‘It wasn’t the wine, it was the salmon‘ is a quotation from The Pickwick Papers (Chapter 8).
The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, more commonly now known as simply The Pickwick Papers was Charles Dickens‘s first novel, published between 1836 and 1837.
Quotation said by the character Augustus Snodgrass.
Taken from the following passage of Chapter 8 of The Pickwick Papers:
Eleven—twelve—one o’clock had struck, and the gentlemen had not arrived. Consternation sat on every face. Could they have been waylaid and robbed? Should they send men and lanterns in every direction by which they could be supposed likely to have travelled home? or should they—Hark! there they were. What could have made them so late? A strange voice, too! To whom could it belong? They rushed into the kitchen, whither the truants had repaired, and at once obtained rather more than a glimmering of the real state of the case.
Mr. Pickwick, with his hands in his pockets and his hat cocked completely over his left eye, was leaning against the dresser, shaking his head from side to side, and producing a constant succession of the blandest and most benevolent smiles without being moved thereunto by any discernible cause or pretence whatsoever; old Mr. Wardle, with a highly-inflamed countenance, was grasping the hand of a strange gentleman muttering protestations of eternal friendship; Mr. Winkle, supporting himself by the eight-day clock, was feebly invoking destruction upon the head of any member of the family who should suggest the propriety of his retiring for the night; and Mr. Snodgrass had sunk into a chair, with an expression of the most abject and hopeless misery that the human mind can imagine, portrayed in every lineament of his expressive face.
‘Is anything the matter?’ inquired the three ladies.
‘Nothing the matter,’ replied Mr. Pickwick. ‘We—we’re—all right.—I say, Wardle, we’re all right, ain’t we?’
‘I should think so,’ replied the jolly host.—’My dears, here’s my friend Mr. Jingle—Mr. Pickwick’s friend, Mr. Jingle, come ‘pon—little visit.’
‘Is anything the matter with Mr. Snodgrass, Sir?’ inquired Emily, with great anxiety.
‘Nothing the matter, ma’am,’ replied the stranger. ‘Cricket dinner—glorious party—capital songs—old port—claret—good—very good—wine, ma’am—wine.’
‘It wasn’t the wine,‘ murmured Mr. Snodgrass, in a broken voice. ‘It was the salmon.‘ (Somehow or other, it never is the wine, in these cases.)
‘Hadn’t they better go to bed, ma’am?’ inquired Emma. ‘Two of the boys will carry the gentlemen upstairs.’
‘I won’t go to bed,’ said Mr. Winkle firmly.
‘No living boy shall carry me,’ said Mr. Pickwick stoutly; and he went on smiling as before. ‘Hurrah!’ gasped Mr. Winkle faintly.
‘Hurrah!’ echoed Mr. Pickwick, taking off his hat and dashing it on the floor, and insanely casting his spectacles into the middle of the kitchen. At this humourous feat he laughed outright.
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