Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Solider*, etc. (for Soldier*)

When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills...

So wrote Robert Louis Stevenson—a thin, frail child who later grew solider—in "The Land of Counterpane." Solider* shows up 88 times in OhioLINK, but they aren't all typos for soldier* et al. You might do better to try and combine forces: Solider* + Soldier* reduced our count to 17 and Solder* + Soldier* to eight. Sodlier* and Soldeir* returned with one each. As a youngster, Stevenson inherited a "weak chest" and tended to take ill during the coldest months of the year. If you too find yourself feeling under the weather this winter (in the land of pain and counter-pain), might I suggest a warm plate of buttered toast, or perhaps a soft-boiled egg with toast soldiers? It's a good way to spend an hour or so—and even better in bed.

(Illustration from Centennialmuseum.org.)

Carol Reid

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