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Wouldnt you keep this letter back

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  • Wouldnt you keep this letter back

    I was reading Drew Gray's London's Shadows, and noticed in his transcription of the Dear Boss-letter that he'd missed a full stop, which produced a somewhat different sentence.

    The letter:
    The next job I do I shall clip the ladys ears off and send to the police officers just for jolly wouldnt you. Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work. then give it out straight
    An alternative reading:
    The next job I do I shall clip the ladys ears off and send to the police officers just for jolly. Wouldnt you keep this letter back till I do a bit more work. then give it out straight
    I found it interesting, I've never noticed before that the "wouldnt you" could fit onto the next sentence.

    Of course, looking at the letter, there's no doubt the sentences are actually written as first transcribed - large space with period between "you" and "Keep", capital K in "Keep".


    Still, I found it interesting somehow. I guess I'm wondering if Jack maybe had written out a draft of his letter, copying it and forgetting to divide the sentences.
    I think the evenness of the writing in the letter when compared to the postscript could indicate that he was copying from a draft. The postscript lines, added later, are very uneven.


    Reading it like "wouldn't you keep this letter back" makes Jack more deferential, as befits the letter's salutation of "The Boss", asking him to keep it back rather than telling him.

    It also lessens the conspiratorial tone, where "just for jolly wouldnt you?" implies the reader potentially has the same urges as Jack and just needs to let go.

  • #2
    I have had similar thoughts with the regular rendering. Without a ? in the proper place it is unclear. One of those sentences should be a question. It doesn't flow right no matter how it is written. I kind of thought the "wouldn't you" was like poking someone in the ribs while telling a joke. Clip the lady's ears and send them to the police...wouldn't you, hee-hee?

    If we apply "wouldn't you" to the next sentence we again have an attempt to bring the reader into (supposedly) Jack's activities. It's like saying, wouldn't you be a pal and hold this back...? Then (you) can give it out straight.

    Great observations, Kattrup!
    The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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    • #3
      Perhaps we're giving the author a little too much credit for his literary ability?

      Mind you, I do like this alternative version. Interesting thought!

      Cheers,
      Adam.

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      • #4
        I think I've seen it transcribed somewhere as 'just for jolly. Wouldn't you? Keep...'

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Adam Went View Post
          Perhaps we're giving the author a little too much credit for his literary ability?

          Mind you, I do like this alternative version. Interesting thought!

          Cheers,
          Adam.
          If the author was a journalist we could think he had literary ability. I always thought whoever wrote this letter was drunk when he wrote it.
          The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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          • #6
            Hi Anna,

            Well, it also depends on whether one accepts the letter 'as is' or whether they think it was deliberately dumbed down to give a different impression of the author.

            For the record, I don't see what was to be gained out of that. I suspect that the author of the letter was as intelligent as the letter suggests.

            Cheers,
            Adam.

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