is a hearty old saying that "Good wine
needs no bush." Why, then, should the master
of a roadhouse hang out a sign, letting folk
know there is good drink within?
Consider the feelings
of the landlord, poor man. At once nettled and
abashed, he exclaims:
should I stick a bough over my door? My tavern
is well bespoke for miles about, and all the
folk know I serve nothing but good, honest liquor,—and
mighty comforting it is of a cold night, when
the fire is bright on the hearth, or refreshing
on a hot day either."
says the stranger, "how should a traveller
know of this? You must advertise, man. Hang
out your sign to attract the passer-by, and
increase trade. Trade's the thing. You should
be doing a driving business, with a cellar like
replies the taverner, "I perceive that
in the city where you come from it may not be
a mark of character in a man to rely wholly
upon merit, but that if one would ensure success,
he must sound a trumpet before him, as the hypocrites
do, that they may have glory of men, as the
says the stranger, "look at your friend
John Doe under the hill yonder. Does a wonderful
business. Famous all over the country for his
home-brewed ale, and his pockets lined with
says the host, "John Doe is a good thrifty
man and as fine a comrade as you'd wish to find,
selling his hundred thousand bottles a year.
But the gist of the matter between us isn't
all in quantity, I'll be bound. Quality is something.
And as for myself I would as soon have a bottle
of wine as a keg of beer any day. Wine is the
poetry of life, in a manner of speaking, and
ale you see is the prose,—very good to
get along on, but no sorcery in it. Three things,
I always say, a man needs have,—meat for
his belly, a fire for his shins, and generous
wine to keep him in countenance with himself.
And that's no such easy matter in a difficult
world, I can tell you. 'Tis wine that gives
a man courage and romance, and puts heart in
him for deeds and adventures and all manner
of plain wholesome love. And that, after all,
is the mainspring with most men, hide it how
they may. For what ever was done, that was worth
doing, and was not done for a woman or for the
sake of a friend, I should like to know?"
hadn't thought of that," says the stranger.
"You must have tasted some rare wine in
"Not so much,"
says the other, "but I was born with a
shrewd taste for it, you may say. Moreover I
came of a people who were far farers in their
day, and have been abroad myself more than once.
So it comes you find the foreign vintages in
my bins. There's some Greek wine I have, sir,
that's more than a century old, I'll wager;
and a rare Moon-wine, as they call it, picked
up in an out-of-the-way port, that will make
you forget your sorrow like a strain of music;
light wines from France, too; and some Heather
Brose, very old and magical, such as the little
dark people used to make hereabout in the times
of the Celts long ago,—and very good times
they were too. It is not these days that have
all the wisdom ever was, you may be sure."
not such a bad advocate, after all," remarks
the stranger. "You speak very invitingly."
says the landlord.