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In the winter of 1895 a dinner was given in a New York studio. This dinner, locally known as the "Girl in the Pie Dinner," was based upon Petronius, Martial, and the thirteenth book of Athenaeus. In the summer of 1919, I had the questionable pleasure of interviewing the chef-caterer who got it up, and he was, at the time, engaged in trying to work out another masterpiece to be given in California. The studio, one of the most luxurious in the world, was transformed for the occasion into a veritable rose grotto, the statuary was Pompeian, and here and there artistic posters were seen which were nothing if not reminiscent of Boulevard Clichy and Montmartre in the palmiest days. Four negro banjo players and as many jubilee singers titillated the jaded senses of the guests in a manner achieved by the infamous saxophone syncopating jazz of the Barbary Coast of our times. The dinner was over. The four and one half bottles of champagne allotted to each Silenus had been consumed, and a well-defined atmosphere of bored satiety had begun to settle down when suddenly the old-fashioned lullaby "Four and Twenty Blackbirds" broke forth from the banjoists and singers. Four waiters came in bearing a surprisingly monstrous object, something that resembled an impossibly large pie. They, placed it carefully in the center of the table. The negro chorus swelled louder and louder -- "Four and Twenty Blackbirds Baked in a Pie."
The diners, startled into curiosity and then into interest, began to poke their noses against this gigantic creation of the baker. In it they detected a movement not unlike a chick's feeble pecking against the shell of an egg. A quicker movement and the crust ruptured at the top.
But the lodestone which drew and held the eyes of all the revellers was an exquisitely slender, girlish figure amid the broken crust of the pie. The figure was draped with spangled black gauze, through which the girl's marble white limbs gleamed like ivory seen through gauze of gossamer transparency. She rose from her crouching posture like a wood nymph startled by a satyr, glanced from one side to the other, and stepped timidly forth to the table.