Imágenes de páginas

deed of any other animal, might be cooked (burnt, as they called it,) without the necessity of consuming a whole house to dress it. Then first began the rude form of a gridiron. Roasting by the string or spit came in a century or two later, I forget in whose dynasty. By such slow degrees, concludes the manuscript, do the most useful and seemingly the most obvious, arts make their way among mankind.

Without placing too implicit faith in the account above given, it must be agreed that if a worthy pretext for so dangerous an experiment as setting houses on fire (especially in these days) could be assigned in favour of any culinary object, that pretext and excuse might be found in ROAST PIG.

Of all the delicacies in the whole mundus edibilis, I will maintain it to be the most delicate

princeps obsoniorum.

I speak not of your grown porkers—things between pig and pork, those hobbydehoys—but a young and tender suckling, under a moon old, guiltless as yet of the sty, with no 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 præludium 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 exterior tegument !

There is no flavour comparable, I will con

tend, 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 - 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 the cream and quintessence of the child-pig's yet pure foodthe lean, no lean, but a kind of animal mannaor, rather, fat and lean (if it must be so) so blended and running into each other, that both together make but one ambrosian 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 eyesradiant 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 odouriferous. No clown curseth, while his stomach half rejecteth, the rank bacon; no 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. Pine-apple is great. She is indeed almost too transcendent,-a 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 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. Thu 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 lum 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, “endear Absents.” Hares, pheasants, partridges, snipes, barn-door 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 my friend. But a stop must be put somewhere. One would not, like Lear, “ give everything." I make my stand upon 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 holiday without stuffing a sweetmeat, or some nice thing into my pocket, had dismissed me one evening with a smoking plum-cake, fresh from the oven. In my way to school (it was over London Bridge) a grey-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 self-satisfaction ; 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 her ?-how 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 grey impostor.

Our ancestors were nice in their method of sacrificing these tender victims. We read of pigs whipt to death with something of a shock, as we hear of any other obsolete custom. The.

« AnteriorContinuar »