all right

Occasionally adding corroborative details to add verisimilitude to otherwise bald and unconvincing,
but veridicous accounts
with careful attention, indefatigable assiduity, and nice discrimination.

10 April, 2014

Peacock on Eating and Drinking

From Headlong Hall (1815) by Thomas Love Peacock, Chapter II:
“In the controversy concerning animal and vegetable food,” said Mr Jenkison [the statu-quo-ite], “there is much to be said on both sides; and, the question being in equipoise, I content myself with a mixed diet, and make a point of eating whatever is placed before me, provided it be good in its kind.”
In this opinion his two brother philosophers practically coincided, though they both ran down the theory as highly detrimental to the best interests of man.
“I am really astonished," said the Reverend Doctor Gaster, gracefully picking off the supernal fragments of an egg he had just cracked, and clearing away a space at the top for the reception of a small piece of butter—“I am really astonished, gentlemen, at the very heterodox opinions I have heard you deliver:  since nothing can be more obvious than that all animals were created solely and exclusively for the use of man.”
“Even the tiger that devours him?” said Mr Escot [the deteriorationist].
“Certainly,” said Doctor Gaster.
“How do you prove it?” said Mr Escot.
“It requires no proof,” said Doctor Gaster:  “it is a point of doctrine.  It is written, therefore it is so.”
“Nothing can be more logical,” said Mr Jenkison.  “It has been said,” continued he, “that the ox was expressly made to be eaten by man: it may be said, by a parity of reasoning, that man was expressly made to be eaten by the tiger:  but as wild oxen exist where there are no men, and men where there are no tigers, it would seem that in these instances they do not properly answer the ends of their creation.”
“It is a mystery,” said Doctor Gaster.
“Not to launch into the question of final causes,” said Mr Escot, helping himself at the same time to a slice of beef, “concerning which I will candidly acknowledge I am as profoundly ignorant as the most dogmatical theologian possibly can be, I just wish to observe, that the pure and peaceful manners which Homer ascribes to the Lotophagi, and which at this day characterise many nations (the Hindoos, for example, who subsist exclusively on the fruits of the earth), depose very strongly in favour of a vegetable regimen.”
“It may be said, on the contrary,” said Mr Foster
[the perfectibilian], “that animal food acts on the mind as manure does on flowers, forcing them into a degree of expansion they would not otherwise have attained.  If we can imagine a philosophical auricula falling into a train of theoretical meditation on its original and natural nutriment, till it should work itself up into a profound abomination of bullock’s blood, sugar-baker’s scum, and other unnatural ingredients of that rich composition of soil which had brought it to perfection, and insist on being planted in common earth, it would have all the advantage of natural theory on its side that the most strenuous advocate of the vegetable system could desire; but it would soon discover the practical error of its retrograde experiment by its lamentable inferiority in strength and beauty to all the auriculas around it.  I am afraid, in some instances at least, this analogy holds true with respect to mind.  No one will make a comparison, in point of mental power, between the Hindoos and the ancient Greeks.”
“The anatomy of the human stomach,” said Mr Escot, “and the formation of the teeth, clearly place man in the class of frugivorous animals.”
“Many anatomists,” said Mr Foster, “are of a different opinion, and agree in discerning the characteristics of the carnivorous classes.”
“I am no anatomist,” said Mr Jenkison, “and cannot decide where doctors disagree; in the meantime, I conclude that man is omnivorous, and on that conclusion I act.”
The Reverend Mr Portpipe in Melincourt (1817) by Thomas Love Peacock, Chap. XVI:

“When I open the bottle, I shut the book of Numbers.  There are two reasons for drinking: one is, when you are thirsty, to cure it; the other, when you are not thirsty, to prevent it.  The first is obvious, mechanical, and plebeian; the second is most refined, abstract, prospicient, and canonical.  I drink by anticipation of thirst that may be.  Prevention is better than cure.  Wine is the elixir of life.  “The soul,’ says St. Augustine, ‘cannot live in drought.’  What is death?  Dust and Ashes.  There is nothing so dry.  What is life?  Spirit.  What is spirit?  Wine.” 

From Nightmare Abbey (1818) by Thomas Love Peacock, Chapter II:
You are leaving England, Mr Cypress. There is a delightful melancholy in saying farewell to an old acquaintance, when the chances are twenty to one against ever meeting again.  A smiling bumper to a sad parting, and let us all be unhappy together.

MR. CYPRESS (filling a bumper):
This is the only social habit that the disappointed spirit never unlearns.

It is the only piece of academical learning that the finished educatee retains.

MR. FLOSKY (filling):
It is the only objective fact which the sceptic can realise.

SCYTHROP (filling):
It is the only styptic for a bleeding heart.

It is the only trouble that is very well worth taking.

MR. ASTERIAS (filling):
It is the only key of conversational truth.

MR. TOOBAD (filling):
It is the only antidote to the great wrath of the devil.

MR. HILARY (filling):
It is the only symbol of perfect life. The inscription ‘HIC NON BIBITUR’ will suit nothing but a tombstone.
If I Drink Water while This Doth Last” (words by T. P. Peacock, music by Deadman Turner):
If I drink water while this doth last,
May I never again drink wine:
For how can a man, in his life of a span,
Do any thing better than dine?
We’ll dine and drink, and say if we think
That any thing better can be;
And when we have dined, wish all mankind
May dine as well as we.

And though a good wish will fill no dish,
And brim no cup with sack,
Yet thoughts will spring, as the glasses ring,
To illume our studious track.
On the brilliant dreams of our hopeful schemes
The light of the flask shall shine;
And we’ll sit till day, but we’ll find the way
To drench the world with wine.