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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/103

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95
VEGETABLE DIET.

would disappear, as well as the fishmongers', which are hardly any better. Then there are the sausage shops, which, especially in southern countries, persecute one with their pungent odor. How often have I been driven away while admiring the façade of an old palazzo or the portico of an ancient church by the emanations of the terrible pizzicheria half-way down the street! Another dread sight which meets our eyes abroad, especially in Germany and Austria, where much veal is eaten, are the slaughtered calves paraded about the streets, a dozen or two of them hanging over the sides of the cart. There can be little doubt, too, that our kitchens and dining-rooms would be far more sweet and attractive if no animal food was ever brought into them. The eyes certainly would be gainers, and our olfactory senses too. In pictures and in poetry the tables are laid out with luscious fruit and sparkling wines, whenever charming and pleasant scenes are to be conjured up before our minds. When coarseness and discomfort are portrayed, "men brought in whole hogs and quarter-beeves, and all the hall was dim with steam of flesh." It is the difference between one of Giulio Romano's garden banquets, such as he painted in the vaulted chambers of the Palazzo del Te, and a peasant orgy by Ostade or Teniers.

It is not, however, this aspect of the Pythagorean régime which will make many converts, nor did it ever influence me for very long, as most doctiors lay, or rather laid, about twenty years ago, so much stress upon the eating of sufficient meat and the anæmic tendency of this generation, that one naturally felt it one's first duty to prefer health to beauty.

A more serious consideration, and one which grew upon me every year, was the sad and distasteful necessity of killing a living being in order to live one's self. The great mystery of pain in this world, which if it once gets a hold upon the mind is so terribly difficult to shake off, often dimmed my greatest pleasures. But this feeling too I tried, but less successfully, to subordinate to what I then considered right and reasonable.

The first serious shock I experienced in this theory was when, a few years ago, one of the most eminent German professors from a great university dined at our table, and would not touch anything because he was a vegetarian. I looked over the bill of fare, and realized with consternation that everything down to the sweet was either meat or fish or fowl, that vegetables and farinaceous food played the very smallest part in it, and even they were tainted with sauces not free from reproach.

I had the evening before listened to an historical discourse delivered by Prof. O—— to an audience of all that is most intelligent and distinguished in this city. I had been struck by his extraordinary vigor and clearness. The words dropped like pearls