There is no doubt a difficulty in the poor keeping a goat for each family, unless they are near a good common with grazing rights, which exceptional circumstance is practically not worth reckoning. My idea is that as philanthropic people abound everywhere, some of these might be the goat-keepers of the district, and either send the goats, in charge of a boy, round to the cottage doors to be milked there in a small measure, to be charged for at a remunerative price, or have the goats milked at home at an early hour in the morning and evening, so that the children might fetch the milk before and after school-hours. The charitable, on the other hand, who do not fear to give - such as the clergyman, the nurse, the district visitor, &c. - might keep goats for their own use and give away milk for sick children and other urgent cases.
Only time and patience will get rid of the prejudice against goats which exists in all classes, and may be partly due to experiences at Gibraltar, Malta, Corsica, and parts of Switzerland where the goat's milk is almost undrinkable. This unpleasant smell and flavour is caused by wrong feeding, by dirty hands in milking, and by letting the milk stand too long. The delicious bruccio, of Corsica, is a fresh curd made from goat's milk. Julius Caesar openly avowed he preferred the plebeian goat's cheese to the greatest delicacies of the table, and the newspapers say President Loubet does the same.
In the dim distance it does not seem to me impossible that useful foods may be made from sheep's milk, especially while lambs are still killed for meat.
One of the chief recommendations of goat's milk in these days of nervousness about the danger of cow's milk, is that goats are among the few animals entirely exempt from tubercular disease. Sir William Broadbent, writing on the prevention of consumption, says, 'It is interesting to note that asses and goats do not suffer from tuberculosis.' It is a continual surprise to me that goats are not kept to supply the consumptive sanatoriums, and I hope this most important measure may be adopted at the King's new Hospital, for the prejudice of the patients might be met in the same way as the French chef met the demand for agneau-de-lait as stated before.
The other day a friend came to see me who had last year been interested in my goat-talk. She told me she had bought a goat for her baby and was going to buy another, as both she and her children liked it so much. She said with pride, on my showing her my comparatively ugly black and white hornless mongrel, that her goats were beautiful fawnand white Toggenburgs.I felt humbled, and she said, 'Don't you know the goat-farm at Guildford, kept by Mr. Gates, the head of the West Surrey Dairy Co.?' A few days afterwards I and a friend, who was herself anxious to keep goats, started for Guildford. Arrived at the station I suddenly remembered that I wanted to order a book, and trying the penny in the slot post-card box, found to my disgust that the cards were unstamped. I think the sale of these post-cards would greatly increase if, instead of two comparatively useless cards at a penny, one, stamped ready for use, were sold at the same price. The diminution of profit would probably be covered by the additional sale. We walked up to the dairy and felt a little flat when told that Mr. Gates was not there and lived three miles away. The clerk suggested that we might talk to his nephew. This we accordingly did, and heard that Mr. Gates was going to sell the whole herd, as it had been a hobby and he no longer had time to devote to it. It being part of the vegetarian creed to be cheerful under disappointment, we resolved to spend our two hours before the return train in loafing about the picturesque old town.
Our first excitement was finding the Market Place filled with a detachment of Engineers, whose carts looked rather like Chinese junks and whose Boer hats and rough costume, to our imagination, conveyed the impression that they were just back from the front with all the South African dust and sunburn still thick upon them. On inquiry we found they had only returned a short time ago, but they had been on manoeuvres in the neighbourhood, and the junks turned out to be pontoons, the dust being good Surrey sand.
Passing beautiful fruit shops, so rare in the villages near me, we bought two very cheap market baskets and proceeded to load them with fruits of all kinds which had suddenly floodedthe market from the lateness of the season, and were plentiful and cheap. Our next search was for almonds, but walking up the High Street I was suddenly glued to the window of a curiosity shop by the sight of a gorgeous blue and green fish, different from any I had in the china aquarium of fish which swim over my ugly hall stove on the whitewashed wall at home. Finding the price moderate, I yielded to the temptation to make the fish share the basket with my fruit. We then went to the best looking grocer's shop we could find, and my friend, who is an almond-fancier, asked if they had any Jordans. Fortunately for us they had bought in an extra large supply in the season, and had plenty of this kind at 2s. per lb., a great improvement upon the Valencias at Is. &d. The disappointment sometimes caused to housekeepers by receiving bitter almonds, with the possible result that the nourishing item of a guest's meal has to be left out, may be guarded against by ordering 'second quality Jordan almonds,' which are Is. 10d. per lb. at the Stores. The twopence extra is well worth while to those who have once appreciated the difference between them and Valencias, which are the same in shape and size as the bitter almonds, so that it is impossible for a cook to know she is preparing uneatable food if she gets the latter by mistake. It is extravagant to buy the best Jordans at 3s. per lb., when the second quality are as good except for size. The shape, a very long oval, is the same, quite unlike the squat oval of the Valencia almond.