The Feast

At dinner today, at Mr.—, the second dish consisted of thin slices of two sorts of fish, literally raw. It seemed to be regarded as a rare delicacy, but I could not stretch my politeness enough to do justice to it. The dinner, otherwise, was excellent. You know the old man who made the ‘Bubbles from the Brunens,’ feelingly describes his consternation at the never-ending courses of a German public table; but he does not mention two-thirds of the dishes I have tasted at a single sitting. The feast commences, all the world over, with soup; then comes the dry soup-meat, ‘which a Grosvenor Square cat would not touch with his whiskers!’ but which is nevertheless rendered quite palatable by a highly seasoned gravy; the, cutlets, omelets, and messes of various sorts; followed by poultry, wild fowls, beef, etc.; fifthly, pudding, which with us is a sign that the meat is disposed of; but lo! ‘sixthly and lastly’ comes a huge quarter of veal, roast chickens, young lobsters, salad, etc.; seventhly, tarts and confectionary; ‘and, to conclude, a dessert of prunes, grapes, peaches, cakes, etc., the whole capped by sundery nibbles at a fair, round cheese, or peradventure, as today, with coffee, in Lilliputian cupts, which I took for baby’s play-things. Verily, one has a chance of finding something to his taste in this variety.

Random Passages, No. 6, 1837

September 9, 2014