Hot news perfect question

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton2 at BTINTERNET.COM
Tue Nov 17 20:32:24 UTC 2009

> From: "Benjamin Barrett" <gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM>

> That is a funny coincidence!

Yeah, sounds unlikely, but it's true, honest guv.  I hadn't been paying much
attention to the thread, but my jaw dropped when I came on the "after"
locution in _The Prison Breaker_.

> And here again, it looks like the form is correct but not the grammar.

Well, the author, whoever he was, was no slouch when it came to language.
Particularly London Street speech of the 1720s.  Whether this would extend
to being able to distinguish stage Irish from "authentic" Irish, I dunno,
but I wouldn't put it past him (Anon is certainly male in this case), given
some of the other weird jokes that he hides away in the text.

The (possibly) "Ara" that's the second word that Blunder utters could be
either -- Thomas Sheridan has it in _The Brave-Hearted Irishman_ in 1742.
But Blunder is recognised and typed by the other characters on-stage (the
Newgate officers, Rust and Careful) as Irish straight-off.  I'm still only
at page 8 of a 47 page text at the moment  -- I'd earlier read the whole
play in the BL but only transcribed one scene -- and it's a pig to
transcribe from a photocopy of a microfiche, as you might imagine.  <sigh>

> The intended meaning appears to be "I want to go see him right now",
> which does not match, at least not according to Wikipedia.

Or possibly an intensifier -- "I want to be after seeing him" = 'I really
want to see him.'  One problem with _The Prison Breaker_ is that it's
completely uncompromising when it comes to glossing itself, either
implicitly or explicitly.  One among several reasons why the play was never
staged, other than in a revamped and emasculated version called _The
Quaker's Opera_ rushed out later to cash in on the success of Gay's _The
Beggar's Opera_.

Robin Hamilton

The American Dialect Society -

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