Victorian London - Publications - Etiquette and Advice Manuals - Dinners and Diners, by Lieut.-Col. Newnham-Davis, 1899 - Preface

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WHEN the series of articles now collected in this volume was discussed between their author and myself in the early part of 1897, we found it a matter of no slight difficulty to determine what range they should take, and to what class of establishments they should be confined. There is no accounting for the variety of people's tastes in the matter of eating and drinking, and among the readers of the Pall Mall Gazette persons no doubt could be found ranging from the Sybarite, who requires Lucullus-like banquets, to him of the simple appetite for whom little more than a dinner with Duke Humphrey would suffice. Consequently, the choice of places to be visited had to be made in a catholic spirit, with the necessary result that a formidably long list was prepared. In selecting Colonel Newnham-Davis to carry out this commission for the [-viii-] Pall Mall Gazette, I knew I was availing myself of the services of a thoroughly experienced, trustworthy, and capable commissioner, who would deal with the task entrusted to him in a pleasantly mixed anecdotal and critical spirit, while at the same time supplying useful guidance to persons wanting to know where to dine and what they would have to pay. In the following pages it will be seen how well he carried out the duty he undertook, and I am able to add that "Dinners and Diners" had a great vogue and very wide popularity among the readers of the Pall Mall Gazette. There were very many requests from various quarters that they should be collected into book form, and this has now been done with some valuable additions included in the shape of recipes and other information. In these days, when the taste for dining at restaurants is so largely on the increase, I have little doubt that the republication of these articles will be welcomed, and that they will supply not only interesting but useful information.
    Pall Mall Gazette.