Page:Footsteps of Dr. Johnson.djvu/74

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44 INTRODUCTION.

i young man. French wine was placed on the table, he said, in a

small tin vessel, which held about an Knglish pint. A single drinking-glass served a company the whole evening, and the first persons who called for a new glass with every new pint were accused of luxury. 1 Bos well could remember the time when a carving knife was looked upon as a novelty. One of his friends was rated by his father, " a gentleman of ancient family and good literature, for introducing such a foppish superfluity." In the previous generation whatever food was eaten with a spoon, such as soup, milk, or pudding, used to be taken by every person dipping his spoon into the common dish. 2 When an old laird was com- plimented on the accomplishments which his son had brought home from his travels, " he answered that he knew nothing he had learnt but to cast a sark (change a shirt) every day, and to sup his kail twice. " : Of the food that was served up, there was not much greater variety than of the dishes in which it was served. When Wesley first visited Scotland, even at a nobleman's table, he had only one kind of meat, and no vegetables whatever. By the year 1788, however, vegetables were, he recorded, as plentiful as in England. 4 The butter in these early days made in country houses, " would have turned stomachs the least squeamish." But by the introduction of tea a great improvement had been made. Bread and butter was taken with it, and a demand arose for butter that was sweet and clean. Wheaten bread, too, began to be generally eaten. So great a delicacy had it been, that the sixpenny loaf and the sugar used to be kept "locked up in the lady's press."' 5 In the Highlands, at all events, there was a great variety as well as abundance of food. The following was the breakfast which in Argyleshire was set before the travellers in Humphry Clinker:

" One kit of boiled eggs ; a second full of butter ; .1 third full of cream ; an entire cheese made of goat's milk ; a large earthen pot full of honey ; the best part of a ham ; a cold venison pasty ; a bushel of oatmeal made in thin cakes and bannocks, with a small wheaten loaf in the middle for the strangers ; a large stone bottle full of whisky, another of brandy, and a kilderkin of ale. There was a ladle chained to the cream kit, with curious wooden bickers to be filled from this

1 Kames's Sketches of the History of Man (eel. mode of eating came down nearly lo the date of 1807), i. 507. Johnson's visit, even in the houses of gentlemen.

2 London Magazine for 1778, p. 198. In the houses of "the substantial tenants" it

3 Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth continued till much later (il>. p. 64). Century, ii. 64. George Drummond of Blair, of 4 Wesley'syiwwa/, iv. 418.

whom this story is told, did not succeed to his '" Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth

estate till 1739 (ib. p. 112), so that this rude Century, ii. 70, 71, 251.

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