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grandfather.” Whereupon the father's conscience expression, “a sardonic grin," has been supposed smites him, and the grandfather is allowed a plate by some philologists to contain a reference to it. at the table as before. In an Italian form of the For the ancient Sardones were in the habit, when story, borrowed from one of the French fabliaux, they grew old, of being killed and eaten by their a man follows the custom of the country and friends and relatives. Before their death they packs off his old father to die in what may be used to invite their kith and kin to come and eat called the workhouse, sending him a couple of them on a certain day. And they were expected shirts by the hands of his young son, the old to smile while uttering the words of invitation. man's grandson. The boy brings back one of But their smiles, on such occasions, were apt to them, and explains that it will do for his father be somewhat constrained, and even at times to wear when his turn comes to go to the work- ghastly. Wherefore, that particular kind of conhouse. Whereupon the man's heart is touched, traction of the risible muscles acquired the name and he fetches his aged parent home. The Rus- of the “Sardonic grin." On so clear a point it sian story is more valuable, because it refers to a is unnecessary to dwell longer. But it will be as custom which undoubtedly once existed in many well to point out that there is sometimes risk in lands—that of killing off old people. Among attributing legends and traditions to an historical nomads, who would find it difficult to carry about rather than a mythical origin. Many customs with them their aged relations, such a custom are mentioned in popular tales which can scarcemight naturally arise. At all events, it is on such ly have prevailed among mankind at even the a custom that the tale is founded. It runs as most prehistoric period. There are a number of follows: In former days it was customary, when stories, for instance, about girls who are so fond old folks reached a certain age, for their sons, if of their relatives that they eat them up. In the they had any, to take them out into the forest, Russian “ Witch and Sun's Sister,” and in the and there to leave them to die. Once upon a Avar“ Brother and Sister," a maiden of this kind time a son thus escorted from home, on what was is described as first devouring the whole of her meant to be his last journey, his aged father, family, and then attempting to eat the hero of Wishing to make that journey as comfortable as the tale, her last surviving brother. Now, a bepossible for the time-stricken traveler, he stretched lief in such hungry damsels, perpetually seeking a large piece of birch-tree bark in his cart, seat- what they may devour, is prevalent at the present ed the intended victim upon it, and drove off to day in Ceylon, the existence of such “poisonthe forest. Along with him went his own young girls,” as they are called, being generally acson, a boy of tender years. Having reached the counted for by demoniacal possession. From appointed spot, he thereon deposited the aged such a wild belief tales of the kind just menman, having first, with filial attention, stretched tioned might naturally spring without their being on the possibly damp ground the sheet of bark founded upon any real custom. It is improbable for him to sit upon. Just as he was about to that at any period of the world's history it was drive away home with his boy, that innocent customary for sisters to eat their brothers. Nor child asked him if it would not be better to take is it likely that human fathers were ever in the back the bark. “Why so ?” he replied. · Be- habit of eating their children, as might be supcause,” said the boy, “it will do for you to sit posed, if we thought it necessary to see in the upon when the time comes for me to leave you tale of how Kronos devoured his offspring an in the forest.” Touched by his child's simple allusion to a custom, or even an isolated fact. words, the father hastened to where the grand- What seems to be really demanded from every father was sitting, put him back into the cart, and interpreter of old tradition, every explorer of the drove him quickly home. From that time he dark field of popular fiction, is a wariness that carefully tended the old man till he died. And will not allow itself to be hoodwinked by any his example produced such an effect that all the prejudice in favor of this or that particular theory. other people in that land gave up the practice of Every piece of evidence ought to be carefully exposing their parents to death when they grew tested and fairly weighed, whether it confirms old.*
the examiner's own opinion or not. If this be Now it would be quite beside the mark to done, he will probably find that different classes suggest a mythological explanation of this pa- of legends must be explained in divers manners. thetic tale. It evidently refers to an actual cus The more he becomes acquainted with popular tom once observed by real men, not to some sup- tales, the less he will be inclined to seek for any posed action attributed to imaginary gods. The single method of solving all their manifold probevidence for the former existence of the custom lems. Not over-often will he be able to satisfy is copious and undeniable. Even the familiar himself that he has arrived at even a fairy-tale's
ultimate reason for existence. The greater plea* Afanasief, “Skazki," vol. vii., No. 51,
sure will he have when he is enabled to trace the
growth of a narrative, to watch its increase from Great passed through the Forum of Trajan one its original germ to its final development. By day, he bethought himself of that Emperor's way of a close to the present attempt to pry into many merits, and especially of his admirable the secret meaning of Cinderella's history may conduct in righting the widow's wrongs. And be given a sketch of a traceable growth of this a great sorrow came over him at the thought kind. It occurs in the case of the legend of that so excellent a pagan should be lost eternally. Trajan, an excellent account of which has been Whereupon he prayed earnestly and constantly lately given by M. Gaston Paris.*
for Trajan's salvation, until at last a voice from Tradition asserts that there once existed at on high informed him that his prayer was grantRome a bas-relief representing Trajan on horse- ed, but that in future he was to pray only for back in all his glory, and in front of him a woman Christian souls. A later addition to the legend sadly kneeling. Nothing can be more probable, told how Gregory learned from an angel that, by and, if such was really the case, the suppliant way of punishment for his indiscreet though sucfemale would, no doubt, represent a conquered cessful intervention, he would have to suffer from province, just as Dacia is represented on one of certain maladies for the rest of his life. The Trajan's medals as a woman on her knees. How- question as to whether Gregory was justified ever this may be, out of the tradition sprang a in his procedure greatly exercised the minds of story illustrative of Trajan's justice. On the many mediæval casuists, one of whom solved the point of starting on a campaign, it said, the Em- problem, and escaped from the doctrinal diffiperor was suddenly stopped by a poor widow, culties which it presented, by the following inwho flung herself on her knees before him, and genious explanation : No one, he said, can be besought him to right her wrongs. He expostu- saved unless he be baptized. But baptism is lated, but finally yielded, and did her justice be- precisely what Gregory obtained for Trajan. At fore he resumed his march. This was the first the Pope's prayer the Emperor's soul returned half of the story's growth. The second seems to his body, Gregory baptized it, "and the soul, to have followed at a later period. According again quitting its earthly case, went straight up to the completed legend, as Pope Gregory the into heaven."
W. R. S. RALSTON (Nineteenth Century).
DINNERS IN LITERATURE.
AFTER Achilles in the “Iliad
has granted temptuously, by Seneca—a man of extremely the request of the unhappy Priam in ref- morose temper—"the science of the cook-shop.” erence to the dead body of his son, he immedi- Nor is it certain, when we consider how much a ately suggests to the old man the propriety of dinner shares in the constitution of human haptaking some refreshment. Let us, he says, now piness, that this philosopher was altogether wise remember our dinner. For this was a matter in reviling the discipline of Apicius as the disease not forgotten by the fair-haired Niobe, even when of his age, or that la science de la gueule—to all her twelve children lay dead in her house, borrow a phrase of Rabelais and Montaigneslain by Apollo and Artemis. And Homer, if deserves Columella's censure as the worship of such a man there be, goes on to tell us how the the most degraded vice. swift-footed Greek at once rose up, and himself The good effects, moral and social, of a good cut the throat of a white wether, and his com- dinner—not the least among the great and lastpanions flayed it, and got it ready in the proper ing triumphs of a civilized life—have been too fashion, and divided it cunningly, and pierced it often established to need any further evidence. with spits, and roasted it with circumspection, What frantic enmities have been rung out, what and did all those other things so well known to everlasting friendships rung in, by that tocsin of the student of the “Iliad," as thought worthy of the soul, the dinner-bell! A suitably served remany more mentions than one by the author of past can remove prejudice, and abate pride; it
can reconcile misunderstandings, and discover Not a few writers of eminence, both ancient amiability. Will not a steaming turkey turn and modern, have followed Homer's example in away strife, and meditations of evil vanish before giving abundant details of what was called con a Christmas plum-pudding ? Nay, resentment
ere this has beat a retreat before a humble Welsh * “ La Légende de Trajan," Paris, 1878. rarebit; and a horrid feud, which not even the
that divine poem.
family solicitor could disperse, has melted like a a subject unworthy of the novelist and the poet, morning mist in sunrise at the approach of a and so, not rarely, produced inconvenient results. goose at Michaelmas. What might have been Thus, to take an instance in our nursery rhymes, the result of a judicious present by her lover to an idle attempt has been made, in the ancient Sophia Western of a dish of those eggs of roasted ballad, which bears some mystic reference, in its pullets, of which, according to Black George the opening lines, but nowhere else, to a sixpence and Gamekeeper's evidence, she was so fond ? Surely a pocketful of rye, absurdly to explain away the a corresponding sweetness of temper had fol- four-and-twenty blackbirds as black numerals lowed the impartial distribution of those sweet- baked into the glazed white face of an old dial, meats which Dr. Johnson advised the brewer's or as four-and-twenty hours; and to turn the wife to give away of an evening. The advice whole song, by strained interpretations, into a itself shows the importance which the philosopher nature myth. There is, indeed, no little difficulty attached even to the minutiæ of what is so hap- in understanding the singing of the baked birds ; pily called “good living.” What irony of fate but we are not, because of this subjective defihas deprived us of that philosophical Cookery- ciency in our intelligence, justified in supposing Book which women could not write, but the that the ancient poet intended by his rhyme Doctor could, and in place of it has offered to aught but a simple representation of a royal dinus—" Irene"!
ner of his place and period. The vastness of There is a phrase attributed to Voltaire-to the dainty dish was doubtless introduced to add whom, having written much, much is attributed to our idea of sublimity in the sovereign, just as —that the fate of nations often depends upon King Cyrus found an argument for Baal being a the digestion of a minister. A slight variation living God in the large quantity of his daily rain a carte de jour, like a variation in the length tions. As well may an allegorical meaning be of Cleopatra's nose, might have altered the cir- assigned to Falstaff's feast in Shallow's house in cumstances of a world. The decisive battles of Gloucestershire, and a figurative interpretation Borodino and Leipsic were lost to Napoleon by to the pigeons, the couple of short-legged hens, a fit of dyspepsia. How certainly, then, does it the joint of mutton, and the other sundry kickbecome a man's bounden duty to meditate on shaws which William Cook provided. few matters so seriously as on his meals! What Full many a three-volumed novel, unwisely is more natural than that eating should reach the neglected, on account of an apparent predomidignity of an art, and such an art as, like mathe- nance of gastronomical detail, by the superficial matics, demands the whole man? and what won- reader, forms the subject of interest and astonder is it to see so much in literature concerning ishment to the philosopher. To him, pages in eating, from the earliest to the latest times? A which keenness of appetite is more remarkable reflection on the influence of food on the charac- than keenness of wit-pages in which the auter of mankind diminishes our surprise at the thor's puppets make up for saying little by eating boast of the subtile Ulysses, who is represented much—reveal the inner mental characteristics of in the “ Odyssey” declaring that no other mor- the company; and he can almost prophesy the tal may compete with him—not, indeed, in the actions of each by observing the particular enstrength of his arm or the acuteness of his intel- trées he prefers. If he notices, for instance, that lect, but in making up a fire and cutting up wood the dishes are improperly prepared, he will at for burning, and jointing meat, and discharging once form a conclusion adverse to the presence generally the duties of a cook and a butler. The of preciseness and exactitude in the host. Nor sacred historian has not thought it beneath him in doing so is he without the authority of the sage to describe the effect of a savory dish in procur- of Bolt Court, who said, “Sir, if can not ing the benediction of Isaac; nor, when we re- get his dinner well dressed, he should be susmember the intimate association between the pected of inaccuracy in other things." Where heart and the stomach, will the conduct of the the unskilled reader sees only a tendency in the French novelist appear absurd, who introduces, parties eating to enlarge the circumference of in the most pathetic part of the story, a descant their bodies, the student of human nature will of his heroine upon the several courses of her perceive subtile hints of the various anfractuosidinner.
ties of their minds. He will not be surprised at The idea that eating is a subject of humilia- a fit of melancholy in him who feeds on hare, tion, that it is but a makeshift to repair the im- nor at a sanguine temperament in him who makes perfection of our nature, that it dulls the intelli- his meal of beef. He will be prepared for segence-notions buttressed up by a few stock verity of demeanor in him who partakes of piequotations out of the Latin Grammar, such as crust, according to the authority of Dr. King : "fruges consumere nati,” “animum quoque “Eat pie-crust, if you'd serious be"; and, folpragravat una"-has gone far to make dinner lowing the same great authority, will introduce
to the ladies' notice him who during dinner has their climate. Slavery in India is the direct reshown a singular predilection for shell-fish. He sult of rice, in Egypt of dates, of maize in Mexwill recognize the being with large discourse look- ico and Peru. ing before and after in him who breakfasts as if We all remember the mischievous effects of uncertain of dinner, and dines as if reflecting he meat on Oliver Twist. When from the recesses had not breakfasted. He will mark the weak of Mrs. Sowerberry's coal-cellar that boy blasstomach as the sure concomitant of the weak phemed Mr. Bumble, “ It is not madness," said brain. He will be prepared for impetuosity of that dignitary, after deep meditation, “it's meat!” temper in him who subsists on animal out of all Had the boy lived on gruel it had never happroportion to vegetable aliment, or, if in any pro- pened. The congenital irritability of the Engportion, in such as Falstaff's intolerable quantitylish is perhaps owing to their consumption of of sack to his one halfpenny-worth of bread. He animal food in a higher proportion than most will perhaps expect to find good eating the parent other nations of Europe. · Beef,” said Lord of good sense. He will receive as an exquisite Sparkish, in Swift's Polite Conversation," "is illustration of natural laws the circumstance that, man's meat.” Europa is borne now, as former' in one chapter of a fashionable novel, the young ly, by a bull. Beef conduces to courage. It was lady, the heroine, during her residence in the tem- roast-beef, maybe, that won the day at Blenheim perate zone of the family, will eat about equal and Ramillies, and potages and kickshaws that proportions of meat and vegetables, of carbona- lost it at Agincourt and Poictiers. The French ceous and nitrogenous matter. In another chap- themselves say, “C'est la soupe que fait le solter he will find her transported to the arctic circle dat. However that may be, the lightness of their of Miss Monflather's seminary; and there, in ac- cookery appears to have caused considerable cordance still with the laws of Nature, she will lightness of heel in their dancing-masters. · Greece be ready to devour the blubber and whale-oil of was once famous for song. How has its poetry the pole. Yet again, in a third chapter, he will sunk since the inhabitants of the Morea substimeet with her in the tropical atmosphere of a tuted coffee for wine ! zealous young curate, and there behold her din A good dinner is indeed necessary to make a ing, like Amina the delicate, on a few grains of good subject. Correct views in politics and right rice or an apple. Then, indeed, will her stomach opinions in religion are no less dependent on our be prouder than that of Arthur Clennam in nutriment than animal intrepidity and amiability "Little Dorrit,” which awoke the indignation of of disposition. The word Whig is derived, it is Mr. F's aunt. She will disdain the familiar well known, from a word used in North England conjunctions of pork and pease-pudding, of ba- for sour milk; and the advancement of the Cathcon and beans, of mutton and capers. Only olic faith was certainly contemplated by the after repeated solicitations will she be induced to monks of the Abbey of Fécamp when they con“try a little" of what some one with a pretty secrated each bottle of their famous Benedictine taste for the letter has called “the pernicious pas- liqueur with the mystic letters A. M. D. G., withticcios of the pastry-cook, or the complex com- out which none, it may be added, is genuine. binations of the confectioner."
Even architecture and natural philosophy were Not a few philosophers have endeavored to shown by Sinon to be intimately related to cookshow the intimate relation which subsists be- ery; and none will be surprised at his placing tween the meat and the morality of nations. the science by which the greatest sum of pleasure Some have gone so far as to consider the eleva- is afforded to our friends, in close juxtaposition tion of gastronomy to be that of the whole cir- to that of military strategics, whereby the excle of arts and sciences, and regarded man as treme amount of annoyance is occasioned to our nothing more nor less than a sublime alembic. enemies. The professors of medicine and mo
Buckle, in his “ History of Civilization,” fol- rality are about equally indebted to the cooks. lowing Cabanis, considers food as one of the Few, however, have borrowed from them for such four physical agents most powerfully influencing an early period of life as Van Helmont, who dethe human race. The organization of society manded of them a mystic sop of bread boiled in and the differences in peoples are traceable, in beer as a substitution in infants' food for that his opinion, to a diversity of dinner. Men's natural milk of which the amiable Dr. Brouzet manners and morality, their customs and condi- seems to have had so bad an opinion. Nor have tion, depend mainly, if he may be believed, on philosophers been unwilling to apply to themwhat they eat. The boldness of the Norseman selves in practice the principles they advocated and the timidity of the Bengalee are ascribed as in theory. Boswell's illustrious friend, for examjustly due to their respective preferences for meat ple, was equally solicitous to supply heat and reor vegetables, for carbonaceous or nitrogenous pair waste in his corporeal system. Half a dozen diet, imposed on them by the temperature of large peaches, according to Mrs. Piozzi, before VOL. VIII.-3
breakfast, counterbalanced a well-boiled leg of comestible thrush of the ancients was the smallpork for dinner; the outside cut of a salt but- est of its kind, known to us as the red-wing. It tock of beef was accompanied by a liberal sup- visits our coasts in severe winters, but is never ply of chocolate, made with much cream or melt- fattened as at Rome. ed butter; nor could a veal-pie swell the veins in Horace expresses an opinion that nothing is his forehead with satisfaction unless it contained better than a fat thrush ; nothing fairer than an plenty of sugar and plums. It is said of him ample sow's udder. Martial agrees with Horace, that he sought less for flavor than effect. His and has composed a little poem, of which the proposition that a man seldom thinks with more burden is that, in the poet's judgment, the titbit earnestness of anything than he does of his din- among birds is a thrush; but among quadrupeds ner, he certainly defended by his own example, a hare. On another occasion he tells us that he in his admirable admixture shown in the veal-pie. prefers a sucking-pig to any meat. The Spanhis favorite dainty, of substances with and with- ish epigrammatist also observes that a crown of out nitrogen, mixed it may be with an exactitude nard or roses may delight others, but he himself of chemical combination which would have been is chiefly delighted with a crown of thrushes. written down, doubtless, in that Cookery-Book Such a present, to make his mistress know that of his, composed on philosophical principles, he has not forgotten her, is suggested by Ovid to could he have been, in the interests of humanity, his pupil : “ Missaque corona Te memorem domiinduced to undertake it.
næ testificere tuæ.” A subtilty of palate is hinted The ancient Hebrew writers say little about at in Persius, so exquisite as to be able to disdinners; and what indeed could be expected from criminate between the flavors of the male and a people who seem to have eaten meat only on female bird. Another poet tells us that to mix festivals ? Their silly simplicity confounds the them with oysters disarranges the stomach, and labors of Vatel and Francatelli, of Soyer and is productive of bile. In a word, for once that Carême. They inverted the science of cookery the Roman authors speak of the music of these by regarding bread as the principal dish, and birds in the groves, they speak a dozen times of flesh or its juice as a mere accessory. Widely their merit on the table. They praise their savor different from these were the dishes that adorned rather than their song. They are agreeable in a the tables of imperial Rome. Vedius Pollio, the poplar-tree, but more agreeable in a pasty. Lufriend of Augustus, was singularly delicate in his cullus, says Varro, built an aviary, containing a diet. His most pleasing plat was lampreys, salle à manger, by which ingenious device he which he fattened with disobedient slaves. Ha- was enabled to eat thrushes cooked and contemdrian's favorite dish, says Spartianus, in the bi- plate them alive at one and the same opportunity. ography which he wrote of that emperor, was They, or rather their breasts, form a notable incalled Tetrapharmacum, from its consisting of gredient in the famous Patina Apiciana, or plat four principal ingredients—to wit: sow's udder, of Apicius, which also contained the inevitable peacock, pheasant, and the gammon of a wild udder, besides fish, fowl, and beccaficoes, and boar in paste. These meats appear to have been everything of the best. The relative merits, inmixed in some manner which the author has deed, of beccaficoes, thrushes, mushrooms, and omitted to mention. For the wild-boar pasty oysters were so difficult to determine, that Tibethere is indeed to be found more than one receipt rius is said to have given a prize of some two in Apicius Cælius. The best, perhaps, is the thousand pounds to one Asellius Sabinus for an following: First boil the gammon with plenty of essay, in the form of a dialogue, on that subject. dry figs (in another receipt the exact number Beccaficoes were eaten in England in the days twenty-five is given) and three laurel-leaves. of Henry II. Among the pious and dutiful sons (The use of these figs, it is said, made the flesh of that king, who set their countrymen almost as tender.) Then skin it, slice it superficially into fair an example of filial obedience as the sons of dice, and fill it with honey. Knead flour with the first three Georges, Prince John was at least oil, and cover it with this paste. When the dough wise enough to know the best, perhaps the only, is cooked, take it from the oven, and serve. means to win the people's respect and love. He
" Faute de grives on mange des merles " is courted popularity, according to Sir William an old French proverb, and thrushes dressed in Scott, by a sumptuous repast. When it is redifferent ways are still devoured in France. Any membered that his death was occasioned by a person anxious to know how to cook them will surfeit of peaches and new ale, it will probably probably find his curiosity satisfied by the cook- be admitted that he put no great constraint upon ery-books of Dubois or Carême. In England himself in this matter. Be that as it may, it is they are scarcely a common dish, and the index recorded in “ Ivanhoe” that he held high festival to Mrs. Beeton's recipes may be consulted in in Ashby Castle, where the tables “groaned," vain. Formerly they were highly esteemed. The not indeed for the first or last time, under the