« PreviousContinue »
excess the night before. This purpose these ; lay all these to steep in a glass still all
night, close covered, and the next day still it : appears to have been served also by
it is a most delicious cordial." another of these liqueurs, called spirit of clary. In Shadwell's comedy of
At the earlier period of the history of “The Scowrers," in the opening scene,
“strong waters,” England appears to Sir William Rant, waking after a night's have been richer in the number and violent debauch, says to his domestic, variety of liqueurs than France or any “But go into my closet, and fetch me a
other country on the Continent-perhaps “ bottle of spirit of clary, and a lusty through the ingenuity and industry of “glass.” Ralph, returning, says, "Here's
the fair matrons who ruled our houseyour spirit of clary." In another scene
holds. In the “ Distiller of London," in of the same play (Act ii. sc. 1), Tope,
1639, thirty-two different waters are bragging of himself, says, “Hem, hem,
Subsequently, however, “I'll scowre in the Mall now, if you will,
most of the new varieties were intro“ without the help of spirit of clary,
duced from France. Such was the spirit “ fasting, and in cold blood."
of clary, just mentioned, called in French After the Restoration, the passion for
eau clairette, but derived from Italy, and these liqueurs extended itself much, and composed chiefly of cinnamon, roseseveral new waters became very popular. water, and sugar, with brandy. Such One of these was called aqua mirabilis ;
was the ros solis, so named from a plant the other was the much more celebrated
which formed its chief ingredient, and ratafia. Aqua mirabilis, we are told in
much beloved by Louis XIV. Such, Smith's “Complete Body of Distilling,"
especially, were the ratafias, or (in the was a drink which “cheers the heart." French form of the word) ratafiats, which It appears to have been a favourite dose appear to have been introduced into at night. In Durfey's comedy of “The England in the time of Charles II. The Virtuous Wife," published in 1680 ingredients in the older liqueurs had (Act iv. sc. 3), one of the characters, Sir
been principally herbs; in the ratafias Lubberly, talking of his country mode they were fruits, and especially kernels,
or fruits and kernels mixed. What we of passing the day, concludes, “And at "night tell old stories, then drink a dose now call noyeau would be a ratafia. “of mirabilis, go to bed, and snore
Ratafia, once brought hither, soon be“heartily.” It was a favourite cordial for a favourite liqueur with an old woman ; as we learn from Dilke's English ladies of fashion. Pope says of comedy of “The Pretenders” (1698),
the fine woman of his time,in which, at the close of the second act, “ Or who in sweet vicissitude appears, Nickycrack says, “Come, now, let me Of mirth and opium, ratafia and tears, " alone with her; I'll take her and give
The daily anodyne, and nightly draught,
To kill those foes to fair ones, time and “ her a turn or two in the air, and a draw
thought.” “ of aqua mirabilis, which is the life of
Moral Essays, Ep. ii. woman, and I'll warrant ye all And Cibber, in his comedy of the “ will be well again.” And so again, “Double Gallant,” brought out in 1707 in “The Reformation, a Comedy.” (Act (Act i. sc. 2), introduces one of his iv. sc. 1), a nurse recommends this water characters, Sir Solomon, talking of his
.“ Wil't please you to have a little wife's extravagance,-"She will cercordial water, or some aqua mirabilis ? ' "tainly ruin me in china, silks, ribbons, In the “Ladies' Directory,” printed in “ fans, laces, perfumes, washes, powder, 1662, we find the following receipt :- “patches, jessamine, gloves, and ratafia;"
to which Supple replies : “Ah! sir, “TO MAKE AQUA MIRABILIS.
that's a cruel liquor with 'em.” In “ Take three pints of sack (or, white wine), Wilkinson's comedy of the “ Passionate one pint of aqua-vitæ ; half a pint of the juice of cellondine; cloves, mace, nutmegs, ginger,
Mistress," 1703 (Act iii. sc. 1), Apish citbebees (cubebs), cardumus, gallingal, mul. says, “I vow 'tis as familiar to me as lets (mellilot flowers), one dram of each of ratafia to a lady." No. 66.- VOL. XI.
The period extending from the Resto- It
that the confirmed dramration to the reign of George I. was the drinkers preferred pure brandy, and that bright age of English comedy. The this was especially the favourite drink comedies of that period are infinitely of ladies who had reached a certain age. and skilfully varied in their plots, full A character in the play last quoted says, of brilliant wit and humour, Aristo- ‘Gad, I believe the old Sibil has been phanic in their satire, except that living “regaling herself with a gill or two of characters are not brought on the stage “ brandy after dinner” (Act iii. sc. 1). by name, and hardly less than Aristo- In Tate's “ Cuckolds' Haven, 1685 (Act phanic in their licentiousness. They i. sc. 2), Quicksilver, speaking also of an are, however, so far personal that they old woman, says, “I'd raise her with are the most admirable pictures of con- aqua-vitæ out of old hogsheads." And temporary life that we possess, and they another old dame, Mrs. Mandrake, in have the advantage of entering into all Farquhar's "Twin Rivals” (Act ii. sc. 2), its minuteness. In these comedies we is made to say, “ There is nothing more are often introduced into the private “comfortable to a poor creature, and society of our fair countrywomen; and “fitter to revive wasting spirits, than a “strong waters ” play no small part in “ little plain brandy. Ian't for your hot the scene, for the ladies of those days “spirits, your rosa-solis, yourratafias, your loved their spirit-bottle. We learn
orange-waters, and the like; a moderate from Shadwell's “Squire of Alsatia” glass of cool Nantes is the thing." There (1688), that they often carried "a silver is a scene in Dennis's comedy, "A Plot strong-water bottle” about with them. and no Plot," written in the closing The bottle was commonly used in secret. years of the reign of King William IIL In Estcourt's “Fair Example” (1706), (Act iv. sc. 1), which is curiously illuswhen Springlove asks, " Where is she ?" trative of this practice of brandy drinkFlora replies, “In her closet, with ing. Frowzy, an old camp-follower, is Seneca in one hand, and her bottle of employed to deceive, in the disguise of spirits in t other" (Act v. sc. 1). “If," a lady of rank, a city usurer named Bull; says one of the characters in Montfort's and in their first interview he offers her “Greenwich Park," 1691 (Act iv. sc. 4), brandy "If she have any comfortable waters, “I'll drink her into compliance." In
“ Bull. Madam, 'tis the very best in the
three kingdoms. Here, sirrah, (to his man] Tom Durfey's “Richmond Heiress," we take the key of my closet, and bring the twohave a scene (Act ii. sc. 1) in which the quart bottle of brandy to the countess. following bit of dialogue occurs :
(Enter Greg. with the brandy.). Sirrah, fill a glass. Madan, my hearty service to you.
Frowzy. Mr. Bull, on the other side of the “Madam Squeamish. I did but innocently water this liquor is grown mightily in use among regale myself tother day, amongst other choice women of my quality. Do they use it here? female friends, at my Lady Goodfellow's, with Bull. Gadsbud, madam, they drink nothing a glass or two of Hockamore (a sort of wine), else. Formerly, saving your ladyship's preand, if the beastly poet, in his next paper, díd sence, only so-and-so drank brandy, but now not say I was drunk there, I'm no Christian ! some great ladies have taken to their liquor. O filthy!
Does your ladyship mind the colour of Sophronia. Drunk, indeed, was a little too that brandy ? uncourtly: mellow had been a good word Frowzy. A lovely complexion indeed. ... there ; for to my knowledge there were six (She smells to the glass.) quarts drunk in two hours between four of ye, Bull. How does your ladyship like the besides my lady's farewell bottle of aqua flavour? mirabilis.
Prouzy. A most alluring flavour, in trotb. Mrs. Stockjob. Vell, dis I must say of de Come, sir, my daughter's health to you. French, dey are de most temperate people in (Drinks.) Upon my honour, this is right de whole varld; l'homme du cour delights in Nantz: I warrant this costs you ten and nothing but de cool mead, de tizzan, or de eightpence a gallon at least. At the last con sherbet vid ice.
ference that I had abroad for the publick Sophr. Yes, the comfortable usbuebagh, the benefit, there was some quantity of it drunk; refreshing spirit of clary, or sometimes the cool since I have tasted nothing like it. As Cad brandy and burrage, good Mrs. Stockjobb.” shall judge me, this is a treasure."
There were various methods practised by “ drink healths, or toast fellows; for
prethe ladies to disguise the liquor they "vention of which I banish all foreign were drinking; one of which
occurs in “forces, all auxiliaries to the tea-table, as Durfey's “ Marriage-Hater Matched," orange-brandy, all aniseed, cinnamon, where (Act iii. sc. 2) we are introduced “ citron, and Barbadoes waters, together to a party of fashionable ladies at tea, “with ratafia and the most noble spirit at which, a new visitor arriving, she is “of clary—but, for cowslip wine, poppy greeted as follows:
"water, and alldormitives, those I allow."
Aniseed was one of the earliest of these “Lady B. Ah, sweet Mrs. La Pupsey, here, cordials, and retained its popularity prithee take some tea ; 'tis good now y'are hot.
longest ; for it stands at the head of La Pup. Tea, madam ; 'tis burnt brandy! Lady B. Why, that's all the tea in fashion
all the books of receipts for making “ waters” from the latter end of the
sixteenth century to the middle of the In Steele's “ Funeral," 1702 (Act ii.) last, and is still
last, and is still a favourite liqueur in a party of ladies pay their visit of con- France under the name of anisette. dolence to a widow, who counterfeits Cherry-brandy, too, was a very favourite great grief and pretends to faint, exclaim- liqueur from an early period, and is ing, “ Alas, alas! oh! oh! I swoon, I one of the few which have outlived its expire !” One of the ladies calls to companions. Congreve's play last quoted another, “Pray, Mrs. Tattleaid, bring contains an amusing scene (Act iii. sc. 1), something that is cordial to her. Mrs. in which Lady Wishfort appears at her Tattleaid immediately brings bottles and
toilet with her maid Peg : glasses ; the widow forgets her sorrow; and they all fall to drinking and scandal. “Lady Wish. Fetch me the red—the red, There is a somewhat similar scene in
do you hear, sweetheart? .
Peg. The red ratafia, does your ladyship Baker's “Act at Oxford," 1704 (Act ii.
mean, or the cherry-brandy? sc. 2):
Lady Wish. Ratafia, fool ? no, fool; not the
ratafia, fool.-Grant me patience! I mean “ Arabella. At the door, ah! (Affects a the Spanish paper, idiot; complexion, darling: swoon.)
Paint, paint, paint, dost thou understand Berynthia. Bless me ! she faints ! a glass of
that?. cold water there.
Peg. Lord, madam, your ladyship is so imAra. (recovering). No water, 'no water, Be- patient !- I cannot come at the paint, madam; rynthia! have you any good rosa solis ?
Mrs. Foible has lock'd it up, and carry'd the Ber. Follow me into my closet, and I'll give key with her. you a dram of the best rosa solis, the best Lady Wish. A plague take you both! Fetch ratafia, or the best plain brandy.
me the cherry-brandy then. (Exit Peg.) Ara. Then thou art the best of women.” Wench, come, come, wench, what art thou
doing? sipping? tasting ?-Save thee, dost Sir Jealous Traffick, in the “ Busie
thou not know
the bottle ?
(Enter Peg, with a bottle and China cup.) Body” (Act i.), describes the effect of
Peg. Madam, I was looking for a cup. these various waters when he says, Lady Wish. A cup! save thee, and what a “No, mistress, 'tis your high-fed, lusty,
cup hast thou brought! Dost thou take me “rambling, rampant ladies that are
for a fairy, to drink out of an acorn? Why
didst thou not bring thy thimble? Hast thou troubled with the vapours; 'tis
your ne'er a brass thimble clinking in thy pocket “ratafia, persico, cynamon, citron, and with a bit of nutmeg, I warrant thee? Come, “spirit of clary, cause such swi-m-ing fill, fill-80-again. See who that is—one " in the brain, that carries many a guinea knocks), Set down the bottle first. Here,
here, under the table. What, would'st thou “ full tide to the doctor." And in Con
go with the bottle in thy hand, like a tapster? greve's “Way of the World," 1700 (Act As I'm a person, this wench has lived in an iv. sc. 5), Mirabell, prescribing to his inn upon the road, before she came to me." intended wife her behaviour after marriage, says, with regard to the tea-table, At the beginning of the eighteenth “that on no account you encroach upon century, many of the old liqueurs had “the men's prerogative, and presume to become, or were becoming, obsolete, and existed only in name. The aqua mi- It was better known, for some reason rabilis, which “cheered the heart," was which is not quite clear, by the French made till the middle of the last century. name for the tree, genièvre, which was Such was the case also with Dr. Stephens's ordinarily corrupted to Geneva; and both water, which, according to a book printed were soon abbreviated into the popular at the date last mentioned, was then “in name of gin. But, like everything great demand in London.” In the same popular, this liquor, at its first start
, book we learn that “ Ratafia is not gained a number of aliases. “Geneva," "much in demand, save in some particular says a work on distillery, published before “places where it has gain'd a great reputa- the middle of the last century, "hath “ tion.” Yet, in a later publication, the more several and different names and second edition of which, now before me, "titles than any other liquor that is sold was printed in 1769, and which is en- “here : as double Geneva, royal Geneva, titled the “Professed Cook”. an adap- “celestial Geneva, tittery, collonia, striketation “ to the London Market” of a “fire, &c., and has gain'd such universal French book entitled “ Les Soupers de “applause, especially with the common la Cour"-we have still receipts for “people, that, by a moderate computation, making “ratafiats,” which are explained there is more of it in quantity sold daily, as meaning, in English, “sweet drams “in a great many distillers' shops, than or cordials." In this book we have “ of beer and ale vended in most public“ratafiats" of noyaux, of lemon-peel, of “houses." We might easily add to the juniper-berries, of muscadine grapes, of list of popular names here given to gin anniseed, of apricocks (as this fruit was in the earlier part of the last century. still called in England), of walnuts, of Bailey's Dictionary gives us, as synonyms orange-flowers, and of cherries.
-the first, more correctly-titire, royal While many of the liqueurs previously poverty, and white tape, with an "&c." in vogue were disappearing from fashion- We can perfectly understand all this able society, a few new ones were in multiplicity of popular names and titles truding themselves into the list. The when we consider that previously the balance, however, was in favour of the liqueurs, the “strong waters,” had been past. Among the new ones was "honey- mostly out of the reach of the lower water," which was perhaps the metheg- classes of society, who were obliged, lyn of the Welsh. Another liqueur, perhaps fortunately, to content themwhich was very fashionable during the selves with the old English beverages, earlier half of the last century, was ale and beer. Gin was a spirit which called Hungary water; or, when its title could be sold cheap enough to come was given more in full, the Queen of within the reach of the vulgar, and the Hungary's water, because it was the
consequence was a great rivalry between reputed invention of a Hungarian queen. the old beer and the new gin. The It was flavoured with herbs, especially almanack of “Poor Robin,” for the year rosemary, lavender, margeram, sage, 1735, expresses this feeling of rivalry in and thyme. Another liqueur of the its usual doggrel style in the following last century was named cardamum, or lines :(popularly)" all fours,” and was distilled from clove, caraway, and coriander
“ The winter's now a-coming in,
And Pocus loves a glass of gin; seeds. But a “water was introduced
Or, if it have another name, to the early part of the eighteenth The liquor still remains the same; century, which was destined to obtain a And, which is more, virtues hold, greater name and a greater popularity
Be weather hot, or be it cold ; than all the rest. At first this new in
It melts the money down like wax,
And burns the garments from their backs." vention, which was brought from Holland, appears to have been known merely by Hogarth's celebrated engravings of Beer the name of "juniper water," because it Street and Gin Lane were published in was flavoured with the juniper berry. 1751; and the exaggeration on both sides
is so strong that we can hardly look not hesitate to revenge themselves by upon Hogarth otherwise than as an ad- laying false informations against those vocate on the part of beer versus gin. who had offended them. Thus the Gin In the latter years of the reign of George Act became more and more unpopular, I. and in the earlier years of George II. until, after a very unsatisfactory trial of the drinking of spirituous liquors, chiefly six years, the prohibition duties were gin, was carried to such an excess that repealed in 1742, and moderate duties the moralists began to prognosticate a substituted in their place. general dissolution of society. The town Among the pamphleteers who engaged was filled with miserable little shops in in the heat of the gin controversy, some which they were retailed, and troops of tried to give it a political character. itinerant hawkers carried them about the “ Mother Gin” represented the popustreets. The government of the day, lace, the mob. “The Life of Mother influenced by the declamations of the Gin" appeared in 1736 from the pen of zealous moralists and by the present- an anonymous writer, who claimed the ments of grand juries, resolved to inter- title-claimed by everybody who had no fere; but, instead of attempting to regu- claim to it—of “an impartial hand.” late and moderate the sale of spirits, This remarkable matron was, we are they sought to suppress it altogether; told, of Dutch parentage, born in Rotand, in 1736, the celebrated Gin Act terdam. Her father had been active in was passed, in the preamble to which the faction opposed to the De Witts, it is stated “ that the drinking of spi- and on that account had left his country “rituous liquors, or strong waters, is and settled in England, where he obtained “become very common, especially among an act of naturalization and married an "people of lower and inferior rank.” To English woman of low rank. It will remedy this, a very heavy duty was easily seem that there is much quiet and levied upon all spirituous liquors, which clever satire in all this. In spite of her was equivalent to a prohibition; and a low origin, the wife of the emigrant no less heavy fine was levied on all per
boasted of a rather large acquaintance sons who infringed or evaded the Act. among ladies of rank; "and, as to Mother The hawkers of "strong waters," whether “Gin herself, though she did not live in male or female, were ordered to be “stript a constant intercourse of friendship with “naked from the middle upwards, and persons of fashion, yet she was often “whipt until his or her body be bloody." “admitted into their confidence, and was This measure encountered strong oppo- “universally admired, and even idolized, sition at the time, and there were people “by the common people.” Her father who proclaimed publicly that it was wished to give her a good education, but contrary to Magna Charta and to the her English mother objected to it, judgliberties of the subject. But there was ing that education was only detrimental a much more serious evil attendant upon to morals. Her father died when she it. While the result was not at all that was five-and-twenty, and her mother which the advocates of the act expected- survived but a short time, and, as they for the sale of spirituous liquors was not were both dissenters, they were buried suppressed, but merely thrown into the in the same grave in Bunhill Fields. hands of a low and dishonest class-it Although her parents were very lowexposed respectable people to persecu- church indeed, Mother Gin herself was tion of a most frightful character. As the high-church in her principles, and was a rewards for informations against those great and effectual supporter of Dr. Sawho infringed the act were considerable, cheverell Indeed, her zeal in his cause society was invaded by gangs of infamous contributed greatly to the change of the wretches who made a living by in- administration. The new ministry formed forming; and, as their statements were a just estimate of the political value of taken upon their own oaths, nobody was Mother Gin, and laboured to conciliate safe. Individuals were found who did her, the more so as she was a bitter