With ice cream and cottage pudding, the admirable menu proceeded. The waiters conferred secretly together. They carefully noted the cheerful carving of the host’s brow. They will know him again. A man who bursts in suddenly upon a railroad lunch counter and pays for three such meals, here is an event in the grim routine! But perhaps the two charter members were feeling pangs of conscience. “Come,” they said, “at least let us split the ginger ale checks.” But Lawton was seeing it through. Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note, as our host to the cashier we hurried. The secretary bought a penny box of matches and lit the great man’s cigarette for him. Endymion, equally stirred, ran to buy the ferry tickets for the return voyage. “This time,” he said, “I will be the ferry godmother.”
On the homeward passage a little drowse fell upon the two charter members. They had lunched more richly than was their wont. “Oh, these distressing, heavy lunches!” as Aldous Huxley cries in one of his poems. But Lawton was still of bright vivacity. At that time the club was perturbed by the coming Harding-Cox election. “Which of the vice-presidents are you going to vote for?” he cried, and then said: “It looks to me like Debs or dubs.”
Endymion and the secretary looked at each other solemnly. The time had come. “I, Endymion,” said the chairman, “take thee, Lawton, to have and to hold, as a member of the club.”
And the secretary tenderly pronounced the society’s formula for such occasions: “There is no inanition in an initiation.”
CREED OF THE THREE HOURS FOR LUNCH CLUB
It has been suggested that the Three Hours for Lunch Club is an immoral institution; that it is founded upon an insufficient respect for the devotions of industry; that it runs counter to the form and pressure of the age; that it encourages a greedy and rambling humour in the young of both sexes; that it even punctures, in the bosoms of settled merchants and rotarians, that capsule of efficiency and determination by which Great Matters are Put Over. It has been said, in short, that the Three Hours for Lunch Club should be more clandestine and reticent about its truancies.
Accordingly, it seems good to us to testify concerning Lunches and the philosophy of Lunching.
There are Lunches of many kinds. The Club has been privileged to attend gatherings of considerable lustre; occasions when dishes of richness and curiosity were dissected; when the surroundings were not devoid of glamour and surreptitious pomp. The Club has been convened in many different places: in resorts of pride and in low-ceiled reeky taphouses; in hotels where those clear cubes of unprofitable ice knock tinklingly in the goblets; in the brightly tinted cellars of Greenwich Village; in the saloons of ships. But the Club would give a false impression of its mind and heart if it allowed any one to suppose that Food is the chief object of its quest. It is true that Man, bitterly examined, is merely a vehicle for units of nourishing combustion; but on those occasions when the Club feels most truly Itself it rises above such considerations.