[Sca-cooks] mmmm... movie......
Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius
adamantius.magister at verizon.net
Fri Aug 4 10:06:19 PDT 2006
On Aug 4, 2006, at 11:35 AM, Kathleen A Roberts wrote:
> On Fri, 4 Aug 2006 08:16:13 -0700
> "Anne-Marie Rousseau" <dailleurs at liripipe.com> wrote:
>> I make watching that movie required for any new
>> autocrate or feast head
>> I'm mentoring :).
> that is a VERY good idea! gotta remember that.
The movie is excellent, and adds quite a lot of depth to the
relatively bare historical accounts, but to me, the be-all and end-
all is the simple account of the death of Vatel in a contemporary
letter by Madame de Sevigny:
'It is Sunday, the 26th of April; this letter will not go till
Wednesday. It is not really a letter, but an account, which Moreuil
has just given me for your benefit, of what happened at Chantilly
concerning Vatel. I wrote you on Friday that he had stabbed himself;
here is the story in detail.
The promenade, the collation in a spot carpeted with jonquils, - all
was going to perfection. Supper came; the roast failed at one or two
tables on account of a number of unexpected guests. This upset Vatel.
He said several times, "My honor is lost; this is a humiliation that
I cannot endure." To Gourville he said, "My head is swimming; I have
not slept for twelve nights; help me to give my orders." Gourville
consoled him as best he could, but the roast which had failed, not at
the king's, but at the twenty-fifth table, haunted his mind.
Gourville told Monsieur le Prince about it, and Monsieur le Prince
went up to Vatel in his own room and said to him, "Vatel, all goes
well; there never was anything so beautiful as the king's supper." He
answered, "Monseigneur, your goodness overwhelms me. I know that the
roast failed at two tables." "Nothing of the sort," said Monsieur le
Prince. "Do not disturb yourself, all is well."
Midnight comes. The fireworks do not succeed on account of a cloud
that overspreads them (they cost sixteen thousand francs). At four
o'clock in the morning Vatel is wandering about all over the place.
Everything is asleep. He meets a small purveyor with two loads of
fish and asks him, "Is this all?" "Yes, sir." The man did not know
that Vatel had sent to all the seaport towns in France. Vatel waits
some time, but the other purveyors do not arrive; he gets excited; he
thinks that there will he no more fish. He finds Gourville and says
to him, "Sir, I shall not be able to survive this disgrace."
Gourville only laughs at him. Then Vatel goes up to his own room,
puts his sword against the door, and runs it through his heart, but
only at the third thrust, for he gave himself two wounds which were
not mortal. He falls dead.
Meanwhile the fish is coming in from every side, and people are
seeking for Vatel to distribute it. They go to his room, they knock,
they burst open the door, they find him lying bathed in his blood.
They send for Monsieur le Prince, who is in utter despair. Monsieur
le Duc bursts into tears; it was upon Vatel that his whole journey to
Burgundy depended. Monsieur le Prince informed the king, very sadly;
they agreed that it all came from Vatel's having his own code of
honor, and they praised his courage highly even while they blamed
him. The king said that for five years he had delayed his coming
because he knew the extreme trouble his visit would cause. He said to
Monsieur le Prince that he ought not to have but two tables and not
burden himself with the responsibility for everybody, and that he
would not permit Monsieur le Prince to do so again; but it was too
late for poor Vatel.
Gourville, however, tried to repair the loss of Vatel, and did repair
it. The dinner was excellent; so was the luncheon. They supped, they
walked, they played, they hunted. The scent of jonquils was
everywhere; it was all enchanting.'
I'm not completely convinced the movie comes across as being so
cynically comforting as this...
However, this does explain to those who know me why, when they
complain about their difficulties in running a feast, I tend to ask
if everything was at least scented with jonquils.
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