20 JANUARY 1855, Page 12


DrET is a grand part of education. We showed last week how important a share it has in cultivating the moral man at schools for the children of the poor, and no doubt the philosophy of the subject might be extended to many an "establishment for young gentlemen," or to boarding-houses for young men at public schools. Possibly, nations also will be found to oscillate in their intellec- tual and moral condition with their diet. Indeed, the fact can be proved. "Panis et eircenses" were the popular demand in Rome, —the two points of the working-man's charter : bread and Astley's. 1We have seen great changes in our own country. In times too tong distant, every Englishman could have his bellyful ; and then rhe people were all contentment, loyalty, independence, and "down- oight English feeling." There is always that past in the history cf every country, and it always is a long time ago. But, to sompare the present day only with that which some of us till living can remember, we may observe how great an advance in liberal philosophy has been made concurrently and we believe consequently upon the improvement in general diet. We have extended the theory and practice of the cuisine, we have introduced flowers at the dinner-table, and have left carving to servants at the sideboard. We have left off heavy drink, and ma- nage to wait for dinner until supper-time. During the same period, we have abandoned our exclusive bigotries, which made us believe that every Englishman could fight three Frenchmen ; that the Pope was habitually seen with the Devil whispering in his ear; that every man who did not attend the parish-church must be either a Guy Fawkes, a Nonconformist, or some other monster incarnate of vice. But what must have been the sombre senti-

ments of that generation' which fed., as it were, upon the one sauce of melted butter? How bilious, how indigestible its doebinest How light, how elegant, how easily digested, how facile to pick and choose from, the opinions as well as the meats of our day ! Yet, in this kind of campaigning, as well as in others, we are still behind the French. We cannot get up public dining with anything like a real luxury. From the humblest to the highest it is a bother and a labour. There is more of failure than of success. The "ordinary at two o'clock" in the country inn is less of a bore than the tIne-guinea dinner, with turtle, venison, champagne, and all that sort of thing. The swan and the loving-cup can scarcely throw the requisite medieval tint over the banquet. It is worso. when we get to the daily dinner in public places. Your cook cheats you in Parts, but there is an air and a flavour even in the viand's of the lowest. Perhaps because the apices and condiments areie, the main the same, and the meat is a secondary consideration. We tried to get up a plan of dining at the Crystal Palace of '51, but it was necessarily kept to a certain extent exclusive, and the public was left to the confectioner's counter. You had to dine " stens pede in uno"; and, lest the moral English should disgrace them- selves before "All Nations," wines and spirits were absolutely for- bidden. Immoral Paris is about to have its Crystal Palace; has arranged its dining ; but it has not necessarily exiled wine. The new dining philosophy, although suggested by the Crystal Palace of 1855, is substantively so great a thing that it has been carried out as an independent speculation. The inventor is worthy of the task. There was a gentleman who invented the most strik- ing journal of all the world,—the best in its news, where the news was worth telling; the most stirring in its political comments ; the most exciting in its portfolio. La Preen was the paper, Emile de Girardin the designer. Afterwards, Peace meetings were in vogue, and Emilius became the quasi-military advocate of peace. Louis Philippe felt himself out of fashion, and wished to achieve a phcentx termination by abdicating in favour of the Count of Paris : Emile de Girardin arranged the royal emente, which was only an hour too late to supersede the popular entente. The working classes required a journal: Emile de Girardin got up the best re- chauffe of the Praise for that demand. The journals were put under a ban : Emilius struck out an eloquent silence. He is always master of the situation. He is now, morally, at the head of the din- ner-table. What other could be the author of the new principle of public dining? The principle is this. At dinners in public places, the public expects every delicacy of the season, cooked in the beat style "just up "—always. According to this requirement, a fresh ban- quet should palpitate on the board at each successive minute ; which is impossible. Perfection, piquancy, and promptitude, are the things required ; but they cannot be had with a miscellaneous carte. The newer idea is to have a carte for the day limited in its elements to the same constituent dishes constantly reproduced.

There is, as it were, but one bill of fare i

; but it s ever new throughout the day. The same soup, the same fish, the same joint, the same entremets, are continually attaining their perfec- tion. Paris is in eestaoies ; people go to dine in crowds and feel that they have dined nationally, for the first time in their lives. The banquet is served in a great hall brilliantly lighted, elegantly adorned. The fate of nations may be cooked into harmony. Alfred de Musset's Enfant du Siecle receives his first great moral wound at that critical scene of sentiment a gay dinner. Men are often poisoned into hypochondria, misanthropy, and disloyalty : may they not be nourished into health, philanthropy, and loyalty? It is possible. "No indigestions, no ementes," is, we believe, a political principle. It is a truth worthy of the consideration of governments. Not that a censor of the dinner-table would suffice : 'twill not be enough only to prohibit the crabbed meats of dis- affection—the nutriment of public affection and private morality must be supplied. It would be an interesting experiment to make on a given number of paupers or patriots.