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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

Written Sketches              249

New-Laid Eggs

When I take my Sunday walks in the country, I try to buy
a few really new-laid eggs warm from the nest. At' this time
of the year (January) they are very hard to come by, and I
have long since invented a sick wife who has implored me to
get her a few eggs laid not earlier than the self-same morning.
Of late, as I am getting older, it has become my daughter
who has just had a little baby. This will generally draw a
new-laid egg, if there is one about the place at all.

At Harrow Weald it has always been my wife who for years
has been a great sufferer and finds a really new-laid egg the
one thing she can digest in the way of solid food. So I turned
her on as movingly as I could not long since, and was at last
sold some eggs that were no better than common shop eggs,
if so good. Next time I went I said my poor wife had been
made seriously ill by them ; it was no good trying to deceive
her; she could tell a new-laid egg from a bad one as well as
any woman in London, and she had such a high temper that
it was very unpleasant for me when she found herself dis-
appointed.

''Ah! sir," said the landlady, " but you would not like to
lose her."

" Ma'am," I replied, " I must not allow my thoughts to
wander in that direction. But it's no use bringing her stale
eggs, anyhow."

"The Egg that Hen Belonged to"

I got some new-laid eggs a few Sundays ago. The landlady
said they were her own, and talked about them a good deal.
She pointed to one of them and said :

" Now, would you believe it ? The egg that hen belonged
to laid 53 hens running and never stopped."

She called the egg a hen and the hen an egg. One would
have thought she had been reading Life and Habit [p. 134 and
passim].

At Englefield Green

As an example of how anything can be made out of any-
thing or done with anything by those who want to do it (as I