[Ads-l] Scaredy Cat - 1904; Fraidy Cat - 1889

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Mar 26 22:45:46 UTC 2021

Dan Goncharoff wrote:
> Has anyone checked out the Google snippet purporting to be from Friday
> Afternoon Speaker by Thomas Stewart Denison, dated 1881?
> "So you see it ain't no fun When the fellers laugh and say "Fraidy-cat, you
> dassant play".

Good question, Dan.

I searched HathiTrust and the Internet Archive and did not find the
book "Friday Afternoon Speaker: A Collection of Choice Pieces for
Public School Speaking Or Reading".

It appears that the instance of "Fraidy cat" you found occurs within a
poem called "Teacher's Pet" that appeared in numerous newspapers and
periodicals in 1904. The periodicals acknowledge the "Milwaukee
Sentinel". Below is an excerpt from the poem printed in "The House
Beautiful". Follow the link to see the full poem.

Google assigns "Friday Afternoon Speaker" the year 1881. The
University of South Carolina catalog assigns a partial date of
"192-?". The Ohio State University catalog assigns a date of "[1881]".
The brackets indicate uncertainty. When I searched for 1881 in the
Google volume of "Friday Afternoon Speaker" there was no match. I
suspect that "Friday Afternoon Speaker" is undated (or the date is
hard to find), and Google decided to restrict access to snippets. I
also suspect that "Friday Afternoon Speaker" was published after 1904,
but I am not sure.

Searching for "Teacher's Pet" in "Friday Afternoon Speaker" produces a
snippet with the poem title together with a "Milwaukee Sentinel"

Date July 1904
Volume 16, Number 2
Periodical: The House Beautiful
Section Title: Shear Nonsense
Poem: Teacher's Pet
Quote Page 50


[Begin excerpt]
Teacher's Pet

Eight years old and goin' on nine,
Teacher says I'm doin' fine.
Git my lessons every day,
Hardly ever have to stay
After school fer bein' slow--
Aint so very happy, though,
'Cause the fellers laugh at me.
. . .
When the fellers laugh and say:
"Fraidy cat, you dassent play."
And my eyes git kinder wet
When they call me "Teacher's Pet."
[End excerpt]


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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list