Field And Hedgerow By Richard Jefferies

 -  After
dinner the cognac bottle is produced, and the pastor fills his tumbler
half full of spirit, and but lightly - Page 70
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After Dinner The Cognac Bottle Is Produced, And The Pastor Fills His Tumbler Half Full Of Spirit, And But Lightly Dashes It With Water.

It is cognac and not brandy, for your chapel minister thinks it an affront if anything more common than the best French liquor is put before him; he likes it strong, and with it his long clay pipe.

Very frequently another minister, sometimes two or three, come in at the same time, and take the same dinner, and afterwards form a genial circle with cognac and tobacco, when the room speedily becomes full of smoke and the bottle of brandy soon disappears. In these family parties there is not the least approach to over-conviviality; it is merely the custom, no one thinks anything of a glass and a pipe; it is perfectly innocent; it is not a local thing, but common and understood. The consumption of brandy and tobacco and the good things of dinner, tea, and supper (for the party generally sit out the three meals), must in a month cost the host a good deal of money, but all things are cheerfully borne for the good of the church. Never were men feasted with such honest good-will as these pastors; and if a budding Paul or Silas happens to come along who has scarce yet passed his ordination, the youthful divine may stay a week if he likes, and lick the platter clean. In fact, so constant is this hospitality, that in certain houses it is impossible to pay a visit at any time of the year without finding one of these young brothers reposing amid the fat of the land, and doubtless indulging in pleasant spiritual communion with the daughters of the mansion.

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