Well, just in case I'm wrong, let's look at some letters! And today's subject is perfect: Faulkner, a master drinker himself, a man who--to his ultimate detriment, one suspects--could have out-Jello-shotted your average Chi Delt Biff of Tri Delt Betty any day. This day, however--January 12, 1925, when he was twenty-eight--the pleasures on offer were more modest and quiet. He writes to his mother from the house of a friend, where he's visiting:
We got there Saturday evening in time for dinner. They are grand people, they let you do whatever you want to--dont try to entertain you, you know. Dr Rainold is a funny light little man, and Mrs Rainold is like Mrs Eatman. They were sitting before the fire reading, and spoke to us, and then went on reading. I have never felt as completely at home. They didnt try to 'talk' to me at all, let me get a book and read too.Ghosts of the Rainolds: if you're listening, you're welcome to haunt the Rocketship any time you'd like. We've got books a-plenty. Just watch the ectoplasm; it ruins books.
Because I'm going to be spending at least part of my weekend proofreading--and thus ever-so-briefly regretting that I chose the glamorous field of publishing--I'll close with a reminder that the world is made up of readers and non-readers, and we, friends, are not in the majority. From a letter Faulkner sent home from Paris on November 9 of that same year:
I'm having one high and elegant time. With my $200.00 check I got to the American express Co. bank. I stand in line for a long time and then am told I must see a manager. I go to the manager's office: i is 12:30 then, and he is gone to lunch. He returns at 2:15, followed by a train of people all talking at once--like Moses crossing the Red Sea with his gang. After a San Francisco woman gives him hell for thirty minutes, I get to speak with him. Well, he never heard of Boni & Liveright--not a reading man, he explained. He looks in Bradstreet & Dun, Liveright is there, but no rating whatever is given. So he wont take the check.The American consul also turns him down. What he doesn't do is go try Sylvia Beach--surely she, at least, would have honored the check? He might not have been able to turn it into food or booze, but books are a better consolation than nothing.