Saturday, April 2, 2011

Drunk by God!

British poet Samuel Rogers, in Recollections of the Table-Talk of Samuel Rogers (1856)—

Dr. [George] Fordyce [a prominent Scottish physician] sometimes drank a good deal at dinner. He was summoned one evening to see a lady patient, when he was more than half-seas-over, and conscious that he was so. Feeling her pulse, and finding himself unable to count its beats, he muttered, "Drunk by God!" 

Next morning, recollecting the circumstance, he was greatly vexed: and just as he was thinking what explanation of his behavior he should offer to the lady, a letter from her was put into his hand. "She too well knew," said the letter, "that he had discovered the unfortunate condition in which she was when he last visited her; and she entreated him to keep the matter secret in consideration of the enclosed (a hundred-pound banknote)."