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izing tuition of a first rate restaurateur. But there, again, " is another simple sin.” Ignorance lies like a plummet on the debutant in French eating ; and every fresh step is, to the uninitiated, a new difficulıy. Every thing eatable, in France, is a perfect mystification, alike to the intellect and the palate ; and is involved in a double disguise, of language and of external appearance. The great object of culinary science is amalgamation : and the simple elements of nourishment are so sophisticated and transmogrified in stew pans and digesters, that their nature and origin are as difficult to determine, as those of a bottle of London Champagne. Fish, flesh, fowl, and vegetables, all appear at table, in a carnival costume, like a reasonable idea in the phraseology of the Morning Journal, or an abstract truth in one of Southey's long-winded arguments. Now an Englishman bas usually heard so much of eating cats in France, under the disguise of rabbits, and has his imagination so filled with snails and frogs, that he would prefer (even though he were stark staring mad with no-popery) swallowing all the articles of the Gallican church at a mouthful, to eating one French dish upon trust, and leaving the conscience of his stomach in the keeping of a cordon bleu. First impressions, moreover, are apt to be obstinate, and to avail themselves, to the fullest extent, of the nine points of law arising from preoccupation. Now, the kitchen is tremendously in proof in a French inn, and their cooks have no very high character for cleanliness. The consequence is often fatal to an Englishman's progress in gastronomy. For my own part, I can safely say that it forced our whole party to betake themselves, for one calendar week, to boiled eggs,-a diet we might have continued ad infinitum, had we not been led to seek relief in roasted fowls. To that esculent we were inclined partly by hunger, and partly by reflection on the purifying effects of fire ; but the immediate cause of the experiment was the hearing a brother traveller bespeak a “ ding dong (dindon) for dinner every day, till farther orders;” protesting that it was the only thing in France which an Englishman could touch. The natural effect of travelling is, however, to enlarge the ideas, and to render the mind less national and more European ; so, one by one, we picked up some acquaintance with the more usual dishes of the French bill of fare, as far, at leas', asto know them by sight, and to eat of them without disgust. Finding it, as I have said, fashionable to understand these things, we made a virtue of necessity, tried every thing, not too monstrous, that fell in our way, and endeavoured to forget boiled chickens and bacon, and the cliffs of Dover. Apropos to boiled chickens! I was once standing at an inndoor in Normandy, when a very genteel-looking Englishman, in a parsonic suit of black, came up to me with a slight motion of his hat, and a sort of smile on his countenance, begging my pardon for the intrusion. “ The fact is,” he said, “ we have ordered boiled fowls for our dinner; but none of the party can tell what is French for parsley and butter." I gave the requisite information (for I had then been some time in France), not a little amused with the idea, that if my new acquaintance was at a loss for the word, the cook would not be less puzzled with the thing, and wondering what sort of a compound the parsley and butter of a Norman kitchen would prove. French dishes, I have remarked, are twice disguised (disguised in nature and in name), and the last disguise is, of the two, the most puzzling and distressing. There is not a more disagreeable thing in the world, than being set
down for the first time before a restaurateur's carte, with the appetite in prime order, and the head full of pleasing anticipations of the resources of a Very or a Hardi. Dining à la carte, to one thus circumstanced, is a complete game of blindman's buff, and so much the worse, in as far as it is the stomach, and not merely the shins, which suffer in the process. I shall never forget the first attempt we made in this unknown geography. On taking up the mystical sheet, which was scarcely inferior in size to a double “ Times” newspaper, one felt very much, as it may be supposed Adam did when he had spread before him Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and New South Wales, for the selection of a residence. The world (of good eating) was indeed “all before us where to choose;" but, alas! why cannot we add also, “ with providence our guide." In these latter days, when special miracles are no more, man is thrown upon his own resources. We Protestants, more particularly, are without a convenient saint to help us out of a scrape, as often as we are too indolent or too ignorant to help ourselves. Now, most unluckily, among the thousand and one strangers' guides, manuals, and directories, that crowd the pockets of a travelling carriage, and are themselves worthy of being set down among travelling troubles, there is no volume explanatory of the inysteries and nomenclature of the restaurateur's carte. The labyrinth of Crete was as plain sailing as the road to Brentford, when compared with the intricacies of the route from oysters to liqueurs. Without an almost supernatural intelligence, sharp as the intuition of a Kantist, one may order twenty times as much as one wants, and yet get nothing to eat : or if, by an happy accident, one stumbles upon something not absolutely abhorrent to one's nature, it is sure to come too late or too early for its customary place among the strata of the stomach,-fruit pie in the first course, or fish after blanc manger. Every thing in the vocabulary of the restaurateur is calculated to mystify or deceive. Very rarely indeed is the distinguishing “à la something" attached to a dish, really distinctive of its qualities or ingredients : more commonly it is purely honorific, -as “ à la Soubise," " à la Maintenon," or "à la Marengo," which give you about as good a notion of the dish in question as the blind man had of colours, when he said that red is like the sound of a trumpet. Then, who is to guess the fine distinctions between entrées and entremets ? and what, in the name of patience, are hors-d'autres ? I am rather fond of a basin of rock-turtle, a habit acquired by a daily passage through the steam which evaporates from the kettles of Mr. Birch, of Cornbill. The first thing, therefore, that I looked for, on taking up the carte, was the category of soups. Every body in England has heard of the French predilection for this article of consumption; not to mention the sarcasms on soupe maigre, which form part of our national education. Judge, therefore, of my surprise, on finding no mention of the word in the bill of fare! By dint, however, of some puzzling, and cross-examination of the garçon, I discovered that la soupe is school French, and that the proper appellation of sorbile esculents is potage. “ Est quoddam prodire tenus,”-this was one step in the progress of instruction. We had what the botanists call the generic appellation : but still the specific names remained, and were mysteries not more easy of solution. There were “ potage printanniere," "potage à la Julienne," "potage aux croûtes," and a dozen other potages in a goodly row, like a file of infantry, all, doubtless, very good, but to the inexperienced eye all perfectly alike.
“ How happy could I be with either, were t'other dear charmer away;" but to make a selection, where the claims of all were so perfectly alike, would put Solomon himself at his wits' end. The ass who had only two bundles of hay to choose from, was not in half the metaphysical impossibility of movement that we were. Several of the party were of opinion that “ potage au vermicelli” looked the prettiest on paper ; but a gentleman who had seen a dish bearing that identical name at the Crown and Anchor in London, declared it was only a parcel of worms boiled in gravy, and it was rejected accordingly. The “ potage à la Julienne " was next taken into consideration; and the configuration of letters it presented. found favour in our sight, till some one suggested that “à la Julienne" must mean July soup; and as we were only in the month of May, it was voted out of season, and was passed over without farther discussion. After a full half-hour's pros and cons, the ladies pitched on "potage au lait," as promising something delicate, after the manner of an English white soup, and we were accordingly served with a magnificent tureen of- bread and milk! Why should I mention our other mistakes and disappointments; our discovering, too late, that haricots are horse-beans; a beef-steak, two squarc inches of leg of beef, swimming in butter melted before the fire; and that an “omelette aux fines herbes” was not (as we supposed, from a transient inspection on its passage to a neighbouring table) a pancake. From “ poulets à la Tartare" our stomachs revolted, in the vain imagination that they were dressed between a saddle and the leather integuments of a “courier de poste ;” and we were not a little astonished to learn, on a future occasion, that the Cossacks of the Don were acquainted with the refinements of mustard and vinegar! A “ rosbif de mouton” overturned every idea of identity, and was past all conception; neither could we discover the point of an “erigramme d'agneau.” A“ vol au vent" perfidiously claimed our attention in the second course, as being of necessity either a whipped cream or a trifle; and a “ fromage de groiselle" made its unwelcome appearance, mal. apropos, as a substitute for the old Cheshire. As for salmis, fricandeaus, marinades, macedoines, &c. to the last day of my residence abroad, I could never learn with accuracy their precise and respective distinctions, but took my daily ticket in the restaurateur's lottery, and if I drew a blank, either put in a second time, or adjourned my dinner to another day.-Dreary, however, as this may all appear, let nothing tempt a stranger to try after an home-dish, or strive to teach a French cook “our English ways.” It happened, most unfortunately, that my birthday came round while we were at Paris, and my wife, to do honour to the day, asked half-a-dozen friends to dinner, and set her silly heart upon surprising them with an English dinner. The programme (as the French call it) was excellent: boiled turkey, roast beef, a pair of ducks, and a plum-pudding. For three days before the feast we were employed in giving directions to the cook, in choosing the viands, and in disposing all things, as far as depended on ourselves, for complete success. But man may propose-'tis providence ever disposes, and providence that day was not well disposed to the honour of Old England. The covers were removed, and on the first application of the knife, it was but too evident that the turkey bad been stuffed with sage and onions, and the two ducks with the forcemeat, which all the laws of the Medes and Persians have ever assigned to the hero of Christinas festivities ! Both were literally done to rags. The beef, however, the beef, the main prop of our dinner, the tender object of our especial care (I went to the kitchen myself three times to baste it) had escaped unscathed from the hands of the Frenchman. By close watching, it was done to a turn, and might have served as an ambassador from the kitchens of England, so well did it represent the honours of the national dietary. Already was the knife plunged deep into the Sunday side, and its own natural gravy flowing in a full stream, when, horresco referens! in rushed the cook with, “ Eh! bon Dieu ! j'ai oublié la sauce!" and before you could say " Jack Robinson," deluged the devoted joint with a compound of oil and garlick, and twenty other terrible ingredients, known to no human stomach north of Toulouse. The pudding remained; it was our last stake. How to describe its appearance I know not; it was like nothing in heaven above or earth beneath; or if it bore a resemblance to “any compound of earth's mould,” it was more like a cataplasm than any thing else in the round of comparisons. The cook was sent for ; every particular of the most particular direction previously given was interrogatively gone through seriatim, to detail the cause of failure. There was much dodging and prevarication in the replies, till at last the rascal, driven into a corner, confessed that, after two or three trials, he had given up the matter in despair ; and not knowing how to proceed, he had thrown away his ingredients, and sent the receipt to be made up at--the apothecary's !
THE LAST SONG OF CORINNA. .
That loved ungrateful heart shall own her spell;
Shall shape a song for him, beloved too well.
For him her genius flash'd, her beauty shone;
And his should be the twilight, dark and lone.
Wrapt in her mourning veil, no taper near;
Radiant and honour'd in his high career.
Not for her own, but for his agony;
He was another's, and she could but die.
Wreath'd with pure flowers, herself as pure as they ;
While thus she pour'd Corinna's latest lay.
Have darken'd round my way;
Radiance unseen by day?
Yes! from my childhood I have proudly felt
A glorious heritage;
Of hero and of sage !
The anguish of my soul-
Which o'er my heart-flowers stole;
A meaner love than thine,
Thee, source of life divine !
How can ye blend with death?
Has echoed to the breath
Remember how I loved
How 'midst her shades I roved !
Is on the clouds of night,
Of Heaven's immortal light!
Around the mountains grey,
Sweeping in folds away;
And thou art present in the waning moon.
Mother of mighty dead,
And pillow her cold head.
C. M. W.