Page:Natural History, Mollusca.djvu/105

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93
SNAILS.

ancient Romans kept these animals in what were called cochlearia, or snail-stews. These were generally formed under rocks or eminences, the bottoms of which were watered by lakes or rivers; and, if a natural dew or moisture was not found, an artificial one was formed by bringing into the place a pipe, bored full of holes like a watering-pot, through which it was continually sprinkled. The snails required little attendance or food, supplying themselves, in a great measure, as they crawled about the sides or floor of their habitation. To fatten them, however, they were fed with bran and sodden lees of wine.

"These snails are at this day much admired in some parts of the Continent, and are not always used from economical motives; for at Vienna, but a few years ago, seven of them were charged the same price in the inns as a plate of veal or beef. The usual modes of preparing them for the table are by boiling, frying them in butter, or sometimes stuffing them with force-meat; but, in what manner soever they are dressed, their sliminess always remains.

"The greatest numbers, and the finest snails, are brought from Suabia.

"Dr. Townson was shown at Erlau a snailery, which the proprietor informed him was constructed on an improved plan. In our island, he says, this might have had the denomination of a patent snailery, or philosophical snail-sty. It consisted only of a large hole, two or three feet deep, dug in the ground, having a wooden house as a cover. The animals were fed on the refuse of the garden, which was thrown to them."[1]

  1. Bingley's Anim. Biography, iv. 335.