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Darling Memorial Sketch Book
Edinburgh International Exhibition 1886 - Temperance Cafe


Mr Darling was actively identified with the great Edinburgh International Exhibition of 1886. Many of our readers will remember the spacious pavilion on the grounds outside the vast building, which contained the Temperance Cafe, and which he had contracted to supply with good refreshments at a reasonable price. The spirit of the patriotic citizen, quite as much as the business spirit, had drawn him into this very responsible enterprise. But from the first to the closing day the Temperance Cafe was in favour with all. The cleanly and tasteful arrangements of the interior, with its multitude of ferns and flowers, its chaste and simple furnishings, its verandahs filled with small tables, and the adjoining space utilised to meet the requirements of the crowding visitors, not to speak of the beautiful electric lighting of the grounds, gave to the whole scene quite a Continental aspect. "I was very much struck," says one, "by the general goodhumour which prevailed, and the patience which characterised those who were waiting their turn to be served; but I admired still more the excellent service and the ample provision which was made for the demands of the customers. It was no easy matter to arrange, often on short notice, for three or four thousand dinners and teas, with the limited space which Mr Darling possessed, and yet it has been done, and that in a most satisfactory manner." Financially he was a gainer; the coffers which had so often been drained by his benevolence were anew filled by Providence, for "there is that giveth and yet increaseth." He had also the satisfaction of knowing that this experience had proved on a large scale that rational enjoyment is possible without the aid of stimulants.


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