Antedatings and new sense of "cut the stick"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Jan 15 16:24:48 UTC 2014

I'll be blowed if the below'd is Nathaniel Hawthorne.

(1)  I've read every one of NH's short pieces, the American
Notebooks, True Stories, three of his completed novels, and two of
his incomplete novels, and I do not remember this.

(2)  I admit I do not remember every word in what I've read, but as
one of the fiercely competitive antedaters I'm positive that if I had
read "I'm blowed if he cut stick" I would have sent it to the list or to Jesse.

(3)  It doesn't read like anything NH would write.

(4)  What character could he have put such dialogue into the mouth
of?  I can't imagine.  But I haven't read much of his later
works.  It would have to be dialogue, either in a novel or in a
quotation, such as in the later notebooks or the letters.

(5)   It sounds more like the words of a sailor as wrote by Melville.


At 1/15/2014 03:47 AM, Hugo wrote:
>The same meaning is found in the US, but also another sense of "to die".
>Maximilian Schele de Vere's Americanisms; the English of the New World
>(1872) says on page 594:
>To cut one's sticky used in England instead of to leave, has been
>enlarged in its meaning by American vigor of speech, and here often
>means to die. " I'm blowed if he cut stick" (N. Hawthorne.)
>I'm not sure where the N[athaniel?] Hawthorne quotation comes from.

The American Dialect Society -

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