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    #1

    meaning of "fall into a tolerably convincing swoon"

    Dear all,

    I'm reading an article about an instrument called "armonica" invented by Benjamin Franklin. And it says:

    Ultimately, however, the instrument was remembered as a means for a woman to show off her delicate feminine nature. “When it was claimed that the armonica exerted a magical influence on the nerves,” one writer remembered, “the instrument could not fail to captivate every sensitive soul. For any young lady of breeding it would have been most ill-advised, as soon as the glasses were even touched, not to fall into a tolerably convincing swoon.

    I'm confused about the last part of the quote. Does "the instrument could not fail to captivate every sensitive soul" mean that every sensitive soul was moved by its music? Does "fall into a tolerably convincing swoon" mean that the ladies should pretend to faint? If so, I don't see the connection between being moved and pretending to faint. If not, what does this writer mean?

  1. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: meaning of "fall into a tolerably convincing swoon"

    Quote Originally Posted by KuaiLe View Post
    Dear all,

    I'm reading an article about an instrument called "armonica" invented by Benjamin Franklin. And it says:

    Ultimately, however, the instrument was remembered as a means for a woman to show off her delicate feminine nature. “When it was claimed that the armonica exerted a magical influence on the nerves,” one writer remembered, “the instrument could not fail to captivate every sensitive soul. For any young lady of breeding it would have been most ill-advised, as soon as the glasses were even touched, not to fall into a tolerably convincing swoon.

    I'm confused about the last part of the quote. Does "the instrument could not fail to captivate every sensitive soul" mean that every sensitive soul was moved by its music? Yes. Does "fall into a tolerably convincing swoon" mean that the ladies should pretend to faint? Yes. If so, I don't see the connection between being moved and pretending to faint. If not, what does this writer mean?
    Pretending to faint showed how overcome you were with the music. (It was a different era.)


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