Benford's G&S Lexicon Entries for Patience

Click a term to expand the definition; Search for a term; Select other Opera Chapters; Go to the Lexicon menu for introductory and afterword content..

Enter part of a term; e.g., "gill" for Gillow's.

Act II

Particle [A pushing young particle]

I interpret this to mean an ambitious but very subordinate and callow person who is overly-self-assertive.

What's the next article?

From the context we must assume that our steady young man is a sales clerk in a fashionable draper's firm. Having just clinched a sale, our pushing young particle asks his customer what else he -- or more likely, she -- would like to buy. The expression was a common cliché of that period (273).

Waterloo House

This was a building housing several smart shops. Walmisley (299), Dunn (100), Hardwick (149), and Bradley (47) all state that it was in Cockspur St. and was the location of "Messrs. Halling, Pearce, and Stone, mercers and drapers." Terry (286) and Knight (178) propose that it was in Lower Regent Street. Its location isn't at all important here, so let's move on.


Full of whims or fads (75), and given to expressing them in an aggressive manner (167).


Eccentric, perhaps slightly crazy.


Idyllic and bucolic.

Dittoes [an ordinary suit of dittoes and a pot hat]

Webster defines dittoes as "clothes of one material or color throughout." We might interpret this as being subdued and conservative. In most stage presentations, however, these dittoes turn out to be gaudy suits appropriate to racetrack gamblers.

Pot hat

A derby.

Swears and Wells

Formerly a ladies' dressmaking shop. Goodman (140) says the shop was on Regent Street at that time. The name has since been taken over by a chain of furriers.

Madame Louise

A fashionable milliner's shop, which Goodman (140) says was on Regent Street.

Pattering [We're prettily pattering]

Jabbering away without throwing brain into gear. Joseph (167) and Stedman (274) suggest another meaning: bouncy little steps in place of their former Daphnephoric bounds. Take your choice.

[Final note on Patience]

Quoting Yum-Yum: Thank goodness that's over!