In yesterday's post, Bernard Queneau mentioned a "little mishap by breaking the neatsfeet oil. Even worse, he got the "biggest shell" and got dirty. I imagine the "biggest shell" referred to the way the Boy Scouts determined who was going to have to do whatever it was they had to do with that neatsfeet oil.
Nor, had I ever heard of neatsfeet oil, so had to look it up. Good old Wikipedia said it is a yellow oil rendered from the shinbone or feet of cattle. Neat is from an old English word for cattle.
It was used in conditioning, softening or preserving leather in the 18th century. The highest grades of it are used as a lubricant and also used on working equipment.
So, they had neatsfeet along on the tour to either soften the leather seats or on the engine. Either way, spilling it must have involved a messy cleanup.
As far as Bernard's initiation "into the Order of the Rainbow of the Masquantchee tribe," I was unable to find anything about this tribe. Perhaps he misspelled the name?
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