Mrs Emma Jane Simpson



April 6th 1831


I have but now bethought me of another, unlooked-for benefit of my learning.

That is - I need not wait only until a Sunday to post an entry in my journal any longer. Contrarywise, I need not write in it each Sunday whether I would or no.  Besides which, the writing of it, and the bickering about it and the giggling and the snorting that goes along with it, make less of the time I may hear about Eliza’s doings.

So, though I have but lately writ, I shall write again. (Perhaps, I suspicion, simply because I can!!). Howsomever, I may not feel the urge to do so for some time after – and I am free to choose.

There is so little in our lives in which we have a choice: ‘tis impossible to say “To-night I have no urge to cook”... or to wear my apron, or to have a bath, or to stay indoors.

‘Tis a fine, grand thing to have a choice about something. Anything, even.

But there! Eliza did always stop me from wandering round about in my speech, and tells me not to ramble. But now I have the choice to please myself about how I talks to my journal.  And I daresay her children, for whom I write this, will need the rambly bits so’s they get an idea of the life and the times of their ancient ancestor.

So to-day the ancient ancestor heard someone mention the name Careme... and I bethought me of the summer in which we met:  me, my George and  young Anton.

A’corse he weren’t all that young but he were in great agitation of mind and with that puffy white look about him that reminded me of a young caterpillar. And such as I did mention to George – who let out one of his shouts of laughter and forever after dubbed Anton “Young”.

Which would never have done for poor “Careme” who attended Georgy Boy (for such as I do call him tho’ Eliza never would write it thus) here in Brighton, for HE was a man as looked older than he was entitled to, so to call him “Young” anything would have been a cruel joke.

But when we met upon the road that summer across the sea in Normandy (for you must know by now that your ancient ancestor was a well-travelled person who hath ventured across the waves to France)Anton was just a man tormented by decisions; who wanted to be as far from Paris as he could.

At that time Anton were a baker with his own shop. And although he were a good baker he felt as though staying a baker would limit his chances of ever being anything except a baker. But then again, he was a very good baker and would never run out of work.

He had been walking along the road since the coach had set him down three hours since in a village he had not the name of; and had no particular destination or plans in mind acos of his Problem. So, willy-nilly, we joined forces that far away summer.

Thus it was that he was present one afternoon when the men who had joined us brought in an abundance of game from an unparalleled day hunting. (Men always knew when George was close and many would join us for the company and the high tales for as long as they could afford to be away.)

Now no-one who lives with their food supply knows what a sin it is ever to waste and I never did.  But that night I was sorely vexed how best to use our bounty until a sudden thought aroused me and I enlisted Young Anton’s help.  While we went to find herbs and certain roots for what I had in mind, a team of boys was set to plucking all the fowl while the older ones got about the skinning.

For my idea was simply to stuff the animals...into each other! And Anton had been with me to see every herb I used, every root I dug up.

For ‘twas that very dish which proved the answer to his problem. When he returned to Paris he recreated the entire – but encased it in an elaborated case – not of the common pastry used to sculpt pastry cases, but of rich, buttery, short-crust. I ‘spect you knows the rest as well as I do – of how his patron Tallyrande declared it exquisite – of how the dish became the most enviable piece to have on the gentrys board; and how Georgy Boy – an expert on good food as was very obvious – made him his personal chef and he became the most famous chef (he would not suffer to be called a Cook!)in all the world. A’cos of my dish!

So there: - there is a little bit of rambling that Eliza’s unborn progeny will take pride in one day when I am dust.