Thursday, June 25, 2009

Re: The Appalachian conversation

As "hiking the Appalachian Trail" joins "Ugandan discussions" and "meaningful confrontation" in the sexual lexicon, I'm reminded of an earlier circumlocution involving a randy paragon of piety. Here's a moment of conception anticipated in Henry Fielding's Tom Jones:
Though Miss Bridget was a woman of the greatest delicacy of taste, yet such were the charms of the captain's conversation, that she totally overlooked the defects of his person. She imagined, and perhaps very wisely, that she should enjoy more agreeable minutes with the captain than with a much prettier fellow; and forewent the consideration of pleasing her eyes, in order to procure herself much more solid satisfaction.
"Conversation" in the 18th century had a range of connotations like "intercourse" today.
Miss Bridget not only married the Captain; we later learn that she had enjoyed earlier "conversations" with his married brother.

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