Page:Household Words - Volume 12.djvu/118

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108 [Sept. 1. 1885.]
[Conducted
HOUSEHOLD WORDS.

legs of mutton, until they should have attained that self-confidence which is so necessary in a carver, and which practice alone can insure. It would be only just to the apprentice to provide specially in the indentures that he should not be required, under any circumstances, to eat any of his own journey work. As evidence of progress, it might be desirable to deposit, in the windows of the society's offices, two sirloins of beef, the one showing the curving capabilities of the student on his first joining the society, the other exhibiting his progress after six lessons.

When, by theoretical instruction, practical experience, and emulative excitement, the undergraduates shall have become so far versed in the ordinary duties of the table as to know what gastronomy requires to be cut thick, and what thin; when they shall have learnt in which direction to obtain the best cut of venison, and how to divide the ribs from the shoulder in a forequarter of lamb; in short, when acquainted with the more ordinary and elemental branches of the art; it is proposed that select carving réunions should be held in the college hall, at which they should enjoy opportunities of displaying their adroitness. It might be well that the neophytes should be required, on these occasions, to cut up large geese and fowl of mature years, on small dishes, from very low chairs, with knives of the bluntest description. Mysterious side-dishes might also be handed round; which it should be their duty to dispense with as much coolness as if they knew what they were made of; and they should be expected to maintain an easy, unembarrassed flow of small talk, even when in the agonies of dissecting a tough old ptarmigan.

The course of study should conclude with a series of lectures on those refinements of the art, a knowledge of which is indispensable to the reputation of an accomplished carver. During the course, observations would naturally be directed to the prevalence and character of second-day dishes, with a view to place the student in a position to detect at a glance whether a dish had ever done duty in any other shape. He would thus be enabled to trace the mulligatawney soup of to day back to the curried chicken of yesterday, and again to the boiled fowl of the day before. Some hints might likewise be given on physiognomy in connection with carving, by which the carver could be enabled to discriminate between the honoured guest, to whom it would be proper to offer the wing, from the victim who might, without offence, be put off with the drumstick.

It is confidently believed that, by these means, the day may yet arrive when thousands of our benighted countrymen and countrywomen will be so well skilled in the art of carving, as to be able to define "joints innumerable in the smallest chick that ever broke the heart of a brood hen," and supply fourteen people handsomely, from a single pheasant, still retaining the leg for himself.


THE INVALID'S MOTHER.

TO THE SUN, AT LISBON.

O sun! whose universal smile
  Brightens the various lands,
From burning Egypt's fruitful Nile
  And Lybia's desert sands—

To where some frozen Lapland hut,
  Dingy, and cold, and low,
Bids half its gleaming surface jut
  In light above the snow;

I loved thee, as a careless child,
  Where English meadows spread
Their cowslip blossoms sweet and wild
  By Thames' translucent bed!

Now, with a still and serious hope,
  I watch thy rays once more,
And cast life's anxious horoscope
  Upon a foreign shore.

O sun! that beam'd to Camöen's eyes
  Bright as thou dost to mine,
That calmly yet shall set and rise,
  On life and death to shine.

O sun! that many an eager heart
  With false hope hath beguiled.
Deal gently with me, ere we part,
  And heal the alien's child!

A stranger stands on Tagus' banks,
  And looks o'er Tagus' wave,
Oh! shall we leave here joy and thanks,
  Or weep beside a grave?

Dear rivers of my native land,
  Where paler sunshine gleams,
On your green margin shall we stand
  And laugh beside your streams;

And talk of foreign flowers and clinics
  Whose glorious radiance shed
Such pleasure o'er these travell'd times,—
  Or shall we mourn our dead?

No answer comes! Beyond the sen,
  Beyond those azure skies,
A speck in God's eternity,
  Our unseen future lies!

And not as one who braves His will,
  (Which, murmur we or not,
Must guide our onward course, and still
  Decide the dreaded lot):

But with a deep, mysterious awe,
  I see that orb of light,
Which first by His creative law
  Divided day from night;

Which, looking down upon the earth
  With strong life-teeming rays ,
Compels the diamond's star-like bath,
  The red gold's sultry blaze;

Or bids some gentle fragile flower
  Burst, from its calyx cold,
To bloom, like man, its little hour,
  Then sink beneath the mould.