Grain and Chaff from an English Manor eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 308 pages of information about Grain and Chaff from an English Manor.
enamel patch-box.  My bill was a very moderate one, but the executor who had the matter of the sale in hand was well pleased that these old family relics had passed into the possession of someone who would value them, and not to careless and indifferent neighbours, and was more than satisfied with the amount realized.  Next morning, as a token of his satisfaction, he brought me a charming old brass Dutch tobacco box, with an oil painting inside the lid, of a smoker enjoying a pipe.

I have seen some amusing incidents at sales of household goods in remote places; incredulous smiles as to the possibility of the usefulness of anything in the shape of a bath generally greeted the appearance of such an article, and on one of these occasions an ancient, with great gravity, and as an apology for its existence, remarked that it was “A very good thing for an invalid!” I am reminded thereby of an old-fashioned hunting man in Surrey, who was astonished to hear from a friend of mine that he enjoyed a cold bath every morning.  He “didn’t think,” he said, “that cold water was at all a good thing—­next to the skin!”

CHAPTER XXV.

DIALECT—­LOCAL PHRASEOLOGY IN SHAKESPEARE—­NAMES—­STUPID PLACES.

     “Our echoes roll from soul to soul.”
                                        —­The Princess.

Compulsory education has eliminated many of the old words and phrases formerly in general use in Worcestershire, and is still striving to substitute a more “genteel,” but not always more correct, and a much less picturesque, form of speech.  When I first went to Aldington I found it difficult to understand the dialect, but I soon got accustomed to it, and used it myself in speaking to the villagers.  Farrar used to tell us at school, in one of the resounding phrases of which he was rather fond, that “All phonetic corruption is due to muscular effeminacy,” which accounts for some of the words in use, but does not alter the fact that many so-called corrupt words are more correct than the modern accepted form.

It is difficult to convey the peculiar intonation of the Worcestershire villager’s voice, and the ipsissima verba I have given in my anecdotes lose a good deal in reading by anyone unacquainted with their method.  Each sentence is uttered in a rising scale with a drop on the last few words, forming, as a whole, a not unmusical rhythmical drawl.  As instances of “muscular effeminacy,” two fields of mine, where flax was formerly grown, went by the name of “Pax grounds”; the words “rivet” and “vine,” were rendered “ribet” and “bine.”  “March,” a boundary, became “Marsh,” so that Moreton-on-the-March became, most unjustly, “Moreton-in-the-Marsh.”  “Do out,” was “dout”; “pound,” was “pun”; “starved,” starred.  The Saxon plural is still in use:  “housen” for houses, “flen” for fleas; and I noticed, with pleasure, that a school inspector did not correct

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Grain and Chaff from an English Manor from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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