December 15, 2020

Cocktail Talk: Villette

villetteJust over twelve years ago, life was a little different. We were younger, of course, and, electricity hadn’t been invented, and dinosaurs walked the earth, and Atlantis still stood strong, and well, it feels that long ago, at least, doesn’t it? But that (back in 2008) was when I last read what some consider to be Charlotte Bronte’s best novel, Villette. How do I know that fact? Cause I had a Villette Cocktail Talk way back then! Amazing, right? Amazing. I decided to delve back into the book when in a CB mood recently, and found the below quote I must have missed first time, one that’s ideal for right now as it features Wassail, a traditional holiday drink in many parts of the globe. Oh, but before that – in my earlier Cocktail Talk I said Villette was in France, but I think I’d spent too much time around the Wassail-bowl, cause really, it’s a stand-in name I believe for Brussels. Oh, also, if you haven’t read it, Villette is a somewhat reflection of part of C. Bronte’s life, and presents a picture different than many books written at the time, as the heroine is way independent for the time period, and caused a fair amount of disapproving looks at the time – though some highly approved, and I do too! Oh (part three of the “Oh”-ing), I have one or two more Charlotte Bronte Cocktail Talks, too, so don’t miss them.


So, while the Count stood by the fire, and Paulina Mary still danced to and fro—happy in the liberty of the wide hall-like kitchen—Mrs. Bretton herself instructed Martha to spice and heat the wassail-bowl, and, pouring the draught into a Bretton flagon, it was served round, steaming hot, by means of a small silver vessel, which I recognized as Graham’s christening-cup.


“Here’s to Auld Lang Syne!” said the Count; holding the glancing cup on high.


— Charlotte Bronte, Villette


October 15, 2008

Cocktail Talk: Villette

Charlotte Brontë’s third published novel isn’t rampant with cocktailing (more focused on life in a boarding school in a bustling French town), but it is brilliantly fun to read for the precise and flourishing prose, and for the following quote, which I think delves perfectly into the aroma, and nature, of whiskey:

“A heated stove made the air of this room oppressive; and, to mend matters, it was scented with an odor rather strong than delicate: a perfume, indeed, altogether surprising and unexpected under the circumstances, being like the combination of smoke with some spirituous essence–a smell, in short, of whiskey.”


–Charlotte Brontë, Villette

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