Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

a

delightful, and the exquisite band of the Life Guards was perfectly entrancing,” another was unable to quit the monkeys, “they were so funny.”

At last, after a tedious desultory conversation about the weather, the park, Almacks, and the opera, dinner is announced, and the few who have been agreeably occupied in rational talk or incipient Alirtations, are in conformity with the table of precedency obliged to separate. A young girl, scarcely out of her teens, quits her juvenile admirer, a lieutenant in the Guards, for a superannuated marquis ; a lively Irish widow, anxious to renew a matrimonial lease, is compelled to leave an eligible middle-aged bachelor, for an elderly, broken-down peer; a full-blown matron of powerful intellect, is doomed to part with a philosopher of the day, to take the arm of young Viscount Sofetely, a vapid exquisite of eighteen ; the lady of the house is doomed to give up a pleasant acquaintance, for a twaddling, gartered duke; and the host is sacrificed to some crabbed daughter of nobility, who, on the strength of her father being enabled to date his marquisate from the time of Elizabeth, is taken down first. They are followed by the next in rank, and when the party reach the dining-room, a difficulty presents itself, the gentleman considers it his duty to place himself on the left of the hostess, while his companion thinks she ought to sit next to the host ; during the discussion as to which is right, others take possession of the disputed places, and then the whole economy of the table is upset.

“Two ladies together," exclaims the master of the house, “ that will never do."

“ Man and wife next to one another, impossible !” says the lady. Then, after a consider

” able quantity of coquetting, apologising, smirking, curtsying, and bowing, during which process the caloric qualities of the soups have suffered greatly, the guests shake down into their seats, rendered more disagreeable from the fact of the confusion having marred the arrangements of a few young republicans, who, scorning Burke's peerage, have, despite of sundry looks of anger from mammas, made their selection from inclination, not rank.

“ You must come up here, Lord Adolphus, and divide the ladies.” His lordship leaves his blooming inamorata to sit between two faded spinsters.

“ Miss Dalkeith, you will find a place next to Sir Francis Bolton.” The belle of the season is forced to quit Harry Montrose, a handsome young treasury clerk, to take her place next to a deaf baronet, who, in a nervous state of trepidation at the unexpected honour, upsets the fish sauce

over her white tulle dress, after perforating the flounces with the legs of his chair.

After a long, tedious repast, in which, upon too many occasions, the old joke is realized, that "nothing is hot except the wine,” the ladies retire; and the gentlemen remain to sip meagre Bordeaux, or potent port, and discuss poor laws, politics, and the last night's debate; coffee is announced, and by the time the drawing-room is gained, most of the gentler sex have left for the opera, or some early party. The splendid ormolu Parisian clock strikes halfpast eleven, and you are reminded that nearly

[ocr errors]

four hours and a half have been devoted to dressing for, and attending this large dinner ; and what has been the result ?

If you previously heard from some one interesting to you, that you should meet him or her, you have probably been disappointed, or made wretched at the seat you coveted being occupied by another ; you have sat in a hot, fumy room for more than a third of a day, to have that which would be infinitely better served at a club; therefore, in an intellectual, as well as a gastronomical point of view, the whole affair has proved a failure. You have lost a great treat at Her Majesty's Theatre, and the only reward you get, is to see your name blazoned forth the next day in the fashionable columns of the “Morning Post.”

And now, gentle reader, I trust I have made out my case, if you are candid, as I doubt not you are, you will admit that a few minutes' ride in the park, a quarter of an hour's conversation at a Greenwich party, a polka at Almacks, or a walk in Kensington Gardens, can be turned to better account than a large dinner party during the height of the London

season.

Having thus made a clean breast of it, by stating why I approve of an assemblage of males, I will return to Whitehall, where my uncle was doing the honours to eight choice spirits, and what a contrast was there to the banquet I have just been describing. The bill of fare included everything in season, and nothing out of it. No green peas at ten shillings a pint, no strawberries at a guinea an ounce, nor was the table crowded with entrées, and flank dishes, containing cold, clammy sweetbreads, fricandeaus, and fricassees. A spring soup, Severn salmon, two entrées, a saddle of mutton, ducklings, asparagus, plovers' eggs, two sweets, a lobster salad, formed the repast, aided by sundry cold provocatives to appetite, Westphalian ham, and pâté de foie gras. Instead of “unadulterated

“unadulterated claret," which means “ vin ordinaire,” new port, fiery sherry, and champagne, questionable as to its place of nativity, we had Sneyd's best Bordeaux, the

« AnteriorContinuar »