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Whilst, however, to a vast number of the bachelor portion of the artisans, and those who, as we have said, work so far away from home as to prevent their returning to dinner, these Working Men's Diningrooms will prove of infinite value, we may perhaps be allowed just to hesitate a doubt if their effect upon the family life of the workman will be good. It will be remembered that during the controversy in the Times, “How to Live on Three Hundred a Year,” it was asserted that young men were spoilt by club life and club dinners for domestic life. How will it be with the young artisan, accustomed to the luxuries of his dining-room, when he takes to himself a wife, and has to share with her the ill-dressed flaps of meat that generally fall to the share of the poor man? And how will it fare with the poor wife in those cases where the husband is enjoying himself on soup, and roast, and pudding, in his well-lit, well-warmed, spacious diningroom ? In Glasgow and Manchester, where there is no domestic life for the factory hand, and where husband, wife, and child alike toil in the mill, these dining-rooms are a godsend, and indeed a necessity; but in London the case is somewhat different; and the social meal spent together is certainly an element of domestic life worth maintaining, and we trust it will not be shaken by the introduction of this new Glasgovian scheme. It is not only the mid-day meal that is threatened with revolution, but all other meals. For twopence a man can get a pint of excellent coffee, with milk and sugar, and four ounces of buttered 'bread, so that he has only to hire a bed, and here is his board found him for about seven shillings a week. It may be asked, can a working man spend even so much for food simply on himself, when he has a family? The better class artisan, certainly ; but the labourer, whose wage is not more than a pound a week, No. This leads us to the reflection that in all these improvements the class that takes advantage of them is far above that for which they were intended. This was proved when model lodging-houses were first established. These were intended for working men only, but it often happened that reduced gentlemen were found in them; and on occasions of excursion trains arriving from the country, well-dressed people carrying carpet-bags were often found demanding admission for the night. The pressure of class upon class is, however, so great, that it is often difficult to say whether the wearer of the fustian jacket or the seedy black coat is the better off. At all events, when these dining-rooms are self-supporting, it matters little what rank in the social scale frequents them, as they can be extended ad libitum, and they violate no principle of political economy. It is, however, far otherwise when such schemes are supported by public subscriptions, for then the philanthropist enters into unfair competition with the honest tradesman, and in the endeavour to minister to the needs of the poor, runs a chance of pauperizing respectable people. A knot of active, well-meaning persons of this class seem to have stolen a march upon those who are about to establish dining-rooms on the self-supporting system,—now working so well at Glasgow,—and
advertise “ The London Association for the Establishment of Dining and Refreshment Rooms for the Working Classes.” This scheme is to be partially supported by donations, and we see that the honour of managing or mismanaging the affairs of the association is to be purchased for £10 and £25 respectively. Of course a number of wealthy busybodies can always be found to appropriate other people's ideas, but there can be no doubt of the fate of an establishment presided over by such a management. To start with, they propose a bill of fare which is as extravagant as that of Glasgow. (in the shape of meat, at least) is meagre. Here it is :
Soups.—Meat soup, jullienne, soldiers', and vegetable, each ld. per pint.
Fish.—Cod, 1d. ; plaice, ld. ; and toad-in-the-hole, 17d. for 8 oz.
Joints.—Leg of mutton, 2d., 4 oz ; salt boiled beef, 2d., 4 oz. ; stewed fresh beef, 2d., 4 oz. ; beef pudding, 3d., 10 oz. ; soldiers' meat, dumpling, and potatoes, 3d., 16 oz. ; beef pies, 2d. ; and “ India pot” (a very excellent, substantial dish, cold), 3d., 16 oz.
Miscellaneous.—Kidney and Scotch tripe, 2d., 6 oz. ; curried tripe, 3d., 10 oz. ; tripe toad-in-the-hole, 3d., 10 oz.
Puddings.- Indian, 2d. for 8 oz. ; Yorkshire, 2d., 8 oz. ; honeyballs, 2d., 8 oz. ; polenta (sauced), 1 d., 16 oz. ; ditto (cheese), izd., 16 oz. ; sandwiches of new mixture, 1d., 4 oz.
Vegetables, &c.-Carrots, greens, turnips, brocoli sprouts, id. per plate each ; kohl cannon, £d. for 4 oz. ; bread, £d. for 4 oz. ; and butter, 1d. for 2 oz; coffee, kd. for three-quarters of a pint ; cocoa, 1d. per pint; tea, price not yet fixed.
We should say such a carte as this will require the contributions of the affluent; and whilst the guest delicately sips his soup jullienne and relishes his fish and curried tripe, he will without doubt bless the benevolent individuals who provide him with such
excellent fare at so small a charge. The extravagance of such a scheme will, however, correct itself, and the alamode-beef house need not fear any prolonged competition from this charitable institution for feeding the million.
We have, however, the word of Mr. Warriner, the Instructor of Cookery to the Army at Aldershot, that this bill of fare is even more economical to the association than that used in the dining rooms in Glasgow. If this be really so, what need is there of donations ? On the contrary, it should give a greater profit than the self-supporting Glasgow scheme. “Answer me that, Master Brooke!” At all events, whichever scheme succeeds, the working man in search of a good dinner will be sure to be a gainer, and we trust also that the publican will be a loser, which he certainly will if these dining-rooms alter a very obnoxious rule, and supply the working man with his pint of sound table-beer to wash it down, in place of the salted, tobacco-flavoured liquor, cunningly contrived to make him thirst afresh, which he will find in every publichouse in London.
The boy's most popular notion connected with Indiarubber is, that it is good to make “bladder pop;" and in order to make this material, it has to go through a process of manufacture which comes to boys by a kind of instinct. We all remember, during “map days," how the india-rubber, too often called into requisition, grew hot and crumbled, and as the pieces broke off, how they found their way into the mouth to undergo the process of mastication, and how, when chewed to a proper consistency, it became ductile, non-elastic, and sticky,-qualities requisite to make it imprison the air, which, on pressure, forced its way through the yielding substance in the shape of bladders, that burst with a pop, the sole reward of the schoolboy for hours of very tiring jaw-work. How little we imagined, when employed in this manner, and enjoying by anticipation the simple pleasures of the final pop, that we were going through a process which Science has since indicated as the best method of manipulating india-rubber for the purposes of the domestic arts. In the powerful machinery employed by the manufacturers of caoutchouc, we see but an elaboration of the masticating