網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

quarrymen, masons, stone-carvers, and stone-breakers. The same may, to a considerable extent, be said of If the material be sandstone, the injury is less severe, dressmakers and needlewomen. The Royal London because the stone can be worked without much force, Ophthalmic Hospital includes always among its and the particles have no keenly cutting edges ; but patients a large number of Spitalfields weavers, whose granite is sadly disastrous, since the sharp fragments eyes become injured by long hours of work and insuffiof this stone will cut into the eye as forcibly as chips cient exercise. The copying-clerks employed by lawof metal; and the like may be said of particles of flint. stationers suffer much in eyesight through the long Coke-grit is a modern but not less mischievous cause hours of night-work to which they are frequently of injury; railway-guards, and passengers in open subject during the sittings of parliament and of the third-class pleasure-trains, are much exposed to the law-courts. Lacemakers are found to suffer in sight, attacks of sharp angular particles of coke, blown out not only from the long-continued work necessary to by the strong blast of the engine; these particles, furnish them with the means of subsistence, but also whether impacted in the cornea, or driven under the from the constrained position in which they bend over eyelid, of course occasion much inflammation. For their cushions. A like observation applies to the lacemidable injuries are inflicted on the sight of masons, runners employed by the bobbin-net manufacturers at bricklayers, hodmen, plasterers, and lime-burners by Nottingham. Mr White Cooper states : “The number particles of lime, especially if the line be in a caustic of persons in this metropolis who suffer from overwork state. Miners, firework-makers, rock-blasters, quarry- of the eyes is very great. On referring to my records, men, and gunpowder-makers are, from the very nature I find that 1320 such cases came under my notice in of their several employments, exposed to imminent nine years, the large majority being tailors, shoeperil of the destruction of eyesight by explosion; and makers, and female workers with the needle. . I particles of powder are also likely to be driven into or have been repeatedly told by milliners that twelve, against the eye. Millers, chimney-sweepers, mortar- fourteen, or sixteen hours a day, was the ordinary mixers, dustmen, and drug-grinders are constantly duration of their labour, and this often in foul and exposed to the irritating influence of small particles of badly ventilated apartments. Milliners and tailors are dust upon the eyes. The fork-grinders of Sheffield, especially liable to suffer from extraordinary demands and, to a less degree, the needle-grinders of Redditch, upon their powers of endurance; a large amount of are, in like manner, affected injuriously by steel-dust. work is required to be completed within a limited In the clothing districts, many of the workers in wool, time; this involves the loss of sleep and close confinecotton, and flax are frequently liable to the intrusion ment in an atmosphere loaded with impurities, and of small fibrous particles under the eyelids; and the heated to an exhausting extent.' same may be said of feather-workers and fur-workers. Another cause is excess of light. In large tailoring Soda-water bottling is a perilous employment, seeing and dressmaking establishments, where many persons that the fragments of bottles that have burst, and work in one room, much irritation of the eyesight corks that are forcibly driven out, are frequent sources arises from that superabundance of light which gas of lamentable injury to the eyes. Engineers are some- can be made to afford. Watchmakers and engravers times placed on the sick-list, not merely by the attacks are subject to premature exhaustion of the visual of small particles of metal on the eyes, but by the powers; for they are not only necessitated to throw a injurious influence of blasts of steam. When the strong artificial light on their work during the long finishers or gilders employed by bookbinders were winter evenings, but they even concentrate the rays accustomed to heat their embossing-irons by charcoal- by magnifiers. Sailors often suffer from excess of stoves, the eyes suffered much from the fumes; but sunlight, as do likewise harvesters and laymakers. this evil has been lessened by a partial use of gas- Blacksmiths, cooks, and engineers are among those stoves. Book-finishers and gold-beaters are not unfre- whose eyesight is troubled by excess of furnace-light. quently observed to be near-sighted, an effect supposed Mr France, lecturer on ophthalmic surgery at Guy's to be caused by the yellow glare to which they are so Hospital, adverts to a curious kind of superabundant constantly exposed.

light which would not have occurred to many besides Notwithstanding the length of this melancholy list, oculists. "If the Society of Arts,' he says, 'would it is satisfactory to learn that by far the larger number exert its influence with the public to abolish the of eye injuries are due to causes not necessarily present custom of decorating shop-fronts with broad attaching to particular trades, but are susceptible of plates of brass, they would effect an important oculoimprovement, if not absolute removal. These causes sanitary improvement: these brazen mirrors, when in are numerous, as we shall presently see.

summer weather the sunshine is perfectly reflected One cause is overwork. Mr White Cooper, surgeon from them, are in truth a very serious evil to the to St Mary's Hospital, said in reply to the queries of vision of passers-by. the committee: “Injuries bear but a small proportion A third cause is deficiency of light. Those tailors and to the enormous number of cases of overwork of the sempstresses who work in large establishments, are, as eyes, varying in degree from slight derangement to has been said above, liable to irritation of the eye from absolute blindness, but all interfering more or less excess of gaslight; but those who work at home too with the due use of the organs of vision.' With the often suffer from deficiency of light; their windows same opportunities of observation, Mr Dixon, surgeon are darkened by contiguous buildings, while a small to the London Ophthalmic Hospital, stated that a large cheap candle affords insufficient light in the evening. proportion of patients who apply at that establishment, There appears to be a custom among dressmakers of on account of what they term weakness of sight,' making up their white and coloured materials during owe the defect to mere over-use of the eyes. 'I men- the day, and reserving black work for the evening, on tion over-use rather than any special trade,' he says, the ground that white or delicate fabrics are apt to 'as the exciting cause ; for every day's experience become soiled by the smoke of artificial light. The teaches us that needlework, and other occupations reason assigned may or may not be a sound one; but requiring close attention to minute objects, may be the practical effect is that of fatiguing the eye by followed without injury to vision. Tailors suffer much evening-work upon a substance which, by the very from this over-use; they frequently make long days of circumstance of its being black, reflects little light to work; they are sewing black materials for many hours the eye. Nothing can tell more conclusively on this consecutively; their constrained posture causes con- point than a few words used by Mr White Cooper: gestion about the eyes; and the want of fresh air in I have invariably found that a general mourning their heated workrooms renders them susceptible to increased the number of applicants for relief at the "catarrhal ophthalmia” when they go into the open air. ophthalmic institutions to which I am attached'

[ocr errors]

owing to the blank, dreary, wearing and wearying means of prevention, and to suggest others for future obscurity of the light from black work. Fine work adoption. These means must necessarily depend on has some such effect as dark work upon the sight; the nature of the employment. All artisans who are for the eye aches in the endeavour to appreciate each exposed to eye injury from chips, splinters, dust, grit, minute spot on the work to be done. Engravers or fluff, would do well to look about them for eye-profrequently suffer from this cause. The closers,'tectors. “Goggles, or spectacles of wire-gauze, might statchers,' and 'stabbers' of boots and shoes are in often be used with advantage by such persons; and, like manner troubled in eyesight by the closeness of indeed, stone-breakers in Germany are said to use such. the stitches to be made.

The grinders at Messrs Rodgers' cutlery-works at A fourth cause is badly applied light. The light by Sheffield wear, many of them, very large spectacles of which a worker pursues his avocations may be neither plain flint-glass. Dr Gibb expressed to the committee too great nor too small in actual amount; yet there the following opinion on the great beard' question : may be a want of tact in its adjustment sufficient I am quite certain that many, in fact a large number to irritate and injure the eye. Wherever a draught of artisans, who are exposed to the influence of dust, of air gives a flickering motion to a flame, the eye grit, chips, splinters, &c., from the nature of their becomes thereby irritated and inflamed; and in some occupation, suffer more in proportion to the absence printing-offices where the compositors are employed of beards and whiskers, than those who possess those during long night-hours, this evil is said to be appendages. This is a fact which is becoming estabmuch felt. The colour of the light is often a subject | lished every day. I have followed this observation of injury. Mr Cousins, one of those from whom the out to some extent in practice, in the treatment of committee sought information, said: 'Needlewomen, diseased eyes from dust, &c., with shaven faces, where embroiderers, and lacemakers should work in rooms there appeared, at the same time, to be a weakness in hung with green, and having green blinds and curtains the organ of vision from the latter cause. On the to the windows. When in North China, I became growth of the beard, when the affection of the eyes was convinced of the very great advantage with which this cured, the weakness disappeared, and many whose eyes rule has been adopted by the exquisite embroiderers were before diseased through the nature of their occuof that part. Their books of patterns are frequently pations, after obtaining beard and whiskers, were to called Books of the Lady of the Green Window. He a great extent exempt from a return of their eye further remarks : “ Needlewomen would find great affections. This may be attributable to two causes : advantage in changing the colour of their work as the first, the protection afforded to the face by the frequently as possible; the rationale of this is found hair, the strengthening and tonic influence imparted in the law, that variation of stimulus is necessary to in consequence to the nerves of the face and eyes, preserve the tone and health of any organ of sense, and the general improvement of the health from the and that prolonged application of the same stimulus comfort experienced in wearing the beard; the second, exhausts it.' The ill effect experienced through the arrest of the particles of dust and grit by the hair remaining many hours in a room lighted by several of the beard and whiskers, thereby relieving the eyes. jets of gas, is probably due quite as largely to the Without at all going into the question as to the proexhalation of the gas as to the brightness of the light. priety of wearing the beard and whiskers, I mention Much unnecessary suffering, too, is borne by persons these facts as likely to prove useful, in reply to some who work with a light at too low a level; in full of the questions in the special memorandum; but I many a case, ease would be found to result from an will observe, in conclusion, that there is a great deal adjustment of the light at a higher level, such as to of sympathy between the beard and the eyes, and an allow, as in nature, the brow and lashes to shelter the abundance of evidence could be brought forward to pupil and iris, and to prevent the impact of direct rays prove it.' upon the optic nerve.

Many workmen are exposed to the sudden entrance
There are multitudes of minor causes of injury to of small particles between the eyeball and the upper
sight, arising, in great part, from the recklessness of lid : a careful laving or bathing of the eye seems the
workmen while engaged at their employments. Mr best cure here; and Mr White Cooper has devised
Devlin, a bootmaker, who has written much and an ingenious little contrivance for this purpose, to be
excellently both on the social and on the technical fitted up in workshops. In the numerous cases where
characteristics of his trade, drew the attention of the the light which falls upon the workman's eye or upon
committee to the fact, that shoe and boot makers often his work is either too great or badly arranged, many
ruin their sight by smoking short pipes while bending preventives have been partially adopted, and others
over their work. The bowl of the pipe, hour after suggested—such as due caution against overworking
hour, is sending out its fumes within a few inches of the eye at one time; frequent changes, if possible, in
the down-turned eyes. "A shoemaker,' he narrates, the size and colour of the substances worked upon;
* a voracious smoker, having been compelled to apply, avoidance of black work, if practicable, by artificial
through the failure of his sight, to the celebrated light; the employment of slightly tinted blue glass-
oculist, Dr (Mr?) Alexander, this gentleman, imme- shades, or judiciously arranged paper-shades, in front
diately he held the head of the wretched sufferer of gas-jets; a substitution of daylight for nightlight
before his observation, exclaimed: “Why, you have in all employments, so far as the usages of modern
brought this all upon yourself! You are your own society and the necessities of the workers will permit;
eye-destroyer! That short pipe which you stick in the avoidance of red or warm colours, and the substi-
your lips is doing it all! Throw that bad and filthy tution of green or blue, in avocations wherein the
thing aside. There can be no remedy for you until eyesight is much employed; the use of a reflector
you drop this vile propensity. Why, man, you are over a gaslight, to throw down the illumination on
burning your very eyeballs out of their sockets !” So the work, and shield it from the eyes of the workman,
he told him, and then and afterwards he did what &c. Mr White Cooper, when speaking of eye-shades,
he could for his patient; but all unavailingly as observes : “The ordinary shades have had the objection
regarded a complete restoration of sight; and now, of heating the forehead and eyes, by not allowing the
in his visual benightedness, he is compelled to sell escape of vapour from them. An optician has, at my
matches in the streets of London.'

suggestion, made a shade working on hinges, which
Now, in collecting all this sad calamity of eye mis- does away with the objection by allowing of ventila-
fortunes, the Society of Arts, of course, had something tion; and it can also be adjusted at any angle most
more in view than to excite commiseration. The primary convenient to the wearer.'
objects have been, to ascertain the value of all existing As to injuries to the eyesight resulting from excessive

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

smoking, snuff-taking, drinking, or excesses in any beside whom most of the visitors to the colony look habit whatever, nothing need be urged conce

ncerning the contemptible pigmies, an opinion you may generally best mode of prevention—to name the indulgence is, read pretty legibly on the broad face of the Africander at the same time, to name the direction in which himself. And there are the Hottentots, of whose reform is to be sought.

vicinity, if they should happen to be to windward, This sheet will fall into the hands of many whose you cannot long remain unconscious; and the wonderdaily employments call for much exercise of eyesight; ful wagons from the interior; and the Cape burghers, and if it should induce them to attend to the various and the Cape sharks, and the vats of Cape vine, modes in which the eyes may suffer, or to adopt any and the miserable booths where Cape brandy inspires suggested preventives, or to suggest preventives for a company of negroes to dance to the music of a gourd the use of others, the purpose for which this article is fiddle; and more cattle, more hides, more elay-pipes, written will have been well attained.

and more queer costumes than would give a travelling artist materials for fifty sketches. But still, in a

month or two, a man is sure to grow weary of the PRIZE OR NO PRIZE.

Cape of Good Hope, and think the best liope he could I was at the Cape, on sick leave. When I sailed cherish would be to get well away from it. from India, I was as languid and yellow-visaged as One day, as I was yawning about on the pier, the most listless nabob that ever supplied material | looking up now and then at Table Mountain, to see for farce or novel. A smart bout of jungle-fever if the cloth was spread, and any elemental frolic makes one see the world and all its advantages probable, a salute was suddenly banged out by the through a diminishing lens; and when I crawled Flagstaff Battery. As quickly as was natural to a from the Masoolah boat up the side-ladder of the man who, for the last day or two, had had no pleagood ship Mary Jane, I should not have been in the santer problem to busy his mind than an attempt to least excited by the news of my appointment to the solve the question, why Cape horses cannot trot, but office of governor-general. But a few months at the must gallop or canter, I spun round, and asked for Cape, where the dry air and pure skies absolutely information. seem to impart vitality to an enfeebled frame, made a • A king's slip, sir, with a prize in tow-a slaver, wonderful difference in me, both mentally and cor- belike,' said a seafaring man, the mate of some merporeally. As my strength and appetite returned, so chantman, and very civilly handed me his glass, did my interest in sublunary matters; and now that through which I could make out a frigate 'claring I was a convalescent, I became a victim to boredom. into the bay, in company with a large suspiciousThere are few places in which one may enjoy more looking black brig. Meanwhile, signals were being hearty, honest, solid dulness than at the Cape of rapidly exchanged between the frigate and the sliore; Good Hope. No doubt, an English market-town, a and soon the rumour spread that the new-comer was cathedral city, a decayed watering-place, are tolerably the Lynx, 36, Captain Horne. Lynx, Captain Horne! lifeless, especially in hot summer weather, when here was a chance for me, for Horne was an old dozing dogs have the sunny pavement to themselves, friend, a sort of Welsh cousin of mine, and I had and the blue-bottles that haunt the butcher's shop even been a cruise in the Lijnr. Here was a remedy seem to monopolise all the activity of the place. But for the Cape blue-devils, for a few days anyhow. I Cape Town!-Cape Town on a regular baking-day, should dine with Horne, and Horne would dine with before the breeze springs up, may challenge the me, and then I should join the gun-room mess, and world to compete with it on the score of monotony. hear some yarns not absolutely threadbare. But here

I was not located in the town itself, but at is the gig pulling fast for the pier-head, and in the Simonswald, a little place among the hills, perched at stern-sheets sits the weather-beaten naval commander, a respectable height above the sea, and whose board- Captain Horne, full fig, on his way to the governor's. ing-houses were full of the recovering, the sick, and To my surprise, he seemed in wretched spirits, and the dying, wlio owed their shattered health to the winced wlien I congratulated him on his success in vampire climate of India. There was no diversion at the anti-slavery line. Simonswald, however, except three: you might stroll When he came out of government-house-the up to Constantia Farm, and see the world-famous vine- 'residence,' as the natives call it-Horne, who had yards, read the newspapers over and over again, or agreed to dine with me, passed his arm tlırough mine. play cards. Now, a newspaper is apt to grow tedious I asked him what made him wear such a hang-dog by the time of its fourth perusal; and vineyards have look, being lucky enough to have caught a slaver. a sameness about them; and of card-playing and its Caught a slaver!' he exclaimed-caught & effects, I had seen rather more than enough in the Tartar would be nearer the mark, I am afraid. I hill-stations in India. By the by, I have known men wish she had been under fisty fathoms of blue water who had withstood all temptation to become gamblers before ever I heard of her.' while on service, gradually imbibe a morbid love of A little pressing, and I leard the whole story. high play at the Cape, from pure dearth of employ- 'I was hovering about the South American coast,' ment, and ruin themselves for life to save a yawn. said Horne, keeping a bright look-out for any stray Well, to escape the dulness of Simonswald, I ordered | Brazilian that might be fitting for a trip to the slavemy hack every day at the same hour, and rode to coast; but not one could I find. Either the craft plunge into the dulness of Cape Town. Not that were invisible, or the negro-trade was a myth, one Cape Town is so utterly uninteresting to a stranger; would have thought. At last-you know I always for a short time—say a week—one might be agree- paid highly for good inforniation, and picked up more ably enough employed in looking about one.

prizes in that way than could otherwise hare been The Cape has its lions, figuratively, at least, on the gained-at last, I was informed that a brig was hither side of the Orange River. There are the Cape fitting out in Buenos Ayres harbour, and would sail pigeons, bolder than any pigeons Europe can produce; shortly. She was under Brazilian colours, but the albatrosses and cormorants, and other great white or skipper was a Yankee, and a 'cute one. He had been gray birds, perpetually screaming and soaring over obliged to take on board a suspicious quantity of the waves that sparkle with gamboling fish. There water-casks, salt provisions, and so fortlı, but he had are the plump Cape belles; the Cape sheep with their hidden the shackles-Old Nick alone can tell where; astounding tails, which, somehow, never seem real and on the slave-deck he had placed six horses, in honest appendages, but have all the air of artificial pens, as a pretext for his voyage. Ship’s papers, maniadornments. There are the boors, an overgrown race, fest, invoice, were all beautifully regular. He was an

6

honest trader, don't you see ? carrying on a traffic in saying a word to Horne, I slipped out of court, ran to horses, though I shall be able to prove that for the the pier, and was pulled on board the brig. I soon six hide-bound old screws he took out, he must have secured an ally in the midshipman who commanded paid more in Buenos Ayres than he could possibly the prize-crew, and we made a most irregular onsell them for on the African coast. Besides these slaught on the contents of the brig's hold. Strange nags, the Yankee had a cargo of hardware, guns, to say, we found the shackles ! they had been wrapped nails, tools, metal rods—the proper things to barter in tow, and headed up in casks apparently full of saltwith the natives--and he was to bring back produce, meat; so that, but for an accident, we might have so he says.

searched till doomsday in vain. But the discovery *Well, he sailed. I kept a bright look-out, and was useless after all; for when I returned in triumph, never lost sight of his topmasts during the voyage. I found Horne radiant with joy, and the Yankee crest.

• His course was evidently towards the Bight of fallen and utterly subdued. Unable to agree, the Benin; but when he got within eighty miles of the Brazilian and English judges had agreed to toss up, Guinea Coast, the old fox doubled, and ran down in heads or tails of a dollar, for condemned or acquitted. the night towards Cameroons. The brig sails fast, Heads came up, and thus, most justly, though by sheer as slavers always do; but the Lynx is the tightest, accident, the vessel was condemned. trimmest little boat on a wind, in the whole'"There, there, Horne; I know all that.'

COOKERY AND COOKS. "Well,' resumed Horne, 'I was coming up with him, hand over hand, so round he went; and running We have long been of opinion that not only your round some sandy keys, made for the Calabar River. poet and your gardener must be 'to the manner I gave chase, and he then steered for the Bonny. born'-overshadowed from the cradle by the flowers This would never do; a squall, a fog, even a dark of Parnassus or the green-house—but that those very night, and he would escape me, and carry his cargo of important house-genii, cooks, are likewise so by right ebony safe to America. So I ran down, fired a gun of birth-gift

. To be really a cook, as to be really a and sent a boat to fetch the skipper. He met me with a provoking grin, and said, as he squirted tobacco- poet, one must possess qualities accorded to but few. juice over my clean white decks: “Well, cap'en, Quick sense of aromatic odours, equal delicacy of you've got me, and I hope you like me. You've taste in its primary sense, fertility of invention and captured me, I guess; but to get the brig condemned expedient, powers of combination, must belong to the is another and a 'nation different story.” And so it cook in no ordinary degree. The badness of mere is, Ned, and I'm afraid I've only burned my fingers professors of this important art, the skill with which by my precious caption. The mixed court won't they spoil the good gifts of Providence, are no more condemn her on bare suspicion. The crew are as close as wax, and the Yankees keep watch on the arguments against this theory than the detestable Spanish sailors, so no one can split if he wanted to.' infliction of sham poetry is against the heaven-born

'And if you don't get her condemned, Horne ?' said I. genius of the poet; nay, it is rather an argument

'If I don't, I'm a ruined man, that's all,' lie in its favour, the rareness of the gift proving its returned with a quiver in his lip very unusual to excellence. him. 'I'm a poor man, as you know; and if my The truth is practically acknowledged by the prospects are blighted, what is to become of my remuneration of the gift when possessed. One of the wife and my poor boys? It was for their sake I was late Sybarites of the regent's days gave, we know so anxious for more prize-money, and I thought this from certain authority, L.400 a year to her cook; and ship would have paid for James's three years at L.100 a year are the ordinary wages of one who would Cambridge, and left a handsome nest-egg in the bank probably designate himself as an artiste. too. But if the brig's declared an honest trader, I And like other followers of art, your true cook has must pay compensation for seizing her, and detaining an idiosyncrasy of his own: a self-consciousness, a her illegally, and dockyard-men, labourers for the jealousy of non-appreciation, a delight in discovering search, fees, wages, and what not, until I'm a beggar. new combinations of old materials—what else is Worse, too; I shall be in the “ black books" of the left to either cook or poet ?--and an exultation Admiralty, and perhaps never get another ship, and in casting a glamour over the senses of his duller then' And the honest fellow stopped, for his neighbours by the witchery of his art-an art, too, heart was too full to allow him to say more. Day let us whisper, of much greater importance than we after day the slaver lay in Table Bay, and nothing coarse Anglo-Saxons have comprehended till lately, came to light. No seaman peached-no shackles when a great cook became one of the supporters of were found. The Yankee skipper grinned trium- an army, and made manifest the fact that, as man is phantly when he met us on the pier. You would an eating animal, he may not with impunity disrehave thought him the captor, and poor dejected gard one of the laws of his being. Horne the prisoner, to have seen them both.

In ancient times, when man had not learned the The mixed court could not come to a decision. evils of indigestion-judging by his length of days and There were the water-casks, the salt pork, and so on, the paucity of plıysicians-cooking was held in high but no shackle-bolts and leg-irons. Why don't you honour, and practised by noble and princely persons. search the hold ?' said I daily to poor Horne.

It is the hands of the queenly Sarah that prepare flesh 'I dare not,' was the answer; .for there is a heavy of the calf and baked cakes for the food of angels. cargo; and what with the wages of dockyard-men, Rebecca's delicate cookery deceived even the practised and compensation to the owners for breaking bulk, taste of Isaac, and was the instrument misemployed the search would cost me a hundred pounds.'

to bring a prophetic blessing on a peculiar people. I offered him all the assistance in my power, but Turn from these great mothers of the ancient race he was a proud man, and declined it. So the cause to the Greeks of Homer's days, and you will find went on, and the naval officer, poor man, was on his kings cooking in honour of their gods; and roast-pork trial as well as the rascally slaver. Many a captain greeting the return of Ulysses. Both the kingly and has let a negro-trader escape rather than face such a the swineherd cook develop the idiosyncrasy of which risk. The day of the final trial come, and the Yankee we speak. Important events are celebrated by their skipper was in court, and snapped his fingers at us. The sacrifice must be followed by the feast; He did not take the trouble to sham innocence, the royal exile's return, in like manner, by an confident he could not be proved guilty. Without improniptu slaughter and frying of swine, just as the poet by a certain instinct celebrates a solemnity or repair the loss of Vatel, and it was repaired. The a victory by a lay.

art.

court dined well; they had a collation-a supper; The Spartan cooks, too, even when their art was they walked—played. Everything was perfumed by curbed and checked by the puritanical laws of their jonquils : everybody was enchanted.' country, and their skill was doomed to evaporate in One shudders as one reads. Was there no memory the steam of black broth, were as jealous of their of the unfortunate man who had perished in that honour as the most tenacious of modern artistes. One sweet perfume? No trace of the recent horror amidst has gone down to all ages as reproving a monarch that selfish throng? No marvel if the next time we with equal boldness and wit, whilst resenting an meet with a royal French cook, it is in the prison insult to his own skill.

of the Temple. The glittering, heartless throng have The king murmurs over the legal repast of his vanished. The sceptre is in the dust. "Le Roi'country-'the broth was naught.'

that golden idol-is no longer amid the jonquils of 'It lacks its seasoning,' was the reply.

Chantilly, but a captive to his own people ; and "What is that?'

Turgy, his old cook, faithful amidst so many false, • Labour and exercise, O king.'

serves, aids, helps the fallen monarch in his hour of The cooks of old Rome—we mean of the empire-need. were obliged to supply by their skill the deficiency The same nervous temperament which led to of this seasoning. We wonder how many slaves Vatel's fearful fate, produced in England another cooked for Lucullus-- how they managed their tragedy, in which a cook was the principal actor. delicate dishes of peacocks' tongues and brains. Some supposed insult offered to his skill, drew the How pleased the fraternity of cooks must have been vengeance of this man on the family he served ; and at every new creature, meet for food,' which the they were all poisoned by him. We do not wisli to luxurious conquerors of the world brought back from dwell upon such a tale; but as its punishment was every vanquished land !-how they must have wel- the last act of one of our old terrible laws, we could comed the delicious oyster of Britain, the cherries scarcely leave it out in our chat about cooks. In for their first tart, brought home from Greece by those days, the law condemned cooks who were Lucullus himself! The days of the Roman Empire guilty of poisoning to be boiled alive!' and this must have been a palmy time for cooks. In far-off hideous doom was fulfilled in this case. The cook Egypt, where Antony's capricious appetite taxed the was boiled in a large kettle in Smithfield Market! patience and skill of his chef de cuisine, twelve cooks Probably the opportunities of destruction possessed constantly prepared the meal that was ever to be by cooks, suggested fears and suspicions which gave ready, and might be called for at all hours; and rise to this frightful law, and not any frequency twelve wild-boars, in different stages of roasting, of the crime in the persons for whom it was framed. astonished the stranger's eyes. But we are digressing This opinion is confirmed by the fact that the from the chief purport of our article.

instance we have cited was the first and last time One of the saddest, and yet most apt, illustrations of the frightful punishment being carried into effect. of the jealous sensitiveness of cooks, is that recorded But we will turn to a pleasanter phase of character by Madame de Sevigné of the celebrated Vatel, ser- —that is, the skill and art of combination, and even vant to Louis Quatorze. The king was at Chantilly transformation, belonging to this peculiar idiosynfor the day, with all his brilliant court. They walked crasy. We suppose almost all our readers know the in those pleasant gardens, and on a spot carpeted story of the bet made by the French gourmands, one with jonquils a collation was served. Roast-meat of whom asserted that he could detect the component failed at some of the many tables, for a far greater parts of any dish put before him; the other, betting number of guests had arrived than had been announced at great odds that he would not be able to tell in the preparatory orders. Vatel felt the want-the the materials wherewith his cook would prepare a defect in his perfect feast, as his sensitive tribe ever savoury dish' for them. The bet was taken; the do. He said several times : “Je suis perdu d'honneur; one confident in his quick natural sense; the other voici un affront que je ne supporterai pas.' He added in the skill of his cook. The matter was of importto M. Gourville these touching words, explanatory of ance beyond a mere gambling transaction, because the catastrophe which followed: ‘My head turns; for the fallen fortunes of a noble family would be raised twelve nights I have not slept; help me to give by the timely pecuniary help. The cook-a Frenchorders.' Gourville helped him to the best of his man of course-exerted all his talents, and surpassed power, and communicated his distress to the prince, all praise. The dish was placed before the knowing who went to his room, and assured him that all was epicure. He tastes, smacks his lips, tastes again, well; that nothing could be better than the king's smells it-your epicures don't stand on elegance of supper. He replied : “Monseigneur, votre bonté manner in such a case !-tastes again. Alas! it is m'achève; je sais que le rôti a manqué à deux tables.' redolent of all rich odours; such sauces, so marvelWe shall quote the remainder of the sad tale from lously blended; such gravy, such solids-s0 soft, Madame de Sevigné herself: "At four o'clock in tender! What can it be? A wondrously prepared the morning, Vatel walks round the place ; he finds tripe? No! Calves' head in a new shape ? No, every body asleep; he meets a little purveyor, who no, no!-a thousand 'Nos. Our epicure gives it brings him only two baskets of salt-water fish. He up. It is old white kid gloves !' is the cool explanaasks him: “Is that all?" “Yes, sir.” The boy tion, when the bet is resigned up as lost. We did not know that Vatel had sent to all the sea- remember reading in our childhood, in an old, old ports for more. Vatel waits some time; the other history of the Netherlands, of similar skill proving purveyors do not arrive. His head grows confused of inestimable value to some Black Walloons, who and troubled; he believed there would be no more were besieged and famine-stricken somewhere --our salt-water fish. He found Gourville, and said to memory cannot recall the name. The cook of the him: “Monsieur, I shall not survive this disgrace.” garrison, being a true cook, and therefore possessing Gourville laughed at him. Vatel ascends to his the idiosyncrasy of his tribe, made most appetising chamber, puts his sword against the door, and salads of grass ; dressed stinging nettles like spinach passes it through his heart; but it was only at the with eggs, whilst he had any; made admirable third blow-for he gave himself two wounds, which ragouts of rats, and mice, and lapdogs; a splendid were not mortal--that he fell dead.'

second course of dried onions, and finally disguised Too late, too late came the fish. The grief of the courtiers was great at first, but 'Gourville tried to

[ocr errors]

• Vide Blackstone's Commentaries.

« 上一頁繼續 »