“What Madeira is this, St. George?” It was the judge who was speaking—he had not yet raised the thin glass to his lips; the old wine-taster was too absorbed in its rich amber color and in the delicate aroma, which was now reaching his nostrils. Indeed a new—several new fragrances, were by this time permeating the room.
“It is the same, judge, that I always give you.”
“Not your father’s Black Warrior?”
“Yes, the 1810. Don’t you recognize it? Not corked, is it?”
“Corked, my dear man! It’s a posy of roses. But I thought that was all gone.”
“No, there are a few bottles still in my cellar—some— How many are there, Todd, of the Black Warrior?”
“Dat’s de las’ ’cept two, Marse George.”
“Dying in a good cause, judge—I’ll send them to you to-morrow.”
“You’ll do nothing of the kind, you spendthrift. Give them to Kennedy or Clayton.”
“No, give them to nobody!” laughed Kennedy. “Keep them where they are and don’t let anybody draw either cork until you invite me to dinner again.”
“Only two bottles left,” cried Latrobe in consternation! “Well, what the devil are we going to do when they are gone?—what’s anybody going to do?” The “we” was the key to the situation. The good Madeira of Kennedy Square was for those who honored it, and in that sense—and that sense only—was common property.
“Don’t be frightened, Latrobe,” laughed St. George—“I’ve got a lot of the Blackburn Reserve of 1812 left. Todd, serve that last bottle I brought up this morning—I put it in that low decanter next to— Ah, Malachi—you are nearest. Pass that to Mr. Latrobe, Malachi— Yes, that’s the one. Now tell me how you like it. It is a little pricked, I think, and may be slightly bruised in the handling. I spent half an hour picking out the cork this morning—but there is no question of its value.”