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“You graceless whelp, what have you got there devouring?Is it not enough that you have burnt me down three houses with your dog’s tricks, and be hanged to you, but you must be eating fire, and I know not what — what have you got there, I say?
Though hitherto overlooked in social histories of cookery, Charles Lamb's essay approaches its subject through the new literary-culinary writing that appeared with European romanticism.
Although Lamb's persona, Elia, never hesitates to express everywhere his idiosyncratic likes and dislikes, in "Roast Pig" he passes beyond eccentricity to become a morally transgressive figure.
As often as the sow farrowed, so sure was the house of Ho-ti to be in a blaze; and Ho-ti himself, which was the more remarkable, instead of chastising his son, seemed to grow more indulgent to him than ever.
At length they were watched, the terrible mystery discovered, and father and son summoned to take their trial at Pekin, then an inconsiderable assize town.
Bo-bo, whose scent was wonderfully sharpened since moming, soon raked out another pig, and fairly rending it asunder, thrust the lesser half by main force into the fists of Ho-ti, still shouting out “Eat, eat, eat the burnt pig, father, only taste — O Lord,”— with such like barbarous ejaculations, cramming all the while as if he would choke.
Ho-ti trembled every joint while he grasped the abominable thing, wavering whether he should not put his son to death for an unnatural young monster, when the crackling scorching his fingers, as it had done his son’s, and applying the same remedy to them, he in his turn tasted some of its flavour, which, make what sour mouths he would for a pretence, proved not altogether displeasing to him.
China pigs have been esteemed a luxury all over the East from the remotest periods that we read of.
Bo-bo was in the utmost consternation, as you may think, not so much for the sake of the tenement, which his father and he could easily build up again with a few dry branches, and the labour of an hour or two, at any time, as for the loss of the pigs.
The judge, who was a shrewd fellow, winked at the manifest iniquity of the decision: and, when the court was dismissed, went privily, and bought up all the pigs that could be had for love or money.
In a few days his Lordship’s town house was observed to be on fire.