The Republic in a Nutshell
February 15, 2007
‘Killick,’ said the Commodore, passing him an empty gravy-boat, ‘tell my cook to fill this with something that very closely resembles gravy or take the consequences. Heaven and earth alike revolt against a parched and withered duck,’ he added, addressing Stephen.
‘If a duck lack unction, it forfeits all right to the name,’ said Stephen. ‘Yet here are some aiguillettes—what is the English for aiguillettes?—from the creature’s inner flank that will go down well enough with a draught of this Hermitage.’
‘I wish I could carve like that,’ said Jack, watching Stephen’s knife slice the long thin strips. ‘My birds generally take to the air again, spreading fat in the most disastrous fashion over the table and laps of my guests.’
‘The only vessel I ever sailed turned ignominiously upside down,’ said Stephen. ‘Each man to his own trade, said Plato: that’s justice.’
—Patrick O’Brian, The Commodore