Early "mis[s]"(1652) as title?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat Aug 29 15:41:42 UTC 2009

At 8/29/2009 10:12 AM, Alison Murie wrote:
>"  (A married
>woman would, reasonably, be presumed to have committed adultery if
>she was found with child.)"    ??????????????????
>UNmarried, surely.

Hah!  Poorly put on my part.  No, I *did* mean a married woman,
because in my context an unmarried woman could not commit adultery,
even with a married man.  Fornication, uncleanness, etc., yes -- but
not adultery.

I should have said that a married woman whose husband could not have
been the father -- dead, missing, etc., or presumed impotent (yes,
there may have been one such case, unless I'm confusing it with a
divorce case) -- would be presumed guilty of adultery if found with
child.  See, for example, _The Scarlet Letter_ -- Hester Prynne was
married, but her husband had been missing for several years, in
Europe or on his way to America.  Her daughter Pearl was born while
she was in prison, and was about 3 months old when she was released
and had to stand on the pillory platform.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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