Furbelows and Apricocks

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FURBELOWS AND APRICOCKS. AKA - "Mad Frolick (The)." English, Country Dance Tune (6/8 time). B Flat Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The melody appears in all four editions of John Young's Second Volume of the Dancing Master (1710, 1714, 1718, 1728), and in all three editions of Walsh's Second Book of the Compleat Country Dancing-Master (1719, 1735, 1749). As "Furbelow'd Apricocks" it was also printed by Johnson in Wright's Compleat Collection of Celebrated Country Dances, vol. 2, of 1749.

'Apricocks' are what we call today the fruit apricot. A cordial was made of apricots that in Queen Anne's time was called 'Ratafia of Apricocks'. However, Furbelows refers to an aspect of womens' dress in the era, a pleated ruffle or ornamental frill. Mrs. Centlivre's play The Platonick Lady, written in 1707, relates the country lady who comes to town to learn 'breeding':

A furbelow

Mrs. Dowdy: Ladyship, why what a main difference is here between this town and the country. I was never called above forsooth in all my live. Mercy on me, why you have spoiled my petticoat, mum, zee, Peeper, she has cut it in a thousand bits.
Peeper: Oh, that's the fashion, these are furbelows madam--'tis the prettiest made coat.
Mrs. Dowdy: Furbelows, a murrain take 'em, the spoil all the zilk. Good strange, shour London women do nothing but study vashions, they never mind their dairy I warrant.
Turnup: Ladies have no other employment for their brain--and our art lies in hiding the defects of nature. Furbelows upwards were designed for those that have no hips, and too large ones, brought up the full-bottom'd furbelows.

However the term furbelow also came to mean 'a decoration of color or interest that is added to relieve plainness', and in that context a 'furbelow of apricocks' might mean a decoration of either the fruit or the color.

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