Cocktail Talk: Nicholas Nickleby, Part II
We’re going to jump right in and continue Cocktail Talking with Mr. Charles Dickens and Nicholas Nickleby, in honor of me recently re-reading it. If you missed our Nicholas Nickleby Cocktail Talk Part I, be sure and go back to read it. For this one, we’re going to head to one of the villains of the piece, and one of the great names that Dickens is so famous for: Mr. Squeers, one of the worst headmasters (vaguely, at least) in fiction, and one who is fortifying himself with “raw spirits” in the below quote.
It’s pretty nigh the time to wait upon the old woman. From what she said last night, I suspect that if I’m to succeed at all, I shall succeed tonight; so I’ll have half a glass more, to wish myself success, and put myself in spirits. Mrs Squeers, my dear, your health!’
Leering with his one eye as if the lady to whom he drank had been actually present, Mr Squeers–in his enthusiasm, no doubt–poured out a full glass, and emptied it; and as the liquor was raw spirits, and he had applied himself to the same bottle more than once already, it is not surprising that he found himself, by this time, in an extremely cheerful state, and quite enough excited for his purpose.
What this purpose was soon appeared; for, after a few turns about the room to steady himself, he took the bottle under his arm and the glass in his hand, and blowing out the candle as if he purposed being gone some time, stole out upon the staircase, and creeping softly to a door opposite his own, tapped gently at it.
— Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby