Accidental Speech

“I was quite sorry when Miss Thornton came to take me to the other end of the room, saying she was sure I should be uncomfortable at being the only lady among so many gentlemen. I had never thought about it, I was so busy listening; and the ladies were so dull, papa – oh so dull! Yet I think it was clever too. It reminded me of our old game of having each so many nouns to introduce into a sentence.’

‘What do you mean, child?’ asked Mr Hale.

‘Why, they took nouns that were signs of things which gave evidence of wealth – housekeepers, under-gardeners, extent of glass, valuable lace, diamonds, and all such things; and each one formed her speech so as to bring them all in, in the prettiest accidental manner possible.’

~ North and South, p.202 (published 1854)

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