ADS in 1896

Joan Houston Hall jdhall at WISCMAIL.WISC.EDU
Wed Jan 14 16:36:01 UTC 2004

One of DARE's editors recently came across the following paragraph in The
Century Magazine for 1896 (Vol. 52 p.100).  It's by Mary Hallock Foote, a
Boston writer and artist whose diary formed the basis for Wallace Stegner's
Angle of Repose.

I note what you say about my tendency to slang, and how it "seems to grow
upon me."  It "seems" to, alas! for the simple reason, doubtless, that it
does.  I can remember when I used carefully to corral all my slang words in
apologetic quote-marks, as if they were range-cattle to be fenced out from
the home herd---our mother-tongue which we brought with us from the East,
and which you have preserved in all its conscientious purity.  But I give
it up.  I hardly know any longer, in regard to my own speech, which are my
native expressions and which are the wild and woolly ones I have adopted
off the range.  It will serve all human purposes of a woman irretrievably
married into the West.  If the worst come to the worst, I can make a virtue
of necessity and become a member of the "American Dialect Society"---a
member in good standing.

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