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the brawn of whose breast we caused to be
kept so much as we thought convenient, which
being produced after so many days as any other
roasted flesh would corrupt in, did not at all
offend our nose. Being laid up again, after more
than thirty days it was found the same as before,
and likewise the same after a year, save that it
was somewhat drier, and a little more contracted
or shrunk." The flesh of Peacocks may be
capital diet for Manks or Pudney, or any other
famous pedestrianthough I rather imagine
they would prefer rump-steaks with the gravy
in thembut "let them abstain," advises
Aldrovandus, " from eating thereof who lead a
sedentary or idle life, using no exercise."
Willoughby, however, does not hold with those who
think Peacock's flesh difficult of digestion ; "in
my opinion," he says, " and to my palate, the
flesh of young Peacocks is very tender, delicate
and well-tasted, purely white, and deservedly
held by the Romans of old in high esteem and
price, nothing inferior to that of Hens or
Partridges." Gervase Markham is altogether
of a different opinion. In The Way to Get
Wealth (London, 1660), a chapter is devoted
to " Peacocks, Peahens, their Increase and
Ordering," as follows : " Peacocks, howsoever
our old writers are pleased to deceive
themselves in their praises, are birds more to delight
the eye by looking on them than for a particular
profit ; the best commodity arising from them
being the cleansing and keeping the yard" (what
a nice yard!) "free from venomous things, as
Toads, Newts, and such like, which is their daily
food : whence it comes, that their flesh is very
unwholesome, and used in great banquets more
for the rararnesse than the nourishment, for it is
mostly certain, roast a Peacock or Peahen never
so dry, then set it up and look on it the next
day, and it will be blood raw, as if it had not
been roasted at all." A more reliable writer
than Markham, who has already been quoted in
these pages (Sir J. E. Tennent), says : " Their
flesh is excellent when served up hot, though it
is said to be indigestible ; but when cold it
contracts a red and disagreeable tinge."
Willoughby, following Aldrovandus, is of opinion
that the Peacock's life is prolonged to a hundred
years; Buffon says, five-and-twenty, which is
quite long enough to make him a tough old bird,
and under all the circumstances, setting one thing
against another, I, for my own part, would rather
look at a Peacock than eat him. The monarch,
respecting whom Broderip, in his Leaves from
the Note-Book of a Naturalist, tells the following
story, might have been less scrupulous:

"The King of Dahomey, the steps of whose
throne are formed of the skulls of his enemies,
and who commands an army of plump well-fed
Amazons" (of whom we have heard a good
deal lately), " had never seen a Peacock. The
Zoological Society, longing for an African
elephant, sent over to his Majesty a gift of
pea-fowl, the cocks having been first shorn of their
back feathers; for the feathers springing from the
back arrange themselves into that magnificent
iridescent circle, and are supported by the caudal
feathers, when Juno's bird shines out in all his
splendour, and, as the nursery-maids term it,
' spreads his tail.' But why dock the Peacocks ?
Because if they had been sent with their
trains on, they would have presented such a
ragged appearance to the royal eyes, after being
cooped up on their voyageto say nothing of
the irritation to the system of the birds
themselves. From their bedraggled and begrimed
plumage, or of the accidents of pitch and tar
that the King might well have questioned the
faith of those who had filled his mind with the
glories of this recipient of the eyes of Argus, and
his blood-drinker might have been called into
action. No, the train-feathers were most wisely cut,
and, with the birds, a well executed drawing of a
Peacock in all its glory was sent, and his majesty
was informed that when they moulted and the
new feathers came to perfection, the effect
would be similar to the drawing, but very

It appears that the venture was perfectly
successful, but I am rather inclined to think that
these identical Peacocks, or their immediate
progeny, were included in the " grand custom,"
which a native missionary recently described
as consisting of " more than two thousand
human beings (who were slaughtered), and about
as many females and young children, besides
enormous numbers of deer, turkeys, buzzards,
and other fowl."


NEWSTEAD PRIORY, lately advertised for sale,
is said to have had the first of the Plantagenet
kings for its founder so soon after the murder
of Archbishop à Becket, that it is supposed to
have been an expiatory offering. It may
actually have been

—— repentant Henry's pride ;

for its possessions were extensive enough to
constitute a principality. The little colony of
Black Canons of St. Augustine came to dwell
among these forest wilds, and they were often
visited in their priory by royal hunters who
came to enjoy the chase in Sherwood. Their
ale and larder were excellent, and they seem
to have been always the favourites of kings
until the time of the royal Bluebeard, who
chased the monks themselves from their fair
domains. Architecturally, too, it was remarkable,
especially for that graceful fragment, the
western front of the church, which is still the
most conspicuous and picturesque ornament of
the ruined priory and has perhaps no rival in
England, save St. Mary's Abbey at York, in the
elegance of its character, and its architectural
value as a specimen of the transition from the
Early English to that Decorated style which
began to prevail late in the reign of Edward the
First. Whether the foundation of the priory did
or did not, in fact, date from an earlier period
than the year 1170, the Second Henry, at all
events, extended and amply confirmed the
possessions of the monks of Newstead by his
foundation-charter, so that in the words of Byron :