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for ale; and I have generally found that the time for advice is after a cup of ale."
"Lavengro" has been called the epic of ale; but Borrow was no English rustic, content with the buxom charms of malt, and never glancing over her fat shoulder to wilder, gayer loves. He was an accomplished wanderer, at home with all men and with all liquor. He could order claret like a lord, to impress the supercilious waiter in a London inn. He could drink Madeira with the old gentleman who counseled the study of Arabic, and the sweet wine of Cypress with the Armenian who poured it from a silver flask into a silver cup, though there was nothing better to eat with it than dry bread. When, harried by the spirit of militant Protestantism, he peddled his Bibles through Spain, he dined with the courteous Spanish and Portuguese Gipsies, and found that while bread and cheese and olives comprised their food, there was always a leathern bottle of good white wine to give zest and spirit to the meal. He offered his brandy-flask to a Genoese sailor, who emptied it, choking horribly, at a draft, so as to leave no drop for a shivering Jew who stood by, hoping for a turn. Rather than see the Christian cavalier's spirits poured down a Jewish throat, explained the old boatman piously, he would have suffocated.
Englishmen drank malt liquor long before they tasted sack or canary. The ale-houses of the eighth century bear a respectable tradition of antiquity, until we remember that Egyptians were brewing barley beer five thousand years ago, and that Heroditus ascribes its invention to the ingenuity and benevolence of Isis. Thirteen hundred years before Christ, in the time of Seti I, an Egyptian gentleman complimented Isis by drinking so deeply of her brew that he forgot the seriousness of life, and we have to-day the record of his unseemly gaiety. Xenophon, with notable lack of enthusiasm, describes the barley beer of Armenia as a powerful beverage, "agreeable to those who were used to it," and adds that it was drunk out of a common vessel through hollow reeds, a commendable sanitary precaution.
In Thomas Hardy's story, "The Shepherd's Christening," there is a rare tribute paid to mead, that glorious intoxicant which our strong-headed, stout-hearted progenitors drank scathed. The traditional "heather ale" of the Picts, the secret of which died with the race, was a glorified mead.
Fra' the bonny bells o' heather
They brewed a drink lang-syne, "T was sweeter far than honey,
"T was stronger far than wine.
The story goes that after the bloody victory of the Scots under Kenneth MacAlpine, in 860, only two Picts who knew the secret of the brew survived the general slaughter. Some say they were father and son, some say they were master and man. When they were offered their lives in exchange for the receipt, the older captive said he dared not reveal it while the younger lived, lest he be slain in revenge. So the Scots tossed the lad into the sea and waited expectantly. Then the last of the Picts cried, "I only know," and leaped into the ocean and was drowned. It is a brave tale. One wonders if a man would die to save the secret of making milk-toast.
From the pages of history the prohibition-bred youth may glean much offhand information about the wine which the wide world made and drank at every stage of civilization and decay. If, after the fashion of his kind, he eschews history, there are left to him encyclopedias, with their wealth of detail, and their paucity of intrinsic realities. Antiquarians also may be trusted to supply a certain number of papers on "leather drinking-vessels," and "toasts of the old Scottish gentry." But if the youth be one who browses untethered in the lush fields of English literature, taking prose and verse, fiction and fact, as he strays merrily along, what will he make of the hilarious company in which he finds himself? What of Falstaff, and the rascal Autolycus, and of Sir Toby Belch, who propounded the fatal query which has been answered in 1919? What of Herrick's "joy-sops," and "capring wine," and that simple and sincere "Thanksgiving hymn"
which takes cognizance of all mercies?
Lord, I confess too, when I dine,
The worts, the purslane, and the mess
"T is Thou that crown'st my glittering hearth
With guiltless mirth, And giv'st me wassail bowls to drink, Spiced to the brink.
The lines sound like an echo of St. Chrysostom's wise warning, spoken twelve hundred years before: "Wine is for mirth, and not for madness."
Biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, diaries, all are set with traps for the unwary, and all are alike unconscious of offense. Here is Dr. Johnson, whose name alone is a tonic for the morally debilitated, saying things about claret, port, and brandy which bring a blush to the cheek of temperance. Here is Scott, that "great good man" and true lover of his kind, telling a story about a keg of whisky and a Liddesdale farmer, which one hardly dares to allude to, and certainly dares not repeat. Here is Charles Lamb, that "frail good man," drinking more than is good for him; and here is Henry Crabb Robinson, a blameless, disillusioned, prudent sort of person, expressing actual regret when Lamb ceases to drink: "His change of habit, though it on the whole improves his health, yet, when he is low-spirited, leaves him without a remedy or relief."
John Evelyn and Mr. Pepys witnessed the blessed Restoration, when England went mad with joy, and the fountains of London ran wine.
A very merry, dancing, drinking, Laughing, quaffing, and unthinking
time it was, until the gilt began to wear off the gingerbread. But Evelyn, though he feasted as became a loyal gentleman, and admitted that canary carried to the West Indies and back for the good of its health was "incomparably fine," yet followed St. Chrysostom's counsel. He drank, and compelled his household to drink, with sobriety. There is real annoyance expressed in
the diary when he visits a hospitable neighbor, and his coachman is so well entertained in the servants' hall that he falls drunk from the box, and cannot pick himself up again.
Poor Mr. Pepys was ill fitted by a churlish fate for the simple pleasures that he craved. To him, as to many another Englishman, wine was precious only because it promoted lively conversation. His "debauches" (it pleased him to use that ominous word) were very modest ones, for he was at all times prudent in his expenditures. But claret gave him a headache, and Burgundy gave him the stone, and late suppers, even of bread and butter and botargo, gave him indigestion. Therefore he was always renouncing the alleviations of life, only to be lured back by his incorrigible love of companionship. There is a serio-comic quality in his story of the two bottles of wine he sent for to give zest to his cousin Angier's supper at the Rose Tavern, and which were speedily emptied by his cousin Angier's friends: "And I had not the wit to let them know at table that it was I who paid for them, and so I lost my thanks."
If the young prohibitionist be lighthearted enough to read Dickens or imaginative enough to read Scott or sardonic enough to read Thackeray, he will find everybody engaged in the great business of eating and drinking. It crowds love-making into a corner, being, indeed, a pleasure which survives all tender dalliance, and restores to the human mind sanity and content. I am convinced that if Mr. Galsworthy's characters ate and drank more, they would be less obsessed by sex, and I wish they would try dining as a restorative.
The older novelists recognized this. most expressive form of realism, and knew that, to be accurate, they must project their minds into the minds of their characters. It is because of their sympathy and sincerity that we recall old Osborne's eight-shilling Madeira, and Lord Steyne's White Hermitage, which Becky gave to Sir Pitt, and the brandy bottle clinking under her bedclothes, and the runlet of canary which the Holy Clerk of Copmanhurst found
secreted conveniently in his cell, and the choice purl which Dick Swiveller and the Marchioness drank in Miss Sally Brass's kitchen. We hear Warrington's great voice calling for beer, we smell the fragrant fumes of burning rum and lemon-peel when Mr. Micawber brews punch, we see the foam on the "Genuine Stunning" which the child David calls for at the public house. No writer except Peacock treats his characters, high and low, as royally as does Dickens; and Peacock, although British publishers keep issuing his novels in new and charming editions, is little read on this side of the sea. Moreover, he is an advocate of strong drink, which is very reprehensible, and deprives him of candor as completely as if he had been a teetotaler. We feel and resent the bias of his mind; and although he describes with humor that pleasant middle period, "after the Jacquerie was down, and before the march of mind was up," yet the only one of his stories which is innocent of speciousness is "The Misfortunes of Elphin."
Now, to the logically minded, "The Misfortunes of Elphin" is a temperance tract. The disaster which ruins the country-side is the result of shameful drunkenness. The reproaches leveled by Prince Elphin at Seithenyn ap Seithyn are sterner and more deeply deserved than the reproaches leveled by King Henry at Falstaff; yet the tale rocks and reels with Seithenyn's potations. There are drunkards whom we can conceive of as sober, but he is not one of them. There are sinners who can be punished or pardoned, but he is not one of them. As he is incapable of reform, so is he immune from retribution. Out of the dregs of his folly ooze the slow words of his wisdom. Nature befriends him because he is a natural force, and man submits to him because he is fulfilling his natural election. The good and the wicked fret about him, and grow old in the troublesome process; but he remains unchangeably, immutably drunk. "Wine is my medicine," he says with large simplicity, "and my measure is a little more." If ever the young prohibitionist
strays into the wine cellar of Seithenyn ap Seithyn, he will have a shell-shock. It may even be that his presence will sour the casks, as the presence of a woman is reputed to sour the casks in the great caves of the Gironde, where wine ripens slowly, acquiring merit in silence and seclusion like a Buddhist saint, and as sensitive as a Buddhist saint to the perilous proximity of the feminine. This ancient and reasonable tradition is but one phase of the ancient and reasonable hostility between intoxicants and the sober sex, which dates perhaps from the time when Roman women were forbidden to taste their husbands' wine, but were fed on sweet syrups, like warm sodafountain beverages, to the ruin of their health and spirits. Small wonder if they handed down to their great-granddaughters a legitimate antagonism to pleasures they were not permitted to share, and if their remote descendants still cherish a dim, resentful consciousness of hurt. It was the lurking ghost of a dead tyranny which impelled an American woman to write to President Roosevelt, reproving him for having proposed a toast to Mr. John Hay's daughter on her wedding day. "Think," she said, "of the effect on your friends, on your children, on your immortal soul, of such a thoughtless act."
Nomadic tribes-the vigilant ones who looked well ahead-wisely forbade the cultivation of the vine. Their leaders knew that if men made wine, they would want to stay at home and drink it. The prohibition-bred youth, if he is to remain faithful to the customs of his people, had better not cultivate too sedulously the great literature, smelling of hop-fields and saturated with the juice of the grape. Every step of the way is distracting and dangerous. When I was a school-girl I was authoritatively bidden-only authority could have impelled me to strengthen my. errant soul by reading the "Areopagitica." There I found this amazing sentence: "They are not skilful considerers of human things who imagine to remove sin by removing the matter of sin."
But, then, Milton wrote "L'Allegro."
Life and Letters of Sir Wilfrid Laurier
By OSCAR DOUGLAS SKELTON
This great statesman's service in cleansing Canada's political life of sordidness and sectionalism can be appreciated only after reading such an account as this of public life as Laurier found it when he entered the arena back in the sixties.
III. PARTY CONFLICT
IN the Canada of the sixties a young man's fancies lightly turned to thoughts of politics. Public life dominated the interest of the general public and stirred the ambition of the abler men in far greater measure than is true in these days, when business makes a rival appeal. Particularly in Lower Canada a political career was the normal and expected objective of the majority of the young men of education and capacity.
From boyhood days Wilfrid Laurier had been keenly interested in public affairs. His student apprenticeship and his first years of practice in Montreal gave an opportunity for forming political connections and taking a part in public controversies which strongly confirmed his early leanings. Now as editor of the chief democratic journal of the Eastern Townships, he was a chartered guide of public opinion. His law practice brought him into close contact with all parts of the district, and before five years had passed he was marked as the destined standard-bearer of the Liberals of the county.
Wilfrid Laurier was born in the year that Upper and Lower Canada were yoked together in uneasy fellowship. He had just begun the practice of law at Arthabaskaville when the union of the two Canadas was dissolved and the wider federation of all the mainland provinces was achieved. It was in the Canada of the union era that the stage was set and the players trained for the comedies and the tragedies, the melodrama and the vaudeville, of confederation politics.
The stage was not a large one. The province of Canada was just emerging from its years of pioneer struggles and backwoods isolation. Its scant million people seemed to count for little in the work of the world. Neither Great Britain nor France nor the United States gave them more than a passing thought. Even with the other provinces of British North America they had little contact; no road or railway bound them. Until well on in the union period each region had closer relations with the adjoining States than with its sister provinces, Upper Canada with "York" State, Lower Canada with New Hampshire and Vermont, and the Maritime provinces with Maine and Massachusetts.
Yet if it was not large, the provincial stage witnessed its full share of the dramatic motives and moments of political life. Here experiments were worked out in the organization of government and of parties, in the relation of race with race, in the connection between church and state, and in the linking of colony and empire, which deeply influenced the development of the future dominion and were not without interest to the world beyond.
In the words of Mr. Laurier, in an unpublished fragment of a work he long planned to write had fate given him leisure, the political history of Canada under the union:
A new era began with the union. In this new era there was found nothing of that which had given the past its attraction, neither the great feats of arms to save the native soil from invasion, nor the intrepid journeys of the explorers led on and
on by an unquenchable thirst for the unknown, nor the journeys, more intrepid still, of the missionaries, everywhere marking the path for the explorers with their blood. The very parliamentary battles on which henceforth the attention of the nation was to be concentrated no longer bore the striking impress which had been stamped on the parliamentary struggles after the conquest by the prestige of those who took part in them, the greatness of the cause which was defended, and the bloody catastrophe which was their out
These pages may be colorless, but they are not barren. They recall an epoch which, in spite of failures, was on the whole fruitful, and in which the patriot's eye may follow with legitimate pride the calm, powerful, and salutary influence of free institutions.
The primary task of the forties was the winning and consolidation of responsible government. Governor after governor and tenant after tenant of Downing Street sought to set narrow bounds to the concession that had been found unavoidable, but in vain. Robert Baldwin, "the man of one idea," leader of the Upper Canada Reformers, and Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine, leader, in Papineau's enforced absence, of the Lower Canada Liberals, or Patriotes, stood firm in their insistence that complete control of the domestic affairs of the province must be conceded to a body of ministers responsible to parliament and chosen from its dominant parties. Sydenham fought their demands, but by making himself the leader of a party majority in the Assembly played into the hands of those who insisted that party majorities should rule.
less assertive in temper, made some concessions of intention and more through the accident of illness. Metcalfe, sent out by the Colonial Office as the last bulwark of authority, breasted the tide with success for a year or two, but at last was compelled to recognize his failure. Elgin, the last of the governors of the forties, gave formal recognition of the victory of the upholders of selfgovernment by summoning La Fontaine and Baldwin to form the ministry of 1848.
On this question of responsible government the conclusions of Mr. Laurier, embodied in the same pregnant fragment, are of particular interest because of his early relations with the Rouges and the exponents of the Papineau tradition, and his own long experience of the working of the system:
Thus Lord Durham's idea had been realized, but it had been realized only gradually. The theory of Lord John Russell continued to be the theory of Lord Sydenham, of Sir Charles Metcalfe, and of the Colonial Office, until Lord Elgin, who, to the generous spirit of Lord Durham added a capacity perhaps more solid, grasped the great reformer's idea and applied it with as much freedom as he himself would have done.
If, to the England of 1840, the idea of ministerial responsibility appeared incompatible with the colonial status, the colony on this point was more advanced than the mother country.
In Upper Canada a large group, more important even for talent than for numbers, had long been demanding the responsibility of ministers to the Assembly. The men of this party had found in Lord Durham's Report the expression of the ideas which they had been professing for so long. They had voted without hesitation for the proposal for union, because they had hoped that Lord Durham's Report would be followed in its entirety. Nevertheless, it was not in Upper Canada, nor in the British population (of Lower Canada) that the idea of ministerial responsibility applied to the government of the colonies had seen the light for the first time. The man who was the first to affirm the principle of ministerial responsibility in the government of the colonies was Pierre Bédard, and that as early as 1809. Nevertheless, this pregnant suggestion had not been followed.
A few years later, Bédard had withdrawn from the arena and Mr. Papineau had entered it. The idea enunciated by Bédard was set aside, to give place to another much bolder.
In all the long struggles that Mr. Papineau carried on with the government, he does not seem ever to have dreamed that the concession of constitutional government might be a sufficient reform and that he himself might become the minister in