Another short story with an increasingly ominous tone. Evelyn Waugh's The Man Who Liked Dickens which would eventually factor into his novel A Handful of Dust. Catastrophe befalls an Englishman while on expedition deep in the Brazilian jungle. Perilously close to death Henty is rescued and nursed back to health by Mr. McMaster who can not read yet has an abiding love for Dickens. As Henty's health improves he is only too happy to read to McMaster. For a while at least.
At their midday meal Mr. McMaster said, "Mr. Henty, the Indians tell me that you have been trying to speak with them. It is easier that you say anything you wish through me. You realize, do you not, that they would do nothing without my authority. They regard themselves, quite rightly in most cases, as my children."
"Well, as a matter of fact, I was asking them about a canoe."
"So they gave me to understand…and now if you have finished your meal perhaps we might have another chapter. I am quite absorbed in the book."
They finished Dombey and Son; nearly a year had passed since Henty had left England, and his gloomy foreboding of permanent exile became suddenly acute when, between the pages of Martin Chuzzlewit, he found a document written in pencil in irregular characters.
I James McMaster of Brazil do swear to Barnabas Washington of Georgetown that if he finish this book in fact Martin Chuzzlewit I will let him go away back as soon as finished.
[McMaster has mentioned a previous reader to Henty; one who was educated at Georgetown, and who now lies buried on McMaster's property. The particulars of his demise however were not addressed.]
There followed a heavy pencil X, and after it: Mr. McMaster made this mark signed Barnabas Washington.
"Mr. McMaster," said Henty. "I must speak frankly. You saved my life, and when I get back to civilization I will reward you to the best of my ability. I will give you anything within reason. But at present you are keeping me here against my will. I demand to be released."
"But, my friend, what is keeping you? You are under no restraint. Go when you like."
"You know very well that I can't get away without your help."
"In that case you must humor an old man. Read me another chapter."
- Evelyn Waugh, The Man Who Liked Dickens, 1933
I'm trying to take it easy on these posts and just let them happen as they happen. Ideally, the words will run the show as elements of the text overlap, or nod to, qualities embodied by a drink (not too dissimilar from the section in the 69 Colebrooke Row book where stories were written specifically for a drink). Mood, location, ingredients...whatever, I just want to get out of the way and see what unfolds. And in the spirit of getting out of the way I don't mind it when that connection is a shortcut tying in only to the drink's name. When I saw the title of this drink from Food & Wine's Cocktails 2015 this story came immediately to mind. So I got some stuff together and set about making a drink*.
To Alleviate Apparent Death - Jay Schroeder, Frontera Grill, Chicago
2 oz Dark Cocoa Tequila
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth, Antica
1/4 oz Walnut Liqueur, Nux Alpina
-1/2 tsp Simple
1/2 inch long piece of guajillo chile
Garnish - Orange Peel
Muddle chile with simple, add the rest, stir with ice, strain, up.
Dark Cocoa Tequila - In a jar muddle 1/4 tsp dark cocoa nibs with 1/4 oz anejo tequila (Chinaco specified) until nibs are finely crushed. Add six oz tequila, cover and shake once daily for three days. Strain.
- I cheated on the walnut liqueur. After trying sub-par versions with hazelnut and amaretto because they have been languishing in the back of the cabinet for who-knows-how-long I ended up increasing the simple to 1 tsp and muddled a chunk of walnut with the chile. I suppose, short of buying a bottle of walnut liqueur, making a walnut simple would have been the way to go. However, the muddled version (after several strainings) worked out fine.
*or at least started the prep so I could make the drink a couple days later.