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Our people, however, are more wise; for they only esteem the goose for the goodness of its liver.1 When they are crammed, this grows to a very large size, and on being taken from the animal, is made still larger by being soaked in honeyed milk.2 And, indeed, it is not without good reason that it is matter of debate who it was that first discovered so great a delicacy; whether, in fact, it was Scipio Metellus, a man of consular dignity, or M. Seius, a contemporary of his, and a Roman of equestrian rank. However, a thing about which there is no dispute, it was Messalinus Cotta, the son of the orator Messala, who first discovered the art of roasting the webbed feet of the goose, and of cooking them in a ragout with cocks' combs: for I shall faithfully award each culinary palm to such as I shall find deserving of it. It is a wonderful fact, in relation to this bird, that it comes on foot all the way from the country of the Morini3 to Rome; those that are tired are placed in the front rank, while the rest, taught by a natural instinct to move in a compact body, drive them on.

A second income, too, is also to be derived from the feathers of the white goose. In some places, this animal is plucked twice a year, upon which the feathers quickly grow again. Those are the softest which lie nearest to the body, and those that come from Germany are the most esteemed: the geese there are white, but of small size, and are called gantœ.4 The price paid for their feathers is five denarii per pound. It is from this fruitful source that we have repeated charges brought against the commanders of our auxiliaries, who are in the habit of detaching whole cohorts from the posts where they ought to be on guard, in pursuit of these birds: indeed, we have come to such a pitch of effeminacy, that now-a-days, not even the men can think of lying down without the aid of the goose's feathers, by way of pillow.

1 See B. viii. c. 87. Horace also mentions that they were fattened with figs.

2 "Lacte mulso." Perhaps honey, wine, and milk.

3 In Gaul. See B. iv. c. 31.

4 "Gans" is still the German name. Hence our word "gander."

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