Philobiblon: The sound of a wit

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The sound of a wit

Today's Diaries of a Lady of Quality entry is actually a letter from Lord Alvaney, who seems to me a self-conscious wit, as he makes fun of the doubtful virtues of taking the waters at Buxton, still a big tourist centre.

"Animated by the appetite, which even the diluent powers of common water, assisted by the vibrations of diurnal exercise and the collisive hilarity of reciprocal salutation, would give to a body obstructed by gluttony and rest — they devour with deleterious hunger a farinaceous sponge, the interstices of which are inundated with butter, which might smile at the peristaltic exertions of an elephant, and of which the digestion would be no less an evil than the obstruction."

Pretentious maybe, but it is still rather fun in its orotund syllables. (Yes, I had to look up farinaceous too - "Made from, rich in, or consisting of starch". Anyone know what dish is being insulted - just bread?)


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