Page images
PDF
EPUB

66

66

en

palate-she meddleth not with the appetite-and the coarsest hunger might barter her consistently for a mutton-chop.

Pig-let me speak his praise-is no less provocative of the appetite than he is satisfactory to the criticalness of the censorious palate. The strong man may batten on him, and the weakling refuseth not his mild juices.

Unlike to mankind's mixed characters, a bundle of virtues and vices, inexplicably intertwisted, and not to be unravelled without hazard, he is—good throughout. No part of him is better or worse than another. He helpeth, as far as his little means extend, all around. He is the least envious of banquets. He is all neighbours' fare.

I am one of those who freely and ungrudgingly impart a share of the good things of this life which fall to their lot (few as mine are in this kind) to a friend. I protest I take as great an interest in my friend's pleasures, his relishes, and proper satisfactions, as in mine own. Presents," I often say, dear absents.” Hares, pheasants, partridges, snipes, barndoor chickens, (those “tame villatic fowl,”) capons, plovers brawn, barrels of oysters, I dispense as freely as I receivo

I them. I love to taste them, as it were, upon the tongue of my friend. But a stop must be put somewhere. One would not, like Lear, "give everything." I make my stand upor. pig. Methinks it is an ingratitude to the Giver of all good flavours to extra-domiciliate, or send out of the house, slightingly, (under pretext of friendship, or I know not what,) a blessing so particularly adapted, predestined, I may say, to my

I individual palate-it argues an insensibility.

I remember a touch of conscience in this kind at school My good old aunt, who never parted from me at the end of a holyday without stuffing a sweetmeat or some nice thing into my pocket, had dismissed me one evening with a smoking plumcake, fresh from the oven. In my way to school (it was over London bridge) a gray-headed old beggar saluted me (I have no doubt at this time of day that he was a counterfeit). I had no pence to console him with, and in the vanity of self-denial, and the very coxcombry of charity, schoolboy-like, I made him a present of, the whole cake! I walked on a little, buoyed up, as one is on such occasions, with a sweet soothing of selfsatisfaction ; but before I had got to the end of the bridge my better feelings returned, and I burst into tears, thinking how ungrateful I had been to my good aunt, to go and give her good gift away to a stranger that I had never seen before, and who might be a bad man for aught I knew; and then I thought of the pleasure my aunt would be taking in thinking that I-I myself, and not another-would eat her nice cake - and what should I say to her the next time I saw herhow naughty I was to part with her pretty present_and the odour of that spicy cake came back upon my recollection, and the pleasure and the curiosity I had taken in seeing her make it, and her joy when she sent it to the oven, and how disappointed she would feel that I had never had a bit of it in my mouth at last-and I blamed my impertinent spirit of almsgiving, and out-of-place hypocrisy of goodness, and above all I wished never to see the face again of that insidious, good-for-nothing, old, gray impostor.

Our ancestors were nice in their method of sacrificing these tender victims. We read of pigs whipped to death with something of a shock, as we hear of any other obsolete custom. The age of discipline is gone by, or it would be curious to inquire (in a philosophical light merely) what effect this process might have towards intenerating and dulcifying a substance, naturally so mild and dulcet as the flesh of young pigs. It looks like refining a violet. Yet we should be cautious, while we condemn the inhumanity, how we censure the wisdom of the practice. It might impart a gusto.

I remember an hypothesis, argued upon by the young students when I was at St. Omer's, and maintained with much learning and pleasantry on both sides, “Whether, supposing that the flavour of a pig who obtained his death by whipping (per flagellationem extremam) superadded a pleasure upon the palate of a man more intense than any possible suffering we can conceive in the animal, is man justified in using that method of putting the animal to death ?” I forget the decision.

His sauce should be considered. Decidedly, a few bread crumbs, done up with his liver and brains, and a dash of mild sage. But banish, dear Mrs. Cook, I beseech you, the whole onion tribe. Barbecue your whole hogs to your palate, steep them in shalots, stuff them out with the plantations of the rank and guilty garlic: you cannot poison them, or make them stronger than they are-but consider, he is a weakling-a flower.

A BACHELOR'S COMPLAINT OF THE BEHA

VIOUR OF MARRIED PEOPLE.

As a single man, I have spent a good deal of my time in noting down the infirmities of married people, to console myself for those superior pleasures which they tell me I have lost by remaining as I am.

I cannot say that the quarrels of men and their wives ever made any great impression upon me, or had much tendency to strengthen me in those anti-social resolutions, which I took up long ago upon more substantial considerations. What oftenest offends me at the houses of married persons where I visit, is an error of quite a different description; it is that they are too loving.

Not too loving neither : that does not explain my meaning. Besides, why should that offend me? The very act of separating themselves from the rest of the world, to have the fuller enjoyment of each other's society, implies that they prefer one another to all the world.

But what I complain of is, that they carry this preference so undisguisedly, they perk it up in the faces of us single people so shamelessly, you cannot be in their company a moment without being made to feel, by some indirect hint or open avowal, that you are not the object of this preference. Now there are some things which give no offence, while implied or taken for granted merely; but, expressed, there is much offence in them. If a man were to accost the first homely-featured or plain-dressed young woman of his acquaintance, and tell her bluntly that she was not handsome or rich enough for him, and he could not marry her, he would deserve to be kicked for his ill manners; yet no less is implied in the fact, that, having access and opportunity of putting the question to her, he has never yet thought fit to do it. The young woman understands this as clearly as if it were put into words ; but no reasonable young woman would think of making this the ground of a quarrel. Just as little right have a married couple to tell me by speeches, and looks that are scarce less plain than speeches, that I am not the happy man -the lady's choice. It is enough that I know I am not: I do not want this perpetual reminding.

The display of superior knowledge or riches may be made sufficiently mortifying ; but these admit of a palliative. The original speck of the amor immunditiæ, the hereditary failing of the first parent yet manifest—his voice as yet not broken but something between a childish treble and a grumble--the mild forerunner, or preludium, of a grunt.

He must be roasted. I am not ignorant that our ancestors ate them seethed, or boiled—but what a sacrifice of the ex terior tegument !

There is no flavour comparable, I will contend, to that of the crisp, tawny, well-watched, not over-roasted, crackling as it is well called—the very teeth are invited to their share of the pleasure at this banquet in overcoming the coy, brittle resistance—with the adhesive oleaginous-oh call it not fat --but an indefinable sweetness growing up to it—the tender blossoming of fat-fat cropped in the bud--taken in the shoot -in the first innocence-ihe cream and quintessence of the child-pig's yet pure food—the lean, no lean, but a kind of animal manna-or, rather, fat and lean (if it must be so) so blended and running into each other, that both together make but one ambrosial result, or common substance.

Behold him while he is doing—it seemeth rather a refreshing warmth, than a scorching heat, that he is so passive to How equably he twirleth round the string! Now he is just done. To see the extreme sensibility of that tender age, he hath wept out his pretty eyes-radiant jellies-shooting stars

See him in the dish, his second cradle, how meek he lieth ! -wouldst thou have had this innocent grow up to the grossness and indocility which too often accompany maturer swinehood ? Ten to one he would have proved a glutton, a sloven, an obstinate, disagreeable animal-wallowing in all manner of filthy conversation—from these sins he is happily snatched away

“ Ere sin could blight, or sorrow fade,
Death came with timely care"-

his memory is odoriferous—no clown curseth, while his stomach half rejecteth, the rank bacon-10 coal-heaver bolteth him in reeking sausages—he hath a fair sepulchre in the grateful stomach of the judicious epicure—and for such a tomb might be content to die.

He is the best of sapors. Pineapple is great. She is indeed almost too transcendent- delight, if not sinful, yet so like to sinning, that really a tender-conscienced person would do well to pause—too ravishing for mortal taste, she woundeth and excoriateth the lips that approach her-like lovers' kisses, she biteth-she is a pleasure bordering on pain from the fierceness and insanity of her relish—but she stoppeth at the

66

en

my friend.

palate-she meddleth not with the appetite—and the coarsest hunger might barter her consistently for a mutton-chop.

Pig-let me speak his praise-is no less provocative of the appetite than he is satisfactory to the criticalness of the censorious palate. The strong man may batten on him, and the weakling refuseth not his mild juices.

Unlike to mankind's mixed characters, a bundle of virtues and vices, inexplicably intertwisted, and not to be unravelled without hazard, he is good throughout. No part of him is better or worse than another. He helpeth, as far as his little means extend, all around. He is the least envious of banquets. He is all neighbours' fare.

I am one of those who freely and ungrudgingly impart a share of the good things of this life which fall to their lot (few as mine are in this kind) to a friend. I protest I take as great an interest in my friend's pleasures, his relishes, and proper satisfactions, as in mine own. Presents,” I often say, dear absents.” Hares, pheasants, partridges, snipes, barndoor chickens, (those “tame villatic fowl,”) capons, plovers brawn, barrels of oysters, I dispense as freely as I receive them. I love to taste them, as it were, upon the tongue of

But a stop must be put somewhere. One would not, like Lear, "give everything." I make my stand upor. pig. Methinks it is an ingratitude to the Giver of all good flavours to extra-domiciliate, or send out of the house, slightingly, (under pretext of friendship, or I know not what,) a blessing so particularly adapted, predestined, I may say, to my individual palate—it argues an insensibility.

I remember a touch of conscience in this kind at school My good old aunt, who never parted from me at the end of a holyday without stuffing a sweetmeat or some nice thing into my pocket, had dismissed me one evening with a smoking plumcake, fresh from the oven. In my way to school (it was over London bridge) a gray-headed old beggar saluted me (I have no doubt at this time of day that he was a counterfeit). I had no pence to console him with, and in the vanity of self-denial, and the very coxcombry of charity, schoolboy-like, I made him a present of, the whole cake! I walked on a little, buoyed up, as one is on such occasions, with a sweet soothing of selfsatisfaction ; but before I had got to the end of the bridge my better feelings returned, and I burst into tears, thinking how ungrateful I had been to my good aunt, to go and give her good gift away to a stranger that I had never seen before, and who might be a bad man for aught I knew; and then I thought of the pleasure my aunt would be taking in thinking that I-I myself, and not another-would eat her nice cake

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »