The Tower Of London by W. Harrison Ainsworth

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IN spite of the interruption occasioned by the dwarf, the evening at the Stone Kitchen passed off pleasantly enough. Dame Potentia was restored to good humour by the attentions of the jovial warder, and the giants in consequence were regaled with an excellent and plentiful supper, of which Xit was permitted to partake. Whether it was that their long fasting, or their attendance at the state banquet, had sharpened the appetites of the three gigantic brethren, or that the viands set before them were of a more tempting nature than ordinary, we pretend not to say, but certain it is that their prodigious performances at the table excited astonishment from all who witnessed them, and elicited the particular approbation of Ribald, who, being curious to ascertain how much they could eat, insisted on helping them to everything on the board, and, strange to say, met with no refusal.

With the profuse hospitality of the period, all the superfluities of the royal feast were placed at the disposal of the household; and it may therefore be conceived that Peter Trusbut’s table was by no means scantily furnished. Nor was he disposed to stint his guests. Several small dishes which had been set before them having disappeared with marvellous celerity, he called for the remains of a lordly baron of beef, which had recently graced the royal sideboard. At the sight of this noble joint, Og, who had just appropriated a dish of roast quails, two of which he despatched at a mouthful, uttered a grunt of intense satisfaction, and abandoning the trifling dainties of Xit, prepared for the more substantial fare.

Assuming the part of carver, Peter Trusbut sliced off huge wedges of the meat, and heaped the platters of the giants with more than would have satisfied men of ordinary appetites. But this did not satisfy them. They came again and again. The meat was of such admirable quality, so well roasted, so full of gravy, and the fat was so exquisite, that they could not sufficiently praise it, nor do it sufficient justice. The knife was never out of Peter Trusbut’s hands; nor was he allowed to remain idle a moment. Scarcely had he helped Og, when Gog’s plate was empty; and before Gog had got his allowance, Magog was bellowing for more. And so it continued as long as a fragment remained upon the bones.

Puffing with the exertion he had undergone, the pantler then sat down, while Ribald, resolved not to be balked of his pastime, entreated Dame Potentia to let her guests wash down their food with a measure of metheglin. After some little solicitation, she complied, and returned with a capacious jug containing about three gallons of the balmy drink. The jug was first presented to Magog. Raising it to his lips, he took a long and stout pull, and then passed it to Gog, who detained it some seconds, drew a long breath, and returned it to Dame Trusbut, perfectly empty. By dint of fresh entreaties from the warder, Dame Potentia was once more induced to seek the cellar; and, on receiving the jug, Og took care to leave little in it for his brethren, but poured out what was left into a beaker for Xit.

They were now literally “giants refreshed;” and Peter Trusbut, perceiving that they still cast wistful glances towards the larder, complied with a significant wink from Ribald, and went in search of further provisions. This time he brought the better half of a calvered salmon, a knuckle of Westphalia ham, a venison pasty with a castellated crust of goodly dimensions, a larded capon, and the legs and carcass of a peacock, decorated with a few feathers from the tail of that gorgeous bird. Magog, before whom the latter dainty was placed, turned up his nose at it, and giving it to Xit, vigorously assaulted the venison pasty. It soon became evident that the board would again be speedily cleared; and though he had no intention of playing the niggardly host on the present occasion, Peter Trusbut declared that this was the last time such valiant trenchermen should ever feed at his cost. But his displeasure was quickly dispelled by the mirth of the warder, who laughed him out of his resolution, and encouraged the giants to proceed by every means in his power. Og was the first to give in. Throwing back his huge frame on the bench, he seized a flask of wine that stood near him, emptied it into a flagon, tossed it off at a draught, and declared he had had enough. Gog soon followed his example. But Magog seemed insatiable, and continued actively engaged, to the infinite diversion of Ribald, and the rest of the guests.

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