Duff Cooper and Susan Mary Patten in Venice, 1951
"I have already made mention of the
happiness I have derived throughout my life from literature, and I
should here, perhaps, acknowledge the consolation I have never failed
to find in the fermented juice of the grape.
Writing in my sixty-fourth
year, I can truthfully say that since I reached the age of discretion I
have consistently drunk more than most people would say was good for
me. Nor do I regret it. Wine has been to me a firm friend and a wise
Often, as on the occasion just related, wine has shown me
matters in their true perspective, and has, as though by the touch of a
magic wand, reduced great disasters to small inconveniences. Wine has
lit up for me the pages of literature, and revealed in life romance
lurking in the commonplace. Wine has made me bold but not foolish; has
induced me to say silly things but not to do them. Under its influence
words have often come too easily which had better not have been spoken,
and letters have been written which had better not have been sent.
if such small indiscretions standing in the debit column of wine’s
account were added up, they would amount to nothing in comparison with
the vast accumulation on the credit side."
-from Duff Cooper's 1954 autobiography Old Men Forget
Whether you're a drinker or not, it's refreshing to read an old
fashioned, unapologetic defense of indulgence of any kind in this age of juice
cleanses and detox diets.