As magic tricks go, the "I can vomit wine" claim has died a deserved death. One imagines that neither David Copperfield, nor even Penn & Teller, will be reviving the spectacle of Floram Marchand any time soon.
Floram Marchand: The Great Water Spouter
In the summer of 1650, a Frenchman named Floram Marchand was brought
over from Tours to London, who professed to be able to 'turn water into
wine, and at his vomit render not only the tincture, but the strength
and smell of several wines, and several waters.' Here - the trick and
its cause being utterly unknown - he seems for a time to have gulled
and astonished the public to no small extent, and to his great profit.
Before, however, the whole mystery was cleared up by two friends of
Marchand, who had probably not received the share of the profits to
which they thought themselves entitled. Their somewhat circumstantial
account runs as follows.
'To prepare his body for so hard a task, before he makes his appearance
on the stage, he takes a pill about the quantity of a hazelnut,
confected with the gall of a heifer, and wheat flour baked. After which
he drinks privately in his chamber four or five pints of luke-warm
water, to take all the foulness and slime from his stomach, and to
avoid that loathsome spectacle which otherwise would make thick the
water, and offend the eye of the observer.'
'In the first place he presents you with a pale of luke-warm water, and
sixteen glasses in a basket, but you are to understand that every
morning he boils two ounces of Brazil thin-sliced in three pints of
running water, so long till the whole strength and colour of the Brazil
is exhausted; of this he drinks half a pint in his private chamber
before he comes on the stage.'
'Before he presents himself to the spectators, he washes all his
glasses in the best white-wine vinegar he can procure. Coming on the
stage, he always washes his first glass, and rinses it two or three
times, to take away the strength of the vinegar, that it may in no wise
discolour the complexion of what is represented to be wine.'
'At his first entrance, he drinks four and twenty glasses of luke-warm
water, the first vomit he makes the water seems to be a deep claret:
you are to observe that his gall-pill in the morning, and so many
glasses of luke-warm water afterwards, will force him into a sudden
capacity to vomit, which vomit upon so much warm water, is for the most
part so violent on him, that he cannot forbear if he would.'
'Having then made his essay on claret, he will then bring forth claret
and beer at once into several glasses; now you are to observe that the
glass which appears to be claret is rinsed as before, but the beer
glass not rinsed at all, but is still moist with the white-wine
vinegar, and the first strength of the Brazil water being lost, it
makes the water which he vomits up to be more of a pale colour, and
much like our English beer.'
'He will then, in succession, bring up pale Burgundian wine, sack and finally white wine.
'It is also to be considered that he never comes on the stage (as he
does sometimes three or four times a day) but he first drinks the
Brazil water, without which he can do nothing at all, for all that
comes from him has a tincture of the red, and it only varies and alters
according to the abundance of water which he takes, and the strength of
the white-wine vinegar, in which all the glasses are washed.'