Saddity, 1894

Douglas Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Mon Jun 16 01:55:07 UTC 2008

 Anyone have an idea what writer and historian Henry Adams meant by 
 "saddity," below? 
 [March 16, 1894:  Adams writes to Elizabeth Cameron from Santiago de
 "We were two or three hours in getting breakfast, and things moved
 slowly, that at last King and I, with Don Tomas, our host -- I never
 his full name, but he was rather a Ravenswood sort of saddity --
took to our 
 legs and walked up the hill, which he said was a mere twenty
 (From _Letters of Henry Adams_ [1892-1918], edited by W.C. Ford
 Houghton Mifflin Co., 1938], p. 42.) 
 Only a guess. I suppose "Ravenswood" refers to the tragic figure
Edgar (Lord of Ravenswood) in the Scott novel "The Bride of
Lammermoor" (and the subsequent Donizetti opera "Lucia di
Lammermoor"). I suppose "saddity" is a frivolous term here meaning
"sadness" (+ "tragedy"?) = "sad/tragic person" or perhaps "sadness" +
"oddity" = "sad odd person". A few examples of "saddity" =
"sadness"/"tragedy" can be found by Google.
 -- Doug Wilson

The American Dialect Society -

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