My wife was reading Joyce Carol Oates’ piece “The Cure” (a review of Teach Us to Sit Still: A Skeptic’s Search for Health and Healing, by Tim Parks—subscribers only, I’m afraid) in the NYRB, and she drew my attention to the following snippet of Beckett (which Oates quotes from Parks):
The Tuesday scowls, the Wednesday growls, the Thursday curses, the Friday howls, the Saturday snores, the Sunday yawns, the Monday morns, the Monday morns. The whacks, the moans, the cracks, the groans, the welts, the squeaks, the belts, the shrieks, the pricks, the prayers, the kicks, the tears, the skelps, and the yelps….
(From Watt; the NYRB version has “the Monday mourns [not “morns”], the Monday morns,” but that’s clearly a typo, so I’ve corrected it.) We both loved the quote and wondered about the word “skelps”; on investigating (it’s another word that’s in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary but not in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate), it turns out to be a Scottish and Northern English word for ‘strike, slap, or smack’ (and is probably imitative in origin). Any readers familiar with it?