(See Beans). The pulses, which include Peas, Beans, and Lentils, have been well described as "the poor man's beef," because of their richness in nitrogenous proteids. They specially acquire this property through, small nodules on their roots which consist of bacterial masses endowed with a remarkable power of fixing the free nitrogen of the atmosphere, and of passing it on for the use of the plant. Kitchen garden Peas, when cooked in the usual way, contain from 12 to 16 per cent of carbohydrates, chiefly sugar. "Hot Grey Pease, and a suck of Bacon," (tied to a string of which the stallkeeper held the other end,) was a popular street cry in the London of James the First. The principal proteid of the pulses is legumin, or vegetable casein; indeed, a kind of cheese may be actually prepared from beans. Pulse is the pottage, or porridge, of this tribe. Some of the proteids of the pulses are rich in sulphur, whereby they provoke flatulence through sulphuretted hydrogen; but these seeds are poor in fat, though thoroughly absorbed as to their flour, or meal, within the intestines. Pea soup, if well prepared, and thick, contains in each tablespoonful the equivalent in proteids of one ounce of meat; by making this soup with milk instead of water the amount of proteid is trebled.

But some carbohydrates must be added if the purpose is to satisfy therewith all the requirements of nutrition. These pulses show a deficiency of potash salts compared with their amount of proteids; for meeting which lack, it will answer to add just a little bicarbonate of potash to the water in which they are boiled. Porridge made from Peas ripens, and sweetens, by being kept for little more than a week in a cool place; so that in the quaint old lines concerning it there is shown to be embodied an instructive truth:

"Pease porridge hot, Pease porridge cold, Pease porridge in the pot nine days old".

This maturing takes place on the ensilage principle, and the term of nine days is the limit of time before mouldiness begins. Peas (Pisum arvense) were known to the ancient Greeks, and Romans. Usually the seeds, as contained within the pods, are the only edible part; but the pods themselves of the Sugar Pea, and the String Pea are eaten, as in the case of String Beans. The seeds, when ripe, and hard, are split for use in soups, or are ground into Pease meal. "Yes! yes! madam! I am as like the Due de Richelieu as two Peas: but then they are two old withered grey Peas" (Walpole's letters, 1765). The poet Cowper reminds us that: -

"Daniel ate pulse by choice: example rare! Heaven blest the youth, and made him fresh, and fair".

"Then said Daniel to Melzar (the steward), whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, ' Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days, and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink; then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the King's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.' So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer, and fatter in flesh, than all the children which did eat the portion of the King's meat" (Daniel i. vv. 11-17).

In Germany Peas are thought good for many complaints, especially for wounds, and bruises. They best suit persons who take plenty of active outdoor exercise. The skins of parched Peas when eaten cooked are apt to remain undigested, and to be passed in the excrements.: Pease made into puddings is eaten by the lower classes of most towns, being bought ready prepared at the cooks' shops, a portion thereof wrapped in paper for a penny. In the clever Book of Nonsense (1862) it stands related:

"There was an old person of Dean Who dineti on one pea, and one bean;

' For,' he said, ' more than that Would make me too fat,' That cautious old person of Dean".

Less nourishing satisfaction is got out of the pulses than from suitable animal food by persons who are not robust, or who do not gain their bread by hard bodily work. Lord Tennyson found such to be the case in his instance, and wrote to this effect as his individual experience (in his dedication of the poem Tiresias, to. Edward Fitzgerald, a vegetarian), telling disappointedly about meat-abstainers:

"Who live on meal, and milk, and grass; And once for ten long weeks I tried Your table of Pythagoras, And seem'd at first ' a thing enskied' (As Shakespeare has it): ' airy light To float above the ways of men '; Then fell from that half-spiritual height Until I tasted flesh again. One night when earth was winter black, And all the heavens were flashed in frost, And on me, half asleep, came back That wholesome heat the blood had lost".