antedating "light at the end of the tunnel" (1883)

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Tue Sep 25 11:51:13 UTC 2007

ads-l archive has 1902

1883 The Milwaukee Sentinel, (Milwaukee, WI) Monday, August 06, 1883;
pg. 6; col C. [19th C US Newspapers]
The Difference
"What I don't understand," says Innocent Editor No. 1, referring to a recent
usiness failure, "is how a firm that is rated in the mercantile books at
$200,000 can fail for over three quarters of a million." "They could get into
debt for much more than they were worth, couldn't they?" mildly suggested
Innocent Editor No. 2, who thought he saw light at the end of the tunnel.
"Well," sighed Innocent Editor No. 1, "I've succeeded in doing that, but that
was because people didn't know me."

also 1883 God's Light on Dark Clouds: Words of Sympathy and Cheer
 By Theodore Ledyard Cuyler (2nd ed.; NY, 1883) p.43 {Google Books full text],
beginning of chapter, "Trusting God in the Dark":
Sometimes we have an experience in life that seems like walking through a long
dark tunnel. The chilling air and the thick darkness make it hard walking, and
the constant wonder is why we are compelled to tread so gloomy a path, while
others are in the open day of health and happiness. We can only fix our eyes on
the bright light at the end of the tunnel, and we comfort ourselves with the
thought that every step brings us nearer to the joy and rest that lie at the
end of the way.

[[To note a non-figurative use: Description of the Railroad from Liverpool to
Manchester By P. Moreau, Auguste Notré (Boston, 1833) p. 65, Google Books full
text with title page and running heads.]]

Stephen Goranson

The American Dialect Society -

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