A Refreshment Bar.

A Refreshment Bar. (By Our Own Complete Angler.). William S. Brunton (fl. 1859-71), artist. Signed with monogram lower left. Fun (16 March 1867): 14. Courtesy of the Suzy Covey Comic Book Collection in the George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida. Click on image to enlarge it.]

Note: I have not attempted to follow the directions for changing typefaces in the second part of the following article, and neither did printer who set this page in Fun.

Accompanying Text

The Refreshment Bar is a miniature of the world. Indeed were Shakespeare alive now, the probability is that he would alter the well-known lines inAs You Like It. They would probably run somehow in this style:—

All the world's a bar;
And all the men nnd women merely payers.
They have their X. X. and their sandwiches;
And each man in his time has various quarts.

The ingenious and polyproeopous Ernest Schule could scarcely mould his plastic countenance into the endless variety of faces and expressions which flit before the marble slab. The melancholy, the merry, the choleric, the kindly, the sage and the silly, all alike come for sherry and sandwiches, beer and buns, porter and pie.

In old days, when food and drink obtainable at Refreshment Bars were of such a vile quality that no one could be prevailed on to taste them save by the pangs of approaching starvation, the world did not present a pleasant aspect. But reform, which still lingers at the bur of the House of Commons, has long since passed our bar. The popularity and success of Messrs Spiers and Pond have opened the eyes of the purveyors generally, and some pretence is usually made nowadays to an improved system. Too often there is only an outward affectation of improvement.

The public can now be pleasant at the bar instead of being as surly as if it were at the box of the Old Bailey. Young city men or Government clerks find it pleasant to loiter by the glittering counters, and bask in the smiles of the presiding damsels. A copy of verses beginning —

“Such flavour her smiles lend a sandwich,
With envy the mustard turns pale:
And there's that in the touch of her hand, which
Gives brightness and briskness to ale,”

has been found in Pall Mall, and is conjectured by the curious to have been inspired by some fair maid at Victoria. It must be noted, bv the way, that with an improved commissariat the refreshment bar developed improved courtesy, and the young ladies no longer help you to their scorn as well os their sandwiches, and add the bitterness of a sneer to your Bass. It is to be regretted that some shallow idiots who can talk nothing but nonsense, especially to a woman, take advantage of this concession, and bore the damsels to death with theix attentions.

Having enjoyed by the kind permission of Benjamin Web——————, we beg pardon, of Messrs S. and P_____, rare opportunities for studying and classifying the different species of the genus homo: which flit before the bar, we venture to indicate a few varieties.

There is the party with a rough coat, and the hat that has, as the poet remarks, seen many summers — including winters. As a rule, he asks for “a glass of Burton, miss, please.” (The printer is requested, for the benefit of these who run and (Charles) Reade, to put that in small type expressive of rapid and compressed utterance.]

Then there is the pale, tall youth, with chilly hair tucked behind his can, who asks for noctar, but finding it is not on tap, takes a glass of “pale brandy, cold.” [The printer is requested to put his remark in ordinary type, as he is only a poet.]

Then there is the brisk and often rosy party, who frequently has differences with porters and ticket collectors, not to breathe the word ‘Cabman.’ He likes spirit—ofttimes rum—and water “Hot” [Small caps expressive of importance.]

There is the lardy-dardy swell, not seldom in a Government office, but also in spite of the statistics of society, hailing on occasion from the City, he requires a “g-l-a-a-ss aw-f sh-e-w-o-w-y.” [We were anxious to put this in “extended sanserif,” (whatever that may be) to denote languor and drawling, but were very properly checked by the Master Printer.]

Finally, there is the loafer, who intends to go by some train or other to some station or other some of these days. He is low as to the crown of his hat and his conversation — tight as to his trousers and his condition at times — short as to his coat-tails and intelligence. He lives principally on toothpicks and silly conversation, and is a perpetual nuisance to the damsels of the bar. (The only type that can represent the size of his talk is too minute for ordinary printing.]

Of the varieties of the female sex there is almost an eoual number. We might begin with her who takes a bun — as a pretext for a glass of brandy and water, and continue the series to the jolly old la dy who comes in boldly for her beer,— touching lightly on the giggler who “never touches anything,” but will sip a considerable drop if pressed, and making passing reference to the serious female with a bulgy black bag who takes tea solemnly. Our gallantry — or space forbids.

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Last modified 6 June 2018