11 DECEMBER 1841, Page 13


ONE of the most tragic incidents recorded by Madame Ds SzviuNk is the death of VATEL—not the diplomatist, but a much more im- portant functionary, the first cook of the " siecle de Louis Quat- orze." The tray-fish destined for some great state dinner not having arrived in time, VATEL, who was a man of the most fasti- dious sense of honour, could not survive the partial failure occa- sioned by that misadventure in what he had destined to be a chef- d'eeuvre of his art : he threw himself upon his sword, like a defeated Roman general. From this anecdote we are led to infer that cooks were in that age and nation treated like gentlemen : they were en- titled to wear swords, and could thus defend their honour. They are more scurvily treated now-a-days : even the cooks of Royalty are denied "the privilege of a gentleman." One of those high- class journals, whose destiny assuredly will be, after contributing to the amusement of their contemporaries, to furnish materials for future compilers of " the Court of Victoria the First," informs us that " Broils, jealousies, and ill-feeling, to a great extent, have been for some time existing in the Royal establishment. Monday last, Francatelli [Chief Cook of the Royal Kitchen] took an opportunity of insulting Mr. Norton [Comp- troller of her Majesty's Household] in the presence of all the Pages and about forty others ; when high words ensued, which ended in a Policeman being sent for to take Francatelli into custody ; but he managed to make his escape before the officer arrived. The result of the investigation was, the suspension of Francatelli until the matter shall be laid before her Majesty and Prince Albert ; when there is no doubt that measures will be adopted to prevent a recurrence of such disgraceful proceedings."

We fear that advantage will be taken of the conventional defer- ence paid to rank to crush the chivalrous spirit of a man of genius— for it is clear that FRANC ATELLf S " insult" was the usual refuge of men of honour in these swordless days. " Alas !" as FRANCA.. TEEM'S assistant (vulgarly, scullion) has been overheard to sigh, " had Melbourne remained in, things would not have come to this pass : he could appreciate an artist ! "