Mr. Bagnet Singing Thomas Moore's "Believe me. . . ."

Mr. Matthew Bagnet is an ex-artillery man, a bassoon-player, and proprietor of a musical instrument shop; know in the army as 'Lignum Vitae' (i.e. guaiacum, a very hard wood) from the solidity of his features. Mrs. Bagnet, 'the Old Girl', a model soldier's wife, manages the family's affairs, but lovingly connives at the pretence that her husband does so since, as he puts it, 'discipline must be maintained'. (The Dickens Index)

Mr. Bagnet suddenly interposes, 'Plays the Fife. Beautiful.'

'Would you believe it, governor,' says Mr. Bucket, struck by the coincidence, 'that when I was a boy I played the fife myself? Not in a scientific way, as I expect he does, but by ear. Lord bless you ! British Grenadiers--there's a tune to warm an Englishman up! Could you give us British Grenadiers, my fine fellow?'

Nothing could be more acceptable to the little circle than this call upon young Woolwich, who immediately fetches his fife and performs the stirring melody; during which performance Mr. Bucket, much enlivened, beats time, and never fails to come in sharp with the burden, 'Brit Ish Gra-a-anadeers!' In short, he shows so much musical taste, that Mr. Bagnet actually takes his pipe from his lips to express his conviction that he is a singer. Mr. Bucket receives the harmonious impeachment so modestly confessing how that he did once chaunt a little, for the expression of the feelings of his own bosom, and with no presumptuous idea of entertaining his friends that he is asked to sing. Not to be behindhand in the sociality of the evening, he complies, and gives them 'Believe me if all those endearing young charms.'* This ballad, he informs Mrs. Bagnet, he considers to have been his most powerful ally in moving the heart of Mrs. Bucket when a maiden, and inducing her to approach the altar--Mr. Bucket's own words are, to come up to the scratch. (^_^)

(Bleak House, XLIX)

* If you don't already have Sound Machine, you will need to download it to listen.
c. The Scholars, "Believe me, if all those endearing young charms" in Home, Sweet Home (CE20-5324)

Top of Page The Dickens Page
Mitsuharu Matsuoka's Home Page