A Table at Rules Back to listing

Oh, come with me to Maiden Lane, Where stands old Tom Rule’s fair domain, a rendezvous for great and small near Covent Garden and St.Paul, near theatre and music hall, an evening out we’ll long recall.

Here one may dine most splendidly on game and fish and english tea! Here oysters, ugly though they be, put on a face deliciously! Here salmon, trout and crayfish too, end their careers with much ado! here treacle with its golden pool, soaks in the sponge cake (oh, I drool).

The cream and custard, steamy hot, blend with the treacle — hit the spot! Here may we take a table fine, and sit us down to chat and dine, for Rules is such an enchanting place.

The very home of social grace, against which Dickens pressed his nose, and later dined as fortunes rose, where other greats as Galsworthy, could drape a napkin on the knee, where Wells filled up his glass again, and leaving morsels is a sin, (its fare is much too good, you know, to leave a bit for social show!) This is the place where Thackeray, that author of the Vanity, found yet another fare (I pun), upon my word (my pun is done!), Here Graham Greene his birthdays spent, for years in this establishment; and Waugh and other famous sorts, dined happily, from all reports! Here Kings may please their palates, too (The King may rule the Nation — true; but cooks rule kings); and yes, the great are just as boys when dinner’s late! When Edward, prince of Wales, took tea with Lily Langtry, privately, he England ruled, but what of that?

She ruled the king with cheese and chat! Though men be great at war and art, ‘Tis cooks who keep the ribs apart! And Rules,we know, is,oh, so able to put a morsel on the tablel The Pennines yield their ample hoard, of grouse and rabbit for the board, of partridge, pheasant, duck, and teal, of snipe and venison — God’s yield! The Scottish woodcock, all that’s game, obey the Rules when Rules takes aim!

This bounty of the British isles gives customers a thousand smiles! ‘Tis joy to dine so pleasantly, on piess and puddings, tarts and tea! To sit amid such pleasant sights, as Rules can offer days and nights! And what’s so clean, so pure and white, as a cloth at Rules in candlelight. a golden glow is in the air and time stands still for all that’s fair. The silver bowls and silver trays, the linen cloths and overlays, the cellared salt and server’s ways, the very scraper taste portrays. One hears the touch upon the plate, of silver forks of ancient date, the clink of glass, and in its sphere, the mirrored crystal chandelier. The buzz of voices casts its spell, and laughter echoes all is well. I have my chutney in a pot, a spoon that is no dainty lot, a lump of sugar for my tea, another serving just for me!

Beyond my table Hamlet stands, with Yorick’s skull within his hands. He contemplates on life and death, i concentrate on having breath, to finish one last bite of food. Oh, my, it is so very good! Ah, soul, when all is done and said, what matches sauce upon one’s bread, a cup of coffee, pot of tea, a bit of talk ‘tween you and me?Food is so — so reassuring; Dining in such rooms alluring! And rooms at Rules are polished rooms, as gilded as Egyptian tombs, with polished wood and polished beams, in which the lamplight softly dreams.

The booths are plush; the chairs are, too; and carpet’s soft to foot and shoe; and every wall with art is thick, with ancient clocks that slowly tick, with brackets, arches, bric-a-brac, with lamps and busts and antlered rack. The mirrors and the lights within, seem jewels in a diadem. Each niche is filled with objet d’art, and every candle seems a star! The fringed curtains muffle time. The stuffed fowl imitates the mime. The hearths and mantles stately stare; and all give Rules a royal air! I, too, have dined at Rules you see, a little table just for me, so I can testify to you, that old things matter — yes, they do! Traditions is what sees us through! And quality will draw a queue! May Rules still Rule as in the past! May all its glories ever last! Well done, Old Son! Two thousand cheers! To Rules! for its two hundred years! For what is man without his bread? (Marie forgot and lost her head!)