5 AUGUST 1916, Page 13


[To TRH EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOR."( SIR,—As a constant user of the same dictionary—" a miracle of se holar- ship and cheapness "—that " A. S." so wisely cherishes, may I be permitted to say that I have apparently been much more fortunate than he in discovering within its boards instances of the grim burnout in which Dr. Johnson delighted ? Thus, for example, I find splendide mender translated as " splendidly false [for a good purpose)—lying in state " ; the sea-serpent is defined as an enormous marine animal of serpent-like form, frequently seen and described by credulous sailors, imaginative landsmen, and common liars ; a temperance hotel is " one which professes to supply no alcoholic liquors " ; while the ox is described as "a well-known animal that chews the cud, the female of which supplies tho chief part of the milk used as food." In the last definition the compiler may, of course, have meant that the remaining part of the milk came from mares, sheep, and goats ; but I prefer to think that he was having a sly dig at " the cow with the iron tail." May I add that, judging by my own experience, the publishers would be only too glad to receive from " A. S." the list of additional words that he has jotted down in the margin of his copy, with a view to their in. elusion in subsequent issues of the work, which, as has been excellently said, " supersedes all other cheap dictionaries" I—I am, Sir, &e.,

W. W.