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Old 06-10-2015, 04:59 AM   #1
AlexBell
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With baited meaning

I'm working on No Thoroughfare by Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins, published as an Extra Christmas Number of All the Year Round in the 1860s and set in the early 1800 hundreds. The books contains the sentence:

'The carriage was stopping to bait at another wayside house; and a line of long narrow carts, laden with casks of wine, and drawn by horses with a quantity of blue collar and headgear, were baiting too.'

The source text is images of the original journal published on the Dickens Journals Online site. There are some typos in earlier Christmas Numbers - ommon instead of common comes to mind - but I'm not sure whether bait and baiting are typos for wait and waiting, or whether they are archaic usage for some other words.

Any suggestions as to what I should use for bait and baiting? As always I'm at least as interested in the reasons for the suggestions as I am for the actual suggestions.
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Old 06-10-2015, 05:19 AM   #2
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Not being a native speaker, don't rely too much on my suggestions, but I just checked the dictionary, and these look appropriate:

verb (used with object).
13. to feed and water (a horse or other animal), especially during a journey.

verb (used without object), Archaic.
14. to stop for food or refreshment during a journey.
15. (of a horse or other animal) to take food; feed.
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Old 06-10-2015, 07:52 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Jellby View Post
Not being a native speaker, don't rely too much on my suggestions, but I just checked the dictionary, and these look appropriate:

verb (used with object).
13. to feed and water (a horse or other animal), especially during a journey.

verb (used without object), Archaic.
14. to stop for food or refreshment during a journey.
15. (of a horse or other animal) to take food; feed.
Thanks, Jelby

That's more or less what I thought it meant from the context. But my main concern is whether to leave it as is, with the wording very strange even to English readers, or whether to change the wording so it makes sense to readers in the 21st century.
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Old 06-10-2015, 12:01 PM   #4
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My take would be: if it was correct at the time it was written, and it is correct (though archaic) now, leave it as it is. Even more so if it can be found in a dictionary.

There's also a danger in assuming what other readers may or may not know or understand. It could be that the word is still well recognized among horse lovers, or in some parts of the English-speaking world.
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Old 06-10-2015, 06:15 PM   #5
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I agree with Jellby. Part of the charm for me in reading classics is seeing how language has changed over the years. Of course, it depends on the purpose of your version of the book. If you're trying to make one more "accessible" for modern readers it might be worth upgrading the term.

I have a friend who has a horse - I can ask her if "bait" is common usage for "feed-and-water" today, if you like.
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Old 06-10-2015, 11:30 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by FizzyWater View Post
I agree with Jellby. Part of the charm for me in reading classics is seeing how language has changed over the years. Of course, it depends on the purpose of your version of the book. If you're trying to make one more "accessible" for modern readers it might be worth upgrading the term.

I have a friend who has a horse - I can ask her if "bait" is common usage for "feed-and-water" today, if you like.
Yes please, I'd really appreciated you asking your friend and letting me know.

It's not so much making the book 'accessible,' though I think that's a worthy aim. It's more that I'm reluctant to pretend Dickens and Collins are saying something that they clearly didn't intend.

Whether the 'feed and water' meaning can be found in the right dictionary or not, what comes across on first reading for us is different from what they meant.
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Old 06-11-2015, 12:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexBell View Post
That's more or less what I thought it meant from the context. But my main concern is whether to leave it as is, with the wording very strange even to English readers, or whether to change the wording so it makes sense to readers in the 21st century.
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Originally Posted by AlexBell View Post
It's not so much making the book 'accessible,' though I think that's a worthy aim. It's more that I'm reluctant to pretend Dickens and Collins are saying something that they clearly didn't intend.

Whether the 'feed and water' meaning can be found in the right dictionary or not, what comes across on first reading for us is different from what they meant.
Perhaps you might consider leaving the word as-is, but adding a footnote which gives a modern gloss for the presumably archaic usage?

French translations of stuff do this a lot, and I have a bunch of Nordic noir novels which have sporadic "NdT: blah blah blah" scattered throughout, which indicates a note from the translator which tells me that X name mentioned casually in passing in the text is a famous Finnish philanthropist whom I ordinarily wouldn't know about who is otherwise not relevant to the story beyond being a cultural reference by the 1st-person-narrator, or that the brief untranslated foreign phrase in dialogue Y is actually Russian for "get lost, you idiot!" when our non-Russophone heroine is speaking English to the hostile locals during her trip to Moscow, and so forth.

Actually, IIRC, some of the Barnes & Noble Classics editions do this for archaic word usage, with brief explanatory footnotes for other stuff as well, like the different kinds of carriages in the Sherlock Holmes stories, and if it's the sort of thing you might be interested in doing, it could be a nifty value-add to your PD titles that would help differentiate them in case some people start pirating your versions again.
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Old 06-11-2015, 12:56 AM   #8
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I also think a footnote would be good. I do think that if you are going to make changes such as this you should have a note in the book somewhere detailing the change and the reason why.
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Old 06-11-2015, 02:27 AM   #9
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Thanks to you both. It will take me a few more days to finish the book, and I very likely will change the text and provide a foot note.
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Old 06-13-2015, 12:46 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by FizzyWater View Post
I have a friend who has a horse - I can ask her if "bait" is common usage for "feed-and-water" today, if you like.
Horse owner here for the past 25+ years. Never heard 'bait' being used for 'feed-and-water' in all that time. Though it could still be an English thing.
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Old 06-13-2015, 02:30 PM   #11
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Yes, I checked with my friend and she said the same thing. She said - and I quote - "we just say feed ".
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