The Worlds Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906. Vols. VIIX: British
The Remains of a Lost Banquet
By Thomas Hood (17991845)
From Tylney Hall
BY common consent the company all hastened toward the fallen marquee, and clearing away the canvas, they beheld the turf variously strewed, exactly as if Timethat edax rerumhad made a miscellaneous meal which had disagreed with him.
In the middle the tables lay on their sides with their legs stretched out like dead horses, and the bruised covers, and knives and forks, were scattered about like battered helmets and masterless weapons after a skirmish of cavalry. The table-cloths were dappled with the purple blood of the grape; and the eatables and drinkables scattered, battered, spattered, shattered, and tattered, all round about, presented a spectacle equally whimsical and piteous. The following are but a few of the objects which the Hon. Mr. Danvers beheld when he looked on:
Such were some of the objects, interspersed with Serpentines of sherry, Peerless Pools of port, and New Rivers of Madeira, that saluted the eyes of the expectant guests, thus untimely reduced to the feast of reason and the flow of soul. The unfortunate hostess appeared ready to drop on the spot; but, according to Major Oakleys theory, she refrained from fainting among so many broken bottles. Twigg stood with the very aspect and attitude of a bakers journeyman we once saw, just after a stumble which had pitched five rice puddings, two custard ditto, a gooseberry pie, a currant tart, and two dozen cheesecakes into a reservoir of MAdamss broth from flints. The swamping of his collation on the ait in the Thames was a retail concern to this enormous wreck. His eyebrows worked, his eyes rolled, his lips quivered with inaudible curses, and his fingers twitched, as if eager to be doing something, but waiting for orders from the will. He was divided, in truth, between a dozen rival impulses, suggesting to him, all at once, to murder the cow, to thrash Pompey, to quarrel with his wife, to disinherit his son, to discharge the cooks, to order everybodys carriage, to send Matilda back to boarding-school, to go to bed suddenly ill, to run away God knew where, to hang himself on the pear-tree, to drown himself in the fish-pond, to burn the marquee, to turn infidel and deny a Providence, to get dead drunk.