April 23, 2013

Cocktail Talk: The Old Curiosity Shop, Part I

Hey, readers of this blog, you should know this: I’m a big fan of Charles Dickens. Heck, there are a couple Charles Dickens Cocktail Talk posts on here already (as well as a few other odds and sods related to him). He had the stuff, in my opinion. And, so I regularly re-read him, and recently did such with The Old Curiosity Shop. Not my top Dickens pick – not sure what is, really – but still awesomely awesome (I wonder what he would say if someone referred to him that way, way back when). And full of the lovely cast of Dickensian characters, good, bad, really bad, silly, stupid, wonderful, and tipsy. Of course, the latter are what we’re focusing on here. And the book is so filled with good drinkerly quotes that we’re gonna do a whole week of them! Or more. Who knows? Only me, Dickens, and the pony. This first quote’s from the early parts of the book, and makes some true points on soda water and human hair.

He began by remarking that soda-water, though a good thing in the abstract was apt to lie cold upon the stomach unless qualified with ginger, or a small infusion of brandy, which latter article he held to be preferable in all cases, saving for the one consideration of expense. Nobody venturing to dispute these positions, he proceeded to observe that the human hair was a great retainer of tobacco-smoke, and that the young gentlemen of Westminster and Eton, after eating vast quantities of apples to conceal any scent of cigars from their anxious friends, were usually detected in consequence of their heads possessing this remarkable property.

–Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop

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