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Post Info TOPIC: Demelza's fondness for port.........an alcoholic?


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Demelza's fondness for port.........an alcoholic?
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 Nothing Like It In the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869 by Stephen Ambrose is a book about building the Transcontinental across the United States. In this book, Ambrose mentions the good health of the Chinese worker who started from the West Coast and worked eastward. The westward building was done by mostly Caucasians, Irish specifically. They were constantly plagued by waterborne diseases. The reason the diminutive slightly built Chinese workers were healthy in this respect is that they drank tea almost exclusively for their beverage. The boiling of water killed all those nasty bacteria. 

Now my question is this, was tea still an expensive commodity in late 19th century England? Also, I notice in Stranger that Ross is served coffee in Spain. I think I read where Demelza liked coffee. How and when was coffee introduced in England? 



-- Edited by Dave on Thursday 20th of September 2018 10:13:46 PM

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I think we all know that Louis Pasteur was responsible for heat treating milk, but he was not born until about 1823. That is far in the future for our family at Nampara.  

Heating milk gave it a bit more of a comfort food appeal.  Especially for children and invalids.

As we are aware, not everything on the internet is reliable, so I think the cider/apple cider/apple juice debate will not be resolved.  There are as many ways to produce it as there are brands. So much more so in an area where most things were home produced.



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Blackleburr wrote:

Not sure about the link between milk and TB, but it seems that boiling the milk was a thing. Before going to look after the sick Trenwith folk, Demelza told Jane to make sure Julia's milk was boiled in case she came back late. Also, a little later Dwight mentioned boiled (and cooled down) milk as a potential remedy for the sore throat.

Is (non-alcoholic) apple cider the same as apple juice, or not? I've tried both and couldn't find a difference, but perhaps it lies in the making?


Pasteurization was invented to get around the problem of TB in dairy cattle.

Judging by an Internet article that addresses the apple juice vs. apple cider question, here in the US, all 50 states agree that the definition of apple juice is juice from apples that has been filtered to remove the pulp and sediments and then pasteurized (it lengthens the shelf life), but they disagree about what is or isn't apple cider. Some states define it as juice made from apples that were picked early in the season. In other states, specifically Massachusetts, it is raw apple juice (no filtering and obviously no pasteurization). Still other states consider apple juice and apple cider to be the same thing and allow producers to use either name on their labels. Presumably the "cider" difference depends on the preferences of a given state's apple growers and lobbying skills of their trade organization. 



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Blackleburr, what you describe sounds a bit like cordial - made the real way with fruit (not the fake coloured syrup from the supermarket). Cordial is mentioned in the books, but I don't know if it is what we now experience.



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There were apples growing at Nampara, but to make cider needs a particular type of apple, which cannot be used for anything else.  Even apple juice wouldn't have worked using cider apples, which are small and very sharp - quite inedible. We know the apples at Nampara were stored for eating so I would guess that the cider would have been made locally by a co-operative using the fruit from all the cider apple trees in the area.

I wonder if Dark Mare's apple cider is another example of the same words being used on either side of the Atlantic for different products.

The link with TB in milk had not been made at the time of the Poldarks. 

One of the old fashioned dishes, even when I was young, was bread and milk (I'm sure many of you will recall it).  This required the milk to be heated, so I wonder if boiling milk stemmed from this - it was given to children and invalids mainly.  More recently it was put out for hedhehogs, until it was realised dog food was more appropriate.

Bee wine is mentioned as being made.  No doubt this was a lighter type of mead.



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Not sure about the link between milk and TB, but it seems that boiling the milk was a thing. Before going to look after the sick Trenwith folk, Demelza told Jane to make sure Julia's milk was boiled in case she came back late. Also, a little later Dwight mentioned boiled (and cooled down) milk as a potential remedy for the sore throat.

Is (non-alcoholic) apple cider the same as apple juice, or not? I've tried both and couldn't find a difference, but perhaps it lies in the making?

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Blackleburr wrote:

Mrs Gimlett - Thank you for the rich details, it was a pleasure to read!

Next question that popped into my mind around this is, what non-alcoholic drinks were there in Poldark times, and which of them would have been given to children?

So far, we have water, milk and tea. You mentioned chocolate as well - but having just visited a chocolate museum this summer I'm aware that it would not have been given to children. In the books there are also mead and cordial (both can be either alcoholic or not, I believe). Then, orange juice (offered to Elizabeth by Dr Anselm). Other options I thought about were: lemonade, fruit/herbal teas, compote (my personal favourite as a kid; apparently the word comes from 17th century French - so it might have spilled across the channel by Poldark time, I guess?). Any other ideas?

Dave - good point about the painkiller use. It's mentioned in the books on several occasions: when Jim is rescued from prison, during childbirth, after Ross's duel with Monk Adderley. I wonder how much you'd have to drink to get that painkilling effect?

-- Edited by Blackleburr on Friday 14th of September 2018 12:18:50 PM


Wasn't milk kinda iffy because of TB? 

What about apple cider? The Poldarks grew apples. Surely not all of them were used to make hard cider and vinegar. 



-- Edited by Dark Mare on Monday 17th of September 2018 12:05:01 PM

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Well, let me try to explain: the drink I had in mind is made in a similar way - by stewing fruit - only the amount of water is larger and it's not boiled as long, so you end up with a sweet, drinkable liquid with some fruit in it (a bit syrupy, but only very slightly - more like fruit punch, really, only boiled). Pretty much any fruit can be used to make it - apples, plums, pears, berries, rhubarb, etc. It was known by the equivalent of "compote" where I grew up, so I used the name without thinking twice - although perhaps I should have, as in fairness I don't think I've ever come across that drink in any English-speaking country... If someone here can tell me what name it goes by (if at all) in English, I'd be glad to find out!

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I thought exactly the same thing Fijane - a compote to me is fruit, usually stewed, until a lovely flavoursome light syrup forms from the liquid.  Delicious for breakfast, but with a spoon! Definitely not the kind of food that can be drunk.

Many years ago I lived in a very old (mentioned in Domesday Book) Cornish farmhouse, which had a whole series of rooms tacked onto the kitchens.  A stillroom, cool room and dairy were part of them.  There was also an old meat safe in the back kitchen, but we used to say the only safety it ensured any meat was from the dog. Thank goodness for refrigeration!

The Nampara household seemed to make loads of ale, some strong beer (think Ebb and Flow!) and I think cider gets a mention too.  In the later books, Demelza takes a fancy to coffee and vows to drink more of it at Nampara.

In Warleggan, WG describes how Trencrom brings back tubs of 120% proof brandy, to dilute and add colouring, thereby making an enormous profit.  I wonder if the brandy which went into making port was diluted first, or whether it went in neat?  Whatever it was, it could probably knock your socks off compared with today's brew.



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Funny about words. You had to look up what a stillroom was, Dave, yet I as a non-drinker (and from a family of very moderate drinkers) have known that word for longer than I can remember. But, further down, Blackleburr mentions "compote" as if it is a beverage? Maybe it is different in the rest of the world, but here a compote is like a fruit salad, sort of with the juice left in. We have a berry compote (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries) or a dried fruit compote (prunes, apricots etc) or even a tropical fruit one (mango, pineapple). I have never heard of anyone drinking a compote.

 

PS The situation in the later books that everyone is working very hard not to spoil, also involved Demelza in a challenging situation. Once again, I don't think we can consider her use of alcohol at that time as at all normal life.



-- Edited by Fijane on Sunday 16th of September 2018 01:29:43 PM

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Oh . . . the beer! . . . I casked it this morning. She took the candle he had  lighted. In the stillroom the cask was overflowing with froth, and beer and froth covered half the floor. She exclaimed and went back into the kitchen. He said: Did you bung it too soon? I dont know. The fermentation had ended I thought. She returned with a floorcloth and a pail. His impulse was to say, leave it, youll spoil your dress; but in time he refrained. Twas the hops, I blieve, she said. You remember you thought they smelled not quite right. He picked up the bung which had blown out and sniffed it.

Warleggan: A Novel of 1792-1793  (pp. 468-469).  Kindle Edition.

I had figured what a stillroom was but here is the definition:

British

a room connected with the kitchen where liqueurs, preserves, and cakes are kept and beverages (such as tea) are prepared

 



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-- Edited by Dave on Friday 14th of September 2018 05:13:31 PM

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Dave wrote:

Oh, nothing. Will you take some tea?

If it is time.

Demelza pulled at the tassel by the fireplace.

I do naught but drink all day long since Julia came. And I reckon teas better than gin.

 Demelza: A Novel of Cornwall, 1788-1790 (The Poldark Saga Book 2) (p. 23).  Kindle Edition. 

Since we are mentioning beverages here is an excerpt about drinking tea. It is when Verity is visiting Demelza and Demelza is inquiring about her fondness for a man who is no longer in Verity's life. 





This is a very nice quote to add! I remember when I first read this passage, it struck me what an accurate little detail it brought out - namely, that breastfeeding tends to make the mother extremely thirsty, particularly in the first weeks/months (the scene you quoted takes place when Julia is about a month old).

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Dave wrote:

I know gals another unfair stricter rule for women than for men but that's the way of the world. 





And that mostly for young women - note how while both od them are his servants, Ross is only bothered by Demelza's drinking, not Prudie's.

My first guess as to the most potent spirit would be gin - although it seems that in the books brandy is used most often as a painkiller, so possibly their alcohol content is similar. Also, wasn't gin the cheaper one of the two? In that case, maybe the painkiller of choice differed by social status?

Also, I'm not sure how much potency is related to "unadulteration". My sense is that straight out of production, both gin and brandy can contain much more alcohol than normally drinkable - so quite likely both have to be diluted before sales/consumption, whereas for transport/smuggling it would obviously be more efficient if the concentration of the alcohol was higher. On the other hand, things like ale/beer/wine/mead would probably be drunk undiluted, but their alcohol content would be much lower. Port sits somewhere in between, with about 20% alcohol content (as per Wikipedia). This whole comparison leaves out rum, which also features frequently in the books, and is probably similarly strong as gin or brandy.

PS Thank you for your compliment - attention to detail sits high on my CV

-- Edited by Blackleburr on Friday 14th of September 2018 04:12:46 PM

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OK, so which alcohol drink has the most kick (alcohol).   I know that they had home brewed beer, alcohol content? Would ale be considered beer?  Gin also could be home distilled or somebody doing it in the neighborhood.  Who knows what the alcohol content would be in that.  I guess that leaves brandy. I remember reading that Trencom (name?)  sold the brandy and he diluted it. I think I remember the ratio was 4:1. So that just leaves port or wine which unless it was watered down by the server was probably the most unadulterated alcohol drink at that time.

Blackelburr you could I believe answer this. 

 

I love it when these topic posts just take off. Very interesting. 



-- Edited by Dave on Friday 14th of September 2018 02:51:34 PM

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Oh, nothing. Will you take some tea?

If it is time.

Demelza pulled at the tassel by the fireplace.

I do naught but drink all day long since Julia came. And I reckon teas better than gin.

 Demelza: A Novel of Cornwall, 1788-1790 (The Poldark Saga Book 2) (p. 23).  Kindle Edition. 

Since we are mentioning beverages here is an excerpt about drinking tea. It is when Verity is visiting Demelza and Demelza is inquiring about her fondness for a man who is no longer in Verity's life. 



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Dave wrote:

Boy Blackleburr , I compliment you on knowing a lot of the details in these books. I imagine you could build up a tolerance to alcohol's effect. I believe that the use of flasks by some people  means that they could take a swig occasionally when needed. But drinking on the job, I don't know that maybe frown on. With your knowledge do you know of any instances if that was the done? 

I am thinking one of the reasons Ross seemed concerned about Demelza's drinking was that it was unbecoming for a Lady to appear over-imbibing, especially in public. Tipsey sometimes acceptable especially at parties. I know gals another unfair stricter rule for women than for men but that's the way of the world. 


 Dave - if you read 'The Loving Cup' you will find something very interesting relating to the drinking of alcohol. wink



-- Edited by Stella Poldark on Friday 14th of September 2018 01:47:58 PM

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Boy Blackleburr , I compliment you on knowing a lot of the details in these books. I imagine you could build up a tolerance to alcohol's effect. I believe that the use of flasks by some people  means that they could take a swig occasionally when needed. But drinking on the job, I don't know that maybe frown on. With your knowledge do you know of any instances if that was the done? 

I am thinking one of the reasons Ross seemed concerned about Demelza's drinking was that it was unbecoming for a Lady to appear over-imbibing, especially in public. Tipsey sometimes acceptable especially at parties. I know gals another unfair stricter rule for women than for men but that's the way of the world. 



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Mrs Gimlett - Thank you for the rich details, it was a pleasure to read!

Next question that popped into my mind around this is, what non-alcoholic drinks were there in Poldark times, and which of them would have been given to children?

So far, we have water, milk and tea. You mentioned chocolate as well - but having just visited a chocolate museum this summer I'm aware that it would not have been given to children. In the books there are also mead and cordial (both can be either alcoholic or not, I believe). Then, orange juice (offered to Elizabeth by Dr Anselm). Other options I thought about were: lemonade, fruit/herbal teas, compote (my personal favourite as a kid; apparently the word comes from 17th century French - so it might have spilled across the channel by Poldark time, I guess?). Any other ideas?

Dave - good point about the painkiller use. It's mentioned in the books on several occasions: when Jim is rescued from prison, during childbirth, after Ross's duel with Monk Adderley. I wonder how much you'd have to drink to get that painkilling effect?

-- Edited by Blackleburr on Friday 14th of September 2018 12:18:50 PM

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Also, alcohol was used as a painkiller. There were no ibuprofen or acetaminophen in those days. Especially among men and women who did hard labor, like the miners. 



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Blackleburr

 The first edition just mentions the liquor Demelza discovered in the old library was a bottle of spirits.  For no particular reason, I assumed it was gin - one of the few places Jud and Prudie wouldn't have looked for supplies! After that incident, Demelza didn't dare touch alcohol again until the night of the blue dress, when she helped herself to a swig of Ross' brandy.

During her time as a scullery maid, Demelza acquired from Prudie, a taste for tea, which as we all know was then a luxury item.  I think it would have been very weak as they had to use the leaves sparingly. Interestingly, WG mentions that the Cornish way to take tea was without milk and sugar, but after that both D & R drink it with either or both additions and sometimes neat. Ross bought Demelza a present of 1lb Sauchong tea from Truro.

Hot Chocolate was the other luxury, recently discovered by the British.  There are several mentions of drinking it, mostly, I think at Caroline's.  I believe that would have been the high status drink on offer during the day, or certainly the fashionable one.

There are several mentions of the springs and pumping well at Nampara.  As you suggest, this, in such a sparsely populated area would have been perfectly safe to drink.  In towns, where middens and rubbish lay anywhere and most likely leached into the water courses, it would have been very different. The link between poor water and cholera was made quite a bit later than Poldark time.

I think the Nampara household at any rate drank water as a matter of course.  Demelza was in the act of drinking some when she lurched against Ross, showing her symptoms of the Morbid sore throat (diphtheria).  Sam and Drake drank only water. I think Ross took a risk drinking the water in London - there are many documented cases of disease from those first efforts to provide piped water.  However, stomachs were stronger in those days - they had to be - with no refrigeration and a shortage of food for the less well off.

Like you, I doubt water was offered to guests.  Alcohol had a definite place at the table and when visitors arrived.  It may also have acted as a kind of cleanser, destroying certain bacteria.  I have no knowledge of this but it seems logical: strong drink is pretty potent.

Mrs G



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1. I would add to Dave's list the following scene, a recollection of the first time when Demelza tasted spirits. Ross was clearly not impressed by the incident. WG doesn't mention what type of alcohol it was - but since Demelza is said to have liked the taste, port seems likely. I wonder if there are any more details in the WardLock edition books?

The affair of the quarrel with Jud had a more serious side and was now discreetly forgotten by all. Demelza had tasted the bottle of spirits in the old iron box in the library, and, liking the taste, had finished the bottle. Then she went prancing in to Jud, who by mischance had also been having a private sup. She so tormented him that he fell upon her with some indistinct notion of slaying her. But she fought back like a wildcat, and when Prudie came in she found them struggling on the floor. Prudie had jumped instantly to the wrong conclusion and had attacked Jud with the hearth shovel. Ross's arrival was only just in time to prevent most of his staff from being laid up with serious injuries.

A frozen equanimity had fallen on the kitchen for weeks after that. For the first time Demelza had felt the acid sting of Ross's tongue and had curled up and wanted to die.


2. I was also thinking about the unsafety of drinking water back in the day - and wondering how much of a concern it was at the time? At least, I don't recall Dwight Enys voicing an opinion on this matter - while he knew the benefits of eating green vegetables, apparently I would imagine that in the countryside using water from your own well/pump (as opposed perhaps to a shared/communal source of water) would be considered pretty safe - it definitely was so in every countryside I happened to visit.

3. My next thought, then, was that maybe it was more of a status thing whether one drank water, or could afford something better. By this standard, surely water would not have been served at any social occasion, but I would not think it out of place for people such as Demelza and Ross to have a glass of water when thirsty. And indeed, while there weren't that many, I did find a few references to drinking water across the books:

When Demelza first comes to London and they talk with Ross about the indoor plumbing at Mrs Parkins's place:
Ross: There is a tap in the house.
Demelza: A tap? You mean like a barrel?
R: Yes. But water runs through wooden pipes from cisterns higher in the town, so you can draw what you will.
D: Can you drink it?
R: I have done, and come to no harm.


On the trip to France to rescue Dwight, everyone drinks water:
The urgent need now was food and water. (...) They went off at six and were not back until eight. They brought back water in Jonas's hat and milk in Tholly's. It was a ration all round and some extra milk for Dwight.

Also, when Drake shows Geoffrey Charles and Morwenna the holy well, they all drink of it - and are not too shocked at the idea of drinking plain water (although it could have been something of a guilty pleasure for the Trenwith two):
'This is it', said Drake. 'Tis fresh water - taste - though so near the sea (...). Taste, tis pure water.' (...) 'Its lovely water', said Geoffrey Charles. 'Taste it, Wenna'. She tasted. 'Um.'

-- Edited by Blackleburr on Thursday 13th of September 2018 09:59:44 PM

-- Edited by Blackleburr on Thursday 13th of September 2018 10:00:40 PM

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Dave wrote:

Do I think Demelza is an alcoholic?  No, I don't. I like both of your comments ( Mrs. G and Fijane), very reasonable. However, it does seem to concern Ross. Is it the drinking or the situations for drinking that bother Ross?  Why should it bother Ross? 


 Dave - As Mrs Gimelett says, you need to read all of the books. How far have you got?



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Do I think Demelza is an alcoholic?  No, I don't. I like both of your comments ( Mrs. G and Fijane), very reasonable. However, it does seem to concern Ross. Is it the drinking or the situations for drinking that bother Ross?  Why should it bother Ross? 



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Hmmm this intrigues me, I had thought she was drinking less in the later books. Will have to read on. 



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This is interesting.  I am inclined to the view that Demelza may have had a port after dinner or supper, but since she was a very active person I doubt she would have overdone it on a daily basis.  That WG mentions specific episodes perhaps bears this out.  She enjoyed company and became animated and witty after a few glasses of port.  That doesn't make her an alcoholic, just normal.

Also, we must bear in mind that by today's standards, many would have been considered alcoholics. Over-eating and drinking in 18th Century was a national pastime - indeed it appears in 1783/4 that Ross himself is going that way, drink wise anyway.  In the first edition there is a sentence which goes something like this.  Ross had already learnt how much he could drink before needing help up the stairs. That is not quite verbatim, but you get the general meaning. He was drinking to blunt his disappointments, but fortunately realised it didn't work.

With Demelza, the only time she was ever almost incapable was much later in the series (Dave, you really must read all the books) and Ross got very concerned about it.  I think from this we must conclude that Demelza is not a heavy or even a regular drinker.  She seems to enjoy the odd glass, until her later years, which is not the behaviour of an alcoholic.



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It is interesting to note that every situation listed involved Demelza in some situation where she felt unsure, nervous, or lacking in confidence - the Dutch Courage effect.

 

Certainly, she often seemed to overdo it at social occasions, becoming "tipsy" or noting that she had done something unwise because she had had too much. But I don't think (no proof, of course) that she indulged in everyday life beyond the normal drinking of alcohol because the water was generally unsafe. She mentions below that she will choose brandy because she doesn't really like it, because port is for parties, which seems to imply that she saves the port for stressful situations and doesn't really enjoy any other flavours.



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Demelza's love for port....an alcoholic?

I have pulled from the first 6 Poldark books excerpts showing Demelza's desire for port.  From the start of reading these six books, I noticed Demelza's desire for port. Then when I started pulling these excerpts' from the books I was made aware that  Ross commented numerous times on Demelza's drinking. Also, there are the other male characters in the books, Francis, Sir JohnTrevaunance, Basett -L. De Dunstanville, that were aware of her preference to port.

So here are the excerpts starting with Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall. They are all from a Kindle edition of the books.

Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1783-1787 

This takes place at the Christmas party at Trenwith where Demelza's sings.

Demelzas eyes met those of the other girl and saw in them a challenge. She rose to it. The port had given her Dutch courage. (p. 364).

But with five large glasses of port inside her, she was not given to weighing the pros and cons of a retort before she made it. She felt Ross come up behind her, his hand touch her arm. It was not of the matter I was speaking.  ( (p. 368).

I counted and I came up with maybe 6 or 7 but I could have miscounted

The fact that the success was due partly to nausea at the dinner table and partly to five glasses of port at a crucial stage of the evening was known only to her and she kept it to herself.  

His young wife hiccupped as they reached their bedroom. She too was feeling different from what she had ever felt before. She felt like a jug of fermenting cider, full of bubbles and air, light-headed, bilious, and as uninterested in sleep as Ross. (p. 369)

Demelza: A Novel of Cornwall, 1788-1790

Demelza at the Assembly Ball

She needed a drink, that was certain. The three ports at the Warleggans had made her feel well and confident, but the confidence was wearing off. More liquid courage was needed. (p. 202)

Relays of port had added courage to natural wit, but there was a limit to her resource and she was thankful it was all happening in a public room, where they couldnt snarl over her more openly. (p. 216)

Here is the scene at the Assembly Ball on the dance floor where Ross forgot he is now a husband and must be attentive to his wife.

 If you behave like this, youll not come to another ball.

She faced him. If you behave like this, Ill not want to! They found they had both stopped dancing. They were holding up people. He passed a hand across his face.

Demelza, he said. We have both drunk too much. ( pp 223-224)

Jeremy Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1790-1791

A visit to Sir John Trevaunance on the pretense of looking at his cow but her real purpose was to gain information on Ross's upcoming trial.

Sir Johns eyes flickered. Kind of you to say so. As yet we barely meet expenses, but I think that will improve. Can I offer you some refreshments? A glass of canary, perhaps?

No, thank you She hesitated. But praps I should like a glass of port if twouldnt be putting you out.

Oh, yes. Is she to be seen, Sir John? Id dearly like to see her to be sure if it is just the same complaint as in the parsons cow.

 Ill take you to her myself, if youll be so good. Another glass of port to sustain you?  (pp. 10-11).

This is at Bodmin during Ross's trial where Francis comes into Verity's room and wants a drink.

You was always such a thin kipes of a girl. Have you brandy or rum in the room? Noonly port. Of course, Demelzas drink. How she loves it. She should take care or shell become a tippler. (p. 85).

Visit to Trenwith after Francis and Ross's reconciliation

Ross was right. We never should have come back here till Verity came. She makes all the difference. Shes my mascot, my luck. Im dull tonight and even port wont help, (p.183)

Warleggan: A Novel of 1792-1793

Francis's visit to Nampara

Go in and give him another glass of port and take one yourself.

I dare not before supper or I should tope all day. (p.81)

No, dont get up, she said. Ross bade us finish the port, but I cant take it myself, not so early; Id do no work for the rest of the day else. (p.81)

Here this is at the Ball at Hugh Bodgan's house to seek vengeance on Ross.

She bitterly regretted not having included a bottle of port in her luggage. Facing the company in cold blood. (p. 327)

Above all at the first she needed a stimulant to give her poise and possession and to steady her nerves, but it seemed hours before anyone offered her one. Then it was some dry-tasting wine and not enjoyable to drink. But in the end it had the right effect. (p.329)

But to go on drinking in careful moderation, not enough to get drunk but enough to maintain her present condition, was vitally necessary not only for reasons of poise and confidence. (p333)

In the evening with Malcolm McNeil in the Red Room. Aren't we all glad she wasn't drunk there.

I wish I was drunk. Dear Malcolm; how he wants me. Soon Ill want him. Just surrender yourself up.  (p342)

Six years ago at Trenwith, the Trenegloses had come unexpectedly with George Warleggan, and Elizabeth had sung and she had sung, and she had tasted port wine for the first time and had loved the flavour of it and what it did to you in spite of feeling sick with Julia four months forward. (p.454)

The Four Swans: A Novel of Cornwall 1795-1797 +

Demelza drank too much port and behaved more freelyin the house of a nobleman than she would otherwise ever have dared to. Knowing her own liking for the drink, she had kept off it while Clowance was small, but her indulgence tonight had an emotional, almost a masochistic, motive. (p. 230)

She had a handkerchief up her sleeve and she waved his away. Judas, she said. This is nothing. Just the port coming out.

He said: Ive never before heard of a woman who drank so much port that it popped out of her eyes.

She half giggled, and it ended in a hiccup. Dont laugh at me, Ross. It isnt fair to laugh at me when Im in trouble.  (p. 232).

This is bittersweet. They still could joke and laugh with each other before Demelza's capitulation to Hugh The Seducer.

Ross stared. The devil you did! That was very brave of you.

I had taken three glasses of port.

 Four. I saw you sneak another as we were leaving.  (p.326)

Discussion between Ross and Demelza after  de Dunstanville 's dinner party at Nampara

 

Back at Nampara  Ross is home and he told Demelza the result of his visit to Tehidy. They are discussing the events of that day.

 Ross finished his brandy and poured another one. It is possible I shall be seeing less of de Dunstanville in the future. That certainly would be my choice. Can I have one? He looked up. Im sorry, my dear. I thought you preferred port. Port is for parties, said Demelza. And when Ive had one I badly want more. I dont very much favour the taste of brandy, so it does no harm.

Demelza went across and helped herself to a second tot of the drink she didnt like.  (pp457-9)

The Angry Tide: A Novel of Cornwall 1798-1799

Ross's Homecoming from London

What has your mistress been drinking? Just ale with meals. And port for after.

 Ah, port, said Ross. Yes, port . . . Well, ale will suit me very well.  (p 307)

Here is Ross's visit to Basset seeking capital for Pascoe's bank.

Basset  or De Dunstanville said to Ross :  port ? How is Mrs Poldark ? I do remember her preference for port .

Shes well , thank you . You have a good memory , my lord .

  found her a very taking person , with a wit as sharp as a knife and a warm sense of humour .

  Thank you . I trust you will come to visit us again . (p. 337).

Here Ross and Demelza are in their first week in London preparing to attend their first party.

'where is the gown?

This is it! This is what I have bought!

 Thats a petticoat.

Oh, Ross, you are provoking! You know well it is nothing of the sort.

 Would you wish me to go in my shirt and underbreeches?

 No, no, you must not tease! I need confidence, not not . . .

 Port will give you that.

(p 386-387)

I apologize if this seems little Obsessive Compulsive but once I started on this I couldn't stop. It would be interesting to examine W.G.'s thoughts regarding Demelza and her love for port.

 

 



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