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The Bourbon King was a dainty eater, and had profound contempt for his brother, Louis XVI., & voracions devourer of every kind of food, who, in eating, accomplished not an intellectual or rational, but simply an animal, operation
On August 10th, 1792, after the massacre of his Swiss guards and nobles, the King songht refuge with the Convention. Scarcely had the illstarred French King taken bis seat when he became hungry, and requested that something to eat might be instantly brought him.
The Queen insisted that he should not exhibit such a strange example of thoughtlessness and gluttony, but, as there was no way of bringing him to reason, a roast fowl was placed within his reach, which he at once greedily attacked without appearing to
satisfaction, which he was unable longer to conceal—
“Now," said he, “ taste the whole."
Needless to say that this last mouthful had the same success as the others. His eyes hamid with emotion, a smile wreatbing his lips,
Petit - Radel jumped up with effasive joy, and taking the gardener by both hands, with the same effusion he might have shown for an artist
"Ab! mon ami," said he, “it is perfection. I compliment you sincerely upon your skill, and from to-morrow your peaches shall be served upon the King's table.”
Louis XVIIL indulged in no illusions ; he regretted to observe the disappearance of delicate eating. “Doctor,” said be, one day, to Corvisart, "gastronomy is declining, and with it the last remains of the old civilization.”
J. RUSSELL LOWELL.
disquiet himself about the serious contingency of his own life or death then under discussion. What did it matter? He was alive. “I think, therefore I live,” said Descartes. “I live, therefore I eat,” said Louis XVI. The repast went on until not a scrap of fowl nor a morsal of bread was left. The heaviest complaints of Louis XVI. and those in his service, whilst confined in the temple, were directed against the restriction set upon his meals. Society generally models itself after the example set by the head of the State. Napoleon was not a gourmand, but he wished that every great functionary of the Empire should be one. “Keep a good table,” said he ; “spend more than your appointments; incur debts ; I will pay them.” And he did. What prevented Bonaparte from becoming a gourmand was probably the idea which constantly pursued him that he would become obese. One dish only is due to him among all his victories—the poulet à la Marengo. The historic poulet was first fried in oil, Napoleon's cook being for the moment short of butter. He drank very little wine, always Bordeaux or Burgundy; he, however, preferred the latter, and Chambertin above all other growths. After breakfast, as after dinner, he took a cup of coffee. He was irregular with his meals, ate fast and badly; but therein was perceptible that absolute will which he brought to everything ; so soon as appetite made itself felt, it must be satisfied ; and his table service was so appointed that anywhere, or at any honr, he could find a fowl, cutlets, and coffee ready. He breakfasted in his bedroom at ten o'clock, inviting almost always those who happened to be near him. Bourrienne, his secretary, during the four or five years he was with him, never saw him partake of more than two dishes at a meal. One day the Emperor asked why his table was never served with crepinettes de cochon (a ragout made of hashed meat mixed with morsals or fringes of pork). Dunand, the Emperors maitre d'hôtel, was staggered by the question, and replied: “Sire, that which is indigestible is not gastronomic.” An officer present added: “Your Majesty cannot eat crepinettes and work immediately afterward.” “Bah! bah idle tales; I shall work, for all that.” “Sire,” Dunand then said, “your Majesty shall be obeyed at breakfast to-morrow.” And next day the head maître d'hôtel of the Tuileries served up the required dish, only that the crepinettes were made with slices of partridge, a difference unperceived by the Emperor, who ate with great relish. “Your dish is excellent, and I compliment you upon it.” A month after Dunand inscribed crepinettes upon the menu, and presented them at breakfast. On that day Murat and Bessière were to breakfast at the palace, but urgent business had called them away. The déjeuner was composed of six dishes, upon which were veal cutlets, fish, fowls, game, and entremets, vegetables and boiled eggs. The Emperor had just swallowed after his wont, in a second, several spoonfuls of soup, when, hastily removing the nearest cover, he discovered his favorite dish. With contracted features he rose from his chair, at the same time pushing back the table with such violence as to overthrow all that was on it upon a magnificent Ispahan carpet; shaking his arms as he withdrew, raising his voice, and dashing the doors of his cabinet one against the other. M. Dunand stood thunderstruck and rooted to the floor, motionless and shattered like the beautiful porcelain service. What hurricane had blown over the palace 2 The carvers were trembling, the scared footman had fled,
and the bewildered maire d'hôtel at length hurried away to consult the grand marshal of the palace, and invoke his kind interposition. Duroc, in his perfect self-possession, appeared cold and haughty, but he was neither one nor the other; he listened, therefore, to the account of the scene of the breakfast. When he had heard all about it, he smiled and said to Dunand : “You do not know the Emperor; if you will take my advice, you will begin immediately to prepare his déjeuner again and the dish of crepinettes ; you had nothing to do with that smash ; some bothering business is alone the cause of it. When the Emperor has arranged it, he will ask for his breakfast. The poor maitre d'hotel hasteued to prepare the second repast. Dunand carried it as far as the door, and Roustan served it. Not seeing his zealous servant at his elbow,
Napoleon inquired what had become of him, and why he did not serve up the breakfast.
He was summoned and reappeared with a blanched visage, carrying in his trembling hands a magnificent roast fowl. The Emperor smiled graciously upon him and ate a wing of the capon and a little of the crepinettes, and afterward highly praised the déjeuner; then making a sign for Dunand to come forward, he tapped him several times on the cheek, saying with some emotion: “Monsieur Dunand, you are happier in being my maitre d'hôtel than I am in being ruler of this country.” And he finished his breakfast in silence, his countenance revealing deep mental agitation. Napoleon, when campaigning, frequently mounted on horseback early in the morning and remained in the saddle throughout the day. Care was then taken to place in one of his holsters bread and wine, and in the other a roast fowl. He generally shared his provisions with one of his officers still worse off than himself. The influence of his first Citoyen-Directeur Barras, who always ate slowly and quietly, did not make itself felt in his master's case. The “beau Barras,” at his select dinners, took particular care of the ladies. Affixed to a menu signed with his own name, there is a curious note.
“Carte Dinatoire pour la Table du Citoyen-Directeur et Général Barras le Décadi 30 Floréal. Twelve persons. “Potage aux petits oignons à la ci-devant minime. Relevé: Tronçon d’esturgeon à la broche. Entrées: Sauté de fllets de turbot a l'homme de confinance, ci devant maltre d'hôtel; anguilles à la tartare; concombres farcis a la moelle; vol-au-vent de volaille à la Béchamel; ci-devant Saint-Pierre, sauce aux capres; fllets de perdrix en anneaux. Plats de rôt: Goujons du département; carpe au court-bouillon. Entremets: CEufs à la neige; betteraves blanches, sautées au jambon; gelée au madere; beignets de creme à la fleur d'orange; lentilles à la ci-devant Reine; culs d'artichauts à la ravigote; salade de céleri en remoulade.”
The note, in Barras's hand, runs:
“Too much fish; strike out the gudgeons. The rest will do. Don't forget again to place cushions upon the chairs for the citoyennes Tallien, Talma, Beauharnais, Hainguerlot, and Mirande. For five o'clock sharp. Get the ices from Weloni. I won't have any others. BARRAs.”
Has the gallantry of Barras injured his reputation ? From the fact of the ladies having taken him under their protection, instead of the director and the general he has remained known as the elegant beau Barras. Of his corruption, of the millions he purloined from France, there can be no doubt. But how much absolution is there hidden under those words: “Place cushions upon the chairs of the citoyennes Tallien, Talma, Beauharnais, Hainguerlot and Mirande.”
Through failure of his digestive powers, the veteran gourmand was at last reduced to dining off a single dish : over a plate filled with bread, crumbled by rasping, a leg of mutton was scored into above the bread, until it became inundated with gravy. That alone formed Barras's dinner.
Amongst the last disciples of the god Gaster who were accustomed to discipline their gastronomy at the diningtables of Louis Philippe's ministers, may be mentioned such wits as Weron, Nestor Roqueplan, Vieil-Castel, Roger de Beauvoir, etc. Only the first-named among them, Dumas tells us, was rich enough or gained money enough —which came very nearly to the same thing—to make himself an eater d'ancienne roche, that is to say, a gastronome. The others took a middle course: not being rich enough to devote themselves to gastronomy, they became gourmets or gourmands. Lastly, those who gained money by fits and starts, according as a vaudeville succeeded, or they began a series of articles in a journal, became viveurs. Still, the custom of giving dinners and suppers was so far lost amongst that class of Frenchmen, the same writer records, that not on a single occasion did the idea occur to any one of those men of forming a dinner-party; and he adds, “I do not believe that even once they all met together for that purpose.”
The Wicomte de Vieil-Castel, brother of Count Horace, one of the most refined gourmets of his time, started one day, at a party composed one half of artists and the other half of men of fashion, the following proposition :
“A man can, by himself, eat a dinner costing five hundred francs.”
“Impossible l’’ was the general exclamation.
“It must be well understood,” rejoined the vicomte, * that with the word eat is comprised the word drink.”
“Parbleu !” rejoined his hearers.
“Very well I I say that a man—and when I say a man, I do not speak of a carter—I mean a gourmet, a disciple of Montron or de Courchamps—very well ! I say a gourmet, a disciple of Montron or Courchamps, can eat a dinner costing five hundred francs.”
“You, for instance 2"
“I, or any other man.”
“I will put down the five hundred francs,” said one of those present. “Now, let us thoroughly understand the conditions.”
“Nothing can be more simple to understand. I will dine at the Café de Paris, and arrange my carte as I choose, and I will eat at dinner what will cost five hundred francs.”
“Without leaving anything on plate or dish f"
“Only the bones.”
“And when shall the wager come off 2"
“To-morrow, if you like.”
“And then you will take no breakfast 7” asked one of the party.
“I shall take my usual breakfast.”
*Agreed. To-morrow, at seven o'clock, at the Café de
Paris.” After this conversation the vicomte went to dine, as was his custom, at that fashionable restaurant, and after dinner, in order not to be influenced by gnawings of the stomach, the vicomte set to work to arrange the morrow's bill of fare, The maitre d'hôtel was summoned. It was midwinter. The vicomte required plenty of fruit, and early fruit. He asked for game, but all sporting was temperarily suspended. The maitre d'hôtel requested to be allowed a week. The dinner was therefore put off. It was arranged that the umpires should dine on the right and left of the vicomte's table.
The time allowed was two hours—from seven till nine. The vicomte might talk or not as he pleased. At the hour appointed De Vieil-Castel made his appearance, bowed to the umpires, and seated himself. The bill of fare was a mystery to his adversaries; the pleasure of a surprise was reserved for them. The vicomte unfolded his napkin. Twelve dozen Ostend oysters were served up, together with half a bottle of Johannisbery. The vicomte exhibited a good appetite; he called for another dozen of Ostend oysters and another half bottle of the same cru. Next came a basin of swallow-nest-soup, which the vicomte poured into a bowl and tossed off at a draught. “Ma foi, gentlemen,” said he ; “I feel in the vein today, and have a mind to indulge in a whim.” “Do so, pardieu / You have it all your own way.” “I doat upon beefsteak and potatoes.” “Gentlemen, no observations, if you please,” said a voice. “Bahl garçon,” exclaimed the vicomte; “beefsteak and potatoes.” The garçon, astonished, stared at the vicomte. “Eh bien,” said the latter, “don’t you understand 2" “Si fail; but I thought that Monsieur le Wicomte had completed his menu.” “True, but this is an extra which I fancy, and for which I shall pay additionally.” The umpires stared at one another. The beefsteak and potatoes were brought, and duly devoured to the very last morsel. “Voyons / now for the fish.” The fish was brought. “Messieurs,” said the vicomte, “it is a ferra from the Lake of Geneva. This fish is to be found there only; but it is, however, possible to procure it. When they showed it me this morning at breakfast it was still alive. It was brought from Geneva to Paris in lake water. I can recommend ferra—it is delicious eating.” Five minutes afterward there was nothing on the plate but the backbone of the ferra. “The pheasant, garçon /" cried the vicomte. A pheasant stuffed with truffles made its appearance. “Another bottle of Bordeaux.” The bottle was uncorked. The pheasant was dispatched in ten minutes. “Monsieur,” observed the garçon, “I think you have made a mistake in asking for the stuffed pheasant before the salmis d'ortolans.” “Ah, pardieu, that's true ! By good luck it is not fixed in what order the ortolans shall be eaten, otherwise I should have lost the wager. The salmis d'ortolans, garçon." The salmis was set before him. There were ten ortolans, of which the vicomte made just ten mouthfuls. “Messieurs,” said he, “my menu is a very simple one. Now for some asparagus, young peas, a pineapple, and some strawberries. For wine, half a bottle of Constantia and half a bottle of East India sherry. After that, coffee and liqueurs, of course.” Each item came in its turn ; vegetables and fruits, all were conscientiously eaten, wines and liqueurs drained to the last drop. The vicomte had taken an hour and fourteen minutes for dinner. “Messieurs,” said he, “have matters been gone through loyally?” The umpire testified in the affirmative, “Garçon, the bill.”
The vicomte cast a glance at the sum total, and banded "Certainly." the document to the umpires. It ran as follows :
“As soon as you like."
fr. C. Ostend oysters, twenty-four dozen,
The voracity of the Vicomte de Nieil-Castel does not Swallow-nest soup
157 single him out as one of the most elegant types of the gasBeefsteak and potatoes
tronomy of the epoch, for the exploit above narrated was Ferra from the Lake of Geneva
assuredly an example of pure gluttony. Pheasant with truffles
The increase of gluttony in the gay and luxurious Salmis d'ortolans
capital, once so noted for its superlative cookery and rePeas
fined and delicate eating, is remarked by a recent sojourner Pineapple
in Paris, and by M. Abraham Dreyfus, who, in a reStrawberries
markable article, points out that it is every day becoming more difficult to secure the services of really accomplished
cooks, for the reason that first-rate chefs can always com. Johannisberg, one bottle
24 Bordeaux, grand cru, two bottles
mand much larger salaries in London, in Berlin, in Vienna, Constantia, half a bottle
and in St. Petersburg, than they can obtain in Paris. East India sherry, half a bottle
According to M. Degleré, who, next to Messieurs Jules Café, liqueurs.
Gouffé and Urban Dabois, is universally acknowledged to Total, 548 50
be the first chef in Europe, the only remedy for the evils
under which gastronomic France is suffering is the estabThe addition was verified and proved correct. The bill lishment of a national school of cookery. It is a curious was taken to the loser of the bet, who was dining in an ad fact that in other countries just now, when the haute cuijoining room. He made his appearance, bowed to the sine has so greatly declined in France, more attention to vicomte, drew from his pocket six notes of one thousand the science is being given than ever. francs each, and handed them to the winner. That was “The stomach," said that renowned gourmet, the Duke the amount of the wager.
Pasquier, “is the body's king"; and he accordingly “Oh, Monsieur,” said the vicomte, "there need be no made it the business of his life to attend to its requirehurry; perbaps, moreover, you would desire to have your ments and to humor its caprices. A gastronomical faculty revenge."
is an integral part of every civilization, and gastronomy is “Would you give it me?'
one of the sources and stimulants of its advancing stages.
It helps to raise mankind above mere animal existence, and in time to gradually transform the savage into the cultivated citizen. Simple food once obtained in plenty, he begins to long for better, more varied and more succulent; and with the richer nutriment he learns by degrees to combine a most delicate perception of the more refined mysteries of the culinary art—the ars artium the scientia scien. tiarum.
MORAL CULTURE.—One chief advantage of recognizing the existence of a class of actions which have no moral significance is the opportunity it affords of close and careful investigation as to the point at which they merge into moral or immoral acts. In other words, it enables us to notice more accurately the beginnings of right and wrong and to form a clearer idea of how to foster the one and crush the other. This is the golden opportunity for moral culture, whether of self or others. Habit renders wrong-doing of any kind a sort of second nature, which it is hard, if not impossible, entirely to break up; but the first temptation can be resisted with comparative ease. In the moral education of youth these distinctions are of the utmost value.
UNPUNCTUALITY.—Many a man would rather be fined than be kept waiting. If a man must injure another, let him rather plunder him of his cash than his time. To keep a busy man waiting is an act of robbery, and also an insult. It may not be so intended, but certainly if a man has proper respect for his friend he will know the value of his time, and not cause him to waste it. There is a cool contempt in unpunctuality, for it as good as says, "Let the fellow wait; who is he that I should keep my appointment with him ?”
Be not simply good; be good for something.