“I thought I should have been in time,” said he, “but cocoa rakes a great deal of boiling.”
“I am much obliged to you,” replied Charlotte. “But I prefer tea.”
“Then I will help myself,” said he. “A large dish of rather weak cocoa every evening agrees with me better than anything.”
It struck her, however, as he poured out this rather weak cocoa, that it came forth in a very fine, dark-coloured stream; and at the same moment, his sisters both crying out, “Oh, Arthur, you get your cocoa stronger and stronger every evening,” with Arthur’s somewhat conscious reply of “Tis rather stronger than it should be tonight,” convinced her that Arthur was by no means so fond of being starved as they could desire or as he felt proper himself. He was certainly very happy to turn the conversation on dry toast and hear no more of his sisters. “I hope you will eat some of this toast,” said he. “I reckon myself a very good toaster. I never burn my toasts, I never put them too near the fire at first. And yet, you see, there is not a comer but what is well browned. I hope you like dry toast.
“With a reasonable quantity of butter spread over it, very much,” said Charlotte, “but not otherwise.”
“No more do I,” said he, exceedingly pleased. “We think quite alike there. So far from dry toast being wholesome, I think it a very bad thing for the stomach. Without a little butter to soften it, it hurts the coats of the stomach. I am sure it does. I will have the pleasure of spreading some for you directly, and afterwards I will spread some for myself Very bad indeed for the coats of the stomach — but there is no convincing some people. It irritates and acts like a nutmeg grater.” He could not get command of the butter, however, without a struggle; his sisters accusing him of eating a great deal too much and declaring he was not to be trusted, and he maintaining that he only ate enough to secure the coats of his stomach, and besides, he only wanted it now for Miss Heywood. Such a plea must prevail. He got the butter and spread away for her with an accuracy of judgement which at least delighted himself But when her toast was done and he took his own in hand, Charlotte could hardly contain herself as she saw him watching his sisters while he scrupulously scraped off almost as much butter as he put on, and then seizing an odd moment for adding a great dab just before it went into his mouth.
Certainly, Mr. Arthur Parker’s enjoyments in invalidism were very different from his sisters’ — by no means so spiritualised. A good deal of earthy dross hung about him. Charlotte could not but suspect him of adopting that line of life principally for the indulgence of an indolent temper, and to be determined on having no disorders but such as called for warm rooms and good nourishment. In one particular, however, she soon found that he had caught something from them. “What! “said he. “Do you venture upon two dishes of strong green tea in one evening? What nerves you must have! How I envy you. Now, if I were to swallow only one such dish, what do you think its effect would be upon me?” “Keep you awake perhaps all night,” replied Charlotte, meaning to overthrow his attempts at surprise by the grandeur of her own conceptions. “Oh, if that were all!” he exclaimed. “No. It acts on me like poison and would entirely take away the use of my right side before I had swallowed it five minutes. It sounds almost incredible, but it has happened to me so often that I cannot doubt it. The use of my right side is entirely taken away for several hours!” “It sounds rather odd to be sure,” answered Charlotte coolly, “but I dare say it would be proved to be the simplest thing in the world by those who have studied right sides and green tea scientifically and thoroughly understand all the possibilities of their action on each other.”
melted butter on the top
and bake until the cheese
has bubbled gold.
That tiger somehow seemed to know how to think like a tiger,
like a paranoid tiger stoned out of his whiskers. Instead of gobbling up
the little children, he ran, round and round a tree,
faster and faster until he was whirling round so fast his legs
could not be seen, it was more that just a blur, he was melting,
melting away until there was nothing left
except a great pool of melted butter.
“Can we smoke that?” inquired Little Speckled Sarah.
“I don’t think so, but I bet we could cook with it.” said Little Freckled Furman.
So the children scooped up the butter in their sneakers
and found their way home after torturing a turtle for directions.
When the mothers saw the melted butter, they were pleased!
“Now we’ll all have pancakes for supper!” and the whole family
sat around a huge big plate of most lovely
pancakes, yellow and brown as little tigers. The mothers each ate
twenty-seven pancakes, the fathers came over and each ate fifty-five
and the children each ate a hundred and sixty-nine
because they were so hungry.
[re torturing turtles, see Lowell’s returned turtle: “raw hamburger mossing in the watery stoppage" &c.]
They’ve taken the skeleton
Of the Great Irish Elk
Out of the peat, set it up
An astounding crate full of air.
Butter sunk under
More than a hundred years
Was recovered salty and white.
The ground itself is kind, black butter
Melting and opening underfoot,
Missing its last definition
By millions of years.
They’ll never dig coal here,
Only the waterlogged trunks
Of great firs, soft as pulp.
Our pioneers keep striking
Inwards and downwards,
Every layer they strip
Seems camped on before.
The bogholes might be Atlantic seepage.
The wet centre is bottomless.
"eesh, bangers and mash writ large!"
When the city melts like butter
and the sky sizzles like bacon
we’ll be safe and snug
deep in our bomb shelter.
You’ll read my palm
running your finger along
the long life line.
and cuddle together
like potatoes in their jackets
like sausages in the oven.
Seamus Heaney: “Churning Day”
A thick crust, coarse-grained as limestone rough-cast,
hardened gradually on top of the four crocks
that stood, large pottery bombs, in the small pantry.
After the hot brewery of gland, cud and udder,
cool porous earthenware fermented the buttermilk
for churning day, when the hooped churn was scoured
with plumping kettles and the busy scrubber
echoed daintily on the seasoned wood.
It stood then, purified, on the flagged kitchen floor.
Out came the four crocks, spilled their heavy lip
of cream, their white insides, into the sterile churn.
The staff, like a great whisky muddler fashioned
in deal wood, was plunged in, the lid fitted.
My mother took first turn, set up rhythms
that slugged and thumped for hours. Arms ached.
Hands blistered. Cheeks and clothes were spattered
with flabby milk.
Where finally gold flecks
began to dance. They poured hot water then,
sterilized a birchwood-bowl
and little corrugated butter-spades.
Their short stroke quickened, suddenly
a yellow curd was weighting the churned up white,
heavy and rich, coagulated sunlight
that they fished, dripping, in a wide tin strainer,
heaped up like gilded gravel in the bowl.
The house would stink long after churning day,
acrid as a sulphur mine. The empty crocks
were ranged along the wall again, the butter
in soft printed slabs was piled on pantry shelves.
And in the house we moved with gravid ease,
our brains turned crystals full of clean deal churns,
the plash and gurgle of the sour-breathed milk,
the pat and slap of small spades on wet lumps.
Of some birch-enshrouded homestead, dropping butter on her book Betjeman, “Huxley Hall”