Monday 13 June 2011


More from the great George Sala in Twice Round the Clock (1859). This time, a little social anxiety regarding waiters:

I am afraid of waiters. I watch them — him — the Waiter, with great awe and trembling. Does he know, I ask myself, as he fills my tumbler with iced champagne, that half-and-half is a liquid to which I am more accustomed? Does he know that, sumptuously as I dine to-day, I didn't dine at all yesterday? Is he aware that Mr. Threadpaper is dunning me for that dress-coat with the watered-silk facings? Can he see under the table that the soles of my boots are no better than they should he? Is it within his cognizance that I have not come to the Albion, or the London Tavern, or the Freemasons', as a guest, but simply to report the dinner for the "Morning Meteor?" Does he consider the shilling I give him as insufficient? Shilling! He has many more shillings than I have, I trow. He pulls four pounds in silver from his pocket to change one a crown-piece. To-day he is Charles or James; but to-morrow he will be the proprietor of a magnificent West-end restaurant, rivalling Messrs. Simpson and Dawes at the Divan, or Mr. Sawyer at the London. So I am respectful to the waiter, and fee him largely but fearfully; and, were it not that he might take me for a waiter in disguise, I would also call him "Sir."

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