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by [?]

Among the Protestants driven from France by that astute and liberal-minded sovereign Louis XIV., were a colony of weavers, who as all the world knows, settled at Spitalfields in England, where their descendants weave silk to this day.

On their arrival in Great Britain, before the looms could be set up and a market found for their industry, the exiles were reduced to the last extremity of destitution and hunger. Looking about them for anything that could be utilized for food, they discovered that the owners of English slaughter-houses threw away as worthless, the tails of the cattle they killed. Like all the poor in France, these wanderers were excellent cooks, and knew that at home such caudal appendages were highly valued for the tenderness and flavor of the meat. To the amazement and disgust of the English villagers the new arrivals proceeded to collect this “refuse” and carry it home for food. As the first principle of French culinary art is the pot-au-feu, the tails were mostly converted into soup, on which the exiles thrived and feasted.

Their neighbors, envious at seeing the despised French indulging daily in savory dishes, unknown to English palates, and tempted like “Jack’s” giant by the smell of “fresh meat,” began to inquire into the matter, and slowly realized how, in their ignorance, they had been throwing away succulent and delicate food. The news of this discovery gradually spreading through all classes, “ox-tail” became and has remained the national English soup.

If this veracious tale could be twisted into a metaphor, it would serve marvellously to illustrate the position of the entire Anglo-Saxon race, and especially that of their American descendants as regards the Latin peoples. For foolish prodigality and reckless, ignorant extravagance, however, we leave our English cousins far behind.

Two American hotels come to my mind, as different in their appearance and management as they are geographically asunder. Both are types and illustrations of the wilful waste that has recently excited Mr. Ian Maclaren’s comment, and the woeful want (of good food) that is the result. At one, a dreary shingle construction on a treeless island, off our New England coast, where the ideas of the landlord and his guests have remained as unchanged and primitive as the island itself, I found on inquiry that all articles of food coming from the first table were thrown into the sea; and I have myself seen chickens hardly touched, rounds of beef, trays of vegetables, and every variety of cake and dessert tossed to the fish.

While we were having soups so thin and tasteless that they would have made a French house-wife blush, the ingredients essential to an excellent “stock” were cast aside. The boarders were paying five dollars a day and appeared contented, the place was packed, the landlord coining money, so it was foolish to expect any improvement.

The other hotel, a vast caravansary in the South, where a fortune had been lavished in providing every modern convenience and luxury, was the “fad” of its wealthy owner. I had many talks with the manager during my stay, and came to realize that most of the wastefulness I saw around me was not his fault, but that of the public, to whose taste he was obliged to cater. At dinner, after receiving your order, the waiter would disappear for half an hour, and then bring your entire meal on one tray, the over-cooked meats stranded in lakes of coagulated gravy, the entrees cold and the ices warm. He had generally forgotten two or three essentials, but to send back for them meant to wait another half-hour, as his other clients were clamoring to be served. So you ate what was before you in sulky disgust, and got out of the room as quickly as possible.

After one of these gastronomic races, being hungry, flustered, and suffering from indigestion, I asked mine host if it had never occurred to him to serve a table d’hote dinner (in courses) as is done abroad, where hundreds of people dine at the same moment, each dish being offered them in turn accompanied by its accessories.