« AnteriorContinuar »
plate whereon to eat my venison to an earthen trencher, in carrying out a bottle of champagne and cooling it in a fresh spring for my luncheon, instead of trusting to execrable rye or apple whiskey, I prove myself degenerate and no true votary of the gentle woodcraft. He is afraid that I cannot rough it!"
"Is he, indeed ?-Poor devil!"
"He don't know much then, no how, that chap!" answered Tom, as he went largely into the barbacued perch, which had taken the place of the pottage" Leastways he don't know much if he thinks as a chap carn't rough it becase he knows how to eat and drink, when there's no need of roughing it. I've seen fellows as niver had seen nauthen fit to eat nor drink in their lives, turn up their darned nasty noses at a good country dinner in a country tavern, where a raal right down gentleman, as had fed allus on the fat of the land, could dine pleasantly. Give me a raal gentleman, one as sleeps soft, and eats high, and drinks highest kind, to stand roughing it-and more sense to C. E., next time he warnts to teach his grandmother."
"Well, all its excellence, except that it is firm, lies in the cookery.— It is insipid enough and tasteless, unless barbecued."
"Then you were wise to barbecue it."
"And how should I have learned to barbecue it, if I had not thought about such things? No, no, boys-I despise a man very heartily who cannot dine just as happily upon a bit of salt pork and a biscuit, and perhaps an onion, aye! and enjoy it as well, washed down with a taste of whiskey qualified by the mountain brook-or washed down with a swallow of the brook unqualified as he would enjoy canvas-back and venison with champagne and Bordeaux ;-who cannot bivouac as blithely and sleep as soundly under the starlit canopy of heaven as under damask hangings when there is cause for dining upon pork, and for bivouacking. But there is one thing, boys, that I despise a plaguy sight more-and that is a thick-headed fool who likes salt pork as well as canvas-back and turtle ;-who does not see any difference between an ill-cooked dish swimming in rancid butter and a chef d'œuvre of Carême or Ude, rich with its own pure gravy. And yet more than the thickheaded fool, do I abhor the pig-headed fool, who thinks it brave forsooth and manly and heroical withal, and philosophical, to affect a carelessness, which does not belong to him, and to drink cider sperrits when he can drink Sillery sec of the first growth! And that being said, open that champagne, Timothy."
"So much for C. E.?" inquired Forester.
"No, no!" exclaimed Harry, eagerly-"I deny any such sequitur as
that; C. E. is a right good fellow-or was, at least, when I knew him-It is a weary while ago since he supped with me in New York, the very night before he left it-never, I believe, to return-at least since then I have never seen him—and many a warm heart has grown cold, and many a brown head gray in the interim. But when I knew C. E. he would never drink bad liquor when he could come by good-and right well did he know the difference and by the way, while vituperating me for my gourmandize, he shows that he is tarred a little with the same stick. He abuses me for saying that the wood-duck is as good a bird as flies, except the canvas-back, asserting that the blue-winged teal is better." "Out upon him!" exclaimed Forester-"the blue-winged teal is fishy, nine times out of ten."
"Aye! Frank-but he is speaking of the teal on the great lakes; and I dare say he is right. It is to the fact that he is the only duck seen on the seaboard, who eschews salt water and salt sedges that the summer duck-for that is his proper name-owes his preeminence over all the other wild fowl of this region.-Now, as the blue-winged teal, or Garganey, is in the same predicament on the lakes, I think it very questionable whether in that country he may not be as good, nay better, than my favorite."
"Are you in earnest? Do you think that the diet of ducks makes so much difference in their quality?" asked Heneage.
"So much? It makes all the difference.-What renders the canvasback of the waters of the Chesapeake the very best bird that flies; while here, in Long Island Sound, or on the Jersey shore, he is, at the best, but a fourth-rate duck?-the wild celery, which he eats there, and which he cannot get here, for his life."
"A roast leg of mutton?-by no means a bad thing, Harry "—said Fred Heneage-" when it is old enough and well roasted."
"This is six years old," answered Archer-" Black-faced, Scotch, mountain, of my own importation, my own feeding, and my own killing. It has been hanging three weeks, and, by the way it cuts, I believe it is in prime order-done to a turn I can see that it is. Will you have some?"
"Will a fish swim ?-Where is the currant jelly?"
"On the sideboard. I don't consider currant jelly orthodox with mutton, which is by far too good a thing to be obliged to pass itself for what it is not."
"I agree with you," said Frank-"I hate anything that is like something else."
"Of course all good judges do. That puts me in mind of what Washington Irving once told me, that he never ate clams, by any chance, because he was quite sure that they would be oysters if they could!"
"Excellent! excellent!" said Fred and Forester, both in a voice; whereupon Tom added:
They carn't come it though-stewed clams is not briled iseters !" "No more than mosquitoes are lobsters, which was John Randolph's sole objection to the insects."
"And do you really prohibit currant jelly with roast mutton?"
"I don't prohibit anything-but I don't eat it, and I think it bad taste to do so. Venison I think the only thing that is improved by it. Canvas-back ducks I think it ruins. Nor should I think C. E.'s plum jelly with grouse one whit better. The sharpness of currant jelly is very suitable to the excessive fat of English park-fed venison; but with any lean meat I think it needless, to say the best. There is but one sauce for any kind of gallinaceous game, when roasted, whether bis name be grouse, partridge, pheasant, quail, or wild turkey."
Right, Harry, and that is bread sauce.
"And that is bread sauce; made of the crumb of a very light French roll, stewed in cream and passed through a tamis, one small white onion may be boiled in it, but must be taken out before it is served up to table; a lump of fresh butter as big as a walnut may be added, and a very little black pepper. Let it be thick and hot, and nothing else is needed; unless, indeed, you like a few fried crumbs, done very crisp and brown."
"Open that other flask of champagne, Timothy-Tom's glass is empty, and he begins to look angry. Will you take wine with me?" said Heneage, who had hit Tom's feelings to a hair.
"In course, I will "-replied Tom joyously, "when Harry gits a talking about his darned stews and fixins, he niver recollects that a body will git dry."
"Pass it round, Timothy," said Harry-"that's not a bad move of old Tom's by any means. I believe I was riding one of my hobbies a little hard. But it provokes me to see the good things which are destroyed in this country by bad cookery; and it provokes me yet worse to hear hypocrites and fools talk as if it were wrong for the creature to enjoy the good things designed for his use by a good Creator."
"Here come the ruffed grouse, larded and boiled, for boiling which Fred so abused me this morning."
"He won't abuse you, when he has once tasted them," said Forester. "It is the best way of cooking them."
Well-yes-they bees kind o' dry meat roasted; but then I don't find no great faults with the dryness-specially when one's got jist this wine to rench his mouth with arter."
They are good-with this celery sauce especially."
"As is bread sauce to roast, so is celery sauce to boiled game-Q-e-d.”
"There is a soupçon of onion in this also, is there not?" "Just enough to swear by-do you think it too much?"
"I did not say a taste, I said a soupçon—are you answered?"
"There ain't no Souchong in it no how-nor no Hyson, nother. He'll be a swearin' it's Java coffee next "—said Tom, waxing again somewhat
"He is thirsty again," said Frank-"what shall it be? I say hock after this boiled white meat."
"Right, Frank, for a thousand!" said Harry, "and after the woodcock, which Tim is bringing in, we'll broach a flask of Burgundy.-Hock with your white game, Burgundy with your brown! But hold, hold! Timothy, Mr. Draw will not touch that hock-it's too thin and cold for his palate."
"Rot-gut!"-replied Tom-" None o' your hocks nor your clarets for me-there ain't no good things made in France except champagne wine and old Otard brandy."
"Well, which of the two will you have, Tom?"
"That 'are champagne 's good enough for the likes of me."
"Oh! don't be modest, pray. It will hurt you!"
"What this here wine?-not what I've drinked on it, no how-I could drink all of a dozen bottles of it, without its hurtin' me a mite." The woodcock followed, were discussed, and pronounced perfect; they were diluted with a flask of Nuits Richelieu, so exquisitely rich and fruity, and of so absolute a bouquet, that even the hostility of fat Tom toward all French wines was drowned in the goblet, thrice the full of which, mantling to the brim, he quaffed in quick succession.
The Stilton cheese, red herring, and caviare, which succeeded, again moved his ire, and were denounced as stinkin' trash fit for no one to eat but a darned greedy Englishman; but the bumper of port again mollified him, and he said that if they ate them cussed nasty things jist to make the wine taste the better for the contrast, he didn't see no sense in that, for it was mazin' nice without no nastiness afore it.
The devilled biscuits he approved mightily, as creating a wholesome drought, which he applied himself to assuage by emptying three bottles of pale sherry to his own cheek, while the three young men were content with one double magnum of Chateau Latour. But when he emptied the third bottle he was as cool and collected as if he had not tasted a single drop, and was half disposed to run rusty at being summoned into the library to take a cup of coffee and an old cheroot-but here again his wrath was once more assuaged by the curaçoa, of which he drank off half a tumbler, and then professed himself ready for a quiet rubber, while Tim was gittin' supper.
Cornelius Conway Felton.
BORN in Newbury, Mass., 1807. DIED at Chester, Penn., 1862.
THE LIFE OF GREECE.
[Greece, Ancient and Modern. 1867.]
HE life of Greece was a life of a thousand years. A nation, like an individual, comes upon the stage in the freshness and vigor of youth, passes to its maturity, begins to decay, and finally yields its place to others. It has been recently said that this analogy has no basis in necessary truth; that it is the creation of fancy; that national life is not, like individual life, made up of perishable elements, and has no inherent principle of decay. Perhaps this is theoretically correct, or at least plausible; but the sources of a nation's character and the means of a nation's growth are changeable and exhaustible. The faith and enthusiasm which belong to the period of its youth-the period of construction and development-do not endure forever. Heu prisca fides, was the natural exclamation of the Roman poet, when Rome meant the world; but the ancient Roman spirit was felt to be dying out. The physical resources of a country do not last always; and the crowded population of one epoch dwindles away, leaving another age to wonder how it could ever have been. Forests are cut down; the soil is exhausted; the fertilizing rivers shrink to streamlets, or entirely desert their ancient beds. Perhaps art might resist the gradual exhaustion of nature; but the attractions of new regions draw off the adventurous spirits, and the world is never full. The lines of commercial intercourse change. The great land-roads are deserted for the more expeditious and less expensive passage by sea. New and more convenient centres are found; and imperceptibly the splendors of the ancient seats become dim, and grass grows up through the crevices in the pavements. Power flies to other strongholds, and empires that once ruled the world fall into inward and outward decline. Where are Babylon, Persia, Syria, Egypt? It was not vice alone that destroyed them. It was a combination of causes, physical, moral, and mental. It was the ever-shifting relations of the world. The process goes on around us; but we do not heed it. Old communities are decreasing; young communities are increasing; change, fluctuation, death, are written on all human things; development and dissolution are the law to which men and nations are alike subjected. Some have a longer, others a shorter, term of existence; but the longest is a mere span, nor has any medicine yet been found to arrest or conquer death in either. The oldest nations now on the European stage