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If on balance we incline to the view that Cooke inspired the mushroom
episode in Alice, this is because Cookes influence is clearly felt in Charles
Kingsleys famous novel, Hereward, the Last oj the English, published in 1866.
In Chapter 10 Kingsley introduces to his readers an old Lappish nurse, living in
England, who possessed the secret of the scarlet toadstools.
Thus it came about that England took delivery of Americas gifts with a Spanish
billing, never suspecting that the humble vegetables from the New World
were now sailing on a false invoice, their genuine virtues lost from view in
the resplendent aura befitting a newly discovered and miraculous aphrodisiac.
The craze for aphrodisiacs seized England too. Falstaff in The Merry Wives
of Windsor invokes them. The Lithuanians do not use the word, nor do the Germanic peoples but the
Jews of Eastern Europe have adopted it in Yiddish, and refer to a girl dressed
up like a pecheritza, as an American might say, like a Christmas tree. With
a transposition of consonants, the word has been taken into both Rumanian,
ciuperca, and Magyar, csoporke. Its derivation has never been clear.
@ Thursday, August 28, 2014 7:05:26 AM