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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review 1912

Meals, Drinks and Etiquette

Meals, Drinks and Etiquette.

The best meal this writer ever enjoyed consisted of cold boiled mutton, cold potatoes, and cold turnips. Nothing more; not even a suspicion of pepper or salt. Of course, the circumstances were exceptional; but it shows. I will admit that I can enjoy a dinner, say at Paris House, with the gay dresses and the bright music and champagne. Likewise, I have eaten at some of the best hotels and, I hope, all of the worst railway stations in Australasia. And the appetite by no means governs the enjoyment; for instance, on a railway station an appetite which forbids any but a fasting diet, is quite the most enjoyable, while there is needed the appetite which a long walk or strong drink inspires, to appreciate to the full the delicacies of the all-night coffee-stall.

But that best meal of cold boiled mutton, cold potatoes, and cold turnips—and nothing more. It was at sea, on a steamer (I think it was called) of very inconsiderable tonnage. It was at the time carrying some 800 sheep, also myself and a few other passengers, as a side line. The sheep fed themselves on the burrs which their neighbours' fleeces had collected. The passengers—well, "dark grew the lift and loud blew the wind and surly was the sea," or something very like it. I page 15 understand that we occasionally went through the water, but the voyage was mostly aeroplaning. You may yourself have been on a vessel, and have felt the screw revolving in the air. That was what we felt. After a day and a half of that by way of exercise, and very little by way of nourishment, I was ready for a meal. And it was a banquet. It was the best meal I have ever enjoyed. And it consisted of cold boiled mutton, cold potatoes, and cold turnips. Nothing more: not even a glass of ale.

Which reminds me of No-License and that. With all deference to our Prohibition friends, there are doctors who will order alcohol for medicinal purposes. And there are invalids who need no doctor's orders in this respect. Then too, there have been doctors, fortunately the remote exceptions, who have devoted a great part of their own lives to the study of the effects of alcohol from practical experience. This of course is entirely contrary to professional etiquette: a doctor should not prescribe for himself. Likewise, when a lawyer requires to shield himself from some of these base attacks that some people will make on lawyers, he must employ another lawyer to do it for him. Not that two of the fraternity are not more likely to find a way out than one, but if a man does possess brains—as even lawyers will—it puzzles you and me to know why he shouldn't be allowed to use them except for other people. It is weird.

Likewise one is puzzled by quite a number of other vagaries of the professional man. The rule which says that he must not advertise is quite a pity. Think what the world loses in literary gems! Something after this style would attract thousands:

"Carving Extraordinary."

'Dr. Gore-Butcher, M.B., L.R.C.P., A.R.A., J.P. (or whatever he may be), would call the attention of the public to his unquestioned skill with the knife. He holds testimonials from the late Mr. Justice Piecrust, the late Mr. O'Bang, King Tooruloo (of Sandwich Islands), Mark Twain, Queen Anne, and thousands of others. Appendices removed daily .Why not yours?"

Or this for the law: "Mr. Eustace Numbskull, Barrister and Solicitor, thorough knowledge of all branches of crime. He fears no judge. Thousands of lawsuits page 16 always in stock. Come and select. One visit to this office will convince you."

It may be, of course, that these people really do advertise in their own quiet way. If you happen along King Street, Sydney, near the Law Courts, you may see the barristers parading there in their wigs and gowns. If you do, I wish you would enquire why they do it: for advertisement, or because of their vanity? Myself, I never summoned up courage to ask.

All this is a long call from that best meal which this writer ever enjoyed. That meal was a delight: cold boiled mutton, cold potatoes, and cold turnips. Nothing more—not even a toothpick.

J. McL. Hogben.