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the individual Black Fish : the soft, deep, mazy eye; the luxurious and pouting lips; the peculiar thickness across the lower dorsal fin ; the pomegranate gills, and the blackness of the skin, which should designate the object of his choice.
The scene is in one of our own markets : the contract is closed; the fish is found to weigh four pounds and a half; scaled; opened in front about three inches ; drawn; and cleansed by one, and see that it is not more than one, rapid immersion in pure water; and Mr. Fishmonger, not being one of the Alderman's Long-Island friends, takes me up incontinently a clumsy sail-needle, and is upon the point of ruining all our hopes, by inserting a tarred string through the lower jaw. Had he accomplished this, vain were all our subsequent exertions ! Not all the waters of the multitudinous seas,
nor all the spicy perfumes of 'Araby the blest,' could have removed, however they might possibly overwhelm, the effects of his incaution. Latterly indeed some of our marketmen have provided themselves with white strings purposely for this fish, which is a great improvement upon past usage; but far better is it if your fish can be brought home without any string, in a nice napkin, and laid folded in the covering unbruised, upon your white dresser table, in the light and cheerful kitchen, where I will now suppose it to be.
And now, fair ruler of the destinies of dinner! (for if thou beest a man I have no sympathies toward thee,) smoke-compelling Betty, Mary, or whatever else may be the happy appelative in which not only thou but all of us rejoice, thou hast lying extended before thee one of the most delicately absorbent substances in nature, imbibing flavor from every thing which surrounds it, whether of adverse or of propitious tendency; subject, as Warren Hastings said of the tenure of the British possessions in India, alike 'to the touch of chance, or the breath of opinion.'
Thou hast it, my choice Mary! The small, deep stew-pan with its thin cullender or strainer, on which the fish is to be lowered to the bottom, that it may, when stewed into soft delight, be gently raised again, without injuring its integrity of form - glows with brightness in front of thee! Thy vigorous arm of mottled red, thy round wrist, and small compact fingers grasp the sharp pointed knife with which thou followest the rude course of the saw-like weapon of the fishdealer, to complete bis endeavor, and satisfy thyself that not one scale remains around the head, the fins, the tail.
Now tail and fins are nicely shortened in their termination, not hacked off. A little salt is thrown over the fish, merely to harden and not salt it, and it lies two hours for this purpose. It is then scored, that it may not break when it swells, and browned well upon the gridiron : from which it is carefully taken up, and laid to repose upon a bed of nicely peeled and very fresh mushrooms, daintly spread over the strainer.
While the fish was hardening, Mary has had a communication from up stairs. An extra bottle of the Chateau of twenty-five had been unavailingly opened the day before, to tempt a total temperance friend who had arrived from the country. Good part of it remains, and at this moment it is decanted into the stew-pan; the freighted strainer descends into the wine; and the fish, entirely immersed in the ame
thystine element, regrets no more its loss of life, of liberty, and youth. A white onion or two is sliced into rings, that fall as decorations over him ; a few berries of pepper thrown in; six cloves; two blades of mace; an echalot, if you think proper; and cayenne or not, according to your taste. The stew-pan is then covered, and a careful, slow, epicurean simmer completes the work.
At dinner the best friend you have in the world is offered, but declines, the head; you refresh your thoughts with all that can be recollected of Gall and Spurzheim, and gelatinize your way neatly but scientifically through bumps, indications, and developments.
But my friend Waters, where are we to get mushrooms ? Beautiful inspiration whom we call Woman, whose smile can obliterate every disappointment in life except a bad dinner:
Quand on n'a pas ce que l'on aime,
Il faut aimer ce que l'on a.' You will find in article number four hundred and thirty-nine, Harper's edition of Kitchener's Cook's Oracle, the best recipe for making the double catsup, or, as he calls it, the dog-sup, and this is your substitute. Use substitutes. Take a bottle of Medoc instead of Chateau Margaux, or use beef gravy instead of either, only realize that we have in the Black Fish or Tautog from April to October, an unfailing solace against many of the cares of every-day existence.
The most judicious comment that any foreigner has made upon our national character is, that we neglect and overlook our real advantages, while we pique ourselves upon those which we do not exclusively possess. Let not this be said of us in reference to this precious offering of the ocean to our happy shore.
OF MARY THE COOK-MAID
TO THE BLACK FISH, WHILE SIMMERING IN CHATEAU MARGAUX.
Full fathom five thy father floats,
With all his school around;
See, see!--'t is cast!
The boats are fast
At last! at last!
The morning breaks with clouded light,
But gay are fishers' looks ;
See, see ! 't is cast !
The boats are fast-
At last! at last!
No ravenous shark with monstrous throat,
No porpoise that way wends :
The baited line descends :
It was late in the afternoon of a genial spring day, that a noblelooking Spanish cavalier was seen riding into a quiet little village, snugly nestled in a valley at the foot of the mountains that stretch along the western borders of the province of Valencia. The sun, which was just retiring behind the tops of the mountains, left the valley immediately at their base in a melancholy shadow; while he cast upon the vast plain beyond, a rich and vigorous glow, which showed that he was not yet setting, nor shorn of his splendor, amid the golden and rose-colored haze upon the western horizon. The cavalier rode slowly on through the village, casting a benignant smile upon the urchins, who, attracted by his splendid dress, ran along by his side to gaze upon him; and passing ihrough the principal street, took a narrow road that wound up the side of the mountain, to an antiquated castle, which stood beeiling upon an eminence, overlooking the vast plain, and the village sleeping below.
As he approached the castle, it was evident that at first he was regarded as a stranger; but no sooner bad he doffed his Spanish hat and sweeping black feathers, displaying his high and expansive forehead, and his noble and benevolent features, than he was recognized by the old seneschal as his long-expected master.
*Ah, Seignior,' said the faithful old servant, long have my wearied eyes strained themselves down this winding road, looking for your return to this retreat of your ancestors, and right jealous
have I been of the attractions of the lowland estates, that have kept you so many years from us. Your honored father never left the castle three months together.'
• True, good Gomez,' said the master, but he was of a moody temperament, and preferred these wild rocks and forests, to the suuny plains; but whether I prefer them or not, I must now perforce make the best of this rude retreat, for all the rest of my
rich inheritance is gone from me; but I trust not without making many a heavy heart lighter, and smoothing the rugged path of life to many a suffering pilgrim.'
The good old seneschal seemed hardly to comprehend his master's meaning, and a few words of explanation may be necessary for the reader.
Don Vincente de Raymond, at the early age of twenty years, came into the possession of one of the richest inheritances in all Spain. He was an only son; and his father, a morose, retiring, and penurious man, had lavished all the affections of a soured and disappointed heart upon this darling object, and had bestowed upon him all the advantages of a perfect education and princely accomplishments. Don Vincente, after the death of his father, as if proud of exhibiting the most striking contrast of character, moved in the gayest circles of Madrid, and was not only most prodigal in his personal expenditure, but most beneficent in his largesses and charities. By degrees, either through satiety or some other cause, he became less selfindulgent, but at the same time more and more generous to others; till at last all Madrid was ringing with the praises of the young cavaJier's wonderful self-denial, and still more wonderful munificence. His whole delight appeared to consist in giving, and his whole time was absorbed in seeking out objects of charity. Even the beautiful and accomplished Donna Xilia de Toranti, who at first had captivated his heart, now seemed to have lost her power over him; and numerous other lovely damsels, who could not fail to be struck with his fine person, and romantic generosity of character, tried all their arts of captivation in vain. In short, his generosity became a kind of monoinania ; and although at first indulged in some measure no doubt from love of admiration, it now assumed the character of a ruling passion. His fortune melted rapidly away before it, and in a very few years, while he was yet quite a young man, he found himself deprived of all his estates, except one on the mountains, and was brought to a stand by his inability to find a purchaser for that remote relic of his vast patrimony. This crisis, however, did not seem to cause him to reflect on his actual condition ; but he at once resolved to retire to that estate, and find there a new field for his active and extraordinary benevolence. As he had no longer the means of founding convents, and supplying the luxurious but necessitous extravagance of his peers, he thought he might discover in these remote regions, and among these humble villages, a theatre for the exercise of his ruling passion, adapted to his altered circumstances.
No sooner, therefore, had he established himself in his new situation, than he proceeded to make himself acquainted with the condition and wants of all the good people of the village and neighborVOL. XVI.
ing hamlels. In such small communities, the minutest actions of each member are known and canvassed by all the rest; and it required but a few acts of generosity on the part of so prominent a personage, to spread his notoriety and fame as extensively among these villagers and peasants, as the squandering of his immense estates had done at Madrid. Rumors of his boundless wealth were circulated abroad, and the people, whose wonder was aroused, and whose imaginations became highly excited, began to fancy that they had but to wish for any blessing, and it would at once be supplied by the good Don Vincente.
Things were in this condition, and the whole country was resounding with the praises of the benevolent Don Vincente, when the public ear began to be occupied by other equally extraordinary circumstances. The passage across the mountains, near Don Vincente's castle, was a great thoroughfare, but led for several miles through gloomy forests, and wild, rocky, and uninhabitable wastes. This region in former times had been a famous resort of bands of robbers; but of late years, by the vigilance of the alcaydes of the neighboring villages, and the aid of a small body of troops furnished by the government, had ceased to be infested by these outlaws, and was considered safe for travellers by day or by night. Within a short time, however, several remarkable robberies, and some murders, had been perpetrated in this rude and benighted region. The good Don Vincente appeared very much distressed at these extraordinary occurrences, and took an active part, such as became his benevolent character, in the efforts to discover the cause, and to put an end to the enormities. His high rank, and the exalted reputation which he enjoyed, gave him great influence; and the measures taken to attain these objects were entirely of his dictation. One day, while he was on a visit to the alcayde of the village, the worthy Pietro d'Almanzor, to consult upon some steps which he advised should be taken in reference to this subject, he fell into conversation with the magistrate's son, Ferdinando d’Almanzor, whom he had observed to be of a melancholy turn of mind, and whose interesting appearance altogether had attracted his regard, and excited his sympathies.
*I pray you, tell me, my young friend,' said the kind Don Vincente to the disconsolate youth, 'why it is that you always wear so sorrowful an aspect, and that you resist my solicitations to know the cause of your grief, so that I might perchance have it in my power to relieve it.'
· Alas, no, Seignior,' replied Ferdinando, bountiful as you are, you have not the ability to aid me, and I would not afflict your generous heart with a fruitless recital of the sources of my unhappiness.'
• Nay, but I insist,' said Don Vincente, “that you tell me, for you can form but a very inadequate estimate of my means of assistance, or the fertility of my resources.'
• True, Seignior,' replied the youth, but it is not money that can help me, but power over the will of others; and I fear me, with all your kindness of heart, and powers of persuasion, you can do little for me.'
• Say not so, Ferdinando,' responsed Don Vincente, with a benignant smile; 'know you not that my influence through the whole