Singe the bird if necessary. Wash under running water and dry thoroughly with paper towels.
Sprinkle the inside of the bird with salt and pepper and fill the cavity three-fourths full with the stuffing of your choice. Close the opening by sewing or by using small skewers and crisscrossing fine string between. Truss the bird to hold the wings and legs securely (see step photographs). Rub the skin with the softened butter.
Place the chicken, breast up, in a roasting pan and cook for about ten minutes, until the breast is lightly browned, basting once with a mixture of the melted butter and oil.
Turn the chicken on one side, baste, and cook for ten minutes longer. Turn to the other side and repeat.
Reduce oven heat to moderate (350°F.). Leave the chicken on its side, baste frequently, and cook for about thirty minutes longer. Sprinkle the chicken lightly with salt and turn onto the other side. Cook for another fifteen minutes. Turn breast side up, baste, and cook for a further fifteen minutes. Total roasting time for a four-pound chicken is approximately one and one-half hours.
The chicken is done when the drumstick moves easily in the socket and juices coming from the joint are no longer pink. When done, discard trussing strings, thread, pins, etc., and place the bird on a hot platter. Allow the bird to rest for five to ten minutes before carving.