Not the British, too!
I'm currently reading Carter Kaplan's first and, so far, only novel, Tally-Ho, Cornelius!, which I'm enjoying . . . but more on that another time, after I've finished and had time to reflect.
Today, I wish merely to ask a question, after a brief quote describing some divines and assorted women at a dinner table as seen through the eyes of the Reverend Dr. Jeremiah Cornelius:
Sitting to Catherine's right, the Reverend Dr. Cornelius studied this closely and rather grimly wondered how the lot of them might appear sitting behind the glass of a museum diorama. Sitting beside him, his brother smiled up and down at the diners and -- completely oblivious to American table customs -- freely and shamelessly expelled the compressed gas that had gathered inside his large intestine. Oona bust out laughing. Her chortles and snorts were so voluble that Bishop Achebe looked round confused, while Bishop Marvel thought to raise his napkin to cover his smiling lips. The postmodern divine turned to his wife and softly growled through the corner of his mouth, "Is that your friend laughing, or did a stuffed hyena follow you home from the museum this afternoon?" (Kaplan, Tally-Ho, Cornelius!, pages 112-113)This might be a rather confusing passage to excerpt since it includes so many characters to whom one has not yet been properly introduced, namely, Dr. Cornelius, his wife Catherine, her friend Oona . . . but let that be for now. On to my questions, for as things turn out, I have two.
First, do the British actually pass gas so shamelessly during meals? I've visited Britain several times without noticing this phenomenon. I know that Icelanders do it freely and unselfconsciously . . . but the British?
Second, is "bust" a past tense of "bust"? Or should that read "burst"? Let me check the Free Dictionary for "bust" . . . hmmm, yes, "bust" as past tense does seem possible. I'd always thought that the forms were "bust, busted, busted," but maybe this verb "bust" takes after its more legitimate cousin, "burst, burst, burst"?
Perhaps Mr. Carter Kaplan, who has previously visited and commented on this blog, could verify these two points?
Labels: Literary Criticism