Fanny Burney, Evelina : Vol. 1, Ch. 19

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"It is a very fine, and very ingenious," answered I; "and yet-I don't know how it is-but I seem to miss something."

"Excellently answered!" cried he; "you have exactly defined my own feelings, though in a manner I should never have arrived at. But I was certain your taste was too well formed, to be pleased at the expense of your understanding."

"Pardi," cried Madame Duval, "I hope you two is difficult enough! I'm sure if you don't like this you like nothing; for it's the grandest, prettiest, finest sight that ever I see in England."

"What," cried the Captain with a sneer, "I suppose this may be in your French taste? it's like enough, for it's all kickshaww work. But pr'ythee, friend," turning to the person who explained the devices, "will you tell me the use of all this? for I'm not enough of a conjuror to find it out."

"Use, indeed!" repeated Madame Duval, disdainfully; "Lord if every thing's to be useful!-"

"Why, Sir, as to that, Sir," said our conductor, "the ingenuity of the mechanism-the beauty of the workmanship-the-undoubtedly, Sir, any person of taste may easily discern the utility of such extraordinary performances."

"Why then, Sir," answered the Captain, "your person of taste must be either a coxcombh, or a Frenchman; though, for the matter of that, 'tis the same thing."

Just then our attention was attracted by a pine-apple; which, suddenly opening, discovered a nest of birds, which immediately began to sing. "Well," cried Madame Duval, "this is prettier than all the rest! I declare, in all my travels, I never see nothing eleganter."

"Hark ye, friend," said the Captain, "hast never another pine-apple?"

"Sir?-"

"Because, if thou hast, pr'ythee give it us without the birds; for, d'ye see, I'm no Frenchman, and should relish something more substantial."

This entertainment concluded with a concert of mechanical music: I cannot explain how it was produced, but the effect was pleasing. Madame Duval was in ecstasies; and the Captain flung himself into so many ridiculous distortions, by way of mimicking her, that he engaged the attention of all the company; and, in the midst of the performance of the Coronation Anthemw, while Madame Duval was affecting to beat time, and uttering many expressions of delight, he called suddenly for salts, which a lady, apprehending some distress, politely handed to him, and which, instantly applying to the nostrils of poor Madame Duval, she involuntarily snuffed up such a quantity, that the pain and surprise made her scream aloud. When she recovered, she reproached him with her usual vehemence; but he protested he had taken that measure out of pure friendship, as he concluded, from her raptures, that she was going into hysterics. This excuse by no means appeased her, and they had a violent quarrel; but the only effect her anger had on the Captain, was to increase his diversion. Indeed, he laughs and talks so terribly loud in public, that he frequently makes us ashamed of belonging to him.

Madame Duval, notwithstanding her wrath, made no scruple of returning to dine in Queen Ann Street. Mrs. Mirvan had secured places for the play at Drury-Lane Theatre, and, though ever uneasy in her company, she very politely invited Madame Duval to be of our party; however, she had a bad cold and chose to nurse it. I was sorry for her indisposition; but I knew not how to be sorry she did not accompany us, for she is-I must not say what, but very unlike other people.

X [w] kickshaw

"Something dainty or elegant, but insubstantial or comparatively valueless; a toy, trifle, or gew-gaw."OED 

 

X [h] coxcomb

"A fool, a simpleton (obs.); now a foolish, conceited, showy person, vain of his accomplishments, appearance, or dress; a fop 'a superficial pretender to knowledge or accomplishments' (Johnson)." OED Derived from the coxcomb or cap worn by court jesters or professional fools.   

 

X [w] Coronation Anthem

Arts

George Fredric Handel's composition for the coronation of George II (1727).