An excerpt from

A Man of Sentiment: The Memoirs of Philippe-Joseph Aubert de Gaspé 1786-1871
by Phillipe-Joseph Aubert de Gaspé translated by Jane Brierley

There was an old bachelor, rich and very miserly. He promised his lawyers and a number of their friends a good dinner, over and above their fees, if he won a certain case about which he was extremely anxious. At first glance, the menu put us in excellent humour, as did our host's insistence on placing one of us at the head of the table instead of occupying it himself. None of the bons vivants objected to this departure from custom, for only the miser's cellar would be the loser if he weren't in charge of handing round the wine.

It would take a Horace or a Boileau to describe adequately the dishes offered at this dinner. First course: at one end of the table a boiled calf's head, baring its teeth and sticking our its tongue; at the other end, a boiled shoulder of veal. In the centre of the table sat four dishes: creamed veal, a stew of sundry bits of the same animal, veal tripe, and slices of roast veal. The crowning feature of the first course was a rice soup for which the aforementioned head had furnished the broth.

"We'll be mooing in a minute," said Plamondon to his neighbour. As I saw that everyone was making superhuman efforts not to laugh, I came to the rescue by saying very loudly:

"Gentlemen of the bar, here is a tongue that has never lied."

This remark was greeted with shrieks of laughter, and the master of the feast declared in delighted tones that never had he heard such wit, particularly as applied to gentlemen of the bar. The guests set to with a will, nevertheless, in hopes of a little more variety in the meat offered for the next course.

Second course: a huge loin of veal at the head of the table, and a dish of braised veal at the other end. We thought the animal must surely be disposed of by now, but no: the maidservant returned with a calf's foot marinade and breaded veal cutlets. We contained ourselves with difficulty until Major LaForce brought us timely deliverance by telling a funny story, thus enabling us to split our sides with some semblance of propriety.

We were all under the impression that the master of the house had that morning made a clean sweep of all the calves in the market, when he remarked, with an air of evident satisfaction, "Veal, gentlemen, is at its delicate best at this time of year, and knowing the ability of my lawyers, I was sure my case would win on the twentieth of this month of June. My cow presented me with a fine calf two months ago, and I therefore had the happy notion of fattening it in order to feast you today."

"How very considerate of you," said I. "We're extremely grateful-all the more so, because I imagine the son must have drunk all his dear mother's mild and left you with none."

"You're absolutely right," returned the miser. "For the last two months I've had to drink my tea like a Chinaman!"

Then a ray of triumphant joy lit up his face as he cried, "Gentlemen, the plum pudding!"

This wonderful plum pudding formed a cone some eighteen inches high. It made us think-this was Ross' idea-that the cook couldn't find a suitable bag, and must have cut off the end of one of her master's old nightcaps to concoct this giant among Britannic desserts. Ross, noticing it was somewhat wobbly, gave the table a little push. The top of the pudding leaned toward him, and he cried, "How do you do?" Once set in motion, the pyramid saluted all the guests, who gaily shouted, "How do you do?"

"I knew you'd be delighted with this grand plum pudding," declared our host.