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A Christmas Pudding Extraordinary

Anecdotes Home






When the late Lord Paget was ambassador
at Constantinople, he, with the rest of the gentlemen who were in a public
capacity at the same court, determined one day when there was to be a grand
banquet, to have each of them a dish dressed after the manner of their
respective countries; and Lord Paget, for the honour of England, ordered a
piece of _roast beef and a plum pudding_. The beef was easily cooked, but
the court cooks not knowing how to make a plum pudding, he gave them a
receipt:--"So many eggs, so much milk, so much flour, and a given quantity
of raisins; to be beaten up together, and boiled so many hours in so many
gallons of water." When dinner was served up, first came the French
ambassador's dish--then that of the Spanish ambassador--and next, two
fellows bearing an immense pan, and bawling, "_Room for the English
ambassador's dish!_" "Confound my stupidity!" cried his lordship; "I forgot
to tell them of the bag, and these stupid scoundrels have boiled it without
one; and in five gallons of water too. It will be good plum broth,
however!"


Dr. Kirwan, the celebrated Irish chemist, having one day at dinner with him
a party of friends, was descanting upon the antiseptic qualities of
charcoal, and added, that if a quantity of pulverised charcoal were boiled
together with tainted meat, it would remove all symptoms of putrescence,
and render it perfectly sweet. Shortly afterwards, the doctor helped a
gentleman to a slice of boiled leg of mutton, which was so far gone as to
shed an odour not very agreeable to the noses of the company. The gentleman
repeatedly turned it upon his plate, without venturing to taste it; and the
doctor observing him, said, "Sir, perhaps you don't like mutton?" "Oh, yes,
doctor," he replied, "I am very fond of mutton, but I do not think the cook
has boiled charcoal enough with it."


When the Archbishop of York sent Ben Jonson an excellent dish of fish from
his dinner table, but without drink, he said,--

"In a dish came fish
From the arch-bis-
Hop was not there,
Because there was no _beer_."


Poor-Man-of-Mutton is a term applied to a shoulder of mutton in Scotland
after it has been served as a roast at dinner, and appears as a broiled
bone at supper, or at the dinner next day. The late Earl of B., popularly
known as "Old Rag," being indisposed at a hotel in London, one morning the
landlord came to enumerate the good things in his larder, in order to
prevail on his guest to eat something, when his lordship replied,
"Landlord, I think I _could_ eat a morsel of a poor man;" which, with the
extreme ugliness of his lordship's countenance, so terrified the landlord,
that he fled from the room and tumbled down stairs, supposing the earl,
when at home, was in the habit of eating a joint of a vassal, or tenant
when his appetite was dainty.





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