Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Drunk with Patrick Hamilton

Men! They thrust their hats back on their heads; they put their feet firmly on the rail; they looked you straight in the eye; they beat their palms with their fists, and they swilled largely and cried for more. Their arguments were top-heavy with the swagger of altruism. They appealed passionately to the laws of logic and honesty. Life, just for to-night, was miraculously clarified into simple and dramatic issues. It was the last five minutes of the evening, and they were drunk.

And they were in every phase of drunkenness conceivable. They were talking drunk, and confidential drunk, and laughing drunk, and beautifully drunk, and leering drunk, and secretive drunk, and dignified drunk, and admittedly drunk, and fighting drunk, and even rolling drunk. One gentleman, Bob observed, was patently blind drunk. Only one stage off dead drunk, that is — in which event he would not be able to leave the place unassisted.

And over all this ranting scene Ella, bright and pert and neat and industrious, held her barmaid's sway.

— from The Midnight Bell, in Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky, by Patrick Hamilton.


Pearl said...

Book time is good when you're under the weather.

Ella said...

I love reading books where Ellas are not ancient maiden aunts. I will have to add Hamilton to my list.