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Port and sparkling sherry,
9.-HOW OUR DINNER-TABLES HAVE
de-li-ca-cy me-tal-lic con-ceit-ed
do-mes-ti-cated in-tro-duce-d den-i-zen
The turkey was introduced into Europe by the Spaniards from the high regions of Mexico, after the conquest of that country. The traveller who has seen the wild cock of the wilderness gleaming with bright and golden plumage, tinted with the varieties of blue, violet, and green, broken by the deep black bands and metallic lustre of the feathers, looks with disdain upon the conceited gobbler of our homesteads. The peacock was a bird of India, originally brought to Macedonia by the soldiers of Alexander the Great, and afterwards distributed in the course of their conquests by the Romans. The pheasant, also of Eastern origin, was first brought from Asia Minor, but its hardy constitution has fitted it for almost every country. The earliest mention of the bird in England is in the reign of our first Edward, but it has become a settled denizen of our woods, and a general delicacy on our tables.
The partridge is said by some to have originally been a visitor from Egypt and the Barbary coast; but the red-legged bird is a modern introduction from France, and to the regret of many, has become only too plentiful in some preserves, and too completely acclimatised. It persecutes our native breed, while by its determined running it does what it can to spoil the best trained pointer. The guinea-fowl, as its name announces, is a native of the Guinea coast; but its noisy presence in our farm-yards, and its introduction at certain seasons at our entertainments, show how completely it has made itself at home. Even the favourite cagesongster of our homes, the canary-finch, did not visit England until the sixteenth century, and its first introduction into Europe was remarkable. A vessel with a few of the birds on board was wrecked on the Italian coast, opposite the island of Elba, where some of them having escaped found a refuge, and the climate proving favourable, their number increased. From that parent stock it is believed that all our domesticated warblers have sprung, and they have long been considered members of our families. The beautiful fallow-deer was brought to England from the south of Europe, into which it is believed to have been originally introduced from Western Africa, and in these warmer climates it attains a larger size than with us.
For fruits and vegetables we are still more indebted to the introduction of good things out of other lands. The vine followed the Greeks, the wheat the Romans, the cotton the Arabs, and the potatoes the English. The Romans brought the cabbage in the train of their conquests; and though the wild apple is a native of England, it is believed that we owe to the Romans its cultivated fruit. The cherry was brought to Italy by a Roman general seventy-three years before Christ, from the Asiatic town Cerasus, from which the name is derived, and we obtained that favourite fruit from our invaders. The peach came direct from Persia to Rome in the reign of Claudius, but was unknown in England until about the middle of the sixteenth century; and the apricot, a native of the East, was procured from Italy by Wolfe, a French priest, who was gardener to Henry VIII. Hops were first brought from the Netherlands in 1524. The bean came from the East, the kidney-bean from India, and was first grown in our country in the reign of Elizabeth. The pea is a native of Southern Europe, and though early reared in England, we are told that in Elizabeth's reign green peas were brought from Holland, and were “fit dainties for ladies, they came so far, and cost so dear.” The onion is supposed to have been a native of Spain, the leek of Switzerland, and theeschalot of Palestine. The radish and endive are natives of China; parsley is from Sardinia, the artichoke from Southern Europe, brocoli from Cyprus, the walnut from Persia. To the adventurous spirit of enterprise which distinguished the Elizabethan age we also owe the potato, which was imported from Virginia by Raleigh. An ancient ballad records its arrival :
“The famed Walter Raleigh, Queen Bess's own knight, Brought here from Virginia the root of delight."
The spot, near Youghal, where they were first planted in these islands, on Sir Walter's estate, is still pointed out to the stranger, and tradition declares the knowledge of their value came by accident. Sir Walter having ordered his gardener to gather some of the plants for his table, the valueless seed-apples which had been produced from the blossoms were accordingly presented to Raleigh, who, on tasting the supposed sample of fine American fruit, immediately commanded the gardener to dig out, and throw the worthless weeds away. Whilst he was doing this, he found the roots in high perfection, Asparagus probably was brought from Western Europe, for many of the steppes of Southern Russia are covered with the wild plant, which is there eaten as grass by horses and cattle. Lettuce and celery are striking examples of the influence of culture; and the pineapple and melon, productions of the tropics, are, by the artificial aid of glass, so reared in England as to become more delicious than they are in their own lands.
Adapted from " All the Year Round.”
10.-THE DEFORMED CHILD.
When summer days are long and warm, they set
my little chair Without the door, and in the sun they leave me
sitting there; Then many thoughts come to my mind, that others
never know, About myself, and what I feel, and what was long
There are no less than six of us, and all of them are
tall And stout as any you may see, but I was always
small : The neighbours look at me, and say I grow not
with the rest; Then father strokes my head, and says, “The least
are sometimes best."
But hearing I was not like them, within my head
one day It came (strange thoughts that children have!) that
I'd been changed away, And then I cried—but soon the thoughts brought
comfort to my mind, If I were not their own, I knew they could not be