This week, I’m moving on to the second story, a creepy (and not in a good way) piece called “An Encounter” about a day of playing hooky. I wouldn’t be getting near as much from Dubliners if I weren’t reading an annotated version, notes by John Wyse Jackson and Bernard McGinley.
First word, sedulously:
We bought some biscuits and chocolate which we ate sedulously as we wandered through the squalid streets where the families of fishermen live. p. 15
The notes don’t define sedulously for me. Instead, they say:
sedulously: An indication of a precocious — even exhibitionist — understanding of ‘good English’ in the narrator. p. 15
Not being as precocious as the James Joyce narrator, I pulled out my Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary. Sedulous comes from Latin roots meaning without guile. The dictionary delineates two related meanings, one is about careful perseverance as in “sedulous craftsmanship.” I think the second meaning fits the sentence above better: “diligent in application or pursuit.” Although, personally, if I were going to eat cookies and chocolate sedulously, I would sit down rather than wander.
Second word, escaladed:
The cat escaped once more and Mahony began to throw stones at the wall she had escaladed. p. 18
This word is also not defined in the notes, but they do add to the meaning:
escaladed: What seems and is Latinist preciousness is also accurate military jargon, in keeping with the battle/siege motif. p. 18
The word escalade comes from Latin, again, through Italian, from roots meaning ladder and scale: “an act of scaling especially the walls of a fortification.”
Wondrous Words Wednesday is hosted by Bermudaonion’s Weblog. Kathy says: “Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading.”