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