“Dunraven Bleak, the managing editor of The Evening Balloon, sat at his desk in the center of the local-room, under a furious cone of electric light. It was six o’clock of a warm summer afternoon: he was filling his pipe and turning over the pages of the Final edition of the paper, which had just come up from the press-room. After the turmoil of the day the room had quieted, most of the reporters had left, and the shaded lamps shone upon empty tables and a floor strewn ankle-deep with papers. Nearby sat the city editor, checking over the list of assignments for the next morning. From an adjoining kennel issued occasional deep groans and a strong whiff of savage shag tobacco, blown outward by the droning gust of an electric fan. These proved that the cartoonist (a man whose sprightly drawings were born to an obbligato of vehement blasphemy) was at work within.”
So begins this droll, scathing, fantastic, and charming satire of prohibition and do-gooding tyranny. The Pan-Antis seem bent on banning everything. Even fermentable fruit and vegetables. It is enough for a man to be dragged off to the asylum if he is suspected of even thinking about having a drink. Against this, an underground movement foments unrest—and ferments not a little wine too.
The edition from Owlfoot Press includes prohibition-era illustrations by James Montgomery Flagg, as exemplified above.