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The judge, who was a shrewd fellow, winked at the manifest iniquity of the decision: and, when the court was dismissed, went privily, and bought up all the pigs that could be had for love or money.In a few days his Lordship’s town house was observed to be on fire.Though hitherto overlooked in social histories of cookery, Charles Lamb's essay approaches its subject through the new literary-culinary writing that appeared with European romanticism.
Bo-bo, whose scent was wonderfully sharpened since moming, soon raked out another pig, and fairly rending it asunder, thrust the lesser half by main force into the fists of Ho-ti, still shouting out “Eat, eat, eat the burnt pig, father, only taste — O Lord,”— with such like barbarous ejaculations, cramming all the while as if he would choke.
Ho-ti trembled every joint while he grasped the abominable thing, wavering whether he should not put his son to death for an unnatural young monster, when the crackling scorching his fingers, as it had done his son’s, and applying the same remedy to them, he in his turn tasted some of its flavour, which, make what sour mouths he would for a pretence, proved not altogether displeasing to him.
China pigs have been esteemed a luxury all over the East from the remotest periods that we read of.
Bo-bo was in the utmost consternation, as you may think, not so much for the sake of the tenement, which his father and he could easily build up again with a few dry branches, and the labour of an hour or two, at any time, as for the loss of the pigs.
Lamb's implicit swipe at the vegetarians and his borrowings from modern and classical sources, such as Swift's "Modest Proposal" and the recipes or scenes in Apicius and Petronius, suggest that he undoubtedly expected his readers to recognize the false notes of excess, vanity, and even infant cannibalism revealed by Elia's appetite.
The Latin satura-ae denotes a mélange, either literally a dish of various ingredients or, etymologically, the Roman invention of the satiric genre itself, that loose mixing of a variety of literary types.While he was thinking what he should say to his father, and wringing his hands over the smoking remnants of one of those untimely sufferers, an odour assailed his nostrils, unlike any scent which he had before experienced. — not from the burnt cottage — he had smelt that smell before — indeed this was by no means the first accident of the kind which had occurred through the negligence of this unlucky young fire-brand.Much less did it resemble that of any known herb, weed, or flower.Fittingly, the pig-platters of Trimalchio and Elia thus turn back upon both the festival of the Saturnalia and, under the aegis of Saturn's misrule, upon the zeugmatic nature of satire itself. Omer's actually ties his gluttony to Guy Fawkes' scheme of exploding king, lords, and commons. By bursting pretensions and snobbery, Lamb's essay thus self-reflexively presents itself as a figurative equivalent to the "superhuman plot" of Fawkes. Mankind, says a Chinese manuscript, which my friend M.was obliging enough to read and explain to me, for the first seventy thousand ages ate their meat raw, clawing or biting it from the living animal, just as they do in Abyssinia to this day.In conclusion (for the manuscript here is a little tedious) both father and son fairly sat down to the mess, and never left off till they had despatched all that remained of the litter.Bo-bo was strictly enjoined not to let the secret escape, for the neighbours would certainly have stoned them for a couple of abominable wretches, who could think of improving upon the good meat which God had sent them. It was observed that Ho-ti’s cottage was burnt down now more frequently than ever. Some would break out in broad day, others in the night-time.Some of the crums of the scorched skin had come away with his fingers, and for the first time in his life (in the world’s life indeed, for before him no man had known it) he tasted —! It did not burn him so much now, still he licked his fingers from a sort of habit.The truth at length broke into his slow understanding, that it was the pig that smelt so, and the pig that tasted so delicious; and, surrendering himself up to the newborn pleasure, he fell to tearing up whole handfuls of the scorched skin with the flesh next it, and was cramming it down his throat in his beastly fashion, when his sire entered amid the smoking rafters, armed with retributory cudgel, and finding how affairs stood, began to rain blows upon the young rogue’s shoulders, as thick as hail-stones, which Bo-bo heeded not any more than if they had been flies.