Lingual Shifts: Literary Classic Edition
My daughter read “A Murder Is Announced”, by Agatha Christie for class. We found the below excerpt to be a fascinating example of how slang changes:
What sort of a place is Chipping Cleghorn?’ asked Sir Henry.
‘A large sprawling picturesque village. Butcher, baker, grocer, quite a good antique shop-two tea-shops. Self-consciously a beauty spot. Caters for the motoring tourist. Also highly residential. Cottages formerly lived in by agricultural labourers now converted and lived in by elderly spinsters and retired couples. A certain amount of building done round about in Victorian times.’
‘I know,’ said Sir Henry. ‘Nice old Pussies and retired Colonels. Yes, if they noticed that advertisement they’d all come sniffing round at 6.30 to see what was up. Lord, I wish I had my own particular old Pussy here. Wouldn’t she like to get her nice ladylike teeth into this. Right up her street it would be.’
‘Who’s your own particular Pussy, Henry? An aunt?’
‘No,’ Sir Henry sighed. ‘She’s no relation.’ He said reverently: ‘She’s just the finest detective God ever made. Natural genius cultivated in a suitable soil.’
He turned upon Craddock.
‘Don’t you despise the old Pussies in this village of yours, my boy,’ he said.
And in case you think ” “Lord, I wish I had my own particular old Pussy here,” is the best quote ever, this gem shows up later:
‘George, it’s my own particular, one and only, four-starred Pussy. The super Pussy of all old Pussies.”
Why is this not a t-shirt?