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pig-eating attribute and the fear which
such an achievement may possibly produce
in the minds of others. A peasant came
to the king of Sweden's tent, during the
siege of Prague, and offered to devour a
large hog for the amusement of his majesty.
The general, standing by, said that the
fellow ought to be burnt as a sorcerer.
Nettled and irritated at this, the peasant
exclaimed, "If your majesty will but
make that old gentleman take off his
sword and spurs, I will eat him before I
begin the pig," accompanying this offer
with a vast expansion of mouth and jaws.
Brave as he was in battle, Kœnigsmark
could not stand this; he beat a hasty
retreat from the tent, and hurried to his own

In the time of Charles the First,
Taylor, the Water poet, gave an account
of one Nicholas Wood, a Kentish man,
who had a power of stowing away a
marvellous quantity of food at a meal.
He was credited with having, on one
occasion, devoured a whole raw sheep; on
another, three dozen pigeons; on a third,
several rabbits; on a fourth, eighteen yards
of black pudding; while on two other
occasions the quantities set down were
sixty pounds of cherries and three pecks of
damsons. But it will be better to disbelieve
these statements, and attend to the
more moderate though still startling
account given by Taylor, that "Two loynes
of mutton and one loyne of veal were but
as three sprats to him. Once, at Sir
Warham St. Leger's house, he showed
himself so violent of teeth and stomach that he
ate as much as would have served thirty
men, so that his belly was like to turn
bankrupt and break, but that the serving-man
turned him to the fire, and anointed
his paunch with grease and butter to make
it stretch and hold; and afterwards, being
laid in bed, he slept eight hours, and
fasted all the while, which when the
knight understood, he commanded him to
be laid in the stocks, and there to endure
as long as he had lain bedrid with eating."
In the time of George the First there was
a man who, in a fit of religious enthusiasm,
tried to maintain a Lenten fast of forty
days and forty nights. Breaking down in
this resolution after a few days, he took
revenge on himself by becoming an
enormous eater, devouring large quantities of
raw flesh with much avidity. Somewhat
over a century ago, a Polish soldier,
presented to the court of Saxony as a marvel
of voracity, one day ate twenty pounds
of beef and half of a roasted calf. About
the same time a youth of seventeen,
apprentice to a Thames waterman, ate five
pounds of shoulder of lamb and two
quarts of green peas in fifty minutes. An
achievement of about equal gluttony was
that of a brewer's man, who, at an inn in
Aldersgate-street, demolished a roast goose
of six pounds weight, a quartern loaf, and
three quarts of porter in an hour and
eighteen minutes. Early in the reign of
George the Third a watchmaker's apprentice,
nineteen years of age, in three-quarters
of an hour, devoured a leg of pork weighing
six pounds, and a proportionate quantity of
pease pudding, washing down these
comestibles with a pint of brandy taken off in
two draughts. A few years afterwards
there was a beggar at Göttingen who on
more than one occasion ate twelve pounds
of meat at a meal. After his death, his
stomach, which was very large, was found
to contain numerous bits of flint and other
odds and ends, which Nature very properly
refused to recognise as food. In fact,
setting aside altogether the real or alleged
eating up of a whole sheep or hog, the
instances are very numerous in which a
joint sufficient for a large family has
disappeared at a meal within the unworthy
corpus of one man.

It is clearly evident that many of the
records of voracious eating point to a
morbid craving which the person suffers,
and which is as much a disease as the
opposite extremeloss of appetitewhile
being still more difficult of cure. Medical
men have at hand a stock of learned Greek
names to apply to various manifestations of
the disease. Dr. Copland describes a case
which came under his professional notice.
There were two children possessing
insatiable appetites, of which the youngest,
seven years old, was the worst. "The
quantity of food devoured by her was
astonishing. Everything that could be
laid hold of, even in its raw state, was
seized upon most greedily. Besides other
articles, an uncooked rabbit, half a pound
of candles, and some butter were taken at
one time. The mother stated that this
little girl, who was apparently in good
health otherwise, took more food, if she
could possibly obtain it, than the rest of
her family, consisting of six besides herself."

As to fire-eaters, they have always been
exhibitors rather than persons possessing a
real liking for this peculiarly hot kind of
food. There was one Powell, very eminent
in this line of business towards the close of