Thursday, 11 February 2010


James Sheridan Knowles's The Hunchback (1830): a creaky but rather splendid melodrama (I'm reading it because the scholars assure me it's one of the sources for the plotting in Our Mutual Friend). In Act IV sc. i I discover this: beautiful young Helen teases her cousin Modus for being in love with a certain woman at university. He repudiates this (because, secretly, he's in love with Helen):
I loved no woman while I was at college--
Save one, and her I fancied ere I went there.
Is this the earliest recorded use of 'fancied' in this romantic context, I wonder?

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