Wash and cut the stalks of equal length, trimming off the woody ends. Tie them in a bunch, with a strip of muslin. Put into plenty of boiling water, salted. Boil very gently one hour, longer if old. Have ready three or four slices of toasted bread; dip them in the asparagus water ; butter them and lay on a hot platter. When the asparagus is tender, take it out carefully, so as not to break it. Lay it in the middle of the dish, remove the string, and arrange the asparagus over the toast. Cover with thin shavings of butter.
Another way is to pour over all a sauce made as follows : Pour off all but about half a cupful of the asparagus liquor. Add half a cupful of milk, and thicken it while boiling, with one tablespoonful of flour, rubbed smooth in another half cupful of milk. Add butter size of an egg, and let it boil till smooth and thick as custard. The yolk of an egg added at the last is an improvement.
Asparagus liquor should always be saved for soup, if you are making it.