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dined at four now translated their hour to five. These continued good general hours, but still amongst the more intellectual orders, till about Waterloo. After that era, six, which had been somewhat of a gala hour, was promoted to the fixed station of dinner-time in ordinary; and there perhaps it will rest through centuries. For a more festal dinner, seven, eight, nine, ten, have all been in requisition since then; but we have not yet heard of any man's dining later than 10 P.M., except in that single classical instance (so well remembered from our father Joe) of an Irishman who must have dined much later than ten, because his servant protested, when others were enforcing the dignity of their masters by the lateness of their dinner hours, that his master dined "to-morrow."
Were the Romans not as barbarous as our own ancestors at one time? Most certainly they were; in their primitive ages they took their cœna at noon, that was before they had laid aside their barbarism; before they shaved: it was during their barbarism, and in consequence of their barbarism, that they timed their cœna thus unseasonably. And this is made evident by the fact, that, so long as they erred in the hour, they erred in the attending circumstances. At this period they had no music at dinner, no festal graces, and no reposing upon sofas. They sate bolt upright in chairs, and were as grave as our ancestors, as rabid, and doubtless as furiously in haste.
With us the revolution has been equally complex. We do not, indeed, adopt the luxurious attitude of semirecumbency; our climate makes that less requisite; and moreover the Romans had no knives and forks, which could scarcely be used in that posture: they ate with their fingers from dishes already cut up—whence the peculiar
force of Seneca's "post quod non sunt lavandæ manus. But exactly in proportion as our dinner has advanced towards evening, have we and has that advanced in circumstances of elegance, of taste, of intellectual value." That by itself would be much. Infinite would be the gain for any people that it had ceased to be brutal, animal, fleshly; ceased to regard the chief meal of the day as a ministration only to an animal necessity; that they had raised it to a far higher standard; associated it with social and humanizing feelings, with manners, with graces both moral and intellectual; moral in the self-restraint; intellectual in the fact, notorious to all men, that the chief arenas for the easy display of intellectual power are at our dinner tables. But dinner has now even a greater function than this; as the fervour of our day's business increases, dinner is continually more needed in its office of a great reaction. We repeat that, at this moment, but for the daily relief of dinner, the brain of all men who mix in the strife of capitals would be unhinged and thrown off its centre.
If we should suppose the case of a nation taking three equidistant meals all of the same material and the same quantity, all milk for instance, it would be impossible for Thomas Aquinas himself to say which was or was not dinner. The case would be that of the Roman ancile which dropped from the skies; to prevent its ever being stolen, the priests made eleven facsimiles of it, that the thief, seeing the hopelessness of distinguishing the true one, might let all alone. And the result was, that, in the next generation, nobody could point to the true
But our dinner, the Roman cana, is distinguished from the rest by far more than the hour; it is dis
*"Took their cœna at noon."-And, by the way, in order to show how little cœna had to do with any evening hour (though, in any age but that of our fathers, four in the afternoon would never have been thought an evening hour in the sense implied by. supper,)-the Roman gourmands and bons vivants continued through the very last ages of Rome to take their cana, when more than usually sumptuous, at noon. This, indeed, all people did occasionally, just as we sometimes give a dinner even now so early as four P.M., under the name of a dejeuner à la fourchette. Those who took their cœna sọ early as this, were said de die cœnare-to begin dining from high day. Just as the line in Horace" Ut jugulent homines surgunt de nocte latrones,' does not mean that the robbers rise when others are going to bed, viz., at nightfall, but at midnight. For, says one of the three best scholars of this earth, de die, de nocte, mean from that hour which was most fully, most intensely day or night: viz.-the centre, the meridian. This one fact is surely a clencher as to the question whether cana meant dinner or supper.
tinguished by great functions, and by still greater capacities. It is most beneficial; it may become more so.
In saying this, we point to the lighter graces of music, and conversation more varied, by which the Roman cana was chiefly distinguished from our dinner. We are far from agreeing with Mr Croly, that the Roman meal was more intellectual" than ours. On the contrary, ours is the more intellectual by much: we have far greater knowledge, far greater means for making it such. In fact, the fault of our meal is that it is too intellectual: of too severe a character: too political too much tending, in many hands, to disquisition. Reciprocation of question and answer, variety of topics, shifting of topics, are points not sufficiently cultivated. In all else we assent to the following passage from Mr Croly's eloquent Salathiel :"If an ancient Roman could start from his slumber into the midst of European life, he must look with scorn on its absence of grace, elegance, and fancy. But it is in its festivity, and most of all in its banquets, that he would feel the incurable barbarism of the Gothic blood. Contrasted with the fine displays that made the table of the Roman noble a picture, and threw over the indulgence of appetite the colours of the imagination, with what eyes must he contemplate the tasteless and commonplace dress, the coarse atten. dants, the meagre ornament, the want of mirth, music, and intellectual interest-the whole heavy machinery that converts the feast into the mere drudgery of devouring!"
Thus far the reader knows already that we dissent violently; and by looking back he will see a picture of our ancestors at dinner, in which they rehearse the very part in relation to ourselves that Mr Croly supposes all moderns to rehearse in relation to the Romans; but in the rest of the beautiful description, the positive, though not the comparative part, we must all
"The guests before me were fifty or sixty splendidly dressed men," (they were in fact Titus and his staff, then occupied with the siege of Jerusalem,)
"attended by a crowd of domestics, attired with scarcely less splendour; for no man thought of coming to the banquet in the robes of ordinary life. The embroidered couches, themselves striking objects, allowed the ease of position at once delightful in the relaxing climates of the South, and capable of combining with every grace of the human figure. At a slight distance, the table loaded with plate glittering under a profusion of lamps, and surrounded by couches thus covered by rich draperies, was like a central source of light radiating in broad shafts of every brilliant hue. The wealth of the Patricians, and their intercourse with the Greeks, made them masters of the first performances of the arts. Copies of the most famous statues, and groups of sculpture in the precious metals; trophies of victories; models of temples; were mingled with vases of flowers and lighted perfumes. Finally, covering and closing all, was a vast scarlet canopy, which combined the groups beneath to the eye, and threw the whole into the form that a painter would love."
Mr Croly then goes on to insist on the intellectual embellishments of the Roman dinner; their variety, their grace, their adaptation to a festive purpose.
The truth is, our English imagination, more profound than the Roman, is also more gloomy, less gay, less riante. That accounts for our want of the gorgeous triclinium, with its scarlet draperies, and for many other differences both to the eye and to the understanding. But both we and the Romans agree in the main point; we both discovered the true purpose which dinner might serve,-1. to throw the grace of intellectual enjoyment over an animal necessity; 2. to relieve and antagonize the toil of brain incident to high forms of social life.
Our object has been to point the eye to this fact; to show uses imperfectly suspected in a recurring accident of life: to show a steady tendency to that consummation; by holding up, as in a mirror, (together with occasional glimpses of hidden corners in history,) the corresponding revolution silently going on in a great people of antiquity.
TEN THOUSAND A-YEAR!
Fortuna sævo læta negotio, et
Nunc mihi, nunc alii benigna.
HOR. CARM. Lib. iii. 49.
TITMOUSE Continued in what he doubtless imagined to be a devout frame of mind, for several minutes after quitting the church at the door of which I left him. But close by the aforesaid church, the devil had a thriving little establishment, in the shape of a cigar-shop; in which a showily dressed young Jewess sat behind the counter, right underneath a glaring gas-light-with a thin stripe of greasy black velvet across her forehead, and long ringlets that rested on her shoulders-bandying slang with two or three other such puppies as Titmouse and Huckaback. Our friends entered and purchased a cigar a-piece, which they lit on the spot; and after each of them had exchanged an impudent wink with the Jewess, out they went, puffing away-all the remains of their piety! When they had come to the end of their cigars they parted, each speeding homeward. Titmouse, on reaching his lodgings, sunk into profound depression. He felt an awful conviction that his visit to the cigar-shop had entirely spoiled the effect of his previous attendance at the church, and that, if so disposed, he might now sit and whistle for his ten thousand a-year. Thoughts such as these drove him nearly distracted. If, indeed, he had foreseen having to go through such another week as the one just over, I think it not impossible that before the arrival of the ensuing Sunday, Mr Titmouse might have afforded a little employment to that ancient but gloomy functionary, a coroner, and his jury. At that time, however, inquests of this sort were matter-of-fact and melancholy affairs enough; which I doubt not would have been rather a dissuasive from suicide, in the estimation of one who might be supposed ambitious of the eclât of a modern inquest; where, in. deed, such strange antics are played
by certain new performers as would suffice to revive the corpse, (if it were a corpse that had ever had a spark of sense or spirit in it,) and make it kick the coroner out of the room. But to one of so high an ambition as Tittlebat Titmouse, how delightful would it not have been, to anticipate becoming (what had been quite impracticable during life) the object of public attention after his death-by means of a flaming dissertation by the coroner upon his own zeal and spirit—the nature and extent of his rights, powers, and duties;-when high doctors are brow-beaten, the laws set at defiance, and public decency plucked by the beard, and the torn and bleeding hearts of surviving relatives still further agonized by an exposure, all quivering under the recent stroke, to the gaping vulgar! Indeed, I sometimes think that the object of certain coroners, now-a-days, is twofold,-first, public
to disgust people with suicide, by showing what horrid proceedings will take place over their carcasses; and secondly, private-to get the means of studying anatomy by post mortems, which the said coroner never could procure in his own practice; which enables us to account for some things one has lately seen, viz. that if a man come to his death by means of a waggon crushing his legs, the coroner institutes an exact examination of the structure of the lungs and heart. I take it to be getting now into a rule-the propriety whereof, some people think, cannot be doubted-namely, that bodies ought now to be opened only to prove that they ought not to have been opened; an inquest must be held, in order to demonstrate that it need not have been held, except that certain fees thereby find their way into the pocket of the aforesaid coroner, which would otherwise not have done so. In short, such a coroner as I have in my eye
may be compared to a great ape squat. ting on a corpse, furiously chattering and spitting at all around it; and I am glad that it hath at last had wit enough first to shut the door before proceeding to its horrid tricks.
Touching the moral of suicide, it is a way which some have of cutting the Gordian knot of the difficulties of life; which having been done, possibly the very first thing that is made manifest to the spirit, after taking its mad leap in the dark, is-how very easily the said knot might have been UNTIED; nay, that it was on the very point of being untied, if the impatient spirit had stayed only a moment longer :a dismal discovery, which may excite ineffable grief at the folly and horror of the crime of which such spirit has been guilty. But ah! it is too late! The triumphant fiend has secured his victim. I said it was not impossible that Mr Titmouse might, under the circumstances alluded to, have done the deed which has called forth the above very natural and profound reflexions; but, upon the whole, it is hardly probable, for he knew that by doing so he would (first) irreparably injure society, by depriving it of an enlightened and invaluable member; (secondly,) inflict great indignity on his precious body, of which, during life, he had always taken the most affectionate care, by securing for it a burial in a cross road, at night time, with a stake run through it,* and moreover, peril the little soul that had just leaped out of it, by not having any burial-service said over his aforesaid remains; and (lastly) lose all chance of enjoying Ten Thousand aYear at least upon earth. I own I was a little startled (as I daresay was the reader) at a passage of mournful significance in Mr Titmouse's last letter to Messrs Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, viz. "How full of trouble I am, often thinking of death, which is the end of every thing;" but on carefully considering the context, I am disposed to think that the whole was only a device of Titmouse's, either to rouse the fears, or stimulate the feelings, or excite the hopes, of the three arbiters of his destiny to whom it was addressed.
Mr Gammon, he thought, might be thereby moved to pity; while Mr Quirk would probably be operated upon by fears, lest the sad contingency pointed at might deprive the house of one who would richly repay their exertions; and by hopes of indefinite advantage, if they could by any means prevent its happening. I have often questioned Titmouse on the subject, but he would only wink his eye, and say that he "knew what to be at" as well as any one! That these gentlemen really did keenly scrutinize, and carefully weigh every expression in that letter, ridiculous as it was, and contemptible as, I fear, it showed its writer to be, is certain; but it did not occur to them to compare with it, at least, the spirit and intention of their own answer to it. Did the latter document contain less cunning and insincerity, because it was couched in somewhat superior phraseology? They could conceal their selfish and over-reaching designs, while poor Titmouse exposed all his little meanmindedness and hypocrisy, simply because he had not learned how to conceal it effectually. 'Twas indeed a battle for the very same object, but between unequal combatants. Each was trying to take the other in. If Messrs Quirk, Gammon, and Snap despised and lothed the man to whom they exhibited such anxious courtesy, Titmouse hated and feared those whom his interests compelled him for a while to conciliate. Was there, in fact, a pin to choose between them - except, perhaps, that Titmouse was, in a manner, excused by his necessities? But, in the meanwhile, his circumstances were becoming utterly desperate. He continued to endure great suffering at Mr Tag-rag's during the day-the constant butt of the ridicule and insult of his amiable companions, and the victim of his employer's vile spirit of hatred and oppression. His spirit, (such as it was,) in short, was very nearly broken. Though he seized every opportunity that offered to enquire for another situation, he was unsuccessful; for all whom he applied to spoke of the strict character they should require," before taking a new hand into their establish
* A very learned person tells me that this mode of treating the remains of a felo de se, though prevailing at the time when the events occurred whch are above narrated, was soon afterwards (i. e. on the 8th July 1823) abolished by Act of Parliament.
ment." His occupation at nights, after quitting the shop, was twofold only either to call upon Huckaback, (whose sympathy, however, he was exhausting rapidly,) or solace his feelings by walking down to Saffron Hill, and lingering about the closed office of Messrs Quirk, Gammon, and Snap-there was a kind of gratification even in that! He once or twice felt flustered even on catching a glimpse of the old housekeeper returning from some little errand. How he would have rejoiced to get into her good graces, and accompany her into even the kitchen-when he would be in the premises, and conversing with one of the establishment of those who he believed could, with a stroke of their pens, turn this wilderness of a world into a paradise for him! But he dared not make any overtures in that quarter, for fear of their getting to the notice of the dreaded Messrs Quirk, Gammon, and Snap.
At length, no more than three or four shillings stood between him and utter destitution; and the only person in the world whom he could apply to for even the most trivial assistance, was Huckaback-whom, however, he knew to be scarcely any better off than himself; and whom, moreover, he felt to be treating him more and more coldly, as the week wore on without his hearing of any the least tidings from Saffron Hill. Huckaback evidently felt now scarcely any interest or pleasure in the visits of his melancholy friend, and was plainly disinclined to talk about his affairs. At length he quite turned up his nose with disgust, whenever Titmouse took out the wellworn note of Messrs Quirk, Gammon, and Snap, which was almost dropping in pieces with being constantly carried about in his pocket, taken in and out, and folded and unfolded, for the purpose of conning over its contents, as if there might yet linger in it some hitherto undiscovered source of consolation. Poor Titmouse, therefore, looked at it on every such occasion with as eager and vivid an interest as ever; but it was glanced at by Huckaback with a half-averted eye, and a cold, drawling, yawning " Ya-a-as -I see-I-dare-say!" As his impressions of Titmouse's bright_prospects were thus being rapidly effaced, his smarting recollection of the drubbing he had received became distincter and more frequent; his feelings of re
sentment more lively, and not the less so, because the expression of them had been stifled, (while he had considered the star of Titmouse to be in the ascendant,) till the time for setting them into motion and action had gone by. In fact the presence of Titmouse, suggesting such thoughts and recollections, became intolerable to Huckaback; and Titmouse's perceptions (dull as they naturally were, but a little quickened by recent suffering,) gave him more and more distinct notice of this circumstance, at the precise time when he meditated applying for the loan of a few shillings. These feelings made him as humble towards Huckaback, and as patient of his increasing rudeness and ill-humour, as he felt abject towards Messrs Quirk, Gammon, and Snap; for, unless he could succeed in wringing some trifling loan from Huckaback, (if he really had it in his power to advance him any thing,) he could not conjecture what was to become of him. Various faint but unadroit hints and feelers of his had been thrown away; for Huckaback either did not, or could not, comprehend them. But at length a sudden and fearful pressure compelled him to speak out. Gripe, the collector, called one morning for the poor's rates due from Mrs Squallop, (Titmouse's landlady,) and cleaned her out of almost every penny of ready money which she had by her. threw the good woman upon her resources, to replenish her empty pocket -and down she came upon Titmouse —or rather, up she went to him; for his heart sunk within him one night on his return from the shop, having only just taken off his hat and lit his candle, as he heard the fat old termagant's well-known heavy step ascending the stairs, and approaching nearer and nearer to his door. Her loud imperative single knock vibrated through his heart, and he was ready to drop.
"Oh, Mrs Squallop! How d'ye do, Mrs Squallop?" commenced Titmouse, faintly, when he had opened the door; "Won't you take a chair? offering to the panting dame almost the only chair he had.
"No-I ain't come to stay, Mr Titmouse, because, d'ye see, in coorse you've got a pound, at least, ready for me, as you promised long ago—and never more welcome; there's old Gripe been here to-day, and had his