University of Virginia Library

Changes in the Text

One last revelation about the cancellation in The Centaur Not Fabulous is offered by offset evidence: it provides text for the cancellanda replaced. One instance concerns the changes to N1.N2. Richardson on 21 January 1755 advised Young: "In another impression methinks it were to be wished that all from, If this is a man of pleasure, p. 161 [N1r], to, from a higher hand, p. 163, were omitted, as it interrupts, by ludicrous images, emotions that were nobly excited."11 While Young kept the initial clause, the phrase ending the proposed deletion does not appear on or near p. 163. Richardson applauded as affective what preceded the clause "If this is a man of pleasure," offering no encouragement to alter the preceding two paragraphs on N1r. Yet p. 161 has relatively less text than is usual, with nineteen lines and three paragraph spacings (twenty lines and three such spacings is typical in the book), and the first spacing atop the page is redundant (there is one at the bottom of the previous page, M8v). One might therefore wonder whether something was removed on N1r. However, the offset of the cancellandum


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received by M8v in the CtY, DLC, IU, NIC, and ViWCF copies indicates the text on N1r was not substantially changed but that a line from cancellandum N1r was moved to the next page to fill in for material cut within N1v-N2v. These copies show that the cancellandum’s final line has the same reading as the first line of cancellans N1v: "total, is the transit of these Phaeton-" and the catchword ("tiades;") was the rest of that word, found now on the second line ("tiades:" with different punctuation). Also, the cancellandum’s third and second last lines (on N1r) read the same as the cancellans’ penultimate and final lines. In CtY, we can see on M8v that the final three lines of the preceding paragraph also remained unchanged ("gay ... expired."), and scattered lines on the page above are in the same position relative to one another as they are in the cancellans, suggesting that no changes other than to accidentals or substantives of few letters probably occurred. One can make out a few words in the top paragraph, as the same first line (on page and in paragraph). The CtY, DLC, and ViWCF copies’ offsets show that the cancellans has one fewer line because the spacing before and after the first paragraph was increased, not as a result of anything added to the cancellans’ text: in the cancellandum there was 4 mm of space between "161" and the final word in the first line, "poison’d" (ViWCF), whereas in the cancellans this distance is 10–11 mm. In ViWCF, offset indicates cancellandum N1r began as it currently does: "My principles have poison’d | my friend." The first four lines to "wife!—" are identical in cancellandum and cancellans, and the words "is there another" occur in the fifth line of both.

In addition, the cancellandum N2v’s text, to judge from offset in DLC on N3r, held the identical text on its last five lines. However, offset from the cancellandum on N3r of OAU indicates the page began with different text ("I mean, of our ... [word in italics not clear] because real men").

Offset of the cancellandum of R1r appears on Q8v in over a dozen copies. Clear offset in CtY, DLC, FU, ICN1, IU, and LdU-B indicate that the cancellandum of Rir carried seven lines, three fewer than does the cancellans, and that these lines are identical in the two versions, in accidentals as well as substantives. The cancellandum’s catchword was "world’s" (which begins line 8 of the cancellans). Young and Richardson’s correspondence does not indicate why leaves R1 and R2 were cancelled, but at least the offset from the cancellandum of R1r indicates that the two leaves were cancelled to add, not to cut, text. However, the addition was not that substantial since the cancellandum of R2v had one more line than the cancellans: the first word of the cancellandum of R2v was "turn" (indicated by offset in OAU on R3r), as is the first word on line 2 of the cancellans.

As for leaf U1, offset on T8v in DLC and FU shows that lines 1–3 of U1r are the same in both cancellans and cancellandum, but in line 4 the cancellans spreads out the words "lessen its formidable gloom" and then begins a new sentence with "I | have seen a Death-bed." Lines 4–6 of the cancellandum read: "lessen its formidable gloom. To Cen- | taurs, especially ... [least?] the among | them, who may be |" (beneath "who may be" in the line below is a word beginning "impe" [perhaps "impeach’d"] and directly below that in the next line is "to each"—none of these words following "gloom" appear in the cancellans


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paragraph). Offset (especially in DLC) indicates that the second paragraph of the cancellandum began with a sentence now cut: "But to return to our last bed, the | grave" (fifth and fourth last lines). Thereafter the fourth last through final lines have the same text as the cancellans. The verso of cancellans U1 appears not to carry significant revision. The cancellandum’s offset on U2r in DLC suggests that the last nine lines on U1v have not been changed and shows that the last two lines of U1v were identical except that "death;" in the last line ended with a comma.


Gaskell notes that a "gatherer ... walked along the line of sheets, taking off one copy of each in turn, until he had gathered a complete copy of the book in sheets. The book was knocked smooth at the edges and laid down, together with any inserts such as plates and cancellantia, and the process was repeated ... until all the sheets were taken from one of the heaps. The books were then collated to ensure that each was made up correctly, and they were finally folded in half (2°, 4°, and 8° across the longer side, 12° across the shorter side), pressed, and baled up for delivery or storage" (pp. 143–144). As noted above, Gaskell says that in long books this folding in half occurred "in quires of 12–24 sheets" (p. 144n.).


Correspondence, pp. 416–417. Richardson called for another cut affecting pp. 163–164 (N2r-N2v), and neither the quoted words beginning that section nor ending it remain.