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FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
Chambers's London Journal
Chambers's London Journal of History, Literature, Poetry, Biography, and Adventure, v. 2, no. 79, No...
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Chambers's London Journal of History, Literature, Poetry, Biography, and Adventure, v. 2, no. 79, November 26, 1842.
Blanchard, Edward Litt Leman.
20 October 2015
London: W. Strange ... W. Clements ... and G. Berger
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"f,j‘ ,,.w--q,y7-.ri;n- T t d ;x “ av EDUCATION arm: aacous EASY ro uan, nor nu-ricnzr -ro naive-ans! ro GOVBKN, nvr mrossiaaa -ro ENSLAVE."-1.031) naoucuav. NUMBER 79. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1842. PRICE THREE HaL1=m;NcE. A Chapter on Co3'ee-Houses. Y TH! EDITOR. “Ix te apes est,” said (or ought to have said) a wag of a grocer when fixing upon a motto for his carriage ; and in a similar spirit do we declare" in codee spes eat,” for if there he one thing more than another that we do have a penchant for, it is a cupof the rich unadulterated juice that flows from the Arabian berry. Mocha! we confess to an extatic appreciation of thy powers under every form. We love to see thine amher stream gush- ing from the chimney-spout of the coffee-pot into the circular China howl beneath, brimming over with fra- grance, and redolent of its native Arabian perfume, sug- gesting reminiscences of the Calipb, I-laroun Alm- schid, and linking Mahometan editations with European enjoyments. Whether emanating from a “ Patent Per- colator,” or digressiug only from the tap-turned boiler of the coffee-house, this said Asiatic concoction has had more influence over the minds, morals. and habits of the present generation, than anything else that has trans- pired during the last two centuries. “ He must have been a bold man,” says Sancho Panza, " that opened the first oyster ;” and we may add that he must have been a wise and benevolent man, to boot, that propagated the virtues of the first cup of coffee. Coffee and lite- rature are now, thanks to metropolitan improvement, ir revocably allied, and to the better furtherance of that good feeling, we propose inditing one article purely in praise of codee and coffee-houses-.1 subject which, at least, leaves us not without good grounds for a belief that we can make it acceptable to our readers. And now, for thine information, most worthy peruser, hark to old Evelyn, who says, in 1637, “ There came in my tyme to the College, Oxford, one Nathaniel Conopios, out ofGrcece; he was the first I ever saw drink coffee, which custom came not into England till 30 years after.” But the example thus set by honest Nathaniel soon found imitators, and soon after several houses opened abouf Cnvent Garden, expressly for the purpose of supplying ready-made coffee. Such houses were. “ll'hite’s," the Thatched llousc, “ Button’s," and various others. Where Snckville-street was built, stood, in the time of Lord Clarendon, a house called Piccadilln llall, brst opened as a coffee tavern, and particularly celebrated for a kind of confection or pastry taken with coffee, and called Piccadillns. Hence the name that was given to the now vast thoroughfare of Piccadilly. Sackville-street was completed in 1642 as far as Berkeley-street ; but the first good house that was built in it was called Bur- lington House. Lord Clarendon mentions going when he was a. young man to a “ fair house of entertainment for coffee and for gamblipg,” called Piccadilly llall. It appears to have had an avenue to it well laid with gravel and trees planted on each side, with an upper and lower bowling-green, where “ gentlefolks were used to smoke tobacco and drinke coffee.” About this time, in a letter from a gentleman, one Matthew Walmcr, to the Earl of Strnfford, we read the following account of a similar house of enter-taiment opened not far from the one above-mentioned, and for a similar purpose :- " Since Spring-garden was put down we have, by a ser- vant of the Lord Chamherlayn‘s, got a new Spnng-gap den erected in the fields beyond the mews, where is built a fair house for the sale of coffee, and several large howling-greens made to entertain bowler.-2 and gamesters, zit an excessive rate, and built at the cost of so- veral tliousand pounds. . The scenery around beau- tiful, and the prospect good. My Lord Chnmherlayne No. 47. "cl. ll. much frequents this place, &c.” The prospect of chimney-pots and omnibuses which now exists would, we opinc, savour in these times rather of a disadvantage to a place frequented by the Lord Chamberlain-such havoc docs time make with places. The introduction of coffee-houses into the metropolis, at mtes which would enable every class to partake of the beverages therein afforded, is, however, of very recent date. Fifty, nay twenty years ago, a coffee-house in London was a rarity; now there is scarcely a street without its halfvdozen. Here, for the small charge of three-halfpance, or two- pence, you may obtain an excellent cup of coffee, served up with milk and sugar ad lib., and have the range of all the morning and evening papers, in addition to weekly periodicals and monthly magazines. The tired mechanic, returning from his tail, may thus recruit him- selfwith a hot, wholesome beverage, at a smaller cost than he could obtain a pint of muddy porter for at a public-house, and divert his mind by learning the latest intelligence in the world ofpolitics, news, literature, or science; What a contrast to the smoke-impregnated atmosphere of u public-house, and in what a beneficial manner, both to mind and body, for the homeless bachelor to spend an evening. At one of these favourite retreats of ours-for we deem it not derogatory to our editorial dignity that we should regale ourselves occasionally in a ffee-house, a lover of coffee and light reading may, despite the foggy drizzle of Xovemher nights, bury himself in “ Blackwood," or amuse himself with " Ains- worth,"nestle in the pages of the " New Monthly," grow bewildered over “ Bentley,” or muddled over the " Me- tropolitan,” and all this with the accompaniment of a brilliant gas-light, a clear fire, and a pretty waitress. And by the way, speaking of waitresses, it behaves the proprietors of these places to have a due regard for the comelim-ss of these indispensable helpmates, A cup of coffee seems to have n tenfold gusto when served by the delicate hands of a pretty abigail. We give the hint with all due deference, for the interests of a man have not been seldom dependant upon the attractions of a woman. Deprecating all intention of giving one house a preference over another, we can pointout in London some dozen of coffee-houses, where comfort and economy are united. Amongst the higher class, where threepence is demanded fora cup of pure mocha, may be mentioned “The Hope," in the Ilaymarket; up stairs you find all the reviews and magazines, published both in England and on the continent, together with a plentiful stock of newspapers of all climes and politics. If you feel very much inclined to he alone, and like to sulk by yourself over the fire, there is a third room on the second floor, equally well supplied with readables, and more comfort- able arm chairs, which are rarely occupied until the evening. Then there is the “ Crown," in llolborn, op- posite Chancery Lane, and having in addition to all the periodicals of the present day, a well-assorted library, comprising the magazines for the last twenty years. But speaking of Chancery Lane, fortune commend us to the “ Temple" Coffee House, where the tea and codes is not only good, but snpcrlatively commendable, and where they broil you a chop or a steak to perfection. The do- mestic adjuncts, too, are attentive and civil, to say nothing of the exct-llencies of mine host’s porter, which he dis- penses to his customers, with the real twang of the hop existing in pristine purity. There is also here a room up-stairs elegantly fitted up, and, together with the one beneath, supplied with every publication of note. Half- an-hour at the "Temple" will not be considered lost to those who are gastronomic or literary epicures, as they willfind pltntitul rfor sncomiumin bothdr-partmeut.!. Then we have the “ Arundel," opposite the church of St. Clements, to which the only objection we would in kind- ness proffer, is its want of ventilation, and its unnecessary supply of flies. The rest of these metropolitan pecu- liarities are untlcserviug of any particular mention but, speaking generally, all deserving of support. Long may London continue to boast of its coffee-houses, and long may they continue to nnd their business as lucra- tive to themselves as their existence is advantageous to others. And now, having spoken of the houses, we would, in all honesty of purpose, give utterance to a few words of admonition to their customers. We do not, in the first place, precisely see why coffee-house mudins re- quire such a marvellous exertion in mastication. Being shut up in a small box, with 3 persevering mama- eating individual keeping up an incessant chum-cluzm opposite, we could find it in our heart, as a conscienti- ous jurist, to acquit any victim for having committed suicide or murder. In the second place, we have yet to learn that either tea or coffee should be swallowed by tcuspounsful, or that, when the cup is raised to the lip, its contents should be abstracted by violent suction. The monotonous plish-plash of the former, and the vehement nt-urpilmth of tho latter, are equally annoying to any one but those possessed of nerves of iron. For our own part, being cursed with the most sensitive susceptibilities in thLs respect that ever made up afor- rnidable item in the vast sum of human misery, we are continually beset by irritative proceedings of this nature, compared to which n pertinacious juvenile munching Ribstone pippins, or a gallery-patronizing playgoer crunching desperately Barcelona nuts, are perfect pleasantrics in comparison. Annoyances equal, or at least almost so, to these, are made apparent when you are, for some reason or other, desirous that a certain paper or journal should fall under your anxious eye with aslittle delay as possible: then it is that you in. variably behold the said journal secure in the possession of an impcrturhable proser, who makes an invariable rule of “engaging the Sun after the next gentleman" the moment he enters, and never re-delivering it up until he has gloau.-d orer every line, from the title to the imprixuatur. There is your fidgety idler, too, who, not reading himself, lets nobody else read, but performs an occult sonata on the table will: his knuckles, the tune being familiarly designated a certain individual‘s tattoo, but which even that personage wonll feel ashamed to acknowledge as his composition. Loud talking, and boisterous laughter, should, in such places, subject the offenders to he excommunicated from decent society forthwith, for it forms a most important integer in the aggregate of nuisances. But the catalogue is; by far too numerous to be here recapitulated, so we turn to the more pleasant ride of the question, that which re. dounds to the praise and glory of coffee-houses. The good ctiectrd by the establishment ofcoflue-houses in thometropolis has been incalculable. To them alone may be traced the refinement and intellectual supremacy some thirty years bygone; and this sphere of usefulness is, we are proud to say, rapidly extendiuiv. Tlmy have paved the way for Father Zllathew,and been most efhcient aids in the cause of Temperance; whilst they have afforded many an opportunity of becoming acquainted with important facts and pleasant fancies which would of the people, as contrasted with their mental darkness i i l : ,i ,....‘.‘ga..,$.m.-...- - . '1