October 17, 2017
Trollope, how I love thee, let me count the ways . . . okay, that would take too long. But just check out all the past Anthony Trollope Cocktail Talks, and you’ll read about my swoons until you are blue in the face. Or at least a light shade of pea flower. Anyway. The Way We Live Now is for many THE Trollope book, the big one, the masterwork of all his masterworks. Me, I love it. But it’s not my favorite. But I see where they’re getting to, as it’s a big book, and incredibly insightful, and less happy (which many like) than some of his others, less friendly, more calling-people-out. Which makes it the perfect book for today’s world, in some way. Really, re-reading it (third time? fourth time?) I was struck by how relevant and right on target it was considering the, oh, self-interested spot we’re all within. I strongly suggest it. Though reading it, you may well (as Lord Nidderdale below) find yourself needing a bottle of bubbly. Hopefully you have more luck than he:
“A bottle of Champagne!” said Nidderdale, appealing to the waiter in almost a humble voice, feeling that he wanted sustenance in this new trouble that had befallen him. The waiter, beaten almost to the ground by an awful sense of the condition of the club, whispered to him the terrible announcement that there was not a bottle of Champagne in the house. “Good G — — ,” exclaimed the unfortunate nobleman. Miles Grendall shook his head. Grasslough shook his head.
“It’s true,” said another young lord from the table on the other side. Then the waiter, still speaking with suppressed and melancholy voice, suggested that there was some port left. It was now the middle of July.
“Brandy?” suggested Nidderdale. There had been a few bottles of brandy, but they had been already consumed. “Send out and get some brandy,” said Nidderdale with rapid impetuosity. But the club was so reduced in circumstances that he was obliged to take silver out of his pocket before he could get even such humble comfort as he now demanded.
–Anthony Trollope, The Way We Live Now
June 20, 2017
My love of Anthony Trollope
is much documented on the many pages of this blog (so many, many pages). You probably are sick of hearing me go on and on, in my spot as the Trollope standard bearer for this here century. But maybe you aren’t – I’m going to believe that, and drop another Trollope quote in, this time from The Claverings
, which, as the back cover tells you, is one of Trollope’s “three faultless books.” They all seem fairly faultless to me (well, okay, maybe that’s overstating), but I do wonder what the back cover blurber thought the other
two were? I’ll never know, but I do know that I don’t drink enough port, so if you want to bring me a bottle (as in the below) I won’t turn it down.
When dinner was over, Burton got up from his seat. “Harry,” said he, “do you like good wine?” Harry said that he did. Whatever women may say about wild fowl, men never profess an indifference to good wine, although there is a theory about the world, quite as incorrect as it is general, that they have given up drinking it. “Indeed I do,” said Harry. “Then I’ll give you a bottle of port,” said Burton, and so saying he left the room.
“I’m very glad you have come to-day,” said Jones, with much gravity. “He never gives me any of that when I’m alone with him; and he never, by any means, brings it out for company.”
“You don’t mean to accuse him of drinking it alone, Tom?” said his sister, laughing.
“I don’t know when he drinks it; I only know when he doesn’t.”
The wine was decanted with as much care as had been given to the concoction of the gravy, and the clearness of the dark liquid was scrutinized with an eye that was full of anxious care. “Now, Cissy, what do you think of that? She knows a glass of good wine when she gets it, as well as you do Harry, in spite of her contempt for the duck.”
— Anthony Trollope, The Claverings
April 18, 2017
. It’s always good to go back to Trollope (for me, that is. For you, too, I hope), re-reading books I love. But it’s also
amazing to uncover one of the few Anthony Trollope books I haven’t yet read (there are only a few left, which is amazing – if that isn’t tooting my own horn too much – when you consider the vast assortment of books he managed to write), which happened recently with a novel called Miss Mackenzie
. And, as you’d expect, it’s a fantastic read, a little different in that the heroine is a bit older than the norm, and in an interesting situation (which is the norm). I don’t want to spoil anything, so won’t say anything more, but it’s a dandy book. Not a lot of drinking, really, and, to be completely honest (not a bad thing, most days), the below isn’t even a drinking quote, in a cocktail or spirits or etc. way. But it feels like one! Maybe it is, in a way, too. Hmm. Either way, it is amazing. You’ll agree. I can feel it.
“I have heard a great deal about Mr. Stumfold,” continued Mr. Rubb, not appearing to observe the lady’s altered manner, “not only here and where I have been for the last few days, but up in London also. He is quite a public character, you know.”
“Clergymen in towns, who have large congregations, always must so be, I suppose.”
“Well, yes; more or less. But Mr. Stumfold is decidedly more, and not less. People say he is going in for a bishopric.”
“I had not heard it,” said Miss Mackenzie, who did not quite understand what was meant by going in for a bishopric.
“Oh, yes, and a very likely man he would have been a year or two ago. But they say the prime minister has changed his tap lately.”
“Changed his tap!” said Miss Mackenzie.
“He used to draw his bishops very bitter, but now he draws them mild and creamy. I dare say Stumfold did his best, but he didn’t quite get his hay in while the sun shone.”
–Anthony Trollope, Miss Mackenzie
May 24, 2016
Anthony Trollop and I hang out, usually over some port. It’s a swell time, and as a long-time reader of this blog (which you are, right? Right?), you probable already know this, cause of past Trollope Cocktail Talks (which I know you’ve read, right? Right?), and my general fawning over him. I recently just re-read the first of the awesome Palliser novels, a book called Can You Forgive Her. Not the tops of that series of his (to me, the Phineas books are best), but still amazingly good. And it has this quote, which tells about how a good whiskey drink is a swell mood-changer.
And when he got to his club the waiters found him quite unmanageable about his dinner, which he ate alone, rejecting all proposition of companionship. But later in the evening he regained his composure over a glass of whiskey-toddy and a cigar. “She’s got her own money,” he said to himself, “and what does it matter? I don’t suppose she’ll marry her cousin. I don’t think she’s fool enough for that. And after all she’ll probably make it up again with John Grey.” And in this way he determined that he might let this annoyance run off him, and that he need not as a father take the trouble of any interference.
–Can You Forgive Her, Anthony Trollope
November 10, 2015
You know this, because you’re a regular reader: I love books by Anthony Trollope. I believe there are more Trollope Cocktail Talk posts than any other type. So, I’m not going to go in deep into the whys and such here (go read the older posts, if you’ve missed any, which you probably haven’t, because you’re a regular reader). Here, instead, we’re diving in quick to a quote from Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite, a shorter, lesser-known Trollope sparkler. Actually, though it sparkles in some ways, it’s also probably one of the top five most-depressing-ending Trollope books. Still worth a read, but don’t expect it to be all smiles once that last page is turned. Maybe you’ll even need a drink?
Early on the morning after George’s return he was run to ground by Mr. Boltby’s confidential clerk, at the hotel behind the club. It was so early, to George at least, that he was still in bed. But the clerk, who had breakfasted at eight, been at his office by nine, and had worked hard for two hours and a half since, did not think it at all early. George, who knew that his pheasant-shooting pleasure was past, and that immediate trouble was in store for him, had consoled himself over-night with a good deal of curaçoa and seltzer and brandy, and had taken these comforting potations after a bottle of Champagne. He was, consequently, rather out of sorts when he was run to ground in his very bedroom by Boltby’s clerk.
– Anthony Trollope, Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite
October 20, 2015
Well, I may have had more Cocktail Talk posts from Anthony Trollope than any other author. I haven’t, like, counted, or anything, so it’s a guess – but a good one. If you’d like to learn about my Trollopean leanings, then you should go browse those posts. Or, read this one first, then browse them. One way or another, browse them! Hah. An Eye For An Eye isn’t consider in the core top Trollopes, but it’s a good read, and one that moves rapidly. There’s lots of Irish coastline, and lots of characters driven in ways that feel appropriate even today, even if the actual kickoff motivations aren’t. There’s also love, revenge, betrayal, and the below quote about drinking with a priest.
The dinner at the priest’s was very jovial. There was a bottle of sherry and there was a bottle of port, procured, chiefly for the sake of appearance, from a grocer’s shop at Ennistimon;–but the whiskey had come from Cork and had been in the priest’s keeping for the last dozen years. He good-humoredly acknowledged that the wine was nothing, but expressed an opinion that Mr. Neville might find it difficult to beat the “sperrits.” “It’s thrue for you, Father Marty,” said the rival priest from Milltown Malbay, “and it’s you that should know good sperrits from bad if ony man in Ireland does.”
–Anthony Trollope, An Eye For An Eye
July 14, 2015
Hey, I think everyone in the world knows this, but if you’re one of the few that don’t, well, I am here to tell you – I love me some Anthony Trollope. I wonder where I rank, now that I’m pondering the whole thing, on the world’s list of Anthony Trollope fans. I’ll bet I’m in the top 100! Really! I’ve read nearly everything (and that’s saying something, cause he was one prolific mid-1800s English writer) and many things twice. I’ve read so much Trollope I’m amazed when I find one of the few books I’ve missed. Amazed and happy, as when I picked up John Caldigate recently. Most of those I haven’t read aren’t considered “major” Trollope works (whatever that means), but damn, I believe John Caligate should get some consideration. One of the more epic Trollope’s I’ve read, it has a huge cast of characters, a sea voyage, some time spent in the Australian gold mines, a bigamy trial, and lots of the English countryside-ing that Trollope is so known for. I loved it. And not just because of the below quote, which describes how a certain farmer drinks his wine.
Then the tray was brought in with wine, and everybody drank everybody’s health, and there was another shaking of hands all round. Mr. Purvidge, it was observed, drank the health of every separate member of the family in a separate bumper, pressing the edge of the glass securely to his lips, and then sending the whole contents down his throat at one throw with a chunk from his little finger.
– Anthony Trollop, John Caldigate
September 23, 2014
I recently picked up a couple Trollope books I hadn’t read before (which is rare – if you don’t know of my Trollopean love, go check out past Trollope Cocktail Talks), thanks to Powell’s, and as long-time readers of this here blog could guess, I was super excited to find them. Both because I could happily read Trollope all day long, and because the books tend to contain a nice bit of Cocktail Talk, too. For example, one of the books was Ralph the Heir, about a somewhat ne’er-do-well running into trouble before some inheritance kicks in, along with being about his much nicer cousins, and how they all end up and with who. It’s fantastic, really. But having a ne’er-do-well means, naturally, that there’s some time spent in clubs and bars, which leads to the below quote – one of the best about how service is sometimes driven.
Mrs. Horsball got out from some secluded nook a special bottle of orange-brandy in his favour – which Lieutenant Cox would have consumed on the day of its opening, had not Mrs. Horsball with considerable acrimony declined to supply his orders. The sister with ringlets smiled and smirked whenever the young Squire went near the bar. The sister in ringlets was given to flirtations of this kind, would listen with sweetest complacency to compliments on her beauty, and would return them with interest. But she never encouraged this sort of intimacy with gentlemen who did not pay their bills, or with those whose dealings with the house were not of a profitable nature. The man who expected that Miss Horsball would smile upon him because he ordered a glass of sherry and bitters or half-a-pint of pale ale was very much mistaken; but the softness of her smile for those who consumed the Moonbeam Champagne was unbounded. Love and commerce with her ran together, and regulated each other in a manner that was exceedingly advantageous to her brother.
–Anthony Trollope, Ralph the Heir