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  • Indeed. But if you pronounce "striped" as a two-syllable word, it sounds ever so much more elegant. :-)

    October 1, 2008

  • Now that I'm finally reading The Ghost Map, here's a few more tantalizing tidbits:

    "Above the river, in the streets of the city, the pure-finders eked out a living by collecting dog shit (colloquially called 'pure') while the bone-pickers foraged for carcasses of any stripe." (p. 2)

    You'd think the bone-pickers would've tried to find carcasses that were solid-colored, as well as striped. They must've been picky bone-pickers.

    October 1, 2008

  • Oh. I see.

    November 8, 2007

  • No, but we have ... er... tanneries... that... er... THERE'S A LOTTA DOG POOP!

    November 8, 2007

  • Why so? Do you need siccatives for bookbinding leather?

    November 8, 2007

  • Ohhh... OK, thanks.

    You know, we could use some pure-finders in my neighborhood.

    November 8, 2007

  • And Johnson's book was on my reading list even before sionnach quoted from it. :-)

    November 8, 2007

  • It has to doo with dogmire.

    November 8, 2007

  • Oh, sorry! Figured everyone knew ahead of me. :-) From OED: "The name of ‘Pure-finders’. . . has been applied to the men engaged in collecting dogs'-dung from the . . . streets."

    And: "The occupation of collecting dog faeces for sale to tanneries (which used it as a siccative for bookbinding leather). Undertaken by old women in Britain in the 18th century. (Reference: Robert Hughes, The Fatal Shore, 1987.)"

    Apparently the tanning process was called puring; hence "pure" in a not-so-pure practice.

    November 8, 2007

  • OK, I clicked on all the links and didn't find what you're talking about. Can you post the definition please?

    *impatient*

    November 8, 2007

  • Judging by the definition I found, it sure isn't a very apt name! :-)

    November 8, 2007

  • "It is August 1854, and London is a city of scavengers. Just the names alone read now like some kind of exotic zoological catalogue: bone-pickers, rag-gatherers, pure-finders, dredgermen, mudlarks, sewer-hunters, dustmen, night-soil men, bunters, toshers, shoremen."

    Opening sentences of "The Ghost Map" by Steven Johnson.

    November 7, 2007