Capillaire Minuet

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CAPILLAIRE MINUET. Scottish, Minuet. Composed by Thomas Alexander Erskine, Viscount Fenton, Sixth Earl of Kelly, born at Kellie Castle in Fife in 1732 (and familiarly known as "Fiddler Tam") in honor of the Capillaire Club in Edinburgh, which he is credited with having founded. The club ("composed of all who were inclined to be witty and joyous") was one of the convivial organizations of the 18th century, famous for its fashionable gatherings. The capillaire itself was a kind of cocktail which the members drank exclusively from small liqueur glasses engraved with the name (Pulver, 1992). James Grant's Cassell's Old and New Edinburgh (1880, p. 124), quoting the Weekly Magazine for 1774, records:

...last Friday night, the gentlemen of the Capillaire Club gave their annual ball. The company consisted of nearly two hundred ladies and gentlemen of the first distinction. Their dresses were extremely rich and elegant. Her Grace the Duchess of D---[the last Duchess of Douglass] and Mrs. Gen. S---[Mrs. Scott, wife of General John Scott of Balconie and Belleue, mother of the Duchess of Portland] made a most brilliant appearance. Mrs. S's jewels alone, it is said, were above £30,000 in value. The ball was opened about seven, and ended about twelve o'clock, when a most elegant entertainment was served up.

Erskine died in 1781. The melody appears in the Brown Manuscript (Lake District, England).

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