Circumbendibus

Listening to a performance of Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer I delight in hearing this lovely enumeration and had to share the pleasure with mine eyes:

I first took them down Feather-bed Lane, where we stuck fast in the mud. I then rattled them crack over the stones of Up-and-down Hill. I then introduced them to the gibbet on Heavy-tree Heath; and from that, with a circumbendibus, I fairly lodged them in the horse-pond at the bottom of the garden.

The place names suit such an arduous roundabout trip.

The enumeration is the gem in this smart setting…

TONY. Left them! Why where should I leave them but where I found them?

HASTINGS. This is a riddle.

TONY. Riddle me this then. What’s that goes round the house, and round the house, and never touches the house?

HASTINGS. I’m still astray.

TONY. Why, that’s it, mon. I have led them astray. By jingo, there’s not a pond or a slough within five miles of the place but they can tell the taste of.

HASTINGS. Ha! ha! ha! I understand: you took them in a round, while they supposed themselves going forward, and so you have at last brought them home again.

TONY. You shall hear. I first took them down Feather-bed Lane, where we stuck fast in the mud. I then rattled them crack over the stones of Up-and-down Hill. I then introduced them to the gibbet on Heavy-tree Heath; and from that, with a circumbendibus, I fairly lodged them in the horse-pond at the bottom of the garden.

HASTINGS. But no accident, I hope?

TONY. No, no. Only mother is confoundedly frightened. She thinks herself forty miles off. She’s sick of the journey; and the cattle can scarce crawl. So if your own horses be ready, you may whip off with cousin, and I’ll be bound that no soul here can budge a foot to follow you.

Nary a word astray.

And so for day 2577
02.01.2014

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