Letter to Doctor Mortimer Plumtree, Monroe County, New York State.
Feb. 11th 1857
y dear Doctor,
I am writing to you to share my knowledge and personal experience of a dreadful and bizarre affliction; Over Sobriety Melancholia.
My condition is, I am afraid to say, a psychosis of the liver. It is a blessing and a curse. I find myself more withdrawn and introspective than the average member of the human race. It takes more than the standard amount of liquor to rouse me into being on the same level of social interactivity as my fellow man.
My family physician back in England, the wonderful Dr. Gull of London, who first discovered and classified my curious disorder, came to the conclusion that it takes two large measures of brandy, in my case, to have me acting as a normal man. Other curious side effects have been noted.
If an ordinary man were to drink himself into a stupor, then I dare say that the next morning his hands, if not his limbs or even his whole body, would be menaced by a bout of uncontrollable and violent shaking as if preceding a fit.
This is not true with someone so afflicted as myself; indeed were I to fall asleep without first having consumed some decent measure of alcohol then I risk waking to find my body stiff as a board. I wish not to alarm you, Dr. Plumtree, but one time I was mistaken for a corpse and almost interred in the good Lord’s green earth before I chanced to be roused by the whiskey fumes on the Parson’s breath!
So I have always erred on the safer side since that incident and ensured that I fell asleep in good spirits (pref. gin).
Having recently arrived in America and being unsure of the strength of local liquors I soon managed to overindulge myself; amazingly against my natural drinking handicap.
This is how, one cold January night, I came to be easing my bladder upon your front door and then, when you opened it, on your shoes and nightgown. Reacting to your rage with swift and instinctual pugilism, I accidently knocked you unconscious.
Such hectic mental and physical exertion must have hastened the flow of my blood because I felt myself sobering up. Hence I liberated a bottle of Port from your supply whilst you were insensible. Yourself, being a follower of the Hippocratic Oath I guessed that had you been in your right mind, you would not have charged me for the bottle as it was essential to the continuation of my life.
Quickly afterwards I went on my way to consume the Port somewhere where I would not risk staining your carpet. It is only now, several weeks later, after I have left the state that I realise I neglected to leave you a note explaining the truth of the situation. I hope this clears things up.
Yours very truly,