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Mr. William M. Thomas, United States Minister to Sweden, called upon the President lately and made him a present of several Swedish razors. A Washington correspondent at once telegraphed to his newspaper in New York: “He selected the razors himself and is a fine judge of them though he does not use a razor.” If the person who sent this important dispatch wanted to secure an Old Master he, doubtless, would hire a canal boatman to pass judgment upon the painting before he put his money down.
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Champagne and “Champagne”
It is customary for Americans to think that they get the best of everything. There are Americans who do get the best of everything, but this is because they know what is best and are able and willing to pay for it. But where hoi polloi thinks that it gets the best of everything it is mistaken. Take champagne, for instance. “A large bottle on the ice” is a common order in New York. To the waiter it means a bottle of champagne. He may or may not ask if any particular brand is required: that depends upon the quality of the hostelry in which he is employed; also upon the quality of the customer. The “large bottle” is forthcoming. It contains a label on which is printed the maker’s name.
The cork which comes out of the bottle is, generally, much larger than the neck into which it has been forced. It is seldom that one hears a buyer ask to see the cork. The average buyer of champagne would not understand the cork’s story. He is accustomed to large and bulging corks and if he were to see an attenuated specimen, of dark complexion and as hard as a piece of vulcanized rubber he would look at it with great suspicion and, doubtless, refuse the wine. But an experienced waiter will know his man and will bring him the sort of “large bottle” to which he has been accustomed, though it will not be champagne that a wine drinker would care to swallow. Champagne of the “large bottle” variety is drunk to a larger extent in the United States than anywhere else; in fact one would not be far wrong in saying that it is manufactured for the American market. Generally, the best champagne is made for England and Russia. The people of those countries who drink champagne have made at least a cursory study of it and are able, at a moment’s notice, to name the best vintages of the last twenty-five or thirty years. There are Americans who can do this, too, but they are not of the “large bottle” or “cold bottle” variety. The latter are the people who account for the fact that much more “champagne” is consumed than is furnished by the vineyards of France.
=Drift of the Day=