Odd bits of slang from Le Fanu

The other day I lost the book I was reading and had to read two other books in the middle & I’ve just (happily) found it again. So, back to Checkmate by Sheridan Le Fanu. The other two books were Dr. Wortle’s School and um… something else… dammit….

“Why didn’t ye fetch a line o’ the old author with you? asked the rider — meaning brandy.

A few lines later, “Would ye like a drop of the South-Sea mountain (gin)?” said the stranger, producing a flask from his pocket, which Paul Davies took with a great deal of goodwill…

I’d like to know the explanations for these! Is there a hill named Geneva in Southsea? What’s the line from the old author, something that rhymes with brandy… or what? It’s torture not to know.

Oh! and at breakfast I started reading a wonderful book from the Lakeside Press series of history books or really of original source material. Some German dude who travelled to the U.S. for the gala opening of the… of some railroad in the Northwest going through Minneapolis all the way to Portland. The railroad tycoon had borrowed something like 20 million dollars to build it and was losing money, so he threw a huge party and invited all the heads of state and investment bankers he could think of to take a trip out west for the ceremony. I’m only in the middle of the introduction to the book, but it’s already vastly amusing as random European bankers and diplomats and Counts and Countesses endure small-town parades & endless oratory about telegraphs and the Cornucopia of Wheat that the Railroad will Bring Forth all as they freak out quietly about how Indians might attack and they sip champagne & make fun of Minneapolis some more. Henry Villard is the tycoon – I just remembered. From what it said in the introduction he was a smart & fascinating dude. I have not gotten to anything about the German traveller yet.

Today I woke up very early, wrote a tiny bit, & then worked on teaching prep and paper organizing & grading. Until like, 2pm, which blew, but now I feel more prepared. The most creative writer in the class unfortunately had to drop, which bummed me out a bit today because I was looking forward to reading all their stuff and to being generally encouraging to an arty type of person with a little spark and poetry to them. Anyway, I’m prepared for class now. Then I hauled off with Moomin to drop him off at Hamster’s house. SuperT was out and so her fabulous mate took the kids for the day — he was hung over from St. Patrick’s drinking bout. Off to see Minnie briefly. Her pink skirt had me fooled – I thought it was a thrift store find from someone’s home ec class in 1964 but NO she had gone to a skirt-making class with the most pink and gnarly fabric EVER. It even has facing and that lace stuff on the inside hems. Jealous…. Then to Debbie’s which was nice as it always is. Gossip. Wisconny things. Books. I ate vast quantities of homemade bread and pizza. Caraja and I went off to work in a cafe in the Haight. Instead of writing, which I should have b/c it would have been relaxing, I messed around with vmware and ubuntu and parallels and reading all sorts of documentation and reading my work email too. (WTF?) Gave myself a headache… shouldn’t have… Caraja somewhat frazzled and dissatisfied with life, while I was completely fried, and I called xyzzy who also sounded like a fish gasping for the water of some kind of magical relaxation. Decided to go home. But really not quite home… I had to pick up Moomin from Mij’s house where he had gotten dropped off to hang out during the end of Rook’s Cthulhu game & their fancy dinner (lamb’s liver and fancy potatos and sole in cream sauce and god knows whatall else, cabbage and then dessert with strawberries and rhubarb.) I stopped off a couple of blocks away to say hi to Hamster’s mom SuperT because I haven’t seen her in a month or so and then I was all healed up by her warm amazingness. She’s been sick. We joked around like crazy…. She told me about birthday invites that say “No Parents” so you don’t have to feed like 4 times the amount of children you invite (and feed them with actual grownup food) and I was like “Yeah and plus it makes the child porn ring stuff way harder if the parents come” and she cracked up and was like “No man it’s like you get to put them to work in your factory rolling cigars. It teaches them to appreciate their life more.” Inappropriate remark contest! Her mom is here visiting and is very woo-woo austiny-seeming in a good way (as one would expect, knowing SuperT and her Earthy Elegant ways.)

So, onward to pick up Moomin. I started to get asthma right away from the rabbits in Mij’s house and had to leave. What a day of seeing people just a tiny bit! Moomin was playing with Mij’s great stuffed animal collection and came at me with a giant squid taller than he is, growling in a scary voice, “DEATH RAY TENTACLES, DEATH RAY TENTACLES!”. At home we hung out in bed reading almost to the end of Harry Potter.

The other day I had another inappropriate remark moment in the car with A.’s friend who I don’t know well at all. He was all like “And my last year of high school it was like everyone suddenly liked me. Even the jocks.” I blurted out, “Must have been all those blow jobs” and instead of anyone laughing, there was this awkward silence and someone finally went, “Um….. um?” and thinking quickly on how to rescue it I went, “It sure worked for me!” and finally got a laugh.

Back to Checkmate? Or back to the railroad adventure and observations on the quaint habits of rustic Americans? (I can tell it will be like the “Boost for Birdsburg!” people in Wodehouse, but more real.)

You see how it is with me, I get a weekend, I think of a day of down time in bed with books, and instead I worked a full day’s work, went on an hour long drive and visiting, drove some more, stupidly tried to work on real work, visited some more, visited some MORE… and now write this all down in order to “relax” and now I’ll go eat chocolate in the tub while I read a book that is as useless and frivolous as possible. Even normal pop culture would be useful as a social connection mechanism or way to be in touch with the zeitgeist I actually live in. I like old things best, or imaginary things, or things so new that no one understands them. Perhaps my mind has been carefully trained to enjoy things that are as useless as possible as a measure of class distinction and in order to fit me only for being a luxury good to be consumed by others who do actual useful things in the world. Plus, my boobs hurt. Am I pms-ing? Damn! Will I ever learn to do one thing at a time, at a reasonable human pace? Would I actually like to? Isn’t there time later for that, when I cut off all my hair and become a monk?

I was happy to see so many friends today but maybe tomorrow afternoon I’ll hole up in a dark den and see no one until I must. I’m not really complaining. It was a fabulous day.

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2 Responses to “Odd bits of slang from Le Fanu”

  1. Ralphie



    “Must have been all those blow jobs” hahahahahahhaha!

  2. Mary Tsao



    Glad to see I’m not the only person in the universe who makes funny remarks that for some strange reason other people think are inappropriate. “Must have been all those blow jobs.” That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard!

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