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And these four dishes are as yet unknown in Paris. No one has thought of importing them.
There is, then, no more culinary art in France.
These four dishes sufficiently attest the fact. Would the English at any other time have thought of inventing, I will not say a filet, a côtelette, a purée, a rognon, a croustade, a sauce, but even a simple gravy?
The English ate, but they did not dine. The Saxon roast beef, the Scandipavian plum-pudding, constituted the basis of the antique cookery of England. They had never soared beyond these dishes from the time of Edward the Confessor, and now they invent Shakspearian custards !
I expect soon to hear that they have given a banquet, in which figured 500 patés Byroniens and 2000 potages Walter Scottiens.
And in face of such progress we remain stationary. For now nigh ten years French cookery is in a state of atrophy; the French cooks invent nothing.
I shall, perhaps, he answered by an appeal to the côtelettes à la purée d'ananas du gouvernement provisoire. That dish, it is now known, is purely apocryphal, it has never existed, it is utterly impossible ; it is as fabulous as the unicorn, the phenix, the roc, the white thrush, and the seal that said “ Papa,” “ Mamma."
And yet in what consists our supremacy over other nations? In the first place in tragedies, in the second in dishes; all the tragedians and all the cooks, who spread themselves over all the countries of Europe, are French. The tragedy remains for us, but cookery is gone.
I would rather that it should have been tragedy.
As to what concerns illustrated dishes, we are still at our côtelettes-Soubise, our biftecks-Chateaubriand, and our poulet-Marengo. We have no croustade Byronienne.
Cooks of France, your honour, and the glory of France are concerned: reply to this croustade by a Charlotte Cornelienne, which shall make perfidious Albion grow pale with jealousy. Cooks of France, not one of you fell upon his sword on learning that the English had conceived four new dishes.
Do you wish that your indifference should be pardoned ? Invoke Vatel, invoke Carême, study Brillat-Savarin, and produce a new chef-d'ouvre or blow your brains out.
If the least particle of spirit remains in you, you have no other alternative.
If the cooks have been wanting during the past year, the confectioners, another contributor informs us, have been triumphant. They have sent forth five new cakes, whose birth was saluted by a hundred trumpets of renown. The gâteau des trois frères is due to the united labours of the brothers Julien, who, however, are only two in number. Le Cussy is so called because it is manufactured by Bourbonneux, Place du Havre. La Mathilde owns for father, Sinot, pastrycook in the Rue St. Honoré. La Pensée is indebted for its name to being sold in a box, and Le Soleil was so baptised for reasons unknown to us.
Each of these cakes is the most delicious thing ever produced by the art of confectionary. It is satisfactory to hear that they do not devour one another. They improve, like Madeira, by long journeys. Formerly cakes, and notoriously buns, were no longer esteemed when stale; so particular were some that they would ask for the buns of to-morrow; but now everything is manufactured pour les voyages de long cours, comprising Havre and Dieppe.
Father Aymès, inventor and propagator of the Bazaar Provençal, continues to advertise his tunny pies, the crust of which melts like a flake of snow in the sun; but he has met with a rival in certain Pâtés de Chasse
de Carême, which are said to enclose wells of jelly and boneless turkeys still palpitating!
The reports of the courts of correctional police continue to furnish lifelike sketches of the lower orders :
Peter and Martin were seated in an inn drinking white wine. “When I drink," said Martin, “it gives me an inclination to eat."
PETER. “And when you eat it gives you, I suppose, an inclination to drink." MARTIN. “ Precisely so ; what do you say if we should eat a bit ?" PETER. “I have no objection. What shall we have ?" MARTIN. “ Sausages by all means; I dote upon them." PETER. “ Sausages? Well, they are not bad, but they fill too much."
MARTIN. “ Sausages fill ope! What a joke. Why I could eat a dozen without drinking a glass of wine."
PETER. “I bet you you could do no such thing."
The bet was taken ; each put down two francs, and twelve sausages were ordered. Martin was like a horse champing its bit, and kept hurrying the cook. At last the sausages came, and Martin seized a fork.
“Are you ready,” he exclaimed. “Shall I begin ?” “Go on," replied the other.
Martin attacked the sausages. The first went down, the second followed, the third a little more slowly, the fourth with visible delay, at the fifth he became as red as a cock, nevertheless he swallowed the sixth, but only by great efforts.
“It won't do," said Peter; “ I shall get the forty sous.”
Martin, annoyed, made another attempt. He grappled with the seventh sausage, but his breath failing him half-way, he rose hastily, ran to the punip, filled his glass with water, drank it off, and returned to finish off his seventh sausage at his ease.
“ You need not stuff yourself any more," said Peter ; "you have lost."
“ That means without drinking. We did not speak of water, because we never drink any; but that was understood."
“Not at all; we said without drinking wine, therefore I had a right to drink water."
The discussion grew animated, and from words came to blows, when Martin succeeded in planting such a vigorous argument on his friend's eye, that it remained yellow and painful for a week afterwards.
He was accordingly summoned on the complaint of Peter, and he attempted to explain away the misadventure as he had his bet. The court, however, condemned the truculent sausage-eater to a fine of thirty francs.
Imagine yourself Madame Margot, and suppose some one called you “ an old buffet,” what would you say? You would say nothing, if a lady, for such an injurious epithet dries up the mouth in womankind, and not being able to express your feelings, you would do like her-you would bite Monsieur Pitache. Hence it came that M. Pitache appeared to depose to personal injuries inflicted on him by Madame Margot.
PRESIDENT. “ Plaintiff, you have been bitten by Madame Margot, but you provoked her by insults ?”
PITACHE. " She insulted me grossly. I only retorted."
MADAME MARGOT. “ Did he not call me a piece of old furniture ?"
Prtache. “ Bah! it was for my chilblains. Do you think I would pick up
PITACHE. “I demand that twelve hundred francs a year be paid to my widow during her life.”
Madame Margot. “ Twelve hundred francs! Does he think people make money as easily as he does ?”
PRESIDENT. “ Twelve hundred francs is a serious demand.”
Pitache. “She bit me, and if I die mad! The dread of such a catastrophe extends to the very end of my nose."
MADAME MARGOT. “ What an infamous calumny! I have bitten my husband twenty, nay, a hundred times, and he drinks like a sponge-like you, you drunkard! I drive you mad! Oh! if Charles was only here!" Madame Margot was condemned to pay a fine of sixteen francs. And now for two silhouettes of the Parisian vagabond.
Legrand is a child of Paris, one of the cast-offs of the dust-heap and the gutter, pale and haggard, with hollow eyes, that have never known youth or joy, for they have never looked upon mother or friendly relative.
PRESIDENT. “ Your pursuit ?"
Accused. “ Manufacturer of copper instruments, so says my livret, but I don't believe it."
PRESIDENT. “ What do you mean?"
ACCUSED. “I do nothing. Sometimes I pretend to chiffoner" (gather up rags).
PresidENT. “ Without permission. That is illegal.”
ACCUSED. “ Good! had I known that, I would have gone into the handkerchief line. If every branch of industry is illegal, one cannot be much worse than another."
PRESIDENT. “Is there no one here to speak for you ?"
ACCUSED. “Oh dear me no! so do not put yourself to any trouble ; serve it up like little onions !"
The court condemned the outcast to three months' imprisonment for vagrancy.
The next was a great fellow, about fifty years of age, with a grey beard, and a generally repulsive aspect.
“ You are charged,” said the president, " with having been found, on the 28th of December, at three o'clock in the morning, laying in a shed on the Boulevard Beaumarchais."
ACCUSED. “ It was ten minutes past four, if you will excuse me.”
Accused. “Well, I only know it was half-past four by my chronometer."
PRESIDENT. “ By your chronometer ?"
Accused, “ A manner of speaking. I mean the clock at the policestation."
President. “What were you doing at sich an hour, in such a place ***
Accused. “That is a calumny; one does not sleep when one is married.”
President. “When you were taken up, you stated that you had no home.”
Accused. “I live in the Rue de Rivoli.”
PRESIDENT. “I understand. You sleep in the houses that are being newly bnilt."
Accused. “ Well, I air the plaster. That is an act of consideration on my part."
PRESIDENT. “ Is that your only profession ?”
The history of Major Jean Daniel-Abraham Davel, formerly military commandant of the department of Vaux, canton of Vaud, in Switzerland, is remarkable as an example of the chivalrous feelings of olden time brought down to nearly our own days, and still more so as a rare'example of that exceeding faith which is the first of theological virtues or graces, but which, when undirected by adequate intellectual and reasoning faculties, too often superadds to its legitimate developments of love, trust, worship, obedience, and resignation, a proneness to superstition, which is carried even into matters of almost ridiculous insignificance.
Davel was the son of a Protestant minister in the parish of Morrens, in the Jorat, and he received a purely religious education, not at all tending to unfold his future career. Having, however, lost his father at an early age, he decided for a military life, and went with his mother to reside in the steep street called La Mercerie, at Lausanne, till be was old enough to enter the service. A marvellous incident happened to him at this period of his life, of which he has left an account in his own words.
One day a house near the cathedral caught fire; he, being a little boy, was locked up while his friends went to give what help they could. Thinking that the church was in danger, he resolved to go also, and help in extinguishing the flames, but being unable to get out by the door, he was obliged to jump out of the window, which stood at a considerable elevation, and that without considering what might be the results of his imprudence. Luckily that Providence was there to protect him. Instead of falling perpendicularly, he was carried as it were away, lifted for a distance of ten or twelve paces higher up the steep ascent of the street, and thus brought down without the slightest injury. A servant who was coming back after the fire had been put out, was filled with astonishment on finding him there.
Young Davel was soon after exchanged, having been sent to the house of a pastor of Interlaken to continue his studies, while the son of the pastor took his place in order to improve his French. Whilst he was in Oberland, there occurred another singular manifestation of Divine intervention exercised in his particular favour, or of a profound faith, amounting almost to the enthusiasm of a monomaniac, which prompted him to refer all accidental matters to such a source.
I read (he relates) one day on the wall of one of my host's apartments, that on such a day of such a year the fishermen of the place had captured a great number of fish. A short time after that I went to see the fishing, and it so happened that the nets brought in more fish during the time that I was there than had occurred even at the period recorded on the wall of our house. The sight of this successful haul having given me much pleasure, I repaired frequently to the same place, and the fishermen soon perceived that good luck attended upon my being there, and that my presence ensured a good haul. After they had made this discovery, they used to come and fetch me every time that they went out upon the lake. Another youth of the country, who was also generally a spectator of the fishing, wished to attribute to himself the merit of these successes—if any such there was. In order to determine if that was the case or not, I let him go out several times alone with the fishermen, who took on such occasions few or no fish at all. I returned to the lake, and good luck attended me as usual.
The year after this, and the one which preceded that upon which I entered the army-it was my eighteenth year-being with my mother at Cully, an incident occurred which decided upon my future.
It was at or about the year 1688, at which time deplorable superstitions were prevalent in the country districts. The devil had filled the minds of the peasants with terror, till it assumed the form of a panic ; nothing but sorcerers, magicians, evil spirits, and apparitions, were talked about. I on my part argued with all my power against what I then believed to be a weakness.
The season for gathering grapes was just commencing, and there was among the foreigners employed, a young woman of great beauty and irreproachable conduct, who was called, for want of a better name, "the Unknown."
One morning my mother came into my room in great grief, and told me that “the Unknown" had apprised her that I should die in the space of three days, and had begged that she would acquaint me with the fact, in order that I might duly prepare myself,
This piece of information caused me very little uneasiness. I received it with perfect calmness; and I emploved the three days that remained to me, in prayer and meditation. Whilst I was thus engaged, the Unknown came to me in a familiar manner, extolled my piety and resignation, advised me to pray from the heart rather than from the lips, and recommended me to change my linen, because, she said, it was proper to be careful in one's dress when about to appear before the Creator-a recommendation that I have followed ever since. She added, that I might go and take air and exercise in a secluded spot, where I should meet with no frivolous distractions, and that I must by no means discontinue to support my body with wholesome food.
The three days passed by. The night when I expected to die having arrived, I went to bed in a kind of ecstasy, a delicious languor, and an ineffable sense of pleasure. It appeared to me that I felt a gradual annihilation of my faculties creeping over me, and the sensation was more agreeable than otherwise. The curtains of the bed were shnt, as were also my eyelids. Suddenly my eyes opened, and I saw two angels, one on each side of my bed.
Whilst I was enjoying this celestial vision, a slight knock made itself heard at the door, and a low voice called out “ Daniel !” My mother, who always called me by that name, which she preferred, had been sent by the Unknown to see how I was.
I did not answer, and my mother being terrified, hastened down to the Unknown, who had remained by the fireside. The fair stranger remained for a short time silent, and then she said, “ Go back to his door, speak to him, but do not go in. I think he will answer this time."
My mother came back accordingly, and I replied to her question as to how I was, “Oh, mother, I am well ; I pray you leave me alone."
My mother related what I had said to the Unknown. "Since he has answered you," said the latter, “he will not die yet. God preserves him that he may accomplish great things. But you must give him something to eat in order to support his strength."
And saying this, the Unknown set about preparing a rôtie au vin, which she placed on a dish carefully washed by herself, and then, followed by my mother,