The Scarlet Letter
November 19, 2014 § 2 Comments
Last night I found The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne on my tablet and started reading it out loud – largely to annoy Phil. It’s gloriously verbose and the language is a joy. The poor lamb couldn’t understand why it took a whole page to say “Some old English birds were there.”
Oh, but the description of those English birds! “The beef and ale of their native land.” How marvellous! Also love “autumnal matron”, and the women calling each other “gossip” and “baggage”. I greatly enjoyed coming across “I trow not” and having to backpedal through my etymology to decide that it meant promise, as in betrothed.
The old English verb trēowian (trust) that led to trow is arguably similar to the same period’s noun treowð (truth) which is the root of the later troth, so my thought process is not exactly on the money but also not definitively WRONG. Which is practically the same as being right. Verisimilitude again.