, we have few examples of a disagreeable clergyman.
While his cloth surrounds him with reverence and respect, his fertile
brain, ready wit, and cheerful co-operation in the pleasure of the
moment, will be like a finer education and a purifying atmosphere.
From the days of Chrysostom to Sydney Smith the clergy should be known
as the golden-mouthed. The American mind, brilliant, rapid, and clear,
the American speech, voluble, ready, and replete, the talent for
repartee, rapier-like with so many of our orators, and the quick wit
which seems to be born of our oxygen, all this, added to the
remarkable beauty and tact of our women, of which all the world is
talking, and which the young aristocrats of the old world seem to be
quite willing to appropriate, makes splendid provision for a dinner, a
reception, an afternoon tea, or a ball.

We sometimes hear complaints of the insufficiency of society, and that
our best men will not go into it. If there is such an insufficiency,
it is because we have too much sufficiency, we are struggling with the
overplus, often as great an embarrassment as the too little. It is
somebody's fault if we have not learned to play on this "harp of a
thousand strings."

We need not heed the criticism of the world, snobbishly; we are a
great nation, and can afford to make our own laws. But we should ask
of ourselves the question, whether or not we are too lavish, too fond
of display, too much given to overfeeding, too fond of dress, too much
concerned with the outside of things; we should take the best ideas of
all nations in regard to the progressive art, the art of entertaining.



            *       *       *       *       *



Transcriber's note:

  Inconsistent hyphenation, diacritical marks and spelling in the
  original document have been preserved. Obvious typographical
  errors have been corrected.

  The quote starting on page 13, "Viticulture in Algeria", does not
  have an ending quote mark.

  On page 117, "spatch-cooked" should possibly be "spatch-cocked".

  On page 160, "gormandize" should possibly be "gourmandize".

  The chapter starting on page 176 is called "Receipts" in the Contents
  and "Recipes" in the text.

  On page 193, "gargonzala" should possibly be "gorgonzola".

  On page 310, "boaston" should possibly be "boston".





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