“Compiled From The Best Authorities In Both Languages,” 2019

Here is a story of absolutely no importance that nonetheless has left me feeling mildly haunted for the last couple of weeks. I had occasion recently to take down from a shelf in the back room of the Woodson an old French-English dictionary:

The facing page is what got me:

This book had once belonged to Miss Wheeler, Dr. Lovett’s long-time assistant, who was last seen here with her friend Pender Turnbull in this post. Why she had it and how it wound up in the back room of the archives are of course unsolvable mysteries, but I’m used to those. I’ve also grown accustomed to the sensation of being surrounded by ghosts. At this point I’ve got company with me on every step I take on campus. What seems to be bothering me about this particular thing is that when I’m gone it will just be another old dictionary. I understand that this is the way of things but some times it’s the tiny goodbyes that seem the saddest.

Bonus: A loyal reader sends these lovely night images.

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8 Responses to “Compiled From The Best Authorities In Both Languages,” 2019

  1. dnorton2015 says:

    Melissa, you sound a little melancholy when musing about Miss Wheeler. I want you to know that I really appreciate your blog and Rice has a real asset in you! I hope to see you at homecoming, Dave

  2. Melissa Kean says:

    Melancholy is exactly the right word. But thanks so much for your kind note–it’s a real lift.

  3. George Webb says:

    Your blog calls it “an old French-English dictionary,” but the title page clearly says “A new French and English dictionary.” Which is it? 🙂

  4. Galloway Hudson - Wiess '60 says:

    First, I want you to know that many of us (of all ages) agree with dnorton2015 concerning the value of your blog. Next, this post is curious altogether. Why is “2019” in the heading? Then, there is the very strange “Aided by de V. Payen-Payne”. Could that be a typo? Most probably not.

  5. Melissa Kean says:

    First, thanks so much. I can’t adequately express my gratitude for you reading and commenting here. It means a lot to me. Second, I used 2019 because that was when I pulled the book off the shelf. Third, I have no idea. And fourth, I had to restrain myself from making a Laugh-In joke about this–do you remember “Look that up in your Funk&Wagnalls!”

    • Galloway Hudson - Wiess '60 says:

      Don’t remember that. I watched Laugh-in infrequently. “Look it up online” these days works infinitely better.

  6. I remember that line from Laugh-In.

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