If Buying A Meal Were Like Buying A House by Christopher Morley

Story type: Essay

This Indenture

between A. B., an innkeeper, organized and existing under the laws of good cooking, party of the first part, and C. D., party of the second part, witnesseth:

That the said party of the first part, for and in consideration of the sum of $1.50, lawful money of the United States, paid by the said party of the second part, does hereby grant and release unto the said C. D., and his heirs, administrators, and assigns forever,

All that certain group, parcels, or allotments of food, viands, or victuals, situate or to be spread, served, and garnished upon the premises of said A. B., shown and known and commonly designed as one square meal, table d’hote, together with the drinking water, napkin, ash tray, finger-bowl and hat-and-coat-hanging privileges or easements appurtenant thereto,

And Together With the rights, privileges, and opportunities (as an easement additionally appurtenant to the meal above nominated) to partake, eat, enjoy, and be nourished upon said victuals, and to call for extra pats, parcels, or portions of butter.

Subject to the following restrictions, to wit: That neither the party of the second part, nor his heirs, executors, or assigns, will feast immoderately upon onions, to the confusion of his neighbours; nor will the said C. D. or his guests smoke any form of tobacco other than cigars and cigarettes, the instrument commonly known as a pipe being offensive to the head waiter (a man of delicate nurture); nor will said party of the second part covet, retain, nor seek to remove any knives, forks, spoons, or other tableware whatsoever; nor is anything said or implied or otherwise intimated in this covenant to be construed as permitting the party of the second part to carry on loud laughter, song, carnival, nor social uproar; nor unnecessarily, further than is tactful for the procurement of expeditious attention, to endear himself to or otherwise cajole, compliment, and ingratiate the waitress.

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And Furthermore, that title to said Meal does not pass until the party of the second part has conveyed, of his mansuetude and proper charity, a gratuity, fee, honorarium, lagniappe, pourboire, easement or tip of not less than 15 per cent of the price of said Meal; which easement, while customarily spoken of as a free-will grant or gratuity, is to be constructively regarded as an entail and a necessary encumbrance upon said Meal.

And the said party of the first part covenants with the said party of the second part as follows: That the said C. D. is seized of the said Meal in fee simple, and shall quietly enjoy said Meal subject to the covenants and restrictions and encumbrances hereinbefore set out, subject to the good pleasure of the Head Waiter.

In Witness Whereof these presents are signed,

(LOC. SIG.)

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