The New Edinburgh Edition of the Collected Works of Robert Louis Stevenson

Today’s MS puzzle (cont)

with 3 comments

Neil Macara Brown (one of the team transcribing the notebook) posted the following comment with reference to some words earlier on the same page. As we can’t insert images in the comments, here’s a new posting with Neil’s comment and the relevant image:

Neil: Convinced it’s ‘small vices of’ – compare with that in ‘spittoons full of buckies’ above:

i.e. the unproblematic ‘of’ in the first case is too like the first letters of the mystery word to be anything different.

There is something in that: the first letter doesn’t go down to the line; but ‘p’ and ‘f’ can be very similar; and it still leaves us withthe mystery of what comes after.

Let’s try another strategy: what word am I expecting here? For me, something like “small vices of an isolated community”. Hmm. still doesn’t get us anywhere.


Written by rdury

20/02/2012 at 9:48 am

Posted in News

3 Responses

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  1. small vices of duty?
    small w—-?
    is ‘o’ written anticlockwise (as always) or vice versa?


    20/02/2012 at 5:38 pm

  2. Word after ‘small vices’ is ‘apricity’, admittedly with no dotted ‘i’s’. Obsolete -means sunshine (Johnson), or ‘warmth of the sun in winter’ (Wictionary). Chambers has ‘apricate’, to bask in the sun, or to expose to sunlight, from Latin ‘apricari’, to bask in the sun; ‘apricus’, open to the sun. So can we now say RLS had a sunny spell at Dunure?

    Neil Brown

    16/04/2012 at 4:07 pm

    • It certainly does look like “apricity”, and I thought you’d finally got it – and yet, and yet, the published essay has “snow […] black sky, […] the whole world, as it looked from a loop-hole in Dunure, was cold, wretched, and out-at-elbows” – quite the opposite of apricity. No dots for the two i’s either. I think we’re going to have to resort to “[illegible word]”.


      16/04/2012 at 7:55 pm

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