Porridge, the reader may take my word for it, is a very panacea or universal remedy for all ills besetting the sensory organs. For blurriness of vision, cataracts, or the squint, it is a medicine without peer; for deafness, tinnitus, or that dull drone or echo in the auditory chamber that is the especial plague of miners, it is a godsend; it intensifies the smell, and hones and vivifies the gustatory faculty, both of which tend to wither and flag with the onset of middle age. But it is as a tonic for the sense of touch that porridge reserves its supremest powers. The tactile membranes of the skin are (as Myriagmus remarks in his De Deorum Frumentia) both the first to take form in the genetic development of infants, and the last to depart this world in death; which latter fact may be demonstrated by that tendency shewn by the skin of a corpse, in the hour or so from its earthly tenant’s demise, to shift and draw under the touch of the hand, as if unwilling to sever so soon its final communication with the human and living world. Likewise touch was the first of the channels by which man became conscious of his Maker; for it must be supposed that the divine Sculptor, when he fashioned Adam from the clay of Eden, made the primal man’s body before He made his eyes or ears, and therefore that our first father knew the touch of a Godly chisel ere he ever heard his Lord’s voice call to him or saw Him walking in that fragrant and primeval garden. Thus the sense of touch, it may be said, is at once our most precious memento of the youth of mankind, ‘ere ever sin came into the world’, and our sole genuine ticket for that ultimate passage we must all make to a place where all sin shall be either purged with flames terrible but transient, or punished by fires the agony of whose heat shall seem cool beside the all-consuming knowledge that they will burn unquenchably and eternally.

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December 21, 2012 · 10:42 pm

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