Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): Dickens does Drunk

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dickens does Drunk

A brilliant and highly amusing (and, let's be honest, quite accurate) presentation of inebriation from the distinguished author. Excerpted from the chapter "My first dissipation" in David Copperfield:
Somebody was smoking. We were all smoking. I was smoking, and trying to suppress a rising tendency to shudder. Steerforth had made a speech about me, in the course of which I had been affected almost to tears. I returned thanks, and hoped the present company would dine with me tomorrow, and the day after - each day at five o'clock - that we might enjoy the pleasures of conversation and society through a long evening. I felt called upon to propose an individual. I would give them my aunt - Miss Betsey Trotwood, the best of her sex!

Somebody was leaning out of my bedroom window, refreshing his forehead against the cool stone of the parapet, and feeling the air upon his face. It was myself. I was addressing myself as "Copperfield" and saying, "Why did you try to smoke? You might have known you couldn't do it." Now somebody was unsteadily contemplating his features in the looking glass. That was I too. I was very pale in the looking glass; my eyes had a vacant appearance; and my hair - only my hair, nothing else - looked drunk.

Somebody said to me, "Let us go to the theatre, Copperfield!" There was no bedroom before me, but again the jingling table covered with glasses; the lamp; Grainger on my right hand, Markham on my left, and Steerforth opposite - all sitting in a mist, and a long way off. The theatre? To be sure. The very thing. Come along! But they must excuse me if I saw everybody out first, and turned the lamp off - in case of fire.

Owing to some confusion in the dark, the door was gone. I was feeling for it in the window curtains, when Steerforth, laughing, took me by the arm and led me out. We went downstairs, one behind another. Near the bottom, somebody fell, and rolled down. Somebody else said it was Copperfield. I was angry at that false report, until, finding myself on my back in the passage, I began to think there might be some foundation for it.

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