Page images

Bank; but they were soon multiplied in all directions. In the course of the same year they were assured of a place in French history; for during the revolution of July, the people fighting in the streets of Paris made an extensive use of them in forming their barricades against the King's troops.

According to the laudable custom of our Londoners, who shorten every word they can, Omnibus has been already reduced to Buss.


IN Taylor the Water-poet's time, an angel was a lawyer's fee. See his Sculler, epigr. 21. “My lawyer said the case was plain for me, The Angell told him, so he took for fee;

But yet my Angell and my Lawyer lied,
For at my judgement I was damnified.”



THERE has lately been a great deal of good writing on that important subject “the Table;” and a leading review,” throwing aside its Greek, its orthodoxy, and politics, has found room for the insertion of certain gastronomic articles which cannot be too much commended. We look upon this as a good sign of the times, and feel quite confident the reviewers will gain more converts by teaching his Majesty's lieges how to enjoy themselves, than by inciting them to quarrel and fight with one another about matters which can never be half so intelligible, or a tenth part so valuable, as a good dinner. The recent harvest made by our contemporaries has not so cropped and laid bare this vast field, but that there still remains abundant room for gleaning. We shall therefore proceed to pick up a few ears of corn, and tie them together, just as we find them scattered in our books and our memory. The Count du Broussin.-Most of the later writers on this great subject seem to have forgotten the Count du Broussin, who was, however, a very distinguished man in his day, and one of the great improvers of la cuisine Française. The count was accustomed to boast that he had acquired the fulness of culinary science, and yet he every day made some new discovery in the province of good eating. As an experimentalist he was indefatigable, devoting as much time and toil to find out a new dish as the alchymists did to discover the immortal elixir or the philosopher's stone. He could so disguise the natural taste of fish, flesh, and fowl that nobody could tell what he was eating. Whenever he had produced a new combination of sauces, or made any other lucky hit in gastronomy, he invited the friends of whose taste he had the highest opinion, to deliberate and pass judgment on the dish ; and this was done with more solemnity, and with much more sincerity, than people felt in criticising an epic poem or a new tragedy. With the count, the word goût, or taste, had only its single, original, and physical meaning; and he esteemed men according to the delicacy and discrimination of their palates. His favourites were the Duke de Lesdiguières and the Count d'Olonne, who were critical and erudite in the science of cooking. When he had to give what he called a repas d’érudition (a learned dinner) to the duke and count, he was up by four o'clock in the morning, directing, ordering, counter-ordering, feeling, seeing, smelling, and tasting; now puzzling himself as to the precise seasoning for a soup, and now racking his invention to produce a new goût in an entremets. Like most good eaters, he was a good-natured man; but woe unto the chef, garçon de cuisine, or other servant, that neglected or disobeyed his orders on these occasions. He would storm like a madman; the least of his threats to the delinquent being to whip him, send him to the pillory, and cut off his ears. Nor did the count's cares end with the cooking of the dinner, he was equally particular as to the manner of its serving up ; and, above all things, he was anxious that the table should stand most mathematically horizontal, as he had discovered that the least deviation from the straight line,—the slightest dip on this side or that, affected the flavour and delicacy of some dishes. He was therefore to be seen with rule and line, compasses, and level in hand, setting the dinner-table on what he called its proper legs. One day, when, as we may suppose, the erudite duke and count were not present, he said solemnly to his guests, “Gentlemen, do you taste the mule's hoof in that omelette aux champignons 2° The guests were all astonished at this apostrophe. “Poor ignorant creatures 1"

* The Quarterly.

rejoined Broussin, “must I teach you that the champignons employed in this omelette have been crushed by the foot of a mule 2 That brings champignons (mushrooms) to the last point of perfection 1" Despréaux, who tells this story, was once obliged to give the savant gourmand a dinner. The poor satirist was terrified at the idea. “You must send me a fairy,” said he, “to enable me, with my simple household, to regale you according to your superiority of taste.” “Not at all, not at all!” replied the count, “give us just what you like; we shall be satisfied with a poet's dinner.” The Duke de Vitry, and Messrs. de Barillon and de Gourville, were of the party, which went off marvellously well. As he took his leave, Broussin said with much emotion, “My dear Despréaux, you may boast of having given us a dinner without a fault.” Du Broussin was more of a gourmet than a gourmand; and here we may as well explain the delicate distinction made by the French, our masters in this science. A gourmet is one who is studious and recherché in what he eats, and who will by no means throw away his appetite on common fare : he, moreover, too highly appreciates the qualities of a good stomach ever to injure them by over-feeding. A gourmand, on the contrary, is one who cares more for quantity than quality ; who eats good things if he can get them, but always a great deal. Diners-out.—Some men again, with a taste that might do honour to a prince, are so unfortunately situated that they can only afford to pay for the dinner of a peasant. Nothing, therefore, is left for them but to dine at the expense of other people, like Monsieur Pique-assiette, in the admirable French farce of that name. But it is not every man that can gain an easy access to the tables of the givers of good dinners, or keep it when he has got it. To do this, patience, watchfulness, steadiness of purpose, complacent humour, and a variety of peculiar talents, are required. There is, however, one little rule which parasites will find useful, and that is, always to set off the savouriness of a good dish against the unsavouriness of a remark, and the smiles of a well-covered table against the frowns and sneers of the presiding Amphitryon and the rest of the company. “ The marquis calls me a fool,” said an abbé, a finished master of the art ; “but I am not such a fool as to quarrel with his pdté-de-foie gras.” A man of this humour may do a great deal in the way of dining out, particularly in some countries on the Contiment, where each wealthy family keeps a sort of open table one day in the week. Nothing more therefore is necessary to dine well every day, than to get a footing in seven houses having different feast-days; but we believe the more experienced and successful of these dinersout do not consider themselves well provided unless they have nine or ten families to count upon, which leaves them two or three as a corps de reserve, in case of sickmess, death, bankruptcy, or the like, in any of the other houses. “Our day is Thursday,” said a good dinner-giver in our hearing; “but you can't dine with us, as it is your day at the duchess's.” “ I beg your pardon,” replied the parasite, “ the duchess has got the quinsy, and my Thursdays will be disengaged for two or three weeks to come.”

« PreviousContinue »