What Drink Did (1909) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A man leaves his wife and two daughters for work in a carpentry shop. At work, he initially refuses a beer with lunch, then gives in. After work, two friends take a little while to convince him to go for a refreshing malt beverage, then to have another and another. Meanwhile, the family waits. He arrives home late and abusive. The next day, hung over, he takes much less convincing to have the drinks; he's gone so long that his wife sends a daughter looking for him. She eventually finds him, can't convince him to return home, goes home, sees her mother's distress, and returns to the bar. This time, her father gets more abusive, a fight ensues, a shot is fired, and tragedy strikes.

  • Alfred Lucas, an industrious wood carver, is a dutiful husband and loving father. The happy little family of father, mother and two girl children, one six and the other eight, are seen enjoying their morning meal prior to his departure for work. A fond adieu, and Lucas is on his way. Assiduously working at his bench he strongly contrasts the drones, whose faces are noticeably seared with the lines of dissipation. At noontime luncheon is served, and kettles of beer are brought in by some. Lucas becomes a butt of ridicule on account of his refusal to imbibe, and after a deal of persuasion is prevailed upon to take just one drink. This was his undoing, for he likes the taste, and when work is over it takes but mild encouraging to make him yield to the invitation to go to the saloon. Several drinks make him forgetful of the family, anxiously waiting for him at home, into whose presence he finally reels in an awful state of intoxication. Oh, what an awful sight the scene presents. The amazed and almost heartbroken wife, with her frightened children. Well, the seed is planted, and the noxious weed, nurtured by drink, thrives. The blight of rum changes the stamp of nature, turning the heretofore good-tempered man into a veritable demon. Night after night he comes home more the beast than human, until one evening he is later than usual and the older of the two girls goes in search of him. From tavern to tavern she goes until at last she finds him, but her pleading is in vain, and she is driven out by the drunken father. However, she returns and makes her last plea, for the father crazed by drink hurls her aside, and the poor little child falls against the bar. This arouses the sympathy of the waiter, who reproaches the father for his brutal assault. The father resents his interference with a blow, and the waiter retaliates with a pistol, Bring it just as the little one arises and runs to her father, receiving the bullet in the head and dropping lifeless to the floor. For an instant the father doesn't seem to realize the horrible enormity of the affair, but soon the awful truth is clear to him and he becomes a raving maniac. What a lesson is here depicted. Shortly after we find him back at his work, a changed man. He is cured of the awful disease, but the scar is still perceptible. He has resolved to live his life for the welfare and peace of his faithful wife and remaining child.


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