In 1820, Frederick Acum published a Treatise on Adulterations of Food and Culinary Poisons which tells us that lead was the most common means of preventing wine from souring. Acum writes, "A gentleman who had never in his life experienced a day's illness, and who was constantly in the habit of drinking half a bottle of Madeira wine after his dinner, was taken ill, three hours after dinner, with a severe pain in the stomach and violent bowel colic. His apothecary becoming suspicious that the wine he had drank might be the cause of the disease, ordered the bottle from which the wine had been decanted to be brought to him, with a view that he might examine the dregs, if any were left. The bottle happening to slip out of the hand of the servant, disclosed a row of shot wedged forcibly into the angular bent-up circumference of it… The wine, therefore, had become contaminated with lead and arsenic, the shot being a compound of these metals, which no doubt had produced the mischief."
Nephew Bloodsucker bribes Susie Suspicious to store the Earl of Nastiness’ wine in a decanter of lead shot. Don’t be surprised when Nastiness doubles up in pain in the drawing room after dinner and his ward, Tricia True, wrings her hands. I’ll give him a miserable night while Bloodsucker ransacks the mansion looking for the fabulous ruby Nastiness stole from Tricia’s brother, the East India nabob. In the morning, Nastiness dies, but Bloodsucker doesn’t find the ruby because Susie sold it to Rundell and Bridge, Jewelers, for a cool fifty thousand pounds and bought the posting inn in Newark. But…
Georgian wine glasses. I’d like the third, but how much do you wager Nastiness goes for the heft (and volume) of the second? (left)