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let it stew two or three hours, and it will make a dish fit for his majesty. The working men should have the meat; the children don't want it; the soup will be thick and substantial, and requires no bread."
"You who can get skim-milk, as all our workmen can, have a great advantage. A quart of this, and a quarter of a pound of the rice you have just bought, a little bit of allspice, and brown sugar, will make a dainty and cheap dish."
"Bless your heart!" muttered Amy Grumble, who looked as dirty as a cinder-wench, with her face and fingers all daubed with snuff; "rice-milk, indeed! it is very nice, to be sure, for those who can dress it; but we have not a bit of coal; rice is of no use to us without firing." "And yet," said the doctor, "I see your tea-kettle boiling twice every day, as I pass by the poor-house, and fresh butter at thirteenpence a pound on your shelf." "O dear, sir," cried Amy, "a few sticks serve to boil the tea-kettle." "And a few more," said the doctor, "will boil the rice-milk, and give twice the nourishment at a quarter of the expense."
"Pray, Sarah," said the doctor, "how did you use to make that pudding my children were so fond of? And I remember, when it was cold, we used to have it in the parlor for supper." "Nothing more easy," said Mrs. White; "I put half a pound of rice, two quarts of skim-milk, and two ounces of brown sugar." "Well," said the doctor, "and how many will this dine?" "Seven or eight, sir." "Very well; and what will it cost?" "Why, sir, it did not cost you so much, because we baked it at home, and I used our own milk; but it will not cost above sevenpence to those who pay for both. Here, too, b.read is saved."
"Pray, Sarah, let me put in a word," said Farmer White; "I advise my men to raise each a large bed of parsnips. They are very nourishing and very profitable. Sixpenny worth of seed, well sowed, and trod in, will produce more meals than four sacks of potatoes; and what is material to you who have so little ground, it will not require more than an eighth part of the ground which the four sacks will take; Providence having contrived, by the very formation of this root, that it shall occupy but a very small space. Parsnips are very good, the second day, warmed in the frying-pan; and a little rasher of pork or bacon will give them a nice flavor.”
Dr. Shepherd now said, “As a proof of the nourishing quality of parsnips, I was reading in a history book this very day, that the American Indians make a great part of their bread of parsnips, though Indian corn is so famous; it will make a little variety too.”
A Cheap Stew.
“I remember,” said Mrs. White, “a cheap dish, so nice that it makes my mouth water. I peel some raw potatoes, slice them thin, put the slices into a deep frying-pan, or pot, with a little water, an onion, and a bit of pepper. Then I get a bone or two of a breast of mutton, or a little strip of salt pork, and put into it. Cover it down close, keep it in the steam, and let it stew for an hour.”
“You really get me an appetite, Mrs. White, by your
dainty receipts,” said the doctor. “I am resolved to have this dish at my own table.” “I could tell you another very good dish, and still cheaper,” answered she. “Come, let us
have it,” cried the doctor. “I shall write all down as soon as I get home, and I will favor any body with a copy of these receipts who will call at my house.” “And I will do more, sir,” said Mrs. White, “for I will put any of these women in the way how to dress it the first time, if they are at a loss. But this is my dish:“Take two or three pickled herrings, put them into a stone jar, fill it up with potatoes, and a little water, and let it bake in the oven till it is done. I would give one hint more,” added she ; “I have taken to use nothing but potato starch; and though I say it, that should not say it, nobody's linen, in a common way, looks better than ours.” The doctor now said, “I am sorry for one hardship which many poor people labor under; I mean, the difficulty of getting a little milk. I wish all farmers' wives were as considerate as you are, Mrs. White. A little milk is a great comfort to the poor, especially when their children are sick; and I have known it answer to the seller as well as to the buyer, to keep a cow or two on purpose to sell it out by the quart, instead of making butter and cheese.” “Sir,” said Farmer White, “I beg leave to say a word to the men, if you please, for all your advice goes to the women. If you will drink less gin, you may get more meat. If you abstain from the ale-house, you may, many of you, get a little one-way beer at home." "Ay, that we can, farmer," said poor Tom the thatcher, who was now got well. "Easter Monday for that—I say no more. A word to the wise." The farmer smiled, and went on: "The number of publichouses in many a parish brings on more hunger and rags than all the taxes in it, heavy as they are. All the other evils put together hardly make up the sum of that one. We are now raising a fresh subscription for you. This will be our rule of giving. We will not give to sots, gamblers, and Sabbath-breakers. Those who do not set their young children to work on week days, and send them to school and church on Sundays, deserve little favor. No man should keep a dog till he has more food than his family wants. If he feeds them at home, they rob his children; if he starves them, they rob his neighbors. We have heard in a neighboring city, that some people carried back the subscription loaves, because they were too coarse; but we hope better things of you." Here Betty Plane begged, with all humility, to put in a word: "Certainly," said the doctor, "we will listen to all modest complaints, and try to redress them." "You are pleased to say, sir," said she, "that we might find much comfort from buying coarse bits of beef. And so we might; but you do not know, sir, that we could seldom get them, even when we had the money, and times were so bad." "How so, Betty 1" "Sir, when we go to Butcher Jobbins, for a bit of shin, or any other lean piece, his answer is, 'You can't have it to-day, The cook at the great house has bespoke it for gravy, pr the doctor's maid (begging your pardon, sir) has just ordered it for soup.' Now, sir, such kind gentlefolks are not aware that this gravy and soup not only consume a great deal of meat, which, to be sure, those have a right to do who can pay for it, but that it takes away those coarse pieces which the poor would buy, if they bought at all; for, indeed, the rich have been very kind, and I don't know what we should have done without them."
"I thank you for the hint, Betty," said the doctor; "and I assure you I will have no more gravy soup. My garden will supply me with soups that are both wholesomer and better; and I will answer for my lady at the great house, that she will do the same. I hope this will become a general rule, and then we shall expect that butchers will favor you in the prices of the coarse pieces, if we who are rich buy nothing but the prime. In our gifts we shall prefer, as the farmer has told you, those who keep steadily to their work. Such as come to the vestry for a loaf, and do not come to church for the sermon, we shall mark; and prefer those who come constantly whether there are any gifts or not. But there is one rule from which we never will depart. Those who have been seen aiding or abetting any riot, any attack on butchers, bakers, wheat-mows, mills, or millers, we will not relieve; but with the quiet, contented, hard-working man, I will share my last morsel of bread. I shall only add, though it has pleased God to send us this visitation as a punishment, yet we may convert this short trial into a lasting blessing, if we all turn over a new leaf. Prosperity had made most of us careless. The thoughtless profusion of some of the rich could only be exceeded by the idleness and bad management of some of the poor. Let us now, at last, adopt that good old maxim, Every one mend one. And may God add his blessing!"
The people now cheerfully departed with their rice, resolving, as many of them as could get milk, to put one of Mrs. White's receipts in practice, and an excellent supper they had.
The whole of this instructive history is founded on fact; and the advice given lo the poor, in the latter part, was actually carried into practice in some of the villages near the residence of the author, and also in the immediate vicinity of Bath and Bristol.—Ed.
BEING THE SECOND PART OF THE SUNDAY SCHOOL.*
Hester Wilmot was born in the parish of Weston, of parents who maintained themselves by their labor: they were both of them ungodly; it is no wonder, therefore, they were unhappy. They lived badly together—and how could they do otherwise? for their tempers were very different, and they had no religion to smooth down this difference, or to teach them that they ought to bear with each other's faults. Rebecca Wilmot was a proof that people may have some right qualities, and yet be but bad characters, and utterly destitute of religion. She was clean, notable, and industrious. Now, I know some folks fancy that the poor who have these qualities need have no other—but this is a sad mistake, as I am sure every page in the Bible would show; and it is a pity people do not consult it oftener. They direct their ploughing and sowing by the information of the almanac; why will they not consult the Bible for the direction of their hearts and lives? Rebecca was of a violent, ungovernable temper; and that very neatness which is in itself so pleasing, in her became a sin; for her affection to her husband and children was quite lost in an over-anxious desire to have her house reckoned the nicest in the parish. Rebecca was also a proof that a poor woman may be as vain as a rich one; for it was not so much the comfort of neatness, as the praise of neatness, which she coveted. A spot on her hearth, or a bit of rust on a brass candlestick, would throw her into a violent passion. Now, it is very right to keep the hearth clean and the candlestick bright, but it is very wrong so to set one's affections on a hearth, or a candlestick, as to make one's self unhappy if any trifling accident happens to them; and if Rebecca had
* See page 130.