Classical Usage: Oh, you know, Hawthorne used it, then it showed up in my translation of Crime and Punishment. And yet, here it is again, and here I am scratching my head and trying to remember what it means. This is the context this time around. Ralph and Isabel are spending a little quiet time in London and Ralph promises to amuse her for a couple of hours. He feels he’s not living up to his promise, “I ought at least to bring in a band of music or a company of mountebanks.” Isabel replies, “One mountebank’s enough, and you do very well.” Really, Isabel? I would have preferred a band of music.
Classically Mad Usage: Obviously I’ve failed at my earlier attempts to use this word. I can’t imagine this will change. See you at Huck Finn.