A diary of the projects, hurdles, rewards and family life at we recorded at Wise Acres, our former homestead in Horsefly, BC. (Careers and teenagers have forced us back into the city, at least for a little while.)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Piggery Prose

Speaking of books...

Joanne pulled this book out of the library for me (she was laughing evilly for some reason unrelated to the book itself):

It was first published in 1881, and some of the advice is dated. (Who knows, the whole chapter about icehouses might come in handy sooner than we hope.)

But the thing that made me laugh and cry at once was the beautiful writing. Here's the leading sentence from "Chapter VII - Piggeries":

Because swine are blessed with keen appetites, strong digestion, and hardy constitutions capable of resisting a great amount of neglect and ill-usage, they have been, and in too many instances are yet, the worst used animals kept for the profit of man.

The laughable part is the art that went into this sentence - "blessed with keen appetites". And the word 'piggeries'. That makes me laugh. Piggeries. "Yoo hoo! Leopold! What dost thou in yon piggery?"

What's sad? First, that modern-day written English is never this clear and facund (yes, I used 'facund' in a sentence). And second, that the state of the pig farm hasn't improved, especially in the big-business meat processing industry. The authors would have been disquieted.

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