- 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 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
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
I leave you to it. I'm going back to bed.
Five Rivers Chapmanry ~ purveyors of quality hand-crafted cooperage & fine
hand-sewn, embroidered garments http://www.5rivers.org e-mail: