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MEMORIAL HALL AND THE THAYER CLUB.

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

"Who can cloy the hungry edge of appetite

By bare imagination of a feast?"

MUCH has been said, and justly said, of the imposing appearance, the fine proportions, handsome interior decorations, and excellent appointments of the Memorial Dining-Hall. Many persons, residents of Cambridge and Boston and strangers from other towns, come every day to visit the Hall, and they doubtless go away well satisfied with what they have seen, and convinced of the truthfulness of the reports concerning it. The beauty of the Hall, moreover, is far from being unappreciated by those who are privileged to take their meals there, and all members of the College, past and present, are naturally proud of this new acquisition of their Alma Mater.

To those of the students who formerly attended the repasts spread in the bare and unpretending, nay, somewhat comfortless, salle a manger of the Thayer Club, their present quarters are particularly grateful; and yet, as their eyes recover from the dazzling and bewildering effect of stained-glass windows, groined roof, high wainscot, oaken floor and tables, venerable portraits, armorial plates, saucers, and sugar-bowls, and ebony-skinned attendants, the still, small voice of the stomach makes itself heard, whispering to them that what satisfies the eye and elevates the aesthetic taste does not completely appease the longings of the poor animal nature. The manner in which our food is set before us is a great improvement upon the old way, and in going to our meals we feel more like gentlemen and less like pigs, but in coming away sometimes we feel a little like deluded gentlemen. Often we carry back from breakfast to our rooms and lectures a goodly spicing of the old unsatisfied, disgusted feeling, so hindering to cheerful spirits and successful work.

"The veins unfilled, our blood is cold, and then

We pout upon the morning, are unapt

To give or to forgive."

This feeling is nature's voice condemning, not the quantity, but the quality of our fare.

Those who entered their names last spring and last fall on the Steward's book as attendants at Memorial Hall did so with the understanding that the food would in some measure correspond with the architectural appearance of the building, and that it would at least be considerably in advance of that furnished by and suitable to the Thayer Club. Some of these persons are disappointed. Let us compare the present fare with the past, and see why they are so.

To most persons breakfast is fully as important as any other meal of the day; to a great many, and among these may especially be reckoned the majority of students, it is the most important. The breakfasts in Memorial Hall come short in several respects of those at the old Thayer Club. To descend to particulars: At the Thayer Club we used to have the best coffee that could be obtained (except in private houses, of course) this side of Boston: its quality was fairly good, it was served hot, in the coffee-pot, at the table, and accompanied by hot milk. Our present coffee is the weakest the writer has ever seen, it is sparingly endowed with calorific properties, and plentifully supplied, in unknown and unvisited regions, with cold milk (perchance once boiled) and, I should say, with copper-filings, and maybe a pinch or two of snuff besides. At the Thayer Club we had every day good rolls with a crisp crust; at Memorial, until recently, we have had soggy, solid rolls; and as for those now furnished, although some of them display a tendency to crispness on the under surface, the majority are unambitious of any such refinement. The brown bread at Memorial is never superior and often inferior to that of the Thayer Club. Beside these articles we have nothing to eat at breakfast save cold meat, - very cold meat, generally cold corned beef, - cold bread, and milk.

To compare the dinners: Memorial Hall does certainly supply us with better soup than did the Thayer Club, but, in other respects, the fare now is almost precisely the same as under the old regime. Certainly one of the worst, and to the writer an utterly inexplicable feature of that system has come down intact, namely, the furnishing to those students whose distance from home prevents their recuperating their strength with better fare on Saturdays and Sundays, the most abominable dinners on those days that could well be set on a table. A passage from Dryden is very descriptive of a Sunday dinner at Memorial:-

"Some coarse cold salad is before thee set;

Bread with the bean, perhaps, and broken meat.

Fall on, and try thy appetite, to eat."

The Friday dinner is nearly as bad, with salt mackerel and omnipresent corned beef taking the place of the meat which might be expected in a College not specially advocating the practice of a weekly fast. For several weeks the writer has been puzzled to know how an Irish stew and a dessert of very much boiled rice fulfilled the requirements of the constitution relative to furnishing three courses at dinner. This he leaves for others to solve. Before closing let me call attention to a remarkable property possessed by the turnip, - that vegetable described by a recent writer on food and dietetics as "possessing a low nutritive value." Let me call attention to the patience and perseverance of this turnip. Again and again has it left our tables untouched; again and again has it reappeared to tempt us with its fragrant smell. Poor disappointed turnip! Is no one strong enough to carry it forevermore away? At Vassar College, I am assured, the sufferings of this poor vegetable would be short indeed. It is a custom there for the chief cook (or his deputy perchance) to examine the tables after every meal and ascertain what dishes are untouched or but sparingly eaten; these for a while are seen no more, and others more popular with the students take their places.

In conclusion, the writer hopes that no one will mistake the motives that lead him to speak as he has done. The evils mentioned are by no means incurable, and will not, he trusts, go long uncured; and our Alma Mater herself teaches us that they should be cured. In giving to her undergraduates and alumni so fine a dining-hall, she surely teaches them to make the dinners in some measure correspond, and in their hands she leaves the power to do so.

JEJUNUS.NOTE. - It will doubtless be borne in mind that the price of board at Memorial Hall is higher than it was at the Thayer Club.

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