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The Turtle is kept in large tanks, which occupy a whole vault, where two tons
of turtle may sometimes be seen swimming in one vat. We have to thank
Mr. Cunningham for this information, which is noteworthy, independently of
its epicurean association,—that "turtles will live in cellars for three months
in excellent condition if kept in the same water in which they were brought
to this country. To change the water is to lessen the weight and flavour of
the turtle." Turtle does not appear in bills of fare of entertainments given
by Lord Mayors and Sheriffs between the years 1761 and 1766; and it is
not till 1768 that turtle appears by name, and then in the bill of the banquet
at the Mansion House to the King of Denmark. The cellars, which consist
of the whole basement storey, are filled with barrels of porter, pipes of port,
butts of sherry, etc. Then there are a labyrinth of walls of bottle ends, and
a region of bins, six bottles deep; the catacombs of Johannisberg, Tokay,
and Burgundy. "Still we glide on through rivers of sawdust, through
embankments of genial wine. There are twelve hundred of champagne down
here; there are between six and seven hundred dozen of claret; corked up
in these bins is a capital of from eleven to twelve thousand pounds; these
bottles absorb, in simple interest at five per cent., an income amounting
to some five or six hundred pounds per annum." "It was not, however, solely
for uncovering these floods of mighty wines, nor for luxurious feasting that
the London Tavern was at first erected, nor for which it is still exclusively
famous, since it was always designed to provide a spacious and convenient
place for public meetings. One of the earliest printed notices concerning
the establishment is of this character, it being the account of a meeting
for promoting a public subscription for John Wilkes, on the 12th of February,
1769, at which 3000 were raised, and local committees appointed for the
provinces. In the Spring season such meetings and committees of all sorts
are equally numerous and conflicting with each other, for they not
unfrequently comprise an interesting charitable election or two; and in
addition the day's entertainments are often concluded with more than one
large dinner, and an evening party for the lady spectators.


"Here, too, may be seen the hasty arrivals of persons for the meetings of
the Mexican Bondholders on the second-floor; of a Railway assurance
'up-stairs, and first to the left;' of an asylum election at the end of the

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