Friday, November 08, 2013

More Porpentine

Evidently I am not the first person to be amused by the idea of "Porpentine."  Wordnik offers a variety of links.   Evelyn Waugh has "ears flattened back and porpentine hair," which is elegant.     There's a Douglas Adams.  A certain Richard Chenevix Trench unearths the alternate spelling "purpentine,"--that's with a "p" at the beginning, although  < auto-correct insists on renaming with a "t," as the distilled resin of a pine tree.  "Porpentine"  seems to be the web name of a live journal, now defunct.

But the champ appears to be--one could have guessed--P. G. Wodehouse, awash in Shakespeare quotations, often as misremembered by Bertie Wooster.   Bertie says "Do you recall telling me once about someone who told somebody he could tell him something that would make him think a bit? Knitted socks and porcupines entered into it, I remember."  Jeeves responds, "I   think you may be referring to the ghost of the father of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, sir" (whereupon he quotes the whole bit).  And Bertie: "That’s right. Locks, of course, not socks. Odd that he should have said porpentine when he meant porcupine. Slip of the tongue, no doubt, as so often happens with ghosts."

So How Right You Are, Jeeves,  at 116.  I'm not a good enough Jeeves student to know but evidently there are a couple of running jokes here--the "porpentine" bit and also Bertie's formidable capacity to get quotations not entirely wrong.  But  for valuable prizes, can you identify this one:
Aye aksd teh Pipchunk, adn hym haz ah fren, teh heggiipiggul, huz gotz ah cuzin en Jermanii, diz fien, beeg, ….adn ennywai, teh porpentine sez dat hym gnu ah gnome, wut maeks teh majekal birfdai baux prezzies,…
Wordnik credits these guys, although I can't pin it down and they don't seem to have a search function.

Hey, I'm working This Side of the Street:  And as I wind up this post, I find that Ian Chadwick has been all over the topic, just this week.

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