Places Where Mortals Dine.

A poem by Horatio Alger, Jr.

The case, too, was urgent, for there stood a sinner,
Whose fate hung on chance--a chance for his dinner;
A chance for all mortals, with truth I assert,
Who eat where his chance was, to counteract fate,
"To eat during life each a peck of pure dirt"
By eating at once the whole peck from one plate.
For true when I think of the places we eat at,
Or rather the places by hunger when driven
We rush in and swallow our bread and our meat at,
A bushel good measure in life will be given
To those who are living a "boarding-house life,"
Or those who are driven by fortune to journey,
And eat when we must with so dirty a knife,
I wish't could be done by the power of attorney;
Or where you must eat in a place called "saloon;"
Or "coffee-house" synonym of whisky and rum;
(I wish all the breed were sent off to the moon,
And earth was well clear of the coffee-house scum;)
Or where "Restauration" hangs out for sign,
At bar-room or cellar or dirty back room,
Where dishcloths for napkins are thought extra fine,
And table cloths look as though washed with a broom;
Where knives waiters spit on and wipe on their sleeves,
And plates needing polish, with coat tails are cleaned;
Where priests dine with harlots, and judges with thieves,
And mayors with villains his worship has screened.

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