Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Grammar and Spelling

Mary Boykin Chesnut, Diary (February 28, 1861):
In the drawing-room a Mrs. Saxon abused South Carolina until she found I was a South Carolinian and took it back. She spoke of her letters being printed, but she used "incredible" for "incredulous," and "was" for "were." A fine writer she must have been.

Mary Boykin Chesnut, Diary (August 27, 1861):
Today I saw a letter from a girl crossed in love. Her parents object to the social position of her fiancé; in point of fact, they forbid the banns. She writes: "I am misserable." Her sister she calls a "mean retch." For such a speller, a man of any social status would do. They ought not to expect so much for her. If she wrote her "pah" a note I am sure that "stern parient" would give in.

Seen or heard recently:I sometimes think that sensitivity to these things is a curse, like an over-keen nose assailed at all times and in all places by foul odors.

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