Blast from the Past

From Pendennis, completed in 1850, by William Makepeace Thackeray:

“There sits the Chinese Ambassador with the Mandarins of his suite, Fou-choo-foo brought me over letters of introduction from the Governor-General of India, my most intimate friend, and I was for some time very kind to him, and he had his chopsticks laid for him at my table whenever he chose to come and dine. But he brought his own cook with him, and — would you believe it, Mrs. Bungay? — one day, when I was out, and the Ambassador was with Mrs. Archer in our garden eating gooseberries, of which the Chinese are passionately fond, the beast of a cook, seeing my wife’s dear little Blenheim spaniel (that we had from the Duke of Marlborough himself, whose ancestor’s life Mrs. Archer’s great-great-grandfather saved at the battle of Malplaquet), seized upon the poor little devil, cut his throat, and skinned him, and served him up stuffed with forced-meat in the second course.”

“Law!” said Mrs. Bungay.

“You may fancy my wife’s agony when she knew what had happened! The cook came screaming upstairs, and told us that she had found poor Fido’s skin in the area, just after we had all of us tasted of the dish! She never would speak to the Ambassador again — never; and, upon my word, he has never been to dine with us since. The Lord Mayor, who did me the honour to dine, liked the dish very much; and, eaten with green peas, it tastes rather like duck.”

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