A Bottle In the Smoke

Posted by Scott Marsden on December 07, 2001

This is from a book I am reading... I had never heard this term before, and thought it interesting:

"Of course I didn't think of myself as innocent. What young man ever does? I thought I was the toughest thing going. A verse from the Book of Psalms kept running through my head that seemed to me to describe my state perfectly. "I am become like a bottle in the smoke." It's a verse that puzzles people who think it means a glass bottle, but my father would never have allowed me to be so ignorant as that. It means one of those old wineskins the Hebrews used; it means a goatskin that has been scraped out, and tanned, and blown up, and hung over the fire till it is as hard as a warrior's boot. That was how I saw myself."

-- from Robertson Davies, "World of Wonders". Incidentally, the Bible passage is Psalms 119:83.