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THE FLOWING BOWL***


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THE FLOWING BOWL, By EDWARD SPENCER


* * * * * *

_By the Same Author_

CAKES AND ALE

A Memory of many Meals; the
whole interspersed with various
Recipes, more or less original,
and Anecdotes, mainly veracious.

THIRD EDITION

Small Crown 8vo, Cloth, 2s.

_Cover designed by Phil May_


THE GREAT GAME
AND HOW IT IS PLAYED

A Treatise on the Turf,
full of Tales

Small Crown 8vo, cloth, 2s.

LONDON: GRANT RICHARDS

* * * * * *

THE FLOWING BOWL

A Treatise on Drinks of All Kinds and of
All Periods, Interspersed with Sundry
Anecdotes and Reminiscences

by

EDWARD SPENCER

(‘Nathaniel Gubbins’)

Author of ‘Cakes and Ale,’ etc.






London
Grant Richards
1903




PREFACE


I claim no merit for the following pages, other than may attach
to industry, application, the gift of copying accurately, and the
acquisition of writer’s cramp. The mechanical writing is—to the great
joy of the compositors who have dealt with it—every letter mine own;
but the best part of the book has been conveyed from other sources.
In fact the book is, as the old lady said of the divine tragedy of
_Hamlet_, “full of quotations.” The hand is the hand of Gubbins, but
the voice is, for the most part, the voice of the great ones of the
past, including Pliny and Gervase Markham. The matter, or most of it—I
am endeavouring to drive the fact home—is culled from other sources;
and if this is the most useful and interesting work ever published it
is more my fortune than my fault.

The genial reception of my earlier effort, _Cakes and Ale_—which
was condemned only by worshippers of _Ala_, who were not expected
to applaud—together with the hope of earning something towards the
purchase of a Bath Chair—have induced me to issue this little treatise
on liquids, as a companion to my first cloth-bound book. And innate
modesty—I stick to “innate,” despite the critics—compels me to add that
I think the last is the better work. I will, however, leave a generous
and discriminating public to decide that question for itself.

LONDON, CHRISTMAS EVE, 1898.




CONTENTS


CHAPTER I

THE OLD ADAM

Introductory — Awful habits of the ancients — A bold, bad book —
Seneca on the Drink Habit — The bow must not be always strung —
_Ebrietatis Encomium_ — The noble Romans — “Dum vivimus vivamus” —
The skeleton at the banquet — Skull-cups — “Life and wine are the
same thing” — Virgil and his contemporaries — Goats for Bacchus —
The days of Pliny — Rewards for drunkenness — Novellius Torquatus
— Three gallons at a draught — A swallow which did not save Rome —
The antiquity of getting for’ard — Noah as a grape-grower — Father
Frassen’s ideas — Procopius of Gaza — New Testament wine — Fermented
or not? — Bad old Early Christians — Drunkenness common in Africa —
Religion a cloak for alcohol — Tertullian on cider — Paulinus excuses
intemperance — Excellence of Early Christians’ intentions . . . Pages
1–10


CHAPTER II

MORE FRIGHTFUL EXAMPLES

Eating and drinking the only work of the monks — Nunc est bibendum —
An apology for Herodotus — A jovial pope — Good quarters in Provence
— Intemperance of holy men — A tippling bishop — Alexander the Great
— “Lovely Thais sits beside thee” — A big flare-up — Awful end of
Alec — Cambyses always shot straight — Darius the strong-of-head —
Philip drunk and Philip sober — Dionysius gets blind — Tiberius loved
the bowl — So did Flavius Vobiscus, the diplomatist — Bluff King Hal
— The Merry Monarch and the Lord Mayor — Dear Old Pepys — A Mansion
House wine-list — Minimum allowance of sack — A slump in brandy — A
church-tavern — Dean Aldrich — The Romans at supper — “The tippling
philosophers” . . . Pages 11–21


CHAPTER III

DRINKS ANCIENT AND MODERN

The Whitaker of the period — France without wine — Babylonian boozers
— Beer discovered by the Egyptians — A glass of bitter for Cleopatra —
Brainless Persians — German sots — Turning the tables — Intemperance
in the North — Chinese intoxicants — Nature of Sack — Mead and morat —
Vinous metheglin — Favourite tipple of the Ancient Britons — Braggonet
— Birch-wine — “The inwariable” of Falstaff — A recipe by Sir Walter
Raleigh — Saragossa wine — Usquebaugh — Clary — Apricock wine . . .
22–35


CHAPTER IV

SOME OLD RECIPES

Indifference of the Chineses — A nasty potion — A nastier — White
Bastard — Helping it to be eager — Improving Malmsey — Death of the
Duke of Clarence — Mum is _not_ the word — English champagne — Life
without Ebulum a blank — Cock ale — How to dispose of surplus poultry
— Painful fate of a pauper — _Potage pauvre_ — Duties of the old
English housewife — Election of wines, not golf — Muskadine — Lemon
wine — Familiar recipe — King William’s posset — Pope’s ditto . . .
Pages 36–47


CHAPTER V

GLORIOUS BEER

Nectar on Olympus — Beer and the Bible — “Ninepenny” at Eton — “Number
One” Bass — “The wicked weed called hops” — All is not beer that’s
bitter — Pathetic story of “Poor Richard” — Secrets of brewing —
Gervase Markham — An “espen” full of hops — Eggs in ale — Beer soup
— The wassail bowl — Sir Watkin Wynne — Brown Betty — Rumfustian —
Mother-in-law — A delightful summer drink — Brasenose ale . . . 48–60


CHAPTER VI

ALL ALE

Waste not, want not — The right hand for the froth — Arthur Roberts
and Phyllis Broughton — A landlord’s perquisites — Marc Antony and
hot coppers — Introduction of ale into Britain — Burton-on-Trent —
Formerly a cotton-spinning centre — A few statistics — Michael Thomas
Bass — A grand old man — Malting barleys — Porter and stout — Lager
beer — Origin of bottled ale — An ancient recipe — Lead-poisoning —
The poor man’s beer . . . 61–71


CHAPTER VII

A SPIRITUOUS DISCOURSE

What is brandy? — See that you get it — Potato-spirit from the
Fatherland — The phylloxera and her ravages — Cognac oil — Natural
history of the vine-louse — “Spoofing” the Yanks — Properties of Argol
— Brandy from sawdust — Desiccated window-sills — Enormous boom in
whisky — Dewar and the trade — Water famine — The serpent Alcohol —
Some figures — France the drunken nation, not Britain — Taxing of
distilleries — _Uisge beatha_ — Fusel oil — Rye whisky — Palm wine —
John Exshaw knocked out by John Barleycorn . . . Pages 72–82


CHAPTER VIII

OTHER SPIRITS

Old Jamaica pine-apple — “Tots” for Tommy Atkins — The grog tub
aboard ship — _Omelette au rhum_ — Rum-and-milk — Ditto-and-ale — A
maddening mixture — Rectifying gin — “The seasoning as does it” — Oil
of turpentine and table-salt — A long thirst — A farthing’s worth of
Old Tom — Roach-alum — Dirty gin — Gin and bitters — “Kosher” rum
— An active and intelligent officer — Gambling propensities of the
Israelites — The dice in the tumbler — Nomenclature at “The Olde
Cheshyre Cheese” — “Rack” — “Cork” . . . 83–90


CHAPTER IX

CUPS WHICH CHEER

Claret combinations — Not too much noyeau — A treat for schoolboys
— The properties of borage — “Away with melancholy” — _Salmon’s
Household Companion_ — Balm for vapours — Crimean cup — An elaborate
and far-reaching compound — Orgeat — A race-day cup — “Should auld
acquaintance be forgot?” — Sparkling Isabella — Rochester’s delight
— Freemason’s relish — Porter cup — Dainty drink for a tennis-party
. . . 91–100


CHAPTER X

PUNCH

Derivation of the word questioned — Not an Asiatic drink —
“Pale-punts” — No relation to pale punters — Properties of rum — Toddy
as a tonic — Irish punch — Glasgie ditto — O’er muckle cauld watter —
One to seven — Hech sirs! — Classical sherbet — Virtues of the feet
of calves — West India dry gripes — Make your own punch — No deputy
allowed — Attraction of capillaire — Gin punch — Eight recipes for
milk-punch — University heart-cheerers . . . Pages 101–114


CHAPTER XI

STRANGE SWALLOWS

“Wormwood!”—The little green fairy — All right when you know it, but⸺
— The hour of absinthe — Awful effects — Marie Corelli — St. John the
Divine — Arrack and bhang not to be encouraged — Plain water — The
original intoxicant — Sacred beverage of the mild Hindu — Chi Chi —
Kafta, an Arabian delight — Friends as whisky agents — Effervescent
Glenlivet — The peat-reek — American bar-keeper and his best customer
— “Like swallerin’ a circ’lar saw and pullin’ it up again” —
Castor-oil anecdote — “Haste to the wedding!” . . . 115–125


CHAPTER XII

“THE BOY”

Definition of the youth — The valley of the Marne — An Archbishop
in sparkling company — All is not cham. that fizzes — Beneficial
effects of Pommery — Dire memories of the Haymarket — The bad boy at
York — A hair of the canine — The good boy — Gout defied — Old Roman
cellars — A chronic bombardment — Magnums to right of ’em — Duties
of the disgorger — Simon the cellarer — Fifteen millions of full
bottles — Pro-dig-i-ous! — Gooseberry champagne a myth — About Médoc
— The ancients spelt claret with two “r’s” — Hints on adulteration —
“Château Gubbins” — New wine — Gladstone claret — “Pricked!” . . .
Pages 126–136


CHAPTER XIII

THE OLD WINES AND THE NEW

Decline and fall of port — Old topers — A youthful wine-bibber — The
whisky age succeeds the port age — “Jeropiga” — Landladies’ port —
A monopoly — Port _v._ gout — A quaint breakfast in Reading — About
nightcaps — Sherry an absolutely pure wine — Except when made within
the four miles’ radius — Treading the grapes — “Yeso” — Pliny pops up
again — “Lime in the sack” — What the _Lancet_ says — “Old Sherry” —
_Faux pas_ of a General — About vintages . . . 137–148


CHAPTER XIV

THE LONG AND THE SHORT OF IT

The Long Drink — Cremorne Gardens — Hatfield — Assorted cocktails —
Brandy-and-Soda — Otherwise Stone Fence — Bull’s milk — A burglar’s
brew — More cocktails — A “swizzle” — L’Amour Poussée — A corpse
reviver — A golden slipper — A heap of comfort . . . 149–161


CHAPTER XV

STILL HARPING ON THE DRINK

Sangaree — Slings — John Collins — Smashes — Sour beverages — Home
Ruler — Burning brandy — A prairie oyster — A turkey ditto — About
negus, for white-frock and black-mitten parties — Egg nogg — A doctor
— A surgeon-major — A new locomotive — Rumfustian — Pope — Bull’s
milk — A bosom caresser — The Colleen Bawn — Possets — Sir Fleetwood
Fletcher . . . Pages 162–173


CHAPTER XVI

“APPLE SASS”

Ancient British seider — Conducive to longevity — The best made in
Normandy — Which develops into champagne — And other popular and
salubrious wines — Non-alcoholic cider — A loathsome brew — German
manufacturers — Medical properties of apple juice — Away with
melancholy — The mill and the press — Pure wine — Norfolk cider
— Gaymer’s gout-fuge — Revival of the industry — Old process of
cider-making — Improving the flavour — Boiled cider — Hippocras —
Juniper cider — An ancient cider-cup . . . 174–184


CHAPTER XVII

CORDIALS AND LIQUEURS

A chat about cherry brandy — Cherry gin — And cherry whisky — Sloe gin
— Highland cordial — What King Charles II. swallowed — Poor Charles!
— Ginger brandy — Orange-flower brandy — Employment of carraway
seeds — The school treat — Use and abuse of aniseed — Do not drink
quince whisky — Try orange brandy instead — A hell-broth — Curaçoa —
Cassis — Chartreuse — The monks as benefactors — Some quaint tavern
“refreshers” — Kirschenwasser — Noyeau — Parfait amour — Maraschino —
A valuable ginger cordial . . . Pages 185–197


CHAPTER XVIII

THE AFTERMATH OF REVELRY

Revelry means remorse — And “Katzenjammer” — And other things — Why
will ye do it? — The devil in solution — Alcoholism a disease — An
accountant on wires — A jumpy journalist — A lot of jolly dogs — What
is “Langdebeefe”? — To cure spleen or vapours — Directly opposite
effects of alcohol — The best pick-me-up in the world — An anchovy
toast — Baltimore egg nogg — Orange quinine — About brandy and
soda-water — A Scorcher — Brazil relish — St. Mark’s pick-me-up — A
champion bitters — A devilled biscuit — Restorative sandwiches — Fresh
air and exercise best of all — Stick to your nerve! . . . 198–210


CHAPTER XIX

THE DRINKS OF DICKENS

The lesson taught by “Boz” — Clothing Christmas — Dickens’s drunkards
— Fantastic names for ales — Robbing a boy of his beer — A school
supper — Poor Traddles — Micawber and punch — Revelry at Pecksniff’s
— Todgers’s “doing it” — Delights of the “Dragon” — Sairey Gamp’s
requirements — What was in the teapot — The “Maypole” — Sydney
Carton’s hopeless case — Stryver’s model — “_Little D._ is Deed
nonsense” — Dear old Crummles — A magnum of the Double Diamond —
Newman Noggs — Brandy before breakfast — Mr. Fagin’s pupils —
Orange-peel and water — Quilp on fire — “Pass the rosy” — Harold
Skimpole — Joey Bagstock — Brandy-and-tar-water — That ass Pumblechook
— An inexhaustible bottle — Jaggers’s luncheon — Pickwick v. total
abstinence — Everything an excuse for a dram — Brandy and oysters —
“The inwariable” — Milk-punch — Charm of the _Pickwick Papers_ . . .
Pages 211–226


CHAPTER XX

SWORN OFF!

Introduction of temperance into England — America struck it first
— Doctor Johnson an abstainer — Collapse of the Permissive Bill —
Human nature and forbidden fruit — Effects of repressive legislation
— Sunday closing in Wales — Paraffin for miners — Toasting her
Majesty — A good win — A shout and a drink — Jesuitical logic of the
prohibitioners — The end justifies the means — A few non-alcoholic
recipes — Abstainers and alcohol — Pure spring-water _v._ milk-punch —
“Tried baith!” . . . 227–237


INDEX OF RECIPES . . . 239–243




CHAPTER I

THE OLD ADAM


Introductory — Awful habits of the ancients — A bold, bad book —
Seneca on the Drink Habit — The bow must not be always strung —
_Ebrietatis Encomium_ — The noble Romans — “Dum vivimus vivamus” —
The skeleton at the banquet — Skull-cups — “Life and wine are the
same thing” — Virgil and his contemporaries — Goats for Bacchus —
The days of Pliny — Rewards for drunkenness — Novellius Torquatus
— Three gallons at a draught — A swallow which did not save Rome —
The antiquity of getting for’ard — Noah as a grape-grower — Father
Frassen’s ideas — Procopius of Gaza — New Testament wine — Fermented
or not? — Bad old Early Christians — Drunkenness common in Africa —
Religion a cloak for alcohol — Tertullian on cider — Paulinus excuses
intemperance — Excellence of Early Christians’ intentions.

I wish to state at the outset that this little work is not compiled in
the interests of the sot, the toper, and the habitual over-estimator
of his swallowing capacity. That the gifts of the gods, and the
concoctions of more or less vile man, should be used with moderation,
if we wish to really and thoroughly enjoy them, is a truism which needs
no repetition; and although at the commencement of this work many
“frightful {2} examples” of the evils of over-indulgence will be found
mentioned, nothing but moderation will be found counselled in my book,
from cover to cover.

In the past, drunkenness was not always regarded as a vice, and this
is evident from much of the literature of former generations. In the
course of my researches into the alcohol question I have come across a
little book which bears the shameful and abandoned title of _Ebrietatis
Encomium, or the Praise of Drunkenness_. And this book, which conveys
such questionably moral aphorisms as “It is good for one’s health to be
drunk occasionally,” and “The truly happy are the truly intoxicated,”
claims to prove, “most authentically and most evidently, the necessity
of frequently getting drunk, and that the practice is most ancient,
primitive, and catholic.”

The author commences with what he calls “a beautiful passage out of
Seneca:—

“The soul must not be always bent: one must sometimes allow it a little
pleasure. Socrates was not ashamed to pass the time with children. Cato
enjoyed himself in drinking plentifully, when his mind had been too
much wearied out in public affairs. Scipio knew very well how to move
that body, so much inured to wars and triumphs, without breaking it,
as some nowadays do . . . ; but as people did in past times, who would
make themselves merry on their festivals, by leading a dance really
worthy men of those days, whence could ensue no reproach, when even
their very enemies had seen them dance. One must allow the mind {3}
some recreation: it makes it more gay and peaceful. . . . Assiduity of
labour begets a languor and bluntness of the mind: for sleep is very
necessary to refresh us, and yet he that would do nothing else but
sleep night and day would be a dead man, and no more. There is a great
deal of difference between loosening a thing, and quite unravelling
it. Those who made laws have instituted holidays, to oblige people to
appear at public rejoicings, in order to mingle with their cares a
necessary temperament. . . . You must sometimes walk in the open air,
that the mind may exalt itself by seeing the heavens, and breathing the
air at your ease; sometimes take the air in your chariot, the roads and
the change of the country will re-establish you in your vigour; or you
may eat and drink a little more plentifully than usual. Sometimes one
must even go as far as to get drunk; not indeed with an intention to
drown ourselves in wine, but to drown our care. For wine drives away
sorrow and care, and goes and fetches them up from the bottom of the
soul. And as drunkenness cures some distempers, so, in like manner, it
is a sovereign remedy for our sorrows” (Seneca _de Tranquillitate_).

Such sentiments were doubtless popular enough in Great Britain at
the commencement of the present century—when _Ebrietatis Encomium_
was published—when three and four bottle-men slept where they fell,
“repugnant to command”; and malt liquor, small or strong, was the only
known matutinal restorative of manly vigour. But my own experience is
that {4} the sorrow and care which may be temporarily driven away by
drowning them in the bowl are apt to return within a very few hours,
reinforced an hundredfold, with their weapons re-sharpened, their
instruments of torture put in thorough working-order, and with many
other devils worse than themselves. A man, sound in body and mind, may
really enjoy a certain amount of good liquor without feeling any ill
effects next morning; but woe to him who seeks to drown that which
cannot sink; to crush the worm which knows not death! The individual
has yet to be born who can flourish, either in body or soul, on his own
immoderation; and but for a chronic state of thirst in early youth I
should not now be reduced to the compilation of drink statistics for a
living.

But the ancients, in their heathen philosophy—which, by the way, was
once recommended to Christians to follow—took no thought for the
morrow. “Carpe diem!” was the head and front of the programme of the
Roman patricians, who used to cry aloud at their feasts, by way of
grace before meat:—

AMICI,
DUM VIVIMUS
VIVAMUS!

This was probably the original version of “We won’t go home till
morning,” and was sung, or shouted, at all bean-feasts and smart
supper-parties. The ancient Egyptians made use of a very extraordinary,
and a very nasty, custom in their festivals. They shewed to every
guest a {5} skeleton, before the soup was served. This, according to
some historians, was to make the feasters think on their latter end.
But others assert that this strange figure was brought into use for
a directly opposite reason; that the image of death was shewn for no
other intent than to excite the guests to pass their lives merrily, and
to employ the few days of its small duration to the best advantage;
as having no other condition to expect after death than that of this
frightful skeleton.

This was the idea of one Trimalchion, who, Petronius tells us, thus
expressed himself on the subject: “Alas! alas! wretched that we are!
What a nothing is poor man! We shall be like this, when Fate shall have
snatched us hence. Let us therefore rejoice, and be merry while we are
here.” The original Latin of this translation is much stronger, and had
better not be given here. And the same Trimalchion on another occasion
remarked: “Alas! Wine therefore lives longer than man, let us then sit
down and drink bumpers; life and wine are the same thing.”

The Scythians undoubtedly used to drink out of vessels fashioned from
human skulls, and probably had the same design in doing so as the
Egyptians had in looking on their nasty skeletons.

In Virgil’s time, his contemporaries—and very probably the old man
himself—drank deep; but instead of fighting, and breaking things, and
jumping on their wives, and getting locked up, they brought their own
heathen religion into their debaucheries. In more civilized circles, at
this end of the most civilized century, the reveller {6} goes out “to
see a man,” and subsequently “shouts for the crowd”; but in Virgil’s
time a man who had a drink was said to be “pouring forth libations to
the gods,” “making sacrifices”—more especially to Bacchus, the wine
deity, whom nothing under the slaughter of a he-goat was supposed to
propitiate. And the “Billy” was chosen for the sacrifice, because the
tender shoots of the vine formed his favourite food, in a land in which
there was neither brown paper, nor wall-plaster, nor salmon-tins, to
nibble. And these sacrifices to the rosy god were “occasions” (as they
say in the City) indeed! I have often wondered what the ancients did to
cure a headache; and whether a man said to be “possessed of a devil”
was in reality suffering from Alcohol, “the Devil in solution,” in the
shape of _delirium tremens_ in one of its many and objectionable forms.

In the time of Pliny, drunkenness and debauchery appear to have been
the principal studies of the nations about whom he had information.
A man was actually _rewarded_ for getting drunk—tell it not in Vine
Street, W.! The greatest drinker got the most prizes; and Pliny
informs us that whilst the Parthians contended for the distinction
of having the hardest heads and the longest swallows, they were
simply “not in it” with the Milanese, who had a real champion in one
Novellius Torquatus. This man, according to history, could have given a
market-porter of the present day, a brewer’s drayman, or a stockbroker,


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