Tag Archives: pineapples

Charles Dickens on globalization and pineapples

From Charles Dickens in his tome “On Travel“, p51-2:

When Don Diego de–I forget his name–the inventor of the last new flying machines, price so many francs for ladies, so many more for gentlemen–when Don Diego, by permission of Deputy Chaff Wax and his noble band, shal have taken out a patent for the Queen’s dominions, and shall have opened a commodious warehouse inĀ  an airy situation; and when all persons of any gentility will keep at least a pair of wings, and be seen skimming about in every direction; I shall take a flight to Paris (as I soar round the world) in a cheap and independent manner. At present, my reliance is on the South Eastern Railway Company, in whose xpress train here I sit, at eight of the clock on a very hot morning, under the very hot roof of the terminus at London Bridge, in danger of being ‘forced’ like a cucumber or a melon, or a pineapple–and talking of pineapples, I suppose there were never so many pineapples in a train as there appear to be in this train.

Whew! The hothouse air is faint with pineapples. Every French citizen or citizeness is carrying pineapples home. The compact little enchantress in the corner of my carriage (French actress, to whom I yielded up my heart under the auspices of that brave child ‘Meat-chell’, at the St. James’s Theatre of the night befor last) has a pineapple in her lap. Compact Enchantress’s friend, confidante, mother, mystery, Heaven knows what, has two pineapples in her lap, and a bundle of them under the seat. Tobacco-smoky Frenchmen in Algerine wrapper, with peaked hood forward, who might be Abd-el-Kader dyed rifle-green, and who seems to be dressed entirely in dirt and braid, carries pineapples in a covered basket. Tall, grave, melancholy Frenchman, with black Vandyke beard, and hair close-cropped with expansive chest to waistcoat, and compressive waist to coat, saturnine as to his pantaloons, calm as to his feminine boots, precious as to his jewellery, smooth and white as to his linen, dark-eyed, high-foreheaded, hawk-nosed–got up, one thinks, like Lucifer or Mephistopheles, of Zamiel, transformed into a highly genteel Parisian, has the green end of a pineapple sticking out of his neat valise.

Pineapples, by the way, are originally from south Brazil/Paraguay, and were first brought back to Europe by Christopher Columbus.

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