July 21, 2020

Cocktail Talk: The Old Curiosity Shop, Part III

old-curiosity-shopWell, this should surprise no-one who knows me in the littlest, but I’ve been re-reading one of Charles Dickens’ legendary books (that category of “legendary” covers all his books, more-or-less), as I do on regular occasions. This time, The Old Curiosity Shop, and as with every time I re-read Dickens, I found more to love that I had forgotten, re-read passages I remembered and loved, and was reminded of the glorious humorousness of Dick Swiveller, the big horror of Quilp and the lesser (though still a horror) horror of Grandfather, the sturdy Kit and his bouncy pony, the mighty small Marchioness, and of course the sweet sad Little Nell – and about a million more! Not to mention the many Cocktail Talk moments, as Dickens (I hope you know this) loved his pubs, tipples, and consumers of beverages cold and hot. Actually, I’ve had two Cocktail Talk posts from The Old Curiosity Shop already, so be sure to read Part I and Part II to start things off with the right flavor (not to mention, though I will, all the other Charles Dickens Cocktail Talks). And then come back, so you can reach this quote about the above-mentioned Dick Swiveller, one of my (many many) Dickens favs, and about “rosy wine” which sounds a bit like Pink Gin in practice!


“’Fred,’ said Mr. Swiveller, ‘remember the once popular melody of Begone dull care; fan the sinking flame of hilarity with the wing of friendship; and pass the rosy wine.’ Mr. Richard Swiveller’s apartments were in the neighbourhood of Drury Lane, and in addition to this convenience of situation had the advantage of being over a tobacconist’s shop, so that he was enabled to procure a refreshing sneeze at any time by merely stepping out upon the staircase, and was saved the trouble and expense of maintaining a snuff-box. It was in these apartments that Mr. Swiveller made use of the expressions above recorded for the consolation and encouragement of his desponding friend; and it may not be uninteresting or improper to remark that even these brief observations partook in a double sense of the figurative and poetical character of Mr. Swiveller’s mind, as the rosy wine was in fact represented by one glass of cold gin-and-water, which was replenished as occasion required from a bottle and jug upon the table, and was passed from one to another, in a scarcity of tumblers which, as Mr. Swiveller’s was a bachelor’s establishment, may be acknowledged without a blush.”



–Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop

August 20, 2013

Cocktail Talk: The Vicar of Bullhampton

trollope-vicarThose who are regular readers (and who among can admit that you are not? None of you, that’s who. Cause then I’d cry, and pout, and do the whole crying-pouting thing, which would make everyone a little embarrassed, so just say you read this blog all the time, okay?) will remember that I’m a big fan of the works of Anthony Trollope. So much so, I have to admit, that I own every book of his that’s readily available, and a number that aren’t as readily available. But there are still a lot that I haven’t read – he was a prolific dude. To track one remaining Trollopean holdout, I had to find a copy via a company called Forgotten Books, which prints facsimiles from old old texts. So, no footnotes here. But that’s okay with me, cause I’m knee deep in another Victorian country tale, one that started early with the following quote (said quote why the book is being mentioned on this blog. But you might have guessed that) talking about the town and about the townspeople’s drink of choice:

There rages a feud in Bullhampton touching this want of a market, as there are certain Bullhamptonites who aver that the charter giving all rights of a market to Bullhampton does exist; and that at one period in its history the market existed also – for a year or two; but the three bakers and the two butchers are opposed to change, and the patriots of the place, though the declaim on the matter over their evening pipes and gin-and-water, have not enough of matutinal zeal to carry out their purpose.

¬ Anthony Trollope, The Vicar of Bullhampton

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