Obfuscatory flights

I do enjoy the word obfuscate, which, as a verb means to cast into darkness or shadow, to cloud, to obscure. I did not know until I looked it up that the word can also be an adjective.

Imagine my delight, though, when I found one of the examples for the verb form to have been taken from Sir Walter Scott’s novel, “Waverly,” (1814), as follows:

The daughters of the house of Bradwardine were, in his opinion‥placed high above the clouds of passion which might obfuscate the intellects of meaner females.

Is that not a delightful sentence? Waverly was credited with reviving Scottish national pride, and so delighted the Prince Regent that he declared he must have dinner with its author. Sir Walter had published the book anonymously, but did indeed have dinner with the Regent. When Prinny, or George IV, made an official visit to Scotland in 1822, Sir Walter was tasked with organizing the tour, and made a grand and memorable show of it, complete with His Majesty tricked out in Royal Stuart formal dress.

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