October 12, 2021

Cocktail Talk: An Old Man’s Love, Part II

an-old-mans-love-trollopeI wasn’t sure we’d have two An Old Man’s Love Cocktail Talks, as it’s a quicker read (especially in comparison with many Trollope gems). However, here we are! I had to feature the quote in Part I (read it, to find out why, and to find out more about the book, the last full novel written by the English great, and for even more, check out all the Trollope Cocktail Talks), and then when mulling things over, didn’t want to miss the below, either. In it, we learn our lead character has had drinking whiskey as a doctor’s recommendation – something that doesn’t happen enough today!

 

He had, indeed, felt but little his want of success in regard to money, but he had encountered failure in one or two other matters which had touched him nearly. In some things his life had been successful; but these were matters in which the world does not write down a man’s good luck as being generally conducive to his happiness. He had never had a headache, rarely a cold, and not a touch of the gout. One little finger had become crooked, and he was recommended to drink whisky, which he did willingly,—because it was cheap. He was now fifty, and as fit, bodily and mentally, for hard work as ever he had been.

 

–Anthony Trollope, An Old Man’s Love

 

October 5, 2021

Cocktail Talk: An Old Man’s Love, Part I

an-old-mans-love-trollopeFirst published in 1884, An Old Man’s Love was the last novel completed by the Spiked Punch’s pal Anthony Trollope, published after his death (there’s one more unfinished novel, too – oh, and check out all the Trollope Cocktail Talks to learn more, in an overall way, while having oodles of reading fun), and also one of the few novels by him that I’d yet to read, until recently! It’s a short novel, and almost could have slipped into novella size, though I’d hate to miss all but a few of his last words. I wouldn’t put it into the super-awesome tier of Trollope, as it’s fairly one-path’d as opposed to his thicker, more layered pieces. But it’s a good study of just what the title would have you believe: an older gentleman falls for his younger ward and nearly marries her – but then a past love of her’s shows up, and stuff ensues, as you’d expect. There are a few other pertinent characters, including the old man’s (Mr. Whittlestaff, that is), housekeeper, with whom he has some funny exchanges, and her drunken reprobate of an estranged husband. The latter is featured in the below quote, which itself also features one of my favorite phrases, “drunk as a lord.” This phrase usage is really why the below makes it to Cocktail Talk status. Drunk as a lord! I’ve been there, my friends.

 

On the next morning, when John Gordon reached the corner of the road at which stood Croker’s Hall, he met, outside on the roadway, close to the house, a most disreputable old man with a wooden leg and a red nose. This was Mr. Baggett, or Sergeant Baggett as he was generally called, and was now known about all Alresford to be the husband of Mr. Whittlestaff’s housekeeper. For news had got abroad, and tidings were told that Mr. Baggett was about to arrive in the neighbourhood to claim his wife. Everybody knew it before the inhabitants of Croker’s Hall. And now, since yesterday afternoon, all Croker’s Hall knew it, as well as the rest of the world. He was standing there close to the house, which stood a little back from the road, between nine and ten in the morning, as drunk as a lord. But I think his manner of drunkenness was perhaps in some respects different from that customary with lords. Though he had only one leg of the flesh, and one of wood, he did not tumble down, though he brandished in the air the stick with which he was accustomed to disport himself. A lord would, I think, have got himself taken to bed. But the Sergeant did not appear to have any such intention.

 

— Anthony Trollope, An Old Man’s Love

August 17, 2021

Cocktail Talk: Orley Farm, Part IV

orley-farmYou may have thought it couldn’t be done, but we’re back to Orley Farm after our cinematic sidestep last week, and I’m going to have one more Mr. Moulder Cocktail Talk from the Trollope novel (I may have more Cocktail Talks from the book that don’t feature him, too. Only time will tell pals, and even it might not know!). But we’ve had a few of him in his higher moments, and so I only felt it was right to have one when he’s snoozing away after a long day shilling for Hubbles and Grease and swilling brandy and water (and perhaps other potent potables, too). However, it’s the description of his waking in the below quote that does the most for me. Oh, before I forget! Don’t miss the Orley Farm Cocktail Talks Part I, Part II, and Part III for more about the book itself, and all the Anthony Trollope Cocktail Talks (there are a few!) for more Trollopean fun.

 

Soon after that Mr. Kenneby saw Mrs. Smiley home in a cab, and poor Mrs. Moulder sat by her lord till he roused himself from his sleep. Let us hope that her troubles with him were as little vexatious as possible; and console ourselves with the reflection that at twelve o’clock the next morning, after the second bottle of soda and brandy, he was ‘as sweet as sweet.’

 

–Anthony Trollope, Orley Farm

July 20, 2021

Cocktail Talk: Orley Farm, Part III

orley-farmOur third Orley Farm Cocktail Talk revisits a character introduced in Part II (for more on the overall book, see Part I, and for more Trollopean fun, see all past Anthony Trollope Cocktail Talks), traveling salesman for Hubbles and Grease, Mr. Moulder. In this quote, we find our rotund commercial traveler at home for Christmas celebrations, where he and his missus are hosting a few others for a big feast, and where Mr. Moulder is talking of the liquid possibilities for the day, specifically brandy and a special whiskey,

 

And then, as for drink, —”tipple,” as Mr. Moulder sportively was accustomed to name it among his friends, he opined that he was not altogether behind the mark in that respect. “He had got some brandy—he didn’t care what anybody might say about Cognac and eau de vie; but the brandy which he had got from Betts’ private establishment seventeen years ago, for richness of flavour and fullness of strength, would beat any French article that anybody in the city could show. That at least was his idea. If anybody didn’t like it, they needn’t take it. There was whisky that would make your hair stand on end.” So said Mr. Moulder, and I can believe him; for it has made my hair stand on end merely to see other people drinking it.

 

— Anthony Trollope, Orley Farm

July 13, 2021

Cocktail Talk: Orley Farm, Part II

orley-farmWelcome to the second part of our tipsy tour through the Anthony Trollope novel Orley Farm (don’t miss Part I, or any of the past Anthony Trollope Cocktail Talks). In the first part, I chatted a smidge about the novel itself, and where it slots into my own personal Trollope-verse, if you will. One thing I didn’t mention there, however, is perhaps my top character in the book, a commercial traveler (or traveling salesman, if you will), named Mr, Moulder, a lover of food and drink and a representative of the fine old firm of Hubbles and Grease, purveyors of find coffee, tea, and brandy. Randomly showing up when one of the novel’s major players stops at a fine old English inn, The Bull, Mr. Moulder shows up again, and I was happier for it. But the below quote (they’ll be more from our Mr. Moulder) is in his introduction graph, and gives a nice view into him, if you will.

 

He wore no beard, and therefore showed plainly the triple bagging of his fat chin. In spite of his overwhelming fatness, there was something in his face that was masterful and almost vicious. His body had been overcome by eating, but not as yet his spirit—one would be inclined to say. This was Mr. Moulder, well known on the road as being in the grocery and spirit line; a pushing man, who understood his business, and was well trusted by his firm in spite of his habitual intemperance. What did the firm care whether or no he killed himself by eating and drinking? He sold his goods, collected his money, and made his remittances. If he got drunk at night that was nothing to them, seeing that he always did his quota of work the next day. But Mr. Moulder did not get drunk. His brandy and water went into his blood, and into his eyes, and into his feet, and into his hands, —but not into his brain.

 

–Anthony Trollope, Orley Farm

 

July 6, 2021

Cocktail Talk: Orley Farm, Part I

orley-farmWell, I love me some Anthony Trollope. But everyone knows that. I mean, take a gander at all the past wonderful (I say, humbly), Anthony Trollope Cocktail Talk posts – there are a fair number of them where I wander on about Trollope and reading and re-reading his books. So, my Trollope adoration bonafides are in place, which means it’s okay to say that I’m not 100% sure that I love his large novel Orley Farm. There are parts of it I love, lots. And I believe Trollope himself considered it one of his best (it may have been his favorite), as did a few of his writing contemporaries. And it is a big, Trollopean story, with interesting characters, a plot hook or three, threads that start in multiple spots and are drawn together, and insights and actions that, while taking place in a different time, mirror in many ways how people act today. So, all good! However, there’s something that throws me off a bit about the book. I think in some ways, Trollope (this happens in other books on occasion, too, but here it feels off-putting) begins not to like one of the characters he introduces early (one of the spotlight characters, you could say), and brings in a separate thread, fairly late for him, to introduce perhaps some new characters he’s more fond of – if that makes any sense. Which throws me off somewhat when reading it, as I develop an affection for the earlier character. Anyway, let’s just say it’s not one of my favorite Trollope books, but it’s still awesome, with a plot spinning (in the main, outside of the side trips alluded to above) around a codicil to a will that may or may not be forged. Intrigued? Give it a read! There are also lots of convivial drinking moments, as there are apt to be with our pal Trollope, so I plan on sticking with the book here with some good Cocktail Talking quotes. Starting with the below, which focuses on port and one of the lawyers who take part in our tale, there are a number of lawyers, as you might expect with a book circling round a will.

 

Mrs. Furnival in discussing her grievances would attribute them mainly to port wine. In his early days Mr. Furnival had been essentially an abstemious man. Young men who work fifteen hours a day must be so. But now he had a strong opinion about certain Portuguese vintages, was convinced that there was no port wine in London equal to the contents of his own bin, saving always a certain green cork appertaining to his own club, which was to be extracted at the rate of thirty shillings a cork. And Mrs. Furnival attributed to these latter studies not only a certain purple hue which was suffusing his nose and cheeks, but also that unevenness of character and those supposed domestic improprieties to which allusion has been made.

 

–Anthony Trollope, Orley Farm

 

 

October 13, 2020

Cocktail Talk: Mrs. General Talboys (or Early Short Stories, Part III)

trollope-early-short-storiesThe third of our Cocktail Talks from the Trollope collection Early Short Stories (be sure to catch up on Part I and Part II, so as not to cause Trollope any sadness in the great library beyond) takes place in Rome, amongst a group of writerly and artistically and wannna-be ex-pats, and includes a little, oh, confused affection let’s say, and some bubbly, and some ruins, and Trollope’s eye into human foibles and drive, and ability to picture the 1800’s scene perfectly. Oh, before you pour the below though, don’t miss the array of past Anthony Trollope Cocktail Talk posts, which are oodles of fun, too.

She did not come among us on the occasion of this banquet, possibly because we had no tables there to turn in preparation for her presence; but, had she done so, she could not have been more eloquent of things of the other world than was Mrs. Talboys.  I have said that Mrs. Talboys’ eye never glanced more brightly after a glass of Champagne, but I am inclined to think that on this occasion it may have done so.  O’Brien enacted Ganymede, and was, perhaps, more liberal than other latter-day Ganymedes, to whose services Mrs. Talboys had been accustomed.  Let it not, however, be suspected by any one that she exceeded the limits of a discreet joyousness.  By no means!  The generous wine penetrated, perhaps, to some inner cells of her heart, and brought forth thoughts in sparkling words, which otherwise might have remained concealed; but there was nothing in what she thought or spoke calculated to give umbrage either to an anchorite or to a vestal.  A word or two she said or sung about the flowing bowl, and once she called for ; but beyond this her converse was chiefly of the rights of man and the weakness of women; of the iron ages that were past, and of the golden time that was to come.

— Anthony Trollope, “Mrs. General Talboys”

October 6, 2020

Cocktail Talk: John Bull On The Guadalquivir (or Early Short Stories, Part II)

trollope-early-short-storiesRecently, I had a Cocktail Talk from a story within the Anthony Trollope collection called, easily enough, Early Short Stories, a collection I picked up not long before that posting, thereby getting my complete Trollope collection that much closer to actual completion (and it’s pretty close!). Just to take a peek into the breadth of the Trollopean shelves, don’t miss the past Anthony Trollope Cocktail Talk posts, and for that matter don’t miss the Negus-packed Early Short Stories Part I post. But don’t miss this one, either, which takes place in Spain, which we visit alongside our English narrator. It’s one of my favorite stories in the collection, a comedy story of sorts, but also with the eye for detail and place most Trollope stories contain, and having the nice below sherry description.

I landed at Cadiz, and was there joined by an old family friend, one of the very best fellows that ever lived.  He was to accompany me up as far as Seville; and, as he had lived for a year or two at Xeres, was supposed to be more Spanish almost than a Spaniard.  His name was Johnson, and he was in the wine trade; and whether for travelling or whether for staying at home—whether for paying you a visit in your own house, or whether for entertaining you in his—there never was (and I am prepared to maintain there never will be) a stauncher friend, choicer companion, or a safer guide than Thomas Johnson.  Words cannot produce a eulogium sufficient for his merits.  But, as I have since learned, he was not quite so Spanish as I had imagined.  Three years among the bodegas of Xeres had taught him, no doubt, to appreciate the exact twang of a good, dry sherry; but not, as I now conceive, the exactest flavour of the true Spanish character.  I was very lucky, however, in meeting such a friend, and now reckon him as one of the staunchest allies of the house of Pomfret, Daguilar, and Pomfret.

–Anthony Trollope, “John Bull On The Guadalquivir”

Rathbun on Film