WITH OTHER ESSAYS
ON OTHER ISMS
HARPER AND BROTHERS
Copyright, 1892, by HARPER & BROTHERS.
All rights reserved.
THOMAS R. LOUNSBURY
My dear Lounsbury,—In reading over the proof-sheets of these pages, I have happened on your name more often than I thought I had written it, and yet not so often by once as I wish to write it. So I set it here, in the forefront of this little book, to bear witness that much of what may be good in these essaylets of mine is due to help given by you, either directly by word of mouth or indirectly by the printed page. And that is why I take pleasure now in subscribing myself as
AMERICANISMS AND BRITICISMS
N a novel written in the last decade but one of the nineteenth century by an Australian lady in collaboration with a member of Parliament, one of the characters stops another "to ask for the explanation of this or that Australian phrase," wondering whether "it would be better to give the English meaning of each word after the word itself, and to keep on repeating it all through, or would it do to put a footnote once for all, or how would it do to have a little glossary at the end?" As it happens, oddly enough, the authors of The Ladies' Gallery have not themselves done any one of these things; and therefore, if we chance to read their fiction, we are left to grope for ourselves when in the first two chapters we are told of "the wild howling of the dingoes in the scrub," and when we learn that the hero had "eaten his evening meal—damper and a hard junk of wallabi flesh"—while his "billy of tea was warming." Then we are informed that "he had arranged a bed with his blankets, his swag for a pillow," and that he wished for a good mate to share his watch, or even "a black tracker upon whom he could depend as a scout." We are told also that this hero, who "was not intended to grub along," hears a call in the night, and he reflects "that a black fellow would not cou-ee in that way." Later he cuts up "a fig of tobacco;" he says "we can yarn now;" he speaks