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there is nothing so good as this solitude from time to time—there is nothing like communing with your own heart, and giving a calm and deliberate judgment upon the great question—the truly vital question, I may say—before you. What is the use of having your children, who live on roast mutton in the nursery, and think treaclepudding the summit of cookery, to sit down and take the best threefourths of a perdreau truffé with you? What is the use of helping your wife, who doesn't know the difference between sherry and madeira, to a glass of priceless Romanée or sweetly odoriferous Château Lafitte of '42 Poor dear soul! she would be as happy with a slice of the children's joint, and a cup of tea in the evening. She takes them when you are away. To give fine wine to that dear creature is like giving pearls to-to animals who don't know their value.

What I like, is to sit at a restaurant alone, after having taken a glass of absinthe in water, about half-an-hour previous, to muse well over the carte, and pick out some little dinner for myself; to converse with the sommelier confidentially about the wine -a pint of champagne, say, and a bottle of bordeaux, or a bottle of burgundy, not more, for your private drinking. He goes out to satisfy your wishes, and returns with the favourite flask in a cradle, very likely. Whilst he is gone, comes old Antoine---who is charmed to see Monsieur de retour; and vows that you rajeunissez tous les ans -with a plate of oysters-dear little juicy green oysters in their upper shells, swimming in their sweet native brine--not like your great white flaccid natives in England, that look as if they had been fed on pork and ah! how kindly and pretty that attention is of the two little plates of radishes and butter, which they bring you in, and with which you can dally between the arrival of the various dishes of your dinner; they are like the delicate symphonies which are played at the theatre between the acts of a charming comedy. A little bread-and-butter, a little radish,—you crunch and relish; a little radish, a little piece of bread-and-butter--you relish and crunch-when lo! up goes the curtain, and Antoine comes in with the entrée or the roast.

I pictured all this in my mind and went out. I will not tell any of my friends that I am here, thought I. Sir, in five minutes, and before I had crossed the Place Vendôme, I had met five old acquaintances and friends, and in an hour afterwards the arrival of your humble servant was known to all our old set.

My first visit was for Tom Dash, with whom I had business. That friend of my youth received me with the utmost cordiality : and our business transacted and our acquaintances talked over (four of them I had seen, so that it was absolutely necessary I should

call on them and on the rest), it was agreed that I should go forth and pay visits, and that on my return Tom and I should dine somewhere together. I called upon Brown, upon Jones, upon Smith, upon Robinson, upon our old Paris set, in a word, and in due time returned to Tom Dash.

"Where are we to dine, Tom?" says I. "What is the crack restaurant now? I am entirely in your hands; and let us be off early and go to the play afterwards."

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'Oh, hang restaurants," says Tom- "I'm tired of 'em; we are sick of them here. Thompson came in just after you were gone, and I told him you were coming, and he will be here directly to have a chop with me.'

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There was nothing for it. I had to sit down and dine with Thompson and Tom Dash, at the latter's charges-and am bound to say that the dinner was not a bad one. As I have said somewhere before, and am proud of being able to say, I scarcely recollect ever to have had a bad dinner.

But of what do you think the present repast was composed? Sir, I give you my honour, we had a slice of salmon and a leg of mutton, and boiled potatoes, just as they do in my favourite Baker Street.

"Dev'lish good dinner," says Thompson, covering the salmon with lots of Harvey sauce- and cayenne pepper, from Fortnum

and Mason's.

"Donnez du sherry à Monsieur Canterbury," says Tom Dash to François his man. "There's porter or pale ale if any man likes it."

They poured me out sherry; I might have had porter or pale ale if I liked: I had leg of mutton and potatoes, and finished dinner with Stilton cheese and it was for this that I have revisited my dear Paris.

"Thank you," says I to Dash, cutting into the mutton with the most bitter irony. "This is a dish that I don't remember ever having seen in England; but I tasted pale ale there, and won't take any this evening, thank you. Are we going to have port wine after dinner? or could you oblige me with a little London gin-and-water?"

Tom Dash laughed his mighty laugh; and I will say we had not port wine, but claret, fit for the repast of a pontiff, after dinner, and sat over it so late that the theatre was impossible, and the first day was gone, and might as well have been passed in Pump Court or Pall Mall, for all the good I had out of it.

But, sir, do you know what had happened in the morning of that day during which I was paying the visits before mentioned?

Robinson, my very old friend, pressed me so to come and dine with him, and fix my day, that I could not refuse, and fixed Friday.

Brown, who is very rich, and with whom I had had a difference, insisted so upon our meeting as in old times, that I could not refuse; and so being called on to appoint my own day-I selected Sunday.

Smith is miserably poor, and it would offend him and Mrs. Smith mortally that I should dine with a rich man, and turn up my nose at his kind and humble table. I was free to name any day I liked, and so I chose Monday.

Meanwhile, our old friend Jones had heard that I had agreed to dine with Brown, with whom he, too, was at variance, and he offered downright to quarrel with me unless I gave him a day: so I fixed Thursday.

"I have but Saturday," says I, with almost tears in my eyes. "Oh, I have asked a party of the old fellows to meet you," cries out Tom Dash; "and made a dinner expressly for the occasion."

And this, sir, was the fact. This was the way, sir, that I got my dinners at Paris. Sir, at one house I had boiled leg of mutton and turnips, at another beefsteak; and I give you my word of honour, at two I had mock-turtle soup! In this manner I saw Paris. This was what my friends called welcoming me—we drank sherry; we talked about Mr. Cobden and the new financial reform; I was not allowed to see a single Frenchman, save one, a huge athletic monster, whom I saw at a club in London, last year, who speaks English as well as you, and who drank two bottles of port wine on that very night for his own share. I offended mortally several old friends with whom I didn't dine, and I might as well have been sitting under your mahogany tree in Fleet Street, for all of Paris that I saw.

I have the honour to report my return to this country, and to my lodgings in Piccadilly, and to remain your very obedient servant and contributor, FOLKSTONE CANTERBURY.

P.S.-I stop the post to give the following notice from the Constitutionnel :-"Lady Jane Grey (femme du Chancelier de l'Echiquier) vient de donner le jour à deux jumeaux. Sa santé est aussi satisfaisante que possible."

HOBSON'S CHOICE

OR, THE TRIBULATIONS OF A GENTLEMAN IN SEARCH OF A

B

MAN-SERVANT

I

EFORE my wife's dear mother, Mrs. Captain Budge, came to

live with us,-which she did on occasion of the birth of our darling third child, Albert, named in compliment to a Gracious Prince, and now seven and a half years of age,—our establishment was in rather what you call a small way, and we only had female servants in our kitchen.

I liked them, I own. I like to be waited on by a neat-handed Phillis of a parlour-maid, in a nice fitting gown, and a pink ribbon to her cap and I do not care to deny that I liked to have my parlour-maids good-looking. Not for any reason such as jealousy might suggest-such reasons I scorn; but as, for a continuance and for a harmless recreation and enjoyment, I would much rather look out on a pretty view of green fields and a shining river from my drawing-room window, than upon a blank wall, or an oldclothesman's shop: so I am free to confess I would choose for preference a brisk, rosy, good-natured, smiling lass to put my dinner and tea before me on the table, rather than a crooked, black-muzzled frump, with a dirty cap and black hands. I say I like to have nice-looking people about me; and when I used to chuck my Anna Maria under the chin, and say that was one of the reasons for which I married her, I warrant you Mrs. H. was not offended; and so she let me have my harmless way about the parlour-maids. Sir, the only way in which we lost our girls in our early days was by marriage. One married the baker, and gives my boy, Albert, gingerbread, whenever he passes her shop; one became the wife of Policeman X., who distinguished himself by having his nose broken in the Chartist riots; and a third is almost a lady, keeping her onehorse carriage, and being wife to a carpenter and builder.

Well, Mrs. Captain Budge, Mrs. H.'s mother, or "Mamma," as she insists that I should call her and I do so, for it pleases her warm and affectionate nature-came to stop for a few weeks, on the occasion of our darling Albert's birth, anno Domini 1842; and the child and its mother being delicate, Mrs. Captain B. stayed to nurse them both, and so has remained with us, occupying the

room which used to be my study and dressing-room ever since. When she came to us, we may be said to have moved in a humble sphere, viz., in Bernard Street, Foundling Hospital, which we left four years ago for our present residence, Stucco Gardens, Pocklington Square. And up to the period of Mrs. Captain B.'s arrival, we were, as I say, waited upon in the parlour by maids; the rough below-stairs work of knife and shoe cleaning being done by Grundsell, our greengrocer's third son.

But though Heaven forbid that I should say a word against my mother-in-law, who has a handsome sum to leave, and who is besides a woman all self-denial, with her every thought for our good; yet I think that without Mamma my wife would not have had those tantrums, may I call them, of jealousy, which she never exhibited previously, and which she certainly began to show very soon after our dear little scapegrace of an Albert was born. We had at that time, I remember, a parlour servant, called Emma Buck, who came to us from the country, from a Doctor of Divinity's family, and who pleased my wife very well at first, as indeed she did all in her power to please her. But on the very day Anna Maria came downstairs to the drawing-room, being brought down in these very arms, which I swear belong to as faithful a husband as any in the City of London, and Emma bringing up her little bit of dinner on a tray, I observed Anna Maria's eyes look uncommon savage at the poor girl, Mrs. Captain B. looking away the whole time, on to whose neck my wife plunged herself as soon as the girl had left the room; bursting out into tears and calling somebody a viper.

"Hullo," says I, "my beloved, what is the matter? Where's the viper? I didn't know there were any in Bernard Street" (for I thought she might be nervous still, and wished to turn off the thing, whatever it might be, with a pleasantry). "Who is the serpent?"

"That that woman," gurgles out Mrs. H., sobbing on Mamma's shoulder, and Mrs. Captain B. scowling sadly at me over her daughter.

"What, Emma?" I asked in astonishment; for the girl had been uncommonly attentive to her mistress, making her gruels and things, and sitting up with her, besides tending my eldest daughter, Emily, through the scarlet fever.

"Emma! don't say Emma in that cruel audacious way, Marmaduke-Mr. Ho-o-obson," says my wife (for such are my two names as given me by my godfathers and my fathers). "You call

the creature by her Christian name before my very face!"

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Oh, Hobson, Hobson!" says Mrs. Captain B., wagging her

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