To old-fashioned people Tom Moore
Fly, fly from the world, O Bessy, with me,
would lose half its charm if addressed to Bessie.
In the same way,
Kitty, a fair but frozen maid,
would melt into insignificance if put into the new mould of Kittie; and what should we do with Dibdin
's chorus — if Dibdin
's it was-
Anna, Anne, Nan, Nance, and Nancy,
if we have to stretch the line far enough to bring in Annie and Nancie also?
Yet, after all, what we call old-fashioned spelling in these cases is not really the oldest.
In old English books we find the words now ending in y to end usually in ie
-a form which we still preserve in their plurals-and may note in successive editions the gradual substitution, for instance, of philanthropy
, and folie
by an unconscious tendency some two centuries ago; and now, in case of the familiar names of both sexes, this tendency is being unconsciously and very gradually reversed.
It is only a few years since Sallie began to be substituted for