"cut the stick" and attributes to N. Hawthorne

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Jan 16 15:46:45 UTC 2014

At 1/16/2014 06:21 AM, Hugo wrote:
> > I'll be blowed if the below'd is Nathaniel Hawthorne.
>I couldn't find the quoted text in any works.

I imagine that writings like the letters (just plain and consular)
and notebooks (French and Italian and English) are not on the
Web.  The definitive texts are the Ohio State "Centenary Edition"
(1962 and ff., so not in the public domain).  But without any context
for "cut the stick" it seems like the proverbial needle.

>There are several other references to an N. Hawthorne in the book,
>including some with May Pole of Merry Mount (twice), Mr Higginbotham's
>Catastrophe, The Great Carbuncle, Scarlett Letter, The Toll-Gatherer's
>Day, all by Nathaniel H.
>So it's clear the author meant Nathaniel, whether or not it's correct.
>There's one other bit attributed to an N. Hawthorne but not to a
>particular work:
>" What became of the particularly 'cute Yankee child, who left his
>home and native parish at the age of fifteen months, because he was
>given to understand that his parents intended to call him Caleb ? "
>(N. Hawthorne.)

This at least sounds possible for N. Hawthorne, perhaps in a letter
to a personal friend.  In fact, I have a wisp of fog -- Hawthorne
exchanged letters with a friend who had moved west, and this could be
a bit of humor either about the recipient himself or about someone
his correspondent had told him about in a previous letter.

I can try a Hawthorne expert on "cut the stick".


>I couldn't find a source for this, but it does show up quoted in an
>essay on Yankee humour. Asterisks indicate italics in the original,
>and denote the quoted text:
>Mr. Hawthorne found one of his consolations in this fact. We have
>never heard, however, what become of that particularly acute child
>(Yankee of course) who left his home and native parish at the age of
>fifteen months, because *he was given to understand that his parents
>intended to call him 'Caleb.'*
>Here's a plain text copy, it's also in several Google Books magazines:
>http://gerald-massey.org.uk/massey/cpr_yankee_humour.htm and partly
>repeated in some newspapers.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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