The Grammar of Snug

It has been quite cold at night off and on. Thus Miss Kit has been increasingly inclined to slip in under the duvet with us. She is a very pleasant object to encounter in the small hours of the morning, since she is as silky as a chenille bird and as warm as a hot water bottle. Thus it has occurred to me more than once that among the infinite subtleties of the English language is this: if you said that the cat was nice and warm, you would be, implicitly, interpreting how things presumably seemed from the perspective of the cat. If you said that the cat was warm and nice, then you would quite clearly be passing a judgment on the cat as a companion, and expressing your own viewpoint. I can’t think of another example, not being a grammarian, but there must be a rule lurking in here somewhere since the difference is intuitively clear.
I haven’t been very well — another cold, only a small one, and Dr Wu seems to have routed it. But I have taken advantage of taking things a bit easy and not going out in the cold in order to do the drawings for the Christmas book. About which I will say nothing except that it is utterly devoid of seasonal cheer, something of a homage to the Master, and that I do think it’s going to be one of our most classic efforts. Enjoy the pleasures of anticipation, my dears. (Actually, if you wanted proof positive that this is not a remotely serious cold, it is that I am still capable of invention: I have given this set of drawings my best shots partly because I have been so delighted to have regained the capacity of imagination: for the first two thirds of term I was so much at 40 watts or 85% that couldn’t have designed so much as a greetings card). Nearly there: twelve drawings down, only the thirteenth seems to be giving trouble. I wonder why.

2 Responses to “The Grammar of Snug”

  1. Jacky Says:

    Re your thoughts on the order of two adjectives - is it not simply the case that “nice and …(whatever)” is simply a commonly used phrase, like “good and ready” or “fine and dandy”.

  2. Jane Says:

    That sounds right — if you said ‘dandy and fine’ you would draw attention to the actual meaning of the two words.

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