Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Too Eager for his Beer

No, I haven't finished boring you with random shit about Vienna Beer. Loads more to go. Loads and loads. It'll be intersting to see which of us will run out of the room screaming first.

Paragraphs. Victorian newspapers seem to have an aversion to them. Many articles - like the one below - are just one long paragraph. It's not the way I write. Mostly because I have trouble reading big chunks of text. I'm a profoundly lazy person and I'm all for anything that makes my life easier.

The article I'm reproducing is a light-hearted traveller's tale, in which beer plays a pivotal role. As it does in my life. In fact, the stout gentleman reminded me very much of myself. Except for the language skills. Which is why I've never had a similar experience.

"TOO EAGER FOR HIS BEER. — Being at Vienna, I happened to become acquainted with a most amiable and independent English gentleman, but one not precisely I gifted with a knowledge of foreign tounges. His society was so agreeable, that scarcely a day past that we did not take a ramble about the city, going here and there, dining together and so forth. In fact, he was  wont quaintly and humorously to observe, that I saved him the expense of a commissioner, as all his knowledge of German consisted in the power of asking for "ein glas of bier." Moreover, the weather being extremely hot and the Vienna beer of first-rate quality, it would be difficult to say how many glasses of this luxury (for luxury it was, this light sparkling beer, cool as ice from the callar) he daily consumed, in which I was, I must confess, nothing loth to join him. Indeed, we were wont to finish up the toils or pleasures of the day with a glass of cool beer at the club, and then to bed, always calling the last glass Vienna nectar. In fact, we swallowed about a yard of beer each daily, which term may be explained by my naming that beer is generally served long glasses, about three times the length of an ordinary tumbler. One mornning I went into his room to inform him that I was about to start that night for Berlin, on which he adamantly determined to accompany me as far as Dresden. We left Vienna. if I recollect correctly correctly about seven p. m.; the night was intensely hot, and after some pleasant conversation, and the discussion of several Havannahs, about ten at night I fell fast asleep. I know not whether from habit or what not, but however sound I sleep on a railway, I invariably wake upon the occasion of a train stopping, even for a few minutes only: I conclude it is the sudden cessation of movement. Be it as it may, on the night in question, the train remained at some small atation for two minutes only - so short was the stoppage that I did not wake up till we were actually on the move again - when I discovered the absence of my friend; and hastily looking out of the window I beheld him (he was a rather stout gentleman), with ablue silk handkerchief tied on his head, rushing frantically after the train, with a long beer glass in his hand. It was too late, however: we were off and far away ere he had time to finish the last drop of that which was nectar at Vienna, but anything but nectar, I fancy, where he had to pass the night. The subsequent explanation I received was simply as follows: "The night was intensely hot; you were sleeping and I did not like to disturb you. These people, who live on sour-krout - at least, the railway officials - ought to be compelled to learn English. These lines are half supported by English travellers. The fellows who opened the doors cried out, 'Sfy minutes', or something like it it, and of course I thought he meant five minutes - plenty of time for drinking two yards of beer. I had a miserable night; slept on a deal table - eight hours ere the next train came up; beer odious; people ignorant beyond measure, understand no language but their own. However, I am making up for my discomfort at Dresden. I will never cross the channel again when once more in England. Certainly I will never go to Germany." Nevertheless for the five subsequent autumns he visited Germany. I suppose it was for the beer. - The Queen's Messenger."
Bradford Observer - Thursday 30 June 1870, page 6.

How on earth can you confuse "zwei" with "fumpf"? I suppose if you know no German it is possible. I find fingers work well for making certain with such small numbers. If only he'd looked questioningly at the conductor and held up five fingers. He might have spared himself a night on a deal table.

There is some point - a serious beer point - hidden in this article. It's the beer glasses. The fact that they were tall, and presumably quite slim. Exactly how tall? Diffuclt to say, not knowing the height of a typical tumbler. It would have heloped if the author had used inches to describe their height. I wonder if they were taller than the glasses on the label above?


Bryan the BeerViking said...

Zwei > vie > fie > five, is my guess.

Ed said...

I like his style.

Phil said...

people ignorant beyond measure, understand no language but their own

The English haven't changed, then.