Richard Porson - Finest Gin?

The classical scholar Richard Porson (who, it was often said, would "sooner drink ink than not drink at all") once dropped in unannounced at the home of the portrait-painter John Hoppner. Hoppner apologized for his meager hospitality, explaining that his wife had disappeared with the key to the wine cellar. Though Porson stayed, he grew increasingly agitated. Speculating that Hoppner's wife might have hidden some wine in her bedroom, he asked whether he might be allowed to search for it. Hoppner reluctantly agreed, and was astonished to observe Porson return clutching a bottle which he declared was the finest gin he had ever tasted. When his wife finally returned home, Hoppner confronted her, angrily explaining that Porson had found and consumed her hidden drink. "Good heavens," she cried. "That was spirit of wine for the lamp!"

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