Lincoln

Lincoln, but not Abraham

 

At some time in 1920 in Trieste Joyce must have acquired a copy of Joseph Crosby Lincoln's very successful novel Cap'n Eri: a Story of the Coast, published in New York in February 1904 and reprinted five times in the same year.

     The following entries at the end of Oxen notesheet 20 (Herring, Joyce's Ulysses Notesheets in the British Museum) all derive from this book:

 

Herring Notesheets 264.98

mighty hard ticket

Lincoln, Cap'n Eri 223

"Old Laban Simpkins that lived 'round here one time," he said, "was a mighty hard ticket."

 

Herring Notesheets 264.99

<how come you so>

Lincoln, Cap'n Eri 223

Well, one evenin' Labe was comin' home pretty how-come-you-so, and he fell into Jonadab Wixon's well.

 

Herring Notesheets 264.100

<most anything>

Lincoln, Cap'n Eri 211

I never knew him to be without it afore; but a feller's li'ble to forgit 'most anything a night like that was.

 

Herring Notesheets 264.101

rake over the coals

Lincoln, Cap'n Eri 239

You see, I never thought but what you'd both like it, and 'twa'n't till she raked me over the coals so for doin' it that I realized how things was."

 

Herring Notesheets 264.102

<ship long of me>

Lincoln, Cap'n Eri 243

Let him sign reg'lar articles and ship 'long of me for that time.

U 14.1572 Lynch! Hey? Sign on long o' me.

 

Herring Notesheets 264.103

<by gum>

Lincoln, Cap'n Eri 256

"By gum!" exclaimed the enthusiastic "able seaman."

U 14.1509 Gum, I'm jiggered.

   

     Four of the crossed-out entries (between angle brackets) found their way into the text of Ulysses. Commentators (and translators) have missed that "How come you so?" (U 14.1510) was an archaic or slang expression that meant "tipsy", because Joyce did away with the hyphens that would have indicated its adjectival qualities. (See the OED’s entry how-come-ye-so, which actually quotes Cap'n Eri.)

     Lynch’s “Sign on long o' me” was initially (manuscript 36.639/11/F National LIbrary of Ireland) “Lynch, with me”, with an insertion that turned it into a rather odd “Lynch, sign on ship long of me, with me”. The Cornell manuscript for the last few pages of Oxen still shows some uncertainty about the wording (an unfinished "with" is replaced by "o"), but the Rosenbach settles for “Sign on long o me”. This development suggests that Joyce at that stage could not make sense of the original quotation from Lincoln any longer or just decided against using it and fell back on the more common phrase for a sailor joining a ship's company.

Harald Beck


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