Saturday, 7 July 2012

Heres to Pa nds Pen Da Soci alho uR etc

Lowry used many signs in his work and there are many examples in his first novel Ultramarine. Most of the signs used appear to have been either noted down by Lowry in notebooks (most long lost) or memorised for later use:

Heres to Pa nds Pen Da Soci alho uR
InHa RmlE ssmiR THan
Dfunl Etfrie ENDshirEi
GnbeJ Ustand
Kin DanDevils Peakof None (Pg. 112)

The above translates as "Here stop & spend a social hour in harmless mirth & fun, let friendship reign, be just & kind & evil speak of none". 

These kinds of word puzzles can be traced back to the 17th Century. Removing the first letter of a word (beheadment) or the last (curtailment) was a device used by writers to add a new element of interest to their work. In the seventeenth century, the poet George Herbert included this form of word play in his poem, 'Paradise':

I bless thee, Lord, because I GROW
Among thy trees, which in a ROW
To thee both fruit and order OW.

What open force, or hidden CHARM
Can blast my fruit, or bring me HARM,
While the enclosure is thy ARM?

Enclose me still for fear I START.
Be to me rather sharp and TART,
Than let me want thy hand and ART.

When thou dost greater judgements SPARE,
And with thy knife but prune and PARE,
Ev'n fruitful trees more fruitful ARE.

The source of Lowry's puzzle may be traced to the following:

A former landlord of the inn at Croyde, near Ilfracombe, must have been a humourist in his way, and had probably read Pickwick before he composed the following, which, like the "Bill Stumps his Mark" -


is easily rendered into English:

Here's to Pands Pen 
Das oci Al Hourin
Ha! R: Mm: Les Smir
Thand Funlet
Fri Ends Hipre:
Ign Be Ju!
Stand Kin
Dan Devils
Peak of No! no

The composition of this could have been no tax on the tapster's brain. Charles George Harper The old inns of old England: a picturesque account of the ancient and storied hostelries of our own country 1906. The reference to Dicken's Pickwick Papers relates to the following passage:

The exultation and joy of the Pickwickians knew no bounds, when their patient assiduity, their washing and scraping, were crowned with success. The stone was uneven and broken, and the letters were straggling and irregular, but the following fragment of an inscription was clearly to be deciphered:







Mr Pickwick's eyes sparkled with delight, as he sat and gloated over the treasure he had discovered. He had attained one of the greatest objects of his ambition. In a country known to abound in remains of the early ages; in a village in which there still existed some memorials of the olden time, he - he, the Chairman of the Pickwick Club - had discovered a strange and curious inscription of unquestionable antiquity, which had wholly escaped the observation of the many learned men who had preceded him. Read more

Charles George Harper doesn't say the name of the inn at Croyde. But given the date of the text as 1906 then it can only be one of 2 inns - either Manor House Inn or Carpenter's Arms.

Lowry may have seen the puzzle at the inn at Croyde either on his family holiday to Looe in Cornwall (early 20's) or Budleigh Salterton, Devon 1924. He did travel around Devon in 1933 but Ultramarine was complete at that time.

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