Bar exam

7 Aug

“What we want to know,” said the foreman, leaning forward, “is this: What did Mrs. Blake, the deceased, I mean—have to drink when she had dinner with you on the night of the 24th?”

Oh, so that was all. Simon’s brain had been stretched on an elastic that was tightly bound across his skull. It had been wearing very thin, bidding fair to snap altogether. But now the tension relaxed. He could answer this.

“A Martini before dinner and a glass of Barsac during the meal,” he said.

There was more shuffling among the jury. Presently the foreman spoke again to Mr. Hallet.

“Would the witness now explain A Martini more carefully.”

“It’s a cocktail,” said Simon shortly, “Composed of gin and vermouth.”

There was another little stir. The jury were not teetotallers. They knew what a whisky and soda was, or a glass of port, or Madeira or claret. But these cocktails! Why, the papers were full of them! The cocktail habit—the cocktail girl, the cocktail vice. There was something very shady about them now—just what you would expect from a woman who dines alone with a bachelor.

— Phyllis Hambledon, The Paved Path (New York, Thomas Y. Crowell, 1929), pp. 182-3.

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