December 12, 2017

Cocktail Talk: The Three Clerks, Part I

Image result for three clerks trollopeI recently re-read The Three Clerks by the awesome Anthony Trollope – one of his earlier books, and one at the time that he himself called “the best novel I have ever written.” It was his sixth novel, out of a whole lot of novels, and weaves together the story of, as you might expect from the title, three clerks working in government offices in London, with varying degrees of success. Another thing you might expect, after reading that briefest of descriptions, is that these young gentlemen probably enjoy a sip of the tipsy now and again – being young and out on the town. Which is why there are a lot of good cocktail talking in here, enough that I’ve already had one Cocktail Talk quote from The Three Clerks on the Spiked Punch. But with the re-reading, I realized just how many there are! So, a few more are demanded, I say, in honor of Trollope. Starting with this gem that contains multiple booze-y treats, as an old sailor-y uncle of a few other main characters looks for a drink.

He had dined in town, and by the time that his chamber had been stripped of its appendages, he was nearly ready for bed. Before he did so, he was asked to take a glass of sherry.
‘Ah! sherry,’ said he, taking up the bottle and putting it down again. ‘Sherry, ah! yes; very good wine, I am sure. You haven’t a drop of rum in the house, have you?’
Mrs. Woodward declared with sorrow that she had not.
‘Or Hollands?’ said Uncle Bat. But the ladies of Surbiton Cottage were unsupplied also with Hollands.
‘Gin?’ suggested the captain, almost in despair.
Mrs. Woodward had no gin, but she could send out and get it; and the first evening of Captain Cuttwater’s visit saw Mrs. Woodward’s own parlour-maid standing at the bar of the Green Dragon, while two gills of spirits were being measured out for her.

— Anthony Trollope, The Three Clerks

October 1, 2013

Cocktail Talk, The Compleat Imbiber 5, Boring at the Bar

compleat-imbiber-5Those chosen few, who have dawdled here on Spiked Punch since days of yore, or since days of long ago, may have been blessed enough to chance across a Cocktail Talk post featuring some wit or wisdom from one of the Compleat Imbibers that I am lucky to own. If you, rascal that you are, missed one of those earlier posts (my guess is you were out chasing whiskey bottles up trees), then by all means, go read them. Now you know that The Compleat Imbiber was a series of anthologies covering everything about drinking, with lots of wine talk, some boozy poems, some pictures of glassware, some etching of famous tipplers, and more. Overall, awesome. And during my recent trip to the U.K., I managed in a London bookstore to find a copy I didn’t yet own, number 5. So, expect some quotes over the next little while from it, starting with this one from a short essay by C. Gordon Glover about those who might bore you at the bar with their chatter.

‘Good gracious Fossbridge! Never seen you drinking gin before.’ ‘Hollands, dear boy. And chilled. I always telephone Mrs. Mason in the afternoon if I propose to drink a glass of Hollands in the early evening. She puts a bottle in the refrigerator for me. But not gin, as you understand it – definitely not the brutish juniper. . .’

Of course, there is no need to suffer it at all. There is always the snug fireside. But yet, and yet – they would be missed. And we, too, possibly, may bore the dying nightlights out of them!

– C. Gordon Glover, Boring at the Bar, The Compleat Imbiber 5

August 30, 2011

Cocktail Talk: The Three Clerks

Everyone (and I mean everyone) knows that I like reading Anthony Trollope. Heck, I’m the president of the “Bring Back Trollope in Zombie Form to Write More Books” club. And I’ve had some Trollope quotes on here before, cause he likes to slip in some drinks and pubs and such into his books. Or, I should say, liked (at least until Zombie Trollope). He wrote loads of books, and I’m slowly reading them all (and re-reading some). Recently, I picked up a lesser known ear;y-ish Trollope number called The Three Clerks, and liked it plenty. Especially because it was about three, well, clerks, of a youngish age, and so as they were living la vida loca circa 1874, they imbibed quite a bit. The book has mention of three kinds of gin (regular, Hollands, and Old Tom), rum, brandy, the Bishop, and even the Mint Julep (and more that I don’t have space to mention). Amazing. It was hard to pin down what quotes to post here, but I went with the below two, the first cause seeing a Mint Julep mentioned in an 1800s English novel is rare and the second cause I like the word “hogshead.” Just know that if you read the book (which I suggest) you’ll find many, many others.

One man had on an almost new brown frock coat with a black velvet collar, and white trousers. Two had blue swallow-tailed coats with brass buttons; and a fourth, a dashing young lawyer’s clerk from Clement’s Inn, was absolutely stirring a mixture, which he called a Mint Julep, with a yellow kid glove dangling out of his hand.

In person, Captain Cuttwater was a tall, heavy man, on whose iron constitution hogsheads of Hollands and water seemed to have no very powerful effect.


The Three Clerks, Anthony Trollope


PS: One more great non-booze quote from the book (cause I like you, reader): “He is as vulgar as a hog, as awkward as an elephant, and as ugly as an ape.”

Rathbun on Film