Words I never looked up from “The Three Musketeers”

  • casuist – apparently one whose reasoning is suspect or false
  • catafalque – no idea
  • sbirri – some sort of authority in France, possibly Huguenot-related
  • exordium – an introductory or explanatory passage?
  • caparison – part of a horse’s decoration
  • caracole – something horses do
  • fauteuil – has to do with fainting, but may be furniture as well
  • carbuncle – a jewel, if I remember correctly… also an esper
  • soubrette – a lady’s personal servant
  • quodlibet – your guess is as good as mine
  • laveer – ditto

I guess I could google these, but I’m busy. Little help?

Let the man who speaks evil of Alexander not merely bring forward those passages of Alexander’s life which were really evil, but let him collect and review all the actions of Alexander, and then let him thoroughly consider first who and what manner of man he himself is, and what has been his own career; and then let him consider who and what manner of man Alexander was, and to what an eminence of human grandeur he arrived. Let him consider that Alexander was a king, and the undisputed lord of the two continents, and that his name is renowned throughout the whole earth. Let the evil-speaker against Alexander bear all this in mind, and then let him reflect on his own insignificance, the pettiness of his own circumstances and affairs, and the blunders that he makes about these, paltry and trifling as they are. Let him then ask himself whether he is a fit person to censure and revile such a man as Alexander.


There was a rustle of chirruping sparrows in the green lacquer leaves of the ivy, and the blue cloud-shadows chased themselves across the grass like swallows. How pleasant it was in the garden! And how delightful other people’s emotions were!–much more delightful than their ideas, it seemed to him.

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Those were drinking days, and most men drank hard.

Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities