FIND in
<--prev V7 next-->

From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (whorl) notes from abroad
Date: Fri, 12 Sep 97 16:10:00 GMT

[Posted from WHORL, the mailing list for Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun]

Reply:  Item #2372125 from WHORL@LISTS.BEST.COM@INET#

(Rostrum, FWIW I'd go along with vizcacha's Cordwainer Smith
reading plan, 100%.)

Hey, I've received a letter from G.E. Brain, a new correspondent
in England, responding to Q&D and AE& chapbooks.  Here are a couple
of points:

"Aer -- also Gaelic spelling of the old Scottish town of Ayr -- where
GW's mother's family came from originally."

This is surprising to me but it sounds plausible since I know Gene
Wolfe's mother's name was Mary "Fannie" Olivia Ayers Wolfe (as given
in LETTERS HOME).  (Again: watch for characters named Olivia; like
the aunt in PEACE and the sleeper in the Whorl.)  I vaguely remember
an interview somewhere in which Gene Wolfe talked a bit about his
family (a Faulknerian Christmas scene comes to mind); I also figured
that G.E. Brain got some info from CONTEMPORARY AUTHORS, but when I
looked in CONTEMPORARY AUTHORS again I didn't find any real info about
mother's family.

So, does anybody have any other leads on this?  Granted, the name
"Ayers" looks like it could come from a town in Scotland, but the
surname reference book I looked into mainly dealt with this name's
legendary (i.e., spurious) origins without mentioning a town at all.
Maybe somebody remembers which interview it was that I referred to

"Cant -- early 18th century slang (no entry)
      some -- Rhyming slang -- `lily' = short for `lily white' = right
      cf cockney rhyming slang in London;
      come from Romany;
      some still in common use in UK"

What I like about this note is that I already had several pieces but
I couldn't figure how "lily" could equal "true": I knew that cockney,
in addition to rhyming like a catachrest with an attitude, tends to use
two or more words for one ("brahms and lizt" = pissed = drunk for
Americans; "trouble and strife" = wife; you can see the pattern
here--the two words are a natural pair, but the first word is what we
might call in armchair linguist mode the tenor clue, and the last
word is likewise the rhyming clue); I could also see that "lily" could
be an allusion to white; but I didn't think of it as a contraction of
"lily white," nor make the decision that "lily" wasn't some Romany
(aka "Gypsy") derived word; and it isn't "true," it is "right."
(Probably somebody around here tried to tell me all of this before.)

Lily white means right.  That's lily!

(Cordwainer Smith tidbit: my local library files THE BEST OF
CORDWAINER SMITH under the author's birth name rather than pen name
"Cordwainer Smith."  Okay, who is the smarty pants who did that?  Do
we search for "Mark Twain" under Clemens?  NO!  Gimme a break!
"That's it--disband the guild!!"  Then again, filing in a Chinese
language library under the Chinese characters of his name, which he
knew and used, now =that= would be kind of cool!)


<--prev V7 next-->