Word puzzles, charades and conundrums were popular forms of amusement during the Regency. Several variations of these games take place during Emma including the word scramble played by Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax (blunder) and Mr. Weston’s “two letters [which] spell perfection” (“M” and “A”= Emma) Perhaps the most famous use of word puzzles in the novel are, however, the charades collected by Harriet Smith in her book. Here are a few from the novel, along with their answers. To solve the puzzle, remember that “my whole” or “united” is the word to be guessed, “my first” is its first syllable, and “my second” its second syllable. Answers follow at the bottom of the page. A “well-known charade” My first doth affliction denote Which my second is destin’d to feel. And my whole is the best antidote That affliction to soften and heal. Mr. Elton’s Mystery Charade My first displays the wealth and pomp of kings, Lords of the earth! their luxury and ease. Another view of man, my second brings, Behold him there, the monarch of the seas! But ah! united, what reverse we have! Man’s boasted power and freedom, all are flown; Lord of the earth and sea, he bends a slave, And woman, lovely woman, reigns alone. Thy ready wit the word will soon supply, May its approval beam in that soft eye! Kitty, A Fair but Frozen Maid Kitty, a fair, but frozen maid, Kindled a flame I still deplore; The hood-wink’d* boy I call’d in
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