" CORP " FOR "CORPSE."
[To THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR"]
may be interesting to know that much further north than North Durham " corp " is generally used for "corpse." The Shetlanders, whose dialect is distinctly different from that of Celtic races, always pronounce the word so ; and I have often observed that they drop, whenever possible, the hissing sound when it occurs at the end of an English word. Do the natives of North Durham and those of the Shetland Isles inherit this tendency in common from Norse ancestors ? It is certain that the Norsemen have left their mark more em- phatically on Northumberland and Durham than anywhere else in England; and the people of Ultima Thule are still dis- tinctively Norse. In their folk-lore of bird-life, Shetlanders tell that if two ravens are seen "contending as they fly," one will turn over on its back and cry, " Corp ! corp !" and the beholder knows that some one he loves will be a corpse soon. Those who are familiar with the voice of the bird of ill-omen will readily understand how his sepulchral croaking may be interpreted into " Corp ! corp !"—I am, Sir, &c.,
JESSIE M. E. SAXBY.