Tuesday, 2 September 2014

What's in a Phrase?

I had another lovely e-mail last night from another lovely person. It began with the unequivocal instruction to ‘hush up.’ That phrase – hush up – brought a little much-needed light into a dingy perception of reality. It even made me smile.

We don’t use it over here. We use ‘hush!’ and ‘shut up!’ both of which have a hard, aggressive edge. ‘Hush up’ is assertive and uncompromising, but nestles in the soft velvet of the woman’s touch. It’s redolent of those terribly capable colonial women called Abigail who take care of all the practical and emotional stuff while the menfolk merely shout a lot and shoot things. I even constructed a little scenario around the fact, but I won’t bother to recount it. The old black dog hasn’t entirely released its grip yet.

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