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Do you take your ‘Tea’ with sugar?

And now dear fellow Libertine, a tale of absinthe’s infamous past. First published in the “Boston Herald” in 1888, then reprinted in New Zealands “Bruce Herald” the same year, it reveals that a novel kind of ‘speak easy’ bar for possibly illicit and unlicensed consumption of alcohol was a favourite of the socialite set and certain ladies of distinction (as was the local Chinese Opium den!).

Pour a glass, relax and read on….

Bruce Herald, Volume XIX, Issue 1925, 20 January 1888, Page 5

I used to discredit the sensational stories that the patrons of the fashionable modistes repaired to those places so frequently, under the pretence of trying on a dress, because of the attraction of the buffet offering the choicest liquors and wines, writes a New York correspondent, until one day a lady friend confirmed the reports by narrating her experience, frankly confessing that at several modistes she named it was customary to serve drinks to the regular or recognised patrons.  The dressmaking, like the fruit store in front of the sample room, was merely part of the business carried on, and there was a regular charge for the liquors, covered in the bill by ‘trimmings’ and “attentions.”

And I know from personal knowledge that some very well known ladies used to resort to the better class of uptown opium joints several years ago, when such were not subject to police raids for the purpose of ‘hitting the pipe’ in the most approved style, because I once assisted a husband in rescuing his wife from one of these places within an easy walk of Madison Square.  And the doctor will or can tell you that the morphine habit – by hypodermic injection, easily administered after practice –has ruined many a previously domestic circle by claiming the mistress as a victim and condemning her to a dream-life, all the more miserable because of the terrible awakening, resulting in insanity and death.

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Posted by Jonathan on Sep 6th 2009 | Filed in Bars,Culture,History | Comments (0)