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- The Physiology of Taste - 4/49 -
only Brillat Savarin, but Robert De St. Vincent, and Attorney General Marchangy, contracted their death in consequence of the same ceremonial.] the 21st of January at the Church of St. Dennis. In spite of every care and attention, on the 2d of February, 1826, he died. For many years gifted with robust health and athletic constitution, made the more remarkable by his tall stature, Brillat Savarin had a presentiment of the approach of death; this feeling, however, did not influence the tenor of his life, for his habitual gaity was maintained unimpaired. When the fatal point was reached, he died tanquam convivia satur, not without regret, certainly, for he left many kind friends to whom his memory could not but be dear.
APHORISMS OF THE PROFESSOR.
TO SERVE AS PROLEGOMENA TO HIS WORK AND ETERNAL BASIS TO THE SCIENCE.
I. The universe would be nothing were it not for life and all that lives must be fed.
II. Animals fill themselves; man eats. The man of mind alone knows how to eat.
III. The destiny of nations depends on the manner in which they are fed.
IV. Tell me what kind of food you eat, and I will tell you what kind of man you are.
V. The Creator, when he obliges man to eat, invites him to do so by appetite, and rewards him by pleasure.
VI. Gourmandise is an act of our judgment, in obedience to which, we grant a preference to things which are agreeable, over those which nave not that quality.
VII. The pleasure of the table belongs to all ages, to all conditions, to all countries, and to all aeras; it mingles with all other pleasures, and remains at last to console us for their departure.
VIII. The table is the only place where one does not suffer, from ennui during the first hour.
IX. The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity, than the discovery of a new star.
X. Those persons who suffer from indigestion, or who become drunk, are utterly ignorant of the true principles of eating and drinking.
XI. The order of food is from the most substantial to the lightest.
XII. The order of drinking is from the mildest to the most foamy and perfumed.
XIII. To say that we should not change our drinks is a heresy; the tongue becomes saturated, and after the third glass yields but an obtuse sensation.
XIV. A dessert without cheese is like a beautiful woman who has lost an eye.
XV. A cook may be taught, but a man who can roast, is born with the faculty.
XVI. The most indispensable quality of a good cook is promptness. It should also be that of the guests.
XVII. To wait too long for a dilatory guest, shows disrespect to those who are punctual.
XVIII. He who receives friends and pays no attention to the repast prepared for them, is not fit to have friends.
XIX. The mistress of the house should always be certain that the coffee be excellent; the master that his liquors be of the first quality.
XX. To invite a person to your house is to take charge of his happiness as long as he be beneath your roof.
DIALOGUE between the author and his friend. (after the usual salutations.)
FRIEND. As my wife and myself were at breakfast this morning, we came to the conclusion that you should print, as soon as possible, your Gastronomical Observations.
AUTHOR. What the wife wishes God wills. In six words that is the charta of Paris. I, though, am not subject to that law, for I am an unmarried man.
FRIEND. Bachelors, though, are as subject to the law as others are, sometimes much to our injury. Single blessedness here, however, will not save you. My wife says she has a right to order, because you began your book at her country-house.
AUTHOR. You know, dear Doctor, how I defer to the ladies; more than once you have found my submission to their orders. You also were one of those who said I would make an excellent husband. I will not, however, print my book.
FRIEND. Why not?
AUTHOR. Because being devoted, from the nature of my profession, to serious studies, I fear that those who only know the title of my book will think that I devote myself to trifles.
FRIEND. A panic terror! Thirty-six years of constant toil and labor for the public, have made you a reputation. Besides, my wife and I think every body would read you.
FRIEND. The learned will read your book to ascertain what you have to tell.
FRIEND. Women will read your book because they will see---
AUTHOR. My dear friend, I am old, I am attacked by a fit of wisdom. Miserere mei.
FRIEND. Gourmands will read you because you do them justice, and assign them their suitable rank in society.
AUTHOR. Well, that is true. It is strange that they have so long been misunderstood; I look on the dear Gourmands with paternal affection. They are so kind and their eyes are so bright.
FRIEND. Besides, did you not tell me such a book was needed in every library.
AUTHOR. I did. It is the truth--and I would die sooner than deny it.
FRIEND: Ah! you are convinced! You will come home with me?
AUTHOR. Not so. If there be flowers in the author's path, there are also thorns. The latter I leave to my heirs.
FRIEND. But then you disinherit your friends, acquaintances and cotemporaries. Dare you do so?
AUTHOR. My heirs! my heirs! I have heard that shades of the departed are always flattered by the praise of the living; this is a state of beatitude I wish to reserve myself for the other world.
FRIEND. But are you sure that the praise you love so, will come to the right address? Are you sure of the exactness of your heirs?
AUTHOR. I have no reason to think they will neglect a duty, in consideration of which I have excused them the neglect of so many others.
FRIEND. Will they--can they have for your book the paternal love, the author's attention without which every work always comes awkwardly before the public?
AUTHOR. My manuscript will be corrected, written out distinctly, and in all respects prepared; they will only have to print it.
FRIEND. And the chapter of events? Alas! such circumstances have caused the loss of many precious books,--among which was that of the famous Lecat, on the state of the body during sleep, the work of his whole life.
AUTHOR. This doubtless was a great loss; but I anticipate no such regrets for my book.
FRIEND. Believe me, your friends will have enough to do-to arrange matters with the church, with the law, and with the medical faculty, so that if they had the will, they would not have the time to devote them-selves to the various cares which precede, accompany, and follow the publication of a book,--however small the volume may be.
AUTHOR. But, my friend, what a title! Think of the ridicule!
FRIEND. The word Gastronomy makes every ear attentive; the subject is a la mode, and those who laugh are as great votaries of the science as any others are. This should satisfy you. Do you remember too, that the greatest men have sometimes written books on very trivial subjects,-Montesquieu, for example. [Footnote: M. de Monjucla, known as the author of an excellent history of mathematics, made a Dictionary of Gourmand Geography; he showed me portions of it during my residence at Versailles. It is said that M. Berryat-Professor of legal practice, has written a romance in several volumes on the subject.]
AUTHOR. (Quickly.) On my word, that is true. He wrote the Temple of Gnidus, and it would not be difficult to sustain that there is more real utility in meditating on what is at once a necessity, a pleasure, and an occupation every day of our lives, than in
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