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“I'm not saying he's worse than “Of course you are right: I am a others, and I'm not saying he's better,” stranger, and you have no particular said Mr. North slowly. “I could have reason to place confidence in me, exwished Christina had. married a man I cept that you knew my father; but I knew and could have trusted. I don't hope you don't want us to wait. It is say I don't trust you, sir, but you're done now, you know, and I hope you young, and you're a stranger, and won't consider that waiting is any Christina there has as much prudence good. I must go up to see these as a baby, and wouldn't believe a tiger lawyers, and then of course I will do was treacherous till he had torn her in anything you like in the way of settlepieces ; but what's the use of standing ments. out? I said I wasn't going to stand out, “It isn't the settlements," said Mr. and I'll stick to it. Christina has North, perversely ; “it all looks very chosen for herself, and you have chosen pretty-I know it always does when for yourself, and I believe the name and people are young—and I'm not saying the thought of the old place went anything special against you; but I against you at first; but there ! I don't have seen enough of it in my time to take much account of that now, and I last my life. There's Mary-well, it was have not got anything more to say all a bright look-out for her once, and against you than that you are a stranger what did it come to ? And there was to me.”

my poor Margaret-married nine months “But time will do something for me and left a widow ; and if it's going to there,” said Walter. He was not angry, be like that with Christina—well, I but, on the contrary, rather honoured suppose I can't prevent it, only I'd the old man for his open speaking. sooner it was after I am dead, and out

“It may or it may not," said Mr. of the way of seeing it." North. “I am old, and I don't under- “But it won't be like that, will it, stand present fashions, nor the young Christina ? ” said Captain Cleasby, men now-a-days and their goings on. softly. There's a great deal I don't understand “I can't hear what you say, nor can't and don't want to understand. You've see you either,” said Mr. North, disgot the thing that matters most to me contentedly. “For the matter of that, I now in this world : keep her what she have said yes, and may have done with is now, with all her faith in truth and it; but I am quicker at forgetting than constancy and happiness unshaken; at remembering now, and I don't supand then I'll say God bless you, and pose I should know you if I was to thank you too."

meet you in the street." Captain Cleasby's attention had wan- Captain Cleas by turned to the chimdered a little during the first part of ney-piece, struck a match, and lighted Mr. North's speech, and he had been one of the tall candles which stood upon looking at Christina, who still sat with it, took it in his hand, and held it so her hand in the old man's. He re- that the light fell full upon his face as membered how he had seen her first in he stood before Mr. North, composed the same oak parlour by the flickering and grave, whilst the old man's eager light of the fire, as he saw her at this eyes looked him all over. It was a moment, only now her startled curious refined and distinguished face: the look had given place to one of expression, although not distinctively thoughtful happiness, and the smile frank, had nothing to make you doubt which had hovered around her mouth its truth; the grey eyes looked straight was banished only by the solemnity of before them, and the delicate lines of her grandfather's words. But as Mr. the mouth had a determined look about North ended, Captain Cleasby withdrew them which gave a manliness to the his eyes from her and came a little face it might otherwise have lacked, for forward.

it was wanting in broad outlines and “I will do my best, sir,” he said. marked features, and gave you rather

the impression of a pencil sketch than of too keen, and her regrets too oppressive, a finished drawing. But as he stood to allow her to answer him lightly or there quietly with the strong light upon indifferently. him, there was something so indepen- “Don't,” she said; “please don't. dent and unfearing, and yet so courteous Don't talk about it. I think happiness and deferential in his manner, and in makes one feel what one has done wrong the mode he had chosen of dissipating more : when I was so unhappy, it didn't the old man's suspicions, that the cloud seem as if it mattered so much.” cleared from Mr. North's forehead, and “Don't make yourself unhappy about he held out his hand to him with a it now, then. After all, it did me, or cordiality which had as yet had no place might have done me, more harm than in his conduct.

anyone else. I don't consider that “I believe I wronged you. I wronged Warde has half-no, not a quarter as you, I daresay; but things have gone much to forgive as I have; if I can badly with me of late, and Christina give you absolution, I am sure he may. here is about the only thing that re- Only, you understand, that it is a little mains to me, and she had disappointed fault which must not be repeated.” me. She should have known her own Of course he could not know how mind sooner; but we won't say any more much real ground for misery and reabout that. I don't say but it may morse there had been. He had been turn out better than I should have more moved than he chose to show by thought.”

Mr. North's fears and reluctance to part “I think so," said Captain Cleasby. with his grand-daughter, and it was a He was not a man to make protestations. sort of reaction from the mood of the “ Won't you believe that, as Christina last half-hour which made him now says, we are going to be good and disposed to get rid of his unusual sense happy ?"

of responsibility and gravity by talking Then for the first time Mr. North lightly. But Christina was disturbed saw the peculiar charm of his smile, and that he should speak carelessly of what he was conquered.

had touched her so deeply. “You may, you may-I trust you “It hurts me to think of it," she may," he said, rather tremulously, and said: and he saw the tears in her eyes. brushed his hand hastily across his eyes. “Forgive me!” he said, quickly ; “I He was growing weak, poor old man, ought to have thought of that. Don't and he could not talk of things that let me go away feeling that I have made excited him for long at a time without you unhappy. You know I don't blame being agitated; and soon after Captain you for a moment; we are going to Cleasby took his leave. His sister was forget all that, dearest. My life has all alone, and would be waiting dinner been an unsatisfactory one. Gusty will for him, but yet he lingered for a tell you I am not good for much, but moment at the door in the soft autumn it is too late now, isn't it? Say you twilight before he wished Christina forgive me, Christina, before I go.” good-night.

Silently she put both her hands in “What a little time ago it is !” he his, and they stood there together for a said. “Just think, Christina, only minute looking out at the dusky twiyesterday you thought you were going light, through which the stars were to marry some one else. You are very faintly shining, on across the heath and fickle, I am afraid. I am astonished at the white road to the trees of the Park, my own imprudence in trusting myself and the light beyond on the top of to you. Whom will you be going to the hill. marry to-morrow, I wonder ?

“It is a new heaven and earth to Christina thought of Bernard, and of me," he said, “since we stand in the Mr. Warde, and her self-reproach was world together."

To be continued. No. 149.-VOL. xxy.

BB

LONDON DINNERS.

MANKIND has been divided into “those who live to eat," and those “ who eat to live." In a very clever Dutch novel called the “Burgomaster's Family," which has just been charmingly translated by Sir John Shaw Lefevre, the Burgomaster is described as belonging to the first category : “He had one idol which he worshipped with all his heart and soul, and on whose altar he would in case of necessity have sacrificed everything belonging to him.” “What a good dinner was to Burgomaster Welters no words can tell ; it was the realization of all his dreams and wishes." No doubt such people exist, but there is surely a third and a very numerous class who, though preferring good cooking to bad, yet consider eating as a mere adjunct to the real pleasure of society, and look upon the actual dinner as very secondary in importance to the enjoy ment of the agreeable qualities of those assembled to eat it.

Much has been written about cookery, much about gastronomy in general, and much about the various domestic arrangements connected with eating and drinking, and especially with the important meal of the day. But I do not recollect meeting with anything in print which fully enters into the question of London Dinners, considered in their bearing upon social intercourse in its most agreeable form, as well as with reference to their gastronomic excellence; and yet few of those who have been in the habit of dining out in London, during the last twenty-five or thirty years, can fail to remember with extreme pleasure those dinner-parties in London where they have met Sydney Smith, Macaulay, Milman, Quin, Charles Vil liers, Strzelecki, B. Osborn, A. Hayward, and a host of others who have kept up a lively conversation with a degree of wit and spirit which has resulted in the greatest intellectual enjoyment, and with

an amount of gaiety which is the most wholesome relaxation after the fatigues of the day, whilst at the same time the gastronomic part of the entertainment has been perfectly well maintained.

I think it was in the year 1835 that a Mr. Walker, a well-known London police magistrate, published a series of periodical papers called “The Original," devoted to “The Arts of Dining and giving Dinners,” “The Art of Travelling, and the Art of attaining High Health.” They were amusing, but Mr. Walker appeared to be a sort of social cynic,-he liked society mainly so far as it contributed to his own personal enjoyment; for, though he says that he considers eight as the number for a dinner-party, I believe he would have been quite satisfied with a party of two, or even to have dined by himself, provided he was at that time in the enjoyment of perfect health, and provided the dinner was served up according to his own somewhat peculiar notions.

Mr. Hayward's book on dining is open to no such criticism, but those who have read his article on this subject as it appeared in the Quarterly Review many years since, or in its subsequent republication by Murray, will not find fault with me, I think, for inviting a little further consideration as to the best mode of arranging private dinner-parties in London.

In so doing, I entirely exclude public dinners, which are for specific purposes, and which require to be conducted on different principles from ordinary entertainments; these remarks apply entirely to dinners at private houses, especially during the scrambling months succeeding Easter. Previous to Easter, London society is almost perfect; for the same materials, intellectual and gastronomic, are attainable, while they are brought together in a less formal way than is possible later in the year. After

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Easter the state of affairs is quite altered. A three weeks' invitation is not considered too long to secure a pleasant party, or, what by many is considered a synonymous term, a large party. A room thirty feet by twenty is supposed to be large enough to hold twenty or twenty-four guests in comfort. Dinner begins about half past eight, and does not end till half-past ten, the party being too numerous for anything like general conversation during dinner; carriages are announced, and the guests hurry away, without having had the opportunity of exchanging a dozen words with any but the couple right and left of them at the table. The great fault of these so-called entertainments is that the party is too large (and consequently the room too hot) and the dinner too long. Can these assertions be contradicted ? and if not, may it not be worth while to consider whether some reform might not be advantageously introduced ? It is not in the power of every one to command wit or great social qualifications, but it must certainly be for the general advantage of society to give facilities to all for displaying whatever powers they possess, and it may be as well to begin by pointing out the disadvantages of the present arrangements.

It is not necessary to discuss the art of cookery, or to enter into details respect ing the arrangements of the cuisine. As good cooks may be found in England as in any part of Europe, and the cost of a dinner must of course be regulated by the taste and the purse of the host, though there is no greater mistake than to suppose that the most expensivedinner is necessarily the best. Good wine is indispensable, but the quantity consumed is in general too small to make it a formidable item of expense, and, with the exception of a few sorts of fruit, all articles of consumption are best where they are the most plentiful and consequently cheapest. There are certain large houses and establishments which seem to require large parties or banquets; but as a rule in London houses, fourteen, or at the utmost sixteen, are as many as can be well accom

modated, and it is not easy to enjoy general conversation with a larger number. If invitations are given for a quarter before eight, it is generally understood that eight is the hour intended ; after that time ten minutes or a quarter of an hour is enough law to give for accidental delays. To keep a whole party waiting, because one or two ladies or gentlemen will not take the trouble to dress in time, is a very questionable act of politeness. It used to be said of two distinguished brothers who were habitually unpunctual, that if one was asked to dine at seven on Tuesday, the other came at eight on Wednesday; but such eccentricities can only be pardoned in men whose minds are so absorbed by public business as to make them forgetful of the courtesies of society.

In this country, where people do not converse freely with each other without an introduction, any foreigner should be specially introduced by host or hostess ; and the only good reason which can be given for not doing the same to every guest, is that in our vast London society, those may be inadvertently asked together, who have been trying to avoid each other all their lives, and then an introduction becomes awkward. A little arrangement is of course necessary as to sending down the right ladies and gentlemen together, and also as to seating them properly at table, so that husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, &c., are not placed next to each other; and for want of this previous forethought the best assorted parties are sometimes quite spoiled. Having begun with the assumption that parties of fourteen or sixteen are best suited for the size of ordinary London dining-rooms, as well as for conversation, the number of attendants upon such a party must of course be regulated by the fortune of the entertainer; but to ensure perfect attendance, one servant to every three guests is about the necessary number. Much of general comfort, and more of mental activity than is generally supposed, depends upon the temperature and ventilation of a room. With the Salade. Asperges en branche. Pain de groseilles à l'allemande.

13.

'Mousse au café.

For 22 PERSONS.

Diner du 8 Mai, 1871.
Consommé de volaille à la D'Orléans.

Petits pâtés.
Truites saumonée, sauce hollandaise.

Filets de beuf à la Jardinière.
Suprêmes de volaille à l'écarlate.

Côtelettes de foies gras en bellevue. Poulets nouveaux, perdreaux et cailles rôtis.

Salade.
Haricot verts à l'Anglaise.
Plum puddings, sauce John Bull.

Glaces à l'écossaise.

thermometer at 62°, conversation may flow easily, and wits may be at their brightest and sharpest; but raise the temperature to 75° or 80°, and the most elastic spirits become subdued, the most brilliant genius subsides into mediocrity. I am always tempted to ask, when I hear that some wit “was not himself last night," what was the state of the thermometer? No dinner should last more than an hour and a quarter, or at longest an hour and a half; if it does, a pleasure becomes a pain. There is no country in Europe, I believe, where so much time is spent at the dinner table as in England, and this is owing to the greater number of dishes which we think necessary. I have on this point consulted a lady friend in Russia, whose table there is considered as well and plentifully supplied as that of anyone at the Court, and her answer is as follows :

- “St. PETERSBURG, June 17, 1871. "1 send you menus of our own three last dinners, which are very good specimens. The one for twenty-two was got up in a hurry for Marshal Conte Berg and other Government generals, only here for a few days; otherwise two soups, one clear and one purée, would have been better: it is the very largest dinner as to dishes ever given here. The dinners in Berlin, at the King's and Crown Princess's, I remember, were even smaller. Sometimes at very State dinners a Punch à la Romaine is put in between the cold entrée and the rôts; that is all. Of course beyond twelve or four teen there are doubles and trebles of each dish handed round at the same time, and each dish comes in separately and is quite done with before another comes. The dessert and flowers are on the table. It is thought a very badly served dinner if it takes more than 1 or 14 hour. The dessert is then handed round, each dish, and the plates changed for each dish ; then the finger-glasses and water put down on a plate each, which is the signal for the end. The serving of the dessert is included in the time I have named. It would be a most happy revolution in London if you could bring it about. Here they wait very dexterously, and no one is ever forgotten in handing a dish as each goes regularly round.”

FOR 14 Persons.

Diner du 16 Mai, 1871.
Consommé de gibier aux quenelles.

Petits pâtés.
Truites de gatchina, sauce hollandaise.

Selle de mouton à l'Anglaise.
Filets de perdreaux à la Périgueux.
Poulets nouveaux gélinottes et grins rôtis.

For 12 Persons.

Diner du 5 Juin, 1871.
Consommé de volaille aux quenelles.

Petits pâtés.
Saumon, sauce hollandaise.
Filet de beuf à la Jardinière.
Suprême de perdreaux aux truffes.
Poularde et gibier rôtis.

Salade.
Asperges en branche.

Gâteau Moka.

Glace aux framboises. A letter, dated 5th May, 1871, from a friend in Copenhagen, an excellent authority on even more important affairs than dinners. is much to the same effect-I enclose a couple of menus such as you ask for. One is of a dinner at our Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the other at Count Moltke's. I do not myself approve of putting down the wines on a bill of fare, as it savours too much of the restaurant. I never do, and my dinners, I think I may say, are considered the best given here, or certainly amongst the best. I had a very formidable rival in the Russian Minister, who had positively a genius for house decoration, but he is no longer here." I insert the Copenhagen menus :

JEUDI LE 12 JANVIER, 1871. St. Péray. Huîtres fraiches. Chât. Léoville. Consommé aux quenelles

de volaille. Sherry impérial. Diablotins à la parisienne.

Filet de boeuf truffé à la

Périgueux.

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