A Lost Art.

Chambers's Edinburgh Journal.

New Series.

Conducted by
William and Robert Chambers,
Editors of Chambers's Educational Course, 'Information For The People,' &c.

Volume XVI.

Nos. 382 to 417. July December, 1851.

Published by William and Robert Chambers,
and W. S. Orr, London.

Chambers's Edinburgh Journal. No. 411. New Series.
Saturday, November 15, 1851.

In No. 407 of this Journal there is an article entitled 'A Lost Art,' in which is mentioned the juggling trick of swallowing water, and then vomiting it again under the semblance of wine, &c. On reading it I remembered having read an explanation of this feat somewhere, and on examination found an account of it in an intelligent little book for its time, 'Experimental Philosophy, by Henry Power, Doctor of Physick. London, 1664.' His account, after describing the changes produced in vegetable infusions by acids, &c. is as follows: - 'By which ingenious commixtion of spirits and liquors did Floram Marchand, that famous waterfrinker, exhibit those rare tricks and curiositys at London of vomiting all kind of liquors at his mouth. For, first, before he mounts the stage, he always drinks in his private chamber, fasting, a gill of the decoction of Brasil; tehn, making his appearance, he presents you with a pailful of lukewarm water, and twelve or thirteen glasses, some washed in vinegar, others with oyl of tartar and oyl of vitriol; then he drinks four-and-twenty glasses of the water, and carefully taking up the glasse which was washed with oyl of tartar, he vomits a reddish liquor into it, which presently is brightened up and tinged into perfect and lovely claret. After this first assay, he drinks six or seven glasses more (the better to provoke his vomiting), as also the more to dilute and empale the Brasil decoction within him; and then he takes a glass rinsed in vinegar, and vomits it full, which instantly, by its acidity, is transcoloured into English beer, and vomiting also at the same time into another glass - which he washes in fair water - he presents the spectators with a glass of paler claret or Burgundian wine; then drinking again as before, he picks out the glass washed with oyl of vitriol, and, vomiting a faint Brasil-water into it, it presently appears to be sack - and perchance if he washed the one half of the glass with spirit of sack, it would have a faint odour and flavour of that wine also. He then begins his carouse again, and drinking fifteen or sixteen glasses, till he has almost extinguished the strength and tincture of his Brasil-water; he then vomits into a vinegar-glass again, and that presents white wine. At the next disgorgement - when his stomach is full of nothing but clear water, indeed, which he has filled so by the exceeding quantity of water which at every interval he frinks. he then deludes the spectators by vomiting rose-water, angelica-water, and cinnamon-water, into those glasses which have been formerly washed with those spirits. And thus was that famous cheat performed, and indeed acted with such a port and floweing grace by that Italian bravado, that he did not onely strike an admiration into vulgar heads and common spectators, but even into the judicious and more knowing part of men, who could not readily find out the ingenuity of his knavery. From this it would appear that the method used was the same with that of the Wizards of the present day; with this difference - that, in accordance with the tastes of a ruder age, they formerly used their stomachs as receptacles for the liquor, whereas in the present more fastidious age they are contented with a bottle. The art of vomiting and spouting the water would of course require considerable practice, and I should think would not be very conducive to the health of the operators. - From a Correspondent.

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