Friday, May 14, 2010
The Moor Park Apricot, part 1
"It was only the spring twelvemonth before Mr. Norris's death that we put in the apricot against the stable wall, which is now grown such a noble tree, and getting to such perfection, sir," addressing herself then to Dr. Grant.
"The tree thrives well, beyond a doubt, madam," replied Dr. Grant. "The soil is good; and I never pass it without regretting that the fruit should be so little worth the trouble of gathering."
"Sir, it is a Moor Park, we bought it as a Moor Park, and it cost us--that is, it was a present from Sir Thomas, but I saw the bill--and I know it cost seven shillings, and was charged as a Moor Park."
"You were imposed on, ma'am," replied Dr. Grant: "these potatoes have as much the flavour of a Moor Park apricot as the fruit from that tree. It is an insipid fruit at the best; but a good apricot is eatable, which none from my garden are."
"The truth is, ma'am," said Mrs. Grant, pretending to whisper across the table to Mrs. Norris, "that Dr. Grant hardly knows what the natural taste of our apricot is: he is scarcely ever indulged with one, for it is so valuable a fruit; with a little assistance, and ours is such a remarkably large, fair sort, that what with early tarts and preserves, my cook contrives to get them all."
(Jane Austen, Mansfield Park; engraving from Pomona Londinensis by William Hooker, 1818)
Today, I bought an apricot for my garden.
It cost $19.99, and was charged as a Moor Park.