+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

There was an attempt made, I recollect,
to perform the allegro capriccioso, with its
intricate harmonics and restless changes of
time at intervals of a few bars each. But,
as might be supposed, the effect produced
resembled no earthly combination of stringed
instruments, but rather a confused Babel of
squeaking, groaning, buzzing, and croaking,
wherein all seemed equally lost, and godpapa
distinguished himself in the daddy-longlegs
movement before mentioned. Miss Rosetta
was seized with a fit of opportune coughing;
I plunged my face into the great china-bowl
of pinks; and even dear Aunt Bella was fain
to go to the window and look out at the
lightning. To the relief of all present, Mr.
Daley dropped his instrument with a crash,
as another grand peal of thunder came rattling
down the valley, and flinging himself back with
closed eyes, ejaculated, " Ough! ough! Swelling
swelling every moment!" Thus ended
Spohr's celebrated quartette, as performed in
Meadow-row. The conscientious second violin,
the gristly tip of whose nose, combined with the
pink framework of his eyes, gave him, I
thought, more than ever the look of the fish
called a gurnet, still sat hunched up opposite
to his portion of the desk, tracing with the
point of his bow the black ups and downs of
the demi-semiquavers, and muttering to himself,
"A perfect waistcoat pattern! Diabolical
stuff! What could that fellow Kanzler mean!"


FEASTS, fêtes, and flowers, go well together.
They naturally intertwine and amalgamate, both
literally and alliterately. When our first parents
entertained their angelic guest in the garden of

                                          to the sylvan lodge
     They came, that like Pomona's arbour smiled,
     With flowerets decked, and fragrant smells.
Whilst Eve, after serving her dinner,
                                     then strews the ground
     With rose and odours from the shrub unfumed.

At festive seasons, when flowers are rare, we
substitute for them their precursors, leaves; or
their successors, fruits and berries. Our friends
at the antipodes, whose Christmas falls at mid-
summer, gladly garnish their rooms with
brilliant bouquets, although they retain a lingering
fondness for our native winter decorations,
composed of holly, ivy, and mistletoe.

Flowers are plants arrived at their perfect
state, their climax of existence. There is one
plant which is all flower, and nothing else.
Many flowers have no leaves, whose office is
filled by the stalk or stem. But, in truth, we
habitually employ the term " flower"
synecdochally, i.e. taking the part for the whole.
"Fond of flowers" really means fond of flower-
producing plants. A flower-market is a place
where plants which furnish flowers are sold. A
non-flowering plant, like a naughty schoolboy,
is sent down by learned doctors to the bottom of
its class, to take its place with mould and
mustinesses. It is stigmatised with the title of
cryptogam, which may be interpreted "sneak,"
and is disowned by its nobler vegetable relations.
The most delicate and wholesome of vegetables
are edible and potable flowersthe curious
cauliflower, cherished of Pompey the Great;
the hardier broccoli; the anti-rheumatic artichoke;
the caper, coupled with boiled leg of
mutton; the nasturtium and borage, to crown
the salad-bowl; the hop, yielding its perfume
to Allsopp's ale; the cowslip, consenting to be
smothered in cream; the fever-chasing camomile,
and the calmative lime-blossom.

Bouquets, in their strict sense, are flowers in
combination, tied in a bunch, married together
for better for worse, the tall with the short, the
bright with the dull, the pretty with the plain,
and proving, as in other unions, if not exactly
that extremes meet, certainly that contraries go
well together. The word bouquet is derived
from boscetum; but the parent stands greatly
in need of a certificate of legitimacy. Our
"nosegay" (pronounced by our French friends
"nosey-gay") is of less disputed origin, as well
as a better thing in itself; because, in order to
cheer our nasal organs, it must be composed of
sweet-smelling flowers. Whether they be what
Lord Bacon calls "flowers fast of their smells
(as roses, damask and red), so that you may
walk by a whole row of them and find nothing
of their sweetness, yea though it be in a morning's
dew;" or whether they be " the flowers and
plants that do best perfume the air that which,
above all others, yields the sweetest smell in
the air, is the violet; especially the white double
violet, which comes twice a year, about the
middle of April, and about Bartholomew-tide"—
certain it is that nosegay flowers ought to be
pleasant to the nose. Whereas "bouquet" is
much wider in its significance, and may be taken
to mean merely and loosely a bunch. A bunch
of nettles, therefore, may be called a bouquet;
but you can hardly call a bunch of nettles a

Cooks style the bunch of sweet herbs
(marjoram, thyme, parsley, chervil, &c.) with which
they flavour their soups and stews, a bouquet.
When a gentleman's beard is uneven and
irregular, being made up of bald places and tufts of
hair, it is said to grow in bouquets. A bouquet,
in fireworks, is a number of piecesrockets,
Roman candles, serpents, crackers, squibslet
off at once so as to form a sheaf of sparkling
fire, and is mostly the conclusion of the display.
Generally speaking, to reserve anything for the
bouquet, is to reserve it for the end of an
entertainment. Figuratively, following out the
nosegay idea, the bouquet of wine is the peculiar
perfume and aroma which distinguishes it
from other wines. In France, it is usual to
present one's friends with a nosegay on their
fête-day; for this, a copy of verses is sometimes
substituted, which is thence entitled a bouquet.
Lastly, when horse-dealers take a nag to market,
they tie a bouquet of straw to its tail or its ear.
Consequently, a horse to sell is said to have or