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While upon this subject, it may be as well to state that there are no less than thirteen different flavours1 belonging in common to the fruits and the various juices: the sweet, the luscious, the unctuous, the bitter, the rough, the acrid,2 the pungent, the sharp, the sour, and the salt; in addition to which, there are three other kinds of flavours of a nature that is truly singular. The first of these last kinds is that flavour in which several other flavours are united, as in wine, for instance; for in it we are sensible of the rough, the pungent,3 and the luscious, all at the same moment, and all of them flavours that belong to other substances. The second of these flavours is that in which we are sensible at the same instant of a flavour that belongs to another substance, and yet of one that is peculiar to the individual object of which we are tasting, such as that of milk, for instance: indeed, in milk we cannot correctly say that there is any pronounced flavour that is either sweet, or unctuous, or luscious, a sort of smooth taste4 in the mouth being predominant, which holds the place of a more decided flavour. The third instance is that of water, which has no flavour whatever, nor, indeed, any flavouring principle;5 but still, this very absence of flavour is considered as constituting one of them, and forming a peculiar class6 of itself; so much so, indeed, that if in water any taste or flavouring principle is detected, it is looked upon as impure.

In the perception of all these various flavours the smell plays a very considerable7 part, there being a very great affinity between them. Water, however, is properly quite inodorous: and if the least smell is to be perceived, it is not pure water. It is a singular thing that three of the principal elements8 of Nature—water, air, and fire—should have neither taste nor smell, nor, indeed, any flavouring principle whatever.

1 Fée remarks, that in this enumeration there is no method. Linnæus enumerates eleven principal flavours in the vegetable kingdom—dry or insipid, aqueous, viscous, salt, acrid, styptic, sweet, fat, bitter, acid, and nauseous; these terms, however seem, some of them, to be very indefinite.

2 It requires considerable discernment to appropriate nicely its English synonym to these four varieties of tastes, "acer, acutus, acerbus, and acidus," more especially when we find that the "bitter" and the "rough" are occupied already by the "amarus" and the "austerus."

3 In allusion, probably, to the pungency of the aroma or bouquet.

4 Lenitate.

5 This seems to be the meaning of "succus."

6 The "insipid."

7 This is so much the case, that the most nauseous medicine may be taken almost with impunity—so far as taste is concerned—by tightly pressing the nostrils while taking it.

8 Fée remarks that this is true of fire, and of distilled or perfectly pure water; but that physiologists are universally agreed that the air has its own peculiar smell.

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