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

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Aug 29 16:00:14 UTC 2009

At 11:41 AM -0400 8/29/09, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>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

or sterile, which in those days might have trickier to determine
definitively, but not always impossible to infer--didn't mumps lead
to sterility without entailing impotence?

or out of town (e.g. in military service abroad), without necessarily
having gone missing (or are you just using "missing" to mean 'away'?)

>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

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

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