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bagatelle

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  • Gary Stephens
    Dear Maxine, Don t pay any attention whatever to those philistines! :-) They re only enlisted, likely without any breeding whatever. A lady of your very
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 30, 1999
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      Dear Maxine,

      Don't pay any attention whatever to those philistines! :-) They're
      only enlisted, likely without any breeding whatever. A lady of your very
      obvious charms and intellect plainly sought the input of far more erudite
      and learned men.

      (that was a joke, List!) :-)

      Seriously - according to my records, bagatelle, besides meaning a
      mere trifle, also refers to a game similar to billiards or pinball. What's
      even more interesting (to someone as obsessive with dictionaries and
      encylopaedias as I. I know, I know, I need to get a life!) is bagatelle
      also has a musical reference: a short musical composition, especially for
      the piano.

      The Britannica even has an illustration of a bagatelle board! The
      good book says: a game probably of English origin, similar to billiards and
      probably a modification of it. It is played on an oblong board
      (semi-circular at one end, flat at the other) or table varying in size from
      6 by 1 1/2 ft to 10 x 3 feet, with nine numbered cups at its head (the
      rounded end), eight arranged in a circle, and the ninth in its centre.
      Rules of the basic game vary somewhat, and there is a large number of
      derivative games.
      Ordinarily, billard cues and nine balls - one black, four red, and
      four white - are used. The black ball is placed upon a spot about 9" in
      front of hole #1. A line (the balk) is drawn across the baord, from behind
      which the players shoot. Any numer may play. Each player in turn plays all
      eight balls up the table, no score being allowed until a ball has touched
      the black ball. The object of the game is to play as many balls as possible
      into the holes, the black ball counting double. The game is decided by the
      aggregate score made in an agreed number of rounds.

      There's a lot more on French, common and Mississippi variations.

      So, gentlemen, your penance for having been so unhelpful to such a
      gracious and plainly spirited lady is to go out, construct a bagatelle
      board, perfect it and its balls (oh, I can just here the comments from
      Len!) and present yourselves to the good Maxine at the nearest, most
      convenient opportunity and demonstrate to her the merits of such a noble
      game.

      I leave you to it. I'm going back to bed.

      Lorina

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