In keeping with a New Year, I’m launching another weekly post on Fridays called The Romance of Language.
One of my gifts to myself this Christmas was a daily calendar entitled “Forgotten English.” As soon as I saw it I knew I’d want to use it to give little tidbits about historical words and phrases that have passed out of usage, but which give color to that language of historical romance. I hope to make this a once a week post, sort of a “food-for-thought” for your weekend.
The first one, since we have just finished a major holiday season, deals with another kind of holiday.
“A rainy day when outdoor employment is suspended.” Francis Robinson’s Words Used in the Neighborhood of Whitby [Yorkshire], 1876
This immediately made me think, for no good reason really, of the opening line of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
“There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. We had been wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning; but since dinner (Mrs. Reed, when there was no company, dined early) the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and a rain so penetrating, that further out-door exercise was now out of the question.”
Poor Jane! Have you ever been forced into a “water holiday?”
Here’s a video I found from YouTube via WikiMedia Commons hat illustrates the idea of a “water holiday”perfectly! (Warning–It takes a bit to load.)