England without and Within

By Richard Grant White; Hamlet | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XX.
A NATIONAL VICE.

IN that scene of " Othello" in which Iago betrays Cassio into drunkenness, he sings a clattering drinking song, of which he says to his victim, "learned it in England, where, indeed, they are most potent in potting: your Dane, your German, and your swagbellied Hollander. . . . are nothing to your English." But remember, complacent brother Yankee, that this description of English manners concerns you directly. You cannot say that the galled jade in England may wince, but your withers are unwrung. It is your, forefathers whom Shakespeare thus describes by the lips of that jovial soldier and prince of good fellows, "mine ancient." You have just the same concern in the picture that your British cousin has: no more, but not a whit less. You may have followed Falstaff's advice to himself to leave sack and live cleanly; but if any one is at all implicated in the potting of Englishmen between two and three hundred years ago, you are the man. Nevertheless, there is at the present day a very manifest difference between the two great divisions of the English race in this matter, although the amount of wine and whisky and beer consumed in "America" seems to increase year by year, rather than to diminish.

What may be called domestic drinking has, how

-464-

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England without and Within
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Advertisement v
  • Contents vii
  • Chapter I - Introductory 1
  • Chapter II - English Skies 13
  • Chapter III - England on the Rails 37
  • Chapter IV - London Streets 62
  • Chapter V - Living in London 90
  • Chapter VI - A Sunday on the Thames 118
  • Chapter VII - A Day at Windsor 142
  • Chapter VIII - Rural England 164
  • Chapter IX - English Men 191
  • Chapter X - English Women 210
  • Chapter XI - English Manners 236
  • Chapter XII - Some Habits of English Life 265
  • Chapter XIII 290
  • Chapter Xiv. Taurus Centaurus. 319
  • Chapter Xv. Parks and Palaces. 341
  • Chapter Xvi. English in England. 364
  • Chapter Xvii. A Canterbury Pilgrimage. 393
  • Chapter Xviii. John Bull. 421
  • Chapter Xix. Oxford and Cambridge. 438
  • Chapter Xx. A National Vice. 464
  • Chapter Xxi. The Heart of England. 489
  • Chapter Xxii. A Visit to Stratford-On-Avon. 509
  • Chapter Xxiii. In London Again. 531
  • Chapter Xxiv. Random Recollections. 555
  • Chapter Xxv. Philistia. 577
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