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anybody, who, like the young Guardsman, could rough it very well on beef-steaks and port.
The “ Ship and Turtle,” in Leadenhall Street, for turtle, is equal to the far-famed clear turtle of the Adelphi and Waterloo Hotels, at Liverpool. A plate of turtle, and a grilled fowl done Indian fashion, will repay a stranger for going the distance.
To return to the West End. The “ Clarendon,” “Ellis's,” and “Grillon’s" are most celebrated, both in the coffee and private rooms. Some “ California,” as the fast young men of the day term “money,” is necessary for these houses, if an unlimited order be given ; but a quiet dinner in the best style can be had at a proportionate cost, and with more satisfaction to all parties. All depends on the order given per head.
One evil of long standing still exists in Londonand that is, the difficulty of finding an Hotel, or Restaurant, where strangers of the gentler sex may be taken to dine. The great genius of Soyer, it is to be hoped, will supply this hiatus. It is true that, since our intercourse with the continent, some coffeerooms have been opened where gentlemen may take their wives and daughters ; but it has not yet become a recognised custom, although confectioners' shops are resorted to by ladies alone ;—at Blackwall, Greenwich, Hampton Court, Windsor, Slough, Richmond, ladies are to be found as in the Parisian Cafés, and in London at “ Veré’s ” in Pall Mall and Regent Street
but to give a private dinner with ladies, it is necessary to go to the “Albion” or “City of London," where nothing can exceed the magnificence of the rooms. The waiting is perfection, and turtle to be had in every shape and form ; wine exquisite ; price in accordance.
The clubs of London will, no doubt, attract the attention and curiosity of strangers. Addison, in the “Spectator,” describes the clubs of his day; and although the description may appear to be a little exaggerated, it will furnish some insight into those reunions of more than one hundred and fifty years ago.
“ Man is said to be a social animal ; and, as an instance of it, we may observe, that we take all occasions and pretences of forming ourselves into those little nocturnal assemblies, which are commonly known by the name of clubs. When a set of men find themselves agree in any particular, though never so trivial, they establish themselves into a kind of fraternity, and meet once or twice a week upon the account of such a fantastic resemblance. I know a considerable market town in which there was a club of fat men, that did not come together (as you may well suppose) to entertain one another with sprightliness and wit, but to keep one another in countenance. The room where the club met was something of the largest, and had two entrances, one by a door of moderate size, and the other by a pair of folding-doors. If a candidate for this corporate club could make his entrance through the first, he was looked upon as unqualified ; but if he stuck in the passage, and could not force his way through it, the folding-doors were immediately thrown open for his reception, and he was saluted as a brother.”
The late Mr. Walker, in his most original of “originals," gives the following graphic account of the “ Athenæum ;" it is equally applicable to almost every club of note in the metropolis. “One of the most important modern changes in society, is the present system of clubs. The facilities of living have been wonderfully increased by them in many ways, whilst the expense has been greatly diminished. For a few pounds a year, advantages are to be enjoyed which no fortunes except the most ample can procure. I can best illustrate this by a particular instance. The only club I belong to is the • Athenæum,' which consists of twelve hundred members. ... For six guineas a-year, every member has the command of an excellent library, with maps; the daily papers, English and Foreign ; the principal periodicals, and every material for writing, with attendance for whatever is wanted. The building is a sort of palace, and is kept with the same exactness and comfort as a private dwelling. Every member is a master, without any of the trouble of a master. He can come when he pleases, and stay away as long as he pleases, without anything going wrong. He has the command of regular servants, without having to pay or manage them. He can
have whatever meat or refreshment he wants, at all hours, and served up with the cleanliness and comfort of his own house. He orders just what he pleases, having no interest to think of but his own : in short, it is impossible to suppose a greater degree of liberty in living. Clubs, as far as my observation goes, are favourable to economy of time. There is a fixed place to go to ; everything is served with comparative expedition; and it is not customary or general to remain long at table. They are favourable to temperance. It seems that when people can freely please themselves, and when they have an opportunity of living simply, excess is seldom committed. From the account I have of the expenses at the · Athenæum' in the year 1832, it appears that 17,323 dinners cost on the average 2s. 9d., 3s., and 4s. 6d. each ; that the average quantity of wine for each person was a small fraction more than half-a-pint.'”
Since the above essay was written, clubs have increased greatly, many of which do not boast of Spartan abstinence and temperance ; the “ life preserver," as the half-pint bottle has been termed, is often exceeded ; still, one advantage remains, viz., that it is not required of any one to have more than the joint, and that, as the inimitable Liston used to say, “wine or no wine is ‘hoptional.”” An anecdote is recorded of a member, who went upon the most approved Archimedean screw principle, and who managed to economise, even to meanness. He would order his lunch ten minutes before the hour for that meal elapsed, and make a dinner of it. He would desire the waiter to bring him a cup of tea hot and strong ; this beverage being a fraction cheaper if served in that manner than from the teapot. No sooner had the cup been brought, than the “ artful dodger” complained of the strength, ordered some hot water and a clean cup, and, by dividing half, procured two good cups of tea at half price. A great public benefit has latterly been introduced into the principal clubs of London—the power of inviting a friend or two to dinner in the stranger's room : and there are many, who, having benefitted considerably by this system, not only in giving, but receiving such a courtesy, appreciate those establishments where the doors are not barred against non-members.
Proceeding alphabetically, to avoid the charge of favouritism, we will commence with “Boodle's,” in St. James's Street, “ the country gentleman's club” as it is called. Latterly, however, the infusion of some London life into it, has rendered it a most popular society, and nowhere can a better dinner be served ; there is no coffee-room, but a most elegant and wellproportioned dining-room, where every day, except during the sitting of parliament, a stranger may be admitted with a member. The usual plan is for a number of congenial souls to put down their names and those of the invited guests, leaving it, of course, optional for any member to join the party. A presi