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Poem: "Putting the Past on a Pedestal" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Putting the Past on a Pedestal"
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starcat_jewel From: starcat_jewel Date: November 1st, 2012 03:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ned refers to Maryam as "m'sir" because she doesn't perfectly fit either "ma'am" or "sir" and it is, in fact, essentially a contraction of "ma'am -- sorry, I mean sir."

I said it out loud, and immediately thought, "That sounds pretty close to m'sieur." Then I read the next sentence. :-)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 1st, 2012 08:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

It took me a little while to pin down Maryam's title, partly because it has things mushed together, and partly because different people sometimes use different ones. Also interesting is that British and French cultures and languages are more enmeshed in nether-Earth because France got pulled into the United Kingdom.

Maryam's mother has a similar case: a housekeeper (the head female servant) is always referred to as "Mrs. (Lastname)" even if single. But because Sarah came from slave stock, and slaves took the name of their owners, she is Sarah Smith. After the death of John's wife, nobody could bear the thought of calling anyone else "Mrs. Smith." But the French maids tended to call her "madame" and that eventually got shortened to "Ma'am Smith."
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