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fish offering. Of the common plaice a Mediterranean species. His bright fish (platessa vulgaris), though unlike orange spots have procured him every other member of the finny some partisans, particularly on the tribe, he presents a lozenge ready for Sussex coast, where these brilliant paquartering, the annals of English rallelograms have obtained them the heraldry make no mention, and that name of diamond plaice; large speindefatigable antiquarian Mr. Moule cimens reach occasionally as much as has been obliged accordingly to refer from ten to twelve pounds; they are his readers to a Danish family hight generally bowever both held and Bukens, who have adopted in their sold very cheap, a dozen, weigharmorial bearings, three platessue ing thirty pounds, sometimes fetch(naiant) on an argent bend, in ing but a very few pence. The an azure field. Having given this French, who occasionally salt them, fish his brevet rank, we have but call them carrelet, we presume from little to say about him. He was the little coloured squares on their unknown to the ancients, not being upper surface.
FLOUNDER OR FLUKE. The flounder, though mentioned were a level. He delights, I must complacently by Pope in conjunction further tell you, to dwell among with the gudgeon as what his Thames stones ; besides he is a great admirer affords, and though (and perhaps in of deeps and ruinous decays, yet as consequence of this predilection of fond as any fish of moderate streams; the poet) Thames flesi enjoy a sort and none beyond him, except the of cockney reputation of their own, perch, that is more solicitous to rifle a poorer fish, except plaice, (for what into ruins, insomuch that a man food is more flat than a flounder) would fancy him an antiquary, con. it would not be easy to name. The sidering he is so affected with reinhabitants of Friesland, however, liques.' In heraldry, sable a fluke think otherwise, and have been at argent is the armorial bearings of a the trouble of naturalizing them in family of the name of Fisher; and their fish ponds. The flounders, too, the crest of the Butts of Dorking is about Memel on the Baltic, like our an arm couped at the elbow and own Thames bred, are held in par.. erect, grasping a butt fish or flounder. ticular esteem by the inhabitants of These fish, like some other pleurothe locality; but Catalani's mot of an nects, are often reversedi.e., have inferior cantatrice, that she might be eyes (other flounders being the the best of her kind, but that her standard) on the wrong side of the kind was none of the best, is no head ; specimens also occur presentdoubt applicable to every variety of ing other anomalies, shewing somethis poor pisciculus, whom it is far times both sides coloured alike, at better entertainment to fish for than others both equally colourless. to be compelled to eat. As soon as Northern seas furnish another fish it is dawn he prowls about for his belonging to the present subgenus, breakfast, and this is therefore the the platessa limanda, or dab, which best time to take him:
has larger eyes than the flounder, He that intends a flounder to surprise, and a rough skin, whence it derives Must off betimes and bob before sunrise. its name from lima, a file. The dab, He has also qualities invaluable in being a cheap fish like the flounder, the angler's eye, being greedy, play. and much better flavoured, has a ful, and full of pluck. This fish,' great sale in the London and Paris writes Franks in his Northern Me markets. There are no less than five moirs, is bold as a buccanier, of different species oecasionally ermuch more confidence than caution, posed for sale; the commonest of and is so fond of a worm that he will all is the P. limanda, and next go to the banquet, though he die at P. microcephalus, town or lemon the board. He is endowed with dab,' as it is commonly called at the great resolution, and struggles fish-stalls. stoutly for the victory when hooked; Intermediate between the plahe is also more than ordinarily diffi. tessæ (plaices) and rhombi (tur. cult to deal with by reason of his bots) occurs the hippoglossus vul. build, which is altogether flat, as it garis, or holibut, also a northern
fish, more remarkable for size than salt and barrel it for home consumpgoodness. Its dimensions are indeed tion. As few fish when hooked whale-like; individuals have been offer a more determined resistance, captured nearly eight feet in length, plunge more furiously, or struggle four in breadth, and a span thick, longer for life than a full-sized and cut specimens of half the bulk holibut, the fishermen einploy very are sometimes seen exposed at in- strong tackle, and even then are often ferior fish-stalls in London. The not a little put to it to haul him on holihut is held in no esteem by board. connoisseurs at home. Some dis Having thus summarily disposed parage it exceedingly, calling it of the coarse northern fish, plaice, * workhouse turbot;' but though flounders, dabs, and holibut, with thus stigmatized in England, the all of which the ancients were Greenlanders, according to Crantz, happily unacquainted, we come often subsist for a considerable to three much more delicate flats, period alrnost exclusively on its which are first on the carte, and flesh, which they first cut into slips, enter con amore into a brief notice of and afterwards dry in the sun. The those princely pleuronects-turbots, Norwegians and Icelanders largely brills, and soles.
RHOMBUS,* (TURBOT.) This species was so well known to They served us mighty Psettas then, and the ancients, that to cite all the soles all subrugosie ;s passages where the name occurs and another Greek deipnosophist would be tedious, and might leave poußos. our readers with a fish surfeit, which
Sicilian rhombus of the milky flakes. 1! we should be sorry to have on our Frequent allusions to thesize of the conscience. It was held by the two turbot occur in Latin writers, thus,rival representatives and exponents
Grandes rhombi patinæque of the sense of civilized man of yore
Grande ferunt una cum damno dedecus. in as high culinary repute as it now is. Nihil ad rhombum-nothing to
Quamvis lata gerat patella rhombum, a turbot-was a Greek sentiment as
Rhombus latior est tamen patellas.
Mart. well as a Roman proverb, and
Rondolet tells of one he had seen Th' untasted turbot shows his tempting measuring five cubits from head to flank,
tail, four across the broadest part of was no doubt eithert a poetic licence the body, and the flesh of which was intended by Horace to be received one foot deep! And that extrawith limitations, or at any rate a ordinary · Adriaci mirandus litore very uncommon event. The common rhombus' which Domitian had so Greek names for it were intra and much difficulty, by reason of its size, poußos, as we read in Aihenæus. to cook, is a fit pendant to it. But •The Romans call our insta rhombus, of all big fish, none approaches that which is also a Greek name.'I which furnished the giant Geryon Archestratus, in the following line, with a dinner, and Swift with the uses the first word.
conception of Gulliver. For him the
inhabitants caught only the finest in the Georgics of Virgil, and elsefish, ovx nueplovs--not such as you where passim, applied therefore by meet with daily in the market, but poetic licence to a fish, it must be to such as offered an acreage of body one with stiff fin rays, which bristle equal to that of the Isle of Crete. when erect, somewhat after the One of these they would place upon manner of stakes. Now, while this a lordly dish capable of holding a suits perfectly with the back-fin of hundred as large. When it was the turbot, the rays of which are the king's pleasure to have the fish rigid, it does not accord in any way prepared for table, the Sardians and with that of the brill, one of whose Lycians, and Mygdonians, the distinctive characteristics (as sepaCranians, and the Paphians, began rating it from the turbot) is to carry to vie with each other in felling a soft back-fin, the rays of which split timber to cook it. Then they piled and divide into delicate threads at up the forests they had cuť down the top, as the reader may convince into a vast pyre in circuit equal to a himself when next he passes a fishcity, and having let a lake into monger's shop, where he will see the caldron that was to seethe it, both species (which are often conand carried for eight months in suc founded by young housekeepers) cession a hundred daily wagons- lying on the same slab, and inviting load of salt to season the pot, they comparison. But besides this obkindled the crackling mass, and as it jection, as the ancients certainly had flamed up five galleys, every one turbot as well as brill, and as the of which carried its five banks of turbot of Ancona are still famed rowers complete, cruised round the throughout Italy, why suppose margin of the caldron sea, and as Domitian's Adriaco‘mirandus litore it bubbled up from below, issued rhombus' was anything else! So prompt directions to the crowd not to much as regards this particular overboil the contents.
rhombus, for we do not mean to Was not this a dainty dish to set before
maintain that under the same dea king?
signation both brill and turbot We have to regret that the name of might not be included; how else, these whacking fish is not given by indeed, can we reconcile Galen and the historian, as it ought to have Xenocrates, the former of whom been. We can only conjecture, recommends plain boiled rhombus therefore, from the size, (somewhat to invalids, as the flesh, he says, is exaggerated, no doubt,) and the soft; whilst the other declares the trouble taken to prepare it pro rhombus to be too firm a fish to perly, that the individual in question consume fresh, and advises keeping was a rhonibus maximus of very it for some days to make it more large size! But whilst willing to tender! Here, whilst the Greek admit that this is only hypothesis, physician must necessarily mean we are not so willing to give up brill, which is of a much softer fibre, Domitian's rhombus, which all the Deipnosophist philosopher is the world in our schoolboy days clearly speaking (eodem sub nomine) agreed to call turbot, and to debase of turbot, which all the world knows the 'bellua peregrina' of Juvenal is tough enough fresh, and is very into a vulgar brill.* There is no much improved by keeping. In reason that we can see for reversing other cases we are inclined to believe the opinion originally entertained that the brill had its distinctive respecting this particular fish in appellation, and that the passer favour of the brill; and there are which Horace associates in the same some objections to be made against line with rhombus, and which is cerit. In Juvenal's notice of his tainly a pleuronect, may have been rhombus occur the words 'erectus it. Heraldry is as careful as ichthyin terga sudes.' Sudis (we write ology to separate brill and turbot. for unlearned ears) is literally a Azure three bretts (or brills), naiant, stake or rigid stick, and is so used are the arms of the family Bretcock;
* No error is innocent, and the indirect consequence of this has been to make the fishmongers of Billingsgate and Hungerford require the poor invalid to pay as much for a brill as the wealthy epicure for his turbot.
and the crest of the family Britwesill sand in sabots. As the water comes is also a brill naiant, azure. Three in and covers the bottom, the various turbots argent, finned or, belong to pleuronects resort to the print-marks an ancient family, the Turbutts of left by the fishermen, and it being Yorkshire, whose heraldic claims shoal water, are easily seen and upon posterity are probably anterior taken. The modern plan is very to those of the Bretcocks or Brit different, and is adapted for taking wesill.* As the best turbot were turbot of much larger dimensions. formerly peregrine' importations The fishermen of our northern into ancient Rome, though the coasts go out in parties of three in a Mediterranean doubtless furnished boat called a cobble; each man a good many, 80 the chief supply carries two hundred and eighty brought to our markets at present hooks, attached at equal intervals on come to us from abroad. The a long line, the united ends of which Dutch (those fishers for all the extend a league in length, and world, and not least so in their own draws after it fifteen hundred and interests) 'purvey' for London con- twenty baited hooks. These lines, sumption alone eighty thousand as they are to lay across the current, rhombi, and to eat these as Nature can only be shot twice in twentyalways intended them to be eaten four hours, when the rush of the (though Apicius and Lucullus never waters slackens, as the tide is about found out the secret!) one million to change. In place of the small of Norway lobsters, for which we cobble (which is but twenty feet pay twenty-two to twenty-five thou- long by five feet broad), the Dutch sands sterling a year, accompany repair to the Dogger Bank in a boat these up the river alongside. Elian twice that length, and three times mentions a curious mode adopted in as broad, carrying besides six fishersome places in his time for taking men, engaged in the craft, a cook as these and other flat fish, founded on well, who no doubt has plentiful exa well-known peculiarity which they perience in dressing turbot. Here, have to lie hid in the sand, like as the fishing is continuous and the hares in their forms. The plan is bank never fails to furnish supplies, very simple. A number of fishermen the expedition is generally successful go at low water and walk over the and the proceeds highly lucrative.
SOLES. SOLES are distinguished from Though sea-fish by birth and right, plaice by having no tubercles on they will not only live but thrive in the skin; from holibuts by the fresh water, and like it so well as smallness of their teeth, which are sometimes of their own accord to confined to one jaw; from turbot ascend rivers to a considerable by their eyes lying on the right in height, and nestle for months in the place of the left of the mouth (which slime at the bottom, during which is also twisted to one side) and by time they grow apace; indeed, when the comparative shortness of the some have been retained in fresh, dorsal fin. They have a very wide and others of a like weight placed range, extending southward from in salt water, the first, after a year's the Scandinavian and Baltic seas, sojourn, have been known to acquire along the Spanish and Portuguese an increment of weight twice that coasts into the Mediterranean. They of their saline cousins. With regard are a frequent fish in America'; to the genesis of the sole, a strange abound and are of an excellent statement, making large demands kind at the Cape of Good Hope; upon our credulity, has been adand, not to mention other foreign vanced by an unbelieving Frenchsites, are, as all the world knows, man of note, who, having heard that one of the best and commonest these fish spring by natural birth fish of the British seas, swarming from prawns, procured a supply, along most of our sandy shores. and keeping them in sea-water, ob
* Beside the Yorkshire family of Turbutt, a Middlesex and a Scotch family assume the name and its insignia. A demi turbot crest, tail upwards, gules, is also the family crest of Lawrence, and was so borne by the late Sir Thomas Lawrence, President of the Royal Academy.
tained in due time a handsome frydainty and complex of recipes, the of young soles, begotten, as he sup. French Sole, “en matelotte norposed, in the bodies of these crus mande,' the bare recollection of the taceans. The simple explanation, taste of which lingers, we must say, however, of this phenomenon, sup after years' desuetude, agreeably an posing it a fact, would be, that the our palate still; that the larger eggs of the sole, which are viscid, specimens were sometimes served and readily attach themselves to plain boiled, in preference to any different bodies, happening to do so other more elaborate mode of cookin this instance to the persons of ing, is highly probable, since a the prawns, broke cover and were doughty Greek authority pronounces hatched without any further help that, for an easy digestion, there is from these shell-fish.
no way of serving fish so good as No fish in the ancient world was au naturel. Though these fish were better known, or in higher repute generally in high repute, yet their than this. It was the subject of a reputation varied with the species, Greek myth, * EUT poooc and move, and with the locality from which nutritious and delicate, were the they came; even in our own island, epithets currently applied to it, and how different in respect to quality one Greek in particular describes are soles fetched from different disthe species as the best of flat-fish; tricts. When Galen, Xenocrates, the highest praise, since these were and Diphilus speak disparagingly of considered quite the pesci nobili of soles, we must suppose them either the market, and equivalent to saying to have been sadly warped by some they were best of the best. Soles caprice of fashion, or else very unwere served then, as now-a-days, fortunate in their supplies; and it fried, oilovtes, when their size ad was no doubt a feeling of the injus. mitted it :
tice of such a censure passed on his The cook produced an anıple dish favourite food, which extorted the Of frizzled soles, those best of fish, complaint from a great Greek conEmbrowned, and wafting through the noisseur, 'everything is censured in room,
turn, and now they tell me, but I All sputtering still a rich perfume. + will never believe it, that there is
They were also served in a savoury imperfection even in a sole!' sauce under the name of Citharus. There can be no doubt that BovArchestratus orders some for an yaworoc and Solea severally repreamateur (Cithari sciens) with an sent the sole. Archestratus speaks exceedingly rich compost of cheese of the roughness of the βουγλωσσος, and oil, which makes them, he says, callingit υποτρηχης βουγλωσσος. Orid exquisite εισι δε ακολαστοι.’ Epichar illustrates a striking trait of these mus produces soles among the dishes fish-viz., their mode of suddenly served at Hebe's nuptials; and flashing past when disturbed, with Archestratus, in his poem, Hedy- the under white surface uppermost, pathy, 'Good cheer,' considers that when they become momentarily they can hardly be served too elabo- what he calls them, fulgentes Solea rately ; though it is not likely the candore. Indeed, the trivial Greek ancients ever hit upon the most name, the 'ox-tongue,'I or simply
* The fertile fancy of the Greeks suggested them as fit sandals for the ocean nymphs, a use to which the variety of their size and shape, and their adhesiveness when applied to the soles of these sea-damsels' feet, must have rendered them well adapted.
They served those "sandals' of the foamy sea
Αυτου βουγλωσσος εναιεν εν άλμη μορμρουση. A slave in Plautus, hearing some one order soles, says, in allusion to the name and the supposed use made by these nymphs, of the sole, as their slipper-fish, Qui quæso potius solæas quam sculponeas, quibus batnatur tibi os senex requissime.'
Σιζοντας παρεθηκε φερων κνισσωσε δε δομα. I Different species of sole had different names assigned to them, as 'dog-tongue,' sheep-tongue,' 'horse-tongue,' &c.