So. The latest entry on the Literature of Antebellum Reform reading list is Ten Nights in a Bar-Room And What I Saw There (1851), and it's gone from sort of quaintly engaging to balls-out melodrama in a matter of chapters. My favorite chapter is "The Seventh Night," in which debauched young gambler Willy Hammond is stabbed to death by swindler Harvey Green, Hammond's mother spontaneously falls dead over her son's body, Green is lynched and shot in the ensuing melee, the tavern-keeper loses an eye, the corrupt judge who helped swindle Hammond gets his face stomped into oblivion, and the tavern-keeper's wife goes insane and is put in an asylum. All because of the Demon Rum! Hosanna!
(My second favorite part is when the narrator describes how the once-shiny and respectable new tavern is on the downward spiral. You can tell it's now a den of iniquity because the linen is rank, the dishes are dirty, and THE HIRED HELP IS IRISH! MY GOD!)
I am pretty sure that the author was not hoping that my reaction would be, "Man... it sucks that the Mill is closing, because I could really use a Long Island right about now."
And the icons--Katharine Hepburn and Frances Farmer. Trivia note: Farmer is, you might, say, the Face of Digest. In fact, the icon below is made from her mugshot, and I hope that if I ever get arrested, I look this good: