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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 4 Sep 2010 17:39:05 -0400
Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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Fred Harwood <[log in to unmask]>
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Only half in jest, I submit that in MT's time, at home or abroad, water and
tubercular milk were uncertain friends.  I do not doubt that beer, as the
minimal disinfectant, was a customary and day-long drink for active people,
even for poor prospective miners.  Wine, perhaps twice as strong as beer,
was reserved for calm moments, such as dinner.  Whiskey, the great preserver
of caloric carbohydrates otherwise at risk of spoilage, was a formidable
defense against both external and internal adversaries.  Did MT drink all of
these in the course of an average day?  I think that modern sensibilities
about alcohol should not intrude upon the defensive and customary forms of
drink available to MT and his time.

on 9/4/10 8:49 AM, Chet Manchester at [log in to unmask] wrote:

> Thanks for everyone's input on this question.  I did speak with Michael
> Sheldon about this a few months ago and he felt that, aside from the
> occasional drink, it would be a mistake to depict Clemens as a drunk to any
> degree.  He also said that there's no evidence Clemens drank heavily before
> a lecture or an important public engagement.  Most of what the forum has
> said here seems to confirm this.  Any more contrarians out there?
> On Fri, Sep 3, 2010 at 10:49 PM, Alex Brink Effgen <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> I seem to remember a story of Clemens telling his family about one time
>> when he was put in jail out west, and when his innocent daughters
>> replied with how he could've been put in jail, he responds with "Drunk,
>> most likely."
>> Did I catch that in the Ken Burns documentary? Is this more than
>> apocryphal? Anyone?

Linwood Cottage, Sheffield

No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as
the will and moral courage of free men and women.
-- Ronald Reagan