Ryan

Forget the Yukon, Remember Bulolo

It is many years since I was promoted to short pants—maybe around 1925–26. But it is one of the rites de passages I can remember quite well. The earlier embarrassments and indignities of nappies, rompers and the like have passed beyond recall, but the arrival of short pants coincided with the onset of my passion for words, a disease for which no cure has so far been discovered. The compulsion seemed to arise quite spontaneously: new words; variant forms and spellings (a pear as distinct from a pair); tricky plurals (goose becoming geese). Part of this basic stuff I taught…

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