Only for the
U 12.1226-34: -
Twenty to one, says Lenehan. Such is life in an outhouse. Throwaway, says he.
Takes the biscuit, and talking about bunions. Frailty, thy name is Sceptre.
- Keep your pecker up, says Joe. She'd have won the money only for the other
Gifford misses a possible source for this phrase offered by
Joyce's friend Byrne in his memoir:
On Wellington Quay, about midway
between the bookshops of the brothers Strong, there was another divided shop
run by people named Moulang and Goyer, the latter selling pictures, frames,
etc. In Goyer's window there were featured Currier and Ives and
"Darktown" pictures — including "Fire Brigade", "Cock
Fights" and "Dog Fights". One of the last named groups had a legend
reading, "She'd have won the money only for the other dog" [...]
John Francis Byrne,
Silent Years: An Autobiography with Memoirs of James Joyce and Our
1953), p. 20
phrase turns up in the 1890s, first in literal use:
"My pup", as the Negro wailed, "would
have won the battle, if it hadn't been for the other dog."
(1895), vol. 51, p. 244
That Lawyer McAlister's dog 'Garry'
should have got first prize. So he would - only for the other dog.
November, p. 11
But it quickly came to be used
We are now told with that true
sportsmanship which characterises the beaten Britisher that the visitors had
the best of the luck in the drawn test matches, but the insurmountable fact
remains that they won the only game that was finished, and that over and over
again they strongly urged that the matches should in all cases be fought to a
finish. In fact, it is the old tale retold. England would have won "only
for the other dog".
BLAKELEY. - The party on this side made its position very clear to the people of
Australia on 5th May, and prior to that date; but because of the noise of the
Win-the-War party, our protests were unheard in a great number of quarters,
with the result that we did not get the votes we probably otherwise would have
Mr. HUGHES. — You would have won but
for the other dog!
Parliamentary Debates: Senate and House
(Australian Parliament) (1916), vol. 82, p. 332