En poursuivant votre navigation sur ce site, vous acceptez l'utilisation de cookies. Ces derniers assurent le bon fonctionnement de nos services. En savoir plus.

mardi, 26 février 2008

Un peu de lecture

Guerre de Troie

We left the Misses Buzza engaged in rowing their papa homewards. The Three Queens as they steered King Arthur to Avilion can have been no sadder pageant. It is true the Misses Buzza grieved for no Excalibur, but the Admiral had lost his cocked-hat.

Picture to yourself that procession: the journey past the jetties; the faces that grinned down from overhanging hulls, or looked out hurriedly at casements and grew pale; the blue-jerseyed Trojan lounging on the quay, and pausing in his whistle to stare; the Trojan maidens gazing, with arrested needle; the shipwrights dropping mallet and tar-pot; the ferrymen resting on their oars; the makers of ship's biscuit rushing out, with aprons flying, to see the sight; the butcher, the baker, the candle-stick maker—each and all agog. Then imagine the Olympian mirth that ran along the waterside when Troy saw the joke, and, hand on hip, laughed with all its lungs.

But even this was not the worst: no, nor the crowd of urchins that followed from the landing-stage and cheered at intervals. It was when Admiral Buzza looked up and spied the face of Mrs. Goodwyn-Sandys at an upper window of "The Bower," that the cup of his humiliation indeed brimmed over.

Mrs. Buzza, "tittivating" at the mirror, heard the stir, and, presentient of evil, rushed down-stairs. She saw her lord restored to her, dear but damp. Yet she "nor swooned, nor uttered cry:" she simply sat violently and suddenly down upon the hall-chair, and piteously stared.

"Emily, get up!"

She did so.

"You are wet, my love," she ventured timorously.

"Wet! Woman, is this the time for airy persiflage?"

"My love," replied Mrs. Buzza, meekly, "nothing was further from my thoughts."

The Admiral glared upon her for a moment, but the retort died upon his lips. He flung his hands out with an appealing gesture and something like a sob.

"Emily," he cried, hoarsely, "Troy has laughed at me again. Put me to bed."

(A.T. Quiller-Couch. The Astonishing History of Troy Town. Chapter IX) 




The little trees were in evidence everywhere, decorating the living rooms, posted like sentinels on the terrace, and staged with the honour due to statuary at points of vantage in the garden. But their chief home was in a sunny corner at the back of a shrubbery, where they were aligned on shelves in the sunlight. Three special gardeners who attended to their wants were grooming and massaging them, soothing and titivating them, for their temporary appearances in public. Here they had a green-house of their own, kept slightly warmed for a few delicate specimens, and also for the convalescence of the hardier trees; for these precious dwarfs are quite human in their ailments, their pleasures and their idiosyncracies.

(John Paris. Kimono. Chapter XIV : The Dwarf-Trees)




You can hear them in the evening, discussing the matter of this surplus stock.

"Don't you work any more," he says, as he comes up with the last load, "you'll tire yourself."

"Well, I am feeling a bit done up," she answers, as she hops out of the nest and straightens her back.

"You're a bit peckish, too, I expect," he adds sympathetically.  "I know I am.  We will have a scratch down, and be off."

"What about all this stuff?" she asks, while titivating herself;

"we'd better not leave it about, it looks so untidy."

"Oh, we'll soon get rid of that," he answers.  "I'll have that down in a jiffy."

To help him, she seizes a stick and is about to drop it.  He darts forward and snatches it from her.

"Don't you waste that one," he cries, "that's a rare one, that is. You see me hit the old man with it."

And he does.  What the gardener says, I will leave you to imagine.

Judged from its structure, the rook family is supposed to come next in intelligence to man himself.  Judging from the intelligence displayed by members of certain human families with whom I have come in contact, I can quite believe it.  That rooks talk I am positive. No one can spend half-an-hour watching a rookery without being convinced of this.  Whether the talk be always wise and witty, I am not prepared to maintain; but that there is a good deal of it is certain.

(Jerome K. Jerome. Second Thoughts of an Idle Fellow. "Of the Motherliness of Man".)




"I have come out with you, commodore," said Captain Truck, when they had got to their station, and laying a peculiar emphasis on the appellation he used, "in order to enjoy myself, and you will confer an especial favour on me by not using such phrases as 'cable-rope,' 'casting anchor,' and 'titivating.' As for the two first, no seaman ever uses them; and I never heard suchna word on board a ship, as the last, D----e, sir, if I believe it is to be found in the dictionary, even."

"You amaze me, sir! 'Casting anchor,' and 'cable-rope' are both Bible phrases, and they must be right."

(James Fenimore Cooper. Home as Found. Chapter XIX)



Bague au doigt

All women are alike. All housekeeping is amateurish. She (Mrs. Omicron, the criminal) has nothing in this world to do but run the house--and see how she runs it! No order! No method! Has she ever studied housekeeping scientifically? Not she! Does she care? Not she! If she had any real sense of responsibility, if she had the slightest glimmering of her own short-comings, she wouldn't have started on the ring question. But there you are! She only thinks of spending, and titivating herself. I wish she had to do a little earning. She'd find out a thing or two then. She'd find out that life isn't all moonstones and motor-cars. Ring, indeed! It's the lack of tact that annoys me. I am an ill-used man. All husbands are ill-used men. The whole system wants altering. However, I must keep my end up. And I will keep my end up. Ring, indeed! No tact!

(Arnold Bennett. The Plain Man & His Wife.)



 Envers du décor

Then, in view of cravings inner,

We go down and order dinner;

Or we polish the Regalia and the Coronation Plate -

Spend an hour in titivating

All our Gentlemen-in-Waiting;

Or we run on little errands for the Ministers of State.

Oh, philosophers may sing

Of the troubles of a King,

Yet the duties are delightful, and the privileges great;

But the privilege and pleasure

That we treasure beyond measure

Is to run on little errands for the Ministers of State!


 (W.S. Gilbert. "The Working Monarch". In Songs of a Savoyard.)




In spiritu

Now, the dinner is always a good one, the appetites of the diners being delicate, and requiring a little of what Mrs. Merrywinkle calls ‘tittivation;’ the secret of which is understood to lie in good cookery and tasteful spices, and which process is so successfully performed in the present instance, that both Mr. and Mrs. Merrywinkle eat a remarkably good dinner, and even the afflicted Mrs. Chopper wields her knife and fork with much of the spirit and elasticity of youth.  But Mr. Merrywinkle, in his desire to gratify his appetite, is not unmindful of his health, for he has a bottle of carbonate of soda with which to qualify his porter, and a little pair of scales in which to weigh it out.  Neither in his anxiety to take care of his body is he unmindful of the welfare of his immortal part, as he always prays that for what he is going to receive he may be made truly thankful; and in order that he may be as thankful as possible, eats and drinks to the utmost.

(Charles Dickens. "The Couple Who Coddle Themselves". In Sketches of Young Couples.)




It was on the Friday before Martinmas, at dusk. In the centre of the town, on the waste ground to the north of the "Shambles" (as the stone-built meat market was called), and in the space between the Shambles and the as yet unfinished new Town Hall, the showmen and the showgirls and the showboys were titivating their booths, and cooking their teas, and watering their horses, and polishing the brass rails of their vans, and brushing their fancy costumes, and hammering fresh tent-pegs into the hard ground, and lighting the first flares of the evening, and yarning, and quarrelling, and washing—all under the sombre purple sky, for the diversion of a small crowd of loafers, big and little, who stood obstinately with their hands in their pockets or in their sleeves, missing naught of the promising spectacle.

(Arnold Bennett. "Jock-At-A-Venture". In The Matador of the Five Towns and Other Stories.)




"'Tis good to wear a bit of colour again," said Mrs Bosenna on Regatta morning, as she stood before her glass pinning to her bodice a huge bow of red, white, and blue ribbons.  "Black never did become me."

"It becomes ye well enough, mistress, and ye know it," contradicted Dinah.

"'Tis monotonous, anyway.  I can't see why we poor widow-women should be condemned to wear it for life."

"You bain't," Dinah contradicted again, and added slily, "d'ye wish me to fetch witnesses?"

Her mistress, tittivating the ribbons, ignored the question.

"I do think we might be allowed to wear colours now and again--say on Sundays.  As it is, I dare say many will be pickin' holes in my character, even for this little outbreak."

"There's a notion, now!  Why, 'tis Queen Victory's Year--and a pretty business if one widow mayn't pay her respects to another!"

"It do always seem strange to me," Mrs Bosenna mused.


"Why, that the Queen should be a widow, same as any one else."

"Low fever," said Dinah.  "And I've always heard as the Prince Consort had a delicate constitution."

 (A.T. Quiller-Couch. Hocken and Hunken. Chapter XXIII.)

Les commentaires sont fermés.