mutton chops for me

When I was growing up in New Zealand we ate a lot of lamb roasts and mutton was considered suitable only for stews. You may remember Colonel D’Alton Mann thought they were a delicacy best paired with a bottle of champagne. Here’s another newspaperman who thought they made a worthy meal.

JGB and the first motor car in Granada

James Gordon Bennett and his son published the New York Herald. Gordon Bennett Jr., while devoted to the paper was also an avid sportsman and playboy, who, like Colonel Mann, liked to dine at Delmonico’s. One night while drinking there, a fire alarm went off nearby. Totally inebriated, he dashed outside in his evening clothes and made such a nuisance of himself trying to direct the firefighting operations that one of the firemen turned the hose upon him and sent him sprawling down the block. The next day when he sobered up he ordered rubber overcoats for all firefighters as he’d “never been so wet in all his life”.


He considered his income of a million dollars a year to be almost inexhaustible and once threw a large roll of bills into the fire because it interfered with the use of his pocket and spoiled the line of his pants. Occasionally he moved through restaurants pulling the cloths off tables and crunching crockery beneath his feet, telling the maitre’d to send the bill to his office.

Gordon Bennett was a dog fancier who sometimes judged the men in his office by how his dogs responded to them. Staff who were out of favour were known to secret portions of meat about their person to gain acceptance from the various Cocker Spaniels, Pomeranians and Pekinese who accompanied their master to work each day.


A keen sailor, he also practiced the gentlemanly sports of auto racing, pugilism and ballooning. He was a master of the lost art of coaching and was often seen riding his coach and four naked at midnight, destroying the formal gardens of his neighbours in the process and paying for repairs later.


One of the many incidents for which he was well known was the fighting of the last duel in New York. The ludicrous affair began when he arrived at the home of his fiancée, Caroline, in a partying mood. After consuming prodigious amounts of wine he proceeded to relieve himself in the astonished lady’s fireplace. He was flung out in the street and the next day Caroline’s brother waylaid him outside the Union Club and attacked him with a horsewhip. Bennett challenged him to a formal duel two days later with a retinue of surgeons at Slaughter Gap. No one was hurt as both men, who were excellent shots, settled the matter by firing in the air.


Bennett was always the master of the grand gesture. On a bet, he once coaxed a cavalry officer to ride his horse into the library of Newport’s most distinguished men’s club. When the board of directors chastised him he bought a huge plot of land nearby and built the Newport Casino, a far more extravagantly elegant club. When his favourite mutton chop-serving restaurant was too full to accept his booking he promptly bought it on the spot for $40,000. As the new owner, he had a table cleared and sat down to lunch. When he left he tipped the waiter most generously by handing him the deed to the restaurant with the proviso that there must always be a table reserved for him and that mutton chops would always be on the menu.

not these mutton chops

Published in: on October 11, 2010 at 8:33 am  Comments (35)  
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35 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Slightly bonkers and somehow quite sensible ….. *note to self – find a Sugar Mummy*

    • [one that the TG approves of ……. obviously]

      • But are there any women alive who are older than you daddyp?

      • Oh dear ….. good point ….. *sigh*

  2. I have a dread of being mutton dressed as lamb – but at least I might avoid the attentions of Mr Bennett, I suppose (note to editor – add an e in the fireplace incident?)

    • Thanks zmkc… much appreciated, I’ve added the e

  3. The Pomeranians who live next door to me are almost cute enough to excuse their incessant yapping. I think they win the prize for fluffiest dog, and Bennet wins the prize for most frivolous playboy.

    • I used to be attracted to the frivolous playboy type but no more thank goodness. And yappy dogs? No thanks, I like the controlled silent type now 😉

  4. “Gordon Bennett!” A well-known exclamation (usually of exasperation)in Cockney circles.

    • I have a friend who uses that expression. I didn’t know it originated with a real person until I researched this guy

  5. It’s a good thing he didn’t donate all that money to poor people. They would have just wasted it on stupid things like food and rent.

    I always wondered where Jackson Pollock go the idea to urinate into Peggy Guggenheim’s fireplace.

    • Peggy liked a golden shower…..

  6. Why can’t I meet a man like that? I could use a few thousand dollars thrown my way. And I have plans for the front yard that would be assisted greatly by having someone destroy it with their coach and then pay for the repairs. . .

    • You need a time capsule and a property in Newport

  7. So glad the nude healthclub has a policy of putting towels down before you use the equipment

    • They should supply dark glasses too

  8. Well that’s me and the nude health club fantasy gone.

    The King

    • Yes. Just look at that scrunchy bottom

  9. Buying the restaurant and giving it to the waiter with on the condition of always having a table and mutton chops on the menu sounds downright Tag Larkin-esque.

    • *sigh* Why can’t I date Tag Larkin?

  10. I loved this one. I’m a lot like Gordon Bennett in that I too judge people based on how my pug reacts to them. I’ve lost a lot of friends this way, possibly even some lovers, but I trust the pug.

    • Pugs have an uncanny ability to choose the appropriate paracoitus. you are right to trust the pug.

  11. Omg…those naked people on the bikes are so scary. I’d like to say it’s fear of sweaty germs on exercise equipment that keeps me from going to the gym, but I’m just lazy. Still, I never, ever would want to see that. 🙂

    • Laziness and fear of seeing naked people on bikes. Two excellent reasons for avoiding the gym.

  12. Mr. Pickles is a grand barometer of human nature… if my dog thinks you’re a douche? you’re not going to be staying long…

    • Mr Pickles would LOVE me wouldn’t he daisyfae?

  13. Pomeranians are the dog you have when you’re allergic to cats. (I posted that gym pic in March 2007 – I had hoped it had disappeared into oblivion 🙂 )

    • I thought it seemed familiar…..

  14. Malach is going to grow mutton chops like Martin Van Buren and no one will stop me

    • Go right ahead Malach. But I don’t think it will help you get laid

  15. HA! Oh, how I love those mutton chops.

    I only wish I would have seen Roy Head’s album a few weeks ago.

    ps. I worry that Mr. Naked on the bike is going to pull his prostate.

    • See I didn’t care about his prostate at all. I was just worried about him shedding pubic hair. You are so much more thoughtful than I

  16. i’m vegetarian. but i’m pretty sure if i ate meat, mutton would be my least favorite. mutton and olives. i don’t like olives either.
    i wish i had money to burn. but at the very least, i’d have given it to a charity rather than burning it in a fireplace. it’s one thing to be self-indulgent, but quite another to be selfish.

  17. Wish he threw some of his millions at me.

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