Flies in a Bottle of Brandy

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From Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, Feb 1865, Vol. 30, p 399, 400.

“The Drawer has contained many good things from Colorado, but I have not seen the following about Soulé, of the Colorado First:

    One night Lieutenant Clark, Lieutenant Soulé and Captain Wilson were very dry.  A most stringent order against the introduction of any ardent into camp being just then most rigorously executed, they had been discussing the ways and means of procuring something ”hot,” when Soulé cried out, “I’ve got it! You, Clark, are very sick-you must go to bed- you have got cramps- you must be covered up-you must have some brandy immediately!” In a moment Clark was very sick abed, covered with all the blankets at command, and Soulé was off in breathless haste to the hospital steward for brandy.  There he met the conscientious objections of the steward by the most earnest representations of the urgency of the case.  He could wait for no surgeon’s order-Lieutenant Clark might die! In a moment he was again with the “boys” flourishing a bottle of brandy in the air in triumph, and a jolly time they had drinking it.  But what was one bottle to them after a fortnight’s total abstinence? They were still dry!  Before the bottle was quite empty Soulé snatched it out of the hands of Clark, held it up to the light, eying it critically, took one more swig, and then said, “Now, boys, for another bottle!”  Raising the window curtain, it was but the work of a moment to catch a hundred flies and put them in the bottle containing a spoonful of brandy remaining.  Rushing back to the hospital steward in as breathless haste as before-this time holding up the bottle containing a spoonful of brandy and an equal amount of flies- cried out, “See there! Is that the kind of brandy you dispense to a sick man here?” With as many apologies as Soulé would wait to listen to, the poor steward handed him another bottleful of brandy, with which he returned to his comrades. The noise which soon issued from Lieutenant Clark’s quarters attracted attention, and a good many other officers took a taste of the second bottle.  Even the Colonel himself felt inclined to indulge; but as he never drinks, he punished himself by smoking a cigar.”

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