Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Great Upholder of Coffee

According to John Aubrey, Sir Henry Blount once made a bet with Colonel Betridge - "one of the handsomest men about the town," who always "bragged how much the woemen loved him" - that if they went together to a bordello, Colonel Betridge "without money, with his handsome person, and Sir Henry with a twenty-shilling piece on his bald [head], that the wenches should choose Sir Henry... and Sir H. won the wager... Drunkeness he much exclaimed against, but wenching he allowed. When Coffee first came in he was a great upholder of it." His favorite coffee house was called The Rainbowe. "He was heretofore a great Shammer... [saying for example] that at an Inne in St. Albans, the Innekeeper had made a Hogs-trough of a free-stone coffin, but the pigges after that grew leane, dancing and skipping, and would run upon the topps of the houses like goates. Two young Gents that heard Sir H. tell this sham so gravely, rode the next day to St. Albans to enquire... 'twas altogether false. The next night as soon as they allighted, they came to the Rainbowe and found Sir H., looked louringly on him, and told him they wondered he was not ashamed as to tell such stories, etc. Why, Gentlemen, sayd Sir H., have you been there to make such an enquiry? Yea, sayd they. Why truly, gentlemen, said Sir H. I heard you tell strange things that I knew to be false. I would not have gonne over the threshold of the dore to have found you out in a Lye, at which all the Company laught at the two young Gents... He is now neer or altogether 80 yeares, his Intellectuals good still; and body pretty strong. This last weeke of Sept. 1682, he was taken very ill at London, and his Feet swelled."