On a slightly different note, went to the American Museum (just down the hill from where Isobel lives at the University of Bath) last Saturday to see an open air production of Sheridan’s The Rivals (poor quality etext available from Bibliomania) by Bath Drama. I’d not seen any Sheridan before, and didn’t realise that he was responsible for Mrs Malaprop (of malapropism fame), nor that The Rivals was set in Bath (which made for interesting references to duels on Kingsmead Fields, and so on).
Despite my usual hayfever, I greatly enjoyed the play (a `Restoration Comedy’, which seems to be a high-brow term for late C18th farce), not least due to the excellent production which made good use of the late Georgian/early Victorian surroundings of the American Museum.
While talking with Is about the language in the play after the performance, I learned the period meaning for the word `macaroni’ (which of course was old hat to Isobel, due to her diet of Regency romances). Coincidentally, this also means that that the line `stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni’ from the song Yankee Doodle now makes sense to me. From the OED:
macaroni Hist. An exquisite of a class which arose in England about 1760 and consisted of young men who had travelled and affected the tastes and fashions prevalent in continental society. [This use seems to be from the name of the Macaroni Club, a designation prob. adopted to indicate the preference of the members for foreign cookery, macaroni being at that time little eaten in England. …]