Manners and customs of ye Englyshe/Ye Wyne Vavlts at ye Docks. Showynge a Partye Tastynge.

Manners and customs of ye Englyshe by Percival Leigh
Ye Wyne Vavlts at ye Docks. Showynge a Partye Tastynge.

Illustrated by Richard Doyle

Manners and Customs of ye Englyshe in 1849. No. 32.

Ye Wyne Vavlts at ye Docks. Showynge a Partye Tastynge.


Ye Wyne Vavlts at ye Docks. Showynge a Partye Tastynge.

[Thurſday, October 11, 1849.]

TO the Docks, to meet Mr. Soker, and go over the Wine Vaults with a Taſting-Order, and taſte the Wine there before it hath undergone any Roguery for the Market. Found there Soker, and Mr. Wagstaffe, and Swilby, and Swype, and 5 or 6 more, and with them Mr. Goodfellowe, who had gotten Soker the Order. Firſt to the Quay, heaped with Barrels of Wine, cloſe as Pebbles on a Beach, and one huge Barrel, they did tell me, holding 625 Gallons, and I wondering how it could have been hoiſted aſhore, Mr. Wagstaffe did ſay, by an Adjutant, or Gigantic Crane. Then, through all Manner of Caſks and Tubs, and Bales of Merchandiſe, to St. Katherine's Dock, and down to the Vault, where a Cooper forthwith did wait on us with a Couple of Glaſſes, and gave each Man a flat Stick with a Lamp at the farther End, to ſee our Way, and we looked like Goblins with Torches in a Pantomime. The Vault almoſt quite dark, only lighted by Sconces from the Roof, and the fartheſt Sconce looking Half-a-Mile off, and all this Space full of Barrels of Wine! The Roof ſupported by Rows of Columns; and the Vault altogether like the Crypt of a Cathedral, but 20 times as big, and more than 20 ſweeter; the Air Gnelling of Wine very ſtrong, which alone did make me feel giddy. Strange to ſee the Mildew hanging in all Sorts of Forms from the Roof, which many do miſtake for Cobwebs, but ſome call Fungus, and Dr. Limbeck, the Chymiſt, do tell me is moſtly Nitrate of Lime. The Cooper did lead us to the Wine we were to taſte, and pretty to ſee him tap the Barrel by boring a Hole in it with a Gimlet. We did drink, all round, a good Ale-glaſs each of excellent Sherry, all except Mr. Goodfellowe; and I did wonder to ſee him taſte the Wine, and call it rare good Stuff, and yet ſpit it out, but found by and by that he was wife. Next, to the London Dock; and Mr. Goodfellowe did give us Biſcuit, and recommend us to eat, and I did take his advice, and glad I did. Here, more Curioſities in Mildew, hanging from the Roof; and one a Feſtoon as big as the great Sauſage in the Pork-Shop at the Corner of Bow Street. A good Story from the Cooper, of a Viſiter that would needs take a Specimen of the Mildew away, and put it in his Hat, and with the Moiſture of his Head, it melted and blackened his Face, and ſerved him right, that—like more than enough Sight-Seers—could not keep his Hands from Picking. To ſeveral Vaults, and taſted Wine in each; all very vaſt, but the Eaſt Vault the biggeſt, and do contain more thouſand Pipes, and cover more Acres than I doubt, by Reaſon of the Wine I drunk, I can remember. After traſting ſo much, our Party very jolly and noiſy, and did begin to dance and ſing, and flouriſh their Lamps like Playhouſe Devils; and methought I did ſee the Meaning of the Notice outſide, that Ladies could not be admitted after 1 o'Clock. Coming into the open Air, our Company could ſcarcely ſtand; and Mr. Goodfellowe did ſee them into two Cabs, and I home on Foot—I fear not very ſtraight—and my Wife wondering at the Redneſs of my Noſe. Good Lack, to fee the Quantity of Goods and Wine in the Docks; and to think what a great and mighty Nation we are, and what Oceans of Liquor we do ſwill and guzzle!